Sunday, January 23, 2005

Wow. Wow. Ow.

Went to see "Pink Martini" in concert with the KC Symphony Orchestra last night -- what a high-energy, power-packed totally enjoyable performance. And boy, do my knees hurt.

Pink Martini is a group that's hard to put an accurate description to. Their Web-site describes them as "Somewhere between a 1930s Cuban dance orchestra, a classical chamber music ensemble, a Brasilian marching street band and Japanese film noir," which might say it as well as anything. It's a 12-member group -- 11 mostly-musicians and one mostly-singer -- that add a fabulously executed, incredibly scintillating Latin rhythm and pulse to an eclectic mix of music. Some classical (like Ravel's "Bolero"), some 50s and 60s American and international ("Brazil", "Andalusia" and a particularly creepy version of "Que Sera Sera"). (For a quick sample, I would download the video of their French song "Sympathique" on this page. If you remember your high school French you'll get a kick out of this lover's lament: "Je ne veux pas travailler, je ne veux pas dejeuner, je veux seulement oublier ... et puis je fume." But I think you can enjoy the song almost as much without understanding a word.)

When they perform in conjunction with a pared-down symphony orchestra, it's a pretty good bet that a good time will be had by all. It's just too bad about my knees.

The Midland Theater is a vintage Kansas City theater. The baroque-as-hell interior fal-de-ral is not to be believed, and it speaks of a sweeter and better time when ladies and gentlemen were aesthetic, refined and -- apparently -- tiny. Those seats would have worked perfectly for someone with 9" hips and a telescoping femur. Such a person could sit the night away in perfect pleasure.

Then there are the rest of us. Once I wedged myself into the seat, I realized that the best ploy was not to get up and let the restored blood flow inform my brain about the pain. But there was nothing good to do about the lack of leg-room. There was slightly more room on either side of the seat in front of me than in the middle, so I could have splayed my legs far apart. And, country girl that I am, I would've done it if it wouldn't have cut so much into Greg's leg-room. Matters weren't helped by the tall man sitting in the seat in front, who had to winch his femurs into his available space with enough force to push the seat-back a little further into my space. In the end, I figured that once I had adopted my viewing position, I would have to totally ignore all nerve impulses for the duration of the show. (My mental abilities -- what can I say? I scare myself sometimes.)

It's an homage to Pink Martini that I could accomplish this. I had my share of practice in England, which of course has the vintage small-butt, no-leg theater seats as well. But in the end, when you finally arise ... Well, "arise" isn't the right word. When you un-wedge yourself, all the stricken regions chime in as one.

So culture has its price. My hips have forgiven me. My knees are telling me to rent videos and stay home.

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January 30, 2006 at 10:03 AM  

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