Monday, February 18, 2013

Free Glow Sticks

The Crow Collection of Asian Art waited until Friday to celebrate the Chinese New Year, which seems a little late, but if you're going to go to the trouble of closing off some streets and filling them with food trucks and photo booths and stations where you could color in a paper snake and then staple it to a hat, you might as well wait until the weekend.

I'd seen the strip of street between the Crow and the Nasher Sculpture Museum converted into a performance area before, so I should have remembered that it's nigh impossible to see anything if you arrive late. Even half an hour early it was already a perimeter of three or four deep, people standing on benches and garbage cans to gain a little height, visibility tolerable except for all the good parents lifting kids up on their shoulders. And so, for a time, our main entertainment was an overheard conversation about the performers having been told one time and the audience another. Which explained the lion heads arriving in plastic, the dancers first in sweats and then in hot pink get ups with fringe all up the pants. A woman with a bucket asked if we had glow sticks and before we could decide if we wanted to pay for such frivolity, we had said, "No," and she had given us two sticks each. Dustin joined them together to make a super necklace. I twisted mine into a crown. And everything was more bearable with them glowing; something to see when the martial artists dipped low or kicked not high enough and  for twenty minutes we knew they were there mostly by the occasional sound of vibration from their shiny, floppy swords. Which is why we hadn't left out of boredom by time the dragon dancers came on. It was hard to see the dancers, but the dragon they manipulated by poles into saunters and chases and dives, the dragon skimmed above the crowd line, chasing a ball.

And then the lion dancers came on, a pair to make up each lion, and the lions all flapping mouths and blinking eyes and wagging tails. We did not have an red envelope of money to feed the beasts, but stayed until the eight of them had worked the crowd, the lions on one end swallowing the envelopes from children and on the other end skillfully ignoring little hands trying to catch the swishing tails. We stayed until the crowd was gone and there was nothing left to see.


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