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Archive for April 21st, 2009

Vaudeville in Lansing

Tuesday, April 21st, 2009


vaudeville1sm.jpgSunday night, Brian and I (as The Fabulous Heftones) participated in a full-length vaudeville show. The venue was Central United Methodist Church in downtown Lansing, directly north of the Capitol building.

It is a wonderful historical building (early 1900’s), one of very few in Lansing still respecting the original style in which it was built. I just love being there, and performing on that stage is a real treat. Its vintage matches our music and something just feels right about that.

The event was a benefit for Earthwork Music, a wonderful organization supporting the work of many excellent young songwriters/ performers in Michigan. It was great to have such fun and also do some good for people we really respect and regard so highly.

vaudevilleskit3sm.jpgTop-Notch Planning

Katie and Ben put together an amazing real-vaudeville-act cast from beginning to end. There was a sword-swallower, two jugglers (one on a unicycle), a magician, a ventriloquist, a stiltwalker, a strongman (who juggled bowling balls, tore a phone book in half and balanced a bicycle on his head), a contortionist, a “hula” hoop dancer, a knife-thrower, a bunch of skits with “groaner” punch lines, Laura Bates, backed by an excellent trio, and The Fabulous Heftones on stage; and Heartland Klezmorim as the house band. The costumes were an artform alone.

Rachael Davis was scheduled, too, but illness kept her from being part of the fun, I am sure she was disappointed about that. I do not have a program, so I am missing the names of most of the performers. The talent was 100%, names or no. It was an honor to be part of this event, on every level.

vaudevillehoop3sm.jpgI have put together a Vaudeville in Lansing Photoset on my Flickr page, of 36 photos from the event. There are no photos of us performing, because it was my camera and I did not give it to an audience member this time (some of the backstage photos were worth that decision, I think).vaudevillebikesm.jpg

Costuming is an Artform

For this show, I rolled up my hair to pretend it was flapper length. Mind you, my hair reaches past my waist. I braided the bottom 1/2 of the length into 3 equal braids, then put a barrette in each end and rolled it up like a foam roller. I then used nearly two dozen hairpins and clips to hold those three rolls up at chin level.

Iheftonesflappersm.jpgt didn’t look quite right yet, and I did not have a hat of the right style. So I found a long black scarf and wrapped it around my head twice, leaving the ends dangling. Then I got out a small square red scarf, rolled it up and made it into a bow with four loops and two ends, and pinned it to the black scarf’s knot, to approximate a silk flower.

It worked relatively well, and I think I look pretty flapper-like. I can’t tell you how eager I was to take those hairpins out, though… that much hair weighs a lot, and the pins just hurt.

I tell you what, pins or not… this was about as much fun as you can have on a rainy Sunday evening! Thanks to Katie and Ben for inviting us to join the fun!