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Medium Dawn Felagund of the Fountain


The (Cyber) Bag of Weasels

bread and puppet

"About as much fun as a bag of weasels"...when I first saw this Irish adage, it made me think of the life of a writer: sometimes perilous, sometimes painful, certainly interesting. My paper journal has always been called "The Bag of Weasels." This is the Bag of Weasels' online home.


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I have wanted to see Cirque du Soleil for 17 years. Yesterday, I finally got my chance.

I first heard of Cirque du Soleil in the context of animal rights because AR activists promote the show as an alternative to circuses that use animals. Because animal performances don't particularly excite me and never have, and because I've always preferred feats accomplished by humans, then seeing Cirque du Soleil was a hope of mine from the tender age of 12. If they toured to my area in 1994, then I wasn't aware of it, and I doubt my parents would have taken me anyway. (Despite the fact that they are quite the adventurers now, they were homebodies when I was young.) Bobby and I would often see adverts for CdS in our early years of adulthood, but we were perpetually too poor to afford tickets.

Well, a few months back, Bobby caught word that their latest show, OVO, was coming to National Harbor just outside of DC. And since we're still poor but less poor now (thanks, DS!), we could actually afford to go. Plus, we wanted to take my parents to a show as thanks for the trips we took with them this summer, so that seemed a golden opportunity. Aaaand, OVO is an insect-themed performance. For years, as a kid, I wanted to be an entomologist. Even today, six- and eight-legged critters delight and fascinate me the way that little else can. (Including most two-legged critters.) So it seemed too perfect to pass up.

All this week, I felt like I was building toward the show yesterday afternoon. I had to get my ducks in a row so that I could take most of Friday off. My parents were picking me up at the house at 11:45, then we'd pick up Bobby at his school. I was so excited. And I needed a good day/night out after last week's supremely disappointing Ren Fest.

Friday morning, I set a new DS record by writing six articles in just slightly over 3.5 hours.

National Harbor is a very posh place. It's right before crossing the Woodrow Wilson Bridge into Virginia. It announces its poshness with an incomprehensible piece of twisted-metal modern artwork stationed right at the entranceway. Also, while searching for places to have supper after the show, every place that we could find that had something vegetarian was so off-the-wall that we couldn't trust that Dad would find anything there. (On our way down, as we explained the difficulty of finding a restaurant for supper, Dad said, "Oh, any place would have been fine! Just as long as they have chicken apps*!" I said, "Yeah. Dad, the places in National Harbor most decidedly do not have chicken apps!"

* Chicken fingers. Mashed up bits of chicken scraps molded into a strip, breaded, and fried. The lingo comes from our days at The Piece; that's what we called them there.

Bobby ended up finding one restaurant where everyone would be happy. So we made a reservation there.

But, after passing the incomprehensible sculpture and parking in the garage, we had lunch at a place called Elevation Burger, basically a Five Guys but with all free-range, grass-fed, organic ingredients. I mean, they quote Michael Pollan on their drink cups. It was very, very good. We wandered around National Harbor after that and absorbed its poshness. We were all dressed somewhat nicely, so we did not get any weird looks or tailed by any security guards.*

* I only half-joke about this. Our B&B in Ireland couldn't accommodate Bobby and me for our last night there, so the tourist center put us up in a posh hotel for the last night, and the doorman would give us a suspicious once-over every time we traipsed in and out, like he was looking for a flat-screen TV hidden beneath my bright green Old Navy discount-rack shirt.

The show had a shuttle from National Harbor to their tent outside of the ... city? Town? What do you call a place like National Harbor that is constructed solely as a tourist trap? In any case, we got on the shuttle and went up to the tent, where Bobby picked up our tickets and we sat outside the entrance and people-watched. A favorite Felagund Family activity because people are so freaking weird! I know, I know we have a lot of room to talk. It was a gorgeous afternoon, although windy and a little chilly when the clouds covered the sun. We were quite amused by a vulture persistently circling on an air current. Finally, it found a different one and soared sideways along the entire length of the circus without flapping its wings once.

Finally, we were let into the tent and found our seats. There was no one particularly amusing or annoying sitting near us, which had to be a first. Then the show. The show. OME. Was worth the 17-year wait. It was incredible. It far exceeded my expectations. Some of the acts exceeded what I would have even thought humanly possible.

