Oddchester: Three weird shows rolling in bring the sizzle

Over the next month, the Mayo Civic Center will be hosting 30 events, everything from tomorrow’s SMRPA Meeting to April 12’s MACHE Conference.

While I have no idea what SMRPA or MACHE are (and am too lazy to Google it), I do have insight into three other upcoming Mayo Civic Center events. You’ll want to attend all of them. Here’s why.

What: Cirque D’Or

When: March 30-31

How much: $26.50-$49.50


What I’ve experienced, previously: A few years ago, we were in Michigan for my stepmom’s birthday. My little sister, trying to outgift my siblings and me, bought her two tickets to a Cirque du Soleil-type show.

My stepmom said, "You bought your father and I tickets to the circus? Are we taking the grandkids?"

"No," Lori explained. "It’s like a circus for adults."

"Hmmm. What?"

The rest of us, seeing that Lori’s oh-so-clever gift had been met with confusion, tried to help.

"Oh, there won’t be animals," said my sister, Cathy. "It’s more like guys doing pushups on each other."

"The performers will be wearing full body suits made out of flesh-colored Spandex," explained my brother Dave.

He then described to my dad how they could expect to see "two or three guys interlock themselves together, with each guy’s thighs wrapped around the next guy’s head, as they roll across the stage in a human wheel."


I will, though, tell you this: My parents, to this day, still talk about how amazing that circus was, even without any elephants.


What: Weird Al Yankovic’s Vanity Tour

When: April 2

How much: $49.50-$69.50 (meet Weird Al for $281.50)

What I’ve experienced, previously: Here’s a confession. I’ve seen Weird Al in concert.

Three times.

The first was 1992, when I was assigned to cover his show for a Michigan newspaper. "The ‘Another One Rides The Bus’ guy?" I asked my editor. "Are you kidding me?"


By the end of the show, I was a Close Personal Friend of Al (that’s what his fans are called).

My second Weird Al concert (1994’s "Alapalooza Tour") was soon after Kurt Cobain died, and Al — dressed as Cobain — opened with a series of Nirvana covers. Sure, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, but no other artist could have pulled this off. Al pulled it off. The crowd was singing along. I may or may not have been crying.

So, two years ago, when son Henry wanted to see Weird Al in Minneapolis, I jumped at the chance. This kind of perk is one of the main reasons Lindy and I had kids.

Here’s all you need to know: At one point during that show, the woman sitting behind me asked if I could please stop recording so much video on my phone since it was making it difficult for her to see. I’m a grown man, and I got called out for overzealous behavior at a Weird Al concert.


What: Chefs: The Sizzlin’ Kitchen Showdown

When: April 5

How much: $29.75-$44.75 (meet the chefs for $74.75)


What I’ve experienced, previously: Daughter Emma, 11, loves cooking shows. She is a kid who watches so much Food Network that, when she’s trying to fall asleep, it’s not unusual to hear her listing ideas for "Iron Chef" secret ingredients. "Water chestnuts! Gouda! Tilapia!"

So when I saw that Chefs: The Sizzlin’ Kitchen Showdown was coming to the Civic Center, I thought, "Easter gift for Emma!"

Luckily, I did some more research. Because Chefs: The Sizzlin’ Kitchen Showdown, is described as — and this is direct from their press release — "Iron Chef meets Magic Mike! These delicious hunks give you a peek behind their apron as they slice, dice, and SPICE THINGS UP. If they lose a challenge … they lose their shirt. Literally!"

It’s like if Alton Brown was a Chippendale dancer.

Which I do know something about. Because a decade ago, for a story, I spent the day following the Chippendales before and during a performance at Treasure Island.

Here’s all you need to know about that: During their pre-show ritual, in which many of the Chippendales were doing pushups and applying baby oil, I asked a grown man if he shaves his chest. "A lot of the guys shave," he told me, "but luckily I don’t have to. I’m Asian." There was a long silence between us. "My dad’s side is German," I finally blurted out. "My mom was Irish."

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