Monday, June 9, 2008

Localpalooza and the rest of Saturday.

Busy day on Saturday. First, Woody and I went to Ottawa Dodge for their motorcycle poker run in the morning. We figured we were there to kick off the event, you know, "gentlemen, start your engines", and so forth. It turns out we weren't. We were there to enjoy a pancake breakfast and watch the bikers peel out. 200 bikers, in the brutal summer heat on the first really hot day of the year, wearing leather and long pants. I was in sandals and a T-shirt and shorts, and I was sweating like John Goodman on a treadmill. I sure hope they were all able to go fast enough to cool down some. Even the little dog with the shades looked sweltering. A great turnout, though, and we'll find out how much these great people managed to raise for the Doc and Woody Fund on Tuesday.

Then it was off to Localpalooza, where the beer was already free-flowing and the heat was already pounding and the clothing was already as skimpy as it was going to get when I arrived just after noon. There was of course beach volleyball going on all day, and bands playing as well. Ambush was the first to play, and they had brought a monster set of stacks that was too big to be powered by the existing rig on the stage. So someone had to run out to Home Depot or Canadian Tire or something and buy a generator to power the system. Finally, they hit the stage at about 3:00, and although it was way too hot for any kind of crazy, frenetic dancing, they did get the crowd going. Their drummer, it should be noted also, may well be some kind of reptile. He was wearing long pants and long underwear. For real. It was forty degrees.

I managed to get one game of volleyball in while Ambush were playing, with the team who won through CHEZ and came with me to play volleyball and judge the bikini contest. We were bounced after one game. Either we were only allowed to play one, or they had a rule that if you lost by one hundred or more in the ten-minute game, you were automatically bounced. I'm not sure which. Also, Ambush got me up on stage to sing Satisfaction with them, and to my embarassment I actually lost track of the words in the second verse. The words - to Satisfaction - the most well known classic rock song of all. How humiliating. But everyone was well into their cups by that point, and no one seemed to notice.

Then it was Tara Holloway, a great young singer-songwriter who actually used to work at CHEZ in reception before I was ever there. Apparently, she was even on the Doc and Woody show before I was, when she occasionally came up from reception to do a Janis Joplin impression. Judging by her show, she will certainly ellicit comparisons with Janis for the rest of her career. Also a poor choice of wardrobe, in that Tara was wearing long black jeans. That had to be unpleasant. By the way - she is playing at Bluesfest this year, Saturday July 5th. The best day to go to Bluesfest, Steely Dan and Lucinda Williams are that night. And Tara will be well worth seeing in the afternoon. (1:15 on the Roots Stage.)

Then it was the bikini contest. I was told, before the event, that the wet T-shirt contest had been replaced with something "classier". Like, they wanted to make sure there was still debauchery, but the kind that the whole family could watch. So, "bikini contest" is merely the toned-down version of "wet T-Shirt contest". And "wet T-Shirt contest" is, as is my understanding, a toned-down version of "stripper contest", which is a slightly less raunchy version of "porn star contest", which is...anyway. So we were several steps removed from porn star, but still pretty far from "nicest floral print on a giant hat". As is my understanding of pageants such as this one, you need to have several elements. The walking-around-in-the-bikini element, the making-the-crowd-yell element, and the talent portion. And the skill-testing question. I asked each girl a skill-testing question. The first question was this: "Sex And The City - female empowerment through solidarity and camaraderie among women, or female debasement through the pursuit of rich men who can buy you expensive shoes?" I believe she answered "BOOOOOOBS!" Which wasn't the right answer. But it was about the most coherent answer I got out of anyone.

Well, except for Erica, the last contestant, who asked for an easy question, but managed to field my question about Palestinian terrorism, freedom fighting, Middle Eastern apartheid and the Israeli state with considerable aplomb. Her answer made little sense, but god bless her, she tried. She was also the only bikini contestant who was still willing to speak with me once it was all over. She ended up being the runner-up, partly thanks to her question-answering ability, and partly thanks to the fact that the girl who did win had all of her friends there in force. Here is a hint girls - if you ever want to win a bikini contest, and the one at Localpalooza is worth $1,000.00 each year, then bring all of your friends to make lots of noise. If you can do that, it doesn't matter one bit what you look like or how you perform. Unless your friends are jerks.

Then Amanda Rheaume hit the stage at the back. She gave me one of her CDs, and I've been listening to it in the car all weekend since. Terrific stuff, singer-songwriter type music, much like Tara Holloway. In fact, I think they have performed together for a long time. The Amanda Rheaume band played Bluesfest the last few years, and they are terrific. Well worth seeing also when they play there this year - she is also there on July 5th, on the Rogers Stage at 4:00. This is the day people - Tara Holloway in the afternoon, Amanda Rheaume a little later, then Adrian Belew, Zappa plays Zappa, Lucinda Williams and Steely Dan. Best day of the year.

By the time Honeymoon Suite hit the stage, it was about an hour later than scheduled, and sadly the place had emptied out some. Still a good show, still a big sound (the noise complaints had apparently started with Ambush and their stacks in the afternoon), and the people who had stuck it out had a great time. I think the others had found the combination of the crazy heat and the gallons of beer to be too much, and had packed it in early, for the most part. All in all, however, a good day. And since I too found the combination of cold beer and sweltering heat to be a rough one, I was driven home and went straight to bed. Only to discover, early the next morning, that some jokers - quite possibly others who had been at the very same event - had uprooted the stop sign beside my house and laid it down ever-so-neatly across my driveway behind the tires of my car. All in good fun, I assume. Just like the rest of the day.

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