It’s that time of year again, when locals strut their stuff on the Sheridan Opera House stage in bringing the likes of the Backstreet Boys, Lady Gaga, Janelle Monae and Sister Act to life during KOTO’s annual Lip Sync competition. While the audience generally alternates between uproarious laughter and impressed amusement at the high-energy acts on the stage, the competitors themselves are hard at work dazzling the crowd, flashing their sequins and nailing choreography in hopes of taking home cash prizes of $500, $300 and $200 for first, second and third place, respectively. Plus, local bragging rights.
Longtime local Bärbel Hacke, who’s organizing this year’s event, recalled her first experience with Lip Sync.
“The first Lip Sync was in 1986, which I won. I was out of money and I needed the prize money. It was $100 then, a lot of money,” she said. “I was the German punk singer Nina Hagen.”
KOTO Lip Sync is the local radio station’s rowdiest annual fundraiser, and with tickets from $30 to $50, the audience is not only guaranteed a fun show, but supports the continuation of independent radio as well. This year marks the event’s 30th anniversary, and the show will take place on Jan. 24 at 8 p.m. at the opera house. Buying tickets early is highly recommended, as the show sells out in advance nearly every year.
“All proceeds from ticket sales go to KOTO, so buying a ticket is one easy way to support your local radio station,” KOTO Executive Director Cara Pallone said. “But just as important, Lip Sync supports community and uniting people through creative expression.”
Every year the acts comprise an eclectic array of no-holds-barred creative enthusiasm, bringing impressive local talent out of the woodwork and onto the stage.
“The Lip Sync energy is incomparable because people get on stage and just send it, without any fear of judgment or repercussion,” Pallone said.
Hacke agreed, and encouraged community members to come out and have a good time. For added entertainment value, she noted that longtime Lip Sync emcees Suzanne Cheavens and Ashley Boling are back at it again after a brief hiatus. The hosts always appear in character as a famous duo, having made appearances as Ken and Barbie, Dr. Evil and Austin Powers, and Cheech and Chong, to name a few.
“From the emcees to groups to solo acts, the creativity is just jaw-dropping. It will be a blast. Date night, girls’ night, whatever. Come on out of your holes and join the fun, people!” Hacke said.
Hacke also noted that there’s still room for a couple more acts, for anyone out there considering pulling together a last-minute showstopper.
“This is your time to shine in a different way,” she said. “You don’t even have to be yourself!”
DENNIS QUAID AND THE SHARKS
On Saturday, Dennis Quaid and the Sharks, who are celebrating 20 years as a band, perform at Club Red in Mountain Village. Tickets for the 7:30 p.m. show start at $50.
Quaid, famous as an actor in films such as “Far From Heaven” and “The Rookie,” is also an accomplished musician, fronting the band with his trademark energy and charisma as the lead singer and rhythm guitar player.
“We’re excited to have them because they’ve never played here before,” Denise Mongan of Beyond the Groove Productions said. “Dennis Quaid is a household name, and they’ve been playing music for 20 years. Club Red is a really good live music venue, with lots of room to dance and get up close.”
With a sound described as “rock ’n’ roll/country soul,” Quaid draws his musical inspiration from legends of rock, country and blues such as Hank Williams, Elvis, Ray Charles and The Doors. The band performs a mix of Quaid’s original songs and covers, including crowd favorites such as “Great Balls of Fire,” which Quaid played when he starred in the 1989 eponymous film about rock great Jerry Lee Lewis. Quaid sometimes characterizes his songwriting tastes as a “junkyard of American music,” a kind of Americana before there was a word for it.
Quaid, a native of Houston, grew up in a musical family and began to play guitar as a teenager.
“As far back as I can remember, music has always been a big part of my life,” said Quaid in a news release. “My third cousin was Gene Autry, the original Western movie singing cowboy. My grandmother played piano and sang songs from the ’20s, songs from her youth. My dad played piano and crooned like Bing Crosby and looked a little like Dean Martin.”
Despite his early musical influences and interest in the guitar, it wasn’t until well into his adult life and his Hollywood career that he considered coming a professional musician. One night, Quaid went to see his longtime friend and fellow actor Harry Dean Stanton perform at an LA nightclub. Stanton invited Quaid to join his band onstage. Though initially hesitant, Quaid accepted. It was successful enough that one of the band members approached him afterward about starting a band together. With Stanton’s blessing, the musicians did just that and not long after, the group Dennis Quaid and the Sharks was born.
Twenty years later, the band is still rocking, and Quaid is still writing new songs, adding fire to old ones and keeping crowds on their feet. Recently lauded by the Dallas Morning News for its “short yet impressive history,” Club Red organizers are looking forward to the show.
“He’s a great entertainer,” Mongan said. “Dennis Quaid and the Sharks make an honorable addition.”