Review: ‘Bohemian Carnival’

by Sean Taylor

. . . back to Neverland. . .

“Have tent, will party,” should be the motto of the Vau De Vire Society, or maybe, “have tent, will circus.”

On August 6th, 2016, a number of stars aligned and Vau De Vire was able to celebrate the ten year anniversary of their Bohemian Carnival. Per a grand chance, they had a venue. On the island of Alameda, with a foggy San Francisco backdrop, in the middle of an abandoned naval base, months earlier, they had erected an old Italian circus tent for an all immersive stage show (Soiled Dove) that ran for a mere two nights in mid July. After that show closed out, to great success, they must have been caught playing in the Circus tent late at night, they must have fallen in love with this island on an island, with this mirage, this fantasy.

Were they caught whispering to each other, “It’s here, so we might as well…” as if stumbling upon Neverland and calling in for a three day weekend?

It’s entirely possible a circus tent can only stand for so long until the clowns show up. So when they did, the imaginative folk of the Vau De Vire Society must have thrown their hands up and declared a carnival. The whole night went without a program for the attendees, it was a celebration after all, a celebration in survival, a celebration in spontaneity. Within the first ten minutes of the night a red and black clad Clown marching band had half the crowd dancing with them. They were the first example of what great human energy these performers exhibit and can give back to large swaths of people. The hard knocking drums of the opening funk band ‘Planet Booty’ spent the next forty-five minutes kick-flirting with our dancing souls until looking at our phones was forbidden, observing the show was forbidden. Participation was nothing less than absolutely necessary, which may be the key to Vau De Vire’s success in this community game.

After asking around, almost everyone made it clear, they had heard about this show from a friend, or a friend of a friend. No one mentioned social media, the word internet didn’t cross anyones lips. If Vau De Vire can get five hundred people to an island (both literally and public transit wise) on purely word of mouth they have more than ten years of survival to celebrate. They have the success of a grass roots thriving community to celebrate.

There were wild and awe inspiring acrobatics, feats of great strength and focus. Pee Wee Herman made a cameo and put seven people in some giant underpants. The DJ’s were on point and long time host Jamie De Wolf was both brash and lively as our spirited captain. The entire tent even became a shooting range as balloons burst in the mouths of nearly topless women. All our fantasies, entirely immersive, all our what-ifs were stoked throughout the night. It was a lightning storm that crashes too quickly to photograph, and here is what we are left with, telling our friends to come back with us next time, back to Neverland.

Bohemian Carnival was a one night event. But you can click here to learn more about Vau de Vire, and follow their activities.




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