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Back to Section One | Back to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, June 4, 2010 - Volume 38 Issue 23
A Dyke About Town: Marcia Ball, Folklife, and high school jazz
Arts & Entertainment
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A Dyke About Town: Marcia Ball, Folklife, and high school jazz

by Mercy Moosemuzzle - SGN Contributing Writer

Marcia Ball
Cuteness couldn't come to Marcia Ball at the Triple Door last week with Mercy, because 14-year-old Equality had been pulling some shenanigans and couldn't be trusted alone at home. This disappointed Mercy, but her friend Jousts was happy to use the second ticket. Mercy loves the way the 61-year-old Ball keeps on keeping on. The singer/pianist is definitely a good example of a performer who resisted the temptations of addictions or letting her fame turn her head around.

Marcia's incredible fingers knew their way around the keyboard, and her big knowing voice delighted. Her combo includes Don Bennett, whose driving bass gave the group a nice funky bottom. Saxophonist Thad Scott and guitarist Mike Schermer traded elegant licks throughout the performance. Mercy could see by Ball's gestures how much the bandleader justifiably appreciated her musicians. The feeling seemed to be mutual.

They opened with upbeat "Rock the Boat" and "Red Beans Cooking." When they slowed down for the torchy "Just Kiss Me, Baby," Ball broke Mercy's heart. "Watermelon Time" had a nice sax solo. Ball made her case for "Peace, Love, and BBQ," then moved the crowd some more with "Hurricane on China Bay," and "Falling Back in Love with You."

Marcia said, "You think I only do songs about New Orleans and food. We also sing about other towns in Louisiana." She proved her point with "Thibodau, Louisiana." Ball asked the audience, "What do you want?" When a woman requested "House of Love," Marcia joked, "OK, but when I play it, I'm done. You don't want to make your move too soon." Mercy saw the attraction of that song.

"Dance With Me" picked up the tempo. Then Ball smoked away with "I'm Just a Fool Who Really Loves You" and "It's all Right."

Marcia dedicated her song "The Power of Love" to her friends, Lou and Suzanna, on their anniversary. That made Mercy happy, because it is one of her favorite songs, one she put on her and Cuteness' wedding play list. That made her miss Cuteness and be ready for Equality to shape up.

Mercy liked hearing "Party Song," about New Orleans, which assured her that "Just when you think the party is over, another one's just begun."

Folklife
Mercy had some old friends come to town for Folklife who helped her see that event - and Seattle - with fresh eyes. She had the idea that ushering her guests home on the light rail was the best approach. That wound up taking most of the first day, so she missed Jamais Trop Tard, which is partly made up of former members of Les Femmes d'Enfer. She did catch Whozyamama, the other part of Les Femmes, and found them delightful. Mercy is touched by the fact that the old band did two fundraisers for her disability.

One of Mercy's favorite things is seeing young musicians. The North Shore Celtic Ensemble was fun, with a line of violinists from small to smallest. The salsa evening had hot music. Mercy and Cuteness particularly liked Michelle Badion and her partner Evan's tango demonstration.

Mercy and Cuteness had underestimated how long it would take to get their friends through brunch at Salty's, so she missed Puddletown's introduction to square dance. She was happy to hear the workshop with Dan Preedy at NWFolklife was a great success, and that Dan really kicked it into high gear immediately and there was so much interest and enthusiasm from those who gathered to watch during the first hour, that they extended the introductory dancing for the full two-hour timeslot so more newbies could try it out. The estimated number of new participants was between 100-120, and included those "just wandering through," who got caught up in the fun, and a couple former Puddletowners who "didn't know Puddletown Squares was still around."

Pay What You Can Garfield and Roosevelt High School Jazz Band Concert
Mercy wants you to know the Essentially Ellington Festival Award Winners, the Garfield and Roosevelt High School Jazz Bands, will be performing on June 9 at 7:30 p.m. at Marion Oliver McCaw Hall at Seattle Center.

Two of the nation's leading high school jazz bands (who both happen to call Seattle home) have again garnered the top prizes at this prestigious North American competition. Garfield Jazz Band won first place, and Roosevelt received an honorable mention. You can hear both bands in concert as they perform the great jazz standards, including the renowned works of Duke Ellington, on stage at McCaw Hall. Please join them for an evening of outstanding music and celebration.

The event is pay what you can, and the suggested donation of $20 at the door would benefit Garfield and Roosevelt High School Music Programs and Seattle Center Foundation.

30th Anniversary Joint Concert of Seattle Men's Chorus and Seattle Women's Chorus
Despite her friend Loyalty's trepidations about being changed from a tenor to a bass, Mercy is very much looking forward to the joint concert Glitter and Be Gay June 25 and 26 at McCaw Hall. It is a tribute to two great American composers: Leonard Bernstein, a prodigy renowned for his energy and talents as both a conductor and composer, and Stephen Sondheim, the undisputed master of the modern Broadway musical.

The concert will feature music from Bernstein and Sondheim's collaborations, as well as their individual careers. Expect to be transported to musical heaven when artistic director Dennis Coleman pulls out all the stops and more than 400 voices take the stage of McCaw Hall to perform music from such Broadway classics as West Side Story, Sunday in the Park with George, Wonderful Town, Sweeney Todd, Candide, and A Little Night Music.

You can get tickets at www.flyinghouse.org/smc/gabg.

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