Have a merry disco Christmas

“I realized I have a four-letter secret weapon,” Randy Jones says. “It’s ‘Y-M-C-A.’”

Three decades after turning disco gold for the Village People — in which Jones portrayed the cowboy alongside a policeman, construction worker, Native American and leather man — the song continues to touch audiences and open doors for the singer.

For example, doors to the Castro Theatre, where Jones performs Saturday in the Marc Huestis-produced “A Very Merry Disco Christmas.” The event includes a special screening of the campy 1980 film “Can’t Stop the Music,” a Jones-led sing-along to “Y.M.C.A,” Arturo Galster as Disco Patsy Cline, and singer Anita Cocktail performing a “Can’t Stop the Christmas Music” medley.

Jones says the Village People’s legacy occasionally presents opportunities he never could have imagined back when the group topped the chart with “In the Navy,” “Macho Man” and “Go West.”

He was surprised to get a request to perform at the 2005 presidential inauguration.

“When I received the invitation to perform at the White House, I thought it had to be a mistake,” says the gay icon, who recently made waves sharing stories of wild parties with Paris Hilton’s parents before the frequently-troubled socialite was born. “But it wasn’t.”

While some people with liberal leanings might have declined the offer, Jones relished the chance to sing for President Bush and his Republican supporters. He dedicated his medley of the “Mary Tyler Moore Show” theme and “Y.M.C.A.” to the president — “not the person,” Jones clarifies,to “the office” and to his partner.

“There I was, singing to the very same people who have since tried to pass a constitutional amendment to make me a second-class citizen because I’ve been married to a man for the last 24 years,” Jones says. “I decided to treat them with my sharpest, most effective weapon — my music.”

The lasting effect of the Village People’s catalog is why the American Music Award-winner, who with the group sold more than 100 million records, frequently includes those songs while performing material from his latest solo album, “Ticket to the World.”

It’s an easy fit, since the 2007 release pays homage to his roots.

“I enjoy dance music and would never do anything to denigrate that history,” says Jones, whose latest recording features favorites by the Pet Shop Boys, Kylie Minogue and fellow disco legend Yvonne Elliman.

He spices things up with a jazz interpretation of Depeche Mode and a little-known musical theater gem by Andrew Lloyd Webber before turning Glen Campbell’s “Rhinestone Cowboy” into a seeming autobiography.

“This music accurately reflects where I am today,” says Jones, who no longer performs with the Village People because he says it would feel like trying to recapture an era of his life which has since passed. “These are all songs I like listening to, connect with and genuinely appreciate.”

A Very Merry Disco Christmas

Where: Castro Theatre, 429 Castro St., San Francisco

When: 7:30 p.m. Saturday

Tickets: $27.50

Contact: (415) 863-0611

artsentertainmentOther Arts

If you find our journalism valuable and relevant, please consider joining our Examiner membership program.
Find out more at www.sfexaminer.com/join/

Just Posted

Dave Hodges, pastor at Zide Door, the Church of Entheogenic Plants that include marijuana and psilocybin mushrooms, holds some psychedelic mushrooms inside the Oakland church on Friday, July 22, 2021. (Kevin N. Hume/The Examiner)
Psychedelic spirituality: Inside a growing Bay Area religious movement

‘They are guiding us into something ineffable’

San Francisco Police stand guard outside the Mission Police Station during a protest over the Minneapolis police killing of George Floyd on Saturday, May 30, 2020. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
Fired: California bill aims to decertify police for serious misconduct

By Robert Lewis CalMatters On a Wednesday afternoon in April 2018, Gardena… Continue reading

The Giants and Dodgers face each other again following a May series the Dodgers swept; Dodgers shortstop Gavin Lux caught stealing by Giants second baseman Donovan Solano at Oracle Park on May 23 is pictured. 
Chris Victorio/
Special to The Examiner
Giants vs. Dodgers: What you need to know before this week’s huge series

By Chris Haft Special to The Examiner That grinding noise you’ll hear… Continue reading

Gov. Gavin Newsom announced Monday that state employees and health care workers must be vaccinated or undergo weekly testing and wear masks. (Photo by Anne Wernikoff, CalMatters)
California orders vaccine or testing for health care workers, state employees

By Ana B. Ibarra CalMatters Amid an uptick in COVID-19 cases and… Continue reading

Jeremy Kahn and Monica Ho are excellent in San Francisco Playhouse’s production of Lauren Yee’s “The Song of Summer,” being presented live and online. (Courtesy Jessica Palopoli)
Touching relationship at heart of ‘Song of Summer’

Lighthearted SF Playhouse show ‘feels right for this moment’

Most Read