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Back to Section One | Back to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, February 11, 2011 - Volume 39 Issue 06
Bettye LaVette sparkles at Jazz Alley
Arts & Entertainment
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Bettye LaVette sparkles at Jazz Alley

by Mercy Moosemuzzle - SGN Contributing Writer

Big Gig
Mercy and Cuteness enjoyed the sold-out Big Gig at the Triple Door on February 3. Michelle Searle's nice big voice did well with 'You and the Night and the Music.' Her duet with Josephine Howell on 'Respect Yourself' was a knockout.

Carrie Wicks had a smooth voice in her original 'Don't Be Afraid.' Aria Prame's voice added sweetness in their duet, 'Gentle Rain.' Kim Rushing's provided richness in their trio 'Come On Home.' Their harmonies were tight.

Billie Brandt's song 'If You Were a Song' was well served by his powerful voice. Mercy also liked the extended metaphor in his lyrics. The tap dancers, Jessie Sawyers and Danny Nielsen, were right on.

Comic Nathan Brannon raised the question of why kids have to be a certain age to play video games. Andy Shaw's voice was strong in John Lennon's 'Beautiful Boy.'

Josephine Howell came back with her incredible voice on 'Summertime.' She performed a lovely 'What's Going On' in what she called 'Marvin Gaye Josie style.' The whole group came back on for a fine set of improvisations on 'I'll Take You There.'

Bettye LaVette
Mercy's friend Reality joined her for Bettye LaVette at Jazz Alley on February 6. Jon Cleary opened with his fine voice and boogie woogie piano. Reality pointed out that the pianist liked to use the whole keyboard. Mercy agreed. High points were 'I Get the Blues When It Rains,' 'Young Boy Blues,' and Cleary's original 'When You Get Back.'

Reality pointed out that Jon has a bit of an accent. Mercy did some research and found he is English. Reality said, 'His accent completely disappears when he sings.'

Bettye LaVette took the stage in her sparkling silver and black costume. She described her band - Alan Hill (keyboards and music director), Brett Lucas (guitar), Charles Bartels (bass), and Darryl Pierce (drums) - as fabulous. Mercy agreed. The singer talked about having performed for 50 years. Mercy could see LaVette has matured in those years.

Bettye opened with the Beatles tune 'Say the Word.' This was an example of why Mercy loves LaVette's new album Interpretations: The British Rock and Roll Songbook. It was a full-bodied personal translation of the song. The CD is up for a Grammy. Mercy hopes it wins.

'I've Been This Way Too Long to Change' was fun. 'Living And Dying With the Choices I've Made' followed. Reality whispered, 'You can see she really lived that song.' Mercy agreed.

Bettye also nailed Ray Charles' 'They Call It Love But I Don't Know.' After she sang, 'Nights In White Satin,' Reality said, 'I feel like I'm hearing that one for the first time. Brilliant, absolutely brilliant.'

'It Don't Come Easy' was also fresh, as was 'Don't Let the Sun Go Down On Me.' Reality said, 'I really like her back-up boys.' LaVette's interpretation of Peter Townsend's 'Rain On Me' was breathtaking. Mercy and Reality joined the long standing ovation.

'Water For The Journey' was a satisfying encore. Another long standing ovation followed.

Spanish Language LGBT Radionovela
Cuteness wants you to know about the National Center for Lesbian Rights, which is addressing cultural barriers that create walls so high that Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender people are unable to talk about their concerns, their dreams, and their lives with their family members out of fear of being ridiculed. Proyecto Poderoso is teaming up with San Francisco State University's Family Acceptance Project and Radio Bilingüe to address this issue in the Latino community by producing a radionovela, a Spanish-language radio soap opera designed to break down these walls and to help families begin to talk about LGBT issues. Proyecto Poderoso, a radionovela series aims to promote dialogue, and ultimately family acceptance and equality.

The radionovela - Bienvenidos a Casa - will premiere between 6 and 7 p.m. on February 11, 2011 on Radio Bilingüe's Rock-in da House program. It will be broadcast a total of 10 times from February 11 through March 31 on Radio Bilingüe stations across California, and will be available at www.radiobilingue.org.

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