Sunday, December 2, 2012

ROW 80 POST 36 – HAVE A GUMBY CHRISTMAS AND SUNDAY CHECK-IN


That there pageanty thing I played viola for, that I was telling you all about with my various stand partners who had various colorful pasts/conditions/neuroses and whatevers, in my last post, could not hold candles to the goings-on on the stage of the Christmas Pageant at the Nativity Church. This is the place where art and sense and any shreds of sanity left went and died. The Creche was laid out in lurid colors and raucous smells, of the pine and incense and maybe myrrh varieties, with spaceships and whooshing sounds. The 3 Wise men were Wookies and Baby Jesus was R2D2. Okay, I made up that last part, but you get the idea. The damned thing was gaudy as hell on a bicycle.


This actually looks like some shit they would do on Runescape, but it would have totally worked at a Nativity Pageant.

Frosty the Snowman went on a diet and they never did have enough black felt for his eye-holes. When we played that song, it looked like “Frosty the Serial-Killer” cavorting on stage, which always gave me a frisson of fear; that blank look, knife-slash for a mouth. Then, my better sense would go, “yeah, a Nativity gig,” and I’d hear my best bud, Spenser, laughing his ass off behind me on principal cello. It was THAT kind of gig, and it paid very well, too. Plus, it was right here in Tampa. No 8-hour frantic road trip to the next Jesus Job.

When we got to Elvis’ “Blue Christmas” 2 helpful elves would scamper out onto stage and slap mutton-chops with Velcro on Frosty’s face. We’d take bets on whether they’d get near mutton-chop acreage and not Frosty’s forehead. They never missed. I guess that would have been another song. Once applied, we had “Abraham Lincoln Serial-Killer Snowman.” Eek! But in all the years, I could never understand why Fros-tay wasn’t fat. Guess he couldn’t cut down all those boss moves we all do here in Tampa.

Of course, we had several tree-related songs. Which brings me to something I’m very thankful for indeed. This church, as huge as it is, has a normal auditorium, with a stage and apron down in front. Consequently, the orchestra sits on the floor, directly in front of the audience. On this stage, there are always poinsettias in pots that line the front, not an opera-type set up, with a movable pit, so the orchestra is in firing-range of objects being flung from the stage.

During one of the innumerable tree-related songs that Nativity seems to love and that go on and on and on, people come out in these giant trees. One person per tree and the trees look like giant Gumby trees; children cavort around between these trees and create more mayhem. There are four of them and they come out and sway and leap around to the music we play and they knock the poinsettias off into the orchestra. One year a flung poinsettia hit a violinist in the head. I can’t stand her. She’s such a bitch, but she’s got a nice violin. I sat by the audience, so I have a nice view of all this derangement. Once one of the trees fell down during all of this swaying and dancing and Spenser had to catch Wolf when I started to slip out of my chair laughing. It’s THAT kind of gig.

Imagine this as Christmas trees. Or not.

Whatever it was, when the Church itself stopped presenting the pageants, I was sad. That was one of the year’s highlights. In a world filled with gigs and insanity, New York Gilbert and Sullivan, (NYGASP) Opera Tampa, Styx, Alan Parsons Project, Manhattan Transfer, Johnny Mathis, Bernadette Peters, Steve and Eydie, Frank Sinatra Jr., Bobby Vinton, Anne Murray, Southwest Florida Symphony, Birmingham Symphony, and so many others I’m forgetting; oh, but who could forget the "Channeling Elvis Tour," where we played with the Jordanaires and Elvis on a HUGE-ASS SCREEN! (his followers a book in themselves,) it says something when people, musicians say to one another, “when’s the Nativity gig?” It was always something ridiculous and you were guaranteed at least one gut-buster a night, and no one died, cared or got hurt over it. You can’t ask for much more purity in life than that, methinks.

Well, check in Sunday, and it’s been awhile. It’s a new month. I totally crashed on NaNoWriMo. I started at the beginning and about November 20, 2012, I figured where I should have started which was pretty much towards the end. So, instead of scrapping and being frozen, revamp. But the other revelatory action that has paid off in spades; it is possible to not go 110 mph all the time and be happy with that. If I post 2 or 3 times a week, that’s okay for now.

Thanksgiving night I had one of those episodes that most closely resembles one of my psychotic breaks. This was after 2 days of tearing around like a bat out of hell. My body feels it and my mind rebels. My brain just simply refuses to go any faster after a sprint like that. What I did before, is not happening now. The good thing is that I have my paperwork for Medicare and so now, I have a new agency to fuck with, not just the State of Florida.
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