Camp Winnarainbow, Mateel Center

Like a suitcase that just barely holds those final, smashed items of clothing, we were able to pack just-that-much-more-than-we-ever-thought-possible into the end of Chautauqua 2010. The aforementioned community shows were one example. Another shining example was Camp Winnarainbow.

On July 1, our crew left the Solar Living Institute and squeezed in a show at Camp Winnarainbow on our way to the Mateel Community Center in Redway. Founded by counterculture icon/clown Wavy Gravy and his wife Jahanara, Camp Winnarainbow has been teaching circus arts to kids (since the 70s) and adults (since the 80s), in order to “nurture leaders for a peaceful, harmonious and sustainable culture.”

We couldn’t have had a more warm welcome from the campers, Wavy himself and even Patch Adams. It seemed significant that Patch, the man who co-founded New Old Time Chautauqua, was there to see the present-day incarnation of this vaudeville tour. Chautauquans had the opportunity to talk to him before and after our show, and we even took a photo with him and Wavy. Thanks to Wavy and the camp staff, for uniting us with one of the most excited, amazing audiences we played to all tour. And a special shout out to Patch Adams, a man whose community-driven vaudeville dream we have all been very fortunate to experience in reality.


From Winnarainbow, we drove to the Mateel Community Center for dinner and juggling. (Overheard comment from a non-juggler: “Man, they just have to juggle everywhere they go, don’t they?” Answer: yes.) Our campsite that night had a mini golf course, and the “golfing for style” portion of the evening included an upside-down-back-bend shot and a teeing-off-from-Nolan’s-belly-button shot. The camp left the hot tub open late just for us. Little did they know that the “14 person capacity” could be exactly filled by a massage train/water ballet of circus folk.

On Friday, July 2, we smashed not … just … one … but [get in there!] … two parades … and … [come on!] … several … community workshops into our schedule. Which was great because just the thought of not singing our national anthem together for a while was enough to make us weep. The show that night felt a bit unreal. How could it be our last one? How could we be leaving each other in the morning? Impossible. In fact, we only have proof that there was a final show because the Mateel Community Center posted this video evidence to youtube:

Flying Karamazov Brothers

Mark Growden: Saint Judas

Revolva (with vocals by Alyra)

Why, oh why, is there no video evidence of the post-show jam? The Fighting Instruments of Karma played every song in the parade repertoire, and those excited Redway folks just kept dancing and prancing and shouting for more. We added another rendition of Funkus. More! The Final Countdown? More! No one is sure when it really was finally over, but suffice to say: We went out with a bang.

The Crown Bus hosted a post-show gathering back at the campsite. But even the most die-hard celebrators were drifting off to sleep early. (Early = before sunrise.) Unable to cram in any more. Full to capacity with the past few weeks’ inspiration, emotion, art, connection — as the lid closed. And we prepared to travel.

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