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Rockin’ Out to Bingo
Wednesday, September 9, 2020


Forget B-1 and G-5.

If you want a Bingo at The Argyros, you hope to hear a snatch of Lynyrd Skynyrd’s “Sweet Home Alabama,” Queen’s “We Will Rock You” and The Rolling Stones’ “Jumping Jack Flash.”

The Argyros Center for Performing Arts is offering free-of-charge Rock ‘n Bingo from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Thursdays through the end of September. And it begs you to dance in your seats, scream along to songs you might not have heard for 30 years and maybe, just maybe, yell out “Bingo!” in exchange for a free drink from the theater’s café.

The game substitutes songs for numbers.

“It’s fun. I think this could catch on,” said Jane McDermott, who took part in the kick-off Rock ‘n Bingo this past Thursday with her sisters Debbie Kirby and Joanne Davenport.

Michael Hoover, venue and events manager for the center, took his seat as Bingo DJ, sporting shades and a disco jacket for the first game and a green Army jack reminiscent of Robin Williams in “Good Morning, Vietnam” for the second.

His audience consisted of couples and small groups spread out around the theater on sofas and chairs.  A few covered their faces with face masks. Others left them dangling from their ears as they nourished glasses of wine or bottles of beer.

At one point, a short-legged basset hound padded across the floor greeting each Bingo player.

Hoover kicked the evening off with One Hit Wonders like “Pass the Dutchie” and “The Future’s So Bright I Gotta Wear Shades.” McDermott and her sisters lip synced along, dancing in their seats in tune to “Kung Fu Fighting.”

“We know a lot of ‘80s songs. I listen to the radio a lot,” said McDermott.

In time he would play songs like “Don’t Worry, Be Happy” and “Seasons in the Sun,” to which everyone would sing along, “We had fun, we had fun, we had seasons in the sun…”

But, initially, the songs on the first card left Myrna Oliver and Dennis Hanggi flummoxed.

Oliver threw up her hands in desperation as she guessed at a song.

“No clue!” she groused.

“Are there penalties for calling a false Bingo? Hanggi asked.

“Twenty pushups,” Hoover said.

Thirty-five minutes into the game, Davenport called a Bingo and retrieved her coupon for a free drink to refresh her glass of wine.

“I’m musically minded,” she said. “That’s all I’m good for.”

“I would have called a Bingo,” added Oliver. “But I was just guessing at the song that would have done it. And I didn’t want to do 20 pushups.”

“I thought these were supposed to be oldies,” Hanggi said as the first game wrapped up.

“We will get to the oldies,” Hoover responded. “We had to do One Hit Wonders first.”

Hanggi and Oliver surveyed the new Bingo card, spotting songs they knew, like “Jim Hendrix’s “Fire” and The Beatles “Back in the USSR.”

“This is more my speed,” said Oliver. “I’m too old to know a lot of the One Hit Wonders. I thought we’d be doing songs of the ‘50s and ‘60s.”

“I don’t even know if they had recording devices back then,” Hoover teased the couple. “You know, a lot of those One Hit Wonders were recorded in 1980—and that’s 40 years ago.”

As they found their groove on the hits of the ‘70s, Hanggi and Oliver offered suggestions for upcoming Bingo games.

“We could do classic country,” they offered. “Movie and TV hits…Broadway shows…even Christmas songs….”


The Argyros will continue to offer free screenings of the hour-long documentary "Gathering Remnants--A Tribute to the Working Cowboy" Friday through Sunday, Sept. 11-13.

The film, made by local filmmakers Kendall Nelson and John Plummer, will be shown at 2, 3, 4 and 5 p.m. on those days.


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