I'm going to take you for a trip in my rocket ship this morning, all the way from Australia to New Orleans, by way of New York City and Pittsburgh. We're going to meet some colorful men, some colorful monsters and their round-about friend in a colorful cardigan, and finally a very colorful lady. Wanna ride? You can bring all the liquids aboard that you please and I'll only be patting down the men at security.
We watched The Wiggles this morning for the first time. How it is possible that we've managed to avoid this Australian freak show for so long, I can't tell you. The fates must have been smiling on me all this time. Unfortunately, this morning those fates must have still been in bed.
All I can say about The Wiggles is: no. no. By the blank look on Pants's face, I'd say he agreed.
I am absolutely a Sesame Street kind of girl. No, not so much Elmo, but more Big Bird and Cookie Monster. "C is for Cookie! That's good enough for me!" Oscar the Grouch is a classic. And anytime I hear "Hi-ho! Kermit the Frog here!" my spirit just lights up.
There is just something so satisfying about the classic PBS shows like Sesame Street and, my personal all-time deep-in-the-heart-of-me favorite, Mister Rogers Neighborhood. I could write pages about what Mister Rogers means to me. Instead, I'll just settle for a picture of my main man. Seriously, I love you, Fred Rogers.
I'm not a total PBS snob, though. I crush pretty hard on Steve from Blue's Clues. Although his brother Joe may be a bit more little kid friendly, he doesn't have that slightly smirky edge that Steve had.
By the way, why doesn't anyone talk about how Joe has gotten, well, ummmmm... fat? Have you watched Blue's Room lately? Not my favorite, but it's hard to turn it off once it's started. I'm fine with folks getting chunky, but the dark circles and puffy cheeks have me worried he's on some kind of medical treatment. I picture him soldiering on with these manic puppets while he's having some sort of tough radiation therapy or something in the background. Or he's just been hitting the cookies too hard with that mob of blue puppets that certainly must hang out together in their off-time.
Back to Sesame Street, though. I do not get tired of Sesame Street. It is such a well-produced show and is styled in such a way that it absolutely appeals to parents. All of the classic segments from when we were little (and which still work) guarantee success with me.
Although I get a little suspicious of the motives behind some of the guest stars, I was excited to see Squirrel Nut Zippers on the other day. I mean, seriously, Squirrel Nut Zippers!!! How much fun are they? Man, the last time I listened to them was in New Orleans after we went to that... oh my gawd, how have I not told ya'll this story?!
While we were living in the French Quarter (before any baby boys), my best friend came down to
visit and we decided to check out a bar called the Shim Sham Club.
It was one of those retro-martini clubs, catering to the swing-dancing goth crowd. Or something like that. Lots of girls in 40's style swishy dresses, guys in thriftstore pinstriped suits, as well as your requisite French Quarter transvestites and girls in fairy wings. A feast for the eyes. And way out of my depth.
I walked by Shim Sham every day on the way to work and would marvel at the posters of their burlesque acts. Yep, they had a burlesque show! Their girls were called the Shim Shamettes. Utterly classic. I so wanted to go, but I was pretty sure I wasn't cool enough. For instance, jeans and a Banana Republic shirt were probably not going to fly in there and I had little else at the time.
The night we went wasn't a weekend night so we figured we'd have a better chance of getting in without any fancy 40's style outfits, hooker heels, or fairy wings. We were mistaken.
When we got to the door, we were informed that it would be something like $20 to get in. The place seemed to be swarming with elaborately decadent outfits, too. We were tempted to turn away, but then someone opened the door to the rear dance room and we got a glimpse of what we were missing:
On stage was a band that looked like they had stepped right out of a vintage carnival photograph. Rich reds, warm creams, dirty browns, surrounded by sequins and pinstripes, bowler hats and tutus. And is that a pump organ?! It sounded like an old-fashioned carnival and I swear this looked like a bunch of carnies on stage, but a rather deliciously flamboyant version.
As it turned out, the band was called The New Orleans Bingo! Show and this party was a benefit for a local waitress named Cherry. The flyer on the door said "Cherry's Big Gash Bash." We had no idea what that meant, but we were in.
We took a seat at a table close to the stage, out of the way enough so as not to stick out as the so-not-interestingly-dressed girls that we were, and just took in the spectacle that was this benefit for Cherry. Shortly after settling in, I realized that I knew the lead singer of Bingo! He was the delivery guy from Fiorella's Cafe, a fantastic, albeit grungy, restaurant in the Quarter.
I ordered from Fiorella's all the time as almost all of the restaurants in the French Quarter had bike-riding deliveries, which was awesome and terribly dangerous to an already junk-laden trunk. I had been lurvin' me some delivery guy ever since he brought in some sparkly Chanel makeup to have gift-wrapped for his girlfriend at the stationery shop I was managing at the time. People, he saw her admiring this glittery stuff in a magazine and went to Saks Fifth Avenue at Canal Place and bought it for her, then proceeded to have it wrapped in handmade wrapping paper at our shop! How can you not love that?
Needless to say, I was smitten with Bingo! at the Shim Sham Club.
Finally, after being there about twenty minutes, we catch a glimpse of Cherry shaking her groove thang on the dance floor. And wouldn't you know it, I knew Cherry, too! She was our favorite waitress at Angeli's on Decatur, right across from Fiorella's! But then, what is this benefit for? Is Cherry sick? "Big Gash Bash..." does she need surgery?
As it turned out, no and yes.
When the next band took the stage (the Happy Talk Band, which sounds like fun, but were incredibly morose yet fantastically popular with the crowd), we found our answer. The lead singer came up and by way of introduction, mentioned that he knew Cherry from their hometown, way back when she was called "Jerry."
Mind clicking... eyes taking in Cherry in a new way... me reconsidering the large amount of sky-high pink wigs in the room and boys in fairy wings... aaaahhhhh.
Big Gash Bash, indeed.
We had just contributed about $40 to help Jerry take care of his Willy and become Cherry for good. And we were happy to have been welcomed and included in the celebration. It was quite the bash. Although I never did hear how the gash turned out, I hope Cherry is doing well and has made her body the wonderland of which she must have always dreamed.
We have now come to the end of our ride. I hope you enjoyed yourself and please come again!