Sunday, December 30, 2012

Come and Laugh at the Finke!

Do you hear that loud whoooshing sound? That’s the holiday season, nearly over! Whatever are we going to do once we get to the “other side”? No more salty cheese logs, no more fruitcakes, no more strange beers that taste like pine needles!

Fortunately, we don’t have to pack away our “ho-ho-ho’s,” because we here in Central Missouri can go to California’s “Last Comic Standing”! It’s a fundraiser for the historic Finke Theatre—so the cost of the tickets (a measly ten bucks) is a donation to a good cause.

What—you say you don’t know what the Finke Theatre is? Ohhhh people, you need to get out more! The Finke was California, Missouri’s local opera house 125 years ago—most towns of any size boasted at least one opera house—and people went there to see stage shows, musicals, plays, and school events. And yes, there would also be trained professional singers who would tour America, bringing high culture everywhere.

Click here to learn about the history of the Finke Theatre.

And it became a Vaudeville theater and motion-picture house. It was transformed into an art-deco-style movie theater that finally closed its doors in 1978. THEN, an organization called California Progress, Inc. (CPI) started raising funds and renovating the theater—and what a beautiful job they’ve done! Indeed, the work is still ongoing, but the historic landmark was reopened in 2009. It’s used for live performances and as a community center.

Click here to see the lineup for the 2012-2013 season. They have a nice mix of performances (“something for everyone”): magic, music, ragtime piano, storytelling, the annual community play, and more. All in that beautiful, welcoming space. You really should go to one of these shows! (Do you like folk music? Our beloved Cathy Barton and Dave Para, I see, are performing on February 16 . . .)

So what’s this fundraiser about--? Well, CPI is the group that’s been paying for the Finke and its renovations. Click here to learn more about CPI and its plans for the Finke. You see, it’s not just about the Finke as a building—it’s about the revitalization of downtown California, and strengthening that city’s sense of community.

The fundraiser is a “last comic standing” competition: Four standup comics will entertain the audience in 15-20 minute sets, and then the audience gets to vote for first, second, and third place. As an added bonus, there will be three more comics who’ll perform while the voting is going on.

Here’s a Youtube that amounts to a commercial for the event!

Ten bucks! You’ll check out the Finke Theatre, have a fun road trip to California, laugh your buns off, make new friends, and maybe even stop off and get ya some California-made Burger’s ham or sausage! (And do check out the Finke’s other events. You’ll probably want to return!)

When: January 12 (Saturday), 7-9 pm (doors at 6:30)
Where: Finke Theatre (315 N. High St., California, Mo.)
Cost: $10
For tickets: call 913-669-2979

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