I'm an avid Angelino. I love LA and anyone who has ever had more than 5 minutes of conversation with me typically might understand that. However, there are a lot of landmark things here that I've never done. I've never been to the Griffith Park Observatory. I've never hiked to the Hollywood Sign. I've never been to Grauman's Chinese Theater. I've never been to Universal Studios and the worst one, up until a few weeks ago I had never been to Medieval Times.
It's a tragedy. I know. I'll own it.
BUT - to my rescue was, again, the amazing Emsy. She took a friend of hers a few weeks back and had the time of her life as you can read about here and upon learning my ignorance to the glorious silly, me adoring things like that, and it being my birthday she had me get the special super secret birthday code from the "Booking Maidens" at the "Court Circuit board" and away we went.
She gave a fabulous rundown of our night here but my experience was a bit different. Mostly because I was enjoying the armor instead of figuring out ways to get under it. I know - I'm broken but it was my first time after all.
So in preparation for the night my little sister from another motha - Lisa - sent me a darling birthday package with a purse of hers I'd been lusting after for a while and because she knew of mine and Emsy's plans there were also some Princess Party favors including 4 sparkly pink wands, 4 foam tiara kits (for ages 5 and under) and a very large sparkly hot pink conical Headdress of Princessistitude.
I was super excited about it all. One, because time with Emsy = non-stop hilarity. She gets my Disney channelified brain better than almost anyone I know and as such thinks I'm hilarious because only about 0.00001% of the population and 0.0005% of my friends get my very silly/sad/awesomely bad jokes, references, and song cues. Emsy is one of them. This will manifest itself later.
So we drive to the "castle" and I'm all a dither about what to expect. From what I could gather from Emsy's description I was diving into what would happen if Las Vegas, Rocky Horror, Monty Python, Point Break, a sequin street vendor from TJ, and a badly translated book of fairy tales and all ran at each other very fast. The stuff of dreams really.
Just knowing that this place is in Buena Vista which is a neighboring city to Anaheim which is Latin for "Disneyland" and thereby is subject to the runoff of over-themeing that a place as magical as Disnelyand can produce would be enough to get me to go. See, Buena Vista is the sparkly armpit of the Disneyland supermodel. Driving through Buena Vista always reminds me of "Lester's Possum Park" from A Goofy Movie
The city's crown jewels are the Ripley's Believe it or Not Museum and Knott's Berry (Scary/Merry) Farm. We were in for a GOOD night.
When Emsy and I were roommates we bonded instantly over our love for things that are so bad they're good. Eg: how well unicorns changed into anime women can sing about being a woman, cast commentary on DVDs from totally drunk or inept cast members, random parts of Disney movies, Smee's dance moves, the pronunciation of the word "pistachio" and how much the Haunted Mansion at Disneyland legitimately freaks me out. Seriously. It does.
I think Medieval Times was built as a monument to our friendship and it wasn't realized until now.
From the playground style cobblestones to the over-tanned and Valley affectations of our princess I was in love. You know you're either in Vegas or a comedy club when the first middle and last thing that you see at the establishment is the bar and was there a bar. I think it was 3 miles long. You'd think all of the high ceilings, random banners, vague impressions of suits of armor and a castle silhouette here and there would be enough to suspend reality but NO, apparently significant amounts of alcohol are required as well and it was busy. Every square foot of it. The place was awash with everyone wearing a crown that would make the Burger King jealous indicating the color of the section and knight they were assigned to. This fashion statement was delicious to me. One, because they all so badly clashed with everything anyone was wearing. Like, I wasn't sure there was something in the universe that wouldn't go with anyone or a single look but no. Medieval Times found it, made it theirs, mass produced it and made it the central point and chief souvenir of your experience there. Two - because it was very successful in making everyone look equally silly. That was also impressive.
When we got into the arena I was still off balance. Here we were in a hockey rink full of sawdust with the semblance of stage weaponry resting on pegs on the side and above us was a whole matrix of I would venture to say would be millions of dollars of stage lighting. I was a theater tech for a spell so I know what I'm looking at when I look up in a theater. Some theaters are drastically under lit. In fact, most are. It's uber hard to properly light a stage. It's rare to over-light a stage but I think Medieval Times came close. There was more lighting in there than I'd seen at the Staples Center during a Laker game and I thought What on earth would they need all this hardware for? They're not more than 50' from the floor, they're all antiprose gel lights, good grief are they going to perform surgery? Turns out they didn't. They just like colors.
