The Creepiest, Most Disturbing, Scariest Show I've Ever Seen
2015-05-31, 3:50 p.m.
Well. Today was a weird day after the fun of yesterday.
I woke up way too early in the morning, having had a HORRIBLE dream. I won't go into details, but it was an incredibly depressing dream about someone that I used to know who ditched me, and in the dream they came back and ditched me AGAIN after I got my hopes up--except this time they dumped me in a lovely note instead of just say, stopping answering the phone when I called. So I woke up feeling wretched, and still tired except if I went back to sleep I'd just dream about that again, and it made me feel awful. Goddamn, I hate dreams in general but especially ones like that.
I was pretty exhausted, between waking up too early and probably yesterday's crazy busy runaround, so I vegged on the couch watching Portlandia (good idea) and Outlander (ah, perhaps not). Eventually I dragged my ass off the couch to go to a show.
This is the show that I went to. I thought it sounded interesting. It covers magic! There's card tricks! There's a band! There are actual slides of NSA documents talking about using magic and deception! (Holy shit, really?!) The author is into art and activism! (And of course he is apparently from Berzerkley.) The devil is in it! It sounded like a lot of stuff I'd find interesting!
I kept trying to find a theater review of the show anywhere ahead of my going and couldn't find one....in retrospect, perhaps there is a reason for that.
Well. I have to say that that was the creepiest, most disturbing, scariest show I have ever seen. I don't like horror movies too much and I've had a more fun time watching horror movies and felt less fear than I did during this one. I wouldn't say it was bad, but my heart was pumping throughout the show and I was seriously pondering just walking out except there were not a whole lot of people there on a Sunday matinee and THEY WOULD HAVE NOTICED and there wasn't an intermission to help me out with that..
Because the house lights were up a lot and this show had THE most audience participation I have ever seen. Except the longer it went on, the more effing terrified I was that they'd call me onto the stage. I'm not normally too wigged at this idea (see: going to improv class), but the stuff they were doing was just creepier and creepier. They also assure you multiple times that there are no plants in the audience, everyone being called out is having this happen to them for the first time.
The premise of the show is that a stage magician is doing card tricks and having an audience member up for that (that wasn't too bad on the audience member), and then Lucifer shows up offering him a deal: want fame? Next thing the magician knows, he's being offered a job at the NSA. The second-ish section of the show is the NSA giving a presentation showing the actual, non-doctored slides about how the NSA wants to be, no joke on the name, "cyber magicians." They are talking about using the tricks of the magical trade, psychology, etc. to fuck with the heads of the entire nation, as well as literally tracking every single bit of their data ever ever ever no matter what, and your entire life will be used against you at any point in time. Real magicians have worked for the government before (Houdin, for example), and our magician in the show. And then they start pulling people from the audience to prove these fun things. Oh yeah, and the devil is running around in the audience moving seats and yelling periodically.
For example: in your program they give you a pencil and a card and you are told to write down four numbers on one side and some secret on the other. Then they go around collecting them and drawing a card at random to share the secret. I wrote something fairly innocuous like "I have doubts in life and now I am watching this show which is making me wonder," but even then I was still hoping they didn't call me. They called out, "I slept with my TA to get a passing grade and he still failed me" (burn!), which was so juicy that I seriously wondered if THAT was a plant because really, that's the first one you pull out without pre-sorting? Anyway, then they immediately get to FIGURING OUT WHO THIS WAS. Let's statistically rule out anyone who's not a local, who isn't female, and is over 26. All you girls stand up! Okay, we've decided it's either you in tie-dye (no, not me, though I was wearing tie-dye and seriously kept wishing I'd worn a duller outfit--though frankly, dull outfits meant nothing and they kept calling people out) or you in the red flannel. Stay standing! One of them got made to say something about a missing eraser and the other got forced to do "bend and snap" from Legally Blonde (which she hadn't seen), and then both of them were told, "It wasn't you, sit down!"
Hoo boy, was that an uncomfortable moment. And they went on. Hey, let's draw the raffle winners! I thanked myself for being all "fuck the raffle, I don't win those anyway and fuck taking the time to hand out my personal info for those" and not bothering to do it on the way in--and there looked like there were very few people who had entered. They drew four names and gave them all flash drives, but one of them had a "red" flash drive for some reason. After this presentation in which they tell you how your phone and all computers are constantly stalking you and squealing on you to the NSA like it's Russia, do you WANT A flash drive from strangers? No, you do not. Especially when they were all, "We could have given you a virus on those" or something else awful. They all got told to write down a country they wanted to go to and then the people on stage were all, "We're checking online to see if you've ever mentioned these places before. Well, no, but we can figure out that you said Greece, and you said Russia" (I forget the other one.) As for the "lucky" one with the red flash drive, not only did they guess that she said "Clairmont" (whatever that is), they somehow got her Facebook page to say that four hours ago, she announced that she'd get the red flash drive and would say "Clairmont."
It went on like that. They would shoot balls and Nerf bullets into the audience and say that whoever was closest to them landing in the crowd had to get on stage, and they did more stuff like that. I really pitied the poor bastard who got pulled onstage TO GIVE THEM HIS CREDIT CARD. Would you want to give these people that at this point?! Last week I found someone's lost credit card and attempted to track her down to return it to her, and boy, did that not work (generic name plus no connection to the place that I found the card at = fuck if I know which one of the Jane Smiths lost it and despite our stalker day and age, I couldn't find any contact info without paying money...oh fuck that, I felt so creeped out), and finally her bank said to just destroy it. I still had it in my wallet and I thought, "If they call on me for this I'm giving them THAT card." So of course they sat a magnet on the dude's card and then froze it in water.
There's one part where a heavy metal band plays (in all honesty, that is probably the one music genre that I can't stand) and people run around dressed as some kind of weird protesters and Mickey and Ronald McD from hell and a cop and have cat masks and there's a few random naked people and...no clue what was going on there. The final act, of sorts, has some kind of fake Jimmy Kimmel show going on with the nameless magician--which is where the credit card thing happened-- and eventually the host guy is replaced by the devil, and the magician stuffs him into a suitcase, and that's the end.
Man, I so just wanted to leave. I was scared of what stalker crap they'd find on me and announce to all, I wanted to leave and felt like they'd call me out if I did, and I hate hearing discussions of "The government is tracking your every move and guess what, there is not a damn thing you can do to avoid it! Short of death, that is!" Yeah, I know that, but if I think about that I'll want to off myself. (Plus, again, wasn't in the most sunshiny mood today as is.) So what's the point of dwelling on it when you can't stop using stalker technology? Uh....yeah.
So anyway, I came out of that in an even worse mood, and Merry started texting me about another event going on today that we were supposed to go to (she was too sick to go still) and I was all, "Really not in the mood to be social right now" and told her about the show and how creeped out I was. As we were texting, the event got canceled so whew, never mind. Both of us were all, "of course this dude was from Berkeley" and "this is not the kind of magic we are down with."
I decided to go do some errands in Sacramento and hope to god they put me in a better mood. With the way my day was going, I was afraid I was going to hit somebody or something. But no, it went okay. I had to go pick up a book and improv-suitable shoes (I live in sandals all summer and they want you to wear closed-toe in case someone stomps on you, and I have maybe one pair of non-sneakers that aren't too painful to wear), and I ended up getting a dress that was on sale while I was at it. So that made the day less crap, at least.