Nonagenarian ‘kills’ at Woman’s Club show
By Logan Hall
Ojai has long been known for being a town of artists and creative minds of many types. Last weekend seemed to prove that, indeed, Ojai has talent. Hosted by the Ojai Valley Woman’s Club, with more than 20 acts scheduled ranging from a LED-light hula-hoop routine to live folk music, the show had something for everyone.
Of many highlights, one in particular seemed to get the crowd going: 94-year-old Irene Janousek, The Gables of Ojai resident and longtime comedian, carefully made her way to the microphone. With a little help from a walker and her daughter-in-law, she squared up to the crowd and began to deliver a series of jokes. Some of which weren’t entirely G-rated. “How do you make holy water?” asked Janousek into the mike, followed by a brief pause. “You boil the hell out of it.”
Born in Grafton, N.D., in 1916, Janousek moved to California in 1962 where she owned a beauty shop for more than 11 years in Glendale. “I told jokes to my customers,” she said on developing her act, “… and at our parties and family get-togethers.”
Janousek, who has seven grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren, moved to Ojai six years ago and now lives at The Gables where she performs regularly for the other residents. “She’s hilarious,” said Gables marketing director Christine Fenn. “Her jokes are amazing.” Everyone seems to get along with Janousek. She is quick witted and definitely seems willing to chat with her fans. “She’s so easy-going and a pleasure to be with,” added Fenn. “The other residents love her.”
Also performing later in the show was a trio of young gentlemen who paid homage to the forefathers of rock ‘n’ roll by firing off a few classics such as Chuck Berry’s “Johnny B. Goode.” Dressed up in black shirts and leather, they quickly had the crowd cheering for an encore.
Soon after, St. Thomas Aquinas College freshmen Liam Collins on the fiddle, and Daniel Bagdazian on acoustic guitar, proceeded to wow the audience with a few Irish jigs and folk instrumentals. The two seemed to have a chemistry that worked well, and everyone was tapping their feet and clapping in rhythm.
All in all, it would seem as though ticket holders got their money’s worth. With proceeds from ticket sales being given by the Woman’s Club to scholarships and various charities, the event has been a way to get the community together to share their talents and give something back. “This is really something special for Ojai,” commented Woman’s Club President Irene Petroff.
Does Ojai have talent? Come out to next year’s “Ojai Has Talent” show to find out.