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Oakland’s longest-running variety show continues to baffle, boggle and bewilder
The night air is chilly in downtown Oakland on Nov 3, which also happens to be the first Thursday of the month.
Anticipation is palpable in the crowd gathering in serpentine fashion outside the Oakland Metro Operahouse—punks with spiky green hair holding brown paper bags chat next to transplants with horn-rimmed glasses and surreptitious plastic bottles of Pino Grigio.
The crowd files in, after checking their bags and fucks at the door.
“I’ll be your Willy Wonka on this pantsless Oompa Loompa ride,” ring-leader Jamie DeWolf cries as the lights dim and anticipation mounts.
“Tourettes Without Regrets” has been running in Oakland since 1999, and has claimed to be home to beatboxing battles, slam poetry romps, pole dancing, circus sideshow acts and the advent of modern Hoodslam.
The night can’t be described in a single sentence any more than you could sum up music or art in the same amount of space.
“Regrettes” featured a burlesque dancer in an inflatable bubble (Snatch Adams, top), an incredibly acrobatic pole dancing display (Leah Marie, right), circus sideshow with an angle grinder (unknown performer of The Displayed Laborers Sideshow, very bottom), turf dancing (QBone, below right) and silk aerialist maneuvers (Rebel Rose, below left).
The night meanders along thusly, no punches pulled.
Burlesque is followed by standup comedy is followed by dancing is followed by DeWolf back on stage, giggling and trying to help the crowd to make sense of it all.
He’s unsuccessful, of course, but the crowd is none the more disappointed for it, and seems grateful just for the opportunity to share in the conversation.