Monday, November 1, 2010

Report on the RALLY FOR SANITY by RON PLACONE

The last 48, or wait, has it been 72 hours?  Since Thursday night at around 10:30...it's Sunday now...and I need to find a place to go later so I don't have to give children any candy.  Ok, now that I've established time and place, I had a great time during the Rally for Sanity weekend, I say weekend because there were events the night before, I was lucky enough to be a part of one of them, but, I'll start chronologically.
Thursday night, I came home around 10:30ish to discover that my cat Lucy had been acting odd all day, she used the bathroom in the tub which is very unlike her, and her urine was discolored.  My girlfriend said it was likely a UTI.  Agreeing that this shouldn't wait until after the weekend we took her to a 24-hour Pet Hospital in Castle Shannon.  The Vet was able to see her relatively quickly and we collected a urine sample for him to make diagnosis easier.  We explained our situation that we were heading out of town to DC and would be back Sunday.  She did in fact have a UTI, the Vet gave her a shot and a pill that we had to give her orally.  He told us to give one to her on Friday, then resume the dosage on Sunday when we got back.  He wasn't too thrilled that we'd be skipping a day which made me a bit nervous.  So anyway, Lucy was pretty traumatized as she is not one for vets, she hissed and screamed like a banshee the entire time and was pretty ticked in the car too.  When we got home she was tired and aloof likely due to the shot and all the action she had been through.  I've concluded that Lucy is not a huge fan of authority, she's a loving cat in any situation except Vets and she wasn't a huge fan of airplane security either.  I always thought if she was human she'd be an Audrey Lorde type. 
Anyway, we got home late Thursday night and decided to pack in the morning and were exhausted blah blah blah.
The next evening I performed at the DC Arts Center for a pre-rally Political Comedy show/party.  I had the most fun I've had at a show in awhile.  There was a great line-up including Lizz Winstead (Co-Creator of the Daily Show), John Marshall (Writer for Chris Rock and more), Jeff Kreisler (MSNBC, Bill Hicks' Spirit Award) and a bunch of others that were radio personalities, comedians, and even some pundit professors.  It was inspiring and humbling to share the stage with so many diversely talented and accomplished people that all came together for a pre-rally show!  Crowd was great too, the show went over 2 hours and the energy seldom if ever withered.
Between post-show chatting and traffic I didn't get back to the place I was staying until around 3am, fueled by post-show enthusiasm it took me a bit to get to sleep and a few hours later it was time to get ready for the Rally.  I brushed my teeth, splashed some water on me (GROSS!) and headed out with the group.  We had VIP passes which meant we could get closer to the front and didn't have to be amassed in quite as many people. 
The Rally was packed, with many different groups represented including Marijuana Law Reform activists, Media Matters, Free Press, and people that were just plain fed up with the insanity.  I won't get too far into describing the event because I'm sure the blogosphere is already flooded with reports and I'm sure Faux News already reported accurate accounts of the turnout (there were 20 people there).
I'll point out two things, one not-so-good, and one good.
First, one of the guest performers, described by Stewart as a brilliant song-writer, brilliant performer, he's here to premier a new song, I had to convince him to come here... (Holy shit, this is it, the Boss, right?)
...(Maybe Willie Nelson?)
...Ladies and Gentlemen...(this is gonna be good!)
...please welcome, KID ROCK!
...? What?!?!


If you were watching the event on TV and heard what sounded like a thud at that very moment it was the adrenaline of thousands of enthusiastic rally attendees falling through the floor that were expecting a new political song from Bruce and instead got Kid Rock.  I'm not even pushing my own taste here, because I was far from alone in this sentiment.  Kid Rock got a less-than-enthusiastic response as I personally had to struggle to hear the applause after his song, and what I could make out sounded little more than a courtesy clap from a few that probably felt guilty, considering how many people were there that's not too impressive.  The seven-year-old girl they brought up doubled the response he got, I'm pretty sure a stranger could've went up on stage and farted on a snare drum and would've gotten about the same response as Kid Rock.  In fairness, when people are expecting Bruce Springsteen that's tough too live up to, still, we got Kid Rock.  We were hoping for Filet Mignon, and we didn't even get a Big Mac, we didn't even get a sloppy joe, we got, like, dog food.
Anyway, that was the only disappointment, the other part I'd like to highlight was the very end.
I've often felt, and I could be totally wrong, but one of the reasons Jon Stewart is where he's at, and I'm sure there are many, is because of his ability to break that fourth wall and go from comedian/pundit to citizen, when appropriate.  I've felt that way even before I did comedy, and now that I do comedy I find it that much more impressive.  In the end Stewart crossed that line to an extent I've never seen since Crossfire in 2004.  He even acknowledged it at the beginning, quipping that he knows there's only so far a comedian can go and he'd probably hear about it tomorrow. Like any rally, he summed up the intention of the event, the call to pursue sanity, I personally really enjoyed the simile of the media being like a magnifying glass, it can highlight our problems so we can solve them, or it can burn ants. 
Anyway, that's my two cents I feel is worth sharing, again I could've given a play-by-play, but I'm sure there's plenty of that on the web already and better accounts than I would've been able to give anyway.  After the rally we were exhausted and decided to head back to Pittsburgh early.  Lucy didn't miss a day of medication that way.  Right now, she's pretty much back to herself, though she's not a big fan of the pills, beats a shot I'm sure.  I've got Misfits to listen to, then I've got work to do, then I've got to get depressed about the fact that I used to celebrate Halloween for a month and I haven't even dressed up in three years, then I've got football to watch.

Ron is a comedian and writer that has returned to Pittsburgh after blowing-up comedy in Seattle, WA.

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