Saturday, May 29, 2010

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Have you seen this man?

I have.

He has been touring the country for the past ten years, educating children about the differences between candy bars and carrots and intimidating them with 20 foot long models of their intestines. From the first time he slipped behind a door and emerged in this tightly fitting body suit, Slim Goodbody has never managed to entirely leave my thoughts. Perhaps it was the shock of seeing a grown man wear a flesh colored unitard, or maybe it was the afro. Either way, he has danced and sung his way into my long-term memory.
I was a faithful patron of Inside Story as a child. The only specific thing I remember learning from the show is what happens to a dinner roll when eaten by a person with a normally functioning digestive system. This was through a series of original Mr. Goodbody songs, the first having to do with the mouth and the salivary glands and the last ending abruptly with Slim running to the bathroom and slamming the door.
When thinking about Slim, I can't help but wonder to what low levels adults will stoop in order to convey a message-- any message-- to kids. This is apparent in shows like Barney where sharing is epitomized by a Tyrannosaurus Rex and his brightly colored protoceratops friends. If you think you're in a bad spot now, imagine playing a Teletubby or a Boo-Bah for the entertainment of three-year olds around the globe. Better yet, imagine yourself in spandex singing a song outlining the entire human digestive system.
You won't feel so bad afterward.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

The Dance of Youth

While talking to Koseli on the telephone yesterday, a peculiar memory surfaced that had not graced my mind for many years.

Jane Spense's Dance Academy procured some of the strangest costumes I have ever worn in my entire life-- and this includes years of playing dress-up with Kathy (see the photograph of us dancing in sparkly spacesuits and human-hair wigs). Glowing green warm-up pants, a black unitard with a tall, sequined, red-and-white striped top-hat, a neon-blue Mina bird outfit ornamented with feathers on the head, and a Pink Yink ensemble, complete with a magenta collar were some of the more mild outfits we were forced to wear.
While every year yielded stranger costumes, Koseli and I reflected on a particularly bad performance in which the whole school inacted "Sally's Room," a short story about a girl whose abused furniture and dirty clothes follow her around until she is forced to clean them. With four girls enrolled in dance, our mother felt obliged to involve herself in this spectacle, and played the part of a battered chiffarobe which she artfully decorated with an enormous, dangling bra she had purchased at the D.I. Koseli was a Karate Doll, and she wore a black jumpsuit and a yellow tie around her forehead. I was jealous of this particular costume, as I had opted to be a bedpost but instead landed the part of the half-eaten bologna sandwich-- a double insult as the costume was much too big and nearly impossible to maneuver. My simple task was to chassé across the stage, but the two stiff bread slices slung over my shoulders made bending my knees nearly impossible. I remember falling and skidding face-forward onto the front bread slice during the dress rehearsal, unable to stop myself or to stand up again without assistance.
From all of this, I like to imagine what my father would have seen from his seat in the audience: his wife's head sticking out of the middle of an enormous dresser, his daughter doing high kicks punctuated with interpretive dance, and me, the paper lettuce crinkling as I stiffly skipped across the stage, the slightest hint of rubbery bologna pinned between the wooden bread and my back.

Saturday, May 01, 2010