Thursday, February 9, 2012

Cheescake and Contortionists - surprisingly good together

Celebrating Valentine's Day on the 14th is completely overrated.  Think about it:  the crowds, the waiting, all couples wanting to do the same "special occasion" at the same time?  Nuts to that!  Instead, my boyfriend and I spoil ourselves by having two Valentine's Days.  The going out portion, that the majority of people set aside for the 14th was what we did last night.  Dinner and a show, sounds anticlimactic, but it was wonderful!  First we went to the Cheesecake Factory and dined our way through a generous gift card from my mother (Thanks ma!).  After dinner we shared a slice of their raspberry lemon cheesecake.  Amazing.  Utterly wonderful.  I gasped and my toes curled while we shared it (I do apologize to the other diners if this made them feel uncomfortable).  So, I found a picture of this amazing creation, but it looks like the "before" picture on an advertisement.  What we were presented with was the delictible dessert, but it had raspberry sauce over the top and pooled on the sides, and topped with an obscene amount of whipped cream.  Can I point out how rare a thing it is to find something that looks far better when it's put in front of you instead of the picture representation?  Kudos Cheescake Factory, well done.

Next we went on to see Cirque Du Soleil's production, Quidam.  Just as you'd suspect, it's beautiful with breathtaking feats; and like all of Cirque Du Soleil's shows, there is a vague storyline.  The touch of narrative is mostly in the form of a few characters that sort of act as the on stage audience; but by far most of the sensations you feel comes from the music.  Silly one moment, dramatic the next; the only thing that you can count on from the music is that it adds this indispensable element of emotion to these athletic feats.  When you're watching the shows live, it's almost like you're invested in them; experiencing them.  Oh, dear lord I sound pretentious.

Favorite part of the show?  Ok, don't hate me for it, but the panto mime.  Now it's not some guy trying to get out of a glass box or juggling invisible balls.  The guy doing these skits in the show pulls people out from the audience on stage with him.  In the beginning of his first skit, he's obviously getting ready for a date.   A lovely romantic evening with an unsuspecting young woman from the audience.  In playing along and trying to understand from his motions what he wants her to do, she invariable makes some comical mistakes.  In the mime's second act, he's a director and pulls four people from the audience.  One to be the leading man, one for the leading lady, one to be the scorned lover, and of course, that one guy that comes along with the clapboard... since doing it in one take would leave far less room for hilarity.  Disclaimer:  While this was my favorite act, perhaps due to it's presence, Quidam might not be best suited to children.  I read some of the negative reviews on Cirque Du Soleil's site and audience members were less than thrilled at the subtle drug references and sexual innuendos; you know, the things I found hilarious.

Now, the favorite part of the evening?  Having my best friend/boyfriend with me.  Daniel's an amazing guy, and I'm delighted to have my second Valentine's day with him (heh, last year we celebrated in World of Warcraft... since we hadn't even met yet).  It's great to be making memories with him, and I'm looking forward to the 14th where we can have our own private Valentine's day, maybe just a picnic on the floor of the apartment (it's rather chilly here in Chicago).

Interested in the show?  The links below are to the dvd and soundtrack of Quidam.

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