Friday, May 27, 2011

Mr. Cellophane - Chicago

I never woulda guessed this one would have made it here. Then again, it's not always 2 in the morning, and I'm not always under the affluence of incohol. But for those of you who are dying for those "fly on the wall" moments, Chicago at 2 in the morning provides 'em. (Note, if you will, the time of this blog post.)

Chicago (the town) is my least favorite city of all time, but Chicago (the musical) may just be my favorite musical. Ah, irony. Get me nice and happy (vodka or rum only, please...I like to be at least semi-functional the next morning), pop Chicago in the DVD player, and watch me go to town. Seriously. I will vamp and lip-synch to most of the songs there. In the dark. With no one watching me. I will praise, then kvetch about that funny honey of mine. I will proclaim that when you're good to Mama, Mama's good to you. I will tango with the best and sassiest and angriest of the murderesses in the cellblock. And I will become Roxie Hart, just to say that the name on everybody's lips is gonna be - sing it! - Roxie.

Perhaps more than all other songs, "Mr. Cellophane" catches me at my most vulnerable, and I relate to it more than anything on Chicago. Irony, I know, for someone who has been more visible than about 95% of most Americans. But I have a terrible tendency to fall into self-pity and melancholia. Even more ironic is the fact that I often crave solitude; I don't bemoan it. I'm not quite Greta Garbo, mind you, but I do have my moments, and if given the choice, most times, I'd rather spend a quiet night either alone or with just a select friend or two or three. (Don't get me wrong...I do enjoy a wild night out on the town every once in a while.)

But when you look at Amos, pitiful character that he is, you can't help but feel for him. His wife double-crosses him, becomes pregnant with another man while behind bars, lies to him on the stand, and then abandons him after she's declared innocent. And that's his fate, end of story. Roxie goes on to stardom with her arch-nemesis, and ignores the only guy who offered her unconditional love? Ouch.

I dunno. Something about that abandonment and sorrow just strikes a really deep chord in me, and I'm not sure why. People do like me, for the most part. But I often come off as aloof, which is a shame. I've been blown off in social situations many times, probably no more than most anyone else, but I think I've let this hit me more than most. Still, I'm alternately exhilarated and frightened to death to perform this song on karaoke. It ain't no "Just a Gigolo," that's for sure. Very sobering and soul-baring, which ain't exactly the domain of karaoke. But again, I've emoted enough for a stage in the den of my home, singing and acting along with John C. Reilly. I ain't nowhere near good enough to be Amos on stage, but in my head, I can fully empathize and inhabit his character. Who knows? Maybe some night, I'll screw up the courage, down enough liquid courage, and see what happens on stage. Maybe in DC, where if I screw up, no one of consequence will care, and I can bring it back home all polished up.

(Fun Uncle Spike fact: in 2007, whilst celebrating my birthday, in the safety and comfort of my living room, I downed four appletinis. Maybe five. The last three were spiked with cinnamon schnapps. I totally bonded with Chicago. And spent the next two days recovering. PAAAAIN. To this day, I cannot tolerate appletinis.)

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