On the drive down Friday, I played for her the double-disc mix CD I'd made to commemorate the trip, One Last Hurrah, Vol. 1 and One Last Hurrah, Vol. 2. The mix was full of songs that were about Chicago ("Welcome to Chicago, Motherfucker") or about road trips ("Road Buddy") or songs we'd sung along to on her iPod ("Barrel of a Gun") or...I just put them on there because they were fun. It was a hastily put-together mix, but it kinda sorta makes sense. foresthouse, she got a real kick out of "I Like Bacteria."
Melanie had impeccable timing, by the way. She pulled into Steak 'n' Shake right at the end of "Passacaglia" and a gas station right at the end of "Chicago."
We were both very tired by the time we hit the Holiday Inn in Countryside, a William Tell-themed establishment that thought having no ceiling on your way to the elevator was cool. And having two sections of your floor be unconnected and require two different elevators. Melanie discovered that there was a bowling alley "adjacent" to the hotel, so she got a hankerin' for some ten-pinnin'. Especially since she realized she had her bowling ball and shoes in her trunk. We walked outside in the windy-ass cold and discovered that "adjacent" meant "adjacent to the Hampton Inn and William Tell Restaurant, which are adjacent to the hotel." The bowling alley featured live music by the Renditions! Exciting! Or not. Definitely not exciting was the revelation that there would be no open lanes for an hour. So we decided to drive around instead.
During all this walking outside, I found out that slaughteredlamb has a really nice voice.
LaGrange, Illinois, was not very interesting.
Back at the hotel, we watched TV, because that is what we do. I caught the last half of an episode of House, and it was all right. I still haven't seen an entire episode of the show, just parts here and there.
Saturday morning, I got up early and let Melanie sleep. I went down to the lobby, and, to my freaky surprise, "The Sound of Silence" was playing. The surprise was freaky because Melanie likes Simon and Garfunkel. A little. Not like she has a shirt or anything. Or I got her Paul Simon guitar tabs for her birthday once or anything. I sat down and waited.
"Polter-Cow," came a voice.
"slaughteredlamb," came my answer.
I gave her a hug from me and a hug from smrou, and she gave me cookies! OMG COOKIES! Chocolate chip cookies! Pumpkin chocolate chip cookies! Oatmeal chocolate chip cookies! I tried a pumpkin chocolate chip cookie, and it was snarflemarfleglarfle.
I had settled on Dunkin' Donuts as an appropriate breakfast venue in honor of a recent conversation in the GGMM and in honor of Duncan. I got a chocolate frosted and a chocolate frosted cake, and Lamb got a jelly donut covered in sugar she proceeded to get all over her face.
Back at the hotel, we waited for ChiKat to arrive, and when she did, we had a whopping four people in our room, which was very close to the five-person limit!
Lamb departed, unable to handle a whole day in the big city, and Melanie and I followed Kathy to the Field Museum. There, we met tommyrot and Sue the T. Rex. She wasn't nearly as big as I thought she would be, unfortunately. I mean, I expected her to be HUGE! So big she could go around stomping on log cabins and shit. I saw Jurassic Park, man. T. Rexes are big motherfuckers! Alas.
Upstairs, we learned some more about Sue and saw her actual skull. That's right, the skull down there was a FAKE. TOTALLY LAME, guys! Tom noted that it was likely to backfire if someone tried to reanimate the skeleton because headless Sue would be rampaging downstairs while the skull up here would be opening and closing its mouth ineffectually.
We spent the next hour and a half in the Evolving Planet exhibit, which was very interesting. It basically took us through 4 billion years of the evolution of life, from the first protoplasmal primordial atomic globule to humans. Some information I was familiar with, but the exhibit did a really great job of telling a story, showing how, when, and why changes in life took place.
Life on Earth could be extraterrestrial in origin. Long, long ago a meteorite crashed onto the planet. It contained sugars and amino acids: organic material! Kathy extrapolated that to ice cream, and thus ice cream from space became the running joke of the day. That and the fact that I hate plants because they're fucking boring.
Tom enjoyed that cells need to wear sunglasses.
