Yes, it’s time to read about the Providence Newspaper Guild Follies, the biggest Vo Dilun cocktail party of the year, which, naturally, is held in Massachusetts.
With the legendary Venus de Milo cholesterol-bomb buffet and the opportunity to rub elbows, virtually everyone you see on television, in the newspapers, or even on their way to or from prison is there. The Follies took place last Friday, February 23, and your superior correspondents were not disappointed.
One of the main reasons why all the swells go each year is to keep in touch with people they have known for years, yet rarely see. P&J were happy to see folks like Scott Molloy, labor professor and passionate partisan for the people; Richard Walton (same description); Darrell West; Serena Conley; John Martin & Faye Zuckerman (whose son made his big time Follies’ debut); Patrick Lynch; and Tom LaFauci.
While LaFauci is not exactly a household name, he is well-known and respected in political circles and spent many years working in Washington, DC, most recently as a speechwriter for US Senator Joe Biden of Delaware. We mention him because we are betting on another inevitable blowup involving presidential long shot Biden. This is likely to make America forget Howard Dean’s “I Have a Scream” speech of 2004.
The Follies was a fine show again this year. We’ll cut to the chase and mention some of the high points.
THE JOHN KIFFNEY AWARD Old Providence hands know how Kiffney was a great Other Paper reporter and a hot shit. One of the founders of the Follies, he passed away, far too soon, 20 years ago. Consequently, an annual award for exemplary service to the community is given in his name. The recipient this year was one of P&J’s real heroes, Phil Edmonds. Phil is the real deal, a peace and justice activist who has logged civil disobedience jail time. He’s a bicycle rider (no automobile), a marvelous musician, and co-creator, with Greg Gerritt, of the November Buy Nothing Day Coat Exchange, and someone who lives a live of true grace and humility. Phil also tends a garden at the Southside Community Gardens. We tend to think of him as a gardener who has committed himself to cultivating the goodness in all that is living.
JOHN ROARKE The appearance by a George W. Bush impersonator brought down the house. That one of the great impersonator/ comics happens to be a native Vo Dilunduh is probably little-known, but Roarke, a veteran stage, film, and television star (he was in the cast of the network comedy show Fridays, along with Michael Richards and Larry David) is back from LA. John’s been working with Charlie Hall’s troupe and continues to do corporate gigs as Bush. He’s got a killer act (he added some specific Rhody material) and did a great turn as Sheldon Whitehouse, revealing the essence of bad white man dancing.
ALISHA PINA This BeloJo scribe earned what we believe is the only standing O we’ve witnessed at the Follies, with an absolutely killer version of the Dreamgirls’ song “And I Am Telling You I’m Not Going,” presented as a message from Arlene Violet to her former employers at WHJJ. Of course, standing ovations might be rare at the Follies because this is one lazy-ass audience, weakened by chat, drink, and cholesterol, but this is mere speculation.