Thursday, February 22, 2007

The entertainment portion of Saturday’s party nearly lived both up to and down to my every expectation. There were no less than two dragons, which was an excellent start. They were very small, two-person models, but quite nice, with bright colors and big, snapping mouths. I suspect that the front half of the red dragon had maybe overdone the cocktail hour, though. The front legs tended to stagger on occasion. They even missed what was supposed to be a spectacular jump up onto a tabletop and then missed again. But the blue dragon was quite satisfactory. Actually, I was very pleased that there were any dragons at all. As it was a party for the Year of the Pig , I was rather dreading that we’d be treated to pantomime pigs.
There was other dancing as well, the most remarkable being done by a very glamorous Indian dance teacher and two of her Taiwanese students. It was a mixture of Indian, hip-hop and stripper, all done to the strains of Shakira and other pop hits.
JP observed mildly: “I don’t find it very….subtle.”
“Well, if they start pole-dancing, I’m out of here.” I anwered.

Soon enough, it was time for “Ping Tsu”. There were several unsteady wooden steps leading up to the stage. I figured there was a pretty high probability of me falling on my face, as I am so unused to wearing even the tiniest of heels on my shoes. So, I paid attention to where my feet were going and concentrated on the fact that Seynabou had to be way more nervous than me. She’s a woman from Senegal that has been taking Chinese lessons for three years and she had agreed to sing the first verse of the song solo. She and I were the first on stage and shared one of the five mics. I was clutching the precious scrap of paper with the lyrics on it. Seynabou had it all down cold, of course. The solo went really well, as did the rest of the song. Nobody messed up the words, fainted or vomited (all possibilities, according to my informal pre-show survey of the performers). The applause was warm if not overwhelming.

There was lots more singing that followed. Particularly memorable were the two Taiwanese men that attempted to entertain the crowd with a duet. One was quite thin and tall and the other short and very round, with his pants pulled up under his armpits, channelling Humpty Dumpty. As they went into their song, it became evident that a few more weeks of rehearsal time would not have come amiss. It was possibly the worst public performance I have ever seen in my life. And I am even including all the events I had to go to when my kids were tiny and the “show” consisted of 20 four year olds standing in the middle of a stage, staring at their teacher who was in the wings gesturing and jumping up and down in what she hoped was an encouraging fashion, trying to indicate that they should dance around like they did in rehearsal the day before, but half the kids were sobbing miserably and spreading panic in the ranks. Not like these two guys were crying. But I sure would have if I were that profoundly untalented and found myself onstage with 300 people expecting me to entertain them.

There was more dancing, some songs by a Burkinabé entertainer and finally, it was time for the big finish. R., the mom of Mallory’s friend, took over the stage waving a huge feather boa. Strains of disco music began and we were treated to an astonishing performance, as R. went on to live her dream: performing her own version of the French 1970’s disco hit “Laissez Moi Danser” by the mega-kitch Dalida. But I don’t think “kitch” is on R.’s French vocab list because she was sincerely living the moment. She had even found several Taiwanese men to be her backup dancers and there was a kind of Madonna “Material Girl” vibe going. She’d dance with one and then push him away and go on to the next, all the while singing….well, we aren’t sure what. JP said “It sort of sounds like French, but it doesn’t mean anything. She’s pretending to sing in French!.” It reminded me of when the twins used to say they could speak like Emily: “Ping ching chang ping! See Mommy? Chinese!” It wouldn’t have been so bad, but it got rather off-key and excrutiating.
IRL I am (mostly) not as mean as I am in this blog. I merely remarked to JP “Well. It’s nice to see a middle-aged woman with such good self esteem”, which I thought was very restrained.
JP barely noticed the music because he was so euphoric over the fact that he actually won something, which he never does. Yes, his number was drawn and he got a prize. It was not, sadly, the new motor scooter or the round-trip ticket to Paris. He got a sports bag. I guess there’s luck and then there’s luck.

Coming soon: The Worst Nature Walk Ever

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