Amazingly, it was not our fearless leader Gustavo who shamelessly solicited a plug for an event he was participating in, but the Weekly's pre-millennium No. 2 man Jim Washburn–and justifiably so. Because Chautauqua!–which I can't say and can barely spell–sounds very cool indeed. While most of the Segerstrom Center in Costa Mesa is off limits to the likes of us–out of well-founded fears we'll stain the carpets (don't ask)–Jefe Arellano and onetime Lt. Washburn are being granted entry into the sprawling arts facility's tiny Samueli Hall to talk our ears off.
By the way, I opened this post with a dummy–severely cropping off its ears–that was plucked from Washburn's online “The Homeless Ventriloquist: A Lloyd Sippie Mystery.” That's because I could find no photo of Jim in the Weekly archives, not even the very early shot we had of him hanging weights from his, uh, dangling participle.
As part of Segerstrom's Off Center Festival, the National Theater of the United
States of America presents Chautauqua!, which is inspired by the widely popular Chautauqua
Circuit that flourished from
1874 to the Great Depression. The traveling lecture series straddled “high” and “low” culture via songs, dance and jokes, and since the Weekly has a long tradition of being closely associated with at least one of those cultures, drawing from our former and current, erm, talent (?) pool was a no brainer. Or they answered their phones.
Up first at 7:30 tonight is editor-in-chief Arellano, who in a stunning bout of bashfulness asked that this post be built more around Washburn than himself. One assumes Gustavo ate some bad tuna. Before we get to JW, though, it must be noted that Chautauqua! first classes things up at 2 p.m. Saturday with Erwin Chemerinsky, founding dean of UC Irvine's School of Law and an expert at the old soft shoe. Or should that read “expert at filing legal briefs on behalf of the righteous.” I always get those two confused.
Anyway, it's Washburn time at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, and if I were a betting man I would put my dimes on at least one mention, photograph and/or live example of something groovy plucked from his garage.
Rounding out Chautauqua! at 3 p.m. Sunday is Shelley Hoss, who is not a Cartwright but president of the Orange County Community Foundation. I believe she'll be breaking out her old school gangsta rap. Again.
By the way, Washburn is the type of chap who, feeling guilty about inviting friends to an event with a $20 ticket price, sends you follow-up emails pointing out places where you will find them cheaper. He's actually done it twice, first directing us to $10 tickets available through
the Segerstrom Access program (SCFTA.org/AccessforAll), then by leading us to Goldstar (Goldstar.com), which has $7 tix for Saturday shows. Those who prefer to pay full price can still call 714.556.2121 or visit SCFTA.org. But just know Jim will make fun of those who do from the stage.