We looked at fossil after fossil and fancy drawing after fancy drawing. Dude, life billions of years ago looked positively alien. And I think there should still be placoderms around. I love placoderms! They're like a big fucking battle tank of a fish, with an armored head and giant mouth and so cool!
Aw, cute little proto-reptile.
One of the most fascinating aspects of the exhibit was the focus on each mass extinction. Each one paved the way for a new era, catalyzing a substantial growth. One era was like the Era of Trees, and I walked quickly through it, like, BORING. Shut up, trees.
OMG DINOSAURS DINOSAURS DINOSAURS.
I used to love dinosaurs. I still do, but I used to, too.
Since they had a real pterodactyl skeleton, I of course had to recreate this picture.
Then a stupid meteor full of ice cream came from space and killed all the fucking dinosaurs. But, thankfully, the precursors to mammals survived, or else we would not be here today. Cynodonts, we salute your resilience!
The very first mammals were these rat-like buggers. Which magically became humans! The exhibit was incredibly humbling in a way because everything, everything was happening in millions of years. This is the only scale the planet cares about. Our paltry lifespans? Are worth nothing. Mass Extinction #6 is happening right now all around us. Hell, we are in an ice age right now. To think of all the lives of all the creatures that have ever existed on this planet, to think that every individual one of them is practically insignificant today...is very sad.
Unfortunately, there were no displays for "Sebaceans: An Alternate Pathway for Human Evolution" or "Homo superior: A Higher Form of Human?"
After the exhibit, we took some time to let Melanie hydrate herself with a Diet Coke and then, because we are TOTALLY COOL, we attended a lecture. Before the lecture, we discussed the title of Provost, and I remarked, "If he's the only one, does that make him the Provost Lone?" The elderly couple in front of me cracked up. There you have it, guys: I'm a hit with the elderly. Of course, the speaker was totally British and fucked up my cheese pun by pronouncing all the letters.
Doc Martin's big controversial notion was that primates didn't emerge a mere 65 million years ago. Using statistics to extrapolate a tree based on the limited fossil record they had, he believed that primates emerged much earlier, almost 80 million years ago, and this would cause an adjustment of all future dates, which had been calibrated to the 65-million-year mark. It could account for some discrepancies.
The lecture was pretty cool, and we stayed for some questions. Melanie had the good fortune to ask him about the hobbit skeletons: he'd brought along some slides because he expected someone to ask. Bottom line: not hobbits, just microcephalous humans. The key was the tiny brain size in such a recent (18,000 years, puh!) specimen. I asked him about DNA extraction from the skeletons because they'd managed to do some DNA homology between humans and Neanderthals—
Oh! Interlude: all this talk of Neanderthals, even in the Evolving Planet exhibit, made me think of a book I'd read in high school, Neanderthal. Before the lecture, I non sequitured, "I read a book called Neanderthal." Melanie said she had too. As it turned out, we'd both read the same book! We hugged in our BFFosity.
—and found them to be more similar than humans and chimpanzees. He said that they tried 40 specimens but only managed to get DNA out of 8. Also, DNA wasn't really well preserved in the older fossils, so unfortunately, they couldn't use that to help construct our family tree. It was mostly based on morphology.
Post-lecture, we were all quite hungry, so we ate lunch at the Corner Bakery. I burned my tongue on the tomato basil soup.
We had about an hour before we needed to leave, so we went and looked at the stuffed animals. Girl Scout Troop 540 had been turned into deer, apparently. We saw lions and tigers and bears and I'm not going to say the rest of it.
Kathy departed, and Tom directed us to Quimby's, the quirky little bookstore with books and 'zines I imagine you won't find anywhere else. I can't even remember all the...interesting titles I saw. Not to mention the porn. Speaking of porn, they hilariously sold the Jack Chick tracts for a quarter each. Melanie and I did a dramatic reading of the one about how the Gays are evil and corrupting our children.
Tom took photographic evidence of my closer relationship with the Devil Woman, to whom I'd given a foot massage last time.
It was here that we met up with Kalshane and his girlfriend, whose name may not be public domain, so I will refer to her as Kalshane's Last Gleaming, or KLG for short. After playing around in Quimby's, Tom took us out in the cold to see Cowpernicus, who was awesome.
