Monday, January 7, 2013

Take a Space Ride, with the Cowboy, Baby

Sometimes the best things about living in a big city like New York are the classics, like the Empire State Building or the Statue of Liberty. Other times, the best things are not classic at all, like when on Friday night, Kat and I attended the Professional Bull Riding event at Madison Square Garden. It was a last-minute idea, but a good one. 

Once we got tons of junk food, beer, and sat in our seats at MSG to start watching, we realized that as city girls, we had no idea what was happening. We googled the rules of Professional Bull Riding (PBR) and as far as we understood it, the riders had to stay on for at least 8 seconds and then would be judged on style and difficulty of the particular bull. They weren't allowed to fall off or let go of the rope around the bull and had to keep one arm in the air.

This event was so different than what we normally do that we still have so many questions that remain unanswered:
  • How did the bulls get across the street from their trucks into the arena?
  • Where were the bulls sleeping at night?
  • How many bulls were there?
  • Do riders have specific bulls they always ride or do they switch it up?
  • What do they do to the bulls to get them so angry?
  • Why don't the bulls start bucking until they are let out of the gate?
  • How did they get the dirt into and out of the arena?
  • What are the insurance policies like on these bull riders?
  • Are the bulls and the horse with the lasso guy on it friends?
  • Why don't the bulls jump over the fences into the audience?
  • How does one decide to be a Professional Bull Rider?
  • How does one decide to be a Rodeo Clown?
  • How many people did they audition for this particular Rodeo Clown position?
  • Did we feel more badly for the bulls or for the rodeo clown?
  • Why doesn't MSG have cup holders at every seat?
I did feel one with the bulls, most likely because I am a Taurus AND was born in the year of the Bull. (The negative side of this is "stubborn", but the positive swing of it is "determined".) I hope that despite how it looked at the event, that the bulls are pet and snuggled and talked sweetly to when they are not being tortured by having crazy men try to sit on them while rap music plays and people cheer.

After the show, we went to Brother Jimmy's and had a great rest of the evening. The PBR beer promo guy kept taking our purchased draft beers and replacing them with PBR cans. When we bought more beers of our choice, we felt like we had to hide them from the promo guy so as to not hurt his feelings since he had also given us PBR chapstick and cowboy hats. I sadly left the cowboy hat at the bar, which I now regret, because I think it suits me.

I do *not* regret though going to the event. I hope this is one that turns into a yearly tradition for Kat and me, and whoever else wants in. That ain't no bull.


Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Once Upon a Time

I've been really into stories lately - I have been listening to the podcast of This American Life more than the new Taylor Swift album, making my mantra "Do it for the Story" (as inspired by Girls on HBO), and thinking about what story I would tell to Alex after the first commercial break if I were ever to make it on Jeopardy.

The Moth is a weekly storytelling event at different bookstores/bars in the city and Brooklyn. Moth events are also held in other cities - LA, Milwaukee, Detroit, & Boston, to name a few. A topic is given for the night, ten people who submitted their names are randomly chosen, and each storyteller has five minutes to share their true tale. The stories are judged and a winner is crowned.

When Davesh first suggested The Moth as part of my 28 Things list back in the spring, I hadn't heard of it before and honestly didn't think much of it, but did put it on the list. A few months later, I saw a - you guessed it - CBS Sunday Morning clip about Storytelling, where they dubbed it "the oldest art form," which featured the Moth, and I then got excited for this item.

#14 Go to The Moth

This particular Moth event was at The Bitter End last Thursday night. Davesh had warned me to go as early as possible because it would be crowded, but as I am no stranger to long lines for my 28 Things list (UCB, Poetry Slam), I wasn't too concerned. I thought since it was an off week during the holidays, people might be out of town or that it might have been too cold for people to want to wait outside. I was originally planning on going by myself but at the last minute recruited my friend David to come with. This turned out to be a fab idea because we had to wait in the freezing cold for an hour and a half, many corners away from the door to the Bitter End on Bleeker. I probably would have quit without someone to gossip with.

The things I go through for this list, I tell ya.

I almost had another 28 Things fail (there have been two so far), because when David and I finally got to the front, the gentleman running the door stopped us and said "this is it for right now." My heart dropped a little bit but I kept a smile on and ten minutes later, he let us and a few more people in, right before the event started. We had to stand in the absolute back near the bar, but during intermission, we made it up more toward the stage.

Our night's theme was "The Aftermath." There were three stories that I enjoyed the most - one about the aftermath of a girl who accidentally peed in her boyfriend's bed and covered her tracks completely, one about the aftermath of a job interview, and one (the winner of the evening) about how after the storyteller had his daughter, he realized how awful his own parents had been. I liked the actual flow of these three stories the best, there were a few that seemed a little too rehearsed, as if the storytellers were making a speech, rather than sharing a story. It did seem like everyone had some experience. I feel like if I ever got up there I'd be shaking like a Polaroid picture. I was impressed with everyone's ability to be so open and share such personal stories and to do it so well. After the ten chosen ones were finished, everyone else who entered their name was invited to come up and say the first line of his or her story, which just left me wanting more. If the event had kept on going and if I had had a seat, I would have stayed for a few more hours, no question.

I loved the Moth. Next time I'll try to get tickets online beforehand to avoid the line and standing, but they seem like they go pretty quickly. As soon as I got home I started to think about which stories I might have enough courage to tell on stage. Of course it would depend on the theme, but I could see myself putting my name in the ring at some point, even if I would be a little shaky. Maybe before I'm 30.


If you're interested in hearing actual Moth stories, there is a Moth Podcast and it is amazing. 
Search for it on iTunes or listen to the Moth radio hours here.
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