August 29, 2012 § Leave a comment
Big Freedia played at the EARL on Day Three Hundred Thirty-Three. Unfortunately, I was in a highly responsible mood and decided that having to work at 7AM the next morning constituted staying in that night. However, the New Orleans native announced that one of her dancers would be giving a “Sissy Bounce” dance lesson. This was so outside my realm of normal that I couldn’t not do it.
I brought along my friend Aimee for the adventure, a New Orleans native and sister to Andre. Plus she laughs a lot, so I knew no matter what happened, it would be fun. I asked both her and Patrick what one wears to a dance class in the backroom of the EARL and both shrugged and figured wearing something you would be seen in at the show later seemed appropriate. Jeans and sneakers.
Aimee and I met up at the bar a little early to imbibe and dull our nerves before the class. We mocked a girls sitting in the corner, yoga mat in one hand, giant bottle of water in the other, workout gear from neck to toe. “Ha,” we chortled, “Check out the NERD.” And since Aimee, as a New Orleans aficionado and therefore expert on all things Bounce laughed with me, I knew we had made the right decision with our clothing.
The doors to the back opened over forty-five minutes after the designated start time. My friend Damon was promoting the show that night and working the door for the afternoon class. Aimee and I picked up our half-drank ciders and paid him the $10 fee. The girl who came to Bounce in workout gear thought the cover was five bucks (it was until they raised it that afternoon), and didn’t go in. We found out later that our instructor neglected to inform Damon at the door that there was a “pay what you can” siding scale.
Alas, after waiting a few minutes, it became very clear that Aimee and I were the only attendees of this booty-shakin class. The instructor introduced herself as Altercation. She looked like a younger Faye Dunaway who had been homeless for awhile. Altercation readily admitted that she had no home. She had been living at Occupy New Orleans until the police closed it down while she was on tour with Freedia. So now she’s living in her doctor’s house. I didn’t ask what kind of doctor.
She spent the first half hour talking about the history of Bounce music, and its deep ties with New Orleans culture. Altercation is a feminist who dances like a stripper. She spouted odes to the female form and told us how empowering the dancing is. She quickly became enthralled with Aimee when she realized not only was Aimee from New Orleans but is also a human rights activist. During all this discussion we sat on the sticky floor of the EARL’s back room venue with the soles of our feet together in front of us. I think we called it a butterfly stretch in elementary school.
Eventually, after Altercation and Aimee were attached for life through their roots in the Big Easy, our lady led us over to the couches on a low stage in the corner. The students took another sip of cider while the teacher encouraged us to undo the buttons on our jeans and get comfortable. I’m pretty sure the suggestion had an adverse effect.
Once we were “comfortably” kneeling on the grubby sofa with our pelvis facing the back of the couch, Altercation told us to move just our “delicious booties.” She had us imagine keeping everything still but the butt cheeks as we bounced up and down. I failed in between gales of nervous laughter. It didn’t help that the EARL’s employees were casually walking back and forth across the room, getting ready for the evening’s rush.
As we struggled to isolate the muscles and fat on our butts, another lady entered the room for the class. I was envious of her missing the lecture and coming right for the exercise. She, like the girl from the bar in the beginning, was dressed more for a stylish yoga class than a bounce show. Maybe Patrick and Aimee were wrong about the attire. I mean, if we’d dressed in stretchy stuff we wouldn’t be trying to hump a couch with our flies undone.
This girl knew how to wiggle her butt. We had moved to standing on the floor, with our hands on the ground. As Altercation told us we could stretch on the nasty floor of the EARL, I could see the value of a yoga mat. Apparently, the attendee who didn’t come in was a lot smarter than me. We followed instructions as Altercation uttered lines of encouragement, calling us goddesses and sexy. She told me I kept moving my legs too. My future as a bounce dancer was waning by the second.
Eventually the class ended (after nearly two hours). Aimee and I stayed talking to Altercation for a few minutes and she showed us the “stripper thigh shake” move. We followed along, locking our knees, feet firmly plated shoulder-width apart. And then we relaxed and sort of twisted our ankles back and forth. The momentum rides up your leg and makes your thighs wiggle. Well, it could. If you knew how. We didn’t.
However, I did manage to get Altercation doing a little bounce for us on video.
All in all, it was a tremendously fun experience. Despite coming from an entirely different world from me, I genuinely liked Altercation and her crazy mindset. And she could dance. I missed out on the Big Freedia show that night, but I still learned a bit about the culture. I couldn’t wait to get home and practice my own thigh shimmy (never to be seen in public)!
August 19, 2011 § Leave a comment
On Day One Hundred Forty-Five, Patrick and I went to the Braves game with Damon. It was a hot Sunday afternoon, but we had awesome seats three rows behind the home team dugout. The Bravos started off strong, scoring the first run, but failed to keep the lead throughout the game and the Florida Marlins walked away with a 3-1 victory. And I was witness to it- the Braves franchise’s 10,000 loss.
