Wednesday, May 31, 2017



I have been holding this secret for weeks, and I just can't contain it any longer! But finally, finally, finally the staff at the Cascade Theatre has told me that just like Jodie Foster in Contact, I am OK to GO.  Yeah, you heard me. OK to GO. And that is your cue to stop reading, get your Cascade Theatre membership immediately, purchase tickets to the band that has never let me down, and then meet me back here for more.

Breathe, Valerie. Breathe.

I feel like I've been so excited that I could burst since the day I found out the Cascade Theatre had landed one of my favorite rock bands of the past 10 years, and it's been hard not to tell anyone, but I haven't. Not even my daughter. But now the moment we've all been waiting for is finally upon us, and I have the distinct honor of releasing the 2017-18 Cascade Theatre season lineup. Finally I can tell you that OK GO is coming to the Cascade Theatre November 1st. The band that I can only describe as being a cross between my favorite local band (Papa Fez) and my favorite California band (Cake), on steroids and with a better budget for outfits and video production. You know who these guys are, right? They are THE reason you need to get a membership immediately so you can buy tickets today. Not just so you can get the best seat, but just so you can get in the door. Because I believe this is a show that will be sold out by the time tickets are on sale June 13th to the general public. Tickets go on sale to members June 1st, so grab that membership immediately, call the box office at 530-243-8877, or show up in person at the box office at 1733 Market Street and get in line. The door opens at 11am.

If you're not familiar with all the insanely catchy music of OK GO, chances are you're still familiar with their extraordinarily clever and viral videos that consistently up the ante. About a decade ago they were creating well planned, tightly choreographed low budget videos with the help of a bunch of treadmills (that they purchased and later returned). Now they're making huge, beautiful messes in a zero gravity environment. I just can't love them enough. I know you're curious now, so here's a small sampling of their video brilliance:

I've never seen OK GO live. So I don't know if they'll have a giant Rube Goldberg machine on stage like they created for this brilliant piece of art-science.

Maybe they'll bring in trained dogs or schoolgirls with umbrellas, a marching band or maybe they travel with those treadmills to bring their music alive as they do on video. It doesn't really matter to me. I adore them, I praise their holy name, and I'm so excited to see and hear them, with or without the props. They're an incredible band that creates music that is as fun and catchy as their videos, which are really just a byproduct of their amazing creativity that extends past the recording studio. They're smart, funny and get get bonus points because members of OK GO have worked in public radio and have testified in front of Congress about net neutrality. And back in the stone age of 1999, OK GO taped a lip synched performance of C-C-C-Cinnamon Lips for a public access TV station in Chicago that included a fake back up band made up some co-workers at WBEZ, including Peter Sagal on bass (host of Wait Wait Don't Tell Me) and Ira Glass on the drums (host of This American Life). Peter can tell you all about it, and you should check it out just to see how young Ira Glass was!

But of course, that's just the beginning. On to the rest of the reveal.

The Cascade Theatre crew has been working hard to put together an entire year's worth of live performance, rock, country, acrobatics, musicals, a classic film series and children's summer movies and lots more. The entire calendar is posted below, and at the bottom of today's column you'll find a streaming Spotify playlist filled with some of the performances you'll have a chance to experience live if you're lucky enough to land tickets the upcoming shows. And since I'm big on OK GO, there's a lot of their music on the list, including the song that helped get me through my divorce. You'll just have to figure out that one on your own.

Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, LeeAnn Rimes, Lukas Nelson, Travis Tritt and Don McLean.
The calendar below begins with a Summer Kid's Movie Club every Sunday afternoon in July as well as a set of four classic films sprinkled throughout the year. But I know, you're all about the music. The first live performance of the season is July 21, with the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band. Other country-leaning acts include LeeAnn Rimes in September, Travis Tritt in October, and next March Don McLean will take to the stage to revive some of his greatest hits. Another name that might not be immediately familiar to country fans, but should be well worth your attention is Lukas Nelson and Promise of the Real with Nicki Bluhm coming July 29th. Lukas is the son of the legendary Willie Nelson, so you may have seen them if you've seen Willie play, as they've opened for him many times. They also backed Neil Young for The Monsanto Years, and served as John Fogerty's band for his 2012 tour. Lukas also played guitar or sang on 10 out of 14 tracks on his dad's Heroes album. Young and Jimi Hendrix are some big influences for the band, but they've also got a dirty surf rock twang to them that should appeal to the alt-country surf punk in all of us. There is one in all of us, right?
The Wailers and Joan Osborne
Speaking of legends, Bob Marley's band has long outlived its original lead singer, and continue carrying the torch in his honor for more than thirty years. The Wailers perform in September, and every die hard Reggae fan in the north state should be there. They honor Bob's honor memory, they do the music the way you love to hear it, and I know this show will be incredible.  Another tribute will grace the stage in October when Joan Osborne ("What if God Was One of Us" singer) brings her trio to the Cascade to sing the songs of Bob Dylan. Osborne is gritty and full of soul, and I have no doubt she'll make it worth your while.

