Brown’s Close Encounter

2017 Fremont Solstice Parade 125” by Joe Mabel is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0.

My friend and I took advantage of the federal Juneteenth holiday for an overnight trip to Girdwood. I had never been to the Sitzmark Bar and Grill before, and thus that featured high on a list of potential activities.

Saturday night, we entered.

A small woman with short gray hair in her late sixties was sitting at a table at the top of the stairs in an oddly official capacity for a ski bar.

“$25 each please!” she trilled.

I forked over the cash, thinking this seemed like a hefty cover charge.

Sensing my skepticism –

“We have so many activities this evening!” she gushed. “A drum circle, an aerial dancer, and live music!” Apparently, a lot was on offer for the night.

Passing beyond the table, we were greeted by another woman, wearing a long flowing blue mumu. She carried a very tiny bag on her back, and a very large floral wreath on her head.

“Welcome!” she greeted us warmly and passed us each a streamer. “Welcome!”

I looked around at my fellow Sitzmark patrons. Most were dressed in hiking clothes as we were, although many wore onesies with space themed patterns (stars, super nova’s, the galaxy, etc.). One man was clad in a onesie, covered in Sesame Street characters, though the top half was rolled down to his waist. Children ran around clad in their best tutus and tie dye.

We wandered over to watch the band currently playing. They were all dressed in neon. One woman was wearing cat ears. Another was wearing a large velvet navy blue bathrobe. Most of the instruments in the band seemed to be fiddles and washboards.

I rocked side to side to the somewhat tuneless music for a song or two. Then the band finished and took a deep bow.

The lead singer breathed in deeply.

“Thank you,” she sighed. “Happy Solstice everyone!”

A light bulb went on. I turned to my friend, feeling like an idiot.

“It’s the solstice,” I shouted.

That explained everything.

But the lead singer was not yet finished with her speech.

“We will now go out and watch this beautiful woman perform her dance.”

She gestured to the woman clad in the super nova onesie.

The “beautiful woman,” a petite blonde with a bouncy ponytail, waved cheerily and departed through a side door.

Obediently, the assembling crowd followed her outside.

In the back near the ski lift were a number of poles, constructed such that a long piece of fabric looped and draped down to the ground. The bouncy blonde grabbed the fabric, and shimmied up. She must be the aerial dancer.

I don’t know that one could call her performance “dancing,” per se. She twisted to and fro to tinkly music in the background, oftentimes doing splits midair. The act certainly required an impressive amount of flexibility and core strength.

Behind me, two men were muttering to each other.

“Yeah, she was a performer with Cirque de sole!”

The speaker paused, then continued.

“Well, at least, an alternate.”

Flipping herself around, and still suspended, the aerial dancer gestured broadly to the audience.

“Thank you,” she sighed.

She gestured magnanimously. We will now listen to this beautiful drum circle!

The neon clad band shuffled out onto the grass.

Cat ears woman could be heard complaining that the program wasn’t moving fast enough.

“I’m a very busy woman!” she bellowed. “I do all the things!”

The neon band began banging drums held between each member’s respective legs. The woman wearing the bathrobe played the washboard with a vacant, ecstatic smile emblazoned across on her face.

The drum circle swayed placidly for a few minutes, before the aerial dancer, feeling perhaps that she didn’t want to be left out, shimmied unexpectedly back up the fabric, and began twisting around once more.

Far from appearing irritated that she’d stolen their limelight, the drum circle swiveled gamely around to watch her as well, continually banging on their washboards.

This went on for some time before the grand finale; the aerial dancer descended to the ground, wrapped herself up in the fabric to which she had just been clinging, and began thrashing around wildly on the ground. The thrashing and the banging reached a crescendo, before ending promptly at 8:45 PM.

Dancer and musicians all took deep bows, and the crowd broke out into polite, albeit quiet, clapping.

Best Solstice Ever.

Sarah “Sun Goddess” Brown is a devotee of Mother Earth. Whisper to her softly on Twitter @BrownsClose1, or by email at “Close” is a British term for alley or cul-de-sac.

Author: Sarah Brown

Sarah Brown is the author of the Brown's Close blog!

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