Monday, September 18, 2006

get it while you can...

You never know how much you'll miss someone until you realize that they died 37 years ago. Our friends Tom and his gorgeous wife Yoshiko took dad and me to Love, Janis, a musical about the life of Janis Joplin at the Marines Memorial Theater. I've always loved Janis, picking up her Greatest Hits CD in college and belting "Piece of My Heart" in my car driving back and forth to Jesse's house. So I was delighted to accept Tom’s offer of a Sunday matinee and we settled into our fabulous seats directly behind an old, hippie couple on ecstasy. Literally. They had to be on something, because I’m pretty sure they were having a Woodstock LSD flashback, weaving their arms and fingers in the air and screaming at “Janis” like she’s come back to life just for them, and not only that, she’s remember them from that time in 1968 when they did smack in an filthy San Francisco alley together.
It was an interesting contrast watching the two hippies that time forgot sitting/dancing directly in front of my father, who was, in turn, sitting completely still in his Facionable and reminiscing about the time he was in charge of the Democratic Headquarters at the corner of Haight and Ashbury and some “radicals” tried to give them some trouble. At intermission, when dad told me this story, I found it remarkable that he’d been at the center of the hippie hangout in the middle of the hippie heyday and stood around in khakis working for the betterment of mass transit and calling people “radicals.”
Somewhere in that second act, I fell in love with Janis. And sometime during “Little Girl Blue”, I lost it and couldn’t stop crying. I was terrified someone would notice the stiff in the headscarf in the fourth row sobbing in reaction to four decade old news, but when the lights went up and the curtain closed, dear old pa and his khaki pants were the only ones not wiping their eyes.
If you go, and you should, you HAVE to see Mary Bridget Davies, who played the “singing Janis” at yesterday’s show. Janis is played by several women who share the two roles, one who sings and the other who talks. And this chick is incredible. Flawless. Ridiculously talented. I couldn’t figure out what she was doing in the Marines Memorial Theater working some Sunday matinee within spitting distance of boring, old me.
I was a complete emotional wreck after the show, devastated that Janis died alone in a hotel room when she was a year younger than I am right now. Sometimes the most incredible, amazing, one in a million people are the most self destructive. It’s almost overwhelming. Janis just breaks my heart wide open. But I guess that’s the point…

*Don't worry. I'll be back with something less schmaltzy later, as I'm on my way to Jury Duty, and you know that place is a freak show...

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

Oh Bethy. You always love the troubled souls who are self destructive and crash and burn and I've never been able to figure out why.

Spots said...

I like big weather, big drinks and big personalities. All of those things can either rock your world or kill you. I figure it's worth the risk...