Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Spit It Out Already, Garrison Keillor!

My all time favorite show is The Gilmore Girls, a rapid fire exchange of verbage, fueled by massive intakes of coffee.  When one character verbally limped to a point, the poor shop manager urged her to "Spit it out already, Garrison Keillor".  While that line garnered a laugh from me, I thought "hey, wait a minute, I LIKE Garrison Keillor".

When J heard that the summer version of NPR's "A Prairie Home Companion" was coming to the White Oak Amphitheater in Greensboro, he asked if I wanted tickets.  Since my Saturday nights usually involve listening to Keillor on NPR and drinking a beverage or three and since the string groupie in me wanted to see his "band", I said sure.  What could it hurt? To get away from the Sound and Fury offspring show and see an act I thought I like sounded like fun.

Like most things in my life, what sounded like fun ended up being as far removed from fun as the Titanic was removed from a leisurely trans Atlantic voyage.  After parking, the festivities got started, walking past an ocean of poorly parked Buicks, all in the gargantuan sized handicapped lot--twice the size of the non-handicapped lot.  The gate attendants gave a cursory glance through my bag, but it was more just going through the motions than actually searching for contraband, as contraband here would have been more off-label denture cream than liquor.

We entered the brand new White Oak Ampitheater and immediately realized they named it that only because it sounded more poetic than Gray Cinderblock Ampitheater, as cinderblocks were everywhere and the only proof of a tree was a design of a leaf of the stage banner.  It looked as if somebody had decided to hold a luau behind the high school gym.  Discount store tiki torches and cinderblock.  J had shelled out some big bucks to get us reserved seats and were quite dismayed to see that the reserved "seats" were merely plastic folding chairs, zip tied together and placed into rows.  The row "markers" were cinderblocks in the ground and the row number was written in chalk.  I was very tempted to go erase the bottom line from the "E" row and confuse everybody with two "F" rows.  To further add to the classy atmosphere, the stickers to indicating the actual seat number were only indicative every 5 seats.  I could hear John Madden in the background "She's at the 15, the 10, the 5--SHE'S FOUND HER SEAT".  As luck would have it, our 2 seats were between 2 overly endowed ladies.  I was tempted to ask them if I could go for a spin in their sidecar and snack on foie gras, but knew they'd never get the reference. I couldn't even afford to get a buzz to make the evening better, as beers were $9 or $11 a pop.  I couldn't even get a caffeine fix, as a Mt. Dew was $4.  Geez, for those prices I hope to see some paint covering that sea of gray bricks the next time I come.

The show started punctually at 7:30. The official name of the "tour" was the Summer of Love and by looking at the audience, the majority of them were already AARP members when the true summer of love occurred. Garrison came out, sang a ditty about Greensboro, which, ironically, garnered the most applause when he mentioned High Point.  That was truly the high point, as it rapidly went downhill from there. I soon realized that I either drink way too much on Saturday nights, waiting for the Shamrock and Thistle to come on NPR, or either I didn't listen to it as much as I thought.  He sang numerous love song duets with a girl young enough to be his granddaughter, which gave the evening a nice, lecherous feel.  To up the ick factor he talked about sex.  It was like hearing your grandfather talk about the time he knocked your grandmother up.  Eww.  Just eww.
 He tried to be "hip" by walking out into the crowd, tv evangelist style.  Given that the ampitheater had crushed gravel for the aisles, I was more worried that he'd fall and break a hip.  He preached to the lawn crowd and launched into a story about his sister and some guy who ate roadkill.  Nothing like paying good money for a seat closer to the stage than having him stand behind you for 20 minutes.  At least I got to pretend I was back at home, listening to the radio.
For me, the saving grace was the sound effect guy--the game white haired guy who is on "Between the Lions", which my girls adore.  Had they had words flying around his head to create a compound word, like on "Between the Lions", I would have waited outside like a groupie to get his autograph.
The band was also extremely impressive (is "band" the proper term here?  "gaggle", "swarm", "pod" perhaps?) and I would have listened to them play for the entire 3 hours.  However, the format was heavy on the Garrison/jail bait songs and the dull/morbid ramblings and not enough of the sound guy (although I could have done without the sperm travelling to the egg sound effect bit) and the string section.  2 hours and 45 mins into the event, I felt myself stifling the urge to yell "Spit it out, Garrison Keillor!".

At least we had good weather.  At least the girls had fun with the babysitter.  At least he was wearing some cool red tennis shoes.  At least we were able to beat the crowd out to the car, as our younger legs ran faster.  And that my friends, is the news from Lake Wobegone.

1 comment:

  1. So you paid an insane amount of money for tickets to sit in blue hair hell only to say, "At least he was wearing some cool red tennis shoes." SMH...SMH...SMH :-)