We still had time to kill, so Tom then took us to Myopic Books, which we'd gone to the last time I'd visited as well. It was a really nifty used book store. Tom checked in his bag, and he received a tag that said "turtle," but I got "dolphin," so I fucking rocked.
I noticed the young adult section, so I checked to see if they had the Mesmeria books by Allan W. Eckert, A Dark Green Tunnel and The Wand and possibly a third book I never read. No such luck. I continued scanning until I hit E.W. Hildick, and oh my God, they had a couple McGurk mysteries!! I totally remembered The Case of the Secret Scribbler. I didn't feel like buying them, but, damn, it was so cool to see them. I loved that series.
It occurred to me that, hey, I could maybe find some of Rob's books. I hit Thomas and...hey! Doing Time! In hardback, for $8.50. Goddamn you. I don't buy hardbacks, usually. Mostly because they're expensive. I mean, I could buy a new paperback off Amazon for cheaper than that.
I wandered upstairs and found Melanie, who had stumbled upon The Three Christs of Ypsilanti. I found the theatre section and looked for Nicky Silver's Free Will and Wanton Lust, which I have never come across, even though I've been looking for it for years, ever since I saw the damn play. Maybe it's not even in print.
I scanned the titles and stopped when I saw W;t. I had played Jason in a production at Rice. I opened it up to the first page, and as I read the lines, I could hear Michelle delivering them in my head. I thumbed through, and every line I saw, I could hear our actors delivering them, the cadence, the tone of voice, everything. It's amazing that that sort of thing sticks with you after years. I found that I understood a lot more of the medical terminology I had been spouting back then. I removed it for purchase because you have to own the plays that you've been in, if only for the memories. Although I have this niggling feeling that I already have it.
Now that I was buying one thing, I could relax the book embargo a little, couldn't I? While I was here, I might as well look for A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius, right? I loved the hell out of it, and I wanted to own it. But...would it be in fiction? Or...non-fiction? Was there a memoir section? I found fiction, so I looked in the Es, and it wasn't there.
And then, no fooling, as I walked down the stairs, a man was coming up with the fucking book in his hand. "Where did you get that?" I asked. "That's the book I'm looking for!"
He pointed to the new arrivals cart. "There's another one in there." I thanked him. I should have pushed him down the stairs and took his copy because I think he got the better one. The one he left was a little more stained and broken in. But them's the breaks when you buy used books.
I flipped through and encountered a cardboard divider at the end followed by a whole bunch of upside-down pages. What the fuck? This book was defective! I looked at the back cover, and...no, it wasn't. What the crap, Eggers?! I had read the hardback edition, which hadn't included this extra appendix.
I wandered back upstairs and found Tom reading about Satan on a bench. I sat down beside him, and next to me was the cat! Aw, I remembered the cat from last time. All bookstores should have a cat wandering around.
Downstairs again, I performed my ritual of finding any Lorrie Moore books and stroking them fondly.
I noticed there was a Young Adult new arrivals cart too. I looked at the top shelf and had an OMG moment when I saw Jumper. A second later, it occurred to me that I did already own it, but I was still so excited to frickin' see it, even if it was a weird, goofy-looking cover. Thankfully, I'd found the same edition I'd read back in the day. But, aha! I could make Melanie buy it because we'd recently been having a conversation about teleportation and telekinesis, and Jumper is pretty much my teleportation Bible.
HOLY SHIT THERE'S A SEQUEL!!! I must have it!
As if finding Jumper wasn't OMG enough, not a foot away was a paperback copy of Doing Time! And the cover picture looked a lot like Rob, strangely enough. It looked just like his cover picture on that Austin magazine, the one zimshan loves so much. I wondered if it really was him.
We were hungry, so we left in search of dinner. Since we were seeing Too Much Light Makes the Baby Go Blind, we decided to seek out food in the vicinity. On the way, I called Rob, but I got his voicemail, as I always do, and I felt too self-conscious to leave a stupid message asking him if he was on the cover of one of his books.
We drove up Ashland, and we passed the Neo-Futurarium on the right. Tom instructed Melanie to turn the corner and look for parking. And, no joke, some guy was leaving his space right as we were turning. Melanie got herself a prime spot for fifty cents.
