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Out for a laugh: Miners Foundry, local comedy groups team up for night of entertainment

Hollie Grimaldi Flores
Special to Prospector

The Miners Foundry Cultural Center in Nevada City has been following state and county guidelines throughout the last year, canceling planned celebrations and events as required, and working within the mandates to offer limited opportunities to enjoy live music outdoors when feasible. As the county moves into less restricted tiers, the organization is looking at opening for reduced indoor hours at the beautifully remodeled bar and is beginning to expand, offering other types of entertainment, including live comedy tomorrow evening.


Co-produced by two local comedy groups, the BVNKR and WhimsiCorp, a half dozen comedians are performing two shows outside on Friday, April 16, at 6 p.m. and 8:30 p.m. on the Deer Creek stage.

Finding the humor in these difficult times has been a challenge for local talents Trevor Wade and Michaela King who joined forces to form the BVNKR shortly after the lockdown last spring. The pair was trying to find a way to remain active and funny, in not so funny times, Wade commented with more than a hint of sarcasm, “There’s never been a funnier time to be alive. We thought we would capitalize on that. With everything that has been going on in the last year we just thought, ‘This stuff writes itself!’ No. Because if we don’t do this, we will explode. People need a release. People need to laugh, and we need to perform.”



Comedian Trevor Wade is half of BVNKR, which formed shortly after the lockdown last spring. Wade will perform tomorrow at the Miners Foundry.
Provided photo

WhimsiCorp (where dreams go to work) is a video/entertainment company founded by Canadian born Jori Phillips and partner Camen Hodges. Phillips performed the opening act as part of the national “U.S. They” tour which showcased a one hour stand up piece written and performed by Wade. “Clownfish” won Best of Fringe at Nevada County’s “Nugget Fringe Festival” in 2019 before touring 50 states in 77 days. Hodges recorded the expedition.

Jori Phillips, pictured, and Camen Hodges formed WhimsiCorp, a video/entertainment company. Phillips will be forming at the comedy show.
Provided photo

Following the tour, Wade hosted a weekly open mic comedy night. “I got tired of driving to Sacramento to do open mics and stand-up comedy down there because two hours of driving for five minutes of standup is a weird ratio, so I went around to the local bars asking if any of them wanted to do a comedy night. The Brick took a chance on us.”



The weekly open mics served an opportunity for people to try their hand at comedy or to work on material to hone their craft. The evenings became increasingly popular. Wade said, “We went from one Tuesday night in November (2019) coming back from my great-aunt’s funeral, where there were more people in her casket than in the venue, to over 100 people on March 10, 2020. People came from Marysville and Yuba City to check out this thing we had built. We had 20 comics going up that night. It was a wonderful, beautiful thing.”

A week later the open mics were shut down, along with everything else.

Comedian Michaela King, half of BVNKR, had the idea of doing pop-up comedy shows outdoors.
Provided photo

The BVNKR formed to explore other alternatives. Wade said not performing was not an option. “We tried to go to Instagram and that wasn’t really working because the platform was overwhelmed by others doing the same. We tried sketch comedy on YouTube until I remembered I don’t want to be a sketch writer and that is when Michaela King got the idea of doing pop-ups, outdoors.”

The pair bought a simple mic and speaker system and invited folk to show up at locations that changed from week to week. Several of the comics who have been practicing there, will be performing at the Miners Foundry on Friday.

Now that the county has eased back into a less restrictive tier, the Miners Foundry is welcoming the group (who held a sold out show there last October) back to perform live. Wade will close each of the shows Friday and said the line- up includes a variety of humor.

“We are doing 90-minute shows. We have Michael Hoff, so you can expect some hot political takes. Casey Burke offers some off color innuendo. We’ll have some musings and highbrow intelligence coming out of Matt Kelligrew. I don’t know what to expect from Jori. I never do and I hope I never will. There will be some funny stuff from Michaela and then hopefully, a chuckle or two coming out of me.”

Finding the funny in these difficult times has been a challenge for local talents Trevor Wade and Michaela King who joined forces to form the BVNKR shortly after the lockdown last spring.
Provided photo

Wade said not having an outlet or the identity of being a performer has been challenging. “This whole last year has been awful, which is why we went to the trouble of buying a PA and setting up in parking lots and backyards. It wasn’t our plan A. We felt like we had no other choice. Fish got to swim. Performers need to perform. “

Ticket holders will enjoy the fruits of all that pent up comedic talent with two shows at 6 p.m. and 8:30 p.m. The Miners Foundry requires masks for all patrons until they are seated, and social distancing is enforced.

“We are trying to roll with the punches as best we can. We adapt. I have an improv background so that makes things very easy,” said Wade. “I’m just trying to do whatever is in the best interest of keeping other people alive because for whatever reason I care about them even though I don’t know them. Come to the show. You know you want to laugh. I promise it will be different than staying at home.”

Friday’s shows have already sold out, but a waiting list and standing-room-only tickets may still be available. King said the group will be back at the Miners Foundry with an ever-changing lineup of comedians on the last Friday of the next several months. Get tickets early to avoid missing out.

For more information go to https://minersfoundry.org/events. Follow @thebvnkr for updates, pop-up events, and entertainment! Follow WhimsiCorp: where dreams go to work! @joriphillips.

Hollie Grimaldi Flores is a Nevada County resident and freelance writer for hire, as well as a podcaster at HollieGrams. You can hear her episodes at https://www.buzzsprout.com/1332253. She can be reached at holliesallwrite@ gmail.com.

KNOW & GO

WHO: Miners Foundry in association with The BVNKR and WhimsiCorp

WHAT: Comedy Night

WHERE: Miners Foundry, Deer Creek Stage, 325 Spring St, Nevada City

WHEN: Friday, April 16, at 6 p.m. and 8:30 p.m.

HOW: Shows are sold out with a waiting list available at minersfoundry.org

 


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