Sunday, September 15, 2013

New Mexico at Pitt > Millvale Days featuring Super Ginger > QOTSA

Yesterday was quite the Saturday.  Gigi was working til 3pm so I decided to hit up her friend's tailgate at Heinz Field.  I stormed up to Pittsburgh around 11am.  Parked on the cusp of the crack district and walked down to Lot 1.  Her friends (Scott and Sue) along with a few other cars have one of the strongest parking spots for Pitt home games.  About a 12 second walk to Gate B. 

As expected, brunch was served.  I had servings of two different quiches and something they call a "rat-tail."

The actual product looks much more tantalizing.  It's a link of hot sausage, wrapped in a hot pepper, then wrapped in bacon.  Even though I've never consumed "vermin appendage," I imagine it tasted better as well (texture related issues).

Three highlights from the game:

* It took me about 4 minutes to score a free ticket.  And it was a club seat.  So I spent the 1st quarter in the shaded 200 section along the 40 yard line.

* I zipped over to the other side and watched a 40 yard, spectacular end zone catch as the first half expired.

* I stole a ream of large garbage bags under the watchful eye of a young man with an EVENT STAFF t-shirt.  Did he care?  Nope.  I thought he would say something, but he just purposely looked the other way.  He didn't give a damn.

Enter Phase 2:
So Gigi and I zipped down the hill to the annual Millvale Days street fair.  We were immediately confronted by a miniature pro-wrestling ring in the middle of a blocked off intersection.  Seriously, they had this outdoor set-up in the middle of the fucking street.  A crowd of about 200 onlookers watched 2 overweight masked men trading turns choking each other.  When the villain had the upper-hand, he would yell at the crowd and tell them they sucked.  The kids would heckle back, "You suck, Assassin."

This independent wrestling organization is based out of downtown Pittsburgh.  It's known as the K.S.W.A. (Keystone State Wrestling Alliance).  At first, it appeared a little "rag-tag" in nature, but then you start to explore the professionalism of the refs, the toned-down stunts/choreography, the interaction with the crowd, not to mention the dedication of the ring announcer... plus, hey it was free.  Not too shabby.

I thought the crowd should heckle based on townships.  Pittsburgh has all these little boroughs and distinct communities.  Why not exploit the existing high school football rivalries or socioeconomic discrepancies?  "Go back to Lawrencville!" or maybe "Assassin is a phony!  He's not one of us!  He lives in Crafton."

As we left to check out the other attractions, an 11-year-old kid looked at me and yelled "High-Five!"  Not to be a party pooper, I extended my hand outward and the punk bastard slapped it as hard as he could.  Seriously, this kid really went for broke.  My hand stung for about 2 minutes.  I reflected on it and figured it was a misguided act of retribution for the stolen trash bags.  He was likely mimicking his violent heroes in the ring. 

So we "milled around Millvale" for a little bit, taking in the sights and sounds.  This little community, although trapped in some kind of low-income, bizzaro, mid-80's time warp, is actually pretty bad ass.  It's hard to explain.  Let's just say Millvale has a certain character that defies both description and explanation.  I think they should rename Millvale Days... Millin' 'round Millvale.

Lots of eclectic booths, a mix of bars and churches, volleyball and musicians, street peddlers, a low-end farmer's market, etc.  Last time we were there, a man accosted us - he tried to give us a free "nutritional replacement bar."  He stammered, "We're trying to get a foothold in the community!"  Gigi and I just looked at each other in awe as he delivered this aggressive, disjointed sales pitch.  I'm still not sure what he was trying to do - either sell us a timeshare in Millvale or get us interested in some kind of granola bar selling pyramid scheme.

On our way back, the studio wrestling was coming to a close.  There was an 8-man, old-school, over-the-top-rope battle royal.  I was little worried because the ring was exceptionally small and the outside of the ring was straight asphalt (not very forgiving).  Anyway, they introduced the first contestant.  A mysterious entity emerged from the back of a U-Haul in a nearby alley...

