Tuesday, October 10, 2006

How to Spend an Idol Night

If you have a personal hero, animus-bearer, celebrity idol, or however you wish to term it, I highly recommend you have yourself an “Idol Night” sometime. It’s not only fun, it’s good for the psyche.

My first experience throwing an Idol Night was about 15 years ago, when I was in my Sting phase. I had three girlfriends at the office who indulged my obsession (they actually dubbed me Queenie Bee) and so one night we all got together at my house for Sting Fest. Much music by Sting and The Police was played, I shared my favorite videos, and a great time was had by all.

But for my example of how to conduct an Idol Night, I will use a more recent experience, from this past weekend. My daughters Katie and Amanda and I got together for an overnight celebration of my current personal hero, Les Stroud (aka Survivorman). Interestingly, it was my Katie who came up with the idea after Les was kind enough to send me his gifts (see "Those Little Addictions"), and Manzi was all about doing it too. So we planned what we decided to call “Lestivities Night.”

Now, for a proper Idol Night you will want to of course incorporate your subject’s various talents into the entertainment for the evening. You also want to focus on whatever it is about the person that inspires you the most, the aspects that move you the most deeply. It’s also fun to explore different facets of the individual’s personality, to get a “whole picture.”

If at all possible, you should work in some opportunities for “audience participation.” That is, make the experience active as well as passive. That can mean anything from just talking about the subject matter, to playing games, to doing a project. The point is to explore the part of yourself that relates to the Idol, and learn something about yourself as well as him. If there’s any common ground between you and the object of your affection--in my case with Sting, it was our mutual appreciation of Carl Jung and his analysis of the human psyche--be sure to work that in.

[If you’re wondering how my girlfriends and I brought Jungian psychology into our Sting Fest, well...we watched Sting’s film “Brimstone and Treacle” and talked about the sex appeal of the dark side of the psyche. Educational and fun.]

So, let me elaborate on Lestivities. It began with a beautiful fall afternoon in Greenfield, Wisconsin, very well suited for an occasion that would focus largely on Les Stroud’s appreciation for the natural world. We started by making some jewelry out of rocks that I had polished myself, using the rock tumbler Katie’s boyfriend gave me for my birthday. To me this was a really relevant activity, seeing as Les is always reminding me that the stuff nature creates can be even more beautiful than what man creates. I’ve certainly always felt that way about rocks.

I finished my jewelry first, which gave me a chance to pull out my new Native American flute for a brief demonstration. I just recently decided to take up the instrument quite on a whim; I’m not even sure how it came to me, it might have even been in a dream. At any rate, I’m usually a very logical person, and to do something based on a feeling was quite a departure for me. I’m sure Les’s influence had a bit to do with it, as he frequently points out the importance of following your heart.

We adjourned to the upstairs VCR to watch “Snowshoes and Solitude,” the documentary Les made in 1999 with his wife Sue about their year-long honeymoon in the Canadian bush. The two lived as natives did 500 years ago, in an utterly deserted wilderness. It’s an inspiring adventure that provoked no little discussion afterwards. We were quite in awe.

I’ll tell you right now, the girls and I are hardly survivalists. But we do really adore our annual camping trip to Point Beach State Forest on Lake Michigan. That’s our personal “touchstone” for living in nature, so we made ourselves a supper of hot dogs in biscuits and salad out of a bag, the sort of stuff we consider camp food. (Our plan to bake the “wiener wagons” on sticks over the grill was abandoned for the oven in about two minutes; yeah, we’re real survivalists all right.) Later we also broke out the pie irons to make pudgie pies for dessert. Native North American life of yore was never like this; I’m sure they had no Octoberfest beer like we did, either.

Now it was time to really get the fun underway, in the living room where we have our big screen HDTV and kickass sound system. We alternated three thrilling episodes of “Survivorman” with listening to excerpts from Les’s music CD. This is what’s called immersing yourself in the Idol. The room was illuminted by my wood-scented candle, I had the fountain running for splashing-ambiance, and it was the next best thing to having our hero in the room.

We squealed in horror as Les dealt with giant tarantulas in the Costa Rican jungle. We laughed as he sang the fun Irish-jig-style song “The Cockroach.” We thanked our lucky stars for our safe, dry sofa as Les got caught in a horrible nighttime storm on a life raft. We recovered from our sympathetic-seasickness thanks to his most blatantly sexy recording, “I Got My Mojo Workin’.” (What would Les think to see two generations of women swooning over this song?) We despaired with him as he made the tough descent into a Utah canyon in desperate need of water, only to find a dry riverbed.

By 10:45 we were exhausted from sympathizing with our daring, determined hero as he endured heat, cold, hunger, thirst, loneliness, and all those godawful jungle bugs. We went happily to bed and were more grateful than ever to be in warm, dry, comfy sleeping quarters.

The next morning we reconvened for a breakfast of bacon and eggs (standard camp fare) and scrumptious homemade granola, the one food we had all weekend that Les might actually have eaten himself! We listened to the whole CD and talked about all manner of things.

Everyone took away from the experience a little piece of what I think Les Stroud tries to impart with his music and filmmaking. And that’s what Idol Nights are supposed to accomplish. If you are mightily attracted to and/or appreciative of someone, it’s because there’s something about that person that speaks to the needs of your soul. Katie, Manzi and I all are the sort of women who look for heroes among the genuinely goodhearted, talented but humble, spiritual sorts of guys like Les. It does all our hearts good to find that men like him truly do exist.

This blog is called Erotica with Soul, and of course there is always an erotic element to the powerful attractions we have for heroes and celebrities. But as you see, it’s that wholesome, invigorating kind of erotic element, one that a mom can share with her daughters. Our Idol Night resulted in all kinds of good aftereffects: the appreciation both for nature and for the comforts of urban life; a desire to be more spiritual and more in touch with our life goals and dreams; and the inspiration that comes from discovering a true hero, an ordinary man who can do extraordinary things out of love and spirituality.

It was a night none of us will ever forget. Try your own Idol Night sometime soon--you may have a similarly powerful experience.

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