FRIENDSHIP, FUN

GETTING THE LED OUT

Though the singer looks like Howard Stern, don’t let that fool you. His voice is Robert Plant.

the outfits were just as fun to watch

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GET YOUR LED OUT


GET YOUR LED OUT

Somehow, when I was in my early marriage days, my husband at the time, his parents, his sister and her boyfriend coordinated a trip to Six Flags in New Jersey. This was before the one opened in Massachusetts and well before our son was a shiny beam of light in our lives so I am going way back here. Early nineties back. The fact that we all went somewhere together was a feat in itself, but that we chose a three day trip to an amusement park is definitely a head scratcher in hindsight. Nonetheless, it was one of the most hilarious and joyful trips I can recall in my young married life.

In the early days of marriages, back then anyway, young couples in my circle didn’t have much money so our vacations had to be a bit creative. Road trips were a little more cost effective, couple this with an amusement park and a discounted Marriot Residence Inn and a mini vacation is what we ended up with. Though I cringe at this combination now, this trip was well before I developed a taste for the higher end places to stay on the road less traveled, ignorance was indeed bliss.

Six Flags Amusement Park back in the early nineties was a really fun way to get out some stress. I didn’t realize any of this at the time as the six of us entered the park ready for the new Spiderman ride that had just opened. Dave and I got on this web of a roller coaster that turned us literally upside down on our heads as it twisted and turned for what seemed like an hour, but was probably more like ten seconds. Up, down, back and forth at a speed that took our breath away, the screams began on the first incline and never stopped. I screamed my guts out along with every other person on that insane ride. Then when the ride came to a screeching halt, we got off and stood in line again and did it all over again.

We went on every single roller coaster ride for the next two days together, we got Dave’s parents on a few and laughed so hard we almost peed our pants. We screamed and laughed some more and I can remember thinking how lucky I was to have landed in a family who would even consider traveling to an amusement park for a weekend. It was a memorable and happy three days and the amount of screaming and yelling on each ride was better than any therapy session I would find myself in my later years.

Getting the literal led out was what I did two nights ago at the Get the Led Out Led Zeppelin Tribute band concert I attended with two friends, one who is as big of a Led Zep fan as me. THE GREATEST ROCKBAND OF ALL TIME, was what I would drill into my son’s head and all of his friends when they were eight or nine who found themselves in my mini COOPER convertible rocking out. We arrived standing out like shiny white light in my friend’s white Mercedes SUV, my two friends looking like they were attending a tennis match more than a rock concert.

As we looked for a parking spot in the already packed venue surrounding the concert stage, I quickly realized that we weren’t in Kansas anymore. I mean we were never in Kansas to begin with, but attending a concert in the Indian River Campground in Webster, Mass was an experience you just can’t make up. On a river, Indian River to be precise, surrounded by camp areas with names like Conway Twitty and Gran Ole Opry packed with full on campsites each one set up to outdo the next one was a flash from my past that made me giddy. Dave and I used to go camping all over New England way before the term Glamping became a vocabulary word. I was one of these campsites and could totally relate to the whole super fun experience.

People were drinking, riding around in golf carts, the preferred form of transportation at seasonal campgrounds, smoking cigarettes like it was the 1970s and sporting Led Zeppelin T shirts as they proudly air guitared among each other. Smoke was everywhere as the lights from the stage with the river and the Indian River Princess Cruiseship as its backdrop showed the vapors. I looked at my friend amazed at the amount of blatant pot smoking everywhere when I realized, oh yeah, we are in Massachusetts, POT SMOKING IS LEGAL now! Everyone there looked and acted (me included) like they just stepped out of my high school yearbook except thirty-five years later. Throaty voiced women talking about yesteryear with their scraggly hair husbands hanging on to their hair of the past for dear life. AND IT WAS A BLAST.

I got to time travel Friday night with two of my dearest friends tailgating with bio dynamic wine (sorry I do have my standards) in the back of a white Mercedes eating Italian grinders and chips from Ricottis and screaming, singing and fist pumping my guts out. I danced and jumped and pumped and whoooo hooooed all night because I know the words to almost every single Led Zeppelin song. I was brought back to my life in high school like I was placed in a time machine. Back to the Future and for three hours it was just like I was on that roller coaster.

One thing I have learned from the wisdom of this past three years is to say YES to fun. To live in the parties, the gatherings and the playfulness of invites that come my way. Attending a Led Zeppelin tribute band who sounded just like Led Zeppelin on a Friday night was a non stop partying and gloriously happy evening. And yes we are going again. August 17th, Plymouth Mass if anyone out there cares to say yes to their own dormant selves. I got my led out and can’t wait to get it out again.





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ROOMFUL OF HOTFLASHES

ROOMFUL OF HOTFLASHES

Walking into PPAC also known as the Providence Performing Arts Center in Providence, RI Wednesday night was like being planted in the middle of an estrogen bath. Lots of fanning and removing layers in the confines of the beauty called PPAC. The night before was the same, as I attended the French Film Festival at Salve Regina College, lots of women hanging in each other’s company, not many men in sight and perpetual temperature adjustments as I observed the females out for the evening.

