So we drove down south this past weekend to attend Uketopia at McCabe's in Santa Monica.It was a truly a Ukulele lovers dream! Even waiting for the fun as the crowd did their own "show and tell" with the Ukulele's they brought with them. One person recognized me (I don't know how, just because I was the only one there wearing a Fez...) and soon there was money coming from all sides as word spread that I had some "Uke" stickers with me. Everyone settled in and the show started. Our host Jim Beloff kicked things off with a song and a little story about what Uketopia was, and then for the next three hours we were treated to the sounds of some of the finest Ukulele players and performers around. Ms. Janet Klein was there, lovely and enchanting as always. Chuck "Frets" Fayne was there, providing us with a little magic, from both his Uke and a deck of cards. King Kukulele was there, fresh off the plane from Osaka Japan, where he has been performing at a theme park. He had the crowed rolling from the start with his inimitable style, and had us all going when he threw his Uke into the crowd, only to have it return to his hand via a hidden elastic cord. Liz Beloff made an appearance as the singing Pineapple Princess, and proved that Jim is not the only one with Talent in that family. We saw Rick Cunha (the grandson of Sonny Cunha, the writer of one of my Favorite Ukulele songs "Hapa Haole Hula Girl") also John Zehnder, Travis Harrelson, "Mr. Ukulele" (who answered the question of how to do the drum solo while playing "Wipe out" on the Uke) and even Pop star turned Ukulele Star, Ian Whitcomb. The show ended with a treat when we all got to play along to a few beach tunes from Jim's new book (provided you brought a Ukulele), with a little help from the "Chord-a-teers" a group of sons and daughters who held up large chord diagrams on cardboard, (mostly) on cue. Afterwards was a little meet and greet with the performers, and I got to show off a couple of my custom Uke's.
Jim Beloff says that Uketopia is a state of mind. But for a few hours on a Sunday night in Santa Monica, we were really there.
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