November 21, 2011

If I had to choose a theme for last night, it would have to be flight. Despite feeling under the weather (still), I rallied, headed downtown, and met up with my aunt and uncle at the Ahmanson Theatre, where we saw “Bring It On: The Musical,” a new show based on the Kirsten Dunst movie from about 10 years ago. “Based on” is being generous – the musical has an entirely new set of characters and a new plot, and the only resemblance it bears to the film is that they’re both about rival high school cheerleading squads. But I digress – “Bring It On” is an incredibly enthusiastic, high-energy show, and boy, do those actors fly! The show is heavy on dance, and in all the big numbers, people are tumbling and flipping and sent twirling 20 feet in the air. Here’s the commercial that’s been airing in LA:

I can’t imagine how many calories those performers burn during each performance! Los Angeles is the first stop of a coast-to-coast tour – you can find if it’s coming to your town on the website. It’s a really fun show: big, colorful, and at times, clever. Don’t expect intricate characters, nuance, or subtle storytelling – every element in this show is as simple and in-your-face as it can be.

After watching cheerleaders take flight for two and a half hours, I headed to the subway station to catch a train home (Yep, L.A. has a subway – it’s called the Metro). The Civic Center station, the closest one to the theater, has an art installation that I’ve never much paid attention to before – a series of life-sized figures flying above the platform:

According to the information I found on the Metro’s website, the figures are “an interpretation of the artist’s [Jonathan Borofsky] dreams of soaring above ground:

“I’ve had quite a few flying dreams in my lifetime. Many other people I’ve spoken to have had similar dreams. Sometimes I fly above it all, serene and rather enlightened…other times my flying dreams seem more like an escape from earthly concerns.”

I’ve had flying dreams before. I had one a couple weeks ago, in fact. I can’t remember many of the details now, except for that it was cloudy, and I was up amongst those clouds, and every time the clouds parted, I could see some place from my past: my back patio at my grandparents’ house, the little lake where we used to have a motorboat when I was a kid, the stoop of the building where I had a majority of my college classes. There were other people in the dream, but I can’t recall who, or what the tone of our interactions were.

My time on the train was spent thinking about what I would need to take flight. I’d need the ability to fly, obviously, but what else? I’d need courage. There’d be many inherent dangers, so courage would definitely be needed. I’d also need determination. It wouldn’t be easy to fly (I presume), but if I were determined, than I could brush off any trials and attempts as part of the process. Lastly, I’d need momentum. Even at my greatly-reduced weight of 236 pounds, it’d take some propulsion and thrust to get my body airborne. There’s a reason why runways are a mile long (and, no, I’m not comparing myself to an airplane).

Courage. Determination. Momentum.

The keys to so many things, aren’t they? None of them are easy to come by, and all of them can be even harder to hold on to. I wrote those three words on a post-it, and that post-it is now stuck on my bathroom mirror, where I’ll see it every morning. It’ll be a daily reminder that if I work on building and harnessing those three attributes, what I think is impossible may soon come within reach.

Keep it up, David.