Before the show, since it was insect-themed, I joked that they should have an act with brown marms.* And they did! Well, they weren't necessarily identified as brown marms, but they were guys dressed in brown with patterning similar to brown marms, performing on trapeze, i.e., flying around like brown marms. To me, they were brown marms. They flew better much than brown marms, however, whose MO seems to be launch, fly, splat!, land, crawl. If you put one on its back, it will "crawl" the air for 15 seconds or so until it realizes it's not getting anywhere and flips itself over and crawls away. So I got my wish for a brown marm-themed act as well. The only thing that could have made the show better, in other words, would have been the incorporation of a wheelbug.

* My new name for the brown marmorated stinkbugs currently plaguing us. "Brown marmorated stinkbugs" is an impractical mouthful, and just "stinkbugs" sounds gross, but "brown marms" sound kinda cool, like, "You got brown marms?" "Yeah, we got 'em by the dozens." We got 'em by the hundreds, incidentally. I found four hibernating under Nelyo the Unicorn the other day, at least seven behind one of the pictures in the bedroom, and countless more snuggled into the clothes in Bobby's closet and the orphaned sock pile. /tangent

By the finale (trampolining, wall-climbing grasshoppers), I didn't want the show to end. If someone had given me a ticket to the evening show, I would have cheerfully climbed back onto the shuttle bus and gone to see it again.

We had supper after the show at that solitary restaurant with something for the whole Felagund Family, McLoone's Pier House. I had macaroni and cheese because, dammit, I was enjoying my day to the fullest! Also, I ate vegan for supper twice during the week, so I felt like I'd earned it.

Then we drove home. Despite driving the Capitol Beltway, there were no three-hour delays. We got right out of the garage, lickety-split. We didn't hit a bit of traffic. When Bobby and I arrived home, I tried my best to do some reading from my History of English text, but I died, right in the grammar section of Early Modern English. Sorry, Shakespeare. I suppose the excitement of the day caught up to me.

I am frantically typing to finish now because we're about to leave to meet Tristan and Don for dinner, then we're going to a haunted house up in Hanover. While I don't know that it will top the brown marms on trapeze, it should be fun!

This post was originally posted on Dreamwidth and, using my Felagundish Elf magic, crossposted to LiveJournal. You can comment here or there!

  • (no subject) -
    • The show was OVO; it is apparently their newest one. I think it might have just started touring? In any case, I agree that it was definitely worth the cost of admission! The show itself was two hours long (plus the half-hour intermission), which really surprised us both, as we were expecting something much shorter.

      The seats were close, but some of the theatres around here are just as bad and with less legroom; you pay $60 to see a show and then spend the duration with your legs mashed to the seat in front of you, trying to see around the old lady in front of you's bouffant hairdo! :) We didn't have any problems with late arrivals either; it was one of those rare instances where everyone in our section seemed to be minimally civilized: no screaming kids, ringing cell phones, chronic talkers, or people up and down six thousand times. It really was a rare pleasure to be able to become fully absorbed in the show without distraction from the people around us.
  • I'm totally with you! I've seen two of their shows so far (Saltimbanco and Varekai). I admit I was less than excited and only went because my friends planned this and I decided to come along. But I was absolutely blown away by it - it's a perfect blend of artistics, music, costumes, dance. I'd go again in a heartbeat!
    • You're exactly right about how it's a blend of everything! It's not like a traditional circus where the performers traipse out, perform their piece, then traipse off again. I loved how everything right down to setting up equipment and nets was seamlessly part of the show; how everything meshed with the theme. It really was an immersing experience, which was certainly part of what made it so great.
  • I'm a wee bit jealous. I've wanted to see a show of theirs for years, though my best bet would be the one at Disney World. (I don't know if they come here, probably do, but there's no way I could afford it. *winces* I need to email you about DS…)
    • I hear you, Indy, on the cost. Bobby got ours deeply discounted; he's very good at finding deals on ... well, everything. :) It's a survival trait brought on in recent years! :) We also bought the "cheap seats" since the show is almost in the round; we didn't have the best view of the back wall, but that was it. And a good view of the back wall was not worth three-times more for the "good" seats!

      How about if I email you first about DS? Give me five minutes! ;)
  • Awesome! I'm so glad you all had such a wonderful time! :)

    • Thanks, Pearl! *hugs back* It was so great--actually, the whole weekend has been beyond great. I feel like a very lucky 'gund right now. :)
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