a theatre, film & pop culture review
While Britney Spears’ Circus Tour is ripe for analysis for all you queer and feminist theorists out there (maybe a tad less so for you music scholars), where’s the fun in that? I mean, really: despite the dwarves and Bollywood refrences — not to mention the whips and cages and giant umbrellas (oh my!) — the experience of attending, and even more so, the preparation and anticipation for that experience — is more than half the fun. And so, I offer you a (slightly) tongue-in-cheek play-by-play of my delightful day of Britney that occurred on August 25, 2009:
A 13-STEP GUIDE TO CIRCUS TRAINING…BITCH
What to do the Day of the Show, Y’all
Listen to every Britney album on a constant rotation for at least 24 hours prior to the big event. This includes Brit’s “Greatest Hits: My Perogative,” which offers the distinct pleasure of hearing gems like “Crazy” and “Lucky” twice within a single rotation. Which makes you crazy-lucky.
Wish desperately that “E-mail My Heart” had been made into a single. Ponder the poetry of the pure and illuminating, late 90s lyrics: “I can see you in my mind / coming on the line / and opening this letter that I’ve sent a hundred times.” Ridiculous insightful commentary on our technologically-obsessed time.
Get a good night’s rest and drinks plenty of fluids. You’ll need to be alert — prepare for flashing lights; revolving, multi-tiered sets, blinding sequins; + dwarves, acrobats, and ridiculously toned dancers. Don’t forget to hydrate too (must. keep. up. with. screaming. 12 year olds.) It may also be beneficial to do a few stretches and vocal warm-ups.
Try not to be too obvious that instead of working, you’re actually following Brit on Twitter. (She’s somewhere in Manhattan, below 60th, above 12th. So elusive. But you vow to find her and win those front row tickets)
Carefully select your faves B-lyrics. Post said lyrics — not too obvious, not too obscure — as Facebook statuses every hour on the hour (while continuing the performance of “working”). Delight in the fact that closet Brit fans are outing themselves by joyfully completing the lyrics. Feel warmth in your heart when unassuming others imagine you are in the throes of young love or existentially pondering your life in the big city. [Make mental note to burn all 5 cds for those uninitiated to B’s magic.]
Curse the young trollops who discovered Brit’s “hiding place” in the M&M store in Times Square. Continue to grumble to yourself that you could’ve found her too if you were 16 and didn’t have to work for the Man. Shake it off, and head downstairs to Duane Reade and purchase your own M&Ms. Brit would want you to.
After the completion of a monotonous and generally unproductive 8 hours (ie. every Monday through Friday of your life), meet best Brit-fan gal pal for power happy hour. Discover the joys of the cucumber martini — again and again and again.
Proceed to Madison Square Garden, where throngs of Britney clones swarm afore merch stands (while their parents fiercely attack the many, many bars located throughout). Try desperately to find “You want a piece of me” tee, but settle for a photo-op with a life-size Britney cardboard cut-out. Nab a sample of B’s new fragrance “Circus” as you elbow past the remarkably aggressive teeny boppers.
Skip opening act of Jordin Sparks (“Battlefield” blows, anyway) in favor of continued quest to find aforementioned tee. As attempt #2 = big fail, trudge up stair after stair to outrageously expensive seats that are located in BFE. Settle in, catch your breath, and proceed to make new friends with your fellow Britney fans, including a charming lad who, rocking out a fedora, later snaps his fingers and swivels his hips while intensely singing along full-tilt to the entire act. Love him.
The Circus begins! Acrobats, dwarves, and clowns ascend the tri-circle stage and delight with trampoline tricks, fierce juggling, and generaly awe-inspiring feats of flexibility, balance, and strength. Begin to get a bit anxious, and wish the circus bit wasn’t so over-done. WE WANT BRITNEY.
As the Circus Countdown projected on the massive screens dwindles to 0: stand, cheer, and become giddy with excitement as Brit magically appears onstage amidst the tremendous applause/screaming of thousands of rabid fans. Proceed to sing loudly and dance embarrassingly to some of B’s biggest hits (and some of her more forgettable, but obligatory Circus tracks), as she struts in scarily high heels and feigns masturbation at one point — remember “The Touch Of My Hand”? — all while scantily clad. Highlight: naughty police officer Brit Brit readies to kick your Womanizing ass in the encore. Even after two kids and all those Cheetos, she’s still H-O-T.
Exhausted, but still high off the excitement of the crowd and B’s magneticism, follow the herd out of the arena, and in one last-ditch effort, make a pit stop at the huge merch stand in the lobby. Buy second-choice tee (and another not-to-be disclosed item), and wander happily to the 1-train, where you proceed to make more (lovely French) Brit-fan friends and guzzle ice-cold water to soothe parched throat from too much singing.
Riding the train, and walking the few blocks home, keep the B-buzz going with your i-pod. Fall into bed, happy and content with your full and bedazzling Circus experience, with which you’ll regale your co-workers tomorrow while you do some more “work.”
Until next time…it’s Britney, Bitch.