June 2000

Nature flings flakes
at Fling, but the
sync goes on

Sync or swim: Audience members sought ways to keep warm on the tree plaza, where winds were gusting out of the northwest. A few stronger blasts threatened to blow tables over, and several folks saw graupel bounce off the tables and chairs. Temperatures hovered on either side of 50, but spirits remained high throughout the afternoon. (Photo by Carlye Calvin.)
With chilly temps, blustery winds, and the cry, "It's snowing!" the 40th anniversary Spring Fling took off on the ML tree plaza on Friday afternoon, 12 May. Audience members braving the Hesperian chill were rewarded with lavish lip sync productions to rival any presented at balmier Flings past.

A cheer went up when HAO's Craig Hartsough (who co-MC'd with Jennifer DeLaurant of SCD) announced that the food would be served in the cafeteria after the lip sync contest. But it was easy to ignore the weather when the first contestants took to the tree-plaza stage.

Ghoulish SCD dancers Scot Colbun, Bob Campbell, Ethan Alpert, Mary Haley, and Lana Soller emerged from the audience to join Tim Barnes (Tour Program) as Michael Jackson and Jeff Boote as Vincent Price in the award-winning performance of "Thriller." Jeff and Cecilia Banner ("The Girl") were drafted at the last minute to fill their roles. The team's success formula? Emphasis on the choreography and plenty of rehearsals, according to Lana. "I got ahold of a copy of the "Thriller" video through E-Bay, the only place I could find one," she reports. She and Mary Haley studied the video and taught the dancers, beginning in March and rehearsing at least twice a week. "I would say we easily spent 25 to 40 hours rehearsing," Lana says, adding, "Just wait till next year!" (Photo by Lynda Lester.)

It takes more than one person to animate these larger-than-life characters: Mike Moran and Julie Arblaster both played Elmer Fudd (in different scenes); Jerry Olson and Julie Caron filled the Bugs Bunny role. The CGD Looney Tuners supporting cast included Caspar Ammann, Lisa Butler, Paula Fisher, Isla Gilmour, Tim Hoar, Erik Kluzek, Leonard Sitongia, Vince Wayland, and Matt Wheeler. (Photo by Carlye Calvin.)

Eron Brennan's sound system held up well amid the winds on the plaza. The EAC organizers, Food Services staff, and musicians Chucky and the Cyclones responded to the weather challenge with good humor and kept the afternoon moving--literally. A lavish spread of Mexican-flavored goodies and four kinds of dessert was the reward for filing into the cafeteria, where the party continued with the awards ceremony and live music.

The NCAR Science Store made its debut during the Fling, first on the plaza and later in the lobby outside the cafeteria. In addition to brisk 40th anniversary t-shirt sales, the weather-themed mugs won praise and left in the hands of many Fling attendees.

To the victors belong the spoiled fish

It was clear even before the judges announced the winners that this year's contest was a close call between the CGD Looney Tuners' "What's Opera, Doc?" and SCD+1's "Thriller." The dilemma was resolved with a silver medal to the Looney Tuners and a gold medal to SCD+1. It was also decreed that the award trophy, "Big Mouth Billy Bass, the Singing Fish," would travel between CGD (five months' custody) and SCD (seven months). Billy doesn't just hang there on the wall, either. A lip syncer himself, he flops about to the sounds of "Don't Worry, Be Happy," and "Take Me to the River." --Zhenya Gallon

Everyone's a winner

Additional prizes in special categories were awarded for the first (and possibly last) time this year:

  • The Best Excuse to Mention Dick Button award went to the RAP team, who performed "All the Words in the English Language," byYakko Warning and the Animaniacs, with play-by-play sports commentary. For their portrayal of the agony of sports-induced asthma, RAP also walked away with the Best Use of an Inhaler award and finished their sweep of the special categories with the Elocution/Education/Erudition (E3) laurel.

RAP's Doug Lindholm, Becky Ruttenberg, and Daran Rife brought elocution, education, and erudition to the Fling festivities with their performance-plus-play-by-play of "All the Words in the English Language." (Photo by Carlye Calvin.)

  • The Susan Lucci (always an Emmy nominee, never a winner--at least until recently) award went to HR, and long-overdue recognition finally was theirs for Best Use of a Token Male (Bob Roesch). The introduction to HR's number, "You Are My Sunshine," by Bryan White, connected the song to 40 years of UCAR history, a feat saluted with the Most Accurate "Hysterical" Facts award. But Best Weather Dance went to CGD, whose animated clouds and thunderbolts could not be ignored. The Sixth Sense ("I See Dead People") prize went to the precision-dancing ghouls of SCD+1.

HR's Terry Woods (right) ignores the posted plea of colleague Delaine Orendorff. The HR sunshine team also included Norma Beasant, Lara Cervantes, Cheryl Cristanelli, Nancy Norris, Bob Roesch, and LuAnna Sago. (Photo by Carlye Calvin.)

Bugs Bunny (top left), a.k.a. Jerry Olson, was joined by (top right) CGD's Julie Arblaster and Julie Caron for "What's Opera, Doc?" (Photos by Lynda Lester.)

Left: It appears Bob Roesch may have spent a bit too long in the sunshine. (Photo by Carlye Calvin.)

Left: The tree plaza was not only coolish but ghoulish at the Fling, thanks to Scot Colburn and the other SCD+1 dancers. (Photo by Carlye Calvin.)

Above: Tim Barnes leads the "Thriller" cast of characters. (Photo by Lynda Lester.)

A word from your sponsors . . .

The EAC's Craig Hartsough (below, from HAO) co-emceed with Jennifer DeLaurant (SCD). (Photo by Lynda Lester.)
Here's the disclaimer with which Craig capped off the lip sync competition.

Can't get enough Fling? See Lynda Lester's photo galleries for more from
the SCD performance of "Thriller" and all the other lip-sync acts.

Due to technical difficulties, there is no complete videotape of the lip sync.
We will link any digitized video on this site as it becomes available.

Above: Lip-sync judges Susan Montgomery-Hodge and Susie Siders (UCAR President's Office), Bonnie Slagel (COMET), and Alice Lecinski (HAO) test the special data-sensing instruments provided by the EAC. Not pictured: Carol Manteuffel (SaSS) and Lori Bailey (JOSS). (Photo by Carlye Calvin.)

In this issue...

Note: The rest of this issue will appear on the Web in early June.

Other issues of Staff Notes Monthly


Edited by Bob Henson, bhenson@ucar.edu