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Produced & Maintained by Idaho Mountain Express, Box 1013, Ketchum, ID 83340-1013 
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Copyright © 2003 Express Publishing Inc.
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For the week of Dec 31, 2003 - Jan 6, 2004

Arts and Entertainment

The Fabulous
Vuarnettes suit up
for another season

Express Staff Writer

Camp and comedy, song and dance. It’s vaudeville time at the Boiler Room in Sun Valley with the return—go on, hold your hats—The Fabulous Vuarnettes.

The Vuarnettes kick off their season tonight in the Boiler Room in Sun Valley. Express photo by David N. Seelig

Known for their high camp, high heels and four part high anxiety, this gaggle of women perform during après ski on Wednesday evenings beginning tonight at the Boiler Room in Sun Valley. Doors open at 5 p.m. and shows are at 6 p.m.

Linda Badell, Cheri Kessler, Callie Galpin and Heidi Bates are the creators of the most original weekly entertainment in the valley. They zing their audiences with one-liners and rewritten oldies that emphasize, with plenty of self-deprecation, their ages, weights, husbands, ex-boyfriends, careers, and physical symptoms.

It all began in 1981 at the now defunct Silver Creek Saloon on Main Street in Ketchum. At that time the group consisted of Vicki Partney, known as "Titsahoy," Mary Stevens as "Buddha Schwartz," Galpin as "Cheetah" and Kessler as "Kitty." Karen Hale joined for a spell and then was replaced by Linda "Fern" Badell in 1984.

At one point in the 1980s two of the gals were pregnant at the same time and still performing, a tradition Bates carried out last year.

The newest member, Bates, or "Ruby Rose Hips," comes by her talent the genetic way. Her grandmother is the late actress and brilliant comedienne Ann Sothern.

The gals haven’t lost a stride in the past 20 years—just consider the wildly decorated head gear, flounce skirts and wicked retro high heeled sneakers. A new look is being unveiled this season. Their costumes—always a highlight—are now based on the four seasons in Sun Valley. Bates for instance is spring with a huge headdress featuring an "Easter bird’s nest with spring flowers, Fern is fall, Kitty winter, Cheetah is summer. We decided it’d be a fun change. The seasons are so vivid here and the Vuarnettes are so vivid," Bates said.

Revamping and rehearsing their repertoire since September, they write all the song lyrics, and jokes themselves, design and make the costumes and paint the props and sets.

Backed by a band known as The Private Parts —James Fisher, Rick Hoel, Cliff Cunha and Jim Paisley—the foursome take turns leading songs and being the butt of the many jokes. "We love our Private Parts," Bates said.

Then there are the songs. Long time favorites include "Stand on Your Man," "Midol" sung to the tune of "My Guy," "You Better Shop Around" and one of the gems that Bates brought to the show two years ago, a rendition of Brittany Spears’ "Oops, I did it again," only this time it includes the lyrics "Oops, I did it again, I need some depends…I’m not incontinent. But every time that I sneeze, I’m crossing my knees."

"We’re bringing it back," Bates laughed. "It wasn’t funny last year when I was pregnant. Hopefully we won’t offend too many people."

The Vuarnettes, of course, continue to skewer random topical issues, many with local aspects, such as the California recall in the song "Big Dumb and Stupid" and older movie stars and their young boys. They even took on a Broadway musical song, "Can’t Stop the Beat" from Hairspray. There is also the telemarketing issue to contend with as well as how small the town is, old age and prescription drugs.

"Nothing that’s too out of the ordinary for the Vuarnettes," Bates said.




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The Idaho Mountain Express is distributed free to residents and guests throughout the Sun Valley, Idaho resort area community. Subscribers to the Idaho Mountain Express will read these stories and others in this week's issue.