Rockette in my pocket 

Gams. Thick and juicy and firm up top, pointy and high-heeled at the bottom. Pantyhose smoothing the bumps and ridges and dimples. Forty high-heeled gams kicking skyward to 20 frozen dripping-red smiles. High-heeled gams. The high heel forces the ass to stick out and up just a bit. Just enough. Just a few thousandths of an inch of opaque nylon between our eyes and the taut, creamy flesh that punches out the steps. High-heeled gams. Tight. Mathematical. Not a stitch of costume to mar the view. High-heeled gams of white and caramel and peach. High-heeled gams aching with life, ready to be freed of their constrictive, unnatural wrappings. Ovoid hocks filled with gravy, warm and smooth and ready to burst. ... Oh … oh yes … oh dear God … it’s … it’s … oh yes, it’s … Christmas!

Fox Theatre! Row “R,” baby! Aisle seat!

All snuggled in for the Radio City Christmas Spectacular featuring those teasing nymphs of Yule, the Rockettes.

Besides calculating all the people I can’t afford to buy a gift for, I really haven’t done much in the way of holiday prep. Haven’t rented that movie about the kid and the BB gun. Haven’t hung stockings or lights. Haven’t sung along to a carol on the radio or made even the slightest attempt to string popcorn. Perhaps I’m one of those lost ones, the ones they make TV movies about. Those movies where a guy rekindles his dark and cold heart by befriending a homeless family and receives the bestest holiday gift ever: his soul!

I would hate to think this is where I reside spiritually, but the inner dialogue prior to the lifting of the stage curtain betrays me:

“I should have gotten high. I wonder how much they’re gouging for cocktails around here. Maybe just one. There are a lot of old people here. There’s more old people here than kids. Great. Six-foot-eight bald guy’s gonna sit right in front of me. I got to look at that bumpy wrinkled ball for two hours. I should have gotten high. I hope something goes wrong. Maybe a Rockette will show some bush. They probably shave the whole thing. Can’t take any chances. Lots of old people here. Fox Theatre beautiful. Should have gotten high.”

A camel-toed DJ from some station I never listen to walks out onstage and asks us if we’ve received our gift bags with the 1-carat diamond in it. Twenty minutes earlier, while getting shoved in line by a wave of pleasantly coiffed middle-aged females and men who look like they just lost a bet, I receive my gift bag — a come-on from a local jeweler daring me to bring the little stone in to their store to see if it’s a real diamond. Could be worth two grand. Then the DJ sits down and reads “The Night Before Christmas.” I make sure my gift bag is safe. It is. Two grand for sitting through this would be a grand consolation prize.

The curtain rises. The canned music begins. Young men and women rush out to us, colored like wrapping paper, smiling and singing and singing and smiling and a dorky little boy belts something out and a dorky little girl belts something out and it all looks like the last 10 minutes of “The Carol Burnett Show” when they did their sendoff song and dance number. Wait. It’s not that good. It’s Up With People. Yeah. It’s definitely Up With People. My anticipatory hard-on for the Rockettes is shriveling. I’m at church now. Old women are beaming. The bald guy’s head is swaying. It’s all so nice and pretty that I’m feeling a little sick. I’m not gonna make it. This is two hours long with an intermission and I’m already freakin’ out. I wonder how much they gouge you for drinks around here. I smell almonds. Cyanide smells like almonds.

Skinny Santa comes out and works the crowd.

“I love Greektown! I love Belle Isle! Santa loves Detroit! Ho! Ho! Ho!”

After that shout-out, he segues right into the “Santa’s Gonna Rock and Roll” number, air-guitaring his way around the stage and “really turning up the heat,” as promised in the official program. Heat? Yeah, it’s hot. Very hot. And stuffy. I can’t breathe. This place is sold out and they’re all sucking my oxygen. I smell perfume. I smell almonds. I really think I’m getting sick. Where are the Rockettes?

Here they are, tapping out “The Twelve Days of Christmas.” They smile and dance. They dance and smile. It looks like they’d rather not be smiling. It’s not easy doing what they do. But they’re smiling and the old women are smiling and the bald head sways from side to side. The naively anticipated eroticism is absent. I’m not even allowed a bit of woozy dirty revelry. I smell almonds.

Mrs. Claus comes out all puffed up with a strange Mackie-esque costume and worries that Santa won’t make it back to the North Pole on time to grab his sleigh. She sings, with the help of a couple sexy elves (red and white knee-highs), that “Everybody’s Waiting For The Man With The Bag.” Too easy. Insert your own drug or scrotum reference here.

Intermission. Let’s go home. Can’t. Big nativity scene coming up. Do the Rockettes kick their way to Bethlehem? Do they circle the manger like a bunch of dominoes? I have to see.

No Rockettes. Just a voice over the PA that wishes it was James Earl Jones telling the abbreviated tale of the birth of Jesus as real live donkeys and real live camels and real live sheep are led from stage left to stage right. There’s Mary and Joseph and wise men and children taking that stroll to Bethlehem without a gift bag or almonds or valet parking. The theater is hushed. It says in the program that they’ve been re-creating the nativity scene since the show started in 1933. Thanks, Radio City Christmas Spectacular. Thanks for ending things by making me feel guilty for pricing out the stone in my gift bag. Thanks for making me feel dirty for ogling the almost-there muffs of 20 sassy robots. Thanks for the old women and the swaying bald head and the stench of almonds.

I feel sick.


See the Radio City Christmas Spectacular through Dec. 27 at the Fox Theatre (2211 Woodward, Detroit). Call 248-433-1515 for ticket information.

Dan DeMaggio as a freelance writer. E-mail

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