May 7, 2007

"Now we are here, in Xanadu..."

I'd heard rumblings that "Xanadu" might be finding its way to Broadway,
but now it seems official

I remember well my first viewing of "Xanadu".
I was 12 or 13, and did not want to go.
That much I remember.

Back then, I was often in the company of my next door neighbor's daughters, Julie and Erin, with whom I had become friends, despite the fact that they were 5 or so years younger than I was at the time...a nearly unbridgeable gulf when you're 13.

But I managed to bridge it.

My friends, throughout my life, come to think of it, have always seemed to be either younger or older than I am.

That day, however, I remember distinctly not wanting to see some stupid "girl" movie,
certainly not "Xanadu". I didn't much like Olivia Newton John to begin with.

I hadn't forgotten the nasty fact that she'd begun in country music and was from Australia the way everyone else had.
I didn't like Miss Newton John at all.
Not at all.
My favorite part of "Grease" in fact had been gleefully sneering along with Stockard Channing with her "Look at Me, I'm Sandra Dee" number.

Ok, ok, so ONJ had been all right in "Grease," I had to admit, (which I had seen with the same group of girls by the way).
But this was different. I was older. I was (trying to be) less interested in all these "girly" things.

Julie and Erin's mother would drive us to the theater.
Before the movie, I remember, we had had pizza at a now defunct pizza parlor which has become, among other things, a martial arts studio and a "hair college" in the past nearly 30 years.

My mother and their mother would go to the mall while we were diverted. I and their cousin would be the younger girls' chaperones. That was the plan.

Their cousin was only a year or so younger than I was, and had something of a crush on me, a crush needless to say,that was not returned.

If I didn't go, they wouldn't get to go.
I was the lynchpin. With five females pressuring me to go. I didn't stand a chance.

As reluctant as I was to join the Olivia Newton John bandwagon, I have to admit I was intrigued by a at least a few things about the movie:

ELO, Gene Kelly, art deco sets, a cute guy in a late 70's brown vest and feathered hair I had seen in the ads, very vague references to Greek mythology and Samuel Taylor Coleridge, and most of all, Roller Disco.

All 5 of these things were major preoccupations of my 13 year old brain (except ELO, whom I simply sort of liked)

Reluctant as I was, I went.

Two hours later, my 13 year old body emerged from a hallucinogenic dream.....just like something from Coleridge in fact.

It was fantastically cheesy, even I could see that at my age, ONJ never really won me over, the movie was a terrible failure...and I have not seen it since without feeling a bit ashamed of how entranced I was then, but it didn't matter at all.

The sheer wonder of it all was so dazzling then that I distinctly remember walking out into the blazing sun, all four of us in awed silence. We sat there as if we'd just been spit back down to earth from some fantasical roller-disco flying saucer.


Silly Monkey said...

Oh, Carlos will be in HEAVEN. ;)

That's looks like a really cheesy movie. ONJ was on American Idol not too long ago. She looks "face lifted" with the wide joker mouth.

nolageek said...

OMG. I can hear every man in Lafittes singing along to it... "Xanadu.... la la la la la Xanadu.... now we are queer" it's like rocky horror for them.

jason said...

Actually, I could be wrong, but I don't think Carlos is a Xanadu fan.

I'm glad I missed ONJ's joker mouth. Best to remember the good times.

jason said...

"Now we are queer" eh?

Much like ONJ's "joker mouth" that's something I don't need to experience either.

Breezy said...

Um, I LOVE XANADU, and I have about three ONJ Greatest Hits CDs.

I must confess that I even swiped someone's Xanadu LP right from their home because I like it so much. Yes, I was a bit of a kleptomaniac.

Needless to say,I am indeed a fan!