A Grand Rapids Saturday night. And why are we in Dutchistan? Because we have to pick up Kate at camp about 45 minutes northwest of here on Sunday, so what the hell. This is the second year in a row we’ve made homecoming eve a couple’s getaway in west Michigan, so I guess it’s a tradition now.
And yes, we’re at the Amway again. A million Rainbow Girls are checking in. As far as I can tell, they’re called Rainbow Girls because they favor Vera Bradley garment bags and duffels, which make a vivid color mashup on the luggage carts, along with the coolers in bright primary shades, because who can travel without a cooler? A few seem to be packing special stuffed animals as well. Rainbow Girls are the teen-girl version of Demolay, right? And Demolay is a Masonic thing? Whatever. All I know is, it’s 5 p.m., and some of them are loafing around the lobby in flip-flops and T-shirts, a few more in cocktail dresses and platform sandals, and a few more in floor-length gowns, which makes me wonder what the hell is on the agenda for tonight. But not enough to keep us hanging around, not when there’s a tapas place to be patronized.
I have to say, before I go on, the downtown is surprisingly oxygenated. Fort Wayne could learn a thing or two from this place. Clubs, bars, restaurants everywhere, lots of people out walking around. The tapas place was full. A few of the patrons were young women wearing tiaras and sashes. I thought they might be Rainbow alumane. A closer look revealed they were bachelorettes.
I don’t want to say this started with “Bridesmaids” because obviously it didn’t, but the movie seems to have breathed new life into the idea of going out with your besties the week before your wedding, eating tapas, getting shitfaced and otherwise bonding. If you can’t afford Vegas, Grand Rapids will do. For what it’s worth, these groups were well-behaved, but then, the sun hadn’t set yet. Back at the hotel, there were more — two more parties, one of which was uniformly dressed in outfits I disapprove of, in the sense that they defied the advice I offer to my daughter. Which is: “If you want to dress sexy, you have three choices — tight, short or low-cut. Choose one, two at the absolute most. All three and you cross the line into slutty.” (Actually, I think Michael Kors tells the contestants on “Project Runway” the same thing. Is the tangerine queen a mother at heart?) The woman waiting for the elevator with me had chosen all three, in a stretch-lace minidress that had the extra detail of being rendered in a eye-popping day-glo highway-hazard orange. It puzzled me until I remembered the electronic-music festival — it shows up under black lights at crummy nightclubs.
Well, a girl wants to be seen.
As it turned out, the crushing fatigue, and the effects of a half-bottle of pinot grigio, couldn’t keep me awake past 11, so who knows how these parties ended up? As it turned out, the cable channels were running “Batman Begins” and “The Dark Knight,” so what the hell, why not enjoy this giant HD hotel TV for a few minutes? Caught a bit of both. and all I can say is: What a mess. Heath Ledger was great, the rest incoherent, but I don’t go into these things with an open mind. And I only watched about 30 minutes.
Do I have any bloggage? Not much. I didn’t read the Sunday papers very closely, and I cannot stand to even consider the news from Aurora until we have more of it — I have seen this particular movie too many times to do more. One observation, though: I was watching the shaky cellphone video taken that night from the theater, marveling at a few things, including:
Why is this on TV? It shows nothing, is of poor quality, and mainly reveals that the person shooting didn’t have the sense to take cover when blood-soaked people began staggering out of a movie theater. If everyone’s going to be a journalist, they ought to know that many newsrooms have a closet with riot gear. For a reason.
Here’s another video, if you have 12 minutes: “Goat Years,” a short I saw at a film festival a few weeks back. A Detroit story about love, loss and goats. One goat, actually:
Happy Monday, all.