Piercings, watermelons in hydraulic presses, and Shakespearean zombies. Oh, my.

19 August 2009

Lyssa and I packed up our stuff and set out around 1100 EST5EDT on Saturday morning in the general direction of Rockville to Laurelinde’s place, where we picked up Cate and Tori (after a cup of coffee, of course, following a rather rude surprise early that day) for an afternoon in Maryland. We set off toward College Park for lunch at Plato’s Diner because it happened to be within spitting distance of our eventual destination. Tori was turning sixteen and as her gift we’d all chipped in to get her ears re-pierced at Curious Tattoo on the outskirts of UMD. Because she has a history of problems with gun piercing, we figured that having a professional do the deed and not a kid with a gun would cause her less discomfort in the long run. Plus, she was having four holes made (two lobe and two cartilage) so a gun was definitely not the right tool for the job.

We found out shortly after arriving that Vinny, the piercer who worked on Lyssa and Laurelinde, no longer works at Curious and that the owner was the only piercer on site. Also, he wasn’t supposed to be in until 1600 that day, so rather than kill a couple of hours in College Park we decided to head back to the House of Leaves to look up Pop’s Tattoo in Silver spring, which has a good reputation down here. We ran into a bit of trouble trying to contact them on the road because Verizon’s directory assistance service claimed that there was no such listing in Rockville but a phone call back home guided us to the tiny red door, stuck in the side of a building where we couldn’t see it from the road. I think we waited something like two hours before they took Tori back to do the deed, which took less than a half hour, including sterilization, drawing the guide lines, and running the needles. They appear to have done an excellent job – Tori should have no difficulty healing, save that she’s going to have to sleep on her back for a couple of weeks to keep from irritating the healing tissue.

After leaving Pop’s we hung around the House for a while to relax. I worked on my EeePC a little bit and solved a few problems that have been driving me crazy for a couple of weeks (which I’ll write up later) and caught up on my reading while letting Windbringer and the EeePC recharge from the wall outlet. Lyssa and I left around 2015 EST5EDT for downtown Silver Spring to meet up with the usual suspects at the fountain for dinner; Cate and Tori decided to pass that evening. We’d called everyone together to catch the late-night twenty-fifth anniversary showing of The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai which are part of the AFI Silver‘s 500 Days of Summer series. To make sure that we’d be able to get seats we bought our tickets early and then invaded the local Thai restaurant (the name of which escapes me at the moment). After dinner and a quick stop for ice cream we hung out at Borders killing time until 2300 EST5EDT until the store closed and they threw us out. That left us standing in line until 2335 at the AFI when we filed into the smallish theatre and found seats (all the way at the back, all the way at the top, as movies should be seen).

The movie started at 2345 local time – no previews, no hype, just right into one of the classics.. if your taste runs to wacky science fiction and/or pulp adventure. Buckaroo Banzai is a pure 80’s flick, from the all-synth soundtrack to the skinny leather ties to how the story unfolds at breakneck pace. As Lyssa observed, this movie explains a lot about me… but I digress. When Lyssa, Bronwyn, Tori, and I went to see Heathers there last week they used one of the larger theatres in the complex and it was barely filled – I think twenty of us showed up at most that night. This time they used a smaller theatre and there were so many people that they had to bring extra chairs in so people could sit down along the front row. It was gratifying to note not a few Blue Blaze Irregulars in attendance that night – one woman was even wearing a Buckaroo Banzai hachimaki, which were handed out as convention swag when the movie first came out in 1984 and consequently are extremely rare. About a third of us were unable to avoid quoting aloud a famous bit of dialog near the end:

"Where are we going?" "PLANET TEN!" "When?" "REAL SOON!"

I guess you had to be there.

The movie let out around 0200 Sunday morning and after going our separate ways Lyssa and I headed for home, arrived safe and sound around 0230 Sunday morning, and finally passed out around 0300, dead tired. We woke up around 1000 Sunday morning to get ready and head over to Hasufin and Mika’s place to meet up with another nebulously-defined group of people for a day downtown. We’d purchased tickets to see the play Living Dead In Denmark at the Gonda Theatre of George Washington University, performed that afternoon by the Rorschach Theatre Company. As we are wont to do we got lost looking for the the theatre on campus and even more lost looking for a doorway into the underground parking garage afterward. Living Dead In Denmark is a send-up of some of Shakespeare’s best – Ophelia is rescuscitated after her suicide five years previously in Hamlet and hooks up with Juliet, the lady MacBeth, and Horatio (still alive) after zombies have arisen to take over Denmark and later the world. Their leader, the King of Pain, is cutting deals with the Three Wyrd Sisters and Queen Titania of the Fae to remake the world in such a way that creatures from beyond the pale (or the veil, as the case may be) may take their rightful place on the planet.

The martial arts choreography was superb for a stage production – if you’re not expecting the fights from a Bruce Lee movie you won’t be disappointed (but you will be surprised by Fortinbras and Horatio). It was gratifying to see Juliet kick some ass and Ophelia open up with gun-fu. Baltimore Knife and Sword provided the prop weapons which, while nifty, weren’t really all that impressive (doubly so if you’ve got your own collection – don’t expect anything from Exalted). The dialogue tended to list on either the side of dryly funny or the side of hilarious, at times spoofing everything from James Bond to the Six Million Dollar Man to Doogie Howser, though sometimes the jokes seemed to replace the plot rather than accent it (or maybe it gave the stagehands a chance to swap out the few aspects of the scenery that changed). While the re-envisioning of Puck from A Midsummer Night’s Dream as a gangsta was funny the first time, it started to grate after a while. The ending wasn’t a complete surprise but was just over the top enough to be entertaining without also being tawdry. If you get a chance to see this on stage somewhere, anywhere, really, I highly recommend that you go. Please. Buy your tickets ahead of time and go. It’s a good time whether or not you like Shakespeare and especially whether or not you like zombies as a genre.