My first mistake, as I see it, was thinking that I could conduct a serious, or at least orderly, interview with three women who make people laugh for a living. My second, that I could transcribe that conversation as it was happening, while I was laughing uproariously. If This Side of Butch, lesbian sketch comedy by Karla Carmony, Amy Boyd, and Fontana Butterfield, turns out to be one-tenth as funny as our four-way telephone conversation, it will be very funny indeed. "Amy and I both did stand-up," explains Carmony, "and we both love sketch comedy. When we decided to work and write together --" "It was the completion of a zany soul," Boyd interrupts. I wonder if the comedy is political. "Because we're lesbians performing," opines Boyd, "that's political, but our aim is for everyone to have a good time. We try to poke fun at every kind of lesbian. That's why we never say which side of butch we're on." Butterfield interjects: "It's like watching great TV that actually has something to do with your real life. It's about coming home and feeling safe to laugh at ourselves." Carmony describes the show as "tangy and succulent -- can you tell I'm starving?" The hope for the future is a world tour, with its promise, says Butterfield, of "babes in every port." Babes, indeed. For tix, call Josie's Cabaret & Juice Joint at 861-7933.
BATS in the Bayfront
Bay Area Theatresports brings a new twist to its second annual Summer Improv Festival, Aug. 5-31 at the Bayfront Theater. In addition to classes in competitive improvisation and improv performances of many kinds, the company will make its first foray into scripted work with a production of The Merry Wives of Windsor. "Working on Shakespeare with improvisers is fabulous," says director Britt Block. "It's a dream come true. My goal is to create live people in the act of creating the play. The rehearsals have really been an exploration of process." For info on the complete schedule, call 824-8220.
Spelunking for the Arts
On a uniqueness scale, Marin Theater Company's annual fund-raiser, to be held on Aug. 4 at Carmenet Winery in Sonoma, gets a solid 10. A tour plus a private wine tasting starts the party. Next comes a candlelit concert in the estate's wine-aging caves, featuring guitarist Richard Patterson, flutist Viviana Guzman, and violinist Karen Bentley. Of course, for your $100 you also get dinner, with wines selected by W. Philip Woodward, president of the Chalone Wine Group. Important note: July 31 is the last day to make reservations for the gala, so drop this paper and call 388-5200 now to reserve your place at the summer's most elegant fund-raiser.
By Deborah Peifer