Sights & Sounds: 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.
- SF Jazz Collective presents the Music of Michael Jackson
- SF Mime Troupe’s summer show, Schooled
- Vocalist Rhonda Benin in concert at Oakland’s Sound Room
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!