We'd ended up beating Kalshane and KLG, so we had to wait for them to find parking. We looked around for some place to eat but couldn't see anything. When we were all together, we headed down the sidewalk. Melanie wanted a place that served burgers and booze, and a couple blocks down, we ran across a place called Charlie's Ale House, which looked acceptable.
Inside, we informed the hostess that we were five, and we would prefer non-smoking. She said she thought she could find us a booth. We followed her, and she led us...into a private room. No, for real. This booth was in a little alcove all its own with a rolled-up curtain available for extra privacy. We piled into the U-shaped booth; I sat in the butt, where I could see the little stained-glass window. On the left was a framed Advocate. On the right was a framed magazine cover with k.d. lang.
Oh my God, this booth was TOTALLY GAY. But totally awesome. Probably the best seat I'd ever gotten at a restaurant. Later, I joked that they must have known I was Polter-Cow and thus given us the VIP booth.
Seating order alert! KLG on the chair, Kalshane to her left, then Melanie, me in the butt, then Tom on the side across from Kalshane.
We had a really cool waiter who was on the ball, recommending delicious chicken items and filling up my water without asking and taking our picture when I ordered one ("I'll have a [drink]." "I'll have a [drink]." "I'll have a [food]." "I'll have a picure.").
Did I say water? Yes, I did:
"Do you guys have Coke?"
"We have Pepsi."
But KLG understood, so we high-fived a "Coke forever!"
The food was great all around, and afterwards, KLG and I swapped injury stories.
Before we left, we admired the wall of trashy novel covers. Oh, the titles. Sin in Space. The Day the Universe Came. All Men Are Satan. I Prefer Girls. And so many more. We blocked traffic for quite a while laughing and taking pictures.
We made our way back to the Neo-Futurarium, where the line had already started, though the doors wouldn't open for almost an hour. We waited. It was exciting and cold. Lamb called, and I told her about our day. Melanie and I took a walk around the block.
Kalshane asked about Lamb's call earlier, who I'd been telling about our adventures, and I told him it was someone from TWoP; he didn't know her. To which he responded, "Oh, I thought it was someone important." Which buckled my resolve to then call someone he would consider important.
I tried Rob again, and it rang four or five times, and I was about to hang up when: "Hey."
"Hey, you answered," I said. "That's new." He asked how I was doing, and I told him I was good and that I was in Chicago. He said he was in San Antonio. "We're both in different places tonight," I said. He was down there hanging with his buddies and watching the Spurs or something.
I told him about finding Doing Time, and I asked him if it was him on the cover. He said he didn't think so, but he would take a look to see the resemblance.
He asked about my move because he wasn't clear on when I was actually going to be out in California, so I set him straight. He congratulated me on getting the job.
I noticed Kalshane explaining to KLG who I was talking to. She looked amusingly impressed in that "Oooh, how cool!" way.
I asked Rob if they'd finished shooting the finale, and he said they were finishing Wednesday or Thursday. He'd just seen the final cut of episode 20, and it sounds like he thinks it's pretty awesome (so if you agreed with his opinion of episode 17...be excited (and if not...be wary?)).
I talked about how since I was living with relatives, I was going to have to make a special effort to watch these great upcoming episodes because I wouldn't have control over the TV. And it was going to be harder with the move because I would need a two-hour block.
Somewhere in there, the good ratings for episode 17 came up, and here is where Rob said a most interesting thing. He said that the network had told him the pickup would have nothing to do with the numbers, so don't even bother looking at them. I asked, baffled, what would determine the show's fate, and he said the quality of the pilots they get. If they want all four of them, then there would be no room for VM, but he thought that was highly unlikely, since normally only one out of four pilots gets picked up anyway. This explained why he was so confident about the show returning next year.
His buddies were getting ready to leave, so Rob wished me a good move and bid me adieu.
It was almost time for the doors to open. A woman came out and announced that they only had 149 seats, and our seat would be reserved by these tokens she would be handing us as we entered. We were at the front of the line, so we were guaranteed a seat. The line had wrapped around the corner.
We walked in and went upstairs and followed the hallway into the waiting room. Melanie and I identified the states on the wall.
