This story of trying to find holiday adventure in Sacramento appeared in today’s Sacramento News & Review. I guess the SN&R is one of the sponsors for the creepy carnival I’m talking about. Oops. Christmas in Sacramento, by the way, is like Kwanzaa in Tennessee.
During dinner, my friend leaned over and asked if I’d been to the creepy carnival. I hadn’t, but was intrigued. “It’s empty and there’s a Ferris wheel,” she whispered. The way she said “Ferris wheel” and made a mysterious face was supposed to indicate its creepiness. I’ll note that my friend just got out of rehab, and she’s still kind of loopy, so I decided to check it out for myself. Plus, I’ve been holed up in my house for weeks—writing, watching reality television and visiting celebrity gossip sites—and I desperately needed an outdoor activity.
It turned out that she was talking about the Carnival at St. Rose at the K Street Mall, so I went one evening with my parents, fiancée and little sister—who, when we arrived, made a checklist of the weirdness, which included: lack of people, a Zoltar fortune-teller machine and gigantic decorative lollipops.
“It’s making me sad,” my little sister concluded.
Yeah, there were seven other people there, but I didn’t think it was all that creepy—and the Christmas lights on K Street were actually kind of charming. Although, the more I thought about it, the odd carnival gave off a slight French film vibe: suicidal clowns, bipolar prostitutes, that kind of thing.
A little girl walked from tent to tent and stopped at a booth that said Bath Fitter (a bathroom remodeling company).
“What do I do at this one?” she asked the attendant.
“Um, it’s a bathtub,” the attendant answered.
The little girl, at once bored and perplexed, walked quickly toward a big-ass lollipop.
We were bored and perplexed as well, so we went to Old Sac to check out the Theatre of Lights show. The Old Sac Web site promised an appearance by Mark Twain who would show us “holiday storytelling at its best” accompanied by a “symphony of lights, sounds and visual effects.”
Shortly after 6:30 p.m., Mark Twain appeared. He lip-synced to prerecorded tales about Sacramento history. Every now and then, a building lit up and Twain told a story about it. But it was a tough crowd—obviously raised on MTV and highlights clips—and it was hard to pay attention.
We slipped away toward the Delta King to watch David Sedaris’ play The SantaLand Diaries. Sedaris is obnoxious, self-important and only interesting if you listen to National Public Radio and drive a Prius—and I’m convinced that people read his books only so they can tell their friends they have a “favorite gay writer.” But I laughed twice during his play: once when the overly enthusiastic actor made a joke about a confused Chinese person and the other time when I remembered my friend’s face as she described the creepy Ferris wheel. In all, the play was about a half-hour too long and left me with the feeling of being trapped in a room with the annoying guy from work.
When I got home, I flipped open my laptop and learned that Tila Tequila got pregnant, Lil Wayne was still alive and that actress Brittany Murphy was sick and vomiting just before she died at 32 of a massive heart attack, probably induced by a combination of narcotics and anorexia.