Even though it’s been running non-stop since 1974, it took me until this year to finally get to Club Fugazi in North Beach where Beach Blanket Babylon, the send-up show of shows, nightly skewers pop culture and its host city. The plot centers on Snow White who searches through time and culture for her prince, only to discover … well all will be revealed in good time at the show, my pretty.
Tell Tale Tops
The performers at this 400-seat nightclub theatre wear macro hair-and-headpieces befitting Alice when she drank the growth pill. And they sing and dance and even fly in them – and very well. Created by actor Steve Silver and continued by his wife, Jo Shuman Silver, after his death in 1995, Beach Blanket Babylon is considered to be the country’s longest running musical revue and has played before three million people including Queen Elizabeth who is one of those spoofed.
Silver, who started as a street performer on skates, took inspiration for the show’s name from the “Beach Blanket” movies starting Annette Funicello and Frankie Avalon. It made him a wealthy man who gave generously to his city until AIDs claimed him.
The show is continuously tweaked to mirror the fads, fashions, and personas of the day. No matter what gen you are, you won’t recognize some characters. For years, the show finished with the lit up Golden Gate Bridge balanced on a performer’s head. Now even that has been improved, er, enlarged upon. But I won’t spoil it for you. Go and see Beach Blanket Babylon yourself and be prepared to laugh at all the glitz, glory, and hilarity that comprise San Francisco and pop culture.