i'm standing in front of the Eglinton Theatre waiting for my friend, another Sound Of Music acolyte who's had a thing for Julie Andrews since adolescence.
A lot of gay women admit to having a Julie crush -- the way gay men have a thing for Christopher Plummer's guy-in-uniform Captain Von Trapp -- but I'm more of a Liesl gal.
We meet up and soon realize we're just tadpoles in the interactive SOM pond.
We didn't dress up in costumes, and there are people here impersonating brown paper packages tied up with string, a few Marias, Captain Von Trapps and our favourite, a woman with a metallic snowflake stuck on her nose.
But even without the dress-up, we're probably the very fans film critic Pauline Kael was talking about in her controversial review in McCall's. Kael subsequently lost her job after wounded readers berated her for her observation that "we are turned into emotional and aesthetic imbeciles when we hear ourselves humming the sickly, goody-goody songs.'
The Sing-A-Long SOM has been called the Rocky Horror Picture Show for dorks, and who can argue?
For a hefty $25 admission we're given a bag of goodies that includes a wildflower to wave during Edelweiss and a piece of cloth to hold up while shouting "The curtains!" at Maria as she wonders where she'll get the material to make the children's play-clothes.
We're told by the nun MC to boo the Nazis, hiss at the baroness, purr at Captain Von Trapp and, of course, cheer Maria.
The lights go down and the opening helicopter shot swoops down on Maria swirling on the mountain.
At the start I'm laughing at the sexual, sometimes nasty, comments that fly from the audience, but less hard or long as the movie progresses. The stupid one-liners are ruining the music and, as always, the loudest and most obnoxious commenters say the least funny things.
Suddenly, I realize I'm not into this. The film critic in me has hit the wall. I've spent the last 10 years of my professional life telling people beside me to be quiet, and now I'm trapped in a theatre where people are not only talking during the movie, but yelling and jeering. God, I'm in hell.
Besides, how can I enjoy something that mocks what was once a deeply personal experience?
I grew up watching the film in a reverent, almost spiritual state -- at a family affair down in the rec room. When the Captain and Maria kiss for the first time, or when the family sings at the Salzburg Festival and the Captain chokes up, those moments were greeted with the sound of silence.
I now see others like me. During pivotal scenes, much of the crowd is quiet.
They can't help it, it's a Pavlovian response from their childhood -- and you don't trifle with what innocence renders sacred.
I'm not alone. *