The New Orleans Bingo! Show

Stevie Nicks – Blondie
Stevie Nicks – Blondie
Adam Ant – Ian Anderson & band

by Emily Moody
I don’t know about you, but to me, New Year’s is always a little anticlimactic. You get a new outfit, get all glitzed up and fill with anticipation, only to be let down when the night’s excitement consists of the same old annoying drunk people, overpriced cocktails and tacky paper hats, while watching a ball drop 1,000 miles away on TV.
Well, have no fear, because this year is going to be a night to remember. One that will be talked about for years to come. An event that will set a new precedent to how Jacksonville rings in the New Year. Enter the New Orleans Bingo! Show LIVE on December 31st at the 5 Points Theater!
Jimmy Saal, of Atypical Arts, and Raef Godwin, the mastermind behind this crazy New Year’s plan, are teaming up with other local businesses (including EU) to bring you this amazing entertainment. Raef is really trying to keep everything local by putting the bands up at the Riverdale Inn, offering an awesome ticket/Orsay dinner combo package and ticket giveaways at Underbelly for Bingo night!
EU Jacksonville had the chance to catch up with Ron Rona, co-director/producer/performer, for the the New Orleans Bingo! Show, to see what Jacksonville was in store for on the last day of 2010. I for one cannot wait to go see this spectacular spectacle!

EU: First of all I want to tell you all how excited we are to have you all gracing Jacksonvillians with your presence for the upcoming New Year’s Eve Spectacular at the 5 Points Theatre. The concept behind the New Orleans Bingo! Show is so unique! What was the idea that spawned this amazing entertainment spectacle? Can you fill us in with a little background on the show?
RON RONA: Thanks, we’re looking forward to a spectacular show. The original concept was the brainchild of our lead vocalist and bandleader Clint Maedgen. Back in 2002, Clint was performing in Liquidrone, a crazy heavy electric art-house rock band that he’d been working with for about 10 years at that point. Clint was also moonlighting as a bicycle deliveryman for a fried chicken joint in the French Quarter and had come across 750 of those old slide-shutter bingo cards at a local antique store during one of his delivery runs. After a bit of haggling with the store owner he purchased the cards, rode his bike to his house, drove his car to pick up the cards, brought them back to his house, then hopped back on this bike to continue delivering food.
Around that time, Clint was writing some new songs, ones that didn’t necessarily fit into the Liquidrone songbook. These songs were a little softer, more personal. A few weeks later, Clint proposed the idea of a weekly show right there in the back of the restaurant. The weekly show would feature these new songs with a new band- sets of music with bingo games played with the crowd during set breaks. Each week would feature a guest bingo caller, mostly musicians and local characters (there’s plenty of both in our neighborhood). Soon enough the owner of the restaurant agreed and the Bingo! Show was born. Before we knew it, Bingo! Show was the thing to do on a Thursday night in the French Quarter. People were showing up weekly, a lot of them in costume. As you may know, New Orleans music and art lovers are participatory observers. They come to be a part of an experience…In a lot of ways that’s where the theatrical element of the show evolved from.
Since the fried chicken days, the show has evolved tremendously. A permanent “cast” was introduced featuring not only music, but physical performance. We also started making original short films and music videos that we’d show between the music and bingo games. We also got even better at whipping crowds into a frenzy. A lot of the louder, more aggressive Liquidrone material and attitude has made its way back into the show creating what we believe is the most dynamic version of the New Orleans Bingo! Show yet.

EU: The show touts performances by aerialists, clowns, dancers and the musicians themselves, how many performers will be traveling to Jacksonville to show us their skills?
RR: We’ll have everyone but the aerialists for this performance (unfortunately there’s nowhere to rig a trapeze in a movie theater, not yet at least). We’ll be bringing nine performers with us for the show- seven musicians/clowns/dancers along with two gals from New Orleans’ Fleur De Tease Burlesque Revue. Hot!

EU: Do you all wear numerous hats when entertaining or do you each have specific roles in making the show all come together?
RR: Each member wears numerous hats (some of us literally do) during different parts of the show. Everyone in this group can do just about anything. For instance, Clint plays saxophone, guitar, theremin, percussion, a coke bottle, keyboards in addition to singing. We’re still trying to get him to dance with the clowns, but all things in due time. The clowns play music too. And sometimes the musicians clown around. And the dancers sometimes play metal pot lids. But we all don’t play the coke bottle (not yet at least). But some of us dance real good. So the answer is yes. We like it this way, it keeps our overhead low. We’re definitely not one of those “bands in t-shirts playing guitars not looking at you” kinda groups. Not that there’s anything wrong with that.

EU: When I’m talking to people about the show, I try to stress this idea of it being so much more than a bingo show! I have heard rumors of crowd participation. What can guests expect when showing up to the theatre for the show?
RR: This certainly isn’t your grandma’s bingo parlour, but the crowd will indeed play bingo for prizes and fame during one point in the show. So dress good y’all, ‘cause you might just get famous for a few minutes. So no, it’s not just bingo. It’s Music, It’s Movies, It’s Prizes, It’s Love, It’s Longing, It’s Celebration and Revelry, It’s Clowns dancing with you (don’t worry they’re very attractive clowns. Not as hot as the dancers but nice), It’s incredible songwriting/musicianship, It’s Chaos, It’s A Night You’ll Never Forget. It’s likely you won’t get much done the next morning but who cares, it’s a New Year and you should have a good time with the ones you love. Heck, have a good time with the ones you don’t like that much. The New Orleans Bingo! Show will bring you together.

EU: It’s really great that you all are giving up your New Years weekend for this gig. It’s going to be an incredible night though. Have you ever been to Jacksonville? Is there anything you are looking forward to while you’re here?
RR: We have never performed in Jacksonville and we can’t wait to entertain you. We come with the sole purpose of becoming you’re new favorite multimedia rock n’ roll gameshow cabaret. Once we accomplish that, we’ll probably check out the manuscript museum followed by wherever you think has the best fried chicken.

This show is brought to you by Atypical Arts along with EU Jacksonville and is being sponsored by Riverside Dental and Silver Chiropractic and Wellness. A portion of the proceeds will be donated to both JASYMN INC and the Riverside Arts Market. Make plans to attend now! Tickets are limited. 1028 Park St., Jacksonville, FL 32204, 8:30 Doors / $39 through 11/30 / $49 after 12/1