Marika Malaea

faithful marauder + fake royal

Hangin’ Tough

with 6 comments

My first concert *squeal*

I found some old concert tickets stuck inside a book; the book was Boy’s Life, written to perfection by Robert R. McCammon. As a self-proclaimed book critic, I am inconsistent in my findings: one day I’m praising Anna Karenina to the high heavens, and its flawless first line, “Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way” – the next day I’m swearing by Danielle Steel and her heady, bombastic distractions. But Boy’s Life – not to be confused with This Boy’s Life, also a good book  – is not just a great book, it’s a great adventure. The only word for the book is: magical.

Inside of this book filled with magical things and magical people were a pile of ticket stubs, preserved in various shades of ‘faded.’ I never throw concert tickets away, usually because I always forget where I’ve put them; finding them in book bags and pockets and crevices is the fun part, anyhow.

Ticket: Capitol Hill Block Party, Summer 2007; Spoon and Aesop Rock were my favorite bands. Seeing my little brother drunk, for the first time ever, was filed away in the Department of Precious Moments – and telling a Jewish, patchouli-smelling hippie to get bent tied for happy runner-up. Don’t make snide political remarks about the origins of my Old Navy t-shirt when you’re wearing a made-to-look-Native, Ralph Lauren poncho and squawking into your brand new iPhone. I don’t care if your asshole manufactures Nag Champa in giant quantities on a daily basis, your Prada bag came from a factory next door to the one my shirt was made in, which makes our sweatshop items second cousins or something. I hate self-righteous, unprincipled yuppies, which is what the Capitol Hill Block Party was overrun with that year, and why I’m never going back.

Ticket: Bette Midler, Experience the Divine Tour , 1994. My parents bought tickets for the whole family – I was 18, my little brother was nine – and we found our seats in the front row of the balcony. We arrived super early so that we could, as my mother said, ‘see the real show.’ The real show turned out to be Bette Midler’s fabulous contingency of uber super-fans:  drag queens. I sat there with a look that read, ‘Men in tights, how droll! How positively Shakespearean!’ but on the inside I was shrieking How! Is! This! Possible! I’d never seen drag queens that close up in person before, and I wanted to ask where their junk went. Gig Harbor, the sleepy town I grew up in, didn’t have much by way of diversity or education when it came to The Gay Stuff Department; we just had the occasional flamboyant drama student or the guy in jazz choir who was totally into jazz hands. The entire show was an illuminating experience. My little brother, on the other hand, was the very definition of  ‘EEEEE!’ and ‘EWWWW!’ He sat there slack-jawed, wide-eyed, and bright red through the entire show. Every time Better Midler cursed (a lot), made locker room jokes (so much), or shook her fabulous, aging ta-tas in our general direction (NON-STOP), he sunk further down into his seat, hoping for the world to take pity on him. It didn’t, which is why I remember this family outing fondly.

Ticket: Kelly Clarkson; The Paramount 2005. Yeah, I went. I didn’t go proudly, but I went. My roommate, Kyle, bought last-minute tickets the day of the concert and I thought – why not? I knew she could sing on key, which is usually half the battle. I worried that it would be unbearable fluffy pop, but I was pleasantly surprised; she did a lot of blues-inspired music, some R&B, a little bit of jazz. She took that horrific American Idol song (‘A Moment Like This’) and did the electronic dance party version, which was gay and refreshing. We were also in the VIP section so I could have reached out and touched her – I didn’t, but I could have. Last-minute tickets and they put us in the front row! She had really bad skin, I remember that with sadness; there’s no reason for that when you have money or a stylist. I had a blast, I will admit – singing along to her cheesiest songs, swaying with the emotional gays. But I would never see Clay Aiken – a Claymate, I’m not. Unless he was being executed by Jesus Christ himself and the tickets were free; I’ll never pass up a good free show.

Ticket: Arlo Guthrie, The Britt Festival; Ashland, Oregon 1994. My senior trip was to the Ashland Shakespeare Festival with two girls who had been longtime childhood friends of mine, but their friendship with Jesus made our trip the kind where even Grandma would’ve partied harder. We bought tickets on a whim to The Britt Festival, an outdoor music weekend festival, and it was actually pretty cool. What I remember is that everyone was stoned but us, everyone was older, and the ground was hard. I saw Arlo Guthrie – and sang along to ‘Alice’s Restaurant’ – and then the  Smothers Brothers came onstage. I thought that was just the dopest thing ever, because I used to watch their specials on TV with my parents; I didn’t always understand the humor, but I thought the two brothers were realistically lovable. We hauled ass backstage afterwards and ended up talking with them. The blond one, Tommy, kept saying, ‘So are you ladies sure you don’t need a ride back to your hotel?’ The serious one, Dick, kept replying before we could:  ‘No, they do not need a ride back to their place from an old married ass like you.” Tommy had a really orange make-up line around his jawline, the kind that girls from my middle school didn’t mind having, either. The two brothers laughed without mirth and then held out their wrinkly hands for autograph pens; I got their autographs for my dad, because he once thought they were funny, too. I always thought my dad was goofy like the Smothers Brothers, but after meeting them, I decided my dad was much, much cooler.

After appreciating his gift, my dad took the autographed program and placed it carefully inside of a treasured book, so that someday he might find it again – or maybe he did it like me, absentmindedly, but I know it’s in a book somewhere. Great minds, thinking alike.


Written by sn0tteh

March 30, 2008 at 4:08 AM

6 Responses

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  1. Too bad you weren’t here to catch the audible ‘OMG’ I let go when I saw the nkotb.

    The good old days, when you didn’t have to be shitfaced to enjoy a show. Is it possible that none of the music I like now is any good? Hmm.


    March 30, 2008 at 6:27 AM

  2. h0rk! the herald angels sing.


    March 30, 2008 at 5:20 PM

  3. Donnie would have been my boyfriend had they ever made the trek up to Alaska back in the day! 😉 *sigh*

    Michelle Auer

    March 31, 2008 at 5:58 PM

  4. Take him, he’s yours! I only had eyes for Joey. *swoon*

    Snotty McSnotterson

    March 31, 2008 at 7:29 PM

  5. Yes, Joey was the fave of most of my friends. Did you catch him on Boston Public a few years back? All grown up.
    The last time I saw Donnie was when he played the crazy schitzo at the beginning of The 6th Sense. My kinda guy!
    I heard Danny moved away and is an uptight born again. He always seemed like a douche.
    I suddenly miss my Jr High locker…

    Michelle Auer

    April 1, 2008 at 2:38 AM

  6. LOL. Interestingly enough, I think most of the stuff hanging in my Jr. High locker were girls: Paula Abdul, Madonna, Janet Jackson. Oh my God, this whole time I’ve thought I was hetero.

    Snotty McSnotterson

    April 1, 2008 at 2:50 AM

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