Saturday, February 13, 2010

OOOOOhhh! The 2010 Winter Olympics Opening Ceremonies

The Opening Ceremonies. What'd ya think?

I’m an Olympics freak. I want to like any Olympics’ Opening Ceremony, and I really want to like anything Canada does. (Technically I’m half-Canadian, with ancestors from Quebec and Ontario).

Sport, art, music, drama, spectacle - this is my thing. But … how can I say this politely, and friendly, like a good half-Canadian.

Um, I liked the whales on the floor.

Semi-Hot Mess 
Really - the best parts were those that celebrated nature more than that big noisy hot mess involving violins on the moon and mohawked dancers. Grungie tapdancing fiddling kilted lumberjacks. (And I’m still confused where the Maritimes thing turned into the Quebec part.)

Aside from the music going on forever, and the not-particularly exciting dancing, the set and costumes for that long East Coast section were just jarringly unappealing to me. Even the neon-blue boat against that weird scary orange-yellow moon. Yuck.

The Good, The Meh and the Whimsical 
I liked flying prairie boy. The evocative rainforest. The dudes in red going completely vertically down the tissuey white mountain. And those whales.

But oh, the many phallic symbols. And the cauldron malfunction. And Wayne Gretzky in a fecking pickup truck tooling around downtown Vancouver with a giant doobie. Worst torch light in my memory. Not exactly like the guy coming down the ski jump with the torch (Lillehammer?) or the flaming arrow lighting a cauldron (Barcelona?).

And O, Canada, one of the most beautiful national anthems ever. That dirge version was an early indicator of more missteps to come.

Bob Costas Will Be Back to Say Something Dumb In a Minute 
It also almost seemed like the long musical “codas” were there so US TV could cut away for commercials. Switching back and forth from NBC to online viewing of Eurosport feeds I noted one of the few times NBC missed a really new music section was the Samuel Barber piece - yeah, they missed the *American* composer* - at the end of the rainforest section.

Why We Love the Winter Os 
That said, I still love the Winter Olympics. The small, cozy feeling just makes you want to move to a quaint mountain valley and ski and skate all day. Even if you can't do either.

I enjoy watching almost all the Winter Olympic sports except curling. (Brooms? A top?)

In light of Friday's tragedy, I don’t want to come across as insensitive - but the very fascination of the Winter OOOOOs as a whole IS just how dangerous almost all the sports are. People hurtling down icy mountains and even icier roller-coaster-like tracks. Or in a rink, crashing onto the ice or each other.

And that highest ski jump? I don’t even want to go to the top of that thing and cling to it for dear life. Let alone ski down it and leap off. How breathtakingly insane.

[Photos 1,3,4: TylerIngram. Photo 2: © VANOC/COVAN]

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