Upfront: Commence to Commemoratin'!

Categories:      Events    News & Politics
Wednesday, May 2nd, 2012 at 9:08 AM
Upfront: Commence to Commemoratin'! by Cory Vaillancourt

If you happen to hear more cannon fire than usual over the next 18 months, do not be alarmed – the British are not coming to reclaim their colonies; it’s the Perry 200 Commemoration. From now until late 2013, Erie will take on a festival-esque atmosphere as the Perry 200 Commemoration, ummm, commemorates the hero of the Battle of Lake Erie with a series of concerts, fireworks, parades, pageants, boat races, and, most importantly, multiple rounds of live cannon fire; there are even rumors of an infant orangutan mascot named “Baby Oliver,” in a period naval uniform no less. Alright, I made that last one up, but the Perry 200 Commemoration Commission would do well to note that people love baby orangutans in period naval uniforms as much as they love live cannon fire. Regardless, I’m getting awfully excited just thinking about all the fun things taking place in Erie, with or without the orangutan. 

For the duration of the commemoration, you’ll be seeing variations of Erie Reader Art Director Todd Scalise’s creation – the official Perry 200 logo – all over the place – on our cover, on merchandise, on print ads, on posters, on signs, on busses, on billboards, on television, and on radio. Well, maybe not on the radio, but you get my point; Todd’s work will be everywhere, just like the commemoration itself.

Now, all this Commodore Oliver Hazard Perrymania got me to thinking. Occurrences like this one, wherever they occur and whatever they commemorate, shine a small light into our otherwise drab daily existences. They’re special, and they make life just a little bit more fun. I think we should hold them more often; in fact, I think we should hold a Perry Commemoration every single year…you know, make it an Erie tradition, like the Parade of Horribles held in Erie each December since 1795 (Perry served as Grand Marshall in 1819). 

Unfortunately, it has been noted in the past that Commodore Oliver Hazard Perrymania, in addition to being highly contagious, invariably leads to Commodore Oliver Hazard Perry fatigue. Thus, if we were indeed to hold a Perry Commemoration each year, we would have to explore the possibilities of there being other Perrys to commemorate. Luckily for you, I have done just that – I’ve come up with a list of several more Perrys who desperately need commemoratin’. Take notice, Commodore Oliver Hazard Perrymaniacs, after the Commodore Oliver Hazard Perry 200 Commemoration ends in 2013, we shall commence the commemoratin’ of the “other” Perrys:

Lee “Scratch” Perry – Jamaican musician and record producer

If you look for the definition of “insane” in the dictionary, you will see a pencil sketch of Lee Perry next to the entry; if you look for the definition of “genius” in the dictionary, you will also see a pencil sketch of Lee Perry next to the entry. Perry was a reggae and dub pioneer who built a studio, the Black Ark, in his backyard, produced a bunch of incredible music, and then burnt the Black Ark down because he’s Lee Perry. 

Lee Perry Commemoration Signature Event: Lee Perry hosts an all-star reggae concert at the newly renovated Tullio Arena, which will be burnt to the ground immediately afterwards.

Steve Perry – American musician/singer

Formerly the lead singer of the rock band Journey, Perry’s job was outsourced to a smaller, more Filipino version of himself, Arnel Pineda. Pineda, whose singing voice bears an uncanny resemblance to Perry’s, speaks English like every ridiculous Asian stereotype you’ve ever heard as he talks about his days living in a Manila gutter and eating garbage; incredibly, Neal Schon, Journey’s guitarist, stumbled across a YouTube video of Pineda while searching for a suitable lead singer and reached out to him. Meanwhile, Steve Perry is reportedly involved in the bovine insemination business, which obviously draws on his decade of experience dealing with Journey’s groupies. Take that, Steve Perry! That’s for the $4.98 I wasted on a cassingle of your solo effort “Oh Sherrie” way back in 1984. 

Steve Perry Commemoration Signature Event:  Livestock show. 

Gaylord Perry – American baseball pitcher

While neither gay (according to his wife and son), nor a lord (as far as I can tell), Gaylord Perry did have the cruelest parents since college basketball player Ivana Mandic. Despite, or perhaps because of his easily ridiculed moniker, he learned to hurl small spherical objects at exceptional velocities and with deadly accuracy. A legendary “spitballer” who compiled more than 300 wins in his 22-year career, Perry was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1991. 

Gaylord Perry Commemoration Signature Event: Drag queens in full regalia race around the basepaths of Jerry Uht Park. Potential sponsorship tie-in with K-Y Jelly could work on a number of different levels. 

As you can see from this short list, there are a plethora of praiseworthy Perrys who could stand a little commemoratin’ – Perrys like William, Katy, Linda, Tyler, Luke, and Matthew. If we open up the commemoration possibilities to people with “Perry” as a first name, we can also commemorate Como, Ellis, Farrell, Mason, and Wood. The bottom line is that we could all use just a little more joy in our lives, and if any sort of Perry commemoration take place, I’m sure it will be very popular – as long as there’s plenty of live cannon fire and an infant orangutan mascot in a period naval uniform.

Cory Vaillancourt is a brilliant writer/complete hack and can be complimented/heckled at cVaillancourt@ErieReader.com. Follow him on twitter @VLNCRT,  just not too closely.

Erie Reader: Vol. 6, No. 21
Now Available — Pick It Up Today


HBO's newest series as viewed through the lens of the Serial Gamer

Your 2016 Election Day preview 

Curious creatures at home and abroad 

The dollars and sense of lakeshore wind power 

A meeting of the minds to move Erie forward


Your 2016 Election Day preview 

Curious creatures at home and abroad 

The dollars and sense of lakeshore wind power 

A meeting of the minds to move Erie forward

Experience world cinema in a local setting.

Local cups compete to benefit the St. Martin Center.

 Rani Arbo & daisy mayhem’s American Spiritual will satisfy those corners of the soul.

It’s impossible to overstate how perfectly Return to Love opens.

Public health and the health of local budgets are both at stake throughout Pennsylvania.  

Drew Farrell: artist