Wednesday, July 20, 2011
Great Amusement Parks
Thank god for MPT. The grotesque swamp weather has numbed my brain and glued me to the couch. The air outside is like stepping into an old catcher's mitt that baked in grandma's attic and not only has the humidity short circuited my brain too much to write, but I can't even summon the concentration to read.
Thankfully MPT broke through the blizzard of cable TV grotesqueries to air a homey documentary on amusement parks in America.
Two weeks ago they aired a kind of Junior High level doc about Hershey Park which I used to go to almost once a year or so when I was a fresh wee neurotic in Catholic School garb.
They spent a lot of time on this happy gent who plays a massive organ for a roller rink at one of the parks. The glossiness of it all cheered me greatly and made me think of Peter Pan.
Sadly, they focused primarily on the rollercoasters at all the parks. Which are cool. But then whenever they got to some funky eerie designed rides or park decoration the cameraman suddenly got ADD. One place had a nursery rhyme theme going like Maryland's own dear departed Enchanted Forest - http://theenchantedforest.ellicottcity.net/ - and had some great detailed slightly grotesque decor, but the filmmakers flew right past all of it. And come to think of it, why wasn't Maryland's Enchanted Forest mentioned/covered? Maybe there is an MPT doc on it yet to come.
One of my moments of achieving some slight touch of romantic wisdom was when I was fourteen and I somehow ended up on The Zipper - the wildest ride I've ever been on to this day - with this kind of tough, but extremely sexy many leagues cooler than me girl. When we were finished being spun upside down while simultaneously being whipped sideways we both tumbled out of the steel cage of pleasure and the power fox who I placed on a pedestal turned a fetching gray poupon collard green-yellow and tossed her cookies and perhaps even a beer or two onto the pavement that was also covered with scattered coins shaken from the riders' pockets as they broke all rules of gravity.
She beat a quick retreat from the scene but I was happy as a lark. She was human! I too often vomited. Never in public, though. Not until the college lush years anyway.
The special really got me jonesing for the song of the creaking rollercoaster boards, the wafting stench of fried everything, many things on sticks. moles getting whacked, something tiny and shrouded displayed in the back room, rides that swing me around, pin me to walls, dunk me in water - all operated by hungover stooped carnies too slothful to try crank, their nicotined fingers covered in the blue-black of homemade tattoos.
As synchronicity would have it, one of the emails in my box this morning, a morning that crawled even deeper into the harsh airless poophatch of Azathoth, was from my friends Ken and Aimee inviting me and my wife to a day at park called Knoebler's in PA. Ken calls it the best park in the country and this man knows his stuff. He has a masters in arcane fun. Never misses a Mermaid parade, calls all the security guards by name at the Mutter Museum, swam at Coney Island high on glue with Joey Ramone, knows all the funky dim lounges of Baltimore still left standing from the '50s and '60s and can sniff out a duckpin alley like Nixon could sniff out white socks and highwater polyester suit pants.
Sadly, as fate seems to get me with these things every time, despite my fairly sparse social schedule, the amusement park party day is the same day as the legendary ultra fun Shakemore Festival in Westminster. And She Bites is booked this year for 3:30, right before that mean ol' Selena belts out some Roy Orbison with Animal Eyes. She Bites opened up for her in Nashville at the Opry (Granma's Tiny Opry on Visigoth St.) and she stuck a wad of Britney Spears' gum on my mic.
Everly and I will have to venture out to the wilds of PA to check out this park when the weather drops down to below curdling temperatures.