Tuesday, November 29, 2005

i hate a parade

When you have a terrible, terrible Saturday, what you want to do on Sunday is watch Rent in a dark theater with one of your oldest and best friends and a big wad of tissues. What you do not want to do is watch the Hollywood Christmas Parade. The benefit of parades in general is dubious: the pseudo-celebrities, the bad music, the slowness. But the detritus of parades—especially a parade held in one of the most congested parts of the city—is what makes them truly hateable: the blocked streets, the Star Waggons, the pressure to celebrate.

You inch along Lexington, where you’ve been diverted, where there’s no hope of making a left turn for several miles, and alternate between checking in with Steph via cell phone (“There goes Vine. Can’t turn there.”) and rocking out to the pissed-off beats of Green Day’s American Idiot album. When you finally wind your way more or less into the area where the ArcLight is, and actually find a pretty good parking spot, you see three fire trucks turn the corner, sirens whining. Oh, you think, There’s an emergency. That’s why that huge crowd of people is standing on Sunset and Vine. But no, it’s just more parade. A megaphoned voice praises firefighters’ good work “fighting fires and terrorism,” and a woman in the crowd claps her hands high over her head as she repeats, “Yes, yes,” slowly and reverently. The sirens hurt your ears.

Rent is worth the trouble, as it always has been, even when you and Steph drove eight hours straight to see the stage version in Arizona because you were so sad it was leaving LA. The glow of burning eviction notices cascading to the street from East Village windows in the opening number is haunting and gorgeous. When Roger screams, “Time diiiieees” in “One Song Glory,” you know it’s a little melodramatic, but you think, Yeah, time dies, and chills climb your spine. The sad parts are only medium sad, and you’re surprised that you’re only crying rather than bawling. You think maybe you’re all cried out already. Your eyelids hurt.

You step out of the theater and into the cold, windy night. You say bye to Stephanie and head for your pretty good parking place and go home alone.

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