Good afternoon. It is I Gigi the parti poodle here once again to introduce the eighteenth chapter of Corn Maze. This has been a peculiar week for me as I have had a most terrible bout of writer’s block. I spent most of the week pounding my tiny little brain trying to come up with ideas. I lay on my pillow by the window staring at the ceiling desperate for the words to come. Finally, the Maltese came over and gave me a sandwich cookie. Or maybe I stole it from him. Regardless, this was most helpful. One can never underestimate the power of a sandwich cookie. But even after consuming it I struggled. I found myself sipping Aquadent at the most inopportune times. I watched hours of inane videos on YouTube. I even read an article about someone who once forced a radio manager to play “The Rainbow Connection” by Paul Williams repeatedly so people would understand him. I sobbed uncontrollably. But in the end, I kept writing because that is what poodles do. They persevere. And from that perseverance I bring you chapter eighteen of Corn Maze.
Gigi the parti poodle
Mallory drove Farley’s truck while Farley ordered the movie tickets on his phone. They arrived at the large spacious parking lot at a mall which was once thriving and now exuded eerie emptiness.
“I haven’t been here in five years,” Farley said.
“You haven’t been to the mall in five years?” Mallory said.
“Nope. Valerie comes here sometimes and sees a movie.”
“How come you don’t go with her?”
“Let’s go get our tickets.”
“What’s this movie about anyway?”
“It’s a comedy about a young math professor struggling to get his tenure at a university. He quits teaching to become a financial mathematician on Wall Street and ends up working for a clinically depressed psychopathic hedge fund manager who’s battling sex addiction.”
“Huh. Interesting. Well, let’s go see it.”
Harley and Mallory disembarked the truck and headed into the theatre. They got their tickets from the kiosk and brought them to the teenage usher.
“Good choice,” the usher said.
“Oh, yeah?” Farley said.
“Yeah, it’s really funny,” the usher said winking at Farley. “Theatre six.”
Farley and Mallory headed down the red carpet with the woven black and white feather design to the viewing room marked 6 and headed inside. It was one of those upgraded theaters with large plush chairs like Barcaloungers. They walked up the aisle to their assigned seats. More patrons started rolling in and slipped into their seats as well.
“You know what my favorite part of going to movies is?” Farley asked adjusting his motorized chair to a semi reclined position.
“What?” Mallory replied.
“You could just watch those online.”
“Sure. But it wouldn’t be nearly as fun as seeing them in a theatre.”
“If you say so.”
“What’s the most interesting date Harley has ever taken you on?”
Mallory thought about this. “One time he took me to a hypnotist show. The guy called a bunch of people on stage and had to send some back to their seats that didn’t work out for his act.”
“Did you get up on stage?”
“Actually, I tried to get Harley on stage, but he wouldn’t do it.”
“Did you go onstage?”
“Yeah, I did. But part way through he tapped me on the shoulder, and I had to return to my seat. I guess I wasn’t what the hypnotist was looking for. But it was a fascinating show just the same. People do strange things when they get hypnotized.”
The theater went dark, and the projector started to roll. It played the first preview halfway through then stopped. After a moment it started again and finished playing the preview. Then it started the second preview and stopped midway again.
“What’s going on with their projector?” Mallory asked. “Is the hard drive not working?”
Farley shrugged. “It’s probably just a glitch. They’ll fix it.”
Just then the back door opened, the lights came on, and an usher walked up to the front. “I’m sorry,” the usher told the audience. “But we are having technical difficulties with our equipment.”
“Is this for real?” Mallory said to Farley.
Mallory stood up. “Are we going to get our money back for this?” she asked the usher.
“No,” the usher said.
“Because the show hasn’t begun.”
“But you just said you were having difficulties with your equipment.”
“That doesn’t mean we can’t put on a show.”
“What do you mean that doesn’t mean you can’t put on a show?”
Just then a heavy rock and roll drumbeat began playing over the sound system. The usher turned around and started shaking his ass in time with the beat. One of the female patrons shot up and started screaming.