I am aware that this sounds like I jaunt from one cultural experience to the next, but it just so happened that these things become available in clusters and I jump at the chance when the mood strikes. The mood doesn’t always strike. I take that back, the mood always strikes, but the sizzling fireplace on a warm night with a video or a great book usually proves to override all notions of the step out the door on a cold night to attend a lecture or a play. The other factor is that it seems all cultural experiences start at 7:00pm or later and for the most part, I am an hour away shy of my bedtime. So to actually buy the tickets and make the commitment is a big step for this winter hibernator. Clearly I am a morning person. When I roll over in the morning and see light out my window, I consider this a sleep in. I like the morning time, but ‘early to rise’ comes with the bookend of the other half of ‘early to bed.’ This is why I am so comfortable with an almost seventy one year old boyfriend, his vibrant circadian internal rhythm is on the same morning schedule as mine and it takes a lot for both of us to be anywhere after 7:00pm.

As I walked into the glamorous PPAC that is right in my backyard attending Beautiful, the musical tribute to the brilliance of Carole King’s story, I was transported into a female tribal force. Sure there were a few sprinkles of testosterone, but I would venture to guess ninety five percent were women hear me roar. The men who had the courage to stand proud along with their ladies looked a little sheepish, but they marched forth into the menopausal pool and prevailed through the claps and ‘mmm..mmmms’ every time Carole stood up to the first love of her life, Gerry Goffin.

Carole’s rise to stardom, at least in the portrayal of her in this lovely evening out with my superchick friend, Jane, was a story most of the fifty to seventy year young women in the audience could identify with. Deep inner talent blurred by a deep attachment to young love, pregnant before marriage, married in her prime and having the life sucked out of her because she thought she needed this love to validate her somehow. How far have we come as a collection of estrogen, I thought. Not sure because Tapestry, perhaps the greatest female album of all time in my generation came out in 1971 so it was also my young mother’s generation, (19 years only my senior) more likely. The heartsick and heart opening songs on Tapestry were foreshadowing for Adele’s famous vocals on her own two rocking breakthrough and breakup albums, 19 and 21 forty years later! Yes I just said forty. It seems that many of these famous albums (as they used to be called) created by women are usually about heartbreak over their men and the immense heart opening that happens after. This type of death can be like this- grief’s entrance into our hearts and its ultimate importance for our soul’s creativity all unbeknownst to us in the throws of its seeming strangulation at the time. Breaking up can be hard to do, but the lessons and lioness energy it creates has a potency like nothing else. As painful as grief can be, the most creative spirits birthed belong to an infinite list that is both famous and every day regular.

As I listened to the familiar music sung by the actors playing The Shirelles and The Drifters, Little Eva and group after group before Carole actually realized she had her own voice, I was transported into my mother’s pale yellow Triumph convertible on our way to Third Beach when I was about six. I have no idea where my brother was, with a babysitter, in the back of the Triumph? No idea and I suppose that in itself has its own story for a later time. Music does this, it captures unique times in our lives and time machine travels us to other periods like almost bringing up the actual smells in the car and of course the sounds on the radio (or eight track for those who really know the era I am talking of).

The hormone fest that was last night was written in every eye contact I had as we unobtrusively took a look at each other through our windows of yesteryear to try to understand the main question, How did we get here? I actually dressed up, meaning I dropped the daily yoga pants that have become my go to attire (yes go ahead cringe, I don’t give a shit, comfort is my soulmate). I instead donned a pair of kickin jeans and a nice wedge shoe, jewelry and hold on to your seats- makeup. So fun to dress up like a girl, in my perpetual casual state I live in, I forget how much a good excuse to get dressed up feels.

What I noticed last night in the glory of I FEEL THE EARTH MOVE and SO FAR AWAY is the nodding and memory that jolted us as a collective unit back to somewhere. It seemed that somewhere was a good place from all the smiles that were beaming everywhere except for the irresponsible woman sitting directly behind us coughing and hacking. I swear in this crazy flu world we live in, why does anyone go out in the midst of a crowd in a confined space and announce midway through the show that she had the chills and a fever, but she didn’t want to back out of the night out with her friends. I swear, Jane and I almost went a little Mean Girls on her, but we held our tongue praying that her germs weren’t sprinkling all over us like fairy dust. Sometimes I think sickness is half psychological as we both started immediately feeling like we were getting sore throats. Besides that annoyance, our evening was a happy one. Watching my peeps walking around in their dress up clothes at the theatre with each other completely identifying with the era of the music and all of its messy and glorious layers made the whole evening extra special. I forget how much I enjoy spending time in venues like this with other women. Carole King music as the excuse was certainly a nice way to end February and start the climb to my birthday smack in the March’s center. Fifty three and I couldn’t be happier that Carole is part of my personal history, she not only opened up her own doors, but she surely has been a perennial influence on mine.