Date: 12-19-11 13:00
After three weeks on evening shift at work — during which I couldn't do my radio show, and had to miss a couple of cool concerts in my area — I took my wife to my company's holiday party. It was being held at the Broadmoor Hotel, which (I've always been told) really does it up for Christmas. (If any hotel in this neck of the woods can "do it up" for the holidays, it's the Broadmoor.)
Well, if "doing it up" means "out-doing every other smarmy, cheesy entertainment package on the circuit," then I guess I've seen the most "done-up" Christmas show available. The seven-piece combo actually was quite talented, but its presentation was buried in gushes of holiday sentiment. When it played the opening theme from A Charlie Brown Christmas (which I thought sounded quite nice), they had this clumsy loop of the animated special's opening ice-skating scene on the big screen behind them, playing over and over.
The show included a trio of female singers, "The Dinettes," giving the chirpiest renditions of holiday classics heard on this earth since The Lawrence Welk Show went off the air. The "girls" all wished to meet Frank Sinatra for Christmas, and whadd'ya know, Ol' Blue Eyes himself (rakish hat and all) came onstage to serenade the ladies, who ooh'ed and swooned and fluttered their eyes at the guy as if they had no idea how Sinatra had treated women when he was alive.
A guy in a Santa suit came out, and did a short magic show in front of the audience. And a well-known local children's chorale came onstage to participate; they entered from either side of the stage, moving in a slow, stealthy way (sort of like Scooby and Shaggy always did, just before they bumped into the creepy villain) and looking about themselves with mock wonder at the festivities they were about to participate in. (Poor kids.)
But the lowest points of the show came from the "star," a singer/guitarist named Jim Salestrom. He looks like a younger version of the filmmaker Michael Moore. He sings in a nasal voice, and performed the most unctuous holiday songs in the book. During some of his songs, the big screen showed photos of Salestrom on stage with some well-known entertainers. Yep, the guy actually was determined to show the crowd, "Hey, I've played with some big names, and I can prove it!"
The show did have some worthwhile moments. The violinist did a great job on "God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen." The band did "Toy Sack," the Bob Rivers parody of "Love Shack" — a fun song, and one I never thought I'd hear done live. The Sinatra imitator actually had a good voice. And one of the Dinettes did a solo of "Ave Maria." She sounded great, but the look on her face during the aria made it seem like she was working & concentrating desperately to get through it just right ... as if she'd been warned she'd be demoted back to kitchen staff if she hit a bum note.
The show's absolute nadir (for me) came when Salestrom introduced a song by telling the audience about getting to meet his idol. He then led the crowd in a sing-along of one of his idol's best-known songs ... "Rocky Mountain High." The big screen showed scenic shots of Colorado, interspersed with photos of John Denver. The song culminated with a shot of Salestrom, as a teenager, sitting on a porch playing guitars with John Denver.
Whew! On the bright side, I know I'm gonna have a good Christmas. It's got nowhere to go but up.