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January 10, 2004

"We may be trashy, but we are smart and trashy. We are a mix of the highbrow and the lowbrow," says Ben Schatz, one-fourth of the "dragapella beauty shop quartet" known as the Kinsey Sicks. Well, the trashy, lowbrow part is pretty obvious. You've got four men portraying four gals named Rachel, Trixie, Winnie and Trampolina. The costumes are gaudy and over-the-top in a way that makes the old Carol Burnett Show look subtle. As for the smart, highbrow aspect? Well, a lot of the songs are surprisingly pointed. No cover tunes here, just parodies and originals. The Jackson Five's jovial ABC becomes AZT, a tribute to the AIDS drug. Locked Out of the Chapel of Love takes the Dixie Cups' oldie and turns it into a statement about gay marriage.

"Some stuff is just silly and fun," says Schatz, whose group performs Saturday in Scottsdale to benefit Phoenix Body Positive, a non-profit agency that provides support to people affected by AIDS. "But a lot of the songs have political and social commentary to them, because that's important to us. We're never pedantic about it, like, 'This is what you should think.' We like to make people think, and we're able to get away with it because we make people laugh in the process." The guys have been getting away with it for 10 years now, mixing silliness and seriousness. It's a blend that keeps audiences entertained, in clubs and at benefits around the country. The other element that makes the Kinsey Sicks so surprising is the members' voices. These aren't funny guys who happen to sing: They're talented vocalists whose harmonies can sometimes send chills down your spine. "Basically, we're a serious a capella group," Schatz says. "Our goal was to succeed as a musically talented a capella singing group and as clever lyricists and as comedy writers. "And what we wound up as is tasteless drag queens. Oh well."

Posted by acapnews at January 10, 2004 9:13 AM


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