Reverb Broads 2011, December 5:
What is the one thing you finally did this year that you always wanted or said you were going to do, but in your heart of hearts never thought you would actually do? (courtesy of Amy Krajek at http://2bperfectlyfrank.blogspot.com)
I’ve done lots of things this year that I’ve always wanted, and I’ve done lots of things that, in my heart of hearts, I never thought I would do, but in only one case that I can think of right now were they they same thing.
The Darling Husband and I celebrated our 15th wedding anniversary this year. To be more specific, we celebrated it three times. This wasn’t something we really planned, but since the day itself was a Wednesday full of work and family stuff, we did special things before and after October 5. I’ve already blogged about the Frank Turner concert we went to — it wasn’t really intended as an anniversary thing, but it was so wonderful to share that with my favorite person that it turned into something that shone a light on how much we have in common, and how awesome that is. And I gave us tickets to see John Hodgman at the Fitzgerald Theater, but that wasn’t until November.
But the closest outing to the actual date ended up being a Cinematic Titanic performance. My great and good friend Mary (who’s also doing Reverb Broads #11 at Ghost of a Rose) was raving about the show she’d gone to with her husband, and when I wished we could go, she pointed me at a link for tickets to shows in Minneapolis three days later.
But what is Cinematic Titanic, you ask?
One night, when I was in high school, I came home at curfew like the good little girl I was, but I wasn’t tired yet. So I flipped on the TV in the living room, and proceeded to watch something that changed my life.
In the ’90s, some Minnesota guys filmed themselves and some puppets as they made snarky comments about old B-movies. Because so many of the films were bad sci-fi, it was called Mystery Science Theater 3000. At first, it was only on public access, but the series got picked up by the Comedy Channel, where it ran for several years before making a brief, final shift to Sci Fi. There were personnel changes over the years, but the format and quality of the comedy remained high. It’s quirky, heavy on the cultural references and bizarre improv jokes, and based on some of the weirdest, worst films in human history — perfect geek humor.
I loved MST3K instantly, and not just because I fell in love with Gamera, the kaiju atomic flying turtle monster in that first episode I saw. And when Cam came to the States to marry me in 1996, there was a very short list of things I felt he really needed to see to understand what life in America was going to be like. One of them was Saturday Night Live; the other was Mystery Science Theater 3000. We watched episodes together and with friends, and so many inside jokes and taglines from those hilarious two-hour stretches still live on in our conversation today.
The geniuses behind MST3K are still making bad movies better for all of us, in a variety of ways. One of those projects is RiffTrax, headed up by longtime writer and second host Michael J. Nelson, along with Kevin Murphy (2nd Servo) and Bill Corbett (2nd Crow). And the other is Cinematic Titanic, featuring Trace Beaulieu (Dr. Forrester and 1st Crow), “TV’s Frank” Conniff, J. Elvis Weinstein (Dr. Laurence Erhardt and 1st Servo), and other assorted players.
On the night we went, they were joined by the original host, Joel Hodgson (Joel Robinson) and Mary Jo Pehl (Magic Voice and Pearl Forrester). The movie was a Japanese atrocity called (very fittingly) Genocide (called War of the Insects in the West, and on the upcoming CT DVD), which hands-down takes the prize for the worst movie I’ve ever seen. It both begins and ends with a mushroom cloud. That really says it all right there. But we laughed so hard our ribs and faces ached for hours, and afterwards we got to meet the whole cast and get autographs. They were bemused and (I hope) pleased when I told them how I’d used their show to establish the baseline for what’s been a very happy 15 years of marriage.
It’s an exceedingly odd thing, meeting celebrities; it’s even odder meeting celebrities you know only by voice. Sitting on the rug in our living room, with the doors of my mind blown clean off their hinges, I never dreamed I would shake hands with any of the folks on the Satellite of Love. But this year, I did.