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Whirlygig: 93: Out on the Town

A night after the fireworks leads to a debate over Simple Minds and eyeing a pig's butt

By Brandon Brady · September 3rd, 2003 · Whirlygig

Where There's Smoke, There's Fireworks
I haven't been down on the river for the WEBN Labor Day Fireworks for nearly 10 years. The last time I went, I had so much fun that I decided there would be no way to top it.

A bunch of friends of mine were grilling out all afternoon that year. About 7 p.m., Jen decided all of us should drive down to the fireworks so we could see her favorite band at the time, Shag. We had nothing better to do, so we followed her lead, piled seven people into a small pickup truck and drove down.

We made it to the river at 8 p.m., right when Shag was starting to play. We snuck all the way down to the railing separating the stage area from the bottom of the Serpentine Wall. When we looked around we noticed that there were no security guards or police officers anywhere, so all seven of us hopped over the railing and ran right in front of the stage.

Only the lead singer from Shag noticed that we crashed the fence. After Shag was done playing, the band invited us to sit in the chairs right next to the river that were reserved for VIPs to watch the fireworks. I've never been that close to fireworks before in my life. We were all nearly deaf and covered in ashes when the fireworks were over.

So when Jen called me on Sunday at 6 p.m. to go with her to the fireworks and see Buckra play, I felt compelled to go.

We were actually able to find a free parking space on Seventh and Main streets near Prince's Art & Framing when we arrived downtown. I still can't explain how it happened, but we were able to find a spot for two people on the Serpentine Wall at 7 p.m. in the middle section of the wall about 10 rows back from the stage.

The last time I went to the fireworks I couldn't stop singing "White Trash Party" by the Afghan Whigs in my head. This year was no different. Jen mentioned that the fireworks would be a hard place to try to pick up on a quality guy. As I turned around and scanned the crowd of not-so-fit middle-aged men banging their heads to Alice in Chains, I had to agree.

Buckra started their set around 7:30 p.m. The crowd wasn't really into them at the beginning but quickly warmed up once Dylan, the lead singer, started talking to the crowd between the first couple of songs. He mentioned that coming to the fireworks is like "going to a party at someone's house and they forgot to buy beer."

The fireworks were great as usual, except the couple of times they were obscured by too much smoke in the sky. Next time I go to watch them on the river, I'll make sure to check the weather report to figure out which way the wind is blowing. I think the people in Northern Kentucky had a much better overall view since the wind was blowing from the south.

After the fireworks were over, we decided to let traffic die down before trying to leave downtown and headed off to Rock Bottom Brewery on Fountain Square for appetizers and beer. We spent most of our time at Rock Bottom listening to the '80s music they were playing on the speakers and telling stories about the first time we heard most of the songs, until we got into a heated argument about the name of the band that played the song "Don't You Forget About Me."

As we were leaving the Brewery, we walked by Mark Fox's contribution to Bats Incredible, the street baseball bat statues that are around downtown.

Mark's pig is similar to the Big Pig Gig ones from a few years ago except that it looks like it is made from chipped baseball bats. Jen read the sign next to the pig and told me that it said to look inside the pig for a surprise. We walked around the pig looking for a way to look inside until I noticed the peephole in the pig's butt.

Jen didn't want to be seen in public with her face right in a pig's butt, so I had to look through the peephole myself to see what I could see. (I won't tell you what I saw. You'll just have to look for yourself.) As I was looking into the pig's butt, I could hear Jen laughing at me wishing she hadn't left her camera in her car.

-- R.L. Newman

Purse Strings
There's a certain safety of being in a dark theater that calms my soul. If I were honest, I also love the smell of movie popcorn and indulgent kid food like licorice and chocolate-covered raisins. So on a rainy weekend, what better thing to do than escape the elements, lose myself in the large screen and blow my healthy living at the new Rave Motion Pictures in West Chester?

I had to decide for myself if Rave really is better than the Showcase Cinemas around town. As I pulled into the parking lot after battling Labor Day weekend traffic and a deluge of rain, the aroma from Bravo's wafted my direction and made me think that the next trip to Union Centre Boulevard must be to have one of those taste treats. The Champs parking lot was packed and I'm sure filled with sports fans drinking beer and playing pool.

I was tempted but not deterred from my mission and ducked the raindrops to buy my ticket to see the not-so-critically acclaimed movie Le Divorce. Running a few minutes late, I used my credit card instead of seeking the money machine and was delighted at the speed with which I had my ticket in hand and headed to grab the popcorn and soda so important to the whole experience.

The graphics and design of this theater are bold and modern, but I was struck with the lack of spaciousness compared to, say, Showcase Cinemas Springdale. From the road I would have guessed Rave to be as large, but not so. Of course, the real test is the chairs and the size of the screen.

I scurried to theater 9 and was relieved to see the previews were just ending. The critics must have scared most viewers from seeing this film. The number of seats occupied was few for a Friday at 7:30. It was a tiny theater, but then again Le Divorce wasn't a broad-released film and only showing in art houses like the Esquire in Clifton.

The story is set in France and focuses on two sisters played by Kate Hudson, who is eternally perky, and Naomi Watts, who I find striking. It's a lightweight moviegoing night and perfect since I'd just entertained 10 of my girlfriends for lunch to celebrate the end of summer and school being back in session. We had laughed and giggled as blenders spilled daiquiris and margaritas while we munched on salad. I was worn out from being hostess and in the mood for a little European flavor, which is where Kate and Naomi come in.

Naomi's character is left by her French husband in the first frames of the movie, which is more than a tad sad since she's five months pregnant with kid No. 2, but somehow the story disjointedly focuses on the affair her sister starts with a distant French uncle. For a minute I wondered if I needed a flow chart, because the movie was lacking or because my frozen concoctions from lunch were more potent than originally thought.

Indeed the movie was a little lacking, but roll with me here and focus for a second on the Kelly bag by Hermes that's given to Hudson's character as a token of affection by her new older, sophisticated lover early in the story. The purse is expensive and turns out to be a signature gift this fellow has given before, which would piss me off. I frankly admire originality and would hope a potential lover would choose a gift specifically for me and not for his entire harem. Don't you agree?

The other interesting idea behind the gift-giving in the movie is that it signifies an agreement to become involved and to take on the lover status, as the sister points out when she encourages her sister not to accept the gift. Kate cheerfully admits that she'd be his lover without the Kelly bag gift as she's smitten with this guy even though he's married and older.

This is France, and when in France do as the French, I suppose. Or maybe she's just curious as to what exactly is involved in being a lover. She heads out shopping for lingerie and dressing up for him after fancy lunches and dinner. If we can put morality aside for a moment, I was left wondering how she could afford the dressing up for him part and wishing, for her sake, that he was paying for her get-ups along with the meals with his credit card. It seemed obvious she was headed to credit counseling on her meager salary but, oh, what a girl will do to impress the object of her affection!

I won't spoil the movie with the outcome, in case you want to see for yourself what happens to these two American girls in Paris. It's predictable and decidedly not the movie to take young impressionable daughters to see, though it might promote interesting conversation on a date.

Let's just say that it's lovely to receive gifts sent from the heart, but kisses aren't contracts any more than fancy boxes wrapped with bows ease the reality of a relationship that's doomed.

-- Wendy Robinson

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