Archive | August, 2011

The Ukulady Strums Her Way to Berkeley

25 Aug

Mind your Peas and Carrots: The Ukulady is in Town

Performing in a toy store is not something new to the Ukulady (Thessaly Lerner).  She performed for a group of kids in Heebe Jeebe General Store in Petaluma, but performing at a toy store that haunted her as a child is a whole new territory for the children’s entertainer.

The Ukulady performs with Emily Butterfly Sunday, Aug. 27, 3 p.m. at Mr. Mopps’, 1405 Martin Luther King Jr. Way, Berkeley, concert is free. Photo by Ariana Cosmos

“I love to perform in unusual venues, like I would love to perform in a doughnut shop,” said Lerner who is performing a free concert at Mr. Mopps’ ( 1405 Martin Luther King Jr. Way, Berkeley) at 3 p.m., Sunday, along with Oakland children’s entertainer and puppeteer Emily Butterfly.

The store holds a special place in Lerner’s heart. Not only is it owned by childhood friend Devin McDonald – who she met at Wavy Gravy’s summer camp, Camp Winnarainbow, back in the late 1980s – but it is a place where she longed to shop as a child.

“I remember mostly that there is a lore about it (Mr. Mopps’),” said Lerner recalling her childhood fascination with the store. “We would drive by it and it was always closed; yet it was there.” Even as an adult living in San Francisco, Learner always would think about the store. There was something calling her; luring her back.

A lot has happened since the days where little Lerner peeked out the window of a passing car at the closed sign on the door.

This Mill Valley native is now a successful children’s entertainer and voiceover actor living in Los Angeles; who, with the help of her creative cache of characters, is teaching kids how to contribute “downfall of evil” with silly songs and a strum of a ukulele.

“My goal is to promote fearlessness in small humans.”

Much of Lerner’s music and comedy stems from her outlook on life: adults take things too seriously; kids naturally find things funny because of their open hearts. She started out performing comedy routines for adults, and was good at it – but when she took out the swear words and some of the explicit jokes, her routine was a hit with kids.

“I was too weird,” said Lerner. “I didn’t really fit into the adult comedy box. Kids can actually appreciate a song about how chickens and dinosaurs look alike. Adults are too worried about paying their bills. “

Lerner has also expanded her entertainment to YouTube. She added in her alter egos (Velvetina Evilwitch, Astrid Strudelman “The Unicorn Whisperer”) and a few felt friends (Miss Carrot and the Peas) and created a YouTube station, featuring songs and webeisodes just for kids.  She one day hopes to have a children’s television show.

“I have always loved entertaining kids, they have a sensitive humor that is intact. Adults are always afraid of things,” Lerner explains. “Now I am not searching the approval of my peers, I am searching for the approval of 5-years-old.”

To find out more about the Ukulady visit www.ukulady.com

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