Part 3: Madison

That evening, we went to the Fireball Masquerade in Madison, Wisconsin. I’d describe it as a variety show with lots of burlesque, some circus and other performances. It’s been going on for several and years and occurs in the last Saturday of January. Each year there is a theme. This year’s theme was the Seven Deadly Sins.

Everyone was encouraged to dress up to that theme. I decided to go hyper literary so I went as the Red Masque of Death. Red mask and all. My fiance went as Envy in his chartreuse suit and one friend went as blasphemy in a monk’s robe with a book of heretical teachings. It was an impressive assortment of costumes! One guy did dress up as Mars with a fairly neat set of armor. Several people wandered around with mirrors in their hands to represent Vanity.
It started with a rather inspired burlesque act. There was a person dressed as mummy, covered in wrappings, while slowly consuming three victims on stage. It was on point and well constructed. The mummy slowly revealed her wrappings while gorging on blood covered organs. Eventually the dancer revealed a muscle outfit covered in sequins. (When I say muscle, I mean a map of the muscles of the human body). Really dug this bit.
Another act that I really adored was the Sloth acrobatic act. Gruff and Tumble decided to take a new twist on the theme. It was a comedic acrobatic act with a trainer and his two sloths. It was really cute. The sloths were appropriately lazy; moving slowly to do these incredible feats of acrobatics. Power dynamics were played around with as well. I really enjoyed this piece. This act was when we realized that a good contingent of audience members were also dressed up as sloths. Nice job!
There was a lyra act that was pretty neat. The theme was greed so the music was appropriately brash and avaricious. There was a delightful burlesque act for greed. As she took off pieces of clothing, coins flew through the air. I liked the consistency of the theme! There was also this amazing male burlesque act that was probably one of the funniest bits to the show. It was as if Buster Keaton or Harold Lloyd was asked to do burlesque. That’s pretty awesome.
The rest of the show was okay. I soon got tired of fake (or real) blood in the acts to be honest. Too many acts seemed to focus on wrath and lust. I wanted more variety of acts. There was a bizarre burlesque act for gluttony that ended with the male performer in a pigs head dumping beans on himself…  It was also a little too long for me (I’m getting old!) to stand. (Ice skating did a number on my back but it was worth it.)
The following day was the Sunday of the Great Blizzard. We had gotten notification from concerned parents and friends that the blizzard was going to get really bad after 2pm. As soon as we woke up, we got on the road. Very interesting ride. We had no issues (thank goodness); my friend who drove was a rockstar. But it was strange travel. There were definitely cars that had slipped off the road into awkward areas. We couldn’t see very far out in any direction. The wind kept the snow off the road for most of Wisconsin but conditions really got bad as soon as we got to Chicago. Snow blew in from all angles. We were fortunate to leave when we did. I didn’t want to be traveling in that weather at night.
Nothing like a snowstorm in Madison though. I miss them actually. I have very fond memories of walking home from campus in blizzards. There was this amazing hush over the world. Once I think I saw a person skiing down the road. Too bad it hadn’t been on Saturday! We could have gone sledding.
But it was a good trip. I can’t wait to go back!
That’s all for now!
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