Ska lovers rejoice! What started out as a pun between friends has materialized into a full fledged celebration of Orange County’s most cathartic obsession: 3rd wave ska. From recognizing the band with the “Most Upstrokes” to honoring OC’s “Best Skanker,” organizers of the first annual Orange County Skacademy Awards hope to have fun while paying tribute to all things checkered and horn-driven hailing from Orange County past and present this Saturday February 20th at Out of the Park Pizza in Anaheim.
As a self-proclaimed oddball and proud OC local who started playing tuba, trumpet, and trombone in grade school, Skacademy Awards organizer and Comrade Cat guitarist Cameron Hallenbeck believes that his affinity for ska was an inevitable destiny. “Ska has had a huge impact on my life,” he says, remembering how listening to OC based ska bands as a kid in the '90s and playing with bands like Starpool, Chase Long Beach, and Suburban Legends was formative for him and his high school band mates. “The ska community is made up of so many of the greatest, smartest, funniest, kindest people I know, ska has been a huge part of the Orange County [music] scene and goes really unrecognized.”
The idea for an awards show honoring Orange County’s ska legacy and current scene came to Hallenbeck while arguing with a friend over films deserving of an Oscar. “I didn’t think The Revenant was going to win for best picture and I kept thinking of the Oscars, after seeing and hearing that word enough times I realized the ska pun [potential]: The Skacademy awards, giving out Oskars for a skaward show.” Soon after, Hallenbeck got a flyer and a Facebook invite together and within two weeks over 150 people were interested in the event, over 500 votes had been cast, and multiple posts suggesting nominations and new categories began rolling in. Hallenbeck hopes that the awards show will embody the quirkiness that ska and Orange County have both become known for. “I created the show to have a good laugh, but to also unite the ska community [which has been] thriving for decades now, I feel it’s necessary to reward and celebrate the [accomplishments] and effort put into it by the community.”
The show will be hosted by the legendary Tazy Phyllipz of Ska Parade fame, and will recognize bands and fans alike by giving out over 25 awards such as “Most Checkered,” “Most Talkative Singer,” “Biggest Ska Nerd,” and “Best LA Band,” and will feature live performances by locals Skapeche Mode, Karate in the Garage, and Hallenbeck’s band Comrade Cat. “You can expect lots of laughs and lots of surprises,” Hallenbeck assured, noting that The Skacademy Awards is the first ever award show of its kind. Community is central to Hallenbeck’s mission, all categories and winners are determined by public vote, which is set to close February 18th at midnight. To vote on the categories, click here.
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In addition to performances and awards, there will be prizes for attendees: anyone who hits the red carpet in ska gear or formal attire will automatically be entered in to win stuff like gift certificates to Comic Hero University, and merchandise from Ska Parade. Proceeds from the event and a raffle will benefit the Orange County Humane Society.
“It’s important to me to create a fun and memorable evening that I hope will become a tradition held year after year,” says Hallenbeck. “Orange County [ska is] special and I want to do what I can to show appreciation, even if only in 6” tall plastic trophy form.”
The Skacademy Awards, featuring Skapeche Mode, Karate in the Garage, and Comrade Cat, hosted by Tazy Phyllipz, will be held Saturday February 20th, 7PM at Out of the Park Pizza, 5638 E. La Palma AVE, Anaheim CA, 92807. Full bar and pizza menu available all night. All ages, free admission.
For more information visit the Facebook event: https://www.facebook.com/events/512193625628242/