It's that time of year again, when all of Healdsburg comes to a standstill, awaiting the puff of white smoke from the Raven Theater's chimney announcing the selection of new Mr. Healdsburg. Expect the mayhem, and the results, this from 7:30 p.m. at the Raven.
Unlike the pontiffs who rule in the Vatican, sometimes for decades, Mr. Healdsburg is a one-year honor, bestowed upon only a handful of men over the past 10 years.
Their names have become legendary among local devotees: Clay Green (2004), the very first, the rock upon which the tradition is built…Xerxes Whitnety (2009), the first Mr. Healdsburg with not one but two Xs in his name… Tej Sekhon (2011), the turban-wrapped sex symbol of the town during the revival of the Healdsburg Water Festival… and the current holder of the vaunted title, Chris "Mr. Six String" Herrod, crowned just one year ago for his 2012 reign.
Soon Herrod will step aside, bestowing upon another the burg's most valued honorific. He has promised to do so with an on-stage musical number, and perhaps some of his prospective replacements could play along: among the contestants are musicians from Crazy Famous, Rovettin and the Meatballs, and one who's moniker for the contest is "Mr. Basso Profundo."
Samantha Vega will once again act as emcee.
Despite the show's obvious debt to beauty pageants of yore, there are a few ground rules: "No cross-dressing, no nudity and no stripping," according to producer/director Carol Noack.
Complete list of the seven contestants in this year's contest:
--Daniel Gene Bishop III, "Mr. Slambino, 30, a chef at Ravenous Cafe and Lounge.
--Paul Downey, "Mr. Basso Profundo," 74, a retired banker, grape-grower and amateur stage performer.
--Ronald Du Preez, "Mr. Afrikaans," 35, general manager and winemaker at Draxton Winery.
--Brandon Hassur, "Mr. Crazy Famous" 28, a musician (guitar, drums, piano, singer) for four years with the group Crazy Famous and most recently with Los Perros De Amour (which includes Jack Sonni of the former Dire Straits band).
--Mark McKenzie, "Mr. Mulligan," 57, a longtime waiter at Bistro Ralph.
--Chris Rovetti, "Mr. Hotlicks," 34, founder and lead singer of Rovetti and Meatballs band, and proprietor of Land and Lawn landscaping and maintenance business.
--Eric Smith, "Mr. Hot Stuff," 21, a part-time Healdsburg firefighter and Santa Rosa Junior College student in the Fire Technology program.
Contestants will be judged by a panel of five female judges in four categories: talent, formal wear, beach wear and interviews. A fifth category will come from audience votes (both online and at the show) in the form of dollar contributions.
Online voting is now open. You vote with your donations to the Raven Performing Arts Theater on this page, literally buying your votes at $1 each.
Better yet, show up at the Raven Theater on Saturday at 7:30. Tickets ($40 advance, $45 door) are now available online at www.raventheater.org or by walk-in at Copperfield's Books.
Despite the no-nudity, no-stripping, no-cross-dressing rules, you must be 21 to attend. Attendees cannot bring their own food or alcohol, ID and bags will be checked by security. There will be refreshments available, however, so you won't go thirsty.