School House Rockin'...

Earlier this week, I received a most intriguing email from Caitlin, inviting me out to see School House Rock LIVE with her at an improvised performance space above Hamburger Mary's (the Andersonville outpost of a national chain of flamboyant burger joints catering to the gay community). Considering how much I love School House Rock (I have the music on my iPod, and I attribute much of my love of history to my early exposure to America Rock in fifth grade), I figured even a bad live version would still be pretty good. Even if it wasn't, tickets were only ten dollars, so there was really nothing to lose.

So, tonight I headed up to the North Side for the evening, catching a tasty little pre-theater dinner across the street at A Taste of Heaven, a bakery that Caitlin had been wanting to try. Since we were just down the street from Darrell's apartment, he stopped by to hang out for a bit before we headed over for the show. Caitlin had wanted to check out the restaurant largely on the strength of their cupcake offerings, and both she and Darrell gave me a hard time about my dislike of the pastries, rooted in my dislike of frosting. To appease them, I sampled a red velvet cupcake, but it wasn't nearly as tasty as Grandma Betsy's version, and the presence of a large dollop of cream cheese frosting was certainly no help.

Ultimately, I felt somewhat ambivalent about the show itself. It was fun to hear all my favorite songs from the cartoon, and I was particularly glad that the heartwarming "The Tale of Mister Morton," and "The Preamble" (the song that got me through my eighth grade constitution test) made the cut in addition to popular favorites such as "I'm Just a Bill" and "Conjunction Junction." The performance was high energy, and I particularly appreciated that they encouraged the audience to sing along to their favorite songs. However, the four performers were probably more talented than their material, the non-singing portions of which bordered a bit too much on the hokey. If I had been as drunk as the posse of gay men sitting next to us, I probably would have had a similarly raucous good time, but as it was, I couldn't get myself into the right frame of mind.

Also, I was slightly unnerved by the two mothers in front of us, who had brought a cadre of children to a play that was essentially staged in a bar. The moms, who could have come straight out of an episode of Desperate Housewives sidled up to the bar for their wine, whilst their children boisterously demanded food before the show. Then, during the show, as one might expect in a performance space above a gay-centric restaurant, the performers tossed condoms at the audience during a reference to fairies in "A Noun is a Person, Place, or Thing." Much to his mother's horror, one of the little boys picked up a condom packet and loudly inquired, "Mommy, what is this?" The audience erupted in laughter, but the parents really should have known better. Just because a show draws its material from a children's television program, it isn't necessarily child-friendly. It's more about the kitsch and nostalgia factor.

Nevertheless, I was glad that Caitlin invited me to go. Despite my faithful reading of the Redeye, this production was not on my radar screen in the least. It was definitely fun getting in touch with my inner child, such as it exists. And, building on the theme, I met up with Darrell again after the show, and we went out for ice cream. Any day that ends in an ice cream cone is a pretty good day in my book!


  1. You may not know this, but your dad has suggested that he and I buy a Dairy Queen. Now I know why! If you don't believe me, just ask him. By the way, have a lovely vacation in Austria. Do they have ice cream there?

  2. This is funny! Somehow I knew about your dad's Dairy Queen vision as well. In fact, I was just telling Andy about I ordered a Reese's blizzard. YUM!