Tuesday, May 3, 2011
Tell Me More, Tell Me More
I'm going through a bit of a personal crisis lately (When am I not?) and to clear my head and get some much-needed exercise I've been going on semi-nightly walks around the high school from Grease. The high school where they shot that movie just happens to be fairly close to where I live, and it's well set up for melancholy wandering around, with a large, windswept athletic track where you can walk in aimless circles forever and plenty of cold, hard, wet benches to sit on while you gaze forlornly into LA's murky, starless skies.
I loved Grease when I was a little kid, but I haven't seen the whole thing since I was 7 or so. Occasionally it turns up on TV and I catch a few minutes, and that's always really weird. Watching a scene like this I get strong flashbacks of my childhood, and the action onscreen is taking place at a real location that I know very well... But I only know it as an adult. Imagine seeing footage of your sixth birthday party, taking place in the breakroom at the office where you work now. It's sort of like that, only a young John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John are singing and bopping around.
I know the school well enough now that I know that Travolta and Newton-John are really only like 30 feet apart in this scene, the lunch area where she's singing is literally so close to that bleacher where Travolta is singing that they should be able to hear each other while they're doing this big production number about what an awesome summer they had together. I also know that that bleacher is a rickety old thing that creaks and groans when you walk on it, so it's kind of impressive how Travolta and those other greaser guys are hopping around on it like that. They're all like 30 feet up, dancing on this thing that I don't even feel safe walking on. (Of course, it may well be that it seemed a little more stable back in 1970-something.)
This song is actually surprisingly smutty, too. I mean, she got her seat damp. My goodness.
I wonder what the little kid me would think if I went back in time and explained that many years later I would spend sleepless nights wandering around the Grease high school. I don't imagine he'd be thrilled about it. But then, he'd probably have more pressing questions, like, "Why the fuck are you wearing a dress?"