The time we met Sheila E.

The Glamorous Life

Rebecca Jade.Lynn Mabry.Sheila E
Rebecca Jade.Lynn Mabry.Sheila E

If you go to the New York State Fair, there will be structures filled with animals. Lots of animals. We saw none the day before, so off to the cattle barn on Sunday, September 1. We went into the dairy barn. Nearby was the dairy products building, where the butter sculpture, which looked like two sockhop teens at a diner, was located.

We saw the aquarium and saw all the 4-H setups. Most counties were represented in the 4H area. Also, my daughter got her hair done and she decided to buy some product with her own money.

Mostly, though, we were vamping for time until Sheila E.’s 2 pm performance. I bought what was purported to be a chicken spiedie. A kid from Binghamton, NY knows what a spiedie looks like and tastes like. Was this marinated at all? And it was baked or boiled, certainly not grilled.

The Chevy Court, the outdoor venue where the performance would take place already had about one hundred people in the space by 1 pm for a 2 pm program, so we took our seats just behind a section designated for folks in wheelchairs.

My niece, Rebecca Jade, and I texted back and forth. She came out from backstage just after she arrived, around 1:30, and we got to get hugs.

SHOW TIME!

The show started on time with the Funky National Anthem: Message 2 America. Some folks stood. This segued into some covers of what sounded like Parliament/Funkadelic and, of course, Prince.

Leader of the Band was a song by Pete Escovedo, Sheila’s dad. For the first time, she performed the new song No Line, featuring Snoop Dog’s prerecorded vocals.

Sheila had audience members dancing onstage to something called Bailar. Lynn Mabry (I’ll Take You There) and Rebecca each got solos. This was in part because, though you couldn’t tell by looking at her, the star wasn’t feeling well, from some bad seafood the day before.

Still, Sheila circumnavigated the grounds, singing with her guitar. I couldn’t actually SEE her because everyone was standing, but I did see her instrument as she walked around the handicapped area.

She ended with a medley that includes her version of America, plus a bunch of Prince songs, including Baby I’m A Star. Naturally, she concluded with The Glamorous Life and a drum solo. Some of the songs were the same as two years ago, but hardly all.

My wife, daughter and I left, with a plan to pick up the niece 30 minutes after she got to her hotel. But as we got about a quarter-mile away, I checked my phone. Rebecca texted that Sheila wanted to meet us! We scurried back.

We went backstage with a couple of my sister Leslie’s friends, Cathy and John. John was the guitarist for sister Leslie’s first band in Binghamton, Crystal Ship. Kathy was the longtime significant other of Bobby, Crystal Ship’s late drummer.

Sheila and Lynn both came out from behind the curtain to the dressing area. Sheila hugged us all. Someone, maybe Lynn, said I looked like Leslie with a beard, which I suppose is an insult to Leslie.

We ended up at the hotel where was staying. Rebecca, all showered, went out with us for dinner. She explained trying to balance her own gigs in the San Diego area with being on the road with Sheila. She now has some entity to arrange her agenda. It was a great time seeing the niece for more than five minutes after the show.

After we dropped Rebecca off, my wife drove us back to Albany, frequently during a driving rain.

2017 in review: my passport is in order

They’re doing it all: killing health care, lowering taxes on the rich, destroying the environment, taunting other world leaders


This is that thing that Jaquandor does on December 31, but I do on January 1.

Did you keep your New Years’ resolutions, and will you make more for next year?

Ya know, it wasn’t a New Years’ resolution, per se, but my wife and I swore this year (and for about ten years previous) that we would make a will, and we finally did this summer. You should probably do that too.

Did anyone close to you give birth?

My friends Susan and Anna had babies

Did you attend any weddings?

Don’t think so.

Did anyone close to you die?

Shockingly, no

What countries did you visit?

None, but my passport is in order, just in case.

What would you like to have in 2018 that you lacked in 2017?

To live in a just country.

What was your biggest achievement of the year?

The aforementioned will.

What was your biggest failure?

Failing to create more Roger time, which can generate stress.

What was the best thing you bought?

A smartphone, my first. And I got that ONLY because I lost my flip phone that I had had for a decade or more.

Whose behavior merited celebration?

A lot of people, actually:
Robert Mueller
Those who went on the Women’s March on January 21
The #MeToo women and men
The folks loosely called the Resistance
The comedians, including John Oliver, Seth Meyers, Samantha Bee, Trevor Noah, the folks at Saturday Night Live, and, surprisingly, Jimmy Kimmel, who I did not particularly like heretofore
Those who helped the people dealing with the weather disasters of Hurricane Harvey, Hurricane Irma in Florida and especially Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico
Those who helped the people dealing with the human-made disasters of explosions, mass shootings, and weaponized cars

Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?

