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Holiday shows at The Triple Door
Holiday shows at The Triple Door
by E. Joyce Glasgow - SGN A&E Writer

The Triple Door has been featuring some great performances during the December holiday season. Satirist/composer/musician/radio host (and voice on The Simpsons), Harry Shearer and his wife, Welsh composer/singer/instrumentalist Judith Owen, presented their "Holiday Sing-A-Long" on December 2 and 3, with special guests British singer/songwriter Julia Fordham, Arnaldo! the drag chanteuse, and Godfrey Daniels, dreamlike star of the Moisture Festival. This cozy event is becoming an annual tradition at the Triple Door and on tour. The stage was set up like a living room with a couch, wine and festive Christmas tree, red bows and other decorations. The first set featured funny and touching original songs by Shearer and Owen. Three highlights were the uproarious, "Christmas with the Devil," by Shearer, the moving "Dancing Tree" by Owen, and the somber political piece, "Christmas in Kandahar," by Shearer.

The second set was an audience Christmas carol sing-along and a giveaway of funny holiday objects. Shearer and Owen started the sing-along in their home for friends at Christmas some years ago, and when the annual get-together grew to 200 people, they decided to move it to the 2,000-seat Disney Theatre in Los Angeles and the rest is history. They now do a multi- city national tour of the "Holiday Sing-A-Long" each year. Their annual performances benefit Tipitina's Foundation (www.tipitinasfoundation.org), which provides musical instruments for public school children in New Orleans. The evening was entertaining, for a good cause, and full of holiday cheer. Be sure to check it out next year. Visit www.judithowen.net and www.harryshearer.com.

Musical icon John Sebastian, who grew to be well-known with his very popular band The Lovin' Spoonful back in the 1960s and '70s, performed a solo concert on December 7, singing and playing guitars, mandolin and harmonica. Now in his 60s, this was his first performance in Seattle in many, many years. Sebastian, who appears ageless, was easygoing, casual, sweet and as laid-back as always, creating warmth and intimacy with the audience through his delightful storytelling and songs. His original songs are iconic, too, and I was amazed at how many of them have become recognizable anthems of our culture across the generations. His selections included "Do You Believe in Magic," "You Didn't Have to Be So Nice," "A Younger Girl," "Lovin' You," "Did You Ever Have to Make Up Your Mind," "Nashville Cats," "Daydream" and "Darling Be Home Soon." Each one of these tunes have held their popularity for 40 years. Sebastian's compositional creativity is awe-inspiring. His performance was an absolute joy and very satisfying. Visit www.johnbsebastian.com.

Brilliant New York performance artist John Kelly brought his tribute to Joni Mitchell, "Paved Paradise: Redux: The Songs of Joni Mitchell," to the Triple Door on December 10 (produced as part of a performance series by Seattle burlesque artist Paula the Swedish Housewife). Dressed in a long, slate blue, slinky velvet dress and long blonde wig, Kelly looked like what I remember Joni Mitchell looking like in the 1970s when I saw her at Seattle's Paramount Theatre. His voice is superb, subtly capturing all the nuances and characteristics of Mitchell's rich, deep, expressive singing, meticulously and with beauty. Kelly played guitars and dulcimer, accompanied by piano and bass, and moved around the stage with Mitchell's distinctive swagger and charmed the audience with anecdotes that came straight from Mitchell. Kelly's tribute is a real love letter to the iconic Ms. Mitchell, and is an excellent theatrical performance piece that all can appreciate, even if previously unfamiliar with Mitchell's work. Kelly's selection of songs included "Conversation," "Rainy Night House," "A Case of You," "Blue," "Woodstock," "For the Roses," "Circle Game," "The Magdalene Laundries," "Amelia" and "Harry's House/Centerpiece."

During the final piece, "Down to You," John Kelly surprised the audience by removing his Joni dress and wig, revealing his short brown, spiky hair and putting on his own pants and shirt but continuing to sing like Mitchell. It was dramatic and delightful to see Kelly out of costume, after an evening in full character. He returned to perform two encores for the enthusiastic crowd; "Night Ride Home" and "River." Joni Mitchell is another one of those unique artists whose work has remained a lasting part of the consciousness of our culture for decades. Her graceful and superlative talents as a composer, poet, painter, singer and instrumentalist have inspired so many people of all ages around the world. John Kelly is a versatile artist whose variety of incredible and intelligent performance works can be seen on a link to YouTube, through his website, www.johnkellyperformance.org.

Upcoming for the holidays at The Triple Door: "The Bobs Holiday Show," December 15, "Land of the Sweets: The Burlesque Nutcracker," December 16-19 and 22-23, featuring a bawdy and colorful bunch of some of the finest burlesque and aerial artists in Seattle, including The Aerialistas, Waxie Moon, Paula, The Swedish Housewife, Miss Indigo Blue, Lily Verlaine, Kitten La Rue, Babette La Fave and Jasper McCann, "An Acoustic Christmas Concert with Gypsy Soul," December 21, "Good for the Jews," December 24, The Kinsey Sicks' "Oy Vey in a Manger: Christmas Carols and Other Jewish Music," December 26 and for New Year's Eve, blues and soul artist Curtis Salgado and his band.

Visit www.tripledoor.com for a complete calendar of upcoming events.

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