I was a high-school outcast but boy, could I spell. At spelling bees I mowed, felled and vanquished the pretty girls, the baseball jocks, and Ron, who tormented me in math class by wiggling his finger at me through the fly of his jeans. But no victory made up for listening to the radio alone in my room on the night of my high school prom. So when I heard that Sherwin Sullivan Tjia had organized a strip spelling bee at the Mainline Theatre tonight, I thought, Beautiful Nerds of the World, Unite!
Dear One and I have already attended another of Sherwin Sullivan Tjia's offerings, Slowdance Nights, billed as your high school prom without the angst: there are designated dancers in shimmering sashes who, for the first couple of hours, ask wallflowers to dance. No one is left lonely, and there is a safe atmosphere, with recourse if anyone should make you feel in any way uncomfortable. Slowdance Nights are heaven for a girl who nobody wanted once upon a time. Their encouragement of inspired dress, and their acceptance of everyone on the age, gender or other spectrum, create an inclusiveness I have never felt anywhere else. So I figure a Strip Spelling Bee will be fun too. I'll post an illustration and a report after I get home. I'm pretty sure I'm just going to observe tonight. You never know, if I get inspired I might soon be shopping at the incomparable Eva B's on Boulevard St.-Laurent for some chiffon layers of my own.
Hours later: Well, I've just had my fill of beauty, hilarity and goodness for the night. I think a Strip Spelling Bee is what I was looking for in my churchgoing phase when I was looking for God. Below you will see my drawings of one lovely player in her veiled hat; a young mustachioed man in his tie, fur coat and other accoutrements which eventually got stripped down to his lovely old-fashioned striped swimsuit with straps; and one of the many elegant pieces of bric-a-brac that adorn the Mainline Theatre. I think my favourite contestant was the woman who was a spelling bee, in every layer of her attire from her corset to her bib and her delightful wings. Or was my favourite contestant the man who spelled a word from the world of classical music and then gave us a stunning example of it, since he was an opera singer.
I loved the little painting of a bee directly above the moderator's table festooned with tiny lights, and I loved how some of the contestants were Spelling Bee champions and spelled every word correctly, including passacaglia and quipu. But most of all I loved how the rules protected all spellers and strippers from ridicule and invasion: no booing, no photographing. And the apricot beer was good too. A very happy day seven in my year of daily doing a thing I've never done before, thanks to some good hearts and very brave souls.