Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Winter Wonder Blast

Last Friday I attended the first annual Winter Wonder Blast, a benefit for MN Special Olympics, held at the Calhoun Beach Club. I had called a friend to ask if he knew any talented, reliable body painters (I'm looking to hire one for my Mar. 18-19 Patrick's Cabaret performance), and it turned out he was organizing the performers for the WWB gala. There would be body painters there, he assured me. Despite the cold I rode my bike across town, a long ride but almost entirely bike path, along Minnehaha Creek and Harriet and Calhoun lakes.

When I talked to Brandt at 1:30, the show was only 60% sold. When I arrived, it was sold out. Luckily, Brandt showed up just after I did, and I slipped in among his entourage of fabulously, elaborately dressed show performers.

Next thing I knew, I was in the performer dressing room, eating their food, drinking their booze, chatting with body painters and hoola-hoopers and fire dancers, among models and cabaret dancers, the latter in various stages of dress. A fun crowd, relaxed, friendly, joyous, open and accepting.

A mildly hedonistic affair, on the whole. A celebration of the body, really. Entirely appropriate, for the cause. There was a runway show, not of clothes but of abs, the gala in part supported by a body-building program/company called Contour. The runway stars had agreed to follow the program for a period of time, before the show, then to be part of this scantily clad runway show, to be voted on and auctioned after. Bidding started at fifty bucks for a date. Few in the room were, or wanted to admit they were single.

A talented duo of brothers and their band, Buckets and Tap Shoes, split the stage between the models and the cabaret dancers. Hoola-hoopers finished it off, before the runway was transformed into stages for three teams of body painters, and their half-naked models. The floor cleared, the dancing commenced, with a DJ and a man on Congo drums.

I wove my may throughout the venue, rarely stopping, a mercurial dancing spirit welling up inside, letting it loose three times, once in the secondary hall, twice in front of the DJ and drums. After the second dance a couple approached me to tell me how great they thought I was, asking if my dancing was therapeutic. I let them know there are few things more healthy than dancing, and if they were at all self-conscious, just learn to allow yourself to close the door to the world, let go and dance. Another woman stopped me to ask if I had thought about teaching a class. It was very loud, and in the mercurial space I was in, I couldn't really hear her, or didn't want to. But indeed, I have been thinking about a class for some time. I hope to hear from her again.

Beautiful women aplenty: models, dancers, and moneyed beach-club culturati. As usual, the guys mostly hung back and watched, though in many I saw the suppressed urge to dance. A Tree of Life seemed to beckon to me, and I thought about taking aim with my bow at the apple atop her head, but I hesitated, settling for the metaphor. I admired the dancing of another, but danced for her and not with her, and vaguely insulted her to drive a wedge between her and my attraction. Hindus call this Aeon the Kali Yuga, an age of degeneracy and degradation, and I have become wary of the destructive aspect of Kali as it manifests in women, in sex and relationships, wary of how it manifests in me as a will to dominate and possess. When it comes to sex, I'm wondering about sex that is based on trust, generosity and love, and an exploration of un-accessed energies, as a flowering extension of consciousness, which I don't know the first thing about. Besides, I was wearing long underwear, and after dancing three times I had begun to stink. I meant to bring another shirt, my best shirt, but it's rare the encounters I have with the cultured class, and I forget to be glamorous, and I don't really care. With a long bike ride ahead, on a winter night, I cut out at about 11pm.

The Spring Equinox approaches. Winter is coming to an end. It has indeed been a long winter-wander through my personal underworld, a long wading-period through humanity's accumulated understanding. I'm still alive. Glad to be here. Thrilled, really. With gratitude and thanks.

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