Legend tells of the shadowy beginnings of Hamaganza: Richmond's grand denizen of the fringe, Donnie “Dirtwoman” Corker — limited in part by his immense girth — formerly had explored only the dark, dank recesses of a dysfunctional holiday tradition. He began to seek out the true meaning of the holidays.

With his search concluded, Dirtwoman returned to spread a new, slightly uncomfortable, ribald message of peace, joy. … and hams donated to the Central Virginia Food Bank to feed Richmond's neediest during the holidays. 

The event, part sideshow, part rock concert, is a yearly excuse for a roll call of Richmond's B-grade celebrities, politicians, media types and scenesters to share their musical gifts for the good of all. Among returning guests is radio personality Melissa Chase, CBS 6 reporter and commentator Mark Holmberg, House of Delegate member Manoli Loupassi, former Richmond City Council President Bill Pantele, Times-Dispatch reporter Will Jones and me, Style Weekly reporter Chris Dovi.

Also returning to try to make the rest of us look good is Richmond juggling sensation Jonathan Austin, the ladies of Richmond Varietease burlesque and Hamaganza's founding musical masterminds, the legendary Richmond poot rockers, the Vapor Rhinos. 

This timeless magical tradition, in its 14th year, continues despite court orders, paternity suits and medical quarantine, returning as it does each year to make you wonder if that's the warmth of the holidays you're feeling … or if that burning sensation isn't something you might want a doctor to check out. — Chris Dovi

Hamaganza runs twice: Friday, Dec. 11, at Poe's Pub, 2706 E. Main St.; and Saturday, Dec. 12, at Capital Ale House's downtown location, 623 E. Main St. Admission is a canned or preserved ham, $10 or an equivalent canned or otherwise nonperishable donation of food to the Central Virginia Food Bank.

Back to the Holiday Almanac

Add a comment