Monday, April 28, 2003

Ahhhh.... The Suburbs.

Jamie and I, in our eternal voyage to find something resembling entertainment in the Greater Chandler area, went to the Chandler Jazz Festival this weekend. The event kind of highlighted everything that's more or less wrong with Chandler.

The event was put on with the gusto of an elementary school carnival, complete with the little light up necklaces filled with carcinogens and radium. We arrived some time around 7:15, wandering down Arizona Avenue across from the City Municipal building. There were swarms of middle-aged white folk, and we heard not a note or lick of music, and for some reason, there was a hot-air balloon being set-up in the little park area. For a split second I feared we'd stumbled into some sort of AARP riot, but as we passed Razzleberry's, I finally heard some yokel singing.

We were assaulted by someone I assumed was a bum (although, honestly, i've yet to see any bums in Chandler) who then tried to get Jamie and I to buy a CD. For some reason he had decided i must be a musician (probably because I was under 45 and had no children with me.)

Chandler is to children as New York is to
a) Pidgeons
b) Roaches
c) Rats
d) Would-be-actors/ waiters
e) All of the Above

The answer is: A) Pidgeons. The only difference is kids can't fly out of the way when you really hit the gas. The answer is not E) because that would encompass answer d) and as we all know would-be-actors/ waiters have hope, and hope is not a commodity that springs forth freely in Chandler, AZ.

Anyway, I don't know much about Jazz, but I know it generally has little to do with hot-air balloons or children or the single worst faux-Mardi Gras parade knock-off ever. Baptist churches probably do a better job than this at emulating the genuine Mardi Gras experience. 10 Golf carts with fat suburbanites throwing beads at old women (whom I was PRAYING would not do the usual to collect their beads) somehow didn't make me wonder if I were lost on Bourbon street. Or maybe it did. It was like someone had once seen Mardi Gras on TV and had spent 10 years dreaming up how to make it worse.

At 8:00 we retired to the Kikko-something Winery/ Bistro where I tried to get drunk, but not so drunk I couldn't drive home. A trio was playing inside to little or no applause. Solos were met with round indifference, and eventually the drummer started purposely banging really hard just to annoy people. The desire to own my own drum swelled within my heart.

At 8:15 they knocked off, and, curiously, no one replaced the band. At 8:40 Jamie and I stepped out onto Arizona avenue and across the street once again to Razzleberry's where we had a rootbeer float to soak up the booze. We re-emerged onto the street, and at 9:00pm, I realized that not only had the Jazz festival already ended (with a whimper), but they were closing down all of downtown Chandler.

I don't know what I was expecting out of the Jazz festival, but like everything else in Arizona, there was a concept and absolutely no follow-through. And is it really that good of an idea to schedule against the New Orleans Jazz Festival? The concept of a desirable headline act clearly eluded the organizers as well as the concept of any actual venues or artists.

I'm not saying I didn't have fun, because I did. And I found out the San Marcos hotel is an historical landmark where luminaries such as Jimmy Stewart once golfed and vacationed. I just wish that just once, something in Arizona would appear to have been thought out with a little more strategy than a 3rd grade play.

Apparently we missed Queen Creek, Arizona's "Country Thunder", a two day musical event where lots and lots of white trash tends to get arrested. Next year I'm going to that.

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