October 21, 2010

Review: Chris Issak

October 13, 2010

Even though I've experienced two great shows thus far, a part of me had slight reservations about another live concert. You see, my history with them have always been rather hit or miss. Austin may be a mecca for live music, but that doesn't necessarily translate into a high caliber show. For instance, one can find live music at a good number of restaurants and outdoor venues, but that's no guarantee it equates into a good experience. Off the top of my head, I had a lackluster encounter recently at Hyde Park & Grill a certain restaurant I won't name, where the live entertainment consisted of a woman singing with a live band with a baby strapped to her body. Yes, just like Zach Galifianakis in The Hangover. Yeah. Luckily, the food is always pretty darn good there. My lesson was learned, though. I'll be dining inside from now on.

So yeah, I have a bit of a love/hate relationship with live performances. I'll be the first to admit I was blown away by Omara Portuondo, though, so I'm hypothesizing that the venue has a lot to do with it. Good thing Chris Isaak's show is at The Paramount, since it's obviously one of my favorite places ever (as if any long-time reader would know).

I arrived pretty early for the event, and there were still a heck of a lot of people already there. The crowd consisted of all ages, but I noticed something right away. It clearly was a mid-week "date night" for most in attendance. Hmmm. For an artist like Isaak (with his sultry tunes), this is a bit of a no-brainer. Alas, I was attending tonight without the company of my beloved; and began to feel left out.

Glancing around shortly before the start time, I saw a packed house. It was impressive to see so many people filling up the theatre. The buzz was electric, and finally the house lights went down. Executive director Ken Stein came out and expressed his appreciation to the large turnout. He also reminded everyone to please turn off cell phones as to not disrupt the show. The method in which he does this never ceases to make me smile. Stein asks for everyone's attention, makes the cell phone announcement, and then asks anyone unwilling to do so to please join him in the lobby during the show. At that point, Ken adds, he will be happy to have a heart-to-heart conversation with them about how to have a life again. I've heard this a few times before the shows, and I chuckle every time. That night the crowd roared in approval. No one wanted any distractions. With the business out of the way, he introduced the opening act, singer-songwriter Amy Cook.

I gotta admit, friends and dear readers, I was impressed with her set. A transplanted Californian, Cook now calls Austin home, and so I imagine it was a real treat for her to perform in front of the home crowd. Heck, it was a treat for me (as I must confess I had not heard of her before that evening). She played and I found myself captivated by her sound, reminiscent of Brandi Carlile (whom I absolutely love, by the way). Her music was dignified and soulful, and I was particularly taken with the song "Hotel Lights." Cook seemed ever so humble up there on stage, and her chats between songs about Austin and Chris Isaak were so casual it put the audience at ease with her mellow sound. As she wound down her set, however, Amy sang a cover of Del Shannon's classic "Runaway" that really got us all going. By the time the chorus came around, we all were singing "I wa-wa-wa-wa-wonder why Ah-why-why-why-why-why..." That's right, the fun was underway, and Amy had us all pumped up for the main event.

As Ms. Cook exited, the lights came up and we all took a brief break as the stage had the finishing touches applied. I stretched in my seat and glanced around to look for any friends amongst the patrons. I was half-expecting to see an old friend of mine who lives in Austin (and is one of those fanatics I spoke about in my preview), but had no luck. Of course, finding one face among the hundreds was a futile venture. I turned on my phone to check if there were any messages, and found a text message. Lo and behold, it was from that very friend. She told me she was there, sitting by herself next to an empty seat (her companion was unable to attend). Speak of the devil, huh? I made my way through the crowds and found her.

I sat next to her and we caught up for a few minutes. Then she excitedly began to tell me what to expect during the show. She explained that she has attended every Chris Isaak show in Austin over the past ten years or so. That, my friends, is dedication. Through her excited animated descriptions, I was relieved to not get that "scary vibe" from this super fan. Her vibe was enthusiasm, not insanity. It's the kind of fandom that produces genuine happiness, not restraining orders. Her vigor was infectious, and now I had Isaak fever as well. In mid-sentence, the house light went down again. Ack! No time to return to my seat; instead I settled in.

Lights dimmed, and all eyes turned towards the stage. The music began blaring and everyone's hands were clapping together as he stepped onto the stage. Chris Isaak. Giddyup!

And what a fantastic show it was! If I had to describe it in one word, it would be... vivid. No, I'm not referring to the dazzling lights or the lively band clad in silver (the band name is "Silvertone," after all), or the turquoise-clad Isaak himself. "Vivid" means the energy was high, and the entire performance was a very colorful and stylized production. Up on stage, Chris was boundless in his stamina. At one point (covering Elvis Presley's "Love Me Tender"), he cavalierly sauntered down the steps of the stage and cruised the aisles, crooning to individuals and occasionally even sitting down next to them as he continued singing. Wow. That's not your typical serenade, now, is it?

But the lucky ones weren't just at orchestra levels. While in the aisles, he made a mad dash for the upper levels. Those of us down below could hear him up in the mezzanine, and the screams and squeals indicated the approval of the masses. We glanced up to try and see where he disappeared to, and POW! He then appeared like a jack-in-the box in one of the balconies. Can you imagine that? One thing for certain, he gave the couple in those seats a story they will tell for many years to come. A truly awesome experience for those people, and for us gawkers.

It would be an understatement to say the crowd was into the performances. Heck, they were frenzied. Looking over at my normally demure friend, I was shocked to see her whooping and hollering at the top of her lungs. Goodness!

Not that everything was revelry and sunshine. Chris would frequently talk to the crowd between hits, and on occasion reflected how some labeled his work as songs about heartbreak and unrequited love. He hesitated, then agreed with that assessment. But oh, how we all just clamored for such melancholy. While most of the songs in his set had his usual uptempo rockabilly pulse in them, a few simmered the audience with the slow pangs of desire. When the signature chords of "Wicked Game" began, one could practically hear the audience melt... and swoon.

For me, one of the highlights was the rapport between Chris and his bandmates. The quips between he and Silvertone were sharp and funny, yet never had a hint of malice. You could feel the love between Isaak and his mates: Hershel Yatovitz (guitarist), Scott Plunkett (keyboardist), Kenny Dale Johnson (drummer, and a Texas boy), and Rolly Salley (guitarist and Grammy winner). Chris humbly acknowledged their contributions, even if done in a tongue-in-cheek manner. The band got in their digs also, referring to Isaak's outfit as that of an ice skater. But it was all in good fun, seeing those boys ribbing each other while playing their jam session. Watching this, I can see how Chris and the band were featured in a television show as themselves. Sure, that Showtime program may have been a bit of a Seinfeld rehash, but I never saw Jerry place the cereal bowl down long enough to rock out in a sensual voice while Kramer, George and Elaine played rock and roll.

All in all, it was a comical show with stunning production value and great music. What more could one ask for? And for the cherry on top, Chris had the last laugh on his band when he changed clothes for his encore. The costume, you ask? It was a suit made completely of mirrors. Yep. Showmanship. The mark of a true entertainer. Make no mistake, that's exactly what Chris Isaak is.

After the slam dunk of an encore, my friend and I were standing with grins practically chiseled on our faces. We ventured towards the stage, searching for any discarded guitar picks, but had no luck. Wandering outside after the show, we continued talking for a long while beneath the The Paramount's awning. I may have been without a date that night, but sharing favorite moments with a friend was not a bad way to go.

There's no denying the draw of a performer of Chris Isaak. Like a modern Roy Orbison or even Ricky Nelson, his stirring voice captures hearts even as he sings about lament. But when one is treated to a show like I witnessed that night, the misery of love pains aren't so bad. This was a live show I had no reservations about. In fact, heartbreak never sounded so damn good.

October 17, 2010

Review: John Lithgow

October 12, 2010

In the days before Tuesday's one-man performance at The Paramount, my anticipation become more acute. Why? Because as I was writing my preview piece, a revelation of sorts came to me. I really love John Lithgow. He's the actor you secretly love. It's so secret that you probably don't even realize the truth.

As I picked up my tickets at will call, I was thrilled to see I was going to be seated in the front row! Row AA seats 11 & 12, to be exact. As I gave my tickets to the usher, she led me down to the front. We were dismayed to find, however... that the seats were not there. Not because anyone was sitting in the chairs; I mean because they literally did not exist. The row went up to seat 10. Needless to say, this was... disappointing. What a bizarre situation to be in, and staffers quickly rushed to find another spot for me to sit. Happy to finally find an available seat, I was still chagrined at the missed opportunity to actually be down in front. To illustrate, those would have been here:

Oh well, no time for tears. The time of Lithgow was at hand, and I still had a great view. Settling down into my new chair, I observed and appreciated the sparse set up on stage. For a one-man show, it gave the air of an intimate affair, even if I was to watch the stage with a few hundred other patrons.

When John appeared on stage, he received a warm welcome from the crowd. Conversing casually with us all, he explained that this was actually his first trip to Austin, ever. Informing us that he arrived the day before, he had taken in some of the city and loved it (naturally, it's Austin, who wouldn't love this place?). Visiting the University of Texas campus, he showed us a little souvenir that was made specifically for him. Out of his bag, he brandished a burnt orange UT football jersey. The applause rained down from the audience, then graduated into thunderous cheers when Lithgow displayed the reverse side. It read, "Lithgow # 7" (check the slideshow at the conclusion of this article for proof).

Mr. Lithgow that night was performing his one-man theatrical memoir "Stories by Heart." An intimate look at the types of stories that shaped his childhood, his adulthood and career. He performed two separate stories that evening. The first story was prefaced by an explanation regarding the significance of the tale in his personal life. "Uncle Fred Flits By," by P.G. Wodehouse, was a favorite of the Lithgow siblings while growing up, discovered in a collection of short stories. His father would read it with, as John put it, "an exuberant flamboyance." Now there's a descriptor that can be applied to John himself; a point that he willfully conceded with a cheeky abandon.

"Uncle Fred" gained added significance for John several years ago. After a debilitating medical procedure, John's father, Arthur Lithgow, was sapped of his lifelong vitality. John moved in with his parents for a month during his dad's recuperation, and it pained him to see his father as a shell of his former self. After repeated attempts to connect with his parents (both in their 80s), John found the old collection of stories on the shelf and one night read the story to them.

It's a hilarious tale filled with moments of mirth and outlandish situations. During his reading for his parents, John told us a magical thing happened. Arthur started laughing. It was described as a moment of crescendo, an involuntary act of merriment that revitalized his stoic and ailing father. Laughter and gaffaws burst forth like a fountain, and John credits "Uncle Fred" as the catalyst that brought his father back from the dead.

The story is about a young man named Pongo and a eccentric afternoon jaunt with his outrageous Uncle Fred, a man capable of brewing mischief where ever he goes. Like a force of nature, Fred leads Pongo on an excursion to an estate where zany misunderstandings ensue involving the duo, servants, visitors, eel jelliers (that's right, eels), and a parrot. Lithgow embodied every character while reciting the tale, and it was a riot to see him juggle this craziness effortlessly.

Boisterously merry, the story took a poignant turn as we realized Lithgow was recreating the very reading from that night years ago. When he addressed us all at the end as if we were his mother and father, the smiles remained, only now with tears sparkling in our eyes.

During the intermission, I had time to reflect on what I just witnessed. Was it merely the humor that made his storytelling so engaging? Was it Lithgow's caliber of acting that elevated the silly story into a tale of humanity and the frailty of life? Was it the history he provided us before the story? Was it the vulnerability he displayed and earnestness of his candor? Likely all of the above. One thing was for certain, Lithgow was skilled at painting mental pictures. Whether it was the farce of "Uncle Fred Flits By" or the scene recounted at his parents' home, it was all so real.

After the break, John came back out and immediately led the audience into a rhythmic hand-clapping. Once we were in unison, he began to sing a jolly-sounding song. A continuation of mirth from the previous story, it seemed. As we all listened to the lyrics, we quickly learned that the story told in the song was much darker than the melody let on. Entitled "Eggs & Marrow Bones," it was a story of a wife who is desperate to kill her husband.

Yeah. Not so sunny, after all. And it was an appropriate segue into the second story he had for us that evening. "Haircut," by Ring Lardner, was a story that Lithgow discovered in his junior high school years. It existed in a world John was familiar with. Where, as the new kid in town, he was subjected to cruel teenage torment varnished with excessive societal niceties. The tale is told directly to the audience, who plays the role of a customer in a barbershop. Gossip and chatter spill out of the barber's mouth as he tells the tales of its citizens, particularly a popular townie who is clearly a bad seed but everyone makes excuses for, or else simply turns a blind eye to.

Lithgow embodies the town barber in his story, and we are his new customer, rapt at attention and sometimes blushing at how forthright and candid his tale is. Clearly, discretion is but a flag in the wind to the barber, and town secrets pass from a mouth as wide as a barn door. As the haircut progresses, we swing on a pendulum from shock, to disgust, to sympathy. Despite the affable nature of the barber (with his giddy but slightly creepy laugh), we can see the darkness under the surface like storm clouds on the horizon. It hints at a Midwestern passive-aggressive nature and duality in general. Lardner's narrative is more than a shave and a haircut; the story itself cuts close us to the bone.

His performance of "Haircut" guided me along a path of anticipation and silent dread, and left me in a clearing of ambivalence about human nature. Nevertheless, I can not dismiss the power that John displayed up there on stage. I was riveted and, to reinforce a cliché, was on the edge of my seat. So often, stories like these can open our eyes and force us to confront that which we usually want to sweep under the rug. The beauty of performance (be it live acting or cinematic) is that it can place us in other people's shoes, or perhaps reveal to us a pair we didn't even know we possessed. This power of storytelling is one of the underlying elements to humanity itself. That night, Lithgow's one-man show reminded me why.

Storytelling is a primal element of humanity exactly because it is crafted by us. These chronicles work because of our ability to connect with one another. And where the conscious mind leaves off, imagination can pick up the trail. This artistry can enlighten, transport us, and even rejuvenate the soul. Tuesday was like a fireside chat and a warm bedtime reading rolled into one.

Good night, John. Thanks. I hope you loved Austin, because we truly love you. And that's no longer a secret.

October 14, 2010

Review: Omara Portuondo

October 7, 2010

Despite a summer chock full of events at The Paramount Theatre the past few months, they were all cinematic in nature. No complaints, here, mind you. I'm always a film fan, first and foremost. However, I had yet to experience a live performance at the venue. No concerts, no acting, no shows. But all of that was about to change that night. Omara Portuondo, legend of Cuban music, was taking the stage at The Paramount.

In spite of my preview write-up, I must confess I was unsure of what the show was to entail. My beloved and I were ever so excited for this exotic experience. Sure, we may live in the professed "live music capital of the world," but how often does that encompass a 79 year-old Latin diva and such Cuban flavor? My gut told me something truly special was in the offering.

There was a genuine air of excitement at the theatre. Patrons were not merely milling around before the show, they were buzzing. As the performance time arrived, director Ken Stein took the stage and welcomed us to the 2010/11 season. Thanking individual and corporate sponsors, he reminded us that none of it would be possible without the patron's generosity.

And with the introduction stated, the show began. For the next two hours I was enraptured by what unfolded before me, a sensational event the likes I had never seen.

All of the musicians were of the highest caliber, and would have been amazing to behold indivdually. Each was fantastic in his own right, but I was most impressed with Harold Lopez Nussa, the pianist. With powerful fingers, he flashed over the keys like a flash of lightning and thundered chords during solos that would leave the crowd breathless. The five musicians had such a special harmony with the songs, and the energy levels they brought kept the entire show ratcheted up to an 11. Every one on stage had a chance to shine, and they all were bathed in the audiences' adoration and applause. Felipe Cabrera on the bass and percussionists Andrés Coayo and Rodney Yllarza Barreto brought the house down during solos. And the passion of guitarist Swami Jr. was simultaneously cool yet caliente, evoking memories of a young Carlos Santana.

However, the true revelation that night was Omara herself. She may not have played an instrument on stage, but with her ardor, her voice and her charm, she had us all listening intently. I was astonished and hypnotized by her energy. Portuondo's stamina was a marvel to behold. Heck, I get fatigued from climbing simple flights of stairs, yet here was this living legend performing a vibrant show for nearly two hours (the first 90 minutes of it without a break), a mere few weeks shy of her eightieth birthday. ¡Dios Mio!

Omara was reminiscent of Yoda up there, only far more impressive than any Star Wars special effect. This was real; a true phenomenon of flesh and blood. There was something magical and beautiful about the lyrical nature of her soulful production. It was a performance of the spirit, and it was genuine magic. That night, neither her body or voice betrayed her frail corporeal frame. Her vocals were sincere and powerful, captivating the entire audience (even if some of us couldn't understand most of the Spanish lyrics). As the show continued, it was like watching someone in a fountain of youth. One could almost see the years melting away, and I imagine that night's performance was identical to those in a smoky Havana club over half a century ago.

Whether singing from her own albums, leading the audience into an impromptu accompaniment of "Deep in the Heart of Texas," or getting everyone to stand and sing along with her finale of "Guantanamera," Omara gave everyone something to treasure and remember. As we left the theatre that night, we felt so alive and so enriched. It was a great evening and an amazing display.

To witness something of this caliber, I was entranced. I was moved. I was grateful.

Feliz cumpleanos, Omara... y gracias.

October 10, 2010

Coming Soon: Chris Isaak

Let's be honest. What's the first thing that pops into your head when you think of Chris Isaak? It's this, right?

That's ok. Me, too. Nothing wrong with that. Not one bit. After all, the video is hawwwt.

Okay, so back on task. I've been a "passive fan" of Chris Isaak. While I really like his music, I don't possess any of his albums. Granted, I don't own a lot of albums to begin with, so that's not a knock on Chris at all.

Throughout my life, I have known several Chris Isaak fans. Hmmm, that's not quite accurate. Let me try that again. I have known several Chris Isaak maniacs fanatics. Those ladies were obsessed with the guy, and each proclaimed him the sexiest man that ever lived. Although I don't advocate any type of behavior that leads to a scary level of infatuation and mania (take note, all you tween Justin Bieber fans out there), I can see where the allure lies. Isaak is one suave dude. He reminds me of a cross between Elvis and David Duchovny, sans the X-Files stigma or the peanut butter & banana sandwiches.

From humble blue-collar beginnings, Chris literally is a self-made musician. If Loretta Lynn was the Coal Miner's Daughter, Isaak is the Fork Lift Operator's Son. Teaching himself how to play on his brother's guitar, influenced by country music (and by Elvis himself), he began writing songs in his teens.

Dabbling in amateur boxing during his youth, Isaak also was an exchange student staying in Japan. There he decided on music as a his career. After years of paying his dues in San Francisco dives, he finally caught his break in the mid-1980s. His debut album Silvertone garnered attention and particularly caught the ear of film director David Lynch. The creatively eccentric filmmaker put two of Isaak's songs in the 1986 film Blue Velvet. A few years alter, Lynch used a little known song from another of Chris's albums (Heart-Shaped World) for the film Wild at Heart. That song? "Wicked Game." Hot as a match, the song lit the fuse that rocketed Isaak into stratospheric new levels of success.

And like that, he began appearing in front of more audiences, both in film and TV. After a few blink-and-you-miss-him turns in Married To The Mob and The Silence of the Lambs (I guess Jonathan Demme is a big fan, too), he featured more prominently on the big screen in Little Buddha and Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me. Seems like directors simply love Isaak, and even the reclusive cinematic auteur Stanley Kubrick used the song "Baby Did A Bad Bad Thing" in his final film, 1999's Eyes Wide Shut. Heck, the entire trailer was set to the song.

Taking his talents into living rooms across America, Chris was finally exhibited in a show of his own. The Showtime network gave him "The Chris Isaak Show" in 2001, where he and his band played fictionalized versions of themselves. Think of it as a more musically based version of "Curb Your Enthusiasm," without the acerbic humor and Larry David's unassuming yet rude behavior. Lasting three seasons, it was generally liked but not loved by cable audiences.

Although still crossing over into different media, Isaak is now focusing again on his music predominantly. This week's performance at The Paramount promises to maintain his long-time rockabilly charm and that (ahem) smooth sex appeal. I, for one, would not be surprised in the least to see some of the long-time maniacs fans there that I'm familiar with.

Songs will also be performed from last year's album, Mr. Lucky. As described on his website, this album is "like some rocking Sinatra album for the 21st Century, a song cycle about the good luck we earn and the bad luck we just can’t seem to shake." Sounds like it's worth a roll of the dice to me.

Don't miss the show. That would be a bad bad thing.

The show is Wednesday, Oct. 13th. 8 pm.

October 8, 2010

Coming Soon: John Lithgow

I've always known John Lithgow was a man who has worn many hats, but I had no idea how diverse his work was until I started doing a little research.

Born of parents with theater backgrounds, one could say the stage has been in his blood from the very beginning. While attending Harvard, he decided upon a career in acting for himself. Fun little factoid: as a freshman, Lithgow lived across the hall from roommates Al Gore and Tommy Lee Jones. Wow. How interesting do you think it was to be the Resident Assistant (R.A.) in that hall? And here I thought The Social Network was an interesting look at Harvard life. Pssh. Give me these three over Zuckerberg any day. Someone make a movie about Lithgow, Jones and Gore in college. Stat!

Lithgow made his Broadway debut on stage in David Storey's The Changing Room, for which he won a Tony award (how's that for a career start?). In the decades since, he has crossed over into television, film and radio with equal acclaim. in addition, John has created numerous works for children: writing poetry and short stories, while recording albums too.

Most audiences, however, are likely familiar with him due to his film and TV work. Early in his career, he was in Brian De Palma's Obsession, a kinda-remake of Alfred Hitchcock's Vertigo. He started to gain notice in films after appearing in Bob Fosse's All That Jazz. Then he really took off, gaining Best Supporting Actor nods in back-to-back years for The World According to Garp and Terms of Endearment (1982 and '83, respectively). From that point, Lithgow really seemed to be everywhere.

While contemplating his filmography, one thing occurred to me. I had never noticed before, but I really enjoy John Lithgow in everything I've ever seen him in. Even if the movie or TV show itself is less than par. He is one of the few actors that I delight in watching, whether I love his character or hate him. Take a gander a the collage I assembled below and tell me John isn't one of the most endearing actors you can think of. He's just so damn good in any role that he embodies.

From Harry and the Hendersons, to The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai, to 2010, to Twilight Zone: The Movie, Lithgow impresses each film with his own mannerisms and that signature voice. I'll even forgive his scenery-chomping turns in the likes of Cliffhanger, Ricochet, Raising Cain and... wait for it... Santa Claus: The Movie. Yeah, I went there.

And let's not neglect his work on television. He charmed us all for several seasons of "3rd Rock from The Sun," and he won an Emmy this year for his role in last season's "Dexter" as a sociopath (who also really sticks it to our favorite serial killer with the last shot of the final episode).

By the way, did you know he played Yoda? Yes, the jedi master from Star Wars. Not in the movies, mind you, but in the radio drama portrayals. No lie.

And now the prolific actor will be gracing the Paramount's stage as well with his one-man show, Stories by Heart. In it, John "traces his roots as an actor and as a storyteller," utilizing two stories from his youth.

I don't know about you, but it sounds fascinating, and with the ever-appealing Lithgow as its center, well... Count me in. There's still time to join me.
The show is Tuesday, October 12th at 8 pm.

October 3, 2010

Coming Soon: Omara Portuondo

It's fall, and time is approaching for the kick off. No, not for football (although that is a staple of the autumn also). I'm referring to the first performance of the 2010/2011 season at The Paramount. The season begins with a special performance by a living legend, Omara Portuondo. On the 29th of this month, she turns 80. That's right, eight
decades and has been in show business for over 60 years. Wow.

Portuondo is a legend and ambassador of
música Cubana. Listing all of her life accomplishments and discography would easily take me until Christmas (remember, 80 years), so I'll keep it brief. She began in 1947 by singing with her sisters. After singing with different groups, she embarked on a solo career in the 1960s, where she garnered international acclaim. Her music also attracted attention for sometimes skewing political, referring to Chilean leader Salvador Allende and even Ché Guevara in some of her work. Through it all, she has remained closely tied to her Cuban roots. Heck, to this day, she's still a fixture at The Tropicana Club in Havana, fifty years after she preformed there the first time.

An assembly of her discography can be found on her website and other sites. Give her a listen.

Modern audiences are more apt to know her from her involvement in "The Buena Vista Social Club" album from 1997. American guitarist Ry Cooder (he of the slide guitar) worked with Juan de Marcos González to assemble a band of Cuban musicians, honoring the heritage and passion of pre-revolutionary Cuba. Widely acclaimed at its release, the
grupo musicales was also featured in the Oscar-nominated documentary The Buena Vista Social Club. Directed by Wim Wenders (Paris, Texas, Wings of Desire), it documents the creation of the album and the lives of the elder musicians involved.

Doing some digging, I found that you can even watch the film in its entirety, right here.

Omara is a true gem. Her concert promises to be a culmination of a life long lived, and also an homage to a Cuba before our country decided to blacklist their very culture.

Glancing at the seating chart, there are still some limited seating available. Guys, this is one of those once-in-blue moon kind of event. Come down and enjoy this engagement. You can say you've seen a living legend, and prove to your friends and colleagues that you know first-hand that Cuban culture consists of more than Fidel Castro or Cohibas.

What a way to kick things off this season.
The show is Thursday, Oct. 7 at 8 pm.