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Our First Psychic Column

Plus, Rent pays off

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Ah, Independence Day. The rockets' red glare, the bombs bursting in air. Unfortunately, it's also a time for early deadlines for weekly newspapers, meaning that I'm struggling for things to write about for this issue. How do you cover the whole Independence Day experience when the column's due on Friday, July 2? This calls for special measures.

But we'll get to that later. First, another bit about Michael Moore. Our Dear Leader, High Lord of the Liberal Newspaper Conspiracy, insisted we write at least one more bit about his record-breaking film, Fahrenheit 9/11. And who are we to turn Him down?

Lucky for me, (hell hath no fury like Michael Moore scorned), The Evening Muse hosted an event last Monday called Turn Up the Heat, Charlotte!. Organized in part by MoveOn.org to bring people together for political action, the event also featured a conference call with none other than. . . Michael Moore.

On this evening, the Muse registered perhaps the biggest crowd in their history, with some 184 participants signed up ahead of time. (Others like me simply walked up, feigned ignorance, cursed Bush a little bit to fit in, and were promptly admitted.)

Thanks to volunteers, there were plenty of red-hot chicken wings and other snacks to munch on. It was a fitting repast -- if people forgot just how much Bush burns their ass after leaving, the chicken wings were sure to remind them later.

Muse owner Joe Kuhlmann was the moderator, engaging the crowd in a thoughtful Q&A before Moore's Charlie's Angels-like speakerphone appearance. Many good ideas were tossed about, not all of them liberal in their leaning. "Why not," Kuhlmann asked, "make voting day a holiday?"

"If it were a holiday," Kuhlmann mused, "then it could become a tradition. People could have celebrations and cookouts. You'd be shamed into voting, at the very least."

I'm with him. A day set aside solely to celebrate our (small d) democratic process would be just as patriotic as Independence Day, if not more. Celebrating the day of our independence is one thing. Celebrating the continuing idea of our independence is even more important.

Last Tuesday, I saw the traveling edition of the musical Rent at the Belk Theatre. Heretofore, the play was mostly on my radar as such: won the Pulitzer, was less offensive than Cats, and features a bunch of kids with ripped up J. Crew chinos hopping around all beautiful-like.

A note: I've always hated musicals, for the most part. Except for the big dance numbers, it's usually just people running around and doing their regular dialogue in a sing-song voice that resembles the kind of off-center warble R. Kelly uses. "Hellooo, John, how are youuuuu? Want to go get some coffeeeeeee?" "Sure...pick me up around eightttttt?"

Imagine my surprise, then, when I pretty much stayed in tractor-beam brain freeze the whole time, riveted to the story of some NYC street kids fighting their landowner friend, the ravages of HIV, rampant drug use, and their own self-defeating mindsets. That's when it dawned on me: It's not the musical form I hate, it's crappy story lines!

Granted, I'm one of those people who doesn't normally go to many plays, seeing as that I'm usually too behind on my own rent to go see a play about a bunch of kids that can't pay theirs. This one's worth it, however. My own landlord can wait another day.

"Davis, why's the rent late?" "That's a good questionnnnnn...I swear I'll pay it soooon..."

After consulting two online Tarot sites, an online fortune teller, and a virtual tea-leaf reader, I'm here to tell you none of them were able to respond to my question of just what will happen in Charlotte on the Fourth of July. One told me I was a resurrected Visigoth, and another kept responding with "truth, vibrancy, energy." (Some things, it seems, don't translate well online. Fortune telling is one of them. Evidently, you can't cheat and connive by reading people's body language and such in the virtual world.)

In the end, I checked out my CL horoscope by Vivian Carol. It reads: "Although you may feel restless as a tiger, you are stymied from significant activity for a variety of reasons. This period won't continue long, so have faith that time will bring better aspects. Your energy level may be low right now."

Finally, some truth! For my part, I predict fireworks galore, plentiful backyard BBQs, and copious beer drinking citywide. Hope I was right, everybody.

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