Vacaville Storytellers: Dancing in the Dark at Theatre DeVille

A Facebook acquaintance invites me to “like” Theatre DeVille's page. Never heard of it. I click. It's in Vacaville, CA. What's in Vacaville other than outlet shopping? According to photos on DeVille's page there are crowds of excessively happy people there. Laughing. Good times. Hands in the air dancing. I haven't danced since my wedding fifteen years ago and I'm sure my hands never rose above my waist.

deville theatre

An award-winning rockabilly band plays tonight only. What exactly is rockabilly? I like rock, not sure about the billy. I click to DeVille's website. Described as a fun, high energy, and exciting rockabilly dance party. Could be fun, but I doubt it. I can't afford admission. I click the Buy Now button just to confirm an outrageous ticket price. Ten bucks! I could gather that from my change jar. My online therapist constantly suggests I get out more. “Socialize,” she says, “you need to put yourself out there.” But, I'd have to sacrifice Game of Thrones and King Joffrey, the inbred punk, has just been poisoned at his own wedding. Pathetic, I know. I pay two-hundred a month for professional online advice that I never follow.

A vintage microphone, the size of a mini-cooper, tops Theatre DeVille's illuminated marque. The venue is genuine art deco. Silver and black mostly. Inside, a vivacious chandelier and grand piano set the mood. I notice a clean refreshing hint of citrus in the air. A far cry from the stained carpet and noxious faux-butter fumes of theaters past. The lobby is an echo of a more elegant era. I take a seat on one of the dark burgundy couches. Soft crushed velvet transports me. Strange, but I feel better already. “This is a real theatah,” says a girl in a black leather mini and knee-high biker boots.

It's local band night at Theatre DeVille! Don't miss this showcase of amazing local talent like Tufftones and Cut Loose in this amazing venue. Click ...

A small crowd files from the lobby to the intimate concert hall through double doors. A dark stage is lit like moonlight and flanked by lush, heavy red velvet curtains. There's a mysterious fog prowling around an upright bass—slowly finding its way beyond the drums to the sax. The balcony beckons me with sculpted sconces and avant-garde carved pillars. A good place for a dateless dame like me to hide. Terraces perched east and west. I tour it all—drink in the thousand dates good and bad since the place opened in the1920s. I descend the elegant staircase with an aura of majesty and find a spot at one of the bars opposite the stage.

Happy people surround me. Bartenders pop beers. Pour wine. Smiling. Always smiling. Patrons lean in close to chat. Then, suddenly, a collective excitement as the band takes the stage. Hoots and hollers and appreciative applause. Frankie and the Defenders the banner reads. Frankie, the guitar picking, piano playing, lead singer, swipes his fingers through a mass of black hair and grins. Drums begin to thump and bump a pulse I can feel in my chest and all at once the standup bass kicks in. Frankie straps on his guitar and brings the beat alive with the rhythm of a passing locomotive. The music draws me closer to the stage.

“Feel free to boogie!” says, Frankie as he rocks an old Johnny Cash jam. Smiles grow to excess as people leave their seats and the boogieing begins. How can a melody mixed with movement bring such happiness? Impossible, I think as I slip onto the dance floor and attempt to groove. The song doesn't end—just evolves into a rockabilly mashup. Soon, my hands bounce above my head. Not just once, but over and over even side to side! I'm smiling. Ridiculously happy. Diverted with a bunch of boppers from a mundane existence. Past due bills, bald tires, or what the future may or may not hold does not matter. At the DeVille, I'm no longer dancing on the dark side.

About the Author

Lisa Michelle is an award-winning writer and filmmaker who creates meaningful narratives through powerful storytelling. Developing stories with significant themes that will inspire readers and audiences to evolve is her passion

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