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Vaudeville Extravaganza

I took Elle to see the Vaudeville extravaganza last night at Davidson College. It was hosted by  The Great Fettucini (not his real name) who is also an old family friend. He's been juggling for twenty years, but the only time I've watched him perform before was an impromptu open air performance by the Belk Tower at UNCC.

Since it was closer to Elle's house than mine, I drove. I don't drive her to enough places, and I should do it more. If only because it forces me to clean junk out of my car. There are other reasons. As  I told Elle on the way home, nothing makes me feel more like a man than having a lady in the passenger seat of my car, and I'm really happy about it when the lady is her.

I saw GF's wife before the show and spoke to her. She was there with their two daughters. I had never seen the younger one before. I remember the older one, who looks remarkably like her dad. He brought her to my father's funeral. I have bittersweet memories of her playing in the cemetary with my niece after the burial...a beautiful illustration of the innocence of youth and how life goes on no matter what transpires.

The show was enjoyable. The first act was Hardin Minor, a mime. When I heard the word "mime" I had a great fear that I was going to be culturally enriched  instead of entertained. It was a needless worry. His routine was a depiction of a man trying to get dressed in the morning, but failing because he couldn't keep his hat on his head. It was several million times funnier than I am making it sound, probably because it was a mime routine and not easily translatable into words. Probably the best verbal translation is "it was like watching an old silent film comedy." Or maybe a better one would be "I laughed out loud."

Ventriloquist Steve Brogan was good and gave me a lot of laughs. In a lot of ways it was an old school ventriloquist act, but he introduced a few new twists. His dummy ( a duck), challenged him to talk when he had tape over his mouth to prove he was a real ventriloquist. He put tape over his mouth and all his words came out muffled. The dummy then said "Ha!! I knew you couldn't do it". It was a refreshing change from drinking water. Brogan also brought up a volunteer from the audience and put a mask on him with a movable mouth, like a dummy's. He then used the audience member as his dummy. It was funny, and it was something I had never seen before. In addition to being amused (which was enough) I was pretty impressed by Brogan's fresh approach to ventriloquism.

There were several other enjoyable acts, including piano juggler Dan Menendez (click the link to see what a piano juggler is....it's an impressive skill, but doesn't require superhuman strength.) At one point, The Great Fettucini, introduced W.C. Field's son ,William Rexford Fields Morris, who happened to be in the audience.  GF said that WC Fields was a big influence on him and was the reason he went into comedy juggling instead of technical juggling. I didn't know juggling was partitioned into sub-disciplines like that. Another thing I didn't know was that Field's son lives in nearby McAddenville.

After we left I drove Elle around Davidson, and showed her a house I'd lived in as a child. There are actually two such houses, but I was a little unsure of the location of one of them and didn't want to drive Elle all over Davidson looking for it. So I didn't get to show her both houses, but I guess it's OK because on the way over I got to point out the hospital I was born in. There were so many memories brought back by the evening. I spent time with two people I'd known for many years in the town where I spent my early childhood. In the last paragraph I'd mentioned  a couple of new things I learned. Another thing I've learned is how hard it is to write about such a memory-soaked evening without using the word "bittersweet".