Last Thursday I went on the best date ever. Assuming that your idea of best date ever involves puppets and growling and big hunks of meat, but really if it doesn't you're lame and might as well stop reading now. The date activity and location were a surprise. I was just told to meet in front of the the Manhattan Mall at 6:30. While being guided out of the hubbub of Herald square I was told we'd be seeing "a little theater" right as we approached "Peep World" so my eyes were all prepped for the rolling when out of the Taxi clogged lanes of 7th avenue emerged Madison Square Garden's huge blinking sign announcing "Walking with Dinosaurs Live."
Walking with Dinosaurs, for those of you who manage to keep your Tivo off of the Discovery Channel (for shame!), is a BBC program staring Computer Generated dinosaurs engaging in everyday dinosaur things like snacking on the flesh of other dinosaurs and fleeing forest fires all while being fucking huge. The live version replaces CG with robots and puppets and the TV with 6000 screaming 6 year old boys.
It was very romantic.
My boyfriend may be a dinosaur loving fool, but he's not crazy enough to spend $100 for top shelf viewing, especially since he knows I'll give it up for midrange. Luckily our not-quite-nosebleeds were located directly behind the sound board so we were instantly upgraded to seats only a few rows back from the stage where the kids whose parents really love them get to sit. Pursuing the program preshow, I learned that the puppets were made with "muscles bags" and "voodoo kits." How could this be anything other than awesome?
The show started with a huge raptor-like beast chowing down on some cute widdle baby dinosaurs -- way to pave the road for the chorus of bawling children to come! Actually, for a show about creatures who regularly sucked the marrow out of eachother's bones, there was surprisingly little violence on stage. The dinos mostly meander around sniffing each other's butts and grunting. Save the hatchlings, there is no blood shed and the one meal of the 90 minute program shows up already dead and half eaten at the opening of Act 2. They never even charge the annoying guy playing the paleontologist time traveler even though everyone in the audience, even those under 5, spend the whole show dreaming of seeing him decapitated before he can utter another inane joke. This level of peace amongst giant lizards seems like a dangerous precedent to set. I can't help but think about what will happen when a time machine goes wacky sending a bus load of elementary school kids into the Jurassic where, based on the lessons learned in this play (and from Barney), the kids will stream from the bus hoping for some big friendly dinosaur hugs only to be greeted as tasty hor'dourves. As a society we should work harder at teaching all kids to cower in fear.
Sometimes the boyfriend refers to me as an amateur botanist because I'm constantly making him stop on street corners to ooh and ahh over foilage. The plants of Walking With Dinosaurs were each individual little windsocks that popped up proudly out of the edge of the stage and when a volcano spewed ash into the air withered up in a way that was vaguely reminiscent of a penis. While Variety's review of the show specifically mentioned being disappointed in the plants I loved them and am hugely grateful to the poor little stagehand who has to slump around stuffing each and every one back into it's little condom like holder between the acts.
Overall, the dinosaur puppets were amazing. Most were a robot/puppet hybrid. All were GIGANTIC. You're sitting there thinking, "yeah, i know, big, whatever," but seriously they were BIG -- their necks stretched out over the audience, their teeth were roughly 7 feet long, I believe the head of at least one creature extended well outside of the earth's orbit. The puppets were also impressively realistic, however many of the large motorized beasts looked like they were perpetually standing in a presquat crouch that seemed like it could lead to a dinosaur sized number 2 at any moment. The show eventually made the dreams of the entire audience come true when a stegosaurus rumbled and growled and shook until a compact and surprisingly clean looking 1 foot in diameter poo rolled out onto the stage. The six year olds went wild -- nothing pleases the savage elementary schooler like a good poo joke.
I give the dinosaurs, the penis plants, the poo and even the paleontologist at big thumbs up, even though AM New York (the trashy free daily for those you not living the NYC) found it lacking (2 stars? Am I to assume we're rating in binary these days?). My boyfriend is a lucky man to have found the only girl in New York who puts out for dinosaur puppets.
Our date ended at Dinosaur BBQ, because I appreciate nothing more than a good theme. And meat. All in all way better than dating a TRex.
This post is cross posted at Burt Reynold's Mustache