So the night begins and there is this scene where some dude in a white tunic and too much hair gets apprehended by some baddies with whip and sparkly strobe lights and then our gymed, tanned, laundried princess comes on a-pining for her prince that is missing - moaning to her father-blah-de-blah-de-blah. And I, like any proper English major immediately start rewriting the whole show in my head. Thinking this would provide more rising action and that would be much better character development but not to the point that I didn't adore everything that was going on.
When we sat down I dispensed the wands and tiaras to Emsy and myself and our neighbors who were also celebrating their birthdays (yay Leos!) and we mucked about with our foamys and stickers and eventually made something worth putting on. I threw away the picture guide so we were a bit monkeys and a monolith about the whole project but we had fun. So once the gallantry started I had my sparkly conical Headdress of Princessistitude, my Medieval Times crown AND the tiara. I was as regal as they come or as Medieval Times would allow. Oh and my wand. It was a rare exploration of sparkles and the color pink for me. I rarely visit either much less pair the two but it was a special night and Lisa sent them all the way from Tennessee. Wearing them was the least I could do.
While we were being brought some soup and our choice of Pepsi (only Pepsi, only regular, only soda), iced tea, water, or the door there were... horses I think. Lots of them, trotting a bit in formation, much like a high school marching band running drill. That they just got. After a long competition weekend and a test. For 20 MIN! All I could think was Well - look at those horses. They're there. And they're horses. And they can trot. TALLY HO! It's my birthday!
Finally the announcer man who we were introduced to at the beginning of the night by the bar came riding in. At the first announcements Emsy and I bravely tried not to laugh but bitterly failed. He was trying to warm up the crowd, create atmosphere and organize green crowns from yellow and black ones but all he managed to do was practice what Mr Movie Phone taught him in his voice lesson that day and channel William Shatner. Between his over-elocution, Emsy trying to gloss my lips but only finding teeth, and the half-hearted trumpeters that sounded more like 1st and 2nd chair from the Boy's Club band we were in hysterics within the first 5 minutes. Yes we're 14 but that's what happens when bffs get together OK?!
So fast forward to the knights' introductions. Emsy was only looking for red and I was enjoying her in a rarely allowed abject girly moment. Lusting after boys with swords wearing tiaras, eating with our hands and sparkles EVERYWHERE - its enough to make one burst into song!
I found most of the knights to be some kind of handsome. I especially appreciated the ones with beards and not just the long locks. I really appreciate a thick, kept up, manly beard. There is an epidemic lack of testosterone in the world. I appreciate it wherever I can find it. Aside of their manliness, which is impressive any was conveyed despite the sparkly jumpsuits that were supposed to be chain mail and sequins these gents were pretty dang good. They were jumping off of their horses at full gallop, hitting the ground and rolling so fast they landed on their feet. I was blown away. The fighting was... OK. I think the best stuff that I saw was the final fight between the green dragon baddie and Emsy's Red Knight. He was the best fighter of them all and was with the handsome but luckily Emsy and I have VERY different taste in men. She's more on the Bowie/Jonathan Rhys Meyers side of the spectrum and I'm the more Karl Urban/Richard Armitage/Jon Hamm type.
Between costume changes and rough scene transitions everything but a puppet show came out. Some sparkly Arabian horse man came out with his steed doing the two step, there was a falconer too and other excuse for sparkles. The music changes were something from a fair ride too. One felt distinctly Latin to me and out of no where I started singing "I like to be in Ah-Mer-Ree-Kah!" and Emsy did a legitimate spit take and almost lost the bit of garlic bread she was working on. Once she stopped laughing she said "You will be the death of me Libs (that's her awesome nickname for me) and I considered it the crowning point of the evening.
I was not mooned over by any passing knights or thrown any flowers but I was also in a sparkly conical Headdress of Princessistitude, wearing a Wonder Woman tee shirt and by all accounts seem to be invisible to men anyway so I didn't count on that being any part of my evening. It was adorable watching Emsy be in her element though. Flirting with men in costume doesn't come easy to me.
So pretty much it was an amazing night, a thoughtful gift, a great meal, a good show and an AMAZING story. I will forever be indebted to Emsy and my life will be longer thanks to the laughs shared. I encourage all to go and participate in the crazy. There's no kind of crazy like it.