Sunday, August 3, 2008

What Happened at That Furniture Store?

I have not presented information in quite some time. You, as a reader, are no doubt used to this, so I will forego apologies and excuses and get right to today’s Information, which is almost definitely of little or no concern to anyone outside of the Boston area.

Listen: here’s how this came about. Last Thursday an Associate and I did our best to make good on plans to see a certain wildly popular superhero movie in its larger, louder IMAX form. Doing this required making our way to the nearest IMAX equipped theater location, which, the internet told us, was also a furniture store, “Jordan’s Furniture.” No doubt your thoughts mimicked ours: “Wait. A furniture store?”

A furniture store.

So I activated Google Maps on my you-know-what phone and she unlocked the doors to her Lincoln Continental and we made our way, with relative ease, to the furniture store. With an IMAX theater.

An IMAX furniture store.

Listen: we had no clue what we were getting into, on a number of levels. First, from a purely conceptual standpoint - we had not had the foresight nor (at the time) the how-to knowledge to buy tickets beforehand, and so found ourselves faced with a blinking ‘sold out’ sign upon reaching the theater. But second, and more importantly, we were not adequately prepared for the theater itself. The theater, I hope you remember, is also a furniture store.

Now, if I were an eastern Massachusetts native, or if I watched local TV stations and their culturally-illuminating commercials for local establishments I might have been better prepared for Jordan’s Furniture. Things being what they are, I was not. So try to imagine how it felt to be faced with what I’m about to describe: a building the size of small stadium, clearly advertising itself as a containing within it a furniture store, IMAX theater, and a Fuddruckers. The side of the building also made clear that within it were held “liquid fireworks,” and a store called Beantown, as well as an ice cream parlor. The building itself, like an Escher drawing of an alien spacecraft, had managed to confound me both in its presentation and in its mere existence to begin with.

Despite being put off by the Fuddruckers, I was intrigued by the promise of liquid fireworks, and at this point was not yet aware that the movie we’d come to see was sold out, so we made haste into a furniture store, something I’d never have thought myself likely to do. Entrance was gained through an enormous revolving door, the kind that can hold about 5 people in each of its compartments, the kind I’ve only ever seen at the Cincinnati airport. A recording of a man with a New England accent warned us to be careful, since the door was apparently a dangerous contraption prone to slowing and stopping unpredictably. Once inside we were greeted by a woman wearing a headset and simultaneously assaulted by a myriad of strange impossible sights and disorienting sounds.

Listen: Jordan’s Furniture is an insane place. To the right of the front door was an auditorium sized room with a ceiling 50 feet high or more. Along the left side of this room was a counter beneath a large sign for Richardson’s Ice cream, featuring a staggering menu. The right wall of the room was covered in an enlargement of a photograph of the Leonard P. Zakim Bunker Hill Memorial Bridge in front of the Boston Skyline. Along the wall was a metal framework of poles and columns, with cables above and netting below. A man on a trapeze hung by his knees and swung lazily back and forth, while a girl on a platform across from him was strapped into a harness before swinging out towards the upside-down man. The far wall appeared to be a kind of stage from which some classic piece of music was blaring. Jets of water, illuminated by spotlights above (and likely strobe lights below) shot up from the stage nearly to the ceiling, and did so in a complicated and choreographed manner. Liquid fireworks. Closer to the door was a small candy store specializing in Jelly Bellies, and around the room were enormous items constructed entirely from the candies. An entire garden tableau, for example. I do not have a photograph, and for that I apologize.

As exciting as all this was, we still expected to see a movie, and getting to the theater part of this outlandish location required us to walk through a kind of maze of long halls that ended with signs pointing the way to the theater. Naturally, these halls were tastefully lit with polished tile floors and neutral colored walls, as they served as Jordan’s Furniture’s labyrinthine showroom of dining room sets and king-sized beds. In order to reach the only aspect of this destination in which we originally had any interest, we had to walk through an entire furniture store stretched out into the form of a winding pathway instead of one enormous room. This fucking place is, first and foremost, a furniture store.

The movie, as I mentioned, was sold out, so we left after spending a little time examining the candy sculptures and watching the liquid fireworks. That is the end of the story.

I can’t think of anything perfect and well-understood with which to compare Jordan’s Furniture. The closest I can come is a Vegas casino, minus the gambling, and with more children. Both Jordan’s Furniture and those enormous terrible casinos elicited the same kind of Lovecraftian blend of confusion, awe, intrigue, and repulsion in me. I was drawn in by the bright lights and spectacles of liquid fireworks and IMAX, while being repelled by having to look at furniture and being near a Fuddruckers, the same way casinos throw entertainment and the false promise of riches at you, but you have to walk by the soul-crushing picture of hopelessness presented by the flocks of elderly women stationed at slot machines to get to the empty promises inside.

It was really Something.

1 comment:

Nicole said...

hold up.

what in the balls is wrong with fuddruckers? as a child living in that state from which i came, i enjoyed frequenting this eating establishment on rt. 17 in paramus [right, kittle?] this restaurant is noteworthy for a few main reasons:

1. they put butter on the buns. damn!
2. unlimited pickle chips.
3. the name of the place sounds like curse words.

mdon, do your research before you hate on good places.