Two guys came in and yelled a lot about various rules, including "Saving seats is for wusses." They also explained how the fee worked: you rolled a die, and you paid $7 plus your roll. So the least you could pay was $8 and the most was $13. I ended up paying $9, which wasn't bad. I had affixed my token to my forehead, inspired by Kalshane and KLG.
I went through the door and turned left to get to the theatre, and a woman cried, "Hello! What's your name?"
"Sunil," I said.
"Chickens," read the nametag she gave me. Melanie was "Worldly." Kalshane and KLG were "Save the Whales" and "Kill the Whales." Other good ones in the audience included "NaCl" and "?"
We sat in the back row, close to the center.
Our Neo-Futurists tonight were Ryan, Steve, Bilal, Sharon, and Noelle. Read their bios; they're very amusing. Also, you can't tell from those pictures, but Noelle is extremely cute with sexy geek glasses, and Sharon looks a lot like Kristine (miklthor) with an identical green tank top (and longer hair than in that picture).
Before they began the introduction to the show, they noted that the show was sold out, and they had a saying, which they urged repeat customers to say along with them: "When we sell out, we order out!" They called nearby Konak's Pizza, putting them on speakerphone, and, after one unsuccessful try, notified them that they had a sold-out show and wanted some pizza. There were 155 people, so they figured they needed a large. They held the phone out for us to shout out what we wanted on it.
Then they introduced the show. Too Much Light Makes the Baby Go Blind, as you might have guessed by now, is non-traditional theatre. It was an attempt to perform 30 plays in 60 minutes. All the plays were written and directed by the performers, and they were derived from their own experiences, so they would be playing themselves, not characters.
From the ceiling hung a clothesline with 31 pieces of paper pinned to it with the expected numbers. It was the audience's job to call out the next play; we each had a "menu" with the titles of all the plays. The first number they heard, they would grab the paper, read out the name of the play, set it up, read it again and say, "Go," and perform the play. When the play was over, they would say, "Curtain," which was our cue to shout out the next play. It was going to be a wild time.
Some plays were two or three minutes. Some were ten seconds. Some were funny. Some were provocative. Some had no words. What was really impressive was the ease with which they could respond to whatever play was called next, since each one required a very specific set-up, some more complicated than others. There was never any hesitation; when the name was called, they all knew where to go and what to do. The plays themselves were on the whole entertaining, though some of the more serious ones felt a bit pretentious at times. But that's independent theatre for you. The important thing here was that these actors were being allowed to express themselves, and, hey, maybe something they said will resonate with someone.
Now, here we go with the plays. I can't possibly remember the exact order we called, so I'm going to go sequentially.
1. PLAY AS BIG AS YOUR HEAD: Well, this one really was first. It began as a yelled conversation about the false advertising of "burrito as big as your head" and ended in a hilarious shadow-puppet punchline to prove that the play (that is, the crumpled-up piece of paper) was as big as the actor's head.
2. My Mask Is My Brother: A little monologue from Ryan about misunderstanding Spanish words.
3. April Fools: "I think it's going to be warmer on Tuesday." / "Maybe winter is over!" Curtain. Haaaaa.
4. In Heavy Syrup: I don't remember what this one was about, but it was one of the pretentious ones. The title appeared near the end.
5. RandoMMemORandum: This was a really funny one involving Post-It Notes with lines like "Sarah, could you remind me to remind Steve to remind you not to remind you to remind Steve?" I think there was a point in here about trust.
6. Sure, It's an Old Joke: Purely visual humor. Lights on Ryan, stage right. Lights on Steve, eating a banana and dropping the peel on the floor, stage left. Lights on Ryan, collapsed on the floor, stage right. Cute and clever.
7. Missing, Or Not: Ryan freaks out to Noelle that Sharon is missing, and she notes that Bilal and Steve also seem to be missing, but he continues to freak out about Sharon. When Sharon appears, Ryan is joyous, and when she points out that Bilal and Steve also seem to be missing, he exclaims, "At least we found the white one!"
8. REVERSE: They reversed the clothesline so we couldn't read the numbers anymore. Luckily, this one was called pretty late in the show.
9. Title: Forthcoming: Another Ryan monologue, this time about irony in a post-9/11 world and laughing so you don't cry, and it was a bit trite.
