Tuesday, December 24, 2002

The Biggest Little City in the World

Not to be outdone, Scott planned a little surprise for my birthday. Approximately three years ago, I saw a piece from a touring entertainment group called Tap Dogs on Just for Laughs. These guys are not your average everyday tap dancers. Far from it ! They are decked out in jeans and boots, stylish and downright hunky. And they can DANCE !

Their act is similar to Stomp. They create rhythms and moods by tap dancing. The piece I saw was them creating an entire musical track by tap dancing on the floor and hitting sound pads that each made its own sound, such as 'boom', 'tsss', 'clack' and 'whoop'. When I saw this piece, I vowed someday to see the Tap Dogs in person. I then promptly forgot about them.

Reno, dubbed the 'Biggest little city in the world', is a 3.5 hour drive from our house, just across the Nevada border. While dwarfed severely by Las Vegas, it still is a hopping town for shows, gambling, dining and nightlife. By accident, Scott found out that Tap Dogs were performing for a three-week stint in one of the theatres. We set out in November, adrenaline rushing, hopes high.

That weekend was the first storm of the year.

Going to Reno on Highway 80 is an interesting drive. One ascends up the Sierra Nevada mountain range for approximately an hour, to a top height of 6,000 feet. At those heights, the weather is much different than the moderate climate of the Bay Area. It was raining in [our city] when we left. By the time we hit 4,000 feet, it was a torrential blizzard.

California law requires the use of snow chains on all non-4x4 vehicles during periods of heavy snowfall. Although we had outfitted my car with our top-notch Pirelli Winter Ice snow tires, we were still required to stop and put on the chains. Grudgingly, we did so, while being passed by many SUVs with their wimpy car-like tires. Many SUVs have tires that are no better than those of cars for 'rideability'. But we, with our special snow tires, were made to put on chains.

You can't go more than 30 miles an hour with snow chains on.

Our 3.5 hour drive became 5 hours. We wanted to go to a steakhouse for dinner before the show, but ended up having just enough time to go to the local Sonic Drive-In. The only thing that saved our sanity was our new Sirius Satellite Radio systems in our cars. The variety of music and complete clarity for the entire trip kept us entertained for the long, long drive.

Tap Dogs were even more phenomenal in person than on TV. They tap danced up and down scaffolding and ladders. They did the piece with the music. They even tap danced in a trough of water. The first three rows of spectators were given rain ponchos, but I, in the 5th row, got a huge spray of water right in my eye from one of the more good-looking dancers. If any of you have a chance to see Tap Dogs, GO SEE THEM. You won't regret it. I do absolutely no justice to their greatness on paper.

[see next post]


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