The Return of the Nutcracker Princess

Nutcracker-Princess The impact of Gus Van Sant's biopic, Milk, inspires many viewers to ask, "What Would Harvey Do, Now?"

Proposition 8's rotten victory took the stuffing out of a lot of us.

I know exactly what Harvey would've done this past weekend -- he would have been with me, and hundreds of others, pirouetting our asses off to The Dance-Along Nutcracker, performed each year by the band which was founded in 1978  to celebrate Milk's inauguration:  The Lesbian/Gay Freedom Band.

Every December, the band takes over the Yerba Buena Center in San Francisco, opens the doors to all ages and species -- there were a couple tutu-ed puppies this year -- and plays the Tchaikovsky classic, while the audience leaps, skips, and crawls their way through "Arabian Coffee," "Chinese Tea," and the Russian Trepak. (Bring ibuprofen for the intermission).

Photos to make you squeal: here

I especially like the sequence where a pack of four-year-old girls ambushed me with their Magic Wands.

When I was a little wanna-be ballerina, I could barely remain still at sit-down Nutcracker events; I ached to waltz with the other Flowers. In the 1960s, the kids in my parish would run around with fake swords and wild scarves as we recreated the whole shebang to the scratchy amplification of the nuns' beat-up record player. I think I peed in my pants one time -- please don't tell the Nutcracker Prince!

The Freedom Band's version is far better, with more room to take a flying leap, and an incredibly patient orchestra who play the entire show in costume while scores of little children sit at their feet with mouths hanging open. I am tempted to take up the piccolo again.

Incidentally, in the original edition, the Evil Mouse King is done in when little Clara expertly throws her shoe at the Rodent President, allowing the Good-Nut Prince to finish him off with a sword. 

Hand me my slippers, darling!

(Susie Bright is a guest blogger)