What if you threw an all-day festival dedicated to "Weird Al" Yankovic, and "Weird Al" Yankovic was a no show? Visitors to Al Fest 2009--which is scheduled from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 1, at the Holiday Inn in Costa Mesa--will find out. Buried far below the "attractions" listed in the press release announcing "'Weird Al' Yankovic Fans Invade Orange County August 1" is this:
Yankovic (who is not scheduled to attend AL FEST) has reigned for three decades as the most successful musical comedy artist in history, with over 12 million albums sold, three Grammy Awards (nine nominations), 10 MTV/VH1 specials, and CBS television series.
To add insult to injury, there is no mention of Al Fest on Yankovic's official website.
So what, pray tell, will one find. "Highlights" include a presentation by Jon "Bermuda" Schwartz, Yankovic's drummer since 1981; a slack key guitar performance by Jim "Kimo" West, Yankovic's guitar player since 1982; and a UHF 20th anniversary celebrity panel featuring comic Victoria Jackson, actor Gedde Watanabe and the film's director/co-writer Jay Levey.
UHF was Yankovic's little seen, 1989 debut feature film that is, according to Al Festivians, "a cult classic." To prove that point, the festival will end with a screening of the picture complete with costumed participants acting out the action on screen ala a Midnight Insanity showing of The Rocky Horror Picture Show.
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Live performances by comedy musicians who are not Yankovic, an auction of Weird Al memorabilia, photo ops/autograph sessions with UHF stars and some members of Yankovic's band, and a Weird Al fan variety show round out the festivities, which organizers claim with bring fans from across the United States, Europe and South America. Free event tickets are also being offered to the first fans who register from Africa, Asia and Australia--airfare not included, of course.
Costa Mesa will have already experienced a healthy dose of Yankovic by the time Al Fest 2009 starts thanks to "Al's Brain: A Journey Through the Human Brain" making its world premiere when the Orange County Fair opens on July 10. Featuring exhibits on the brain and a 3-D movie starring Yankovic, the attraction will later move on to other fairs and festivals throughout North America.
Buy an advance ticket to Al Fest 2009 and organizers say they'll throw in a fast-pass to the "Al's Brain" attraction. That apparently will be the closest one will get to seeing the performer known for "Eat It," "Like a
Sturgeon Surgeon" [My bad-MC] and "White & Nerdy"--although he does also pop up on Tim and Eric's Awesome Show, Great Job! on the Cartoon Network's Adult Swim from time to time. Admission to the festival is $47 per person age 11 and up, $27 for children 5 to 10. Tickets are available here.
Organizers are also looking for volunteers. If you look like Yankovic--who knows?--you might be able to dupe a shapely fan into some hot "My Bologna" action in the Holiday Inn rump room.