“What is going on?” Mallory turned and asked Farley.
Farley smiled and shrugged as the female patron ran towards the usher. She turned around and started shaking her ass in time with the beat. Another female patron also screamed and ran up to the front to join them. The back door flew open, and ushers dressed in punked out leather started dancing towards the front of the theatre as the song “Mony, Mony” by Billy Idol kicked in. Movie goes jumped out of their seats, some ripping off their shirts and started dancing down the aisles in perfect sync with the music clapping to the beat as they filed out into the aisles creating a flash mob.
“Watch this,” Farley said to Mallory.
He jumped out into the aisle, curled his lip at Mallory and strutted towards the front of the theatre pumping his fist in the air as he went. When he reached the rest of the crowd in front of the screen, he jumped up onstage, turned to face Mallory, took off his blazer and whirled it around in the air. Then he, the usher, and the rest of the dancers lined up and began boot scooting to the song. This broke out into a couple of brief moves borrowed from Madonna videos and Saturday Night Fever.
Some of the crowd ran into the aisles and began shimmying around followed by pelvic gyrations. Suddenly, Farley strutted to the front of the line and ripped his shirt off, sending buttons flying everywhere, clacking and pinging wherever they hit leaving him in a black tank top and bare sunburned shoulders.
Unable to contain herself, Mallory slapped her hands on her cheeks and screamed.
Farley and his crew, borrowing dance moves from well-choreographed jazz dance and Napoleon Dynamite broke out into stunning turns and twists. He grabbed the hand of one of the female ushers and did a few quick swing dance moves before returning quickly to another round of line dancing.
Farley did a cartwheel off the stage, ran to the back of the theatre, ran up the wall, turned around, ran back up on stage where he and the other dancers threw their arms around each other’s backs and did a line of kicks before all the dancers collapsed to the ground except Farley who stood with his fist straight up in the air.
You can check out my books Chicane and the five installments in my Musicology book series Musicology: Volume One, Baby!, Musicology: Volume Two, Kid!, Musicology: Volume Three, Twist!, Musicology: Volume Four, Sweetie! and Musicology: The Epiquad on Amazon in Kindle and Paperback editions. You can also check out Musicology’s web site at www.musicologyrocks.com and vote for who you think will win Musicology!!!
STREAM OF THE WEEK: ELVIS (2022)-HBO Max
This week’s film is a dazzling whirlwind full throttle take on the life of legendary singer and musician Elvis Presley. Baz Luhrmann who has a propensity for reimagination outdoes himself here with a truly unique and entertaining story. But the real powerhouse of this film is the undeniably brilliant, Oscar-worthy breakout performance by Austin Butler in the title role. Five actors were in the running for the part of Elvis, likely because Nicholas Cage and Bruce Campbell have gotten a little too old for the part. These actors were Ansel Elgort, Harry Styles, Miles Teller, Aaron Taylor-Johnson and of course Austin Butler. They made the right choice.
The film is told through the eyes of Elvis’s sleazy money-grubbing con-artist Dutch born promoter Colonel Tom Parker (Tom Hanks in an excellent performance) who sees himself as a “snowman” or rather a grifter and finds the ultimate circus act in a young and impressionable Elvis Presley (Austin Butler). Parker’s real name was Andreas Cornelis van Kuijk who illegally immigrated to the United States. Much of the tension in the movie is between Elvis and Parker and Elvis’s attempts to escape the clutches of Parker’s financial stronghold. Parker’s gambling addiction and increasing inability to read an audience also play heavily into the story as does Elvis’s keen instinct as a performer and his disastrous addiction to drugs in which Parker’s influence plays a strong part.
The film plays a lot like a very well-crafted music video but does not shy away from its quiet moments which work to fuel the film’s technicolor ones. Butler is effective in all factions. He also sings and plays guitar in the film and to say he is dynamic in Elvis’s on-stage moments is an understatement. His performance alone is a must see and one of the best of the year or any year for that matter.