Saturday, July 28, 2007

Off Off Off Off Broadway

Guess what I saw Thursday night?

First some background.

This is the Denver Performing Arts Complex (DPAC). When I was in high school, it was the Denver Centre for the Performing Arts (DCPA). I still like the way that rolls off the tongue better. D-pack sounds like some military ration. DCPA has a lilt.

OK, I'm a snob.

In any case, I suspect whether you're a DCPA teenager or a DPAC teenager, if you ever took a photography class or fancied yourself a photographer, you spent a certain amount of darkroom time on these sorts of images.

When I was in Photo II in high school, we got a half-day off school to go take pictures.§ Jeff (my best friend) and I went downtown and took many of these self-same photos that you see here today. Sometimes the obvious, well... obviates the creative force.

Believe it or not, I sat in the bottom loop in this sculpture. Climbed up my own self. I wish I had a cat for scale so you could see how impressive that really is.

Hmmm. I kinda wonder if Jeff still has a picture of that. Cause, y'all know, the "believe it or not" part would be moot if I had photographic evidence.

In case you're interested, this is where my high school graduation was held. When I was there, my high school was pretty white and pretty upper class.¶

Oh! Oh! If you look just to the right of the needle scuplture in this one, you'll see a person standing there. That should give you some scale. See? I told you my climb was impressive. Damn near Everest.

The Buell Theatre wasn't around when I was in that phase, so I didn't get this shot in high school...

...but since the first time I saw this sign, it's reminded me of the stories of people's shadows etched into concrete walls by the blast at Hiroshima. I'm guessing that's not what the designer intended.


The DPAC couple enstatued# here (i.e. -- not the real one walking, but the big one on pedestals) wasn't around when I was in high school either.$ I really like them. I guess I like that a couple of fat people found each other in the courtyard outside the theatre, and that they can be icons of a destination like this.

And that brings us around to background a little closer to the foreground: Thursday, my cousin Jo said, "I have an extra ticket, meet us at the Fat Lady at 7:30."

Since I'm perpetually 15 minutes early, I had time to take pictures.

The Little Mermaid is currently pre-Broadway. They've been rehearsing and developing in Denver for the better part of a year (near as I can tell) and Thursday night was the first ever (ever!) performance. From there, they go into what's basically a two or three month dress rehearsal in front of Denver audiences (read: Mary Kay bunnies%) before heading to NYC for the *real* opening.

Now, I'm delighted to be on the leading edge, but there is a tiny shiver of insult that goes into knowing your town is not good enough for the actual production, just the dress rehearsal.

Just sayin'.

Meanwhile, back at the critique: It's an amazing production that I'd recommend for many pros:
  1. Costumes -- 'specially counting the minimal amount of clothing sailors and mermen wear. Y'all know. Triton... yum.
  2. Heelies -- 'cause to make play-fish swim requires some ingenuity.††
  3. Spectacular sets. I can't begin to tell you how innovative and sparkly and colourful and fun and architectural and watery and technologically marvelous it all was.

On the con side, they added 15 new songs (or some ridiculous number) and they all sucked. And the prince was a mealy-mouthed, simpering, Opie Pollyanna‡‡ of a weenie.

But I'd still recommend it. If nothing else, half-naked men. With sick abs.

And now for some scenery of the non-ab variety:

The western sky through the Ricketson councourse.

St. Cajetan's across the street at the Auraria campus

Dancing Aliens. Yeah, those weren't around when I was in high school either.

[SUMMARY: Half-naked men. Were you not paying attention?]

FOOTNOTE (crossed): You knew there had to be background, right?

FOOTNOTE (double-crossed): Or, for you DPAC-era photogs, Photoshop time. Poor little latter-day photogrpahers... they'll never know the joy of the vinegary scent of developing solution and stop baths while getting stoned in the darkroom with Mr. Neiberger, the photography teacher.

§FOOTNOTE (swerved): I don't know whose bright idea this was. How many teenagers would you trust to just wander off to "take pictures" unsupervised? OK, OK... so Jeff and I actually went downtown and took pictures, but we were complete fucking dorks.

FOOTNOTE (paragraphed): "Spoiled" may be the word you're looking for. Not me, personally, of course. You can see I turned out way too well to have been spoiled. Shut up.

#FOOTNOTE (pounded): Is that a word? Should be.

$FOOTNOTE (moneyed): Seriously, when I was in high school, it was mostly dragonflies the size of 747s and lizards trying to evolve wings.

%FOOTNOTE (percented): Like guniea pigs, only more 90s. Turns out I have no idea what lab animal is being exploited for what in today's world.

††FOOTNOTE (ddouble-ccrossed): So the players have to sing, look good half-naked AND be able to roller skate.

‡‡FOOTNOTE (doubble-crossssed): No offence to Anna-Liza and Lyda. Not your kind of Pollyanna, who comes with ultra-cool Needles of Doom, but the kind that makes you want to slam the little Mormon boys in the door wholesale when they come knocking with their pamphlets.

ETA: I just went to the website, and the DCPA is still calling it the DCPA. How on earth do so many people get off changing it to the DPAC? Or maybe it's one of those picky semantic distinctions. Doesn't matter... DPAC didn't exist when I was in high school.

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