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Tuesday, Jul. 15, 2003 | link
Last night I went to see Douglas Coupland read at City Lights, a stirring event made all the more so because that story he told? The one about driving down to Palo Alto to go Segwaying? That was MY story! I mean, I was there. Thanks to Liz! We (Douglas, his friend Rex, Liz, me) drove down to see Andy, Sidekick magnate and owner of two, TWO Segways, one of which was autographed, AUTOGRAPHED by Dean Kamen. It's retardly easy to make the Segway go (I guess Bush fell off because he tried to ride it before they turned it on, so no balancing gyroscope action, dummy). You just lean forward a little to go, lean back to stop, twist the left handle to turn. The end! The only not-so-easy things about the Segway are the crowds of people it attracts, all masking their marrow-deep itching for a ride with endless questions about pricing and product specs. We took turns gliding, like characters in a Spike Lee Joint (a movement that makes things seem very dreamy, good dreamy, and apparently removes all animation from your face -- you just float and smile, float and smile). Then Andy took us to dinner. My salad and lots of wine balanced just fine atop the In-and-Out burger, fries, and shake we got on the drive down. Thanks Andy!
After the reading, I met Sunny for dinner at the House of Nanking, where I got the worst case of garlic poisoning ever, which no matter of ginger Altoid eating, mint toothpicking, or watermelon martini drinking managed to get rid of. Nasty, dirty.
Todd was in town for the Fourth of July weekend, which meant a great deal of breakfast-eating and BBQing (Leslie makes some snack burgers, world). We also went to the Marin County Fair! With Steven, Adrienne, Erika, and Jill! For six straight hours! We rode lots of spinning things, peered at some soft, soft bunnies, ate meats and candy-dipped fried things, and saw some award-winning pies (plus one hamburger-frosted cake). And Jill and I got our pictures taken on the back of a copcycle in the Public Safety Fun Zone.
The weekend before that Amy and I saw Al Green at the Paramount, which was INSANE. The Reverend had two back-up singers, two guitar players, two drummers, two keyboard players, a bass player, a three-person brass section, and three backup dancers. The dancers looked great, what with all the outfit changing and amazingly synchronized, loose-limbed moves. Al stuck to one outfit the whole performance, though: a three-piece white suit, the jacket of which he stripped off and threw to the floor whenever a song got particularly emotional. He also handed out roses to ladies in the audience. And made us say "amen" and "praise jesus," which we did with complete gusto because ... it was Al Green! The audience was amazing, too, we actually saw a man wearing a three-quarter-length fur coat, matching fur bowler hat, and MATCHING FUR PANTS. During the tail end of that big heat wave. Amen!
The night after Al Green, Liz, Jill, and I went all the way out to Pleasant Hill to watch a five-hour Drum and Bugle corps competition, which was like Drumline, only way, way whiter. And with chipper male dancers in addition to the high-kicking ladies. The dancers all wore these elaborate costumes, like hand-dyed body suits, plus tons of makeup -- basically, they were Solid Gold dancers. The costumes worn by the marching bands were traditional, quasi-military things with brass buttons and plumed hats, and that stylistically had NOTHING to do with the outfits worn by the dancers. As they marched in these ridiculously complicated patterns, the dancers would flit through, their arms undulating dramatically. The pairing of the two groups was just so bizarre, like the only reason they were sharing the field was as obstacles for each other. The vestigially military swords and rifles the dancers had to twirl were the one, slight thing that they shared in common with the marching band, a nutso touch that made the whole thing even more preciously American, somehow. (For a small idea of what I'm talking about, feast your senses on a crazy movie montage of the event.) There was also a non-competitive demonstration featuring tooters and drummers and dancers from the 6 to 11-year-old division, which was so painfully cute -- off key, warbling trumpets, played by 3' 11" boys in full marching band regalia! USA! USA!
The evening marked the end of the Drum and Bugle Corps season, but I'm going to be there to the third power next year. I have to -- I bought Blue Devil marching band bleacher cushions.