The Whale Fat Follies is the Alaskan show The
Department Of Tourism does NOT want you to see. This sleazy
extravaganza first appeared during the summer of 1986. During
one show just the other night, a woman tourist stomped out
in disgust. After all these years, we've still got the touch.
Back at Chilkoot Charlie's in the summer 1974,
Mr. Whitekeys & The Oosik Music Company performed an all-Alaskan
musical collage called "The Mount McKinley Rock Opera."
It was a collection of original satirical music about The
Great Land. Most of the audience didn't notice, and the rest
responded by requesting anything by Neil Diamond.
Miss Alice Welling
But in 1986, the time was right. We gathered
a group of strange performers, put together a musical collection
of odd Alaskan tales, illustrated it with a multi-media slide
show, spent at least $35 on costumes, and Voila --we had the
best show in town. It was also the only show in town. It's
very easy to succeed when the nearest show of any kind is
two thousand miles away.
What was originally designed as a six-week summer
run was held over for months. This success can be explained
by two things: Alaskans like to laugh at themselves, and Alaskans
don't have anything else to do.
There are currently four shows yearly in The
Fly By Night Club season: "Springtime In Spenard"
(April-May); "The Whale Fat Follies" (June-Sept.);
"The Freeze-Up Follies" (Sept.-Nov.); and "Christmas
In Spenard" (Nov-Dec.)
have changed since the first Follies production: the costume
budget is now almost FIFTY DOLLARS. The star of the show is
still Alaska, and the people who live here. There used to
be a bumper sticker which read "We don't give a damn
HOW they do it Outside." Alaskans are still that way.
One night recently, a large group of old-time
Alaskans was in the house. I, Mr. Whitekeys, wanted to meet
the organizer of the outing. I asked another lady where she
was, and was told "She's at home with diarrhea."
I attempted to be tactful. I asked, "You
mean she's indisposed?" The elderly Alaskan pioneer looked
me and said, "No, you dummy. She has diarrhea."
That's Alaska, and that's our crowd.