Saturday, May 9, 2009

back alley antics

the time was summer. the year was 2006. the city, saskatoon. i was a stupid little farm girl, new to the big city. i didn't know yet that when someone invites you into a back alley for the best time of your life, that you should politely decline while running, screaming, in the other direction. i know, that sounds like something bad happened. nothing bad happened.
it was only very very wierd.
me and a friend were walking down broadway one day, when we found a homemade flyer printed on a page of letter-sized foolscap. it read:
COME TO THE BACK ALLEY BEHIND BROADWAY FOR THE BEST TIME OF YOUR LIFE!!!
it had a date and a time. i was intrigued. my friend, too, was intrigued. we showed a third friend the poster, and she was sketched, but also intrigued.
we asked some guy friends to come along to protect us if anything went wrong, but they declined. they were not intrigued. they said, "it's gonna be a bunch of teenagers doing drugs. you shouldn't go."
but we were intrigued.
we went.
we waited.
half an hour went by...then another half hour...then a wierd looking lady with a megaphone showed up. then a crowd of people slowly gathered. all kinds of people. hippy people, teenagers who were obviously expecting to be doing drugs, tall, willowy ladies with short boy haircuts. when i say "all kinds of people", i really mean "all kinds of wierd, artsy people." there were no suits, no preppy boys. lots of dredlocks. and me, shlee, and erinn.
the lady didn't really explain what was going on, she just made sure everyone was ready to go and led us down the back alley.
kids, this is a bad idea, to follow a group of hippies down a back alley.


but we did anyways.
this is the first thing we saw:

yes, it's exactly what it looks like. two ladies jumping on a wall. then they danced, for what seemed like forever, in silence.
the hippies loved it. they clapped and applauded and cheered.
ok.
so our tour guide led us on. and we saw this:

this lady had a lot of armpit hair, and a poem to share with us:
"i am a ssssssssssssnake. i am a ssssssssssnake. i am like the sssssssssssssun. i am a flowwwer. i am SHOCKING! i am quiet. " etc etc etc.
oh, the audience was LOVING it.
i didn't, very much.
but the next corner we came to... there was this lady...lying on an air mattress...covered in lettuce.


she wanted to tell us a poem too, but i can't repeat what she said. this is the part where i began to feel like i might be dreaming, or trapped in a poorly made indie film.
i ventured away from the group a bit. the salad lady was creepin me out. a tall lady with boy hair approached me. she said i was beautiful and had nice legs and asked if she could paint me.
i wanted to go home. but then we came to the french chicken lady. oh, i liked the chicken lady. she was telling a story about the war, and about her son, and the sun, and maybe something about love, too, and as she did she took pieces of a chicken costume out of the boxes she was sitting on. she proceeded to put them on, one by one. then she sang "frere jaques" into the megaphone.
ooh, look! there's me! i'm the one with the white tank top, standing in the crowd, just loving the chicken lady.

that's the chicken lady, still singin her song as we walk away.

the night went on
and on

and on.
and finally, i had had enough. i left.
when i got home, my head was full of art. but really wierd art, though. the art, images of chickens and puppets and ballerinas and snakes as quiet as the sun, was sloshing around and building up behind my ears. i felt like i might explode, and out of me would just come a lot of wierd things.
i saw the evening on the cbc tv a few weeks later. critics raved about it.
raved.

5 comments:

Jen said...

Seriously?! I'm telling you, you get these experiences b/c you write about them so well!! That would never happen to me! i love your life.

courtbourt said...

how eccentric. you lead a very fascinating life, suzy. can i paint you? you're so snaky.

Mrs. Wilson said...

that lady covered in lettuce looks ... weird.

I love how you write.

MONJ said...

Made me want a lettace wrap.

Nova said...

Don't you know you should never go with a hippie to a second location?