Blue People, Red State - Winter 2010 travel blog

Bernie & Red

pseudo Neil Diamond

One of the advantages of staying in this area is the affordable entertainment. Every week the Winter Texan lists page after page of shows. As I scan the lists I never recognize a single name. There are a variety of factors involved. Some of them are folks on the way up, others are long past their peak, and many come from the country western genre that we really don't enjoy. So far we haven't bothered to go out to any of these shows since one of two of them are held in our campground every week.

Shows here cost about $5 - the dinner show cost $8 - so you can hardly go wrong. We saw a typical Branson act that featured a Neil Diamond imitator and his small son who imitated Elvis. We like Neil Diamond, but this act was barely one step above karaoke. It contained key elements of a Branson act - the whole family was involved, there was at least one patriotic song, and all the Veterans in the audience stood to by recognized and applauded. Tis ever so.

The four course dinner show featured Javi & Nouri, a brother sister duo that we had seen before. First a few comments about the dinner. It did have the promised four courses and started with cold soup (that was supposed to be cold). However, it was served on paper plates and we had to get up and get our own entrees. You never saw 540 people served so quickly. This campground excels at organization. Javi & Nouri both have other jobs - he's a band director at a local school and she counsels at risk teens. They grew up next to a Winter Texan campground and feel a real kinship with the geezers from the North. Nouri said that many of her troubled teens think that we're terribly rich and she uses us as an example of how hard work and self discipline can lead to a lucky life. She tells them that maybe they can be Summer Canadians some day. Their act was mostly karaoke, too, with Javi's live trumpet thrown in and also involved family. Their dad ran the sound board and their mother made the costumes. These siblings exemplified the kind of relationship that everyone thinks that they should have with their brother/sister. Their affectionate, gentle teasing made us laugh and made us think about family.

My favorite show so far was Bernie & Red, a married couple from Britain via Canada that have also performed on cruise ships. Over the years they have developed new shows every year and if you time it right you can go to various campgrounds and see them all. The show here was themed "Enjoy Yourself, It's Later Than You Think," very apt for a group of geezers who are trying to do just that. They brought an eclectic collection of music - old standards, songs from British music hall days, and songs they had written themselves. Although they also augmented their performance with a prerecorded sound track, they had recorded the sound track themselves, playing all the instruments. But what really made their act was their comedy patter, which sounded very spontaneous and familiar to any couple that has been married for many years. They had a clever way of interrupting each other and both talking at the same time, while we could understand every word that each of them was saying. The clincher was the song they wrote about how they learned how to RV and included classic issues like how to empty the holding tank and how the wife never communicates properly with the husband who is backing up the trailer.

These entertainers may not be making much money, but they could not ask for more enthusiastic audiences. There were some old ladies in the front row at the "Neil Diamond" concert that looked like they were ready to whip off their bras and hurl them onstage. Each performer sells CD's/DVD's and there are long lines of people waiting to buy them. A good time is had by all.

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