Jingle bell rocks
The ever-growing Gorgeous Armada wants to sleigh Christmas
Handsome Gorgeous’ fly-away, thinning brown hair, handlebar mustache and teddy-bear brown eyes made me think that he should be wearing a turn-of-the-century tailcoat and a six-shooter hidden beneath it on his hip. He has that kind of gentleman-bandit appearance. Instead, the 30-year-old Gorgeous (whose real name is Anthony DiPasqua) was wearing a navy blue sweatshirt sporting the phrase “Hella Handsome” in big white letters on the front.
When I commented on his sweatshirt, he responded by taking it off and rolling up the right sleeve of his T-shirt underneath, revealing his brand-new tattoo of a skull strongly resembling Gorgeous himself (no skin, but the tell-tale hair and mustache) framed by the words “Gorgeous Armada” on a captain’s wheel.
The local writer, entertainer, producer and businessman sat down at the table at Has Beans for our morning interview about his upcoming piece of flamboyant musical theater, Sleigh: Sleigh II Again, a new-and-improved version of 2005’s Sleigh II.
Sleigh II Again actually evolved from the original production of Sleigh, which debuted in the winter of 2004. The non-traditional story follows a Christmas detective named John Sleigh (played by Gorgeous) who “has a murky history with Santa Claus.” Sleigh’s brother Billy was kidnapped at Christmastime when he was 8 years old, and Sleigh believes that Santa was responsible. Sleigh becomes a cop just to seek revenge for the loss of his brother. “Christmas archaeologist” Holly Day (played by local singer-actress Kyle Silliman-Smith) is Sleigh’s love interest, and “New Little Billy” is their son. Of course, there are evil elves as well.
This year’s production will be different, Gorgeous pointed out. Not only will it be shown in a theater for the first time, but it will be off-book instead of reading from a script. In fact, the entire production should be far more grandiose than in previous years.
“We have more people involved,” he said. “There’s lots of music. It’ll be a sing-along—we’ll have lyrics on screen and in the programs.”
Not one to shy away from self-promotion, Gorgeous used the subject of his new logo-tattoo to segue into what’s got him so excited these days—namely the expansion of his many-member, semi-outrageous, rock-opera/hip-hop band Gorgeous Armada into an even bigger entity, the newly licensed production and marketing company Gorgeous Armada Presents.
He explained how he had the whole night at the tattoo/barber shop filmed—him getting his mustache trimmed, him getting the tattoo. “And it’s all for the Internet,” Gorgeous said enthusiastically of his newfound love affair with cyberspace. “The importance of the Internet is to really use it.”
Gorgeous confessed that he wasn’t very computer-savvy until last year, when he took time off from playing music to learn about what’s possible with the Internet. He ran off a list of popular virtual-community Web sites like MySpace, YouTube, Facebook and Photobucket, and said that he is making use of as many of these free, public-access sites as possible to promote his band and business.
“It’s hard to pay for a 10-piece band to go on tour,” Gorgeous pointed out as a for-instance. “Now, as a business, I’ll be able to pay for it.”
Gorgeous ran off the names of the recent local music videos his production company has filmed—for The Yule Logs, Ol’ Yeller and hip-hop duo The Steps.
He praised a whole horde of people involved with the growing Gorgeous Armada dynasty—including Sleigh co-star Silliman-Smith, über-musician Maurice Spencer (also of Bear Hunter, Catlike Reflexes and The Yule Logs), graphic designer JPEG, artists Aye Jay Morano and Matt Loomis, L.A. videographer Jason Martinez (who co-produced Fuse TV’s Rad Girls and will be filming this year’s Sleigh production), sewing collective Chikoko, and the Blue Room and Rogue Theatre’s Ben Allen, who helped edit this year’s Sleigh script.
“We’ve always been a conglomerate of the best Chico has to offer, as far as bands and theater goes,” Gorgeous said of his 60-or-so-strong Armada, adding that everyone who ever works for them becomes part of the band. “Our network, I think, is the tightest local network.”