Thursday, September 13, 2012

The Mavericks – “Dance the Night Away”

  We start off by staring at four security monitors stacked in what looks like a really crappy office somewhere. The monitors seem to be showing empty grocery store aisles, but they could just as easily be showing deserted high-school hallways two minutes after the final bell has rang. Cut to one of those aisles (yep, we’re in a grocery store) where some employee is unenthusiastically shoving along a broom, looking like he’d rather be anywhere else in the entire world. This is how I feel when I’m performing my own work duties, so we instantly become best friends forever, at least virtually.

  Back to the crappy office, where a security guard is napping and not realizing that we appear to have four people staring directly at the four security cameras. This is a somewhat creepy image that makes me think of people screaming and running from other people waving bloody implements. Then we cut to a stocker who is fiddling with some produce that doesn’t really look like it needs to be fiddled with. He looks as bored as his little co-worker with the broom. This is clearly not a very soul-enriching place to work.

  Then the music starts on the soundtrack (almost forgot we were actually watching a music video and not an art film about boredom and psychological damage) and we have a really tight close-up of somebody playing a guitar, followed by another gander at the security monitors that helps us realize the four creepy people staring back are not waving death machetes but are instead playing instruments.  This reassures me somewhat, but I’m never fully satisfied in life, so we’ll see how it goes.

  Quick shot of three brightly-dressed women prancing through the dairy aisle. They also appear to be doing something with instruments, but you don’t really notice because their clothes are so vibrant and the one woman’s afro is so big that it might throw the moon out of alignment. We get glimpses of the other “real” band members mucking about in the aisles, but they are nowhere near as interesting as the tres amigas and their fruit-flavored ensemble. (Although the one guy pushing his drums in a shopping cart does get a few bonus points for effort.)

  The security guard finally realizes something is amiss (the booze must be wearing off) and he decides to investigate. This will probably take him a while (he’s the old and creaky version of a security guard, the kind where you wonder what people were thinking when they hired him, because he sure ain’t gonna catch nothin’ that runs), so we zip around the store to see what folks are up to now that impromptu entertainment has arrived.

  Broom Boy is now dancing with his previously-hated stick-mate, and they seem to be having a swell time. Produce Boy has picked up a buddy and both of them are happily piling up the fruit as fast as they can. (Yes, you can interpret that last line in a number of ways.) And the trio of women (they need a name, let’s call them the Chaquita Cha-Cha’s) are blowing away on their horns with an intensity that might need to be pharmaceutically regulated at some point.

  Oh, and the band members continue to wander about as well, playing their instruments and/or singing, whatever they are contractually obliged to do. But they just can’t compete with the Cha-Cha’s, nor with the other crazy folks that suddenly come running out of wherever they were hiding when this place used to be boring and dull and didn’t have a floor show. We’re going to see a lot of them as the video progresses, so let’s do a meet and greet, shall we?

  One older woman (who might be a man, and somewhat looks like Phyllis Diller if someone threw her in a washing machine and then picked the wrong cycle) is jitter-bugging about in a startling floral-print dress that looks like it was made from the material on abandoned couches that you see on street corners in the wrong parts of town. She has the kind of look where you know better than to engage her in actual conversation or you will never escape, so if you turn into an aisle and happen to see her, you quickly pretend that you’ve forgotten something on the previous aisle and then you flee the store.

  We have Tumbelina, who insists on doing backflips in the frozen-foods section. She goes by so fast that I don’t really have time to carefully analyze her outfit (it’s just a blur that seems vaguely circus-based) so we’ll just have to assume she’s wearing something stretchy and leave it at that. We also have someone who looks like they would probably greatly enjoy break-dancing if that was still popular and the aisles were wide enough. He likes to shove his face at the camera so we can better review his facial jewelry and extraordinary amounts of hair.

  We check back in on the security guard, who is once again planted in front of his monitors and not really doing anything effective. (See, I told you he didn’t look like the type who could run and make people stop doing things that they shouldn’t.) But he’s probably safer in his little wood-paneled half-office, where he’s less likely to get smashed by the drum-cart or felled by Tumbelina. We can bring him a snack later.

  Oh, we have some new arrivals, in the form of an older couple who may have missed a few vitamin regimens over the past few decades or so. He’s dressed like a Navy admiral or maybe a cruise-ship captain, something with a military theme, and she’s dressed like Nancy Reagan if Nancy Reagan didn’t have people who dressed her. They have a Charlie McCarthy-type ventriloquist doll in the rug-rat seat of their shopping cart, so I know that I will never be friends with them. (Those things scare me. I can sleep peacefully in a haunted house or zip-line in Jamaica but I do not want to be anywhere near a wooden doll with a floppy jaw. Ugh.)

