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A celebration of silly

on April 17, 2010

There’s something invigorating about a dose of silly.

That may be the thinking that drives local resident Michael Beer, the not-so-diabolical mastermind behind the fourth Annual Richmond Silly Parade. The event has unfolded in a comedy of the desultory and absurd, like a kaleidoscope against a monochromatic sky.

Beer, as you might imagine, doesn’t do serious very well.

When asked to say a few words about the parade, Beer’s response was: “Amber, cinnamon, footloose, wisecrack, tenderloin.”

“Sorry, you asked the wrong person,” Beer added. “I happen to collect words, an offshoot of my poetic activities. I have trunks full of them.”

As for “fourth Annual,” that’s a bit of an April Fool’s joke itself; this is the debut of the silly soiree in Richmond.

The parade came off with very little seriousness – just the way it was planned – on April 10. The gray sky was dull and cold, with winds and stinging rain drops discomfiting Beer’s already cartoonish visage.

A band played Spanish favorites down 23rd Street near McDonald Ave, and an eight-foot “Mother Earth” figure, with a cardboard face and stylish shawl wrap, sauntered down the street.

The only hint of decorum was a policeman who sat mostly impassive on his motorcycle, smack dab in the middle of the intersection.

More than 100 people were on hand. And, seriously, the vast majority of them were unfailingly silly.


  1. Felix on April 22, 2010 at 5:16 pm

    Perhaps the intrepid reporter could arrive earlier in order to report on, and take photographs of, everyone else that preceded the guitarists. They were the last group in the parade and, incidentally, are not a “mariachi band”. And the “stick man” was announced as “Mother Earth”.

    It’s also worth mentioning that the parade was loaded with political messages which some might view as decidedly un-silly.

  2. Rondalladelsagrado on April 26, 2010 at 11:38 am

    I hope next year more people participate at the silly parade, for our group Rondalla del Sagrado Corazon it was a wonderful experience and for more information about our band of guitarist (Rondalla Not Mariachi) please visit our blog.

    The word rondalla is from the Spanish ronda, meaning serenade. In centuries past, Spanish Solitaires juglares traveled from village to village bringing the news of the outside world and entertaining their audiences with songs of love and romance. Ensembles of stringed instruments also have existed in some form in Spain for hundreds of years. Moorish musical traditions had considerable influence on the early types of instruments played and on the musical forms that subsequently developed in Andalusia and throughout the Iberian Peninsula. The Tunas, which dates from the early nineteenth century, is an ensemble of musicians playing plectrum instruments: stringed instruments played with a plectrum or pick. As suggested by the name Tunas, the music played by these groups is of the romantic tradition.

    In 1930 Mexico was introduced to a variation of Tunas based on Mozarabic forms played with guitars, the piano, flute and percussion instruments. Some small groups performed this music, but it wasn’t until 1966 when this music came into fashion in Mexico and high school students created the variation as know as Rondallas and Estudiantina.

  3. Michael Beer on May 9, 2010 at 3:19 pm

    It’s worth noting that Felix was not at the parade I hosted. There was ONE political message in the parade carried by someone who showed up without registering. Had I known, the costume would have been permitted, but not the sign as this was to be, was, and will be a silly parade. Or perhaps Felix was loaded and as the parade turned the corner of 23rd and Macdonald kept counting that ONE sign over and over and over.

  4. Michael on May 9, 2010 at 3:44 pm

    And another thing, that paragraph about the “intrepid reporter” was actually lifted from an email I sent to Bobby (Robert Rogers to you) kvetching about his tongue-in-check description of the parade. I intimated that the word he was looking for instead of the negative “not-so-diabolical mastermind” was actually “angelic.” Bob demurred. Wait! That means that Felix’s only comment unfelicitously impugns the entire event. I regret he didn’t enjoy himself. I retract my imputation of inebriation and suggest that next year he joins in the parade dressed as a compassionate conservative.

  5. Ellen on August 3, 2010 at 10:19 am

    I was at the parade, with a group of my friends in the “Umbrella Brigade.” Felix didn’t participate in the parade, but he was was indeed there, cheering us on. I also noticed that there were a lot of political messages, perhaps not all sanctioned by you, but there nonetheless. And I agree, had the reporter been there earlier, they would have seen everyone gathering before the parade began, laughing and sharing together. I had fun, and I think Felix did, too. He was just stating his opinion – and, sorry, I think your response to him was not in the spirit of silliness. Hey, everyone, lighten up, get silly!

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