Drop...Dead: The DJ Murders
Like a guilty pleasure of listening in on outlandishly queeny and humpy gAsian guysâ lives swirling through the club and circuit party scenes the surreal and enticing words of Tonne Serah simply drip off the page bringing the veiled, seductive and apparently dangerous worlds of the club kids (of all ages) to life and are as addictive as the scenes and drugs could ever hope. If youâve ever wanted a VIP tour of the circuit party world or an insiderâs view on âbetter living through chemistryâ complete with all the gossip then Tonne Serahâs new mystery novel Drop...Dead: The DJ Murders will be the educational infotainment to quench your thirst. The unique twist of San Francisco club culture captured during the dot.com boom of the 90s through the cultural prism of Asian American cultures helped define, nurture and develop the circuit party phenomena that now globally is considered a rite of passage for many just as the discos were in the 70s.
A source of celebration and mind-boggling debauchery where all the deadly sins grab you by the sweaty hips and lip-lock you for dear life is the fictitious Club Galaxy (gee Audrey, maybe Universe?) where the cocktail set soon turned to water and Red Bulls to keep the energy in tow as the party vitamins took hold. Gym bunnies, drag queens, drama magnets and morally flexible politicians all get a turn on the wheel of adventure as the bodies and drugs drop. Who will die â who cares? Oh God! - Not my shoes! The trouble is just starting to brew when gender, sexuality, class, race and sex collide while labels lose their meaning and life could as well. When the mirror ball reflects a little of everyone yet the bursting energy sound-tracked to booty-bumping house effectively disappears when personal responsibility and survival skills are needed more than ever. Who will save the DJ, the music, the cheerleader, the world? If not you, than whom? Gig alert! Tonne Serah makes a rare daylight appearance May 17 @ San Franciscoâs Books Inc. on Market Street.
IJenny Owen Youngs
Batten The Hatches
Jenny Owen Youngs is a name that actually sounds impressive like the stunning singer-songwriter she is â scholarly, vibrant, forward, direct and wise beyond years. On Batten The Hatches she unleashes full-frontal dangerous ideas about confronting relationships and people and problems directly or unconventionally or with abandon. âLove is a mess âŠ and Iâve made plenty of messes.â Hypersensitive, thoughtful and invoking the harsh honesty of a Tori Amos she connects dots and notes and ideas into an opus of the human spirit. Her poetry crawls and slithers where the pain hides and swallows it whole because itâs hungry. My picks: âPorchrail,â âVoice On Tape,â âP.S.,â âBricks,â âCoyoteâ and âWoodcut (The Age Of Rockets Remix).â Gig alert! Jenny Owen Youngs seduces emotions May 10 @ San Franciscoâs Palace of Fine Arts.
A New Journey
The Celtic invasion really took hold with the high-stepping, athletic footwork of the Riverdance musical of the â90s which begat Lord of The Dance musical both featuring stunningly lovely flying Irish step dancers. It was easy to overlook the incredible singers and musicians who added the celebration, context and spirit interpreting Irish culture to share with the rest of the world. Well now the Celtic Woman reign is upon us and every ear shall bend. Millions have watched their PBS special and full families flock to their live concerts. The delightful near-angelic harmonies with mostly softened interpretations of traditional Irish songs mixed with new compositions and contemporary treats will quickly cast their spell on you. Six nations (Ireland, Scotland, Wales, Brittany, Cornwall and Isle of Man) tend to be considered the modern Celts, but itâs based mainly on language use, so Celt traditions and appreciation is now worldwide, and the women of Celtic Woman are bride-like and enchanting as princesses offering deeply whimsical and romantic songs that simply entrance. My picks: âThe Sky And The Dawn And The Sun,â âOver The Rainbow,â âDĂșlaman,â âBeyond The Sea,â âCaledonia,â âVivaldiâs Rain,â âThe Voiceâ and âScarborough Fair.â Gig alert! The Celtic Woman tour goes where angels fear to tread May 15 @ Sacramentoâs Memorial Auditorium, May 16 @ San Joseâs Civic Auditorium, May 18 @ San Rafaelâs Marin Center, May 19 @ Oaklandâs Paramount Theater and May 20 @ Fresnoâs Saroyan.
Into The Woods
Original Broadway Cast
If you like to swim through the darkside of fairy tales and have the experience in the form of a wickedly fun, perverse and lovingly layered musical then âInto The Woodsâ is for you! Over ten years ago the intertwined and ultimately interconnected sequels to fairy tales like âLittle Red Riding Hoodâ and âJack and The Beanstalkâ debuted in San Diego and quickly graduated to be a hit on Broadway with music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim and written and directed by James Lapine. The combination of the two creators plus the cast and crew helped enshrine the adult fairy tales as the uniquely inspired (and twisted) follow-up to the impressive Sunday In The Park With George musical where the entire cast developed storylines into a giant painting âSunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grand Jatteâ by impressionist Georges Seurat. Into The Woods uses similar storytelling excitement when dangling storylines dovetail at the last minute and life, although not perfect, at least and at last, can go forward. The Grammy-winning original Broadway cast recording will transport you on a majical mystery tour guided in part by Bernadette Peterâs character The Witch. With the voice of reason prods the misled fairy tales to see, along with us, that actions have consequences and we should be careful for what we wish. âYou go into the woods, Where nothingâs clear, Where witches, ghosts And wolves appear. Into the woods And through the fear, You have to take the journey.â My picks: âPrologue: Into The Woods,â âOn The Steps Of The Palace,â âAct II Prologue: So Happy,â âAgony,â âAny Moment / Moments In The Woods,â âYour Fault,â âNo One Is Aloneâ and âFinale: Children Will Listen.â
From near rock ballads to introspective jazzy chilled landscapes for wandering and getting lost in, e.s.t. (Esbjorn Svensson Trio) travels genres fusing funk, jazz and rock to stir the senses and save the soul. With cacophonous experimental twists into noised abstracts then long winding walks soaking up moonlightâs afterglow the trio is happy to twist back into traditional sounding territory for old comfort through new ears. My picks: âFading Maid Preludium,â âTuesday Wonderland,â âBrewery Of Beggars,â âDolores In A Shoestand,â âGoldwrapâ and âFading Maid Postludium.â Gig alert! e.s.t. rattles, hums, rolls and bops May 20 @ Monterey Live, May 21 @ Santa Cruzâs The Attic and May 22/23 @ Oaklandâs Yoshiâs.q
Itâs About Time
Growing up in New York might have given her a taste for cosmopolitan living while flexing her singing and acting muscles before embarking on world wind tours. Now the multilingual producer/performer and singer-swinger brings her cabaret stylings to her latest release Itâs About Time showcasing her love of comedic lyrics as well as smooth, romantic Americana classics. Smartly caressed lyrics dance along the understated lovely jazz fixings ease back and let the thoughts worry about each other for a while. My picks: âGive Me The Simple Life/Make Someone Happy,â âLetâs Eat Home,â âIn Quaiche Parte Del Mondo,â âUndecided,â âTwo For The Roadâ and âThe Best Is Yet To Come.â Gig alert! Lua Hadar and her swinging jazzsters band serve it fresh May 17 @ San Franciscoâs Jazz at Pearlâs.