Monday, February 11, 2008
Polka Party Road Trip!
Road Trip coming up!
We are getting excited about our upcoming trip to Texas to see Brave Combo at the Big Joe Polka Show.
We've been watching the Big Joe Polka show for about two years now. I accidentally came across it one Saturday night when I was flipping through the cable channels. At first, it had that "train-wreck-can't-look-away" appeal for us. Oh sure, we like polka music, but this show was so surreal on so many different levels, we got hooked. Actually, we are still trying to figure it out, which is one reason we're going to check it out for ourselves.
The Big Joe Polka Show is hosted by (naturally) Big Joe, a Czech-American from Omaha. He puts on these multi-day events a few times a year (in various locations), videotapes the whole thing and then shows them throughout the year on his one-hour RFD-TV show. The basic set-up is that bands play as people are dancing in a huge dance hall.
The first few times we watched the show, we seriously could not tell what year this tape was made in. Understandably most of the dancers were elderly and we knew that the location was Minnesota. So, let's say it wasn't a group that was going to be wearing the latest in fashion anyway that could tip us off to the year. After a few weeks of watching, I did see someone wearing Crocs and I saw one man had a cellphone on his belt, putting the date in the relatively recent past.
The main thing that that gave the program that "train-wreck" quality were the amateur production values. The show is shot with at least two cameras, but they were shaky and out-of-focus more often than not. I will say that in the last two years things have gotten much better.
The other thing that totally had us stumped was that some of the bands are REALLY BAD. Out-of-tune, off-key....Dale and I some times sat there with our jaws dropped open...incredulous that some of these bands were so bad. I have a pet theory that polka bands generally have the WORST singer do the singing. (Brave Combo definitely not in that group!) But the cool thing about the whole deal is that you can tell everyone really is having fun and loving what they do. Heck, they are better than me, that's for sure!
So we've been watching for about two years now. Joe has put this show on the road, filming in places like Medina, MN; Round Top, TX and Branson, MO. There are definitely "regulars" on the show...at least 10 couples that are on every show and attend every event. They probably drive around the country in their RV's like Polka Nomads. (Sounds pretty good to me!)
A couple weeks ago we found out that Brave Combo would be playing at the Polka Fest in Round Top, TX. We had been thinking about taking our spring vacation at the Trinity Test Site Open House in New Mexico, but that was scrapped immediately when we heard the news. My niece is finishing school in Austin, which is close to Round Top, so we're all going to get together and have a Polka Party!
I can't imagine how BC is going to be received by the usual patrons of these shows. BC respects the music, so I have a feeling that they will be sticking to playing more of their traditional songs, but who knows? I also have a feeling there might be a big BC following in attendance, since Denton is only a few hours away.
Anyway, I can't wait!