Happy Wackin’ Jim McCrackin’

What do you think you’re doing this Saturday?

Wrong.  You’re going to Happy Wackin’ Jim McCrackin

A sword and a briefcase? Now you know you're interested.

 It’s at the John Dutton Theatre in the Calgary Public Library, at 8 pm.  Tickets are $15, $10 for CPL members, and you can preorder at www.pumphousetheatre.ca.  So, why are you going?

Well, it’s awesome.  If I can see through the vodka fueled haze, back to the halcyon days when the comedic playwright genius Amos Altman was reading me snippets of the play in the bohemian apartment we shared over a bakery in Nazi Occupied France, struggling to protect refugees as part of the resistance, well, it’s brilliant.  Is is possible I’m misremembering some of it, but I know the play is funny, even if Cliff insisted on removing all the best/gayest parts.

It’s a story of mistaken identity and a hitman, and Accidental Humour does amazing stuff where they use multi-media to enhance the show.  It’ll flip seamlessly between pre-recorded segments and live action, so it’s like a play and a movie.  It’s exciting, and intense, and hilarious, and other words that generate excitement and make you realize you really want to see this show.

If you think you can’t get there, shut up.  There’s busses.  All busses lead to the Calgary library.  And I’m not just talking about Calgarians.  You can take a bus from Edmonton or Lethbridge, or (shudder) even Red Deer, and then from the Grey Hound station it’s easy to get to the library.  Come on, no one’s getting a head chopped off over this.

And here’s why you should put in the effort.

I shouldn't have to put pictures like this on my computer.

Even if you’ve never watched Jersey Shore, you probably know who the Situation is.  If not … it’s that guy, obviously.  See, too much of our money is going to him.  Jersey Shore makes more than Greece each year.  As consumers, the people who make entertainment only listen to your money.  So you need to take your fifteen dollars, pull yourself away from the TV and come see this play.

Some of you are thinking, “What’s the harm?  It’s just one guy, and he has a sort of charm, like if you mixed John Travolta from Grease with Lenny from of Mice and Men.  It can be fun to watch Jersey Shore with ironic hipster detachment, and we can control it.  There’s only one.”

Well, friends, step into The Wayback Machine, to a year 2001, when a band showed up.  Sure, they were rather repetitive, and derivative, but they weren’t hurting anyone.  People liked their music, and they sold a gillion dollars in CDs. 

CDs are a prehistoric medium for storing music, before iPods.  You bought them with money, because pirating was hard back then.

We all thought “It’s just one band” and we were smart.  Too smart for our own good.  We had Napster, so we didn’t pay for our music.  So everyone thought that only this band was awesome, because they got all the money.  That band was…

...and they're calling from inside your house!

So basically, if you don’t go to this show, we’re going to end up with Theory of a Situation, Situationseeether, and a flood of Situation clones.  So stop it, before it’s too much, and go watch this instead.

Otherwise, it’ll be your fault.  We’ll be running around in a post-apocolyptic douchebag wasteland, fighting for gas, Mad Max style, because you were too lazy or cheap to go see a great play.

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Leonard’s Visit

 

Leonard was coming back to Calgary from Art School for a week, which meant I was going to be at either the Ship and Anchor or the Distillery.  The Distillery has changed a lot lately, and in some ways, no matter how many new things she tries, Leonard is still a robot of habit in the deepest steel chambers of her mechanical heart.  She can’t handle seeing how some things have changed, and she wanted the familiar, so we were at the Ship.

We went on Friday.  If you don’t know, the Ship and Anchor is a bit of a punk pub, at least originally, but it’s slowly showing a hipster influence.  There’s a row of fake books on a shelf near the ceiling.  Antique-looking paintings and artefacts adorn the walls, interspersed with FIFA soccer pennants.  Each table had its own crowd, with no coherent group dominating the bar.  A couple of old guys spoke emphatically near a group of bookish girls too afraid to yell to be heard over the bar noise.  A pair of overly attractive people tried to decide if they wanted to make out at 8 pm in a pub, mostly through trail and error.

I got there to find Kodie, Leonard, B1 and A2.  I hadn’t eaten, so I ordered food.  For the rest of the night, one person at our table was always eating.  Either someone new would show up and order food, or someone who had been there for a while needed an appy.

I was sitting by A2.  He was ordering a different beer with each round and showing off his iPhone.

Tall showed up a bit later, followed by R1 and A3, friends of Leonard.  It freaks her out to see people she knows from different places together, especially if they get along.  She especially hates it if they start doing things without her.  She calls it “hanging out behind her back.”  I believe it’s because robots are always plotting against humans, so she assumes it goes the other way.  She knows it’s crazy, and she’s mostly gotten over it, but at times it bugs her.

So I probably shouldn’t have been hitting on A3.  Since the last time I’d seen her, she’d gotten a rather significant haircut, and was adorable with her short hair.  I was trying to be subtle, so as not to upset Leonard until there was reason for her to be truly angry at me.  On top of that, it was a loud bar, and everyone kept switching places around the table, so A3 and I didn’t get much of a chance to talk.  I doubt she noticed.  She also didn’t get my full attention, and I wasn’t willing to push to hard, so she was able to escape my considerable charm.

This time…

When Shawn showed up, our waitress changed.  The new girl was gorgeous, and completely inattentive.  You had to yell at her to stop her to order a drink.  We soon decided it was time to move the party, and Kodie and Shawn suggested the Elbow River Casino.  Tall, A3, B1 and R2 were out, but the rest of us decided to go. 

I’ve only ever been to the casino in Lethbridge.  It’s a newish building on the highway out of town.  I used to go with Txt Girl and her friends, because she loved to gamble.  I’d spend $20 on ten games of blackjack, then just hang out, because I value my money.  The Lethbridge Casino was fun every time.

Elbow River Casino was different.  It was smaller, darker, and mostly row upon row of heartless slot machines. 

Pictured: Uncivilized Gambling

 I don’t like playing the slots because they’re too much like video games.  The bright lights and sounds confuse me into thinking I’m having more fun than I am, and I forget every button I press costs me money.  I feel like my Nintendo cheated me as a child, so I know those machines that are literally after my money will for sure.  I just don’t like the disconnect I get from something too much like my Xbox 360.

So I walked by and got a drink.  Then I checked out the Blackjack.

There were no $2 tables.

The lowest on the floor were $5 minimum bet.

When the fuck did that happen?  I want 10 games for my $20.  Now, the most I’m guaranteed is 4 games.  4 fucking games.  Less than half.  I sighed, and sat down by A2.  I managed to last for 8 games without going over my $20 limit.  I was frustrated when the last of my money left so I went to find Kodie.

He was at a slot machine, and I was not sober enough to make good decisions.  In 3 minutes, the evil little robot ate $20 more.  I asked Kodie how he managed to keep the machine going.  He shrugged a timid shrug that suggested he’d spent more than he should have.

Shawn and I found the cheapest slots in the place, and I lost another $10 before I gave up.  It was home time, and I was down $50.

Do all Casino’s suck this much?  Am I remembering things wrong?

Or is the Elbow River Casino where hope goes to die?