Damon had actually also seen their 10,000th win. Patrick and I had attended the following evening and seen the “10,000th fan” win a slew of prizes on the middle of the field, most with the number 10 somewhere in its title. The winners were a oh-so normal family of four, so I’m thinking it was rigged. I seriously doubt that I would have won had I walked through that same gate at the same time. Or maybe I am just jealous. Wouldn’t that have been an awesome blog post?
Either way, with the good comes the bad: while the franchise is over .500 all-time, having the 10,000th loss come only a few weeks after the 10,000th win shows how close it all is. I wondered if they would strip down the 10,000 fan the next day and whip them 10 times, take $10 from their wallet, and pluck 10,000 hairs from their scalp. I bet that one wouldn’t be awarded to a family!
August 1, 2011 § Leave a comment
Patrick and I went to the Braves vs Rockies game with Damon on Day One Nineteen, and it was finally my time to taste the Tomarita.
With a choice between strawberry and apple flavors, I chose the latter. The somewhat frozen, but mostly half melted in the heat drink came in a foot long plastic cup, fit with a lid and long straw. The plastic boasted the Bravos logo along the side of the container. For ten bucks, I was totally taking that souvenir home with me.
Unfortunately, the beverage itself did not compare to its plastic encasement. All I tasted was sugar. Sour sweet thick kool-aid sugar. I tried to drink the neon green liquid quickly, but the sweet and sour flavors slowed my sips. I was only able to finish two-thirds of the alcoholic drink before I gave up. I did keep the plastic cup though.
The Braves won. If I were superstitious I would get my face painted and drink a tomarita at every game, but fortunately I am not inclined to change my luck (or my team’s luck) by humiliating myself.
June 13, 2011 § 1 Comment
Patrick and I planned on going to the Braves game with friends Damon and Jen. As a new activity on Day Eighty-Two, I printed out bingo cards from baseballbingo.org and brought them along for everyone to play.
We each had two bingo cards and the square listed plays or hits. 1B was a single, 2B a double, 3B a triple, and HR a home run. Those were pretty easy for any novice baseball fan. However, the numbered positions and letter codes can be a little harder to digest. Patrick taught me how to keep baseball box scores when we first started dating, and now we rarely forget the score book. Keeping score was definitely the key to me understanding the great game, and not just sitting back waiting for any bat/ball contact to get excited about. Baseball isn’t actually boring, like I thought it was as a kid. But for the uninitiated like Jen, we would help her out and direct her to the official scoring box just under the lottery jackpots’ billboard in the back of Turner Field.
I offered to buy the winner a beer, as a sort of incentive to anyone who thought about giving up on my game. I didn’t actually even have to follow through though, since I won. I swear it wasn’t rigged. I didn’t even know I had scratched out a row of plays until Jen informed me. I piped out a loud “Bingo!” and the game ended. Even if we only made it to the fourth inning, Baseball Bingo was pretty fun. I think it would be a great intro to scoring and a way to pass the time while still actually being involved in the game.
June 4, 2011 § Leave a comment
On Day Sixty-Nine, Patrick, Zach, and I rented bikes on Folly. Mike and his girlfriend Beth brought their cycles along with them and we set out to ride to the Morris Island lighthouse at the end of the beach, something neither Patrick nor I had ever done before. You can see the lighthouse from the beach around where we were staying, but previous attempts to make it as far as the beacon of light had failed. The furthest I had been on Folly was to the Washout, where the surfers crest on the waves.
Damon came along on an extra bike that Shane or John had brought, but unfortunately, despite the Schwinn written along the side, the bike was a piece. It made an unusual rattling and Damon seemed to be having quite a bit of difficulty on the clunker. It wasn’t too long before he dropped off and headed back to the house.
We continued along, pedaling and enjoying the breeze as the wind was at our backs. Zach blasted some tunes from his basket.
Mike had some serious skill as he poured himself a cold beverage while riding a bike. I did not attempt this feat. At all.
We arrived at the path that leads to the beach in front of the lighthouse. Cars aren’t allowed down the walkway, so the entire area felt incredibly restful and serene.
Mike and Beth insisted on a lover’s stroll picture. I obliged.
Zach quickly settled in to the sand.
Patrick and I walked along the sand, finding huge pieces of driftwood cemented deep into the sand through many tides.
On the way back, Beth used her mountain bike to jump over the speed bumps leading back to the road. Mike, older but not wiser, attempted to show his stuff in a similar move. Unfortunately, his thirty-three year old body wasn’t quite as nimble and he ended up busting it. Fortunately, I was the only one to see and managed to capture the moment. He walked away with only a bruised ego.
Patrick and Zach enjoyed the moment as well.
The ride back to the house wasn’t nearly as easy as the trip to the lighthouse. The wind was blowing fiercely against us. As we passed the washout with no protection on either side of the road I felt the burn in my legs as I struggled to keep up. And then I realized it wasn’t a race, and I could be as poky as I wanted. Zach and I listed to the Van Morrison coming from his basket and took our time, laughing as we passed the speeders who had made a wrong turn.The trip was an exhaustingly fun experience. The beach was gorgeous and the company easy-going and fun. A great sunny day at Folly Beach.