Sunday, April 17, 2005

Davy & Jan: A Love Story

When I headed out last night on the latest Mickey Mommas romp, I had no inkling that it would turn into epic of star-crossed romance for someone right in our little group. On that night, a certain celebrity would single out a cheering Celebration fan and bestow her with a token of love for all the world to see.

Things started out tame enough as I hopped into Canyonero with my neighbor to join the Mickey Mommas caravan to Disney World. We were heading over to Epcot to see none other than that Marcia-Brady-approved heartthrob, Davy Jones! He was appearing this weekend as part of the Flower Power concert series, in conjunction with the Flower and Garden Show.

It makes me feel old to see bands that I knew as a kid gamely playing venues like Epcot with wrinkles and gray hair. I wonder, in 40 years or so, will today's acts be doing the same thing? Will Epcot feature senior-citizen rappers with canes and walkers, their necks barely able to support their bling? Will they still look as threatening spouting off about ganstas and hoes as they wave their Social Security checks?

Rap might not transcend the decades very well, but the music of the 60s and 70s still does. I was anxious to see Davy perform live; although I had seen him onstage once before, it was primarily as an actor. Many years ago, "The Real Live Brady Bunch" appeared at the Park West theater in Chicago. Basically, it consisted of actors reading verbatum from old Brady Bunch scripts. That, in itself, is hilarious enough, but we got to see a special show where Davy played himself and Danny Bonaduce (aka Danny Partridge) played his manager. Although I loved seeing Davy reprise his famous role, the show was stolen by Alice the housekeeper singing Jefferson Airplane's "White Rabbit" (i.e. "Ask Alice").

Other than that, I was a Davy Jones neophyte. I grew up around Monkees music played by my older brother and sister, but I was too young to appreciate the television show. "Words" and "Last Train to Clarksville" were particular favorites in my household, although "Pleasant Valley Sunday" has emerged as my all-time top Monkees tune.

I rediscovered the show on "Nick at Night" around the time that I moved into my first apartment. As a young child, I favored cartoons to real-life buffoonery. As an adult, I had come to appreciate the insane humor that I'd missed the first time around. I didn't really have a favorite Monkee, although one of ny two favorite episodes happened to be centered around Davy. And as a Brady Bunch junkie, I was intimately familiar with the infamous Davy-Jones-prom episode. I just love the Brady Bunch movie, where Davy performs at the prom and all the teenagers are staring at him like he's from another planet, but the teachers are all swooning.

Now I was going to be one of those old-time swooners. Ah, how life comes full circle! We picked up Jan, the leader of the gang, another group of Mommas pulled in behind us, and the caravan of Davy Jones groupies was on the roll.

In case you're wondering what the Mickey Mommas are, they're actually the group that gave birth to the Bunny Brigade. But the Mommas are a select, female-only contingent, and their headgear is not limited to bunny ears. The Bunny Brigade was actually spawned by last year's Davy Jones concert, where the ears first made their appearance. Unfortunately, Davy studiously avoided the gaggle of bunnies and refused their generous gift of his own set of ears. But despite his snubbing, the bunny ears theme took on a life of its own on the Front Porch (the community intranet, where you can add a photo to your signature line). Brigaders can still be found flaunting their ears, and often handing out carrots, at various Celebration events.

Meanwhile, the Mickey Mommas continue to flourish. This year, Jan provided feathered deedly-bopper headgear in pastel colors. The two feathered balls on top of each headband bounced jauntily on springs in a way that was sure to win us lots of attention. My neighbor had heard a lot about the Mommas, but this was her first personal experience. She has a good sense of humor, so she donned her deedly-boppers along with the rest of us.

Besides drawing snickers, stares, and smiles, the headpieces served a more practical purpose. We could easily spot each other in large crowds; just look for the bouncing feathered balls. And we could quickly take a headcount. As long as there were three pinks, three lime greens, a purple, and a blue, we knew that we were all present and accounted for.

Those deedly-boppers were the hit of the night! With all the strange headgear that you can buy at Disney World, you'd think that no one would give us a second glance. But all the mouse ears and sorcerer hats couldn't hold a candle to our bouncing pastel feathered glory. We lost count of the people who asked where they could buy their own set. If Jan had only known, she could have had a very profitable side-business going.

We headed over to Mexico to meet some more Mommas and consume some burritos and Margaritas before taking in the show. However, I soon suspected that we'd somehow stumbled into a black hole and ended up in the Neverending Line from Hell. It had been at least ten minutes, and the line for food hadn't moved more than half an inch. Would we make it through before poor Davy died of old age? Would we make it through before we all died of old age, or perhaps starvation?

When I finally got towards the front, I realized that they were only taking one order at a time and not serving the next person until the one before them got their food. Not terribly efficient when you have dozens of people stacked up. And apparently they were sending Juan Valdez and his donkey off to Mexico to personally pick up each order. Finally it was my turn, and I ordered nachos with a side of guacomole. I was planning to go for a Margarita, but a blend of frozen fruit juices tempted me away.

