Baz Luhrmann's film "Moulin Rouge" came out in 2001, over ten years ago, and from that moment on I referred to it exclusively as "the movie that describes my soul." I really couldn't care less what other people's opinion on the movie is because just as I wrote in the last monologue of the cabaret I performed in NYC right before coming to Paris: "what could possibly be better than singing about love in a giant elephant, dancing beneath a serenading moon, and completely forgetting any obstacles that your brain so often throws like pistol-carrying psycho-parisian dukes into our heart’s blissful serenity?" Costumes, songs, love, ridiculousness... Done, done, done, and done... I have since learned that there was in fact a giant wooden elephant behind the real Moulin Rouge when it first opened, though of course nowadays it has morphed into a massive tourist spot, less for frustrated men to spend a night in Dionysian decadence, more for travelers from around the world to enjoy a good spectacle.
As I mentioned in my last post, my awesome friend from L.A. and I shared a love for this film when we studied abroad, mere months after the film came out all those years ago. We would frequently drink too much (or really not at all) and act out the scenes in our apartment, at parties, on sidewalks, who really cared. I was in love with Ewan McGregor, she was in love with Nicole Kidman, and we would sing "Elephant Love Medley" like our life depended on it. The logical conclusion was of course that at long last, I would check out this famous spot with her, despite my wallet practically shrieking in my ear to walk away. My heart slash soul, on the other hand, was belting "Come What May" out my mouth and into the cash register.
Clearly we couldn't go to the Moulin Rouge in every day summerwear, that would just be ludicrous. So I chose the sparkliest dress I could find in my current wardrobe, and my friend decided it was high time I tried out her hair extensions. She is a master of wigs, hair pieces and all the rest, and very thankfully we are both blondes. All dolled up for the evening, we took a stroll around the neighborhood for a lovely dinner spot. Well, first we tried with all of our lingering brute strength to get the door to their apartment to shut while her mother took pictures. THEN we wandered around, at which point I remembered that Montmarte is mainly uphill and cobblestone-encrusted. The high heel glitter shoes had to be removed about a block away for fear of death by fashion. After a delightful dinner we approached the Moulin... Bright, bedazzled, beckoning our names as we took pictures with the glowing mill behind, not realizing that the line to get in was already extending down the street and around the corner. Nevertheless, us three hot blondes waited in line with our tickets, entered through the magnificent doors, and were escorted to our balcony seats.
Now, you are NOT allowed to take pictures in the Moulin Rouge, or at least not while the show is going on. It remains unclear whether or not we should have at all, but my friend is the queen of ballsy picture taking and we got some great shots regardless. With each ticket you get a half bottle of champagne, so we were quite excited for our night of splendour. I will say that when the show first began, I was a little worried. The cheesiness factor was a bit out of control and the male dancers, who by the way NEVER take off ANY of their clothes, were not even dancing in sync. They are clearly props for the ladies to hold on to and sets for the ladies to dance in front of. Lip syncing was used throughout and some of the songs made my ears bleed. However, there were different acts in between the grand numbers, clearly giving time for the girls to change out of their crazy headdresses and costumes. There were also some truly talented tumblers and acrobats wowing us with their physical feats. And in terms of the ladies themselves? I'll be quite honest in saying that anyone who has a body like that probably SHOULD run around topless. Go ahead, rule the world bitches, because you certainly know how to walk across a stage with 5 pounds of feathers on your heads. The big numbers were the most stunning and it's quite an experience being in that old theatre. My favorite was of course the traditional can can, kicking up their heels to the sky and making all the colors from their frou frou overwhelm the stage.
We went to the second show of the evening, so we had the luxury of being able to take photos as the audience was leaving and workers were cleaning up. Obviously, we took the opportunity to go right up to the stage, even sitting on it for well-posed pics. On our way out, we took even more photos, relishing in the decorations and pure showmanship of every single moment. I think I would have preferred if they did more traditional numbers, and I could certainly do without the lip-synced lovesick ballads. But in the end, you really can't beat that scale of spectacle. While I am quite happy with my hobbit-like stature, if I was a foot taller and lost 300 pounds I think I would gladly strut my stuff around the stage, topless or not.