10: Waxing the EYEBROWS Poetic: A seemingly true story of Ryan getting his eyebrows waxed. The fun here was Sharon exclaiming, "Ripped it off!" as the lights went on and off and on and off.
11. Vote for Apathy!!!: At a podium, Sharon touts apathy, because change is bad! Change is for the homeless!
12. ...with his crazy noises about great white bears: Bilal talks about global warming and polar bears dying, and Sharon melts ice with a hair dryer so Steve can pour it on Bilal. That's why you should care about polar bears dying!
13. Would You Interrupt Your Bologna Sandwich for This?: "This" turned out to be "burning Bush in effigy." The answer to the question turned out to be no.
14. The Year in Review: "January." "February." "March." "April." "Curtain." Haaaa.
15. The Band Name Was Crestfallen: This was some big thing about abortion that I couldn't really follow. It was a monologue delivered on the stairs to our left. (In the introduction, they'd noted that there was no fourth wall. If we didn't know what the hell that was, it didn't matter, because it wasn't there.)
16. Tapped: An allegory about privacy issues as a male and female Neo-Futurist discuss a tape recorder that had been placed in the men's bathroom. The question here was why he got to decide when we, the audience, were ready for the truth; clearly he'd known about it for a while and had placed the tape recorder on the table as a prop.
17. Mil Mascaras es mi héreo: A little self-expression dialogue about why they do what they do.
18. Know Your Tech Gal: Some game show music as the tech gal, Mindy, comes down. When's her birthday? August 10. Some game show music as she returns to her post.
19. on small beer: Steve discusses small beer and small talk. The metaphorical implications of a beer made from the lesser parts of a stronger beer, the fact that it can never have its own identity. And then, out of nowhere: "When I went home for break, I found out that my father tried to punch my mother in the face." An uncomfortable pause because something so unexpected almost seems to invite laughter, but it's not funny, and we had been told before that these were personal experiences, which made it all the more uncomfortable. Then, "Anyone want the rest of this?" He gives the bottle to a girl in the front row. Curtain.
20. Red Rover, Red Rover: They talk about the police preparing for riots during the Gay Games, and it's all very gay power in a nice, funny way. And it's got a clever punchline, as they say they'll challenge the opposition to a game of Red Rover, "and you know what happens when you lose in Red Rover, don't you? You have to join the other side."
21. April Showers: They spray the audience with water. For over a minute. Funnily enough, someone tries to call "Curtain!" early, and Sharon notes that she wrote this play, she knows how long it is.
22. the neo-futurists present: the smallest play on earth* [*still visible to the human eye] (tonight: david mamet's glengarry glen ross): I was looking forward to this one, having recently read the play. They turned out the lights, and Ryan shined a couple laser pens on the blackboard, and there were lights on the actors as they read from scripts. At first, it seemed to simply a cavalcade of "Fuck"s, but I soon realized that they were actually reading lines from the show, but they were all reading lines very quickly and all at the same time. I think it went on longer than necessary, but it was still very funny.
23. Pro-Choice: This was actually about the choice to go to the bathroom before the show, but like most of the plays, there was a subtext that could be applied to other situations.
24. BF4E: Sharon and Noelle do that thing where one stands behind the other and is the front-person's arms. Noelle applies makeup horribly to Sharon as Sharon talks about her best friend and their friendship has changed over the years. The fun thing about this one was that she had to do the next play all made-up like that.
25. All around us the poets speak OR Overheard at the Elevator: Lights shine on pairs of actors delivering strange lines presumably overheard at the elevator.
26. Mind Like a Goldfish in a Steel Trap: This was a fun one. Sharon is the goldfish in this scenario, and she talks to Noelle. Every seven seconds or so, the scene begins again, with Sharon, of course, remembering nothing. Noelle begins by pretending to protect Sharon from an audience member, although it's really Steve behind her who has a rubber band pointed at her. Sharon, naive and impressionable, will believe whatever Noelle tells her, even if she tells a story contradictory to what we'd just heard. It has a really unnerving ending: Noelle, Steve, and the audience member all have rubber bands pointed at Sharon, ready to fire.
