Sunday, August 3, 2008

A Variety of Delightful Tunes, all First Class

Last night as the sun set, we seasoned a batch of savory popcorn and all rode bikes in a single file line to Unthank Park where Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory was projected outside for free. Have you seen this movie recently? Here's a refresher:

When I was younger and watched this movie, I just rolled with the craziness, since kids aren't wed to rationality anyway. But seeing it as a full-fledged adult now I realized it's a period piece capturing the 1970s psychedelic scene. Charlie's grandparents all share one filthy bed while his mother stirs laundry soup, a bad trip down the chocolate river is overlayed with the image of a chicken being decaptiated, Willy Wonka replies to Veruca Salt's exclamation, "There's no such thing as snozzberries!" with the unforgettable line, "We are the music makers! We are the dreamers of dreams!" Willy Wonka will definitely be shown in history classes to help children born in 2020 understand their great-grandparent's culture.

The film finished, we boarded our bicycles and raced up Alberta to a weird trip of our own: drinking, pool-playing and Sopranos-themed pinball at the Spare Room on 42nd Ave. We had never been to The Spare Room before and stood outside for a while, trying to figure out if the windownless bar was actually a strip club that happened to feature Tuesday night karaoke. Inside, the place was almost empty and reeked of cigarrettes and old carpet. A strip of pink neon ran around the edge of the lounge's low-ceiling, illuminating several thin and wrinkled people playing light-up slot machines. We took a small round table next to the dance floor, where two middle-aged women in tight jeans shook themselves to the live band - aging keyboard and guitar duo Larry and Teri.

I could try and describe what Larry and Teri sounded like, but the pair do it better themselves on their website:

"The dance-music duo Larry and Teri offer the most delightful variety of tunes, all first-class. Those who love to dance, or would like to learn, will find the duo just exactly right for dancing. Anyone who just wants to sit and enjoy listening will fit right in.

When Larry and Teri perform at the Spare Room, you will be amazed at how fast time flies when you are dancing and having fun. This is a case where one-plus-one is more than two."

Teri's voice accounts for seventy-five percent of the reason why we stuck around the Spare Room till it closed at 2am. Her voice, edged by years of singing in through other people's smoke, is heart-rending. Never have I heard such a sincerely sad version of Blue Moon. Teri gave us her business card at the end of the night. It's a red rose inscribed with "Larry and Teri" in gilt comic sans.

This morning we were all pretty tired, but managed to get up by 11 (except for Dan who's still not awake) to make burritos and sausage and say goodbye to my friend Jeff, who had to catch a bus back to Seattle after sleeping on our sofa all weekend.

"Stop back anytime," said Jill.
"Yeah, when in Rome," added Nate. There was a pause.
"When in Rome?" I said.
"Yeah," explained Nate seriously, "When you're in Rome, you stop by."

posted by s.mirk

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