From the Church Lady to Wayne's World co-host Garth, Dana Carvey has created some of the most memorable Saturday Night Live characters in its history. He’s also an underrated musician who clearly isn’t afraid of a challenge.
As longtime local musician Jimmy Dillon sought to lure Carvey to perform at at Mill Valley's for his Blue Star Music Camps, Carvey said he would do it if he could do a “drum off” with vaunted drummer and producer Narada Michael Walden, a regular Blue Star benefit participant.
“He said to me, ‘That’s suicide, right? I get it,’” Dillon said of Carvey. “But Dana’s a great sport, and it should be a fantastic night of comedy and music.”
The benefit is also a celebration of the 10-year anniversary of Blue Star Music Camps, the organization Dillon founded to place boys and girls ages 13-18 in a musical ensemble setting for one-week music camps at the San Anselmo Playhouse. The weekday camps end each week with a live performance Friday night at the Playhouse Theater. The format is performance driven and creatively oriented, Dillon said. Tuition is $750 per one week session, but Dillon said between 30 and 50 percent of students receive some form of scholarship.
“I wanted to create something that was unique and spoke to the craft of music as opposed to the bling bling of the American Idol, I want to be a star thing,” Dillon says. “It also speaks to the intrinsic value in a true ensemble style workshop with a stage and a classroom.”
Dillon says he’s always been impressed by Carvey’s musicianship and his ability easily meld music and comedy into his act. He said attendees of the Blue Star benefit can expect to hear such gems as Carvey’s Mill Valley-centric parody of Neil Young’s classic song “Old Man,” with such lines as “Hedge fun man take a look at your life…”
Dillon will be performing a set of music with members of several of his bands, including Lorin Rowin and other members of the San Francisco Music Club and cast members and musicians from Ascension of the Blues. Blue Star partner and keyboardist Ozzie Ahlers will perform as well, along with Walden, the legendary producer for such singers as Whitney Houston and Aretha Franklin. Mark Pitta serves as the master of ceremonies.
The event will feature an auction of autographed guitars from Bruce Springsteen, Sting and B.B. King. Dillon said the Springsteen-autographed Fender Telecaster was acquired from The Boss by longtime Blue Star Music Camps supporter and E Street Band saxophonist Clarence Clemons shortly before .
Dillon says Blue Star’s 10th anniversary is also a new beginning of sorts, as he plans to expand the camps beyond the 13- to 18-year-old demographic. He’s teamed with Kevin Marlatt, the former executive director of the Blue Bear School of Music in San Francisco, as well as tech exec David Gottesman, a former Blue Bear board member.
Because the expanded Blue Star will need a dedicated space beyond the summertime use of the San Anselmo Playhouse, Dillon says the trio are looking for a space to serve as its headquarters.
“I’ve been wanting to do this for a while but I haven’t had the bandwidth to make it happen,” Dillon says. “This team that wants to take Blue Star to a new place and we feel that the Blue Star experience is worthy of passing of passing along to all ages.”
The 411: On Sunday, June 3 at 7 p.m. at 142 Throckmorton Theatre, Dana Carvey, Narada Michael Walden, Mark Pitta, Jimmy Dillon and many more will be performing a night of comedy and music as a benefit for Blue Star Music Camps. Tickets are $75; a VIP reception at 5:45 p.m. with Carvey including reserved seating is $150. Call 415-383-9600 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org or go to the Throckmorton's website.