Chaos Attraction

Imaginarium 360

2022-12-19, 10:00 a.m.

(This covers the events of Sunday..)

This afternoon I saw "The Lost Claus" at B Street Theatre. It was an...interesting experience, for sure.

This is a five person play: Santa, the Mrs. and three elves, McCallow (the kinda dumb one), McSurley (the surly one) and McGhee (the ... normal one? Just kinda keeps to himself?). I note that everyone appears to be Scottish, everyone's wearing plaid (McSurley especially) and they're all hyped about a Scottish dance festival they're holding at the Pole on Dec. 26. (You'd think everyone would be too tired on Dec. 26 to Highland dance compete, but I guess elves--or elflike creatures, as some would say-- are not.) I also note this was written by one of this theater's bigwigs.

They announced on the wall/in the program that the understudy was going to be used in this one, AND the director was going to go on doing another one of the roles. (Shades of The Producers, again.) I note that the understudies were John Lamb (understudy to all) and the director going on was Dave Pierini, going in for Elisabeth Nunziato and Jason Kuykendall. I reasonably assumed that if two people had to be replaced, it was for covid.

Now, the show started pretty late...didn't start until about 2:12, AND THAT'S WHEN ELISABETH AND JASON WALKED ONTO THE STAGE. (Note; I don't know these people personally but B Street uses the same actors over and over again, so I've seen them in other things.) In street clothes. And JASON'S GOT A POODLE DOG, NAMED SOFIA. Apparently these two are married, which I did not know before this (had to confirm on the program). They said something about "stubbing their toe" as to why they were going to be out, which baffles the heck out of me. STUBBED TOE?! I was guessing from the late entrance it was probably more "caught in traffic," but who knows. Anyway, they walked in, praised the people standing in for them (Elisabeth: I said I'd kill to get to see John onstage... meanwhile Jason literally didn't remember his character's name and had to be told by an audience member), and then strolled off, and the show started with understudies in.

The plot of it is that Santa's tired, waiting on results from a doctor (he's generally fine, don't worry), Mrs. wants him to take a break, the # of people in the world keeps going up and somehow there are only THREE elves to make a billion toys. (It's pointed out that the North Pole only has one doctor, one baker, etc. and the elves are the only job that has three people.) McSurley is generally cranky because the other elves have wives/families, he's pouting and refusing to go to the festival and then he announces that the elves (well, him and McCallow, anyway, McGhee abstained) have formed a union and they're only gonna work 4 hours a day now and take breaks. By the end of the first act, Santa's test results are fine, but he accidentally whacks McCallow so that he falls down, and then Santa collapses.

By act 2 (10 days later), they've got some kind of magical 3D printer (?) in there that spits out gifts, so things are going a lot better, Sants's mostly offstage, and McSurley, well...he sleeps at the factory and then McCallow comes in and gifts him with AN INFLATABLE DOLL to um, "practice for the festival with." This made me think, WHAT THE HELL KIND OF FESTIVAL IS THIS?!?!" At one point, "WAP" is played, which I was certainly not expecting. I note that McCallow interprets many songs in a "nice" way, like WAP is about taking care of a cat or something. Then the printer breaks and McSurley stomps out, leaving everyone else to finish the gift list. McSurley returns, they claim the machine fixed itself, I guess all is well, McSurley goes to the festival and meets a girl (offstage voice), ta-dah.

I...kinda thought it could have been written a bit better (okay, Christmas is saved, that', I guess). I enjoyed the performances and all that, but what I'm REALLY curious about...I note that this play was written by a hometown boy. Presumably he knew all the actors and I'm assuming everyone involved probably helped shape their characters. I note that had things gone as planned, McSurley was supposed to be played by a lady. Now, the understudy was a dude, that's fine, If the elves hadn't been particularly gendered, that would have been fine. But the writing makes it pretty clear that we've got three hetero males here, with all male names. McSurley's despised first name is "Percy," they make comments about finding him a wife, and then there's that inflatadoll. This makes sense when played by a dude...BUT WHAT THE HECK WERE THEY DOING WHEN MCSURLEY IS PLAYED BY A LADY?!?! Like I highly doubt they had an inflatadude AND an inflatagirl just in case, that seemed pretty...specific. I just don't get the vibe that they changed pronouns or had an lesbian elf. So when Elisabeth is normally doing the part, is she just doing it as a guy, or is the character female/heterosexual or female/homosexual or WHAT?! I WILL NEVER KNOW, DARN IT. And I can't help but wonder why if you have access to the playwright RIGHT THERE, why McSurley wasn't just changed to female or written in a gender-neutral sort of way.

Upon searching for reviews (not a lot of that), I.... guess she’s a man?

I note that I went to see the show on Sunday because supposedly parking is free Sundays. But I was trying to get out of the parking garage, the machine broke AGAIN (I swear they break every time I have to go into a parking garage) and we had to go out the back door, where it charged $10. That's annoying.

