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This week’s edition!

LAVA Fest serves up holiday laughs


Come laugh this holiday season with the Lewiston-Auburn Variety Arts Festival, formerly Phyzgig North, now known as LAVA Fest. This wonderfully funny vaudeville troupe, which sold out three packed houses last year, makes three return appearance on December 14 and 15 at 7:30 p.m. and on December 15 at 2 p.m. for a children’s matinee.

All three performances will take place at Bates College’s Schaeffer Theatre, 305 College Street in Lewiston. Tickets for the evening performances are $15 for adults and $10 for students and seniors; tickets for the matinee performance are $10 for adults and $8 for children under 14. To reserve tickets, call the L/A Arts box office at 782-7228 or see

LAVA Fest presents incredible illusions, captivating storytelling and side-splitting physical comedy featuring the talents of Leland Faulkner, Antonio Rocha, Karen Montanaro, Fred Garbo, “YoYo People” John and Rebecca Higby and Matt and Jason Tardy (a.k.a. “AudioBody”).

The former director of Celebration Barn Theatre, Leland Faulkner combines illusion, mime, shadow theater, and original special effects to produce imaginative performances at venues around the world. In his hands, paper butterflies dance and multiply; paper birds transform into real ones; bounties of water, rice, or fruit spill out of nowhere; and shadows spring vibrantly to life.

Antonio Rocha?is a storyteller, mime and children’s book author. In 1988, he received a Partners of the Americas grant to come to the USA from Brazil to perform and deepen his mime skills with master Tony Montanaro. A performer on the Cirque du Soleil roster, his unique blend of verbal narrative and mime have earned him awards and invitations to perform at venues in fourteen countries on six continents.

Karen Montanaro is a professional ballet dancer and mime. She has danced with the Ohio Ballet and the Marmstadt Opera Ballet in Germany and has performed with master mime Tony Montanaro. For the past 20 years, she has taught mime, dance and movement to children of all ages in schools throughout the United States. She is a recent winner of the prestigious Artist Fellowship grant from the Maine Arts Commission.

Fred Garbo got paid for doing a card trick in 1974 and has been been performing professionally ever since. He has been the acrobat inside Barkley the Dog on Sesame Street, the chief juggler in the Broadway musical “Barnum,” has performed with the New York City Opera at Lincoln Center and the MOMIX dance troupe in Brazil, and has been featured on Late Night with David Letterman.

Yo Yo People John and Rebecca Higby are a husband and wife team whose skill, humor, and timing make their high-energy performances popular with every age group. John’s first big break as a performer came at the Denver Busker Festival. Soon he was performing for U.S troops in Turkey and Italy and at busker festivals in Canada, Singapore and Japan. Rebecca met John in 2001 and was soon incorporated into his show.

Brothers Matt and Jason Tardy began creating music under the name “AudioBody” in 2004. Having already toured the country as a physical comedy team, they decided to create a show that would combine music, comedy, and technology. The results include an eye-popping arsenal of audio-visual inventions, such as electronic jumpsuits that play music as they move, LED light tubes they “play” at high speeds in the dark, and a 16-foot wide electronic drum-set.




Antonio Rocha



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