Variety the Valley Way

Some people are naturals on stage.  Others have to practice.  And for some... it doesn't matter how hard you try, you just can't put yourself out there in front of a crowd.  But that's okay, because there are plenty of other people eager to jump up and have their five minutes of glory.  It's an exhilarating experience – something that can happen even in our small community of Anderson Valley.

The Anderson Valley Solar-Powered Grange presented the 28th Annual Variety Show this past weekend.  There were 36 highly entertaining acts over two consecutive evenings – some professionals, some were entertainers of past years, and some were new to the stage and/or valley.  There were a few who were invited from out of the area and were happy to travel the distance just to have the opportunity to perform for one of their favorite audiences!  That's you folks!

It is wonderful that our small community is filled with so many creative and resourceful people to put on an event like the Variety Show.  Yes, 36 ACTS – comedy, drama, music, and storytelling – a diversity of creativity.  Each act was very original and definitely unique.  This is one of those times when “no experience necessary” is quite true!  It's mostly about people having the desire to express themselves and share it with others.  Some have a message to tell.  Some are protesting one thing or another and what better way to express our feelings than through the arts in an assortment of acts?

I am reminded of the days when many schools and community centers held an annual hootenanny, talent show or variety show, and anyone in the community could participate.  It wasn't about who was cool or popular.  It wasn't about how skilled you were – it was about having fun, basking in those 5 minutes under the lights, and hanging out with other artists, sharing ideas and inspirations.  The point is...  JUST DO IT! because you love it, because you want to share it with someone else.  Okay, sure... have your 5 minutes of fame!  Why not?

It's scary, but you do it anyway.  You're a ball of nerves, but you roll with the punches and hopefully, your costume and makeup distract from any mistakes that might happen.

And the courage it takes... 

It takes an enormous amount of courage to perform in front of an audience, especially when it's people you know.  People tend to judge family and friends harsher than strangers – why is that? Be kind, be forgiving and most of all... be encouraging! We all need a boost of encouragement once in awhile. It gives us strength so we can endure whatever it is that's challenging us and keep on going.

And so you've done it.  You went on stage, you performed your heart out and then you heard the crowd cheering and clapping, and you felt confident, filled with self-respect, dignity and a sense of fulfillment.  That's way better than material accumulation or dwelling on negativity. You met the challenge! Congratulations to all who participated!

Magical Good Fun!

Every year the challenge for the Opening Act is:  “What else can we do and make it even better?”  And every year, this group of creative, comic geniuses manages to come up with something hilarious.  We watched Captain Rainbow disappear, thanks to his crazy childhood chum, The Great Keevanovich, who performed some crazy magic tricks with the help of  his wild, shiny assistant.  A Dougs Bunny appeared full of sass and sarcasm.  There's chaos and mayhem, but the Great Keevanovich cut Dougs Bunny in half and Captain Rainbow reappeared.  What a way to start the show!

Get Your Act Together!

So if you have a dream, notion, idea, or inspiration of doing something artistic – be it dramatic, musical or comedy – GO FOR IT!  We encourage you to participate and get involved with this fun, annual community event.  There's always a need for help behind the scenes too.  Learn about sound systems, projectors, lighting, staging, prop building and other fun theater tasks.

Follow your dreams, work hard, practice and persevere.  There's a variety of things to do!

The Unsung Heroes

Led by Captain Rainbow, our Goodwill Ambassador, a hardworking group of people put this show together in a matter of weeks each year.  That takes skill, ingenuity, and patience.  And they work without pay and a minimal amount of supplies and resources.  Let's thank them all (if I missed your name, my sincerest apologies):

  • Lighting - Erik, Jimmy-on-the-Spot, Lillian;
  • Backstage & Green Room - Robin, Joansie, Justin, Joshua;
  • Sound - Jade, David, Steve, Dave;
  • Raffle tickets team - Taunia, Arline, Nikki, Barbara, Yvonne, Mira, Esther, Keehan, Kate;
  • Ticket sales - Seesha, Patrick, Zoe, Michael;
  • The Pit Band - Greg, Kevin, Jennifer, Dennis, Lynn;
  • Intermission Refreshments & Popcorn - Judy #1, Judy #2, Amy, Scott, Mary, Melodee, Maureen, Tom, Abeja;
  • and the parking lot crew, security and the folks who drove the Senior Center bus (my bad for not getting your names this year)

THANK YOU ALL, for your hard work and dedication!

Special thanks to Mark Weaver for videotaping the show - we look forward to seeing the acts on the AV Variety Show YouTube Channel!

Check out past acts for ideas and inspiration on the AV Variety Show YouTube Channel.

There will be many more photos posted on the Anderson Valley Variety Show Facebook Page.

Locals provide tasty treats, “Dinner Before The Show”, AV Teen Center (Fri) and Jay Newcomer (Sat).

Boont Dusties & Bellies

Every year, Captain Rainbow takes a moment to honor the “dusties” of the valley.  These are the people who have passed on from life, and many lived in the valley from birth and participated in the Variety Show.  They are sorely missed, but honored during this moment of acknowledgment.

And then...to lift our moods back up after that bit of sadness, the next act (Friday night) was one of the most ingenious and entertaining acts ever!  For sure the youngest performers EVER to appear on stage at this Variety Show... The Liza Minnelli Bellies!  An adorable performance of face-painted preggie bellies in top hats!  It was hilarious when the audience was asked if they knew who the “carriers” were and they guessed all of them! (Lauren– 36 wks, Misha– 32 wks, Sid– 30 wks, Brittany– 28 wks, and Seesha– 15 wks.  Congrats to choreographers, Brittany and Kathryn Vega!

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