//Ad libs: Variety shows

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Variety shows

Kudos to producers at our Media Center, who picked up six Western Access Video Excellence (WAVE) Awards last weekend. A good reminder of the zings of variety you can find on local TV.

Watch the award-winning shows
here -- if you're like me, you might end up transfixed by a Mongolian contortionist in a shimmery costume (and apparently no skeleton). Then get pulled into a cool contemporary dance piece called "The Grape Dance" that incorporates a huge green rubber band and was inspired by the struggles of Mexican immigrants helping to build the wine industry.

The contortionist was part of a show called "The Theatre Factory," which brings in local theater groups to perform -- I'd love to see more of that. The WAVE-honored program, produced by Patricia Neme and Patty Page, focused on
Velocity Circus, a multimedia/circus entertainment company in San Francisco.

Other winners include The Stephanie Herman Show (she of the Grape Dance), in which the former principal ballerina dances and talks about the creative process behind her works. More dance is to be had in the Studio Sesson on the African-dance troupe
Fua Dia Congo, all whirling colors, drums and singing. (Full disclosure: My friend Karen Adams produced this program, with Muisi-Kongo Malonga and Dan Beaulieu.)

Also in the arts, a Jook Joint show (a VJ-style blues program) focusing on Etta James took home an award. It was produced by E.C. Scott and Gregg Mitchell.

Andrea Throndson from Abilities United produced a more serious piece on living with developmental or physical challenges. But the most serious program by far was a poignant PSA by Edoardo De Armas on preventing suicides at the train tracks.

Photo from the Velocity Circus website.