When they finally handed me my tray, I was shocked! The guacamole was $2.50, so I was expecting a decent portion. What I received was one of those tiny little plastic cups that Moe's Southwest Grill gives you for your salsa (your free salsa, I might add). The cup would barely have held enough ketchup for an order of French fries, let alone $2.50 worth of guac. Turns out it didn't matter anyway, as it was hotter than brimstone in the heart of Hell. I like a bit of a kick, but when my tongue starts smoking and I smell burning flesh, I draw the line.

Fortunately, the nachos were quite tasty, and the frozen fruit juice blend was as delicious as its description on the menu had implied. Soon I was fueled up and ready for the concert. We decided to stop at Italy on the way to stock up on chocolate to sweeten the wait in the concert line. I selected milk chocolate with hazelnuts...heavenly!

We managed to secure a good place in line that would assure us a prime spot from which to cheer Davy. People continued to be awestruck by our bouncing feathers; earlier, we had decided to tell anyone who might dare to ask that we were with the United Feather Producers of America convention (visit our website at

Davy's earlier concert was still going on, so we were treated to the faint strains of "Daydream Believer" and "Girl" (his famous Marcia Brady song). Meanwhile, as pre-show entertainment, high school bands appeared periodically from a backstage area and marched along the line-up. The first band had to be freezing, as a frosty, decidedly un-Florida-like wind had whipped up, and their skimpy costumes offered little protection. Later bands were dressed more sensibly for the chill; I was firmly convinced that one of them had to be from Amish country, based on their ankle length skirts. My favorite band must have been from Stepford High, judging by the plasticized young people marching in eerie Audioanimatronic precision. Maybe they were actually some sort of Disney experiment in free-walking robotics.

To amuse ourselves, we began playing "band groupies," shouting, "We love you!" and "Drummers rock!" inbetween screams of ecstasy as each band passed. Normally, there was a cast member walking in front to clear the way, but one poor band apparently got ahead of its handler. As they marched out, the crowd did not clear out of the way. A collision seemed imminent, but suddenly a panicked cast member came flying down the walkway and tossed himself in front of them to act as a human cow-catcher.

Finally it was time to enter the theater. We jostled forward, eager to plow down any unfortunately soul who might stand between us and primo seats. We secured a good location just a few rows back, right next to the walkway, where Davy couldn't miss the hypnotic bouncing of our feathers. Would he welcome us with open arms, or were we facing a repeat of the cruel snubbing that happened the year before? Only time would tell.

Soon enough Davy came out on stage to the frantic screams of aging groupies and the quizzical stares of their children ("Who is that guy, and why is Mommy so excited?"). It may be a few decades since the Monkees, but fortunately Davy can still put on quite a show. Soon the whole theater was clapping and swaying to the music.

Of course, we all had to scream and shout like crazy people, which attracted Davy's attention. He looked at Jan and blew a kiss right at her! There was no mistaking it; he aimed his virtual pucker right at her cheek. Of course, this expression of true love put her right into a swoon. Eat your heart out, Marcia Marcia Marcia. This time Jan had won.

Then Davy asked what was up with our headgear, so of course she had to present him with his own special set of feathered blue balls. He donned them right up on stage, much to our surprise and delight. There was no snubbing this year. Maybe Davy doesn't like rabbits, but pastel feathers are definitely his style. Click here to see the incriminating photos.

The night had reached its pinnacle; Davy had publicly demonstrated his love for our intrepid leader (and he'd also pointed right at my neighbor, who was wearing a blue set of feathers that matched his). The only problem remaining was how Jan could break it to her husband and children that she would be leaving them to be Davy's woman and join him on the road.

But then she made a heart-wrenching decision: she just couldn't toss away her family and home, not even to join her true love. Instead, she made the brave choice to deny her destiny and return to her life in Celebration along with the rest of the us.

As we headed around World Showcase to the park exit, the Illuminations fireworks lit up the sky (but I'm sure they weren't as loud and bright and the fireworks than Jan felt when that Davy pucker landed on her cheek). Even now, at the end of the long day, fellow park guests were still coveting our headgear. Perhaps they had heard rumors about the pastel feathers' potent powers to seduce celebrities.

All in all, it had been an exciting day. We had enjoyed a feast of Mexican food and drink, topped off with Italian chocolate. We had heckled high school bands from multiple states. We had spread good will for the United Feather Producers of America (don't forget, that's But, most important, we had made a spectacle of ourselves and managed to lure Davy into becoming an honorary Momma by donning the feathered blue balls. We had even lured him into a public show of affection towards our leader (despite her newfound fame and status, Jan was still graciously allowing us to hang out with her). Only one question remains: How will we were top this next year?

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