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DAVIS HAS TALENT
3 March 2010
The notice appeared on Facebook yesterday:
Oh Dear. I've lived in this town too long.
The first ever "talent show" that I remember in Davis was actually a Gong Show, in the days when that Chuck Barry show was all the rage. The beloved funky old Palms Playhouse (sadly now long gone in its original format, though the name and philosophy live on in a more regular theatre in the nearby town of Winters) hosted the Gong Show and it was the first time that our kids performed before an audience. They called themselves the "Fab Five." David was about 5 at the time, which would have made it about 1977. They danced to the theme from "Dr. No" and were, of course, terrible. But they had worked long and hard on the choreography and were all so darn cute that they didn't get the gong, just a low score.
We were proud parents watching our little kids perform. We had no idea that we would be spending the next twenty years or more watching our kids perform on various stages up and down California and as far away as Boston! And even often back on the stage of the Palms Playhouse itself.
Fast forward to the next talent show I remember in Davis. One of the organizations involved with the Mental Health Association here in town decided to put on a talent show as a fund raiser for the group. The group was the Yolo Community Care Continuum, which has as its aim to "better the lives of people with mental illness through direct services, advocacy, education and volunteer efforts."
It's a worthy organization and the talent show was a reasonable way to raise money.
Only problem was that nobody involved with the organization had a clue about what was involved in putting on a show. They had gradiose ideas about how it would be fun to put citizens into skits or dance numbers or have them sing songs, without knowing whether they could actually act, sing, or dance.
The community has some real talent who agreed to perform and selected community leaders would be interspersed in skits or dance numbers among the "real" talent.
The committee invited myself and a couple of people from the Davis Comic Opera Co. to help them with the technical aspects. I remember my mouth dropping open when they were discussing the cost to rent the theatre and wondered if they really needed it for rehearsal. Couldn't we just all meet at the theatre and put on a show and save money?
(Obviously they had watched too many Judy Garland-Mickey Rooney movies!)
Myfriend Stephen Peithman and I wrote the script for a quiz show. I can't even remember what it was now.
I also helped them get my then-boss, who was a jazz musician in his spare time, to play. Unfortunately, I didn't realize that he intended to play for about 20 minutes and that nobody could get him off the stage!
There were two performances of this talent show and the reason I don't remember much about what exactly was involved is because the show was so bad that after our quiz show had its moment, I left the theatre and went home. It was too painful to watch.
Fortunately, the thing was apparently a rip roaring success, made lots of money for YCCC and the people who organized it still rave about how wonderful it was. In the end that's all that really matters anyway, that the people in the audience have a good time and that everybody remembers how wonderful it was.
Even if it was ... horrible.
So, technically speaking this upcoming show isn't exactly the town's
"first ever" talent show. But I'm sure it will be just fine.
I love this photo of Jeri