Sunday, March 8, 2009

the soundtrack to "soundtrack"

I pride myself in having quite an eclectic collection of music. My itunes library has just under 7,000 songs, and if I was to import ALL of my CDs, I'm pretty sure I could probably boost that number up closer to 8,000. Ranging from Bessie Smith to Outkast to Amalia Rodrigues to Bob Dylan to Andrew Bird to Brittney Spears to Talking Heads to Run DMC to Dixie Chicks, you get the idea.

So when Abbi proposed going to see a two-man improv show at Second City's Skybox theater (a smaller room than their famous mainstage) that revolved around putting an audience member's ipod on shuffle, I enthusiastically said I'd go. I also was pretty adamant about insisting I wanted "a-pod" (the name of my ipod) chosen. Even during the ride to the show, while driving six passengers in my van (yes! owning a minivan in the city finally served a purpose!), I still thought it was beyond a good idea for my music to be the soundtrack to "Soundtrack."

It wasn't until we were sitting front and center that I started to get nervous--mostly that obscure tracks would come on, like Hebrew rap or Amy's Answering Machine--but also that I'd be judged by a bunch of people for my taste (or lack thereof) in music, just as I would have judged whoever ultimately got chosen. So when Tom Blandford and Mark Piebenga walked on stage and announced that this was their last show and, "Before we get started, we'll need an ipod from someone in the audience," I totally second-guessed my initial confidence and didn't raise my hand. My friends and sister immediately yelled, "ALYSE! RAISE YOUR HAND!" In response, I did the timid I-don't-actually-want-to-be-volunteering-myself-right-now raising of my hand only to shoulder height. Because I was sitting so close, one of the actors saw my ipod sitting on the table and despite first pointing out that someone's hand "shot up" in the back, chose me. As soon as I handed over my ipod, I slunk down a few inches in my seat, already regretting my decision.

Just as I feared, neither I nor anyone else in the room knew the first song. I guess this made their stage presence all the more humorous, but I felt my face growing hot and was glad no one could see me. "What is this, Alyse?" I heard Lisa, who's friends with one of the actors, ask from the row behind me. I turned around and said, "I have no idea."
Somehow he turned those interpretive dance moves into a skit about being obsessed with roller derby, and that theme carried throughout most of the hour-long show. The rest of the songs chosen at random, which served as interludes where the actors improv-danced between skits, went as followed:

2) "Not Ready To Make Nice" by the Dixie Chicks
3) "Ballad of John & Yoko" by The Beatles
4) some instrumental song that sounded familiar and foreign that I couldn't quite place
5) "Hard Knock Life" from Annie (of which more than one person later said to me, "I was totally expecting it to be the Jay-Z version, but nope, it was from the actual musical..." I totally forgot about Jay-Z's rendition of that.)
6) "Play With Fire" by The Rolling Stones
7) "Jai Ho" by A.R. Rahman from the "Slumdog Millionaire" soundtrack
8) "Wind Cries Mary" by Jimi Hendrix
9) "Burnin' Love" by Elvis
10) "Opposites Attract" by Paula Abdul
11) "Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious" from "Mary Poppins"...I lost it laughing when this came on. Could you think of a more potentially embarrassing selection??
12) some song by Led Zeppelin I didn't know by name

Ben tapped me on the shoulder towards the end and said, "So Oldies or Soundtracks, huh?"
"Pretty much," I replied, laughing.

All in all it was hilarious, and the actors both thanked me at the end for the "awesome" songs. Not so sure "awesome" would be the right word to describe that particular collection, but as long as they were satisfied, I felt fine about it. I wish now, for humor's sake, that something from "Fiddler On The Roof" and/or "The Lion King" had also made an appearance.

What would your soundtrack be? Put your ipod or itunes on shuffle and write down the first 12 songs.

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