  Side note: The band members are still playing as they stand in or wander about various locations in the store, but they just don’t have the attention-getting qualities of the crazed customers as they pinball about and fail to think in complete sentences. Except for the drummer guy. He does seem to have a bit of flair as well as a fondness for bottles of peroxide.

  Speaking of hair coloring, there’s an additional customer who is furtively snatching things from the shelves in a manner that hints at past criminal activity. I can’t quite put my finger on what avenue of illegality he might have stumbled down (possibly something to do with narcotics or livestock) but I certainly wouldn’t put it past him to do something unsavory with my Granny Smith apples if I happen to leave them unattended.

  Meanwhile, the security guard is now fiddling with the settings on his ancient monitors, like the “brightness” knob being off-kilter a bit might cause the sudden appearance of musical troubadours in retail establishments. Poor guy. Not only is his tool not the sharpest, it’s nowhere even near the shed.

  Then the guard surprises me by lumbering to his feet and chasing after one of the evil-doers, which moves him up a wee notch in the rankings of people who might actually have a purpose in life. But then we see that he’s trying to capture Tumbelina, and his merit scores plummet again. She’s not even making any noise like the rest of the people. Granted, she is repeatedly doing something with her body that Jesus wouldn’t recommend, but she’s so light on her feet that you don’t really notice her unless she happens to land on you.

  But at least the security guard has now introduced the last new element in our story, by initiating a feeble and ill-fated chase sequence. From this point forward, it’s really all much of the same.  Whoops, I may have just lied, because now we have someone dressed like Carmen Miranda sashaying past the carrot display. (That always happens to me. I think the show is over and here comes another drag queen, tardy but fabulous.)

  Oh, and there’s the guy in a purple silk blouse who likes to stand near the bacon and do those spinning high-jumps where he has one leg sticking straight out in front of him. I’m also a huge fan of bacon, but I don’t recall ever having gotten athletic about it. It just goes to show that there many different ways to say “I love you”, and sometimes they include precision choreography.

  We also have a younger couple dancing near the butter, churning up a nice two-step. Well, I think it’s the two-step. And I think it’s a couple. It’s very hard for me to focus because I’m trying to figure out if the guy has a ponytail or just an odd accessory on his cowboy hat. Nothing against ponytails, mind you. Sometimes they can be quite fetching, and they can come in really handy when you’re little and your annoying sister refuses to get off the Big Wheel so you can ride it for a while.

  Seriously, though, I do believe that the last pair of floppy shoes has stepped out of the clown car. Now it’s just a cavalcade of cameos as our new friends cavort among the baked goods and frozen yogurt. The born-again stock boys are still happily arranging the tangerines. The Chiquita’s and their flashy wind section have traversed every aisle. Thurston and Lovey Howell are doing some type of waltz near the cleaning supplies, either inspired by a display of fluffy cotton mops that remind Thurston of a younger Lovey or they have been overcome by the fumes from a spilled bottle of ammonia.

  I’m not really sure what happened to Tumbelina. There may have been an unfortunate encounter with a surprise wall or a poorly-covered mineshaft. Phyllis Diller is still there, alternately doing unexplained leg kicks and coming at the camera like a hummingbird on steroids. (She’s now lugging around a cake carrier, because at her age you never know when someone might pass on and you need to get a covered dish to somebody’s house, pronto.) And Carmen Miranda is accounted for as well, with that tropical salad bar piled on her head, a mess that could shift dangerously at any moment and Carmen could end up ass over designer heels on the floor. (Clean up on aisle 5!)

  Twirling purple-shirt guy continues to rhapsodize about bacon by using his feet, the two-stepping couple manages to continue dominating their sector of the mart despite a brief attempt by another couple with lesser billing but more vibrant hair to steal the show, the security guard just keeps running because he doesn’t know any better, and there’s a small bit where a woman who might possibly be Sandra Bernhard’s younger sister pauses to glare at the camera as if totally appalled that the stock-boys behind her are doing a line dance. (If this causes her concern, she clearly should stay away from any gay-pride parades or venues where people might be singing next to asparagus.)

  We wind things down with a rapid-fire montage of all the colorful characters, letting us know that everyone essentially survived the spontaneous musicality (well, except for Tumbelina, she might be appearing on the back of a milk carton the next time you have brunch), and only limited amounts of therapy may be necessary…

Click Here to Watch the Video on YouTube.

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