For five years now, South Whidbey has boasted its very own Johnny Carson in longtime island native and travel writer Sue Frause.
But after hosting local culinary experts during episodes of her epicurean-themed late night style talk show, Kitsch N’ Bitch, Frause has deemed it’s time to hang up her boots and kick her feet up.
“When you’re older, you don’t have to do certain things if you don’t want to,” Frause said. “You don’t have to make dinner, you don’t have to make your bed and that’s kind of what’s going on here. It just felt right to end Kitsch N’ Bitch, and it’s good to go out on top.”
To bid farewell to the show and Frause’s talk show host career, the last episode in front of a live audience is at 7:30-9:30 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 5 at Whidbey Island Center for the Arts (WICA). The cooking show, the only one to ever be hosted on Whidbey Island, will bring back some of Frause’s favorite guests since the show began in 2011. Seattle-based author of Lunch at the Shop: The Art and Practice of the Midday Meal Peter Miller and food writer Cynthia Nims will prepare seasonal meals on the WICA stage, and Star Store co-owner Gene Felton will reprise his role as Julia Child to play bartender for the final episode. His wife Tamar Felton will join him (or her) behind the bar, and David Gignac will emcee. South Whidbey band Secrets will be the house music for the evening.
Contrary to belief, Frause isn’t curtaining the show because of recent health problems. Rather, Frause and her WICA counterparts says it’s partly due to a gut feeling the show has “run its course” after a half decade of unscripted talks with local chefs, food writers and foodies. Frause suffered a brain aneurysm in January of 2015, but it’s hardly slowed her down.
“I remember being very worried when she had the aneurysm, but she was seamless in the next show,” Langley resident and regular audience member Nancy Nolan said. “I was so impressed and happy for all of us, because we are so lucky to have Sue Frause in this community.”
Although fully able to continue the show for five more years, Frause is looking forward to other things. With an increasingly full schedule for her travel writing gig, she and her WICA counterparts elected to walk away from the talk show while the episodes still met to the same standard.
“We’re loathing to say ‘goodbye,’” WICA Executive Director Stacie Burgua said. “When we were thinking of the year’s programming in the spring, I felt like I couldn’t let it go. So we thought we should have one last farewell show.”
Frause describes the show as “just another fun thing along my goofy path.” The long time journalist and blogger — she had a column in The Record for 15 years, currently writes for RealFoodTraveler and is an on-air correspondent for KSER 90.7 FM in Everett — says she didn’t think twice and wanted to host the show when WICA pitched the idea to her, primarily because it was something different, but also because she wanted to host a talk show from a young age.
The talk show was something she wanted to do, so she just did it. And Frause says that embodies the South Whidbey spirit, where anyone can make anything happen here due to the community’s open minded nature.
“There are so many opportunities on the island,” Frause said. “You can be as involved as you want or just sit at home and watch Netflix. Maybe I’m more into my Netflix mode right now.”
For information about tickets and times for the farewell show, visit http://www.wica online.org/kitsch-n-bitch/.