Having attended the Park Dance Revisited last night and the inaugural one from last year, I think I have a pretty good perspective. Not many people know this but I used to deejay the Park dances back in the summer of 1986. I would spin records downstairs and the WOMP FM guy would work the ballroom upstairs. Lacking any real scratching or mixing talent, I'd pretty much just play the hits of the day (stuff like Prince's "Kiss", Aerosmith/Run DMC's ill-advised, overplayed rendition of "Walk This Way" and Bananarama's "Venus" come to mind as they would evoke girlish shrieks of delight from the crowd). But I'd also play Judas Priest, Metallica, Dokken, etc. which would quickly drive most kids running for the steps. Yet I did have a small legion of devoted metalheads who praised my commitment to headbanging. I wouldn't say I was their superhero. Perhaps the equivalent of the androgynous male Wonder-Twin or their chimpanzee cohort is more like it.
The renewal of the Park Dance was a tremendous idea conjured up and executed by Tim Boudreau and several others. Considering it's a benefit for local veterans and a light-hearted social mixer for locals, I believe it to be a win-win. My only request is that a few of the old-timers hit the 9th hole of the Wheeling Puke golf course for sexual intercourse and illegal narcotics. That would add a vital new dimension to its soul. We could even station a modern day look-a-like of "Joe the Park Ranger" to scare off trespassers who would violate the sanctity of the woods.
Considering that there were around 1,500 people at this thing, they really need to host it INSIDE the White Palace. Yes, I realize they had a wedding booked for the upstairs ballroom, but the Park Commission needs to clear the inside for this one day. I would suggest throwing 80's music on the ice rink, 70's music on the main floor and 60's music in the upstairs. Have three separate dee jays and decorate each level accordingly. Since it's a benefit, I think you'd find 3 that are willing to provide their services for free. Maybe that guy named DJ TACO could enter the fray. Perhaps I could resume my career and be known as SONofSPIN or something relatively uninspired. Plus, each level would be like walking through an era. And you could have best costumes for each decade.
And you really need to lower the volume level accordingly. I must be the only one who finds it annoying that you have to scream at the top of your lungs to establish verbal contact. If it's too loud for me at age 41, I can't fathom how disturbing it is for people in their 60's. Seriously, this drives people AWAY from future events. The White Palace is an interesting structure. Why not use it? I'm sure the Park commission could withstand the revenue drop from one night.
Even though I didn't eat anything, the vendors looked decent. Jepsonian had a pulled pork sandwich which he described as "very meaty." And OMP fulfilled my dreams by consuming a Dickie's dog. An aptly named hot dog. My only suggestion would be to call it "Dickey's Diggetty Dog." I think this would appeal to Wheelingites far and wide, not to mention the re-burgeoning NASCAR populace. Maintaining a strict kosher diet isn't always easy as it steers me clear of such culinary delights. Perhaps if a rabbi were on hand to properly salt and bless the aforementioned meats, my views would change.
Speaking of rabbis, I usually adorn the pedophile tag on Catholic priests, but I recently had a revolting revelation of religilous shit that entered my head. I wonder if there's a subset of sadistic moils who garner sexual gratification from hearing the cries of a week old baby that gets circumcised. I went to one of those "ceremonies" when I was about 14 or 15. The kid was screaming at the top of his lungs as the moil hovers over him with a Ginsu and this deranged look of spiritual satisfaction. Meanwhile the parents are celebrating, drinking shots of some top shelf rye-whiskey. That bizarre contrast is something etched in my head for eternity. Not kewl.
Honestly though, I rarely eat anything at these types of vendor/county fair events. I'll usually go hungry and eat something later. Last night, I devoured the final slices of roast beef from the Jenn/Justin wedding around 2am.
The beer lines seemed to flow much better this year, even though I customarily don't drink draft beer. And if I do, it's never Bud or Bud Light. I prefer to bring my own bottled wine - this time it was a cheap merlot in the traditional Nestle's water bottle. Did i feel a pang of guilt when I crossed through the cardboard sign that read "Absolutely no alcohol beyond this point?" Well... not really. I did like the fact that someone chose to utilize the word "absolutely" though. I might use this in the future... "I want an absolutely free ticket." Makes a bolder statement and encourages some light banter.
So what was the highlight??? For me, it was the authentic 2002 Jamboree in the Hills purple wrist bands providing evidence of paid admission. I like the idea that someone, somewhere resurrected a stack of Jambo wristbands for the Park Dance. Seriously though, I give mad props to everyone who put in all the behind the scenes work. Fortunately, the weather was cooperative, but they really need to look into the possibility of using the actual White Palace. Isn't that what the park dances were all about? Well... except for the rival high school fights and the deflowering of virgins on the 9th hole. And did anyone see the two cops that wandered through the ice skating rink? Just how old were those guys? 18? 19? I do not know. They really should have parked that "OHIO COUNTY DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY CENTRAL COMMAND STATION" monster RV outside the White Palace. Instead all we got was a limo parked near the steps. I was honestly tempted to pull up right behind the limo and pop the hatch of the SubarJew and commence my own tailgating. Why would I find this so appealing? Probably because most people would find it so upsetting.
Honestly though, did anyone see that nonsensical RV at the Italian Festival? What the fuck is that colossal monstrosity? What does it do? How much did it cost? What a fucking complete waste! The thought of Janet Napolitano lounging in the mid-section of that Winnebago gripping a wine-spritzer while some minion feeds her cheese and grapes is pretty revolting. I'm not sure what sickens me more, our beloved Homeland Security Director or the mammoth RV. It reminds me of the unstoppable "monster train" from that one Speed Racer episode. Napolitano just reminds me of a monster of gargoyle-like origins.
One last thought about the Park Dance revisited. For next year, I would suggest a flash mob afterwards in the Wheeling Park pool. If orchestrated properly, it would get national exposure. Wouldn't that be completely bad ass? You can't stop a crowd of 1,000+ (well, except maybe with help from the local Dept. of Homeland Security RV). And what if everyone dove in naked and started splashing all over the place? Dare to dream...