I think Halloween is nailed down, costume-wise: Riding breeches and tall boots, men’s formal shirt (the kind with pleats and studs and thank you, Salvation Army, for providing one already cleaned and pressed), some sort of ascot/tie, my black tail coat and the rabbit mask, which arrived yesterday. Alan’s plague-doctor getup is also ready to go, so if you’re going to The Initiation, wave to the man all in black, escorting the sexually threatening rabbit.
Just checked my old tack trunk. Why yes, my spurs and riding crop are right where I left them. Oh, this should be a blast. I’m told there will be burlesque and sideshow-style geekery on every stage, another one of those odd hipster subcultures that seemingly came from nowhere. Roxi Dlite has been a Theatre Bizarre regular, and was one of the first practitioners of neo-burlesque I saw outside of late-night HBO. I totally get the idea — reclaim striptease from the evil pole-dancers who ruined it. (Striptease : pole dancing :: boxing : mixed martial arts.) I’m just wondering who decided it needed to be done, and how it caught on. New-style burley-Q girls are more likely to live in the body God gave them, and while toned and fit, don’t diet away that last layer of subcutaneous fat that separates men from women.
The geekery I trace back to the Jim Rose Circus, which I first spotted in the ’90s, when they proudly restored the circus sideshow to its former, transgressive, step-right-up glory. I remember attending an actual freak show at the Ohio State Fair as a teenager, watching people with copious facial tumors tell their stories of shame and ostracism, among other things. It seemed wrong then, it seems wrong now, but hey — watch a guy hang a 25-pound weight from his scrotum? That’s entertainment!
Here’s an interview with John Dunivant, the creative force behind Theatre Bizarre, from our local public-radio station. His dream is to someday make a living from his art, and he came close for a while, working on film sets, but the loss of tax incentives put the kibosh on that. Well, at least it’s cheap to live here.
As the hour is drawing late, a quick skip to bloggage:
Today’s OID story is a humdinger, although today the D stands for Downriver, a particular subsection of the Detroit Metro, and once you hear the story you’ll know just what I’m talking about:
Brownstown Township— A Downriver man who knew he was too drunk to drive bragged to gas station attendants that he had a designated driver — his 9-year-old daughter — who ferried him to the station and would drive him home.
Soon after, 39-year-old Shawn Weimer was arrested with his young daughter, booster seat beneath her, at the wheel of a red and white full-size panel van he uses for work.
The little girl is said to have asked the police why she was being pulled over, because she was a good driver.
I guess this story will play as comedy, but I guess the world’s children of alcoholics aren’t laughing. Although I’m snickering at the Starsky and Hutch paint job on the van. I mean, you HAVE to.
I haven’t read Michael Lewis’ exegesis of California finances, but I’m hearing good things about it, if “good” is quite the word for this:
A compelling book called California Crackup describes this problem more generally. It was written by a pair of journalists and nonpartisan think-tank scholars, Joe Mathews and Mark Paul, and they explain, among other things, why Arnold Schwarzenegger’s experience as governor was going to be unlike any other experience in his career: he was never going to win. California had organized itself, not accidentally, into highly partisan legislative districts. It elected highly partisan people to office and then required these people to reach a two-thirds majority to enact any new tax or meddle with big spending decisions. On the off chance that they found some common ground, it could be pulled out from under them by voters through the initiative process. Throw in term limits—no elected official now serves in California government long enough to fully understand it—and you have a recipe for generating maximum contempt for elected officials. Politicians are elected to get things done and are prevented by the system from doing it, leading the people to grow even more disgusted with them. “The vicious cycle of contempt,” as Mark Paul calls it. California state government was designed mainly to maximize the likelihood that voters will continue to despise the people they elect.
But when you look below the surface, he adds, the system is actually very good at giving Californians what they want. “What all the polls show,” says Paul, “is that people want services and not to pay for them. And that’s exactly what they have now got.”
Wow, there’s a cheery passage. Think I’ll try to find time to read it later. For now, have a swell Tuesday.