One can bank on plenty of swank, sizzle and swinging fun whenever the red hot entertainment duo Frank and Buddy Devil – The Lounge Devils – bring their eclectic cast of guys and dolls to a stage.
“Frank and I have performed smaller shows from Chicago to Ohio for about 10 years throughout the tri-state area,” said Buddy. “Variety-Ville is different though. We wanted to do a little bit of everything with Variety-Ville. This show is definitely The Lounge Devils, but we want all of our wonderful acts to shine! We have been fortunate to find a very talented and dedicated ‘regular cast.’ That cast with new acts added and others filling in make Variety-Ville something very special.”
Variety-Ville has been taken on the road, but this weekend marks the first time it is being presented in the region, which is home turf to the red-faced, horn-sprouting Devil Brothers, who have deep roots in Northwest Indiana.
“For Saturday’s Variety-Ville show Buddy and I are both the emcees and performers,” said Frank. “We keep our time short because the audience will see us before and after every act. Sometimes we sing, sometimes we dance, and what have you. Variety-Ville is more about The Lounge Devils bringing new talent and fun to the region. We have seven acts on the Memorial Opera House bill, varying from 5 to 15 minutes of stage time for each, except for our specialty act TG Rivers, Comedy Hypnotist, who will have a slot of about 45 minutes.”
The Lounge Devils recruit their unique acts from all over the country, but also feature some gifted local performers like songbird Adrien Brizzolara, a Valparaiso native who will belt out some standards during her slot at Memorial Opera House. Others on Saturday’s bill include: Thrym The Strongman and his handler Alastair, singer Samantha Bryce, tap dancer Molly Voss, and 11-year-old comedian Trevor Burke.
Equal parts vaudeville, burlesque, cabaret, “Rat Pack” and “The Ed Sullivan Show,” people who experience Variety-Ville find it’s a hip place where cool cats in fedoras like Sinatra still croon, girls in pillbox hats with trays still hawk fine cigars, dames still dress like Betty Grable with bright red lipstick and a line running up the back of their nylons, fine cigars are still enjoyed, and martinis are still the drink de jour.
For the Gen X and Gen Y young folks not familiar with the “lounge lifestyle,” the Devil brothers are happy to inform, educate and introduce them to the “cocktail culture. “We have a book in the works to educate people about what exactly ‘Lounge’ is and how to live the lifestyle,” said Frank. “But in the meantime, information about the lounge lifestyle is on our website -- www.theloungedevils.com -- including Buddy's ‘Cocktail Corner’ with specific recipes for cocktails and suggestions of music to listen to.”
The Devils confess to loving the classic comedy teams of the early 20th Century. They cite Abbott and Costello, Hope and Crosby, Lewis and Martin, Burns and Allen, and The Marx Brothers as personal influences and as their inspiration for creating Variety-Ville.
“There’s more than one generation that has now missed out on what entertainment was and can be. We don't do ‘blue’ we don't do politics, we just do fun,” explained Buddy. “We are lucky enough to have a wide variety of people come and enjoy our shows, but we see a lot of younger kids, twenty-somethings who have a great time because this kind of (vintage) entertainment is new to them.”
“We say this is an adult show, but like a classic Looney-tunes cartoon, the younger people have a great time and miss any double entendres in the show the older people catch,” added Frank. “This show can be sexy but it’s never dirty.”
The Devil brothers looked back to the old Vaudeville days while designing the blueprint for Variety-Ville, which begins with a cocktail hour before the show with entertainment by a roaming magician, followed by the stage show itself featuring such performers as a strong man, singers, dancers, comedians, a hypnotist and others. Then the event wraps up with a post-show dance where the audience is encouraged to stay and cut the rug to the sounds of swing, big band and crooner music.
“We’ve found you do not need to ‘shock’ people to entertain them. We have ‘side-show acts’ but nothing too bizarre. We want to unplug people and let them enjoy an honest good time,” said Frank. “No shock, no vulgarity, but still plenty of fun.”
“Real music, real talent and an atmosphere that embraces "Happy" are what we bring to the stage,” said Buddy. “When when we first started doing these 10 years ago, there were a few naysayers, but they were wrong, because there is and always will be a market for good times and honest fun.”
FYI: The Lounge Devils present “Variety-Ville” from 6 to 11 p.m. Saturday at Memorial Opera House, 104 East Indiana Ave., Valparaiso. Cost is $20 Advance/$25 at door / All Ages Welcome. Call (219) 548-9137, or visit mohlive.org or theloungedevils.com