Like the rest of Orlando Weekly, Dog Playing Poker is thrilled to the shorthairs by the return of Light Up Orlando, the freewheeling street festival that was once a highlight of the local entertainment calendar. But we're frankly troubled by the reports that its new incarnation will be a cleaner, family-friendlier event purged of certain wild traditions -- like the fondly recalled Queen Kumquat Sashay Parade.
The magic bullet in this ambush of disappointment comes from Kathy Ramsberger, Orlando's director of arts and entertainment, who told the Sentinel that the city is "open to ideas" for the relaunch. Thanks, Kath! If there's anything our own paper is good for -- and notice, please, that that's a conditional -- it's providing ideas. Shee-oot, ideas just run through us like Mexican food. And what we're proposing this week is that the one thing even better than staging a watered-down Light Up Orlando might be to start a festival with a similar morale-boosting purpose, but with a name and a focus uniquely its own.
And just who's going to brainstorm its every subtle nuance, you ask? Hey, got ya covered.
PROPOSED SUBSTITUTES FOR LIGHT UP ORLANDO
Light Up, Orlando -- Note extra punctuation, please. A simple comma transforms a celebration of life and light into a salute to tobacco, cannabis and inhalable weeds of every variety. If nothing else, it's a great opportunity for all of us to flout the anti-smoking ordinance en masse without fear of reprisal. Sponsor Philip Morris issues hard packs of Marlboro reds at the door to adults and tots alike, reflecting a moratorium on killjoy age restrictions that's announced by the upside-down placement of greeters' "We I.D." badges. Within hours, all of downtown is covered by roving clouds of gray smoke, with only spittle-flecked calls of "That you, Stan?" connecting neighbor to neighbor. From there, it's over to Church Street, where concertgoers wheeze along with musical headliners Cypress Hill, Phish and whichever former members of the Black Crowes can still make it up the three steps to the stage. (Early tickets announcing the participation of Warren Zevon are redeemable for free smoked sausage at strategically placed kiosks.)
Shoot Up Orlando -- An extravaganza dedicated to God, guts and, most of all, guns. "Waiting period" means time spent on line for the port-a-potties as you and your favorite glock partake of every leisurely amenity the Second Amendment can bestow. A shooting gallery set up by the Orange County Sheriff's Department lets you pump some fund-raising lead into cardboard replicas of crazed alligators, home invaders and the occasional innocent bystander. Trust us, there's no way to lose! Musical headliner: Ted Nugent.
Shoot Up, Orlando -- Once again, the comma tells the story. Far from a sportsman's paradise, this one's a furtherance of downtown Orlando's rich tradition of heroin addiction. Admission at the door is $8, or just turn over a DVD player purloined from the friends you're currently crashing with. Once inside the gates, you'll swear you've left Central Florida behind and entered the (rapidly collapsing) main vein of an exciting community like Seattle or Dublin. The unbridled needleplay continues until everybody nods off, which should be early enough to forestall complaints that advertised show-closer Scott Weiland wasn't even contracted to appear. As a side benefit, weekend drinking hours become a nonissue. And in a boon to the local medical industry, ambulance fees go through the roof.
Trump Up Orlando -- No music, no games, no food -- just a tacit admission that the real lure of a street festival is the opportunity for police to issue frivolous arrests. Within the walled-off Pen of Victims, jaywalking becomes a first-degree felony, a "parade" qualifies as a "conspiracy," and even glancing at an illuminated Heineken sign justifies a charge of public intoxication. Feel free to argue your innocence Ã? once you've had your hands cuffed behind your back to run the ceremonial Gauntlet of the Blue Bubbas.
Blow Up Orlando -- Those protective planes that circle over Disney can take the night off. To indulge the self-important fantasy that our region is some sort of terrorist target, civic leaders beat Al Qaeda to the punch by purchasing a truckload of TNT and detonating it al fresco (in the Jaymont block, of course, to ensure that the loss of life and commerce is nil). It's a new wrinkle in Orlando's ongoing campaign of image enhancement: to put this town on the map by blowing it off. And while the embers smolder, let's rock out to Rammstein!
Spit Up, Orlando -- One word: vomitorium.
Hell Up in Harlem Up in Orlando -- A throwdown for anyone who's ever cringed at the fake Afros sported by public-relations execs at '70s-themed charity balls. The man can't bust our authentic-ass tribute to the blaxploitation craze, complete with Richard Roundtree look-alike contest, role-playing games and music by the Hues Corporation (performing the "Blacula" soundtrack in its entirety). Noise complaints engender a predictable response: GET WHITEY!
Give Up, Orlando -- A group admission of defeat, this bacchanalian bon voyage sees area fun-lovers waving bye-bye to a community that's backward enough to consider a goddamned parade too controversial. The conga line starts at Orange and Church, then proceeds eastward to OIA and up the gangway of the next plane departing for New York, L.A. or even Austin. Original plans had this one titled "Up Yours, Orlando," but think of the children.