Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Looking Back (part 1)

I know. It doesn't look like much.

This picture was taken sometime before the first world war. When I first saw this building - my one and only visit - it was a handful or two of years after the Korean war, and the building was in the wane of life, and well aware of it.

This was the Empire Theatre in Indanapolis Indiana, and, to the best of my knowledge, the last legitimate burlesque theatre in America.

We arrived an hour early, parked two blocks away so no one would suspect three 16-year-old boys were trying to sneak a peak at tassles and feathers before they became dusty addendums in local folklore.

Roger had bright red hair, almost strawberry blonde, the color women a generation later would dye for. Bill had sandy brown har, and of the three of us, he was the only one who might have actually passed for 18. Since I was doing a play at the time, my hair had been dyed kelly green, and I had frantically given myself silver sideburns ... yeah, nobody was going to notice us, you bet.

We entered a lobby that was old 50 years earlier. The carpet was largely bare in places, the dry plaster decor chipping color, the ceiling dusky from years of cigar smoke no longer allowed.

The auditorium was cold. And large. Altogether there are perhaps 50 to 60 people scattered in a room that could comfortably seat 300.

The lights dimmed. The orchestra - piano and drums - started playing.

The curtain opened ...


Views from Malmesbury said...

Aw shucks, you little tease, you!

Juli E said...

more more!