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‘All Wigged Out’: Cathy & Marcy Conquer Cancer with Heartfelt Humor

The revered folk duo commemorates Breast Cancer Awareness Month with Silicon Valley event at The Starbright Theater on 10/18

by Christopher Treacy

Cancer is no laughing matter, but humor can get us through almost anything.

On Tuesday, October 18th, at the Starbright Theatre in Campbell, CA., GRAMMY Award-winning roots artists Cathy Fink and Marcy Marxer—a.k.a. ‘Cathy & Marcy—will screen their new, already-award-winning musical film ALL WIGGED OUT, which is a great example of humor’s infinite power in handling life’s atrocities.

It likely didn’t seem like a creative opportunity in the wake of a concerning mammogram back in the summer of 2015, but more than seven years on, Marcy Marxer has stuck around to be able to tell the story of her confrontation with cancer and do it with humor, empathy and resilience. ALL WIGGED OUT, is the result, and it’s been doing quite well on the festival circuit, garnering praise and accolades from the World Cinema Awards, the WRPN Women’s International Film Festival, the Milan Gold Awards, and the Chicago Cinema Awards en route.   

The Starbright Theater event (located just 15 minutes from San Jose, CA) is part of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and it’s more than just a screening: a panel discussion will follow the film, featuring Morrigan Bruce, Program Director of Cancer CAREpoint, and the evening will culminate with a performance.


A Honky-Tonk of Our Own

“Sooner or later, many of us will deal either directly or indirectly with a life-threatening illness,” Fink told us.  “How do you go from the ‘deer in the headlights’ look to ‘one day at a time with hope, love, medicine, and voodoo?’ ALL WIGGED OUT brings it all together, adding comedy, music, advocacy, and real-life experience. We build community by being together to screen the film, discussing it afterwards, and celebrating with live music all in one evening.”

Fink and Marxer,— both creative and life partners­—have taken a whimsical  approach to making music for forty years. Their output echoes the comedic balance of Christine Lavin, achieving that sweet spot where your audience is able to find humor in your work while also taking you seriously—and it can shift on a dime.

The pair are hoping that they can use the unique platform they’ve achieved to help educate people while they entertain—after all, most of us don’t know how to handle cancer when it comes knocking, whether it be at our own door or that of someone we’re close to. And then there’s the ensuing medical maze to sort out.

“There were times when the wig shop gals gave me more information than my doctors,” Marxer reveals in the accompanying materials. “So did conversations with other patients in the chemo room.” And so, ALL WIGGED OUT  seeks to empower us with valuable information from deep within the trenches of humanity’s war on cancer—in this case, breast cancer specifically.

While the film and the cancer story is Marxer’s, having Fink by her side during its creation—and the harrowing journey that preceded it—gives the project a unique dual perspective.

“You want to find out how to best support a friend or loved one going through cancer?,” Fink rallies, rhetorically. “You want to know what to say or not to say to cancer patients? You want to see someone hit the bottom and find a way back up? You are not alone and together, we can get through anything!”

For tickets to the show, click here.

Christopher Treacy has been writing about music and the music industry for 20 years. He’s contributed to The Boston Phoenix, The Boston Herald, Nashville Scene, and Berklee College of Music’s quarterly journal, as well as myriad LGBTQ+ outlets including the Edge Media Network, Between the Lines/Pride Source, Bay Windows and In Newsweekly. He is the Managing Editor of Country Queer and currently lives in Waitsfield, VT.