Ten years have passed since Jamie DeWolf launched his monthly variety show Tourettes Without Regrets. Within that time frame, Jamie changed his last name (formerly Kennedy) so as not to be mistaken for that shitty actor in all the Scream movies. In 2002, he staged a "Puke for Peace" protest at UC Berkeley. (The signs read "Don't bomb Iraq, drink Ipecac.") Last Valentine's Day, he allegedly mailed pigs' hearts to people he didn't know, based on allegations from their ex-boyfriends and girlfriends. In the interim, he's created the most consistently spectacular event that Oakland's ever seen. It began in Benicia (where DeWolf launched his poetry career and soon became persona non grata at every open mic in town, according to his MySpace bio). But it moved to the Oakland Metro early in life, and has stayed put ever since — but for a couple one-offs at Merchant's Saloon when the Metro switched location. Over ten years, DeWolf expanded his cult of personality and garnered many acolytes, some of whom can be quite irritating. Yet he's also been a community booster of sorts, particularly by introducing the rest of us to such people as the Sauras (a serial gambler who has an amazing gift of gab) and Jelly Donut (aka Andrew Bancroft), the greatest rapping pastry alive.
Cuteness and a soft jelly inside don't always become a rapper, but Bancroft has made those qualities his stock-in-trade. Jelly Donut was Bancroft's nickname when he was a chubby baby, and it served him well in the hip-hop arena. He began rapping in college, then launched a parallel career as a sketch artist, performing with Killing My Lobster and starring in a monthly show called "Late Night with God." The way Bancroft describes it, "I would play God, my buddy Ken Taylor would play Moses, and I would freestyle answers to people's questions about the world." DeWolf caught the show in 2005 (he would later guest as a Satanist) and recruited Bancroft for the rap battles at Tourettes. There, Bancroft performed in various guises — an angel with a diaper and wings, an old lady, George W. Bush — before finally settling on the doughnut costume. He managed to get a big, lumpy, fairly realistic one custom made by a friend who designs pillow sculptures. He then shanghaied a couple friends to form a chorus line of "Donut Hos." From there, it was a rap.
At this point, Jelly Donut is so wildly popular that Bancroft has a hard time getting onstage without the costume, even though it hinders his ability to rap. "It's sort of like wearing a futon," he said. "It's not easy to see or hear, especially when you're trying to hear someone's rhyme or stick with the beat." Yet, he continued, that does add to the "below-budget dumpiness" of the whole thing. At Tourettes, it fits right in. Jelly Donut will perform Thursday, Nov. 5, at Tourettes Without Regrets' 10th-anniversary show, along with the Sauras, comedian Justin Scales (aka the Scalesman), spoken-word group the Suicide Kings, beatboxer Infinite, Proletariat Bronze, and many others. The mayhem begins at 8:30 p.m. at Oakland Metro (630 3rd St.). $10. MySpace.com/TourettesWithoutRegrets
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