27. The Letter of the Day: Oh, this is a show-stopper. The letter was K. And oh man. There's a lot of set-up, and then this rocking music starts. Lights light up Noelle, who exclaims, "K!" like she's in a music video, and Ryan, who has K written on his bare chest. They flash back and forth between the two of them for a while, and then the rest of the troupe is on the floor with a piece of paper with K on it. And there's all this crazy choreography, and they write K on the chalkboard, and they exclaim, "K!" a whole fucking lot, and they urge the audience to chant, "K! K! K! K! K!" along with them, and they stand in a line while the lights illuminate each actor individually, exclaiming, "K!" and, finally, they make a K on the ground with their bodies. It was ridiculously funny in its absurdity.
28. Keep up. KEEP UP!: This was the last play (and yes, they did get through them all in the allotted time). Noelle asks an audience member if she'd like water, milk, soda? Water, okay? Oreo? Crudite? Are you okay? Should I put some milk in your water? Oreo? Crudite? Are you sure? What's wrong with you? I'm very concerned.
29. Batting gloves, knee pads, a crudely drawn base, an unassuming audience member, a run around the state park, a slide, a tag, a call, a taunt.: Steve puts on knee pads. Then he puts on batting gloves. He gets up and uses chalk to form a crudely drawn base on the floor. He looks into the audience and picks an unassuming audience member, who just happens to be Tom. To Tom, he gives a taunt. He then drops a mitt and ball and performs a run around the state park (or, more accurately, the theatre). He returns to perform a slide into the base, and the umpire gives a call of "Safe!" Then, to Tom, who is wearing a Cubs hat: "At least a Sox fan would have fucking tried!" Because Tom was supposed to have gone down and retrieved the ball to perform a tag. But Tom hates audience participation.
30. Dardai and Walters: Fists of Fury: A fight with each move called out: "Punch!" "Kick!" "Punch!" "Chase!" And the chase took them up into the audience and through our row, so I quickly picked up my backpack before they stepped on it. Being in the back row did not keep us from participating in the show, it seemed. "Punch!" "Kick!" "Musical interlude!" And they sang "Why Can't We Be Friends?" and did a little kick line and everything. Very amusing.
31. Extra Added Bonus Play: Extra added bonus play! Which is basically a song called, "Extra Added Bonus Play." Whose purpose is to drive us nuts by getting stuck in our heads.
It was definitely a fun time. The cool thing about the show is that you'll never see the same show twice, obviously, since the audience dictates the order of the plays. But also, every weekend, they roll dice to readjust the menu. So each weekend can bring from 2 to 12 new plays. See the show a month or two later, and you're pretty much guaranteed a whole new set.
Our pizza had arrived, and it was down on the floor for our consumption. It was cut into teeny tiny little pieces so that we could each have one, heh.
The end of the show signaled the end of our night. Kalshane and KLG went their way, and Melanie took Tom home. We found our way back to the hotel, somehow.
The next morning, we managed to get ready in time to meet Lamb for our excursion to the Museum of Science and Industry. We ended up getting there before it even opened.
Our first stop was the genetics section, which...didn't really teach us anything we didn't already know. But there were cloned mice! And baby chicks!
Then we played video games for about ninety minutes. No, really, there was a video game exhibit, and I kicked Melanie's ass in Pong and Burnout 3: Takedown. I played some Space Invaders and Pitfall. There were lots and lots of old-school games that held some nostalgic value. The exhibit was pretty low on educational value (it was no Evolving Planet), but it was fun all the same. Melanie and I tried some singing game. She wasn't low enough for "Stacy's Mom," I was "awful" at mimicking Courtney Taylor-Taylor's voice in "Bohemian Like You," and our "What's My Age Again?" duet tanked.
We lunched in the Brain Food Court, after which, Lamb showed me just how lame the fairy castle was. I thought it was some big fairy castle you could play around in, but no, it was just some model thing.
Upstairs, we browsed the exhibits on the heart and brain and didn't learn anything. Lamb had to leave, so we hugged again. Melanie and I ended up in the basic science hall, where we didn't learn anything. Hell, Melanie was pointing out shit that was wrong.
We exited by way of the periodic table, and...skip to the end, we're back in Ann Arbor.
I had fun. She had fun. Success!