What did she say?

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I believe there is a struggle in the downtown area to establish a “face” on our fair city. On one side you have those who wish to replace the college students with retired citizens and to change the name of Chico to Carmel. On the other side you have the artists, musicians, small-business owners and actors who helped forge the identity long ago. When I think of downtown, I think of The Blue Room, music in the bars and cafés, outdoor shows in the park and the Farmers Market (Thursday and Saturday). I think of all the great businesses that labored to establish Chico as one of the greatest little downtowns in America. I hope that, as real estate soars, we can come together in our vision of people over profits, but it all remains to be seen.

There was nothing that wasn’t seen at the Blue Room’s Frou Frou Hairdo Revue! Carrying the torch of the family tree, Lizzy Latimer delighted the sold-out crowd with her rascally French accent. Sandra Barton and Caitlin Formisano should be congratulated on what was a great production. I’m sure everyone who attended had their favorite part(s), but for my money it was the reenactment of the “old vaudeville” skit called “A Pimp and his Ho.” Rumor has it that Artistic Director Joe Hilsee shaved his chest to better feel the pimp vibe—while even wilder rumors circulate that Lighting Operator Jeremy Votava shaved his back to really be a “ho.” Amber Miller was hilarious as Marlene Dietrich on crack. In fact, there are too many highlights to list, but attention should be given to local prestidigitator Joel Paschall, who managed to carry a room of 100 plus with his wit and charm. The only down side was being called out to participate in the “dance contest.” Like a living nightmare, my name was uttered in slow motion. Didn’t anyone tell the Champagne Fairy that this white boy don’t dance? But, as in all dance contests at the Blue Room, the winner was Haley Hughes. You just can’t beat the best. All contenders should breathe a sigh of relief as dear Haley leaves us for broader horizons in the Big Apple and points beyond.

And let’s not discount the importance of the university to the vitality of the downtown area. Dan DeWayne pulled another coup when the Buena Vista Social Club rolled through town last week. Omara Portuondo was the featured performer, and she was beguiling, enchanting and lovely all in one breath. My only complaint is the "no dancing" policy at Laxson. I know this sounds ironic, but I believe that while I may not be the one doing the cha-cha, that restraining people from the natural desire to sway and shake the booty is cruel and unusual.