I think almost everyone at some point in time, at least of my generation, was fascinated with cowboys. I remember wearing my little cowboy hat and playing cowboys with my cap gun – the kind that had the red tape with little black spots… when the hammer hit it, it made a pop and you got a little smoke puff. I remember the smell, the excitement blended with a little bit of fear at the noise, and, a little disturbingly, the way the metal at the end of the gun tasted after you shot it. I think I even had a little stick pony at one point.
So, the other day, imagine my thrill upon discovering that there was a cowboy show in town – I had no idea what to expect, other than music and hopefully a pleasant diversion for my own little cowboy and I to enjoy. We bought our tickets and headed out – they apparently only perform the first friday of the month at the Funhouse Lounge, so we were fortunate to have heard of it on the day it was playing.
The Funhouse Lounge is a cozy little establishment in SE Portland – it has a full bar but allows minors – at least for this show – and most of the few kids there were dressed up as cowboys. I’m going to be doing the same myself when I go next time, get into the spirit of it! Anything for an excuse to wear cowboy boots and a hat… I think I’ll leave the chaps and spurs at home, though.
There are drinks and sodas and snacks available to purchase and take back to tables and booths – I advise you to get there early, as the stage is not raised and the tables actually filled up fairly quickly – there wasn’t an available seat in the house by the time the show started.
The show itself is a unique and delightful combination of singing, storytelling and improv theater. The show’s appropriate for kids, but doesn’t talk down annoyingly to that level in the way that some family friendly entertainment can sometimes do – just because I have kids and don’t want them exposed to inappropriate content doesn’t mean I had a lobotomy! There are some skits involving guns but nothing that would frighten children. There was a special guest featured – the National Yodeling Champion Larry Wilder who demonstrated his singing and guitar playing skills several time throughout the night.
The show flowed perfectly – the actors are comfortable with what they do and are easy with the audience, involving them in the skits and songs – asking questions and incorporating the answers into the show.
I love improv, and am always impressed with the quick thinking on the feet of the actors and the seamless way they turn the unexpected into comedy when it’s done well. One has to be able to be a part of a team, to pick up on the cues from your fellow actors and keep in mind that you also have an audience to entertain. These guys not only know how to do all that, but they all can do so while singing and dancing! Or in some cases, do so while cracking a whip!
If you want to have a pleasant, inexpensive and fun night out with the kids, experience a bit of americana culture and reminisce about a sweet version of cowboy nostalgia, you really should check out one of their shows. You can view their website at http://www.cowboylittle.com/