I need to back up for a moment, because I failed to mention some of the non-music live shows of the season, which include a night of stand-up comedy with former SNL cast member Rob Schneider in September. You'll also recognize him as a regular face in many Adam Sandler films.

Rob Schneider
Another TV star who is now taking his show on the road in October is magician/illusionist Michael Carbonaro of "The Carbonaro Effect." If you haven't seen this incredible slight-of-hand master in action, check it out, and be amazed. I've always been entertained by his show, but his moments behind the counter in the toy store are brilliant.

In November, the season of Valerie-absolutely-must-be-here-for-these-shows begins with OK GO. followed by the Gin-Blossoms, the rock band who's big hit "Hey Jealousy" still runs through my head all the time, and in December the darlings of the Cascade Theatre return once again with a Pink Martini holiday show, featuring original vocalist China Forbes.

Pink Martini featuring Thomas Lauderdale and China Forbes

Other holiday shows this year include an evening with Olivia Newton-John, and the perennial favorite singing, dancing and storytelling spectacular A Celtic Christmas. But the holidays wouldn't be complete without A Cascade Christmas with a whole new storyline.

Marc Cohn, The Blind Boys of Alabama and Olivia Newton John
The new year brings a two-fer in January with Marc Cohn sharing the stage with The Blind Boys of Alabama. Later that month, the Peking Acrobats return to the theatre, followed by another helping of the world famous Glenn Miller Orchestra in March. Other shows rounding out the season include two more live musicals featuring regional talent: Oliver and Hair.

Additional shows are always added during the season, and members continue to get first crack at tickets before they go on sale to the general public.
  • July  2             Kid's Movie Club: Minions
  • July  9             Kid's Movie Club: The Incredibles
  • July 16            Kid's Movie Club: James and the Giant Peach
  • July 21            Nitty Gritty Dirt Band
  • July 23            Kid's Movie Club: Homeward Bound
  • July 29            Lukas Nelson & Promise of the Real with Nicki Bluhm
  • July 30            Kid's Movie Club: Up
  • Sep  15            Comedian Rob Schneider
  • Sep 17             The Wailers
  • Sep 24             LeAnn Rimes
  • Oct   5             Illusionist Michael Carbonaro
  • Oct   7             Manhattan Short Film Festival
  • Oct 22             Travis Tritt
  • Oct 25             Joan Osborne Trio Sings the Songs of Bob Dylan
  • Oct 29             Classic Film: Hocus Pocus
  • Nov  1             OK GO
  • Nov  8             Gin Blossoms
  • Nov 24-Dec 3 A Cascade Christmas
  • Dec  6             Pink Martini Holiday
  • Dec 10            Olivia Newton John
  • Dec 17            Classic Film: Miracle on 34th Street
  • Dec 22            Celtic Christmas
  • Jan 20             Marc Cohn and The Blind Boys of Alabama
  • Jan 31             Peking Acrobats
  • Feb 11            Classic Film: Breakfast at Tiffany's
  • Mar 10           Don McClean
  • Mar 16           The World Famous Glenn Miller Orchestra
  • Mar 25           Classic Film: Some Like It Hot
  • Apr 19 - 29    Spring Musical: Oliver
  • Jun 15 - 23     Summer Musical: Hair
There's a whole year full of shows on the calendar, and we haven't gotten to the last performance of this year's season. Still to come is a two week run of the Cascade summer musical, Rock of Ages. But with the buzz that's been going around about this show, it's probably not a surprise to anyone that it's about to take over the Cascade stage for two glorious weeks with the music of Journey, Styx, Twisted Sister, Whitesnake, Night Ranger, and so much more.

Anyone who grew up in the 80's is gonna love this show, which features a live band, a bar, a stripper pole, a small town girl who ends up in the big city, and lots and lots of hair and makeup. It'll be hard not to sing along to this musical, but why would you hold back anyway, right? And who doesn't want to get out of the summer heat and into the air conditioned bliss of the Cascade to see this great show. One quick word of caution, for those thinking about bringing along the kids to this one. This show contains some language and provocative content. In fact the language starts during the pre-show announcement, so don't say I didn't warn you! If you're interested in a pair of tickets to opening night (Thursday, June 15th), leave a comment below - and make it clear you're interested in the tickets - so I can put your name in the hat, and I'll draw a name in the next couple of days.

In the meantime, hit the play arrow on the Spotify playlist below to enjoy music from artists and some of the films in the upcoming Cascade Season, plus a couple of my favorite hits from Rock of Ages as well.

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