austin_dern (austin_dern) wrote,
austin_dern
austin_dern

Got no place to go

After the dance, the show, described as a cultural exchange, got started. This made us wonder whether there's a mall somewhere in Amoy where people are crowded around to see mid-Michigan customs like eating paczki and insulting Ohio State. They didn't say. They did put on a series of things showing off Chinese customs, though, such as a dozen or so little kids, the ones scared by the lion dancers in the parade, doing a ``happy new year'' song set to the melody of ``My Darling Clementine'' and doing a traditional folk dance that I'm not positive wasn't just square dancing.

It was that sort of show, though: there'd be some things that made perfect sense as a demonstration of Chinese cultural traditions, like going through a full tea ceremony and explaining what each step represents, or a fashion show, or musical performances. But then there'd be something peculiar, such as the music performance billed as a duet being joined by a third person, with trombone. Or the subject would seem to not be particularly traditional to Chinese culture, such as the hip-hop dancers, or the singer who did numbers from Beauty and the Beast and The Phantom of the Opera. We think she was the same person who sang Edelweiss last year. There were also a couple acts that weren't on the program at all. That's normal enough, I suppose, though one of the glitches was that the tenor they had singing last year, with a really great voice, was listed as a soprano and I'm still not perfectly sure who he is.

The show ran long, as it did last year. It was scheduled for two hours but had gone through nearly an hour and a half of that when the long process of a (pretty good) band setting up got under way, and that was just the midpoint of the show. I'm not sure whether the problem is they don't know how to turn away acts or whether they aren't able to do a realistic-enough rehearsal so they can figure out the real time required, including setup and striking time for the acts. They also aren't good about having an act setting up while something else, like the drawing of tickets for prizes, is going on.

Our ticket, 828, didn't win anything, although 827, 830, 818, 878, and many other just-off permutations did. They didn't have a lot of luck drawing numbers that anyone still in the audience had, either; folks just drifted off never minding that they might have won something. I'm not sure what; they weren't very good about being clear what the drawing was for. Most often the prize mentioned was a Meijer's gift card, but someone got tickets to a touring opera company, and someone else won an iPad mini.

I don't want it to sound like I wasn't charmed by the show, since I did enjoy it all, even the parts I didn't quite understand. And while we were watching --- midway through, some people even pulled up seats from ... somewhere ... and we got to sit afterwards --- they set up activity tables in the spot which had been the Farmers' Market. We could get to that next.

Trivia: 'Pretzel', derived from the German Brezel, is first recorded in English in Noah Porter's 1879 Supplement to his revision of Noah Webster's American Dictionary. Source: Webster's Dictionary of Word Origins, Editor Frederick C Mish.

Currently Reading: Before The Mayflower: A History of Black America, Lerone Bennett, Jr.

PS: Reading the Comics, February 24, 2014: Getting Caught Up Edition as I clear out the backlog of mathematics comic strips. Third of these since the last roundup, but I'm hoping to have another little essay soon.

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