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Posts Tagged ‘edna wright’

The “Want Ads” factor: For a good time this weekend, celebrate your soul not your superficiality

July 31st, 2012 Comments off

Before I chat about one of the greatest good times you can have in SF this weekend, let me point out one of the big fails in gay men’s general efforts to have a good time these days. Let’s call it the “Want Ads” factor, in honor of the 1971 #1 hit by the rollicking R&B trio, Edna Wright & The Honey Cone, which also scored big with the similarly sassy, sing-along worthy singles “Stick Up,” One Monkey Don’t Stop No Show” and “Girls, It Ain’t Easy.”

The “Want Ads” factor works like this: You post an ad featuring a flattering photograph taken of yourself, oh 5, 10, 20 (?!?) years ago and are shocked—shocked!—when your OKCupid date or Grindr hook-up is disgruntled upon meeting today’s version of you. Gentlemen, what’s disgruntling is not just that we look different—or, if you insist,”worse”—these days; it’s that:

  • We’re bait-and-switching
  • We’re suggesting that we don’t like ourselves as we are (So why should anyone else?)
  • We’re mutually disrespecting the value of each others’ personalities, life experiences, and talents as we bow to the altar of superficial aesthetics

As an (admittedly tangential) example, let’s look at the photo that the Rrazz Room has been using to promote Edna Wright & the Honey Cone’s shows this Friday and Saturday night (top), followed by a photo of Edna as she actually appeared last year (bottom):

Edna Wright (center), circa ???

 

Edna today. Smiling, seasoned, and ready to rock you.

As far as a good time goes, yeah, in her ingenue days, Edna Wright may have been sleek and polished.  But admit it, today’s Edna looks like waaaaay more fun.

And let me tell you—it’s the truth. Now in her mid-60s, the sparkplug sister of Darlene Love puts on a fierce, fabulous show. She’s Tina Turner without the Euro-pretensions. Along with her own hits—originally released on Hot Wax records by Holland-Dozier-Holland after the superstar songwriting/production trio left Motown—Wright plays some classic R&B covers, flirts madly with the audience, and generally has everyone in the crowd on their feet, letting their hair down (if they haven’t lost it all yet), clapping, and shaking their maybe-not-so-tight-anymore tuchuses.

When you get together with fellow grown-ups for an evening of live music like this, it reminds you that there’s much to celebrate in getting older, wiser, and more experienced. Embrace yourselves and boogie!

Want Ads video, after the jump

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The (4-year-) old Rrazzle Dazzle: San Francisco’s intimate nightclub, The Rrazz Room, celebrates another year

March 26th, 2012 Comments off

Rrazz Room impresarios Rory Paull and Robert Kotonly flank diva CeCe Peniston (Photo: Pat Johnson)

Last Wednesday night, a most eclectic constellation twinkled in the San Francisco night.  The Rrazz Room at the Hotel Nikko, perhaps the United States’ most adventurously booked boîte, celebrated its 4th anniversary with a benefit for St. Jude’s Hospital for Children. The evening’s “Whoa, how the heck are these acts gonna share a stage?” kind of lineup proved utterly successful. It reflected the wide-ranging tastes of Rrazz owner-impresarios Robert Kotonly and Rory Paull, long loathe to have their club perceived as a ‘cabaret’ with all the attendant stereotypes of dowager princesses downing too many expensive martinis to the songbook standards of their faded youth.

While the Rrazz’s quirkily curated booking calendar always incorporates some of same great interpreters of song who ply their trade at Manhattan’s Carlyle, Feinstein’s, and the late-lamented Algonquin Oak Room (Tyne Daly, Betty Buckley and Amanda McBroom have all played the intimate 186 seat room over the past couple seasons), Kotonly and Paull cast a much wider net. Well-regarded soul, R&B, gospel, comedy, jazz, burlesque and drag acts are a regular part of the offerings, as are some of the Bay Area’s best local talent—fortunate to have the chance to perform in such a jewel box of a venue.

Natalie Douglas, a sublime interpreter of song (Photo: Pat Johnson)

And so, last Thursday’s highlights swung like a drunken metronome from Edna Wright—spark plug sister of Darlene Love—belting “Want Ads,” a 1970 hit with her group, The Honey Cone; to local percussion legend Pete Escovedo and his sons pounding out a volcanic set of Latin jazz; to CeCe Peniston riling up the crowd with her dance club classic “Finally”; to a revelatory rendition of “The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face” by Natalie Douglas, who deserves to be a household name.

More on the anniversary gala, and Rrazz room April highlights after the jump 

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