05 February 2008

Carnevale weirdness

If you expected to see pictures of fabulous costumes and colorful, feathery masks here during Carnevale, I am sorry to disappoint. (You can just Google "Venice Carnevale" and have at it!) Those closest to me know that it’s the weird, offbeat, pathetic, and incongruous details of big deal events that always get my attention and evoke my fascination. They will not be surprised to learn what I will be taking away from this experience…

My Carnevale memories include the American guy with the beer gut and beard grizzle, wearing jackboots and a Steelers jacket, sucking hard on a long neck and saying things like, “Dude!” and “Righteous!” and… oh!... did I mention he was also wearing a flawlessly powdered white settecento peruke wig, complete with a velvet bow?

I won’t forget the mind-jarring, head-jangling sight and sound of the Hare Krishnas who celebrated with us in the Piazza every night. I mean, I guess they were celebrating. So hard to tell when they’re in that trance dance they do. I can’t quite see how they fit into this “meat festival,” this would-be glut of self-indulgence. Unless they intended to serve as a vegetarian example? If so, non va (“no go”). Their saffron robes just seemed like all the other no-effort costumes.

And something else... Above you see what seems like any handful of tossed confetti littering the street. Look again – it isn’t. (Click on the image.) Confetti is available everywhere right now, sometimes it’s free, a giveaway. Everybody has a little bit in his pocket, even if by accident. But someone (thinking God knows what!) has gone to considerable trouble and expense to crush an entire bag of costly, carnival-colored souvenir pasta down to the size of confetti, then had the bizarre pleasure of flinging it into the air in celebration. My question is, Why? (Actually, I think I would like to meet this individual. Here is evidence of some truly interesting, possibly even deeply political thinking, or sheer wasteful idiocy. Whichever it is, I'm curious.)

It seems I always expect some very particular thing from my lady Venice, but instead she always gives me something else – something unexpected and thought-provoking, something that shows me yet another facet of her complex self. Who wouldn’t keep pursuing a woman like that?