Saturday, August 27, 2005

"No, ma'am, we're musicians."

Happy Silver Anniversary to The Blues Brothers!!!!
Twenty-five years ago, the cult hit movie The Blues Brothers was released. We watched Jake and Elwood on their "mission from god," rampaging their way through Chicago. They cleverly outwitted cops, got beaten by a nun with a stick, took out a group of Nazis ("I hate Illinois Nazis."), and caused an obscene amount of damage. Most importantly, they exhibited great music, not just playing it themselves, but getting legends such as James Brown ("Do you see the light?"), Aretha Franklin ("You better think about the consequences of your actions."), John Lee Hooker, Cab Calloway ("Boys, you gotta learn not to talk to nuns that way."), and Ray Charles ("Ah, excuse me, but I don't think there's anything wrong with the action on this piano.") in on the act. Singing, dancing, destruction, and stupid, off-the-wall humor; ah, life is good.
My dad's a big fan, so The Blues Brothers was an essential part of my upbringing. Whether or not this was healthy is debatable.
[Nerd note: Trooper Mount is played by Steven Williams, who later plays the mysterious Mr. X on The X-Files.]
The sequel, Blues Brothers 2000, was released in 1998. Again, it displayed some truly excellent music and talented artists (Johnny Lang, BB King, Wilson Pickett, Blues Traveler, Erykah Badu, and returnees James Brown and Aretha), but toned down the insanity and made it a bit more family-friendly. Try as they might, though, it didn't quite measure up (for example, hick white supremasist conspiracy theorists are simply not as funny antagonists as Illinois Nazis driving Pintos). It was a good movie, just not as hilarious as the first one.
Let's leave the last words to the gang:
-"This place has got everything." (Jake, whilst traveling through the mall. Literally.)
-"I'll have some dry white toast."
"And I'll have four fried chickens and a coke." (Elwood and Jake, ordering at the Soul Food Cafe).
-"The Blues Brothers?! Shit. They still owe you money, fool!" (Aretha)
-"Three orange whips." (Mr. Mercer, ordering drinks at the concert.)
-"We're putting the band back together." (Jake)
-"No pharmaceutical product could ever equal the rush you get when the band hits that groove..." (Elwood J. Blues, Blues Brothers 2000)

Saturday, August 06, 2005

"I'm a rebel; I'm evil. My anti-perspirant is breaking down!"

Feeling a bit bad-ass right now. But I'm almost ashamed to admit why.
I thought it would be a good idea to learn to sew this summer, so I tried to enroll in an adult-ed class ("Sewing 1 - The Basics of Sewing") but it was all filled. I signed up on the wait list, but knew I wouldn't get in. Lo' and behold, the teacher called me a couple days before class and said she had ONE opening. So I signed up. I paid for the class. I expected to be taught to, you know, sew.
First class, I walk in and sit down and not two seconds pass before one of the "advaced" students (read: middle-aged house wives who have nothing better to do than take Sewing 1 over and over again, chat about their kids, and sew up some truly heinous "country crap" creations) pulled out a project to show to her friends. "Look what I finished yesterday! It's for my kitchen!" she squealed, and her friends all cooed in rapture. It was a stuffed cow. And it was wearing a home-made frilly floral dress.
I should have taken that as a sign.
This class gave no informative instruction; we had to pick our own projects and figure them out ourselves. The teacher interacted with us when asked for help. Said teacher was this stuck-up old bat who took a dislike to me the moment I asked her to explain how to hand-baste (I said I can't sew!). After that, she started staring at me strangely after I spoke, then after a long pause she'd say something like "okaaay..." or "right..." or sometimes "I see..." Example: she came to my work table and asked what project I was starting. I happily replied, "It's a simple bag to carry around my knitting projects! It's just a square with two handles" She did the staring thing, then said, " will be just like your purse there." She pointed to a little purse I'd made at home that weekend. "Yep," I replied, smiling, "but it will be bigger, of course." She stared at me like a foreign creature for a moment, then turned and old-lady-shuffled off. (Call me wrong, but I always thought teachers should encourage their students, not turn away in disgust.)
By the third class, I had realized that we weren't being taught anything, and we weren't going to be taught anything. All the sewing info I'd received during those weeks was from my mum, when I'd nag her into showing me something. At the start of that third class, sitting there among boring housewives at least fifteen years my seniors (the other three beginners had dropped out by this time), it suddenly struck me that I was in a sewing circle, a goddamned sewing circle. I was being ignored by a bunch of ugly old ladies with nothing more interesting in their lives than their children. And I was doing nothing there that I couldn't do at home.
I gathered my stuff, stood up, and, giving the teacher a look of disgust, walked out the door.
I just wrote a very nasty letter to the adult-ed chairman.
And it's making me feel like a rebel with a Billy-Idol-sneer. Which is so very sad.