Uke Till Ya Puke

A festival devoted entirely to the tiny Hawaiian guitar

The award for sexiest ukulele player in history was once an obvious choice: Clara Bow in It, hands down. That's right -- the "It" girl played ukulele.

But time marches on, tastes evolve, and the fact is, punk rock changed things. The award for sexiest ukulele player in history is now disputable. Should it rightfully be shared between the two ladies of Pineapple Princess, the GG Allin-covering, hula-dancing minxes as famous for beer-swilling as they are for shakin' it? Or might it go to the ubiquitous Kitten on the Keys, that foulmouthed yet perky burlesque queen? Decide for yourself, reader: PP and K on the K are joined by more ukulele players than you can shake a cocktail at during "The Monsters of Ukulele," a three-hour tour de force of the tiny Hawaiian guitar.

Here, Kitty, Kitty! Kitten on the Keys will be 
on a ukulele Friday night.
Here, Kitty, Kitty! Kitten on the Keys will be on a ukulele Friday night.

Organizer Chicken John describes the event using colorful language, particularly when insisting that after this, ukuleles will be banned from the Odeon Bar: "This festival has it all," he e-mailed us recently (creative spelling is all his). "Uke 'till ya puke. 3 hours of the ukelale, and nothing else. But then after this, no more. No more ekelale ever after this. We are giving you your own festival, but after this NO MORE UKELALE!!!!!" One wonders which musician on this bill caused him such trauma, and suspicion falls mostly on Adam Walker, often seen strumming original tunes on the Odeon stage. But then, it could have been Ralph Carney, or members of Rube Waddell or Polkacide. It wasn't Santa Cruz's "Sir Ukulele Extraordinaire" Oliver Brown, who appears for the first time in San Francisco tonight. Many other performers are taking up the instrument of the hour specifically for this event, Jolie Holland and the Shut-Ins among them. All attendees receive a free Hawaiian recording from the estate of the late A.C. Fune, ukulele aficionado.

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