There’s still time to nominate local icons for Best of D.C.
TO FEB. 17
Chris Bliss has perhaps the rarest of resumes in all of show business. In the course of his career, he has opened up for both Michael Jackson and…me. But, for some reason, I find no mention on his Web site of the gig we shared at Desperado’s, the long-lost biker/blues bar on M Street. At the time, I was pounding the skins for my trendsetting comedy band, the Dogmatics. (We were so far ahead of the whole “Weird” Al thing it wasn’t funny. No, wait—it was supposed to be funny.) Young Mr. Bliss was then billing himself as the “Rock and Roll Juggler”: His act consisted of juggling to the accompaniment of classic-rock songs. Side 2 of Abbey Road was a staple, as I recall. But Bliss wasn’t merely tossing around a few apples. He used strobe lights, black lights, and other effects to produce what he called “aerial choreography.” He also had Day-Glo balls; that is, he had painted some tennis balls with iridescent colors, which looked very groovy under the black lights. It was dopey fun, in the most literal sense. But even after receiving props from Willie Nelson (who called the D.C. native “the best damn juggler I ever saw”), Bliss eventually dropped the balls and veered into pure stand-up. But now, thank God, the balls are back. “You give people 50 minutes of cynicism, they deserve a little sugar,” he says. This “icing on the acid cake” feat of musical dexterity “says it all in four minutes,” so follow your Bliss—and keep your eyes on those balls. He performs at 8 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 12, to Thursday, Feb. 14, and Sunday, Feb. 17; and at 8 and 10:30 p.m. Friday, Feb. 15, and Saturday, Feb. 16, at the Improv, 1140 Connecticut Ave. NW. $15-$17. (202) 296-7008. (Dave Nuttycombe)