Okay.  Now when I was a kid, I used to worship pro wrestlers.  I knew them all.  The angry Russians, the cowardly sheiks, the scientific lame-o's... trust me, I get it.  But honestly, what the fuck is that???  Turns out it was "SUPER GINGER!"  I was totally overcome with emotion.   I'd never even conceived of a character like this.  The closest comparison I can recall was "Doink the Clown."  There was George "The Animal" Steele, but the K.T.S.A. doesn't have enough in its coffers to properly finance edible turnbuckles. 

Super Ginger really lived up to the hype.  Whether or not he had soul is debatable..  His mannerisms really encapsulated the authentic ginger spirit.  Very quixotic and skittish.  I think he took his cue from a South Park episode where Cartman is transformed into a fake ginger and must adapt.

And onto phase 3:
We zipped down to the North Shore.  There was a sold-out Pirates vs. Cubs game so traffic was kind of a mess.  I reluctantly parked next to a meter that said "No parking on stadium event days."  I thought about the earlier Pitt game at the stadium.  Although it had ended 4 hours earlier, I was a little nervous.  What if they fuck me?  Then I thought, what if the Pixburgh parking enforcement goon-thugs claim that the "ballpark" is a "stadium?"  Having been previously sodomized by a "unmarked, low-curb, church-zone" $120.00 parking ticket during a 2011 Ravens/Steelers game, let's just say I try to exercise an ample degree of discretion.

It took us about 20 minutes, but we scored 2 free Queens of the Stone Age tickets.  Huzzah!  Both came from obedient concert-goers standing in line.  One was from a large, oafish dude.  The other from a pleasant, nerdy high school kid.  I think the younger kid was afraid that if he tried to sell the ticket, he might get arrested by the cops.  Big brother at its finest.  The slightest risk of any infraction for any perceived criminality... Way to go Janet Napolitano!  Thanks for keeping us all safe during your 6 year reign of pseudo-terror, swabbing kid's wheelchairs and fondling granny groins.  Now go enjoy your stint as the overlord of UCLA.  You deserve it!

I'd been looking forward to this show all summer.  I'm a big fan of QOTSA.  If you've never heard of them, they're the musical equivalent of a heavier version of the Foo Fighters.  But a little more spacey and erratic. 

We went into the fray for the opening.  I didn't check the set list, but I've downloaded a bunch of boots from 2013, so I knew they come out heavy.  The early strobe lights had Gigi immediately back off.

This concert was way too loud.  It had this piercing effect.  We had our modified ear-plugs in (paper towel).  This made it manageable.  I started to realize something.  I like about only 1/2 their material.  And I really can't stand the other half.  So I just skip through it at will.  But if you're at the concert, you have to take the good with the bad.  It made the whole experience kind of exhausting.  Like I said, these guys are consummate professionals.  But there's just too many Radiohead-esque interruptions and extended intros and outros.  They have this unique heavy-hippie vibe, but sometimes, it's just too excessive and overbearing.

Suddenly, a tiny bunny rabbit skipped by us.  This critter was terrified as it made its way into the metallic throng.

I hate to sound like a pessimist, but it was likely stomped to death.  The closest analogy would be if I, a self-hating atheist Jew, journeyed to the Hajj seeking inner peace... and was trampled to death in a Muslim-o-rama, Mecca-licious stampede.  This rabbit would likely would have fared better if it were hunted by former 2012 Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney.  After all, he was a self-described "lifelong hunter" of "small game, varmints and such."

Another concert in the books.  And a free fireworks display (SkyBlast) during the concert.  Although it was partially obstructed by the North Shore building that houses the Jerome Bettis Grill.  Here's the set list:

I wish these guys would let me write their set list.  I'd blow it out of the ballpark.  And speaking of ballparks (and stadiums for that matter), I didn't get a parking ticket.  F'in A.  Still though, don't fuck with the Pittsburgh Parking Authority.  Much like the ginger population, they have no soul.    


Anonymous said...

DOZER SUCKS! DOZER SUCKS! But this blog doesn't!
Millvale Days is always filled with year we go at night.

sonofsaf said...

Millvale needs some kind of unique mascot that roams the streets... how about the Millvale Miscreant?

Think along these lines. Wheeling has Moondog. As a matter of fact, every small town should have one. It would brighten everyone's spirit in these cynical times.