My husband Alan and I love the River City Brass Band and have thrilled to its stirring melodies and energetic, soul-reaching renditions of old favorites. Their recent Haunted Classics concert topped them all. As the crowd waited in the darkened auditorium, eyes glued on the well-lit stage with its musicians dressed in black, an apparition appeared from the wings.
Really, it was James Gourlay, the artistic director. He strode before us, slender and commanding in his black tux, fake red jewel pendant, face painted white with black circles around his eyes and “blood” dripping from the corner of his mouth. Resplendent in a bright red cape, he whipped it off and twirled it a few times and addressed the crowd.
In a Transylvanian-Scottish accent. James is Scottish, quite the showman, and entertained us with his wit and charm and faux accent. We laughed for hours during and after the concert. Not only did the band play spooky tunes from Psycho, Creature from the Black Lagoon, and Chiller Theater, to name a few, but video clips were shown on a large screen to the left of the stage.
James’s portrayal of Dracula endeared the old haunted character to my heart. Yes, we were engaging with the dark side of life, with the elements of fear and horror. But it was so much fun.
I couldn’t help thinking how each one of us has a dark side–call it ego or shadow side. We don’t usually want to admit it and cling to the fantasy of being 100% good guys. We pretend to be perfect in every way, when the darkness is just part of who we are (ancestral patterns, past trauma, etc.) All our imperfection is just part of some cosmic spiritual perfection..
I’ve been working on this, shining light on my own shadow. My weaknesses are pretty funny at times. And as I claim my dark side, become aware of how I actually operate, it all gets easier and more fun. Instead of fearing my shadow, I laugh more about it. (Okay, I still have a long way to go with this. Go ahead and laugh at me.)
So do not fear your dark side, my children. Embrace it. Take it out to lunch. Buy it a nice gift. But above all, get to know it. It’s just there so we can all have some fun.