Friday, June 06, 2008

In Which No One Falls Over the Railing to their Death at the Crystal Ballroom

...but one lady came close, which was the highlight of my evening (barring Thomas Lauderdale's Brenda Vaccaro moment, but more on that later).

Becca and Brian, our favorite World Traveling Sellwood Nesters, invited us to check out Pink Martini at a (typically) fundraising appearance at the Crystal Ballroom. Although I would have been happy standing on the dance floor/moshing space (until I realized I had not grown since breakfast and was stuck staring at everyone's back again), Drew is a sitting kind of person, so we headed for the balcony like meerkats after scorpions. Unfortunately, Drew was not alone in his concert sitting idea, and we were summarily trampled by approximately 200 gray-headed, Coldwater Creek-wearing baby she-boomers on a mission to the 100 or so balcony seats.

Drew is constantly surprised at the rudeness of people - those who push past him to get the good seats, or monopolize the only salesperson, or (gaa!) block grocery aisles with their cart all akimbo while staring at the mayonnaise. I agree that they are obnoxious doofs and individual harbingers of our civilization's doom, but I am no longer surprised.

Luckily, Brian, being skinny and wiry, was able to shoot between the gaps in the crowd and snag us some primo seats in the second balcony row.

One little roundish gray-haired lady was not so fast up the stairs, but went trolling for leftover seats with a verve normally only seen at wrestling matches. Once she spotted one in the front row, she vaulted over a row of seats, nearly overshooting the railing in her enthusiasm and plunging to her death (although she might have been able to grab onto the nearby pink-and-blue curlicued chandelier at the last minute and hang from it like a circus performer, only more colorfully dressed). These are the times when my cell phone is safely tucked away, instead of in my hands in the picture-taking position.

Where was I?

Pink Martini. They sang songs in Spanish, Portuguese, whatever Peruvians speak, Chinese, Arabic, Italian and pidgin Russian. Thomas Lauderdale is so adorable that you can almost forgive him for being smarter than you. He is part Giant Music Brian, part Just Jack, part Liberace, and part elf.
And China Forbes is a talent to match - a plushy, technically accomplished voice and the ability to fit it around any kind of music the band picks up (like shiny objects).

And you just don't see percussion sections like this any more. And never with percussionists with names like Martin Zarzar. Yes, Zarzar. And he's not even a martial arts expert. As far as I know.

Since we couldn't understand most of the words, I kept Drew entertained by playing the "which one" game:

Which would you rather play: tambourine or that drum you wear like a messenger bag?

Which would you rather play: tambourine or the tin cans filled with beans that you shake?

Which would you rather play: Shaky thing or the gourd with the chain mail on it?

This is sort of like the chain-mail gourd, but obviously with cheaper chain mail. I understand it's called a shekere.

We wanted the gourd with the chain mail. Or the bongos. But everybody wants to be the bongo player. Why don't I have a set of bongos? This is a glaring oversight on my part.

The other highlight of the evening was Thomas Lauderdale and China Forbes switching parts on an audience favorite, Hang on Little Tomato. It probably seemed like a better idea at dinner before the performance, but it was worth it to watch Lauderdale suddenly realize that he had forgotten the words and struggle to get back in the game, a performance he termed his "Brenda Vaccaro" moment. No, I don't know why, except that Vaccaro was famous for her smoky voice, and of course, her appearances on Battle of the Network Stars.

Bottom Line: I need bongos and Thomas Lauderdale is my new favorite munchkin. And that includes Dunkin Donuts products.


cpt a said...

PM was a great time. A little cerebral but hey, I can do that when I need to...

Brian & Becca Davis said...

For the record, being thin and wiry has nothing to do with it. Hitting the gaps and finding seats comes with having traveled through SE Asia for almost 6 months. I mean I climbed over a grandmother to get on a train in China and thought nothing of it :)

Glad to hear you had a good time; we'll have to do it again soon!