NEW HAVEN — Some people have become accustomed to showing up at Cafe Nine each year around this time for Dean Falcone’s annual Thanksgiving, post-Thanksgiving or pre-Christmas Vomitorium variety extravaganza. But that’s not happening this pandemic-pocked 2020 holiday season, at least not in the same way.
Yet another reason to flip that calendar page to 2021.
But fear not.
Like so many other shows both large and small, the annual Vomitorium is happening online — and will stream for eight days (actually, parts of nine days), from this Friday, Dec. 18, at 6 p.m. through Dec. 26 at 11:45 p.m.
And because it’s virtual this year, it will feature members of some national acts such as Juliana Hatfield, Sarah Borges, Christine Ohlman and members of The dBs, The Posies, Big Star, The Figgs and Guster, among others) in addition to a boatload of solid local entertainment and at least one performance — by the late guitar icon George Baker — from beyond the grave.
All performances were donated by the artists. In association with NHDocs: the New Haven Documentary Film Festival, Vomitorium is being paired with a screening of “a truly delightful documentary,” “North Pole, NY,” with all proceeds to benefit the Cafe Nine employee tip jar, which exists to show appreciation and support for Cafe Nine employees, most who have been out of work since March.
For tickets, go to www.NHdocsTix.com.
“We are honored to bring together local and national acts to show our love and appreciation for “The Musician’s Living Room,” Falcone said.
What might be hard to replicate is the fellowship of having dozens of musicians who don’t all usually play together on and around one stage, as well as the playful razzing that goes on as odd groups perform rarely played songs.
Again, fear not — Falcone and cohorts Ed Valauskas and Jim Balga are working on that, too, “There will be subtle razzing,” Falcone said in an email this week. “We (Ed, Jim and I) are going to do an intro so maybe some form of vomitiness will occur. It is just a shame we will not be able to see each other. The whole point of Vomitorium was to get together with everyone that no longer lives here and make racket and annoy the audience.”
It’s also central to the theme and spirit of the event “to play with people you never get a chance to,” Falcone said.
“There are lots surprises and some people went above and beyond with their videos,” Falcone said. “I was blown away by a few. I love that everyone came together to show their love for (Cafe Nine owner) Paul (Mayer) and the staff of Cafe Nine. It is truly sacred to us.”
Cafe Nine, at 250 State St. (the corner of State and Crown streets), currently is open on Fridays and Saturdays from 4 p.m. to 9:30 p.m., serving food from The Bar at Firehouse 12.
This year’s virtual Vomitorium will feature special performances by Juliana Hatfield, Peter Holsapple (The dBs, Continental Drifters), Jon Auer (The Posies, Big Star), Ken Stringfellow (The Posies, Big Star, REM), Wesley Stace (John Wesley Harding), Sarah Borges, Christine Ohlman, Mike Gent & Lucky Jackson (The Figgs, The Gentlemen), Brian Stevens (The Cavedogs) and Adam Gardner (Guster).
Also, Ed Valauskas, Jen D’Angora, The Shellye Valauskas Experience, Jules Verdone, Lys Guillorn, Jay Russell, Jed Parish (The Gravel Pit), Joey Wit & The Definition, Stefanie Clark Harris, Brendan Toller, Hank Hoffman, Rick Allison, Frank Critelli, Abbie Barrett, Richard Mealey, Rich Dart and George Baker (recorded in December 2018 doing “Merry Christmas, Baby” with yours truly, Mark Zaretsky).
Also, S.G Carlson, Bronson Rock, Andrea Gillis & Family, Dave Schneider & Steve Tanski, Fran Fried, Tom Hughes, Patrick Dalton, Brendan Haley, Brian Samuel Robinson, Val McKee & David Johnson, The Chief (Lefty & The Chief), Loralee Geil and Bruce Crowder, Paul Belbusti and Kierstin Sieser, Alex Burnet, Daphne Lee Martin and Thor Jensen, Jeffrey Thunders, Brooks Barnett and Mark Crofutt, Space Cranes, Big Bad Johns and Barbara Shepard.
“North Pole, NY” is a 69-minute documentary about Santa’s Workshop, one of the very first theme parks in the U.S..
“Battling against a changing economy, the digital world, and a con-man who tries to steal Christmas, the dreamers in one small town vow to keep the park open and the magic of Christmas alive all year,” reads a description provided by NHDocs. You can watch the trailer at https://vimeo.com/303186878.