I will note that I was considering wearing my light up Christmas tree apron today to the light-up events I'm going to tonight/Tuesday. But they're such a pain in the butt to put batteries into, with their tiny excruciating screws and tiny excruciating screwdrivers that I tend to lose from year to year, and the fact that you've only used the batteries for two hours and yet you HAVE to take them all out or else they corrode and ruin your light pack. Fun fact: I found last year's bag o' batteries removed from all the light-up items and THEY'RE STILL CORRODED ANYWAY WHAT THE HELL. I thought about trying to put in new batteries, but I was one battery short on the AA ones, and since it's SUCH a pain to put them all in and then be short one...never bloody mind. (And then later as I was waiting through another effing security line, I thought, "maybe just don't bother, I don't even know how security would react to that and they'd probably make me take it off and search it.")

I also made a very large and heavy light up Christmas tree hat (made out of super bulky yarn, giant lights) several years ago. They had about one hat-with-lights pattern available then, and I don't wear it very often except to parties where I'm sitting still, and I sometimes think I should just remake the hat with a different pattern/smaller yarn. During intermission today, I started thinking, "maybe I should make a small one with smaller lights," and then started trying to figure out what store, if any, would still have tiny lights for sale. Apparently LITERALLIY NONE have any IRL, according to the Internet, but I still stupidly tried to drive by a Target during the hour in between the show ending and Global Winter Wonderland opening. It was a small Target in a divey area, which is to say a homeless man started yelling at me and I finally just yelled I wasn't going to get involved in this, and he said, "Okay, but you're pretty!" "Thanks?... I gotta go."

(Literally, only a homeless man who yells at women in the street thinks I'm pretty. This is my life.)

Then it eventually occurred to me, “hey, I could just like, light-shop in my house, i think I bought some years ago and kept them on stash just in case.” Which I did! A purple light set, a pink one, and a multi-colored one that somehow HAS the batteries in it and hasn’t been corrupted! Go figure!

I am going to attend both giant light events going on in the Sacramento area this year and review them, for the edification/amusement of those who live in the region and wonder what it's like to go.

Global Winter Wonderland has been rebranded/half branded (I don't know what you call it when the event suddenly gets a second name) as Imaginarium 360. It's the event held at Cal Expo. I went to Global Winter Wonderland years ago when it first opened, then didn't really bother to go in the years after that, assuming it's probably the same inflatables and lights every year. It might have been. They've dropped the whole inflatable wonders of the world theme and it's basically Exotic Sci-Fi Jungles, dragons, Unusual Sci-Fi Plants, a normal rose garden that's clearly designed to get people to propose at, and random objects strewn about that are perfect to selfie at. It's all very pretty and I was quite charmed by the audio-animatronic dragons scattered through the event.

Pricing: $28 plus $10 separate parking fee.

Is it worth the price: I dunno if I think it's worth $28, per se, (maybe $15-20) but maybe that's for paying for the electricity bill? That's gotta be a lot.

Parking: $10 (standard for every single event at Cal Expo), I note it was hard to figure out which of the many parking lots I was supposed to be in (the very far one) and drove around lost for awhile on this.

Clear Bag Policy; Their website says fuckall about this, but when I got there they had giant 'CLEAR BAGS ONLY" signs in the parking lot. I note that literally nobody carried in anything but strollers after that. I DID check if there was any kind of policy about that and they said nothing, so...GRRRR.

Finding Out When/Where Events Are: The website says you can get that stuff at information booths, I didn't see 'em. I really would have liked to have found out say, when the balloon drop was or anything like that, but nope. A couple of events posted their showtimes there, but that was it. The website doesn't spell out anything.

Indoor/Outdoor: Entirely outdoors, so nowhere indoors to get warm. (Covid-safe, though.)

Amount of time I spent there until I felt like I'd seen everything/was too cold: 5-6:30.

Temperature in my car when I got to it: 41 degrees. I note I had on four layers of clothing on top and bottom, heavy coat, hat, gloves, etc....but when your FACE is cold, it's like none of that matters. Argh.

Things On Offer:
* Food booths
* Misc. shopping booths, not that many of them, kind of what I'd call the "buy in bulk cheap stuff" sorts of booths.
* The midway was open and some rides were available.
* Skating rink (I think that was extra charge?)
* Light maze (not super-maze-y/easy to do/lots of dead ends)
* Balloon drop thing (didn't know when that goes off, so didn't see it)
* A luminary pond where kids could write on a bag and then put it out to float, but it doesn't look like 95% of the tea lights were working in those.
* "Big Bee Turns Into A Robot" (seemed to be there to sell toys), which I did not watch because I figured I was too short to see around the hordes of people at it.
* The Pirate Highwire Act, which I did watch and was goofy fun, with Columbian pirates fighting over a map, walking on a high wire, and going into one of those "wheel of death" double wheel thingies.
* Various snowmaker machines
* Various bubblemaker machines.
* The best bubblemaker machine was a combo fog machine (?)/bubble machine, so when you popped the bubbles out of it, fog burst out. Super cool.

I was entertained for an hour-ish or so, though other than watching the pirate show, I felt like I'd covered it all pretty quickly. It's very beautiful and sci-fi-ish, if you're into weird plants and dinos and light-up flowers.

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