I found myself in an Asian candy store of culture last night. The teachers at Berhan went to a "Feel yourself Chinese!" spectacle put on by a traveling Chinese performing arts group. The Berhan teachers minus Katie, that is. Through a series of unfortunate circumstances, Katie and her ticket never met, and she was forced to sit at home and crochet Easter baskets for the upcoming school Easter celebrations. After reading this though, I hope she feels her unfortunate circumstance were not so unfortunate.
It's not that I don't like culture or music or dancing or flowers, but something about all the soft colors and fuzzy borders, the "Nessun Dorma" -like ending to every song, and an emcee who jokes between each number, doesn't thrill my overplayed senses. A man can only take so much frosting before needing a water closet. Give me more grits. Some cornmeal and chili. Even cow tongue or chicken feet. Something hard before the fluff. There's a reason we attribute the craving for sugar to a "sweet tooth," not "sweet teeth." Teeth have always had a hankering for meat. But there was that odd ball tooth who demanded chocolate. And we like that sweet tooth, but he'd never amount to anything without iron-fisted friends. Chocolate might be all that's worth living for, but if everyone's a chocolate bar, who's to do the living? You'll rot your teeth on sweets if not for the grit inside you asking for substance. You'll fight to down those vegetables just so desert will taste better. Last night I ate too much frosting and too little veggies.
To the performers credit, they had talent and skill. I was impressed at several points: the back flip those guys did in that one dance, and the really really loud high note that tenor held for 2 minutes. Both moments saw my eyebrows raise an inch. Whitney and Sara, who sat near me in the audience, will argue against my right to criticize on the basis I nodded off during several of the first half moon-dance numbers, but I was awake for several more and I have a hard time believing the frosting that I missed tasted any different. The multi-media power-point rainbow frame behind the glittering dancers, backed by mystical lullaby sounding orchestration, and the tireless smoke machine off-stage, made for a magical evening difficult to forget . . . or dislodge in the water closet I ran to once we got home.
Credit should also be awarded the power point screen in the back that displayed the Chinese characters for "Truthfulness, Compassion, and Forbearance," often enough to let me memorize the strokes, and to Mr. and Mrs. emcee, who mustered a two-person skit between each number, despite the inaudible laughter in return, yet very audible chatter among audience members.