the baron

Kassie and I went to History Theatre Friday night to see The Baron. The play was excellent! It was a great way to top off my vacation. Jim Raschke played his modern self and the Baron von Raschke. Four other actors played the younger Raschke, his family, and a host of other wrestlers and miscellaneous characters.

I think I really got into wrestling when I was in 7th grade. The Baron von Raschke was nearing the end of his career. He had always been one of the bad guys, but I remember cheering for him, so I think things may have changed by then. He was my favorite.

The Grunt

Just about that time, Vince McMahon, Jr. purchased the WWF from his father and, against his father's wishes, began to change the way the wrestling business was run. He completely disregarded the territory system, gobbling up smaller wrestling companies and creating the huge entertainment behemoth now known as the WWE.

The Twin Cities were an AWA town. I remember when the WWF first reared its ugly head around here. My friends with cable loved it. We didn't have cable, but I bought a lot of wrestling magazines so I knew what was going on. And I watched it at my friends' houses on occasion. It really bothered me when Hulk Hogan won the WWF Championship. How, I wondered, could the Hulkster win the WWF when he could never beat Nick Bockwinkel in the AWA? What I didn't know was that when McMahon lured Hogan to the WWF from the AWA, it was probably the biggest event in the WWF's history. From that point, the fortunes of the AWA and the WWF went in completely opposite directions.

At the same time, I was getting into (post-)punk music and I was becoming very suspicious of flashy, glitzy, showy entertainment. As the AWA deteriorated and the WWF became the only option, I lost interest in wrestling.

In the play, Raschke gets a chance to give his perspective on the rise of the WWF, its destruction of the business and the steroid freaks that we call wrestlers. It clearly makes him sad and it made me kind of sad, too. As a kid, I didn't have any idea how the wrestling business was run. I just knew that I wasn't too excited about the WWF and I'm sort of surprised that there was much more to the story than I could have ever known, but twenty-five years later, my feelings regarding the subject are much the same.

The Baron runs through May 20. If you watched AWA wrestling in the '70s and '80s, you'll really enjoy it. However, Kassie recognized only a couple names along the way, but she loved it, too.

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body and sold

Kassie and I went to UBC last night to see Body and Sold, a play based on the stories of young people who got involved in sex trafficking. As you might expect, it was quite emotionally draining.

I really enjoyed it. I was somewhat surprised that I did.

I have never seen Schindler's List. I've never been able to work myself into the mindset required to watch thirteen hours (or whatever) of Holocaust. I went to the Holocaust Museum in Washington, DC. That was an emotional drain. To voluntarily enter into a thing that I know will be depressing is tough. At least the sun was shining yesterday.

Similarly, I often get into things without really thinking about the possible discomfort it might entail until I'm well on my way to the event. For instance, our church has a thing called Dinners for Eight. Someone hosts a total of eight people at their home for dinner. I think it sounds like fun at church when we sign up. I enjoy helping to put something together to bring (although my actual contribution is usually, "Yeah, that sounds good."). Then, as we get out of the car, I start to dread it. What if no one talks? What if everyone's boring, including me?

It's the same with route training at work. It sounds like a nice break when Joel asks me if I want to do some. Then, on the way to work that day, I start to think, "What if I'm training someone with whom I've had a conflict? What if it's someone who is difficult to talk to?"

I've never actually had problems with Dinners for Eight or training. But I have had some pretty painful experiences with amateur theater. There was this one time at the Ankeny Community Theater...

I got home from work late, got dressed and we left. As we arrived, I realized that I was not necessarily in the proper mood to watch a depressing play. I started to get the "what have I gotten myself into" dread. But I was more than pleasantly surprised by the quality of the production last night. I'm no theater critic. I know very little about it; I just know what I like and don't like. None of the actors annoyed me. In fact, I think they were all really good. The pace never dragged and I was especially thankful for that, given the gravity of the topic. And the play itself was interesting and well-written. Plus, the f-bomb at church!

But unfortunately, afterward we were exhausted and missed 2165's birthday party.

The play is showing again tonight if you have nothing to do. I've got Modest Mouse to do.

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