Appalachia and game shows. And theater. And comedy.
Appalachian daydreams Mrs. DEVO and I are off next week to points along the Great Appalachian Valley. Home base will be in the hills of eastern West Virginia (although there will be excursions to Virginia caves and monuments as well as a secret adventure to the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina), but mostly, between stompin’ around the WV countryside and eating large home-cooked meals, Arts DEVO will be incessantly serenading the in-laws with his interpretations of old-timey tunes … whether they like it or not. Everybody now: “King Kong Kitchee Kitchee Ki-Me-O!”
101 Ways to Be Tossed Around Like a Rag Doll AD’s upcoming trip pales in badassness to Sharon Nilsson’s recent adventure in the world of crazy game shows. The Chico resident was one of the contestants for the series premiere of ABC’s new 101 Ways to Leave a Gameshow, which aired June 21. Based on the popular British show of the same name, the premise is, well, totally crazy:
“The eight contestants must avoid giving a wrong answer that could get them eliminated from the show by either being strapped down to the wing of a soaring bi-plane, dropped off the side of a speeding 18-wheeler, flipped upside down in an exploding car, or launched sky-high by a crate of dynamite.”
Nilsson passed safely through the aforementioned obstacles and into the finals, but was the last one eliminated during the final—by being dropped from a 10-story tower! For that alone, she deserves at least a small taste of the $50,000 prize. Watch the episode online at www.abc.go.com/shows/101-ways-to-leave-a-game-show.
Couch gags Sacramento comedian John Ross has recently moved to Chico and has wasted no time in getting his act together. The act he constructed is actually a series (every other Thursday, through August, at the Blue Room Theatre) called Comedy From the Couch, wherein comedians sitting on a couch onstage will interrupt and interact with a comedian doing stand-up. Ross says the intention is to present the kind of green-room comedian banter to which audiences aren’t normally privy. Things kick off tonight, June 30, at 9:30 p.m., with visiting comedians John Alston and Ray Molina, plus Chico’s Yusef Swafford.
Theater Chico Two tasty local theater bites:
One: Friendly Chico dude and former Secret Stolen guitarist Cameron Ford is in England these days, pursuing a master’s in music at Bath Spa University (the name makes it sound like a hot-springs retreat) and he is representing Chico big time: A class requirement to write 40 minutes of material has morphed into an homage to Ford’s hometown called, naturally, Chico: The Musical. Ford explained via e-mail that he “loosely based the characters on Chico people and young-adult themes,” and that thanks to a British fringe festival, he actually cast and staged his 40-minute tribute! I hope the guy who played Arts DEVO got the accent right.
Two: If you dig local theater, then you know the name David Davalos, as the Boulder, Colo., writer’s plays (Daedalus, Darkfall) and partnerships (Speed the Plow, Richard III) with the Blue Room and Rogue Theatre have resulted in some of the most compelling local theater in recent years. Well, according to Rogue’s Joe Hilsee, Davalos is coming back to direct his new work—Wittenburg—at the Blue Room this October. Hilsee and other Rogue members will be joining him for their first work at the Blue Room since Hilsee was let go as the theater’s director and formed Rogue.
The comedy—featuring such big characters as Protestant reformer Martin Luther and Shakespeare’s Prince Hamlet—has received raves in New York and other big cities, and it turns out that much of it was actually written during one of Davalos’ stays in Chico. In fact, a bar scene in the play was apparently inspired by a visit to Duffy’s Tavern.