PLATTSBURGH - The Great Chernesky will soon be here.
The Auburn native will be bringing his brand of what he calls "vagrant Vaudeville" to Cheechako Taco, 87 Margaret St., next Saturday, Feb. 26. And, it's something he's really excited about.
"Basically, at its core, there's music - the old folks songs on guitar and harmonica - that kind of stuff," said Chernesky. "But, mixed in, there's scene work, there's skits, there's audience participation. There's a good mix to keep people on their toes."
Chernesky became interested in being a performer growing up in the Central New York city. He remembers there being "a decent number of street performers" there, mainly consisting of people who had been released from the Auburn Correctional Facility trying to make a living. Chernesky would watch them perform and was inspired to follow their path - minus run-ins with the law.
"I was always a bit of a ham as a kid," said Chernesky. "I always kind of dug what they did because I always had the urge to perform. You'd see these guys who just stand out on the street playing and doing all sorts of crazy stuff."
The only really high-quality programs for performing arts were in Syracuse and really expensive, said Chernesky.
"Only the rich kids could afford to go," he said. "Our family really couldn't afford that stuff and it was before there was any sort of initiative for scholarships."
So, Chernesky spent time studying the street performers and, in January 2007, started performing publicly himself with acts like juggling, guitar playing and singing.
"The big thing is variety in entertainment," he said. "I try to make sure every show is different."
Chernesky is already looking forward to his Plattsburgh show, saying that he plans to pull out all the stops with the help of friend and fellow performer "High N' Dry" Philly Phillips.
"I don't want to tip my hand too much. We've got some surprises in store," said Chernesky. "[Phillips] is an art mastermind. He does caricature work. He'll do some other artistic stylings."
Chernesky said he really wants to get the crowd excited about singing along with old songs many will know. But, if they don't know the words, Chernesky said he'll have lyrics to hand out so no one is left out.
"They're easy to pick up," he said of the songs. "We teach you the important parts."
Friend Matt Hall of Plattsburgh helped coordinate Chernesky coming to town and said he thinks people will get a kick out of what they'll see.
"I'm excited because Chris' whole deal has been to try and break down the whole barrier between the artist and the audience and bring it back to a time when people could interact more freely," said Hall. "People pick up on what he does really well. It makes for an exciting time."
"If you're going out to have a good time, a nice evening to be entertained, then you're going to get what you signed up for," said Chernesky.
The Feb. 26 event will have limited seating with people wanting to attend encouraged to purchase tickets early. Tickets are $10 each, which includes the cost of dinner and the show. Doors will open at 8 p.m., with the show to start at 8:30 p.m.
For tickets or more information, contact Hall at 315-708-4179 or stop into Cheechako Taco. For more about The Great Chernesky, visit www.chernesky.org.