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Opera: Large smells and large screens

The view of the opera's festivities from the Scatter campout spot.

By The Scatter Family minus one plus two

The Scatter Family minus one headed downtown Saturday night to Portland Opera’s season-opening Big Night gala concert, an indoors/outdoors spectacle that also included pizza, rockabilly, giant walking heads, and an after-concert showing of the Marx Brothers’ side-splitting operatic thrashing A Night at the Opera on an oversized screen hanging above the front entrance of the Keller Auditorium.

The Scatter Family? Yes, Mr. and Mrs. Scatter (Bob Hicks and Laura Grimes) and the Small Large Smelly Boy (age 13), who loves ballet and whistles opera whenever he thinks strangers aren’t listening. We fondly call him Felix/Martha (Felix Unger/Martha Stewart), but it really should be Felix/Frasier/Niles/Martha (if you have to ask then you haven’t laughed through the Frasier TV sitcom, where Frasier and Niles are hilarious opera-loving sons of a crusty retired police officer).

Why the minus one? The Large Large Smelly Boy is not fond of opera (“Why do they always sing so high and stuff?”), but he’s a big film buff and we had hoped he would fall for a chance to see A Night at the Opera (“But I can get it at the library!”). We have no idea why he’s not amenable to being exploited for cultural and comic purposes.

Why the plus two? We ran into one of the SLSB’s longtime buddies (LSB2, also 13) and his dad, who generously sent their reflections (they’re good ‘uns; just wait). In debating about a blog name, the dad suggested SSD (Short Smelly Dad), but we’ll call him Ed.

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