After the hell of the last few weeks, I really needed an evening off. Not a day off. Saturday morning and early afternoon I was at school helping to run a badminton tournament. But I reserved the evening for myself.
Good friends Roman and Ed met me downtown at Catch Thirty-Five. I had never been there, but the food and atmosphere are amazing. It was pricy, but I have spent most of the past year in save mode, so I thought an evening’s entertainment was worth a small splurge.
After wards, it was around the corner on to State Street to the Chicago Theater.
I had never been inside this Chicago landmark, and about 30 seconds after entering, I was kicking myself. This is a true theater! Not exceptionally large, but full of that Roaring 20’s opulence. I can’t believe that in the 1980s there was thought given to tearing the place down. I will need to find new excuses to see some shows here.
What the three of us went to see was a fulfillment of our geekly duties. It is 2016, and this is the 50th anniversary year of Star Trek. There are several conventions planned around the world, but I have no plans to travel to those, so this was the next best thing – Star Trek: The Ultimate Voyage. This is a live orchestra touring to play the music from the television series and films. It has been far too long since I attended a live music performance (and that was a very cool a capella performance in Seattle man years back). This was really geeky, but I figure for all I have followed the show and series, I should do something as part of the 50th anniversary, and this seemed pretty enjoyable.
The performance was really great, and it was good to spend time with good friends. We were sitting in mezzanine boxes that put us at eye level with the large screen. Each of the central larger boxes had maybe ten seats, and then a table that sat maybe 4-5 more people. Michael Dorn (who played Worf) narrated the video part of the show. There were sections dedicated to each series where they chose one or two highlights and played the live music to that scene. One highlight from the original series was the Kirk v. Spock battle to the death from the episode “Amok Time” which is the most parodied piece of music from the series. Other sections were more thematic (Klingons, leadership, the Borg, challenges, perseverance, etc). The finale was the original orchestration to the original Star Trek theme which is not performed very often. When Alexander Courage was commissioned to write the theme he was told not to use electronic instruments (like Forbidden Planet, which was largely theremin), and made it sound heroic and exotic. Courage interpreted “exotic” to be “Latin/Caribbean”, and when you hear the original version, parts of it sound like something that might have been played at Desi Arnaz’s Tropicana Club (Star Trek was produced at DesiLu studios early on because Lucille Ball saw something in the series a lot of people missed early on … so maybe there was a connection, though I doubt it). The theme was a hit, but when it was orchestrated for television, most of the Latin flavor was lost to be replaced with a chorus. I had only heard this recorded once, so it was a nice treat to hear that live.
All in all, it was a good night. I have four days left before Spring Break, then I am off to prepare a 30 minute lesson for second graders on space based on some questions they have submitted. I also need to start working on my schoolwide fundraiser project, and a quiz based fundraiser for Ed’s son’s school.