Friday, February 04, 2005

The comfort of fuzzy bunnyslippers

Webcam Alert: We have eyes again!

Once in a while, the mysterious machinations of the unseen omniverse repuzzle themselves into pleasing shapes the likes of which suck the lifeforce from our tissuous windbags. Our friends, primarily Marc Scherrer, over at FasnachtsPower have made sure that those of us who enjoy watching people and events from half a world away are able to once again view Fasnacht from the comfort of our fuzzy bunnyslippers.

Here's the message in a slightly askew translation that appears beneath the now fully functioning webcams:

Update Report: We ask you to have in each case only one webcam window openly. So we can save range! Thanks. By the 1000+ webcam requests on SchmuDo was so strongly overloaded our servers binding, that nothing more ran. We were forced to switch the webcams short hand off-line. We made ourselves successful afterwards immediately on the search for a more efficient server. Overnight we have the server prepared and this morning the webcams again aufgeschalten (are working). The Schwanen cam produces every 5 seconds a new picture. The webcam at the Kapellplatz, every 10 seconds. We are confident that the webcam server on Güdismäntig and Güdiszischtig can process the 1000+ webcam inquiries.

Yes! Thank you, Marc! One webcam window open at a time, no problem. Got that cyber-Fasnächtlers? Hopefully, we won't overwhelm their new server by taxing the bandwidth parameter settings, which I'm certain are mauve and taste of chicken.

There are enough Kult-Ur-Fasnächtler groups, Güggenmusigen ensembles, and roving bands of rogue sujeteers to fill each 24-hour period during the week of Fasnacht. Dozens of street parades, well-promoted theme parties, apéros (pre-party get-togethers for drinks), and impromptu concerts abound throughout Luzern and in the surrounding towns and villages. There's always something going on. So, while even the most hardy revelers are recharging their drained akkus (batteries) and refueling their exhausted jets in cozy hangars of sleep, someone's always awake to keep Winter on her snowy heels and the party fires going.

One such recently traditional soirée is the infamous Vikinger PowerNight being held this year at the opulent Hotel Schweizerhof. Vikinger is arguably the best and coolest lounge güggenmusig groups in the stellar Fasnacht cosmorama. They are 15 to 20 singers, musicians, and dancers who deliver unbridled passion and panachè in everything they perform. In other words, they're fun as hell! I dare anyone to resist the irrepressible impulse to bootyshake while they're onstage playing, singing, twangin' guitars, wailin' horns, go-go dancing and masterfully choppin' broccoli to utter shreds.

I saw Vikinger in 2003 at the historic (everything's historic in Luzern) jailhouse-turned-hotel & nightclub, Löwengraben. It was after attending my first evening Fasnacht party on Rüüdige Samschtig (Excellent Saturday) held at the fabulous Hotel Schweizerhof with the blond, breath-taking Amazonian Nicole. She had to work the front door, with long-time KUF president, Bruno Gap, to greet the costumed arrivals and collect tickets for the event: the Maskenball, celebrating the 10-year anniversary of the Kult-Ur-Fasnächtler organization.

Dressed in a stripped-down version of my intricately festooned Drachenwächter costume, I was to meet Nicole's mother, Maria, for the first time. I was just a little nervous, meeting her mother while sporting a white muslin puffy shirt, black thigh-high boots, various accessorizing accouterments, the whole rakish rapscallionesque motif. Thankfully, the little stress bubble instantaneously burst within sight of her own feather-hatted costume and completely disappeared before her genuinely disarming smile. We liked each other immediately.

So, I got to spend some time with Maria at her table in the grand ballroom despite our easily forded language barrier. She introduced me to several of her friends while we viewed the retrospective grende (masks) display, partook of the live music, food, laughter, and availed ourselves of the ever-present liquid refreshments. Nicole came in every so often to check on me, to make sure I wasn't off in some corner lost in arschfeich nieneh babbling to myself in a droolish quagmire of culture shock, muttering Qua? Qua? Oder, oder? Gell! Gell!

I just loved seeing her suddenly appear dressed as she was in her Amazon glory: long blond hair spilling down the front and back of her hand-crafted monztertitty breastplate, bear-claw necklace, arm and shin guards, gloves, boots, bow, arrow-filled quiver, and the brown leather belt-purse made from a bull's scrotum.

When Maskenball concluded, the three of us stepped out into a drizzling rain and merrily walked the short distance from Schweizerhof to Löwengraben through the narrow cobblestone gasses to attend the sold-out Vikinger PowerNight.

Löwengraben has an intimate underground club space the likes of which is the ultimate realization of the cavernish Euro bar I had always wanted to experience. It was crowded, hot and smoky, with barely enough room to move our bodies to the thrubbing Vikinger beat. Everyone was garishly costumed and attired with accessories of every imaginable type: swords, bows, staffs, masks, elaborate headpieces, capes, and dazzling jewelry. And it was fun, we had fun, and we were fun there.

Much to my eternal dismay, I took only a few photos that night. Luckily, I had taken a shot of Nici with her sister, Sarah, and her handsome nephew, Serrano, just before the Maskenball. The reason I didn't take more is because I had nowhere to stash the digital camera in my costume. Besides, I wanted to dance and not worry about losing or damaging the expensive camera that had been loaned to me by my good friend, Cindy, from Santa Barbara.

If I could go back, I would have brought the damn thing into the club as there was just enough room to vertically bop and pogo, but not enough to really dance and trance. So, there at Löwengraben, on a drizzly PowerNight, sweaty and smoky and crowd-mauled, smiling and happily funkengrooving, it was all momentously perfect and forever wonderful.

It was the first time Nicole and I had a real chance to stand side by side, be in each other's company without being able to actually talk due to the loud music, communicating instead in the non-verbal visual and underlying emotional transmissions of our close proximity. And she was beautiful to watch in her natural element.

One can get a very good sense of someone by how they behave within familiar surroundings. I was filled with a kind of expectationless anticipation, gathering and unhurried, aglow in the comfort of an unfolding sense of home. We had yet to make love for the first time.

That would happen the following afternoon at her apartment in Kriens, during a gentle rain in the 2 o'clock hour, below the stony shadow of the dragon-horned Pilatus, while the bells of St. Gallus washed through the open bedroom window.


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