Monday, August 04, 2008

pretend to be a cheerleader, save the world

The next best thing to running away and joining the circus is taking the Gold Line downtown to see Cirque Berzerk, which AK, Christine, Jody and I did Saturday night. I wore my Peninsula Gymnastics Camp T-shirt (another find from my dad’s attic) in hopes that the performers would acknowledge me as someone who could, at one point in her life, do a back flip.

Miraculously, I made it through the show without imploding from envy. Despite Chantal Durelli’s ass-kicking-pin-up-girl trapeze poses (some of which I did in my trapeze class—!—but one at a time and with a lot of grunting and resting in between).

Despite an amazing five-person trapeze act which combined extreme physical fitness and artistry with the one thing that seems more difficult in my opinion: group work.

Despite the mesmerizing splits, handstands and pretzel-bends-on-steroids performed by contortionist Hayley Kent. She was a voluptuous girl, not a skinny Ukrainian rhythmic gymnast, which is the body type I usually associate with such stunts. She moved as slowly as a sloth, and watching her was a little like watching a sloth swim: You’re amazed by the pure grace, and also by the fact that said grace is being demonstrated by a lovely but unlikely creature.

At intermission, we congregated in the beer garden—a random chain-linked section of dirt in L.A. State Historic Park, where you feel like you’ve just fallen off a Chinatown cliff and into a dreamy post-apocalypse. Even though we hadn’t had more than one beer between the four of us, we found ourselves doing stunts a la the opening act, which, despite the Tim Burton-y costumes, was 95 percent cheerleading.

Well, sort of a la the opening act.

“Okay, on three, jump up and I’ll toss you,” Christine instructed.

“Why don’t you jump, and I’ll throw you?” said Jody.

“I’ll let you throw me if I can throw you first.”

A lot of jumping and throwing ensued, preceded by a lot of instructions along the lines of, “Wait, do you mean jump on three, or wait till three and then jump?” and “There doesn’t need to be a three! It’s just one—prep—two—jump.”

AK and I tried it too, and Christine cracked up when I automatically got into cheerleader ready-position (hands on hips, smile on lips). “I guess I’m just used to her cheerleading poses by now,” mused AK.

If I do say so myself, I think the combination of Jody’s skating background and my cheer background got us some good air. And probably a few odd looks, but not that many. It was a very Burning-Man crowd.

Then the bench AK was sitting on the edge of tipped over, and a guy wearing a lot of makeup came and did some miming, and then it was time to go back inside the tent.


I feel about the circus the way that novelist and blogger Andrea Seigel feels about Ralph Lauren: Both represent the exotic for middle-class suburban Jewish-ish girls. If you read her entry on Lauren, you’ll see how a fetish can also save the world. For example, I paid an extra three bucks for my Cirque Berzerk ticket to buy a couple of carbon offsets or whatever they call them. (There was a giant fire-spewing contraption set up next to the tent, so our carbon emissions were pretty blatant, if spectacular.)

Okay, so Andrea’s taking things a little further: Her Ralph Lauren chair is curing cancer, and you can help, and you will be rewarded. Check it out here. A little passion goes a long way, my friends.


Tracy Lynn said...

Yeah, I feel that way when I watch the Olympics. In awe and slightly jealous.

Peter Varvel said...

Me too. I can never watch any type of dance performance without imploding from envy, at least a little tiny bit, wishing I was twenty years younger.
Loved this post!

Cheryl said...

With the summer games coming up, maybe we should form some sort of Olympic support group. Wannabe Olympians Anonymous. There could be sub-groups for the fast sports (running, soccer) and the pretty sports (gymnastics, diving).

Unknown said...

you know i always read everything you blog, but, this time, i imploded from envy. my fashion show was excellent (in fact, i wish you guys had come) but nothing compares to a circus. nothing. :(

Cheryl said...

The circus was a bit of a fashion show itself, but I'm sad we missed yours. Let us know if you're in another--and send pics from this one!

Unknown said...

you know i will make you look at them when i see you next :)