Supreme Court justice Neil Gorsuch, who appears to be as terrible as promised
The US Congress, passing legislature, passing legislation contrary to the needs and the will of its constituents
The US Cabinet who have the mission to negate all the success their agencies have achieved
The White House liars-in-chief, such as Kellyanne Conway and Sarah Huckabee Sanders
The litany of sexual predators, starting with Harvey Weinstein
And most of all, the terrible guy who promotes awful legislation, negates the progress of previous administrations, tells big fat lies, AND who is a sexual predator

Where did most of your money go?

The house, though we had no big projects.

What did you get really excited about?

The idea of retiring someday; also seeing Sheila E with Lynn Mabry in NYC in August

Compared to this time last year, are you happier or sadder?

Only a little sadder, but really pissed off

Thinner or fatter?

About the same

Richer or poorer?

Richer, marginally

What do you wish you’d done more of?

Sleeping, writing, thinking

What do you wish you’d done less of?

Thinking about Agent Orange

How did you spend Christmas?

Christmas Eve means singing at church, so that. Eventually we go to the in-laws

Did you fall in love in 2017?

Sure

How many one-night stands?

Jaquandor: “Now, that’s not the kind of question a gentleman answers! (Another stock answer!)”

What was your favorite TV program?

Finding Your Roots, CBS Sunday Morning, CBS This Morning Saturday, JEOPARDY!

Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year?

Hate is such an ugly word. But I certainly loathe the behavior of a whole lot of people; see above

What was the best book you read?

Inventing America: Rockwell + Warhol from the Norman Rockwell Museum

What was your greatest musical discovery?

There’s a group called Spoon I saw on CBS This Morning Saturday who I really liked

What did you want and get?

The new Hess truck

What did you want and not get?

Clarification of what I’m supposed to do about Medicare if I’m not retiring yet

What were your favorite films of this year?

I Am Not Your Negro; Hidden Figures; Kedi; The Big Sick; Fences

What did you do on your birthday?

I took off the day from work and…oh, who knows?

How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2017?

I still don’t get those pajama-like items being worn in public

What kept you sane?

Yet again I argue the premise of the question. That said, my dads’ group in church. seeing my best college friend more than once.

Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?

Surprisingly, Ariana Grande (who I disliked from her Disney shows), who showed up in Birmingham, England only a couple weeks after her show was disrupted by a bomb

What political issue stirred you the most?

Here’s the thing: lots of people said THEY are doing THIS to DISTRACT you from them doing THAT. I don’t believe it. They’re doing it all: killing health care, lowering taxes on the rich, destroying the environment, taunting other world leaders (unless they’re thugs, such as the guy in the Philippines), etc, etc. That said, immigration, and our restrictive policies is doing large and possibly irreversible damage to our economy, is probably my core issue. It’s hurting education, tourism, farming…

Who was the best new person you met?

Some new church members.

Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2017:

The trouble with normal is it always gets worse.

Quote a song lyric that sums up your year:

From Funky National Anthem: Message 2 America by Sheila E.

“That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness”

December rambling #1: Sheila E. turns big 6-0

Rebecca Jade [the niece], Ashling Cole, Sheila E., Lynn Mabry before taking the stage at the Paramount Theatre of the Arts in Oakland, CA during 60th birthday month of Sheila E., Dec 2017
How Facebook Figures Out Everyone You’ve Ever Met

“Apocalyptic” Melting Transpires in Antarctica as Earth Wraps Up a Scorching Year

The Environmental Protection Agency wipes climate change from its website

Huge Bubble of Hot Rock May Be Rising Under New England

Atheists are nicer to Christians compared to the other way around

The Jerusalem Issue, Explained

Joe Biden to Anita Hill: “I Owe Her an Apology”

Arthur voted for John Anderson

Inspirational news stories that are anything but

With 2020 Census Looming, Worries About Fairness and Accuracy

American prisons end face-to-face visits – and families suffer

Why Verizon’s insurance plan covers… nothing

Congratulations, Australia!

Racism, Fundamentalism, Fear and Propaganda

Americans receive ‘threatening’ automated calls telling them to stop criticising Trump

SATIRE! Palestinians recognize Texas as part of Mexico and World to recognize