The event, which traditionally featured Dirtwoman, will pay tribute to the departed queen of Richmond--in the silliest possible fashion.
Ryan Persaud | December 7, 2017
A long-running Richmond event that specializes in absurdity and stupidity while also giving to back the community is having its last hurrah on Friday night. Hamaganza is an annual non-profit event that whose goal is raising money and providing hams for the FeedMore food bank. The event, which has been running for 22 years, started as a punk rock show created by members of the band The Vapor Rhinos, Peter Headley and Tommy Rodriguez. Over the years, the event has evolved to include a mixture of cabaret and burlesque elements, with the center of it being Donnie Corker, aka Dirtwoman.
This year’s Hamaganza, dubbed “The Final Insult,” aims to pay tribute to Corker, who passed away earlier this year. It will be the final Hamaganza event. “It will be plenty dumb,” Chris Dovi, who has been an organizer of the event since 2006, said. “We might have some city hall politicians, maybe a general assembly member or two if they can stomach showing up. We definitely have a pretty good mix of interesting people on stage.”
Acts planned for this year’s event include Tom Applegate from the Richmond band Beex, juggler Jonathan Austin, burlesque dancers, and various skits that will reference Corker. “It’s just going to be a weird panoply of strange people,” Dovi said.
Dean Owen, a long-time Hamaganza organizer who helps with music direction and writing skits, said the event has been important in helping raise money for the community. “We have our fair share of homeless and downtrodden in Richmond, and helping the food bank and other charities is just being a responsible citizen,” Owen said. “We have raised thousands of dollars over these 20-something years and that feels good.”
Additionally, Owen said, Hamaganza has been a great way to have fun with friends and members of the community. “Overall, it’s a really fun way to hang out with friends you don’t see too often,” Owen said. “For me, to make people laugh is the greatest thing in my life. And let me tell you, there’s a whole lot of laughter going on.”
Despite this being the last Hamaganza event, Dovi said there are plans to honor Corker outside of the event itself, as Hamaganza is usually reserved for indulging in nonsense. “I think he would be upset if we honored him,” Dovi said. “Hamaganza is a night of debauchery and weirdness, and Donnie would be pissed if we were to let him down on that.”
The Final Insult will be held at the Canal Club on Friday at 8pm. Proceeds will benefit the Massey Cancer Center in addition to The Food Bank. The event is for ages 18+. Admission is $10, or a donation of a ham. Tickets can be purchased at Canal Club’s website.