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Excellent Weekend
Bar Harbor
Traveling to Chicago was largely uneventful; the best kind of travel. We rented a car and drove to the hotel, getting some minor road-rage honking directed at us en route. Ran into Phyllis and Barry Gilbert in the lobby. We *had* been planning to drive to the play, but they convinced us that the bus was a much better idea.

Checked in, unpacked a bit, then went in quest of food. Found a place called Potbelly Sandwich Works, which was pretty good. Kes was greatly pleased with their chocolate milkshakes.

Back to hotel, where we ran into learnedax and cat9. Bus was late, which started to give me Warrior Bus Lines flashbacks, but it did arrive not long after. It was quite the lengthy trip, so I was glad to not be driving.

At the theater, met Rick and Libby, and shmoozed for a while upstairs, while waiting for showtime. Every time I visit Lifeline, seeing the posters of their productions makes me sad that I don't live nearer to them. They've done a musical adaptation of Bongo Larry (with Two Bad Bears)!

Kes and I got front row seats. Just before the show started, new_man, mermaidlady, and lakshmi_amman arrived, and there was much rejoicing.

The show itself was most excellent, in every regard. Especially notable:
* Their Richard Mayhew (who was also the adapter), gave a pitch-perfect performance.
* The set design, supported by brilliant lighting and sound, managed to portray a staggering variety of locales, to great success.
* Some great fights involving Hunter
* Last, but O so far from least, A Great Beast of London that was worthy of the name.

Another looong ride back to the hotel, then crashing.

In the (late) morning, Kes and I had planned to go on a bookstore expedition. What with sleep dep, and general being-old-ness, we only actually got to one. It was a good one, though, called "Half Price Books". I got two books (including a Daniel Pinkwater I had previously missed), and Kes got three. There were others that tempted us, but considerations of "How do we get these in our luggage" provided bonuses to our saving throws :-)

I arrived at the wedding site early, to help set up. There were many hands, so I didn't have too much to do, but did help assemble the huppa, which was cool. We did a rehearsal, and I found that for the entrances and exits I would be paired with Maryann, who would also be performing a short story during the ceremony. I have met her several times before, but I always have trouble recognizing her, since she made such a strong visual impression the first time we met -- at a vampire LARP, where she looked decidedly inhuman :-)

After the rehearsal, there were hypothetically going to be photos of the wedding party. We did a scenic walk along a slightly muddy path -- Maryann was wearing spike heels, and not happy about the terrain. We arrived at the even-more-scenic covered bridge -- which actually had lots of traffic going through, so they had to grab shots in a fairly guerrilla fashion. They photographers concentrated on Rick & Libby, and, what with one thing and another, didn't get to the rest of us unti it was time for me to head back and pick up Kes for the wedding itself.

Once again ran into Cat and Alex in the lobby, and gave them a ride to the site. Alex was heard to remark that this was the most dressed up he had ever seen me, which is very likely true. The last time I *remember* wearing a tux was at Mike Fortner's wedding. I may have worn one once since then, since I know cvirtue has a picture of me in a tux, and I don't *think* it dates back that far... (Phyllis told me I dressed up real nice :-)

I got Kes safely seated, and headed off to my mark. Almost time for ceremony! Went over my story, sub voce, one last time. Observed Maryann doing the same :-)

Wedding party entered, two by two, to fairly traditional music. Then Rick, in his fancy tails, and wearing a battered old fedora, to the strains of the Indiana Jones theme :-) His parents accompanied him, then Libby entered, accompanied by her parents, and wearing a gorgeous red dress of her own manufacture. Bride and groom were radiantly happy.

Lots of good material from the officiant, including the (Greek) mythological origins of the two sexes. Maryann gave a great personal reminiscence about Rick and Libby. She forgot a few lines, but, as promised, we love her anyways :-)

Brief digression: When the couple had solicited storytellers to participate in the ceremony, I was at first doubtful. After all, the bulk of my material is 20 minutes and up, and they wanted *short* bits. Well, Rick did say he wanted The Wedding of Ruggiero and Bradamante at some point in the night, but I couldn't see condensing that down to a couple of minutes. But then I bethought me of the ineffable Mullah Nasrudin, most of whose stories are quite short indeed. I did a quick web search, and the *first* *hit* was a story about How Nasrudin Sought the Perfect Wife. Clearly, it was destiny. I had to adapt it some, to fit the style and message I wanted, so here it is.
"Mullah Nasrudin, have you ever been married?"
"I regret to say that I have not, though when I was younger, I almost did get married."
"What happened?"
"I was keen to marry the perfect wife, so I traveled far and wide, searching for such a one. In Morocco, I met a beautiful dancer who was joyful and carefree, but alas, she had no sense of the spiritual. In Egypt, I met a princess, wise and beautiful, but alas, her screeching voice drove me to distraction. Finally in India, after years of searching, I found her. Beautiful, charming, devastatingly intelligent, wise far beyond her years. Here, at last, was the perfect wife."
"Well then, Nasrudin, why did you not marry her?"
"Alas, she was seeking the perfect husband."

There was sharing of wine, with commentary from the bride's mother. There was the breaking of the glass, with commentary by the groom's father -- commentary that made Libby's face go through the most *amazing* expressions at times, as he drifted off into some rather impolite, if amusing, metaphors.

Exchange of rings, kissing. And one final surprise, organized by the officiant: "We *all* pronounce you (mass chorus) HUSBAND AND WIFE!" The happy couple kiss some more, then exit to the joyful strains of "I'm a Believer".

Food was excellent, and copious. They even managed to arrange it so that there weren't hideous lines or delays. Wedding favors consisted of six-sided dice, marbled red, with gold pips, the six having been replaced by an infinity symbol, containing the initials LB and RG. There were also similarly customized D10s, for those at the wedding who would appreciate such :-)

Good Toasts. Good company and conversation. After a while, Kestrell pumpkined, so I took her back to the hotel.

When I returned, the dancing had just started. I was pretty wiped, and so not interested in either dancing, nor standing around in a noisy tent watching dancing. I had hoped to do some longer-form storytelling, but, as so often happens when an enthusiastic-but-over-booked event planner says "there will be a venue for storytelling", there really wasn't. Still, I was determined to stick around for the Grand Finale, so I sat and amused myself until I heard that they were setting up for...

The Pie Fight.

Out in the parking lot, lit only by car headlights, folks were assembling something on the order of 150 'pies' (paper plates loaded with copious amounts of whipped cream). I helped. People started to gather. Many of them put on plastic ponchos, but I scorned such cowardice. Clothes would have to be dry-cleaned afterwards *anyways*, so why take half-measures? John was wearing an excellent bowler hat, and steampunk goggles, albeit with the lenses removed ("Ze goggles, zey do nussing!")

David explained the rules. "The groom starts on this side. The bride starts on the other side. That's it for rules." Chaos rapidly ensued. I think about twenty people participated. Within seconds, my glasses were *completely* covered in cream, and I had to take them off to be able to see at all. Even with one hand and impaired targeting abilities, I did manage to get Rick and Libby at least once each. Being the honored couple, they were quite thoroughly pie-d, though Rick definitely got the most. He clearly *expected* to get very pie-d, but he did seem to take some offense when people used the pies as melee weapons :-) The photographers circled the crowd (at a safe distance), so there should be documentary evidence available soon.

There had been some fears that it might not work out, or be anti-climactic -- this did not happen. It was Epic. Yet, not too epic; the pies ran out just as the mob's first wind was flagging.

I wiped off as best I could in the parking lot, then bundled my coat into a plastic container for the trip back. Once in the hotel, even though I was pretty fried, I did a bit of hand-washing, took a shower, and packed the still-slimy clothes away carefully.

Morning. Saw Rick and Libby one last time at the hotel buffet, which was nice. Then Kes and I headed back to the airport for the trip home. Or so we thought...

It seems that our flight had needed to switch planes unexpectedly. To a plane with twenty fewer seats. So we listened as increasingly-desperate announcers tried to get volunteers to get bumped. Their first offer was for a $300 travel voucher, and getting placed on a 6 PM flight, with a connection in Philadelphia, getting into Boston at midnight. No Thank You. But as the flight time got closer and closer, and they started boarding, they kept upping the offer. When they got to "$500 voucher, overnight hotel room, voucher for dinner, and a 9:55 AM flight tomorrow," I started seriously considering. I am on vacation this week, so didn't *have* to be home on Sunday. And Kes and I have been talking about taking a trip to New Orleans some time in the vague-but-not-too-distant future. So, after talking it over for a bit, we volunteered at the last minute.

The deal didn't work out quite as well as we might have hoped. The Radisson Des Plaines was not an impressive hotel, and they screwed up the food voucher. On the other hand, we ended up having quite a pleasant dinner next door at the Longhorn Steakhouse. We were too wiped to do much of anything with the rest of the day, so we crashed out in the hotel room. Channel-surfing, we came upon a Treme marathon. This is a new HBO drama about life in New Orleans immediately post-Katrina. Kes being already in a "thinking about New Orleans" mood, was quite pleased. John Goodman gives good rant.

This morning, we *actually* made it home. The trip was annoying, but not tragically so, and we made it safely. After unpacking, I made an expedition down the street to the local dry-cleaners. They *were* impressed :-)

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The picture I have of you in a suit or tux is from when you accompanied Kes to some award-or-other.

Glad you had a good time!

Right! I remember that, though I didn't particularly respect the occasion, the large accompanying scholarship was a big enough bribe :-)

Oh dear. Yes, I can imagine the looks on the dry cleaners faces.

I'm glad you and Kes had such a nice time.

A cream pie fight is a much better idea than the common but (in my opinion) appalling sight of newlyweds smearing each other with cake when they supposedly are feeding each other. Good to hear of it.

Having been around through much of the planning phase, I'm pretty sure that nobody ever considered it as a replacement-- the cake-smear thing was off the table anyway, since instead of a cake, they had a stack of three cylindrical blocks of different solid chocolates, custom-made by a cholocatier friend... No cutting of the cake: they used a hammer and chisel!

Anyway, no frosting there... Rick got the pie fight idea into his head about a week ago, from some inspiration or other, and he's carefully spent the last 20 years surrounding himself with people who are happy to indulge him when he gets absurd thoughts into his fool head...

I heard about the pie fight *weeks* ago, though it might well have taken him until last week to get full commitment to the idea from the other involved parties :-)

As for inspiration, I should think that was obvious :-)

Ding! (though Blazing Saddles has some impact too).

Actually, the idea of the pie fight has been floating around since before we were even engaged, based on a discussion at my cousin's wedding last August. It was relatively recently, though, that he started making sure it would happen.

Incidentally, Rob was not actually playing Richard Mayhew Friday night - That was the understudy. But I agree, he was absolutely wonderful. I will tell him you said so though, since I understand he was very nervous due to the additional pressure of this particular crowd!

I didn't realize that he was the understudy. I'm *really* impressed now!

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