Mandyland Entertainment Refuses to Disappoint
Submitted by: Mick
After being blown away by Wasteland, I knew that the Mystics’ Ball was going to be pinned to the top of my list. So I reached out to Mandy Kimrey about covering the Mystics’ Ball for an episode of the podcast
In the confines of a little house tucked away in a typically Charlotte business park, the performers gathered to rehearse and time out their acts for the upcoming Mystics’ Ball. I knocked on the door just as one of those acts were starting. I quietly took my seat in an adjacent room with a view, and began to record.
In front of me was a woman in a hospital gown, gauze wrapped around her head. She was writhing on the floor, her face hidden, and Disturbed’s cover of Sounds of Silence blasting on the speakers. Across the room sat Mandy Kimrey, chewing on the end of a pen, and watching the performance intently.
Mandy is the founder and leader of the production group known as Mandyland Entertainment. I first met Mandy a few months ago when my wife and I attended their Wasteland show at the Visulite Theater. She puts on these amazingly creative and sexy variety shows of sorts, featuring local dancers, musicians, and a variety of performance artists. Equal parts fun a seductive, there is always a theme…..and there is always audience participation.
At the climax of the scene, a doctor and a nurse walk in with their faces hidden by surgical masks and they begin to unwrap the woman’s face. As the nurse looks on, the doctor begins to slowly unmask the woman. When the gauze is completely gone, the doctor steps back to look. The nurse and doctor rip off their surgical masks, the nurse lets out a scream, and the doctor dispatches the patient. It’s a masterful recreation of the Twilight Zone episode Eye of the Beholder set to music and performed as a dance.
Mandyland was really built out of necessity and through frustration.
Mandy had been working with a production company, which she felt was not handling their operation they way it could, or even should be ran. When she quit the previous company, she was afraid that she would be on the outside looking in. But her friends and family would have none of that. She was quickly approached by many of the performers she had been working with about doing their own thing. And that’s exactly what they did.
My favorite part of hanging out with this crew, is there genuine love for each other. And on top of that, they really go out of their way to embrace new people. Even a square like me. I’ve watched at both of their events now, as they push forward this inclusiveness, which is just a really nice thing to see in this day and age.
The night of the ball was cloudy, and the severe thunderstorms and tornado warnings had me a little on edge as it was.
And then there was the fact that I’d be wearing a pink glittered kitty mask until midnight. But discomfort is a feeling that I find to be more and more beneficial as I get older. We spend so much time making ourselves comfortable, that anything out of the routine tends to send us fleeing back to our couches. And that doesn’t do my soul any good.
I arrived way too early again. That’s a real problem, that i should focus a little more on fixing. The anxiousness, the doubt, the constant feeling I’ll be late. Anyway, the wifey would Uber down later, because she understands what “doors open at…” means. I helped Mandy unload some plastic boxes of props, and went to assume a seat at the rack. I could tell that she was a little anxious too. Mandy is the type of hands-on director, or show runner, who is deeply invested in each of the acts. At the rehearsal, she even stepped in for one of the acts, when someone was unable to make it.
As Dr. Cirkustien set up in the background I watched as the acts went through the makeup chair.
Where they were transformed from human to masterpiece by Angela and Lydia from Pink Warrior Makeup Artists. They were extremely proficient while running two chairs, and getting everyone through in short order was pretty damned impressive. For real… if you need makeup for weddings, photography, film, or just for fun, call them up. They will do you right.
The team came out and did a quick run through for the acts, making stage layout tweaks as they go. The sound guy and the band did about 4 songs for sound check. Hearing a Dr. Cirkustein cover of The Doors song “Not to Touch the Earth” had me pumped. And then at the end of soundchecks, Mandy came out and gave us a little pep talk, told everyone how much she loved them, and disappeared behind the curtain.
I said fuck it, and went into the bathroom to change into my costume.
I was a wallflower at Wasteland. With the obscurity of a mask to hide behind this time, I was partaking in this one…..
The show went off without a hitch. All of the performers did a great job. Mandy and crew were able to adjust on the fly and keep things flowing, and it was just another example of what can be done by a group of people who share one vision. There was dancing, a costume contest, murder, seduction, betrayal, all of it in between fiery sets by Dr. Cirkustien.
Once again, as i try to write paragraphs describing the event, I find mysel unable to do so in written word. I hope I can convey the message in this upcoming episode ot the podcast, tentativley scheduled to be posted on Sept. 19.
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*You can hear my interviews with Mandy and crew on an upcoming episode of the Piedmont Artist Profiles podcast.
*Mandyland Entertainment does have a show to announce soon. But she is just not quite ready to do it. You can join them on Facebook or stay tuned with us, and we’ll for sure bring you a date when it’s announced.
*Special thanks to Mandy Kimrey, Jason Renegar, Bri Valachia Walker, David Fullam and everyone I’m forgetting….Blackaconda, I don’t know your real name…..