Talent and Art Show presents quirky, talented, weird


Performers at the 2015 Keep Chico Weird Talent Show. Photo courtesy of Chico News & Review

Chico is one of those rare, glorious places where people from a multitude of different backgrounds and cultures come together to make something totally, completely and wonderfully weird.

For the third consecutive year, the Chico News & Review will showcase the city’s quirks at the 2016 Keep Chico Weird Talent Show on Saturday, Jan. 30 at the El Rey Theatre at 7:30 p.m. The show first came into fruition as a way to celebrate all of the quirky and talented people who live and work in Chico.

“We had just put together a cover story on some of the so-called ‘weird folks’ in town, and I thought it would great if we could celebrate the overall weirdness here with some sort of event–some sort of show,” said News & Review editor Melissa Daugherty. “The day that issue hit the stands, I was kicking some ideas around with one of my colleagues, Jamie DeGarmo, and she thought it was a great idea. And she thought of the idea of making it a talent show. We jumped on the idea, which has been hugely successful, so it’s become one of our annual events.”

Sea Monster at the 2015 Keep Chico Weird Talent Show.
Photo courtesy of Chico News & Review

Audience members can look forward to performances from 15 artists and groups, ranging from jugglers and comedians to oddball dancers and belly dancing. Black Fong, a local funk band, will play during the intermission.

Celebrity judges include KNVN/KHSL news anchor Linda Watkins-Bennett; artist Sea Monster; drag queen and host of Dragopolis, Deryl Northcote aka Claudette de Versailles; and owner/operator of G-Ride Pedi-cab, Mike Griffith aka Mike G-Ride. Many students may recognize Griffith as he can usually be found pedaling students around at night, blasting music and always accompanied by his dog in the basket, Lil G.

Mike Griffith aka Mike G-Ride, owner of G-Ride pedi-cab
Photo courtesy of Mike Griffith

“I think it shows the wide range of unique individuals in our community and how much fun their uniqueness can be,” Griffith said about the talent show. “I am looking forward to the whole experience. I have never been to the talent show… and am looking forward [to] the crazy fun and wild and weird personalities showcasing their talents and reasons they also keep Chico unique and weird. It is an honor to be a judge.”

In addition to the talent show, a visual art show will run Jan. 28-30 at 1078 Gallery. According to Daugherty, they actually had the art show at the El Rey the first year, but it’s too small a venue to show a lot of pieces well.

“The 1078 is a great venue for art, and its board of directors does a lot for the local arts community, so we partnered with the gallery last year and are going back there this year,” Daugherty said. A reception will be held Jan. 28 from 6-8 p.m. with live performances, free treats, beverages for purchase and Best of Show public voting.

“When Jamie and I started this, we wanted it to be a positive thing,” Daugherty added. “The idea has always been that we’re celebrating diversity and tolerance with this event. Some people might think of ‘weird’ as not a good thing. But we love weird. We think weird is good. Without weird stuff, Chico would be just like any other small metro.”

Both the art and talent shows are sponsored by Playtime 4 You, Etna Brewing Co., Chico News & Review Foundation and Rape Crisis Intervention. Best of Show prize for the art show is provided by Ellis Art Supplies.

Talent show tickets can be purchased at the door, at Diamond W. Western Wear and Blaze ‘N J’s or online.

Jesse De Mercurio can be reached at [email protected] or @Jesse_Elena on Twitter.