Tina Turner was in the house. As was Eddie Van Halen. And Ariana Grande, or at least Ariana as interpreted by a fellow with flaming red hair, campy makeup, and booty shorts. And Grace Slick was in the house wearing a yellow bandanna, a print dress, and sporting tufts of chest hair.
First a word from the sponsors.
It was all a part of the Lip Sync Contest held Saturday night at the P.A. Club.
The show was sponsored by M.V. Bank, Working Earth, M.V., and Jim’s Package Store and was a fundraiser for Martha’s Vineyard Friends of Family Planning. “It was the first time FOFP has held a lip sync contest,” said Terre Young, president of the board at Friends of Family Planning, “but the idea goes back quite a few years.”
Back in the 80s, Young was a board member for the M.V. After School Program, a program where kids could go to a safe place after school, hang out, and get help with their homework. She was looking for a way to raise money for the program and was talking to Ken Goldberg, a local media personality, and without hesitation he said, “Have a lip sync contest.” From past experience he knew that a lip sync contest was a good way to turn out a lot of people in the name of helping a good cause and having a lot of fun.
So Young and the folks at the After School Program, with the help of Goldberg, staged a lip sync contest at the Atlantic Connection in Oak Bluffs and it was a huge hit. Young still remembers some of the acts. “There was a gentleman dressed as a woman who lip synched an Annie Lennox song … he was amazing,” Young said. “And I’ll never forget the guy who came as the Wicked Witch of the West and melted in a swirl of green smoke.”
The After School program conducted the lip sync contest for three years and then turned it over to WMVY who used it to raise money for their station. But recently when Young was thinking of a way to raise money for FOFP, she knew from past experience just what to do — resurrect the lip sync contest.
“Roughly 30 years ago,” Young said, “a group of people on the Island, mostly women, started Friends of Family Planning as a way to support the Family Planning Clinic (now known as Health Imperatives) on Martha’s Vineyard.” The mission of the organization was to “support compassionate, inclusive, life spectrum sexual health care for all people in our community.” And over the years, the initiatives of FOFP have grown to include:
An Abortion Access Fund. Since abortion services are not offered on the Island, the fund provides money for women to travel off-Island and pay for abortion care. Similarly, since vasectomies aren’t offered on the Island, the Vasectomy Reimbursement Program supports the costs of vasectomies, follow-up care, and travel expenses.
The Monthly Tide Project, a partnership with Conroy’s Apothecary and Cronig’s Market that provides high-quality, organic menstrual products to the Island Food Pantry and Health Initiatives.
FOFP supports Health Imperatives, which offers birth control and emergency contraception — the morning after pill. They provide screening and STI testing and treatment.
And they offer a needle exchange program to help prevent HIV. They offer overdose education and Naloxone distribution.
When the UMass Rural Scholars came to the Island in 2017, they studied reproductive health and FOFP and Health Imperatives were charged with following through with their recommendations, including working with individuals in transition.
FOFP has become an integral part of the community. In 2018, 1,624 people took advantage of their services.
And now back to your regularly scheduled programming.
The P.A. Club was packed with enthusiastic well-wishers cheering on each of the evening’s eight acts. “Look how many people are here,” Chelsea McCarthy said. “It’s the beginning of March and I think everyone really needed this, everyone needed to shake off the dust and have a good time.”
“It was great to talk about things we don’t normally talk about in public,” said Laurel Redington of MVYRadio, “great to get things out in the open.” Redington served as an MC at the show.
Mac Young, who shared MC duties with Redington, swore in six judges for the contest by requiring them to “Swear on a box of condoms.” The first place winner received $500, the second place act, $250, and the third place act received $100.
And the winners were:
Third Place went to Josey Kirkland and Alexis Russillo, who called themselves “Random Sexuality and Confusion.” The two girls, dressed in tights, performed a mashup of songs starting with “Talk about Sex Baby,” and somehow segued to “Why don’t we do it in the road.” The choreography was delightful and the gesture of throwing confetti to the audience as a finale may have earned them bonus points.
Second Place went to Tina Turner, synced by Shanika McCrary and backed up by Ike (Brandon Cutler) and the Ikettes (Shermaine Rumley and LaQuinsa Currie). As Tina said, “We never do nothing nice and easy, we always do it nice and rough,” and with that McCrary lit up the stage with her shimmying and shaking to “Proud Mary” and the crowd went wild.
First Place went to The Merry Murderesses, Jenn Maxner, Seniel Hannagan, Leandra Seward, Cassidy Jackson, and Megan Stiller, who synced “Cell Block Tango” from the musical “Chicago.” The scene involves a group of murderesses from Cook County Jail who take turns recounting how they committed their crimes … “He backed into my knife — ten times!” The girls were both raunchy and hilarious.
“It was amazing, It was so much fun,” Hannagan said. “We did the same act in high school 18 years ago and we won then too. Maybe we should just keep doing it every year!”
All in all it was a wild evening for a great cause, and Laurel Redington summed it up nicely.
“I don’t think I’ve had this much fun in my entire life!”