Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Blue Man Group at Long Center: Like Burning Man for Round Rockians!

Last night Warren and I saw the Blue Man Group at the Long Center and let me begin this ramble by saying that if you have a chance to see them while they're here this week: GO GO GO! My joke is that the show is like Burning Man for folks from Round Rock-- i.e. it is somehow both radical and "safe" and a glance at the packed house, which included plenty of seniors and little kids, shows how often enough that which once was cutting edge is now pleasantly mainstream. But don't take this mainstream proclamation as judgment or dismissal. I love it when great acts get the recognition they deserve. And, for my part, getting to see the troupe is a 16 year-old dream come true. They are so smart, so funny, so utterly silly and so completely joyful that it would be impossible to have a bad time. Frankly, I wouldn't mind if the Blue Men were my roommates-- waking up to them would mean with all certainty that every day would be a very good day.

BMG first came on my radar back in 1995 during the SXSW film festival when I saw a short documentary called Picasso Would Have Made a Glorious Waiter. In the doc, we get to watch the staff of the Glorious Food Catering Company wait on a lot of chi-chi high society people, some of whom are shot in very slow-mo wolfing down food that had been carefully prepared. The film appealed to me because I did food service for 15 years. And I really loved how it followed some of the staffers around in their "other" lives-- as performers struggling to make it in NYC. This included the Blue Man Group back before they became international stars. (And these days, the Blue Men you see are not the original founders, but actors that have taken on their roles.) From the moment I saw them in that film I wanted to see them live. I'm not sure why it took so long, but never mind that, I finally saw them and even though having expectations often leads to disappointment, this show was a delightful exception to that rule. I knew-- I mean I KNEW-- going in I was going to have fun. Boy was I right.

I don't want to give away what I saw-- the element of surprise really is a major part of the thrill here. But I can't resist revealing that BMG manages to incorporate a serious Andrew Wyeth painting in a most hilarious way. You could actually hear me laughing a sustained, giddy laugh above the rest of the crowd during this part, as that Wyeth painting holds a special place in my heart. Wyeth as comic element-- who would've guessed it?

The show runs through Sunday, February 27th, and you can get tickets online right here.

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