Thursday, July 1, 2010


We did the tourist thing last weekend. We went to Branson, Missouri. For those of you not familiar with Branson, it is (for reasons I've never understood) one of the live entertainment capitals of the world, outside of Las Vegas and Nashville, Tennessee. You can see shows ranging from Shoji Tabuchi to Titanic exhibits to Pasty Cline retrospectives. Heck, King Kong was even climbing a building, all from the rolling Ozark mountains in the middle of nowhere.

We didn't see any of that stuff. We saw Brule.

There's supposed to be an accent mark over the 'e' but I'm not good with this sort of thing.

The theater was probably the only place in Branson where you could just pop into a tipi. So we did.

Notice The Kid is showing Pooh Bear the sights. I would like to state for the record that Pooh Bear was a well-behaved bear on this vacation. He watched the show with great interest, right until The Kid fell asleep during the flute duet number and used Pooh as a pillow.

Also notice the foggy quality of the camera work? It POURED for most of the first half of the show--like so much, it almost drown out the drumming--and those were big drums! But at intermission, the sun had come out, so we made a break for the tipi. And the camera fogged up. Le Sigh.

Back to the point, which was the show. What is Brule? Brule is a contemporary Native American Indian music show. It's the brainchild of Paul LaRoche, a Lakota Indian who was raised in a white household.

Ironically, Paul's life story is remarkably similar to a hero character I'm working on. Because he's a cool guy, he said that I could model as many romance heroes off of him as I wanted. I kind of got the feeling that romance authors don't just pop up every day at the RFD-TV theater and discuss why everyone there would be a great hero or heroine.

The show has the traditional American Indian drums, flutes, and rattles, but it also has a contemporary rock backbeat, being as Paul played in a whole lot of rock bands back in the 60s and 70s. I thought the fusion of the two styles was not only cool, but eminently listenable. I can't handle a whole CD of drums and flute. But throw in a guitar and piano? Much better.

Anyway, the show was good. The Husband was a little worried about the hokey factor after the opening number featured eagle dancers, but then the dancers settled in to a good rhythm. The Husband had never been to a powow or anything real and traditional like this, so he was doubly impressed when the fancy dancers and the hoop dancer came out. If you ever get the chance to see a traditional American Indian hoop dancer, go. You won't be sorry. The hoop dancer in Brule is Lowery Begay.

I got a little dizzy watching him spin, but he was great. World-Champion great. The guy was good.

Garan Coons was the M.C. He was in jeans for most of the show, but for the big dance numbers, he broke out the fancy dance outfit. Betcha can't guess why they call it a fancy dance, can you?

The fanciest of the fancy dancers was Douglas Scholfield. I don't want to embarrass him, but there were a few ladies of a certain age sitting in front of us in the audience who let everyone in the building, town, and surrounding county know that they thought he was a good-looking man. Perhaps that's why my husband failed to snap his picture. Makes a girl wonder . . .

Anyway, the only female dancer that day was Josette Wahwasuck.

Josette, I'm sorry about this photo. Just remember, I didn't take it. My husband did.

I bought earrings that Josette made, but it's hard to autograph earrings, so she signed the CD instead. We did discuss her outfit, though.

Note: I took this picture. Are those boots awesome or what? You should have seen Josette spin in them, too. Beautiful. Her main dance was basically a progression from the original women's dance--a slow, steady pacing--to the contemporary women's fancy dance. Fancy dance, if you didn't know, is the original aerobics. I was whipped just watching her.

The other woman in the show was Nicole LaRoche, Paul's daughter. She plays the kind of flute I played in fifth grade, but she plays it in a distinctive way that mimics the traditional Lakota flute, only with more tonal depth. Although The Kid fell asleep during her flute duet with Garan, I thought it was one of the sweeter melodies I've heard in a while. Music clearly runs in the family.

This guy was the grass dancer.

Grass dancers are my favorite. He was The Kid's favorite, too, because he was one of the warriors for the Buffalo Dance and the Warrior Dance. However, he's victim of the dreaded 'unreadable autograph' syndrome, so we'll all just have to be satisfied with his photo. He tried to fist-bump The Kid, but the boy was still groggy from sleeping through a thunderous standing ovation, and just glared at the poor guy.

So, to sum up, Brule was amazing. If you find yourself in southwestern Missouri in the coming months, I highly recommend checking them out. We did a whole lot of other stuff in Branson, but you'll have to come back next week for more crazy photos.


lucylucia said...

Oh Branson. It's an awesome mix of the ridiculous and the awesome. That show sounded awesome though! When I went with my parents, we saw the Beatles impersonators.My parent's went crazy.

Sarah M. Anderson said...

Did your mom scream and nearly faint? I hadn't been to Branson in 15 years or so, so the weirdness was all new to me.

Eunice Boeve said...

Sounds neat! We saw a big pow-wow in Idaho one time, the dances the whole bit. I've been to Branson a number of times. I think it beats the heck out of Vegas which to me is too glitzy and crowded.
I have a blog on Comanche, the only creature left alive on the battlefield at Little Big Horn after the Lakota and Northern Cheyenne finished with the 7th Cavalry. you can see it at

Sarah M. Anderson said...

This was the next best thing to a powwow--it wasn't the same in the comfort of padded seats in an air-conditioned auditorium as it is in the blazing midday sun in the middle of summer. But it was pretty darn good!

Penny said...

What fun! I love pow-wows and the dances. This sounds like a great show and a expansive addition to Branson lineups. Thanks for the news! Branson is back on my to-visit-someday list.