Skip to content

Zoot suit cabaret in Oakland

on June 21, 2009

Oakland residents dusted off their zoot suits, feathered hats and shiny, sequined dresses Saturday night for the third annual cabaret benefit performance of the Oakland-East Bay Gay Men’s Chorus at the First Christian church in Oakland.

Decked out in black pants, white collared shirts and a bright array of ties, the 35-man chorus, performing on a small stage in front of a sparkling black curtain, sang varied numbers that included Seize The Day – a stirring, powerful choice that called forth thoughts of civil rights struggles – Mr. Right Now, and Jump, Jive an’ Wail.

patchendirects2The packed house was made up of mostly older Oakland residents, some in full swing regalia. Complimentary wine flowed throughout the evening and guests chatted at the cozy round tables or showed off their swing moves to numbers by Swing Fever, an excellent San Rafael-based jazz band.

A silent auction, an eight-member ensemble and a number of soloists rounded out the evening. Dody S. Garcia, wearing a pink tie and sparkly black leather vest, gave a heartfelt rendition of The Nearness of You. Though some of the other soloists seemed a bit timid, the audience didn’t seem to mind.

Photo by Ian Tewksbury

Photo by Ian Tewksbury

When a few of the chorus members performed some swing dance steps towards the end of the program, they were met with enthusiastic applause and whooping from the audience.  “White men can’t dance,” one man remarked to his fellow guests but this didn’t seem to bother anyone in particular.

Michael Patch, 28, a Kansas native, has been the chorus artistic director for a year and a half.  Patch said that the event was going better than they had anticipated and estimated that 200 people were in attendance.  “The audience is just eating it up,” he said.

marriedcoupleRick Marshall and his husband Paul Boisvert are chorus members who commute from Napa for weekly rehearsals. “The concert is really the payoff,” he said of his choice to commute and spoke enthusiastically about the camaraderie within the group.

The Zoot suit cabaret event runs through today; the chorus will be performing at 5:00 p.m. in the same location. Tickets range from $30-50 with special senior and group discounts and can be purchased online or at the door.  The chorus will be performing again for their Pride season tour September 10-13 in Napa, Sacramento and other cities in Northern California.

1 Comment

  1. Oakland North » North Oakland Now 6.21.09 on June 21, 2009 at 12:25 pm

    […] if you want to stay inside check out Zoot Suit Cabaret a fund raiser by the East Bay Gay Men’s […]

Oakland North welcomes comments from our readers, but we ask users to keep all discussion civil and on-topic. Comments post automatically without review from our staff, but we reserve the right to delete material that is libelous, a personal attack, or spam. We request that commenters consistently use the same login name. Comments from the same user posted under multiple aliases may be deleted. Oakland North assumes no liability for comments posted to the site and no endorsement is implied; commenters are solely responsible for their own content.

Photo by Basil D Soufi
Oakland North

Oakland North is an online news service produced by students at the UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism and covering Oakland, California. Our goals are to improve local coverage, innovate with digital media, and listen to you–about the issues that concern you and the reporting you’d like to see in your community. Please send news tips to:

Latest Posts

Scroll To Top