We went to an absolutely hilarious event last week called Wagga Wagga Takes Two. It seems that there used to be an American Idol type tv show here (and probably elsewhere) called It Takes Two, where a singer and a non-singer were paired together, something like those Dancing with the Pseudo-celebrity shows that were popular in North America recently. And in an attempt to raise some money for charity, some Waggans got together and started their own version.
Here’s how it works: local entertainer and local business person (hospital CEO, real estate agent, etc.) are paired up and put together a musical act that they will then perform at the event (which happens twice…Thursday and Friday night). Money is raised through ticket sales, but also through audience voting: there are envelopes on your table for each act and you vote by putting money into them. The act that earns the most money for their charity wins a trophy, and their charity gets the money. Acts are also judged by a ‘celebrity’ panel, and that winner gets another trophy. Depending on what the judges are looking for (quality?), what the audience is interested in (a fun and outlandish performance?), and how many friends a performer can get in the door, the audience vote and the judge vote could be very different.
We went because Lisa’s research assistant (LC) is a singer and was performing. She’s really good, and has won a few trophies over the years they’ve been doing this – in fact, she won the audience vote again this year on Thursday night (we were there Friday). We were at a table with some other CSU people and LC’s parents and partner…unfortunately, uni people aren’t the richest folk in town, so she didn’t win again on Friday.
So what was the entertainment like? It ranged from serious to hilarious, somewhat boring to absolutely captivating…and so diverse that there was probably something for everyone; what many might have thought was wonderful others would snooze through.
Some groups seemed to focus on singing, some on the overall spectacle with costumes and props (and the Wagga High dance club was there to support any group…so if you thought having a bevy of enthusiastic but somewhat out of sync teen girls might help, they were there for you…and probably very exhausted by the end of the night!). It ranged from a couple doing a (boring to us, but the judges and voters liked it) duet of some schmaltzy song from some Olympics opening ceremony, to a guy and a girl in blond wigs, corsets and 5-inch heals doing a f#!*ing hilarious Madonna medley. One pair did an Everly Brothers medley (nice…but…good time to go to the bar for another Tooheys); LC and her partner rocked Olivia Newton-John’s Physical, complete with aerobics (gymnastic mats even!) and the guy wearing a Borat-style onesy-thong!
And another pair of men (the only all-male group) did a thoroughly entertaining and crazy thing that started out as Alice Cooper’s Welcome to My Nightmare and ended up as a Rocky Horror medley (with a hairy guy in leather shorts and suspenders as Frank’n’Furter!). For Dan, it was the highlight of the night (as a Rocky Horror fan, not because he likes guys dressed in drag…and if he did, the guy in the Madonna outfit was a lot hotter!).
On the last night, only one of the groups we voted for won a trophy (the Madonna crew — nothing like seeing a buff, macho guy in a cone bra!…and even better that he is the manager/bartender at a local pub! Maybe next year the dude from Thirsty Crow will be there doing Katy Perry tunes). On the Thursday night, they raised about $40,000 for the dozen charities…not sure what LC’s winning total was (maybe she’ll comment on this blog posting?). In previous years, the two-night total has been growing, and over the 6 years they have been doing this event they have made about $600,000…and thought this year would be similar, expecting maybe $50,000 on Friday. Well, were the organizers surprised (and thrilled!) when the donations came in at about $140,000 for Friday night. We’re not sure exactly how this happened, as the venue only holds about 200 people – there seemed to be some large donations ‘in absentia’ that some of the performers had been lobbying for. And sure, that might technically be cheating, but it is for charity. And holy crap! That’s a hell of a lot of money into local charities on just one weekend…
And here’s a weird thing about the event: it was BYOD. Not BYOB…the venue makes money selling booze (and even then, beer was pretty inexpensive) but there is no food service there so you could bring your own dinner. In Aus terms, the event was 6:30 for 8:00, meaning doors opened at 6:30, show started at 8. People came early with everything from cheese and crackers to sushi, to the table next to us with a tray of pies and sausage rolls (and of course bottles of tomato and brown sauce). We were going to bring food (Thai takeout) but Dan was starving after a 35 km bike ride between work and the event, so we ended up just going to Wagga Thai and eating in. Others at our table brought nibblies…none were really familiar with the event and I don’t think we really understood the concept, but next year we will go to support LC, have a howler of a good time, and plan a feast for the table!
And since we are on a music theme, what better time to announce the winner of our first anniversary contest. When we were planning it, Lisa thought it was a bit hard (she couldn’t answer many of them!) but Dan wanted to go with it as is. Well, we didn’t get a lot of entries…some people did comment that it was tough… So, anyway, with a score of 28/54, the winner is our nephew Kris (and we’re sure that his wife Elaine helped, too!). These two lucky people now you get to pick their prize! Of course, we hope it is the one that involves coming here, but if not…let us know within the next couple of weeks and we will bring you a whole lot of Aussie goodies when we are home for a visit. If you have yet to decide, no problem, you can defer as long as you want. We’re not going anywhere (though the koala we’ve pushed into the gift box may start to get a bit cranky… they are officially a threatened species now, so we have to keep them happy).
For those who are interested, here are the answers (post – artist – song):
- Jesus died for somebody’s sins-Patti Smith-Gloria (in exelsis deo)
- Take a chance with a couple of kooks-David Bowie-Kooks
- And no one touches me-Simon and Garfunkel-I am a rock
- Summer’s passed, it’s too late to cut the grass-Replacements-Here comes a regular
- Summer in my mind-Jezabels-Endless summer
- Laughing giggly whirlybird-XTC-Helicopter
- Mean old levee-Led Zeppelin-When the levee breaks
- Like a great big train-Lone Justice-After the flood
- Gimme danger -Stooges-Gimme danger
Oh Tarcutta-Little Feat-Oh Atlanta (this one we don’t agree on…Lisa thinks it is about Oh Calcutta, but that was actually just a play, not a song…)
- It’s a beauty way to go-Bob and Doug Mckenzie-Take off
- All secrecy and no privacy – -Rolling Stones -Fingerprint File
- Baby you can drive my car – Beatles-Drive my car
- Like a worm on a hook – Leonard Cohen-Bird on a wire
- Summer in the city –Loving Spoonful-Summer in the city
- Like a drunk in a midnight choir – Leonard Cohen-Bird on a wire
- Happy anniversary – -Little River Band-Happy anniversary
- How deep in the valley – -Sarah Harmer-How deep in the valley
- A yabbie dabbie do chrissie – Flintstones-Flintstones theme
- Do they know its chrissie -Bob Geldof/Band Aid-Do they know its xmas
- Across the great divide -The Band-Across the great divide
- On the road again (and trails and tracks) –Wille Nelson-On the road again
- I can see for miles – The Who-I can see for miles
- Capital radio – Clash-Capital radio
- Young and restless – Prism-Young and restless
- Down on the farm -Little Feat-Down on the farm
- Red dirt girl – Emmy Lou Harris-Red dirt girl
- The steep and winding road – Beatles-Long and winding road
- Sign of the times – prince-Sign of the times
- Clap your hands (clap clap) – whoever-If you’re happy-If you’re happy
- Bright lights big city 2 – -Rolling stones -Bright lights, big city
- Bright lights big city 1 – -Jimmy Reed -Bright lights, big city
- Goon Squad – -Elvis Costello-Goon squad
- Cold cold cold – -Little Feat-Cold cold cold
- Oh Canada –Every Canadian!-Oh canada
- Allied forces -Triumph-Allied forces
- Among my souvenirs – -Connie Francis -Among my souvenirs
- See you later, Buenos noches… – Cheap Trick-Auf Wiedersehen
And with regard to the winning submission…the C&C Music Factory answer didn’t get you any points, Kris/Elaine. But we are a bit disappointed that, given that Dan probably first heard David Bowie through your dad, Kris, you didn’t get the Kooks one! And you didn’t answer Oh Canada…