On Monkeyhouse’s first national tour in 2001, we arrived in Minnesota in the middle of a horrendous heat wave. One Minneapolis Fringe Festival reviewer aptly dubbed the un-airconditioned venue for our dance theater performance as a “stained glass oven.” If we had not stayed in a house with the hysterical Meehan Brothers from San Francisco (You may remember Chris Meehan from his stint as the spokesperson for Mike’s Hard Lemonade a few years ago.), those two weeks would have been unbearable.
But oh, springtime in Minnesota is something else altogether. Having just returned from there, I can assure you that April is significantly cooler than August. I spent a lot more time indoors wandering the skywalks and lounging around playing scrabble in the lobby of the playful Aloft hotel. Although it would have been completely impractical, I was often struck by an urge to rollerskate.
Every time ads for Sonic Carhops flashed on the enormous plasma screen, or someone mentioned the Britney Spears’s concert that swung through town last Friday, I hankered for my Skechers roller skates. We sought them out in 2002 for Monkeyhouse’s Anablep & Other Oddities, a choose your own adventure concert where the audience ordered pieces from wigged women on 4 Wheelers at the start of the show.
It had been a decade since I had braved Rainbow Roller rink in Chicago but I quickly got comfortable. The big velcro strap adequately stabilized my ankles and the stiff sneaker base was more supportive than a traditional boot shape. The bulbous brakes at the front of the skates even allowed us to use them like pointe slippers and the sparkly old school wheels added to the faux Drive-In feel.
Skechers discontinued these shoes around the end of 2002 but you can still occasionally snag some on Ebay. The movement vocabulary inspired by this short lived, Britney Spears endorsed fashion accessory fueled a few more Monkeyhouse dance pieces but mine haven’t been used in a while. Perhaps I will put Pinataland’s Velocity on my ipod, grab a pair of more secure laces my skates, and start rolling to work once it gets warmer.