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Sights & Sounds: Melanie DeMore

Courtesy of the artist/ Resized and cropped
Vocal activist Melanie DeMore

Sights & Sounds is your weekly guide to the Bay Area arts scene. Our guest is Oakland-based vocal activist Melanie DeMore. DeMore told KALW’s Jen Chien about three cool arts events happening around the Bay.

The SF Jazz Collective plays the Music of Michael Jackson and some of their own new compositions on Friday evening, 7/1, at Sonoma State University’s Green Music Center. This octet is the resident ensemble for SF Jazz Center and they explore some lesser-known songs as well as big hits from the bottomless Jackson catalog.


DEMORE: Let's face it, M.J. is one of the greatest. It's still a stunner to me that Michael Jackson is not here anymore but his music will just go on.

This Saturday, 7/2, the San Francisco Mime Troupe kicks off their summer season with a new show, Schooled, at Cedar Rose Park in Berkeley. Schooled tackles the privatization of public education and the dangers of not being well-educated or politically engaged. In the show, Lavinia Jones, mother of Tom, is fed up with the apathy around her son’s high school and sets her eyes on a school board seat so she can show everyone the benefit of for-profit education. She sits at odds with Edith Orocuru, a longtime, multiple-hat-wearing teacher, who is fighting to preserve her own ideals of proper education.



DEMORE: I love Mime Troupe because they don't play around. When I first moved to Oakland in 1989 and saw them, I thought, "These people are out of their minds, and right on the money!” I love the work that they do and I love that their work is so topical.

Vocal powerhouse Rhonda Benin performs at The Sound Room in Oakland on Saturday, 7/9. Benin’s band knocks out a soul, jazz and blues program while she brings the house down with a voice steeped in the traditions of jazz, blues, R&B, big band, pop and African American folk. Featuring John R. Burr (Piano), Ron Belcher (Bass), Leon Joyce Jr. (Drums).


DEMORE: Rhonda Benin is an amazing vocalist and songwriter, she has a wonderful band and she always puts on a great show. There's a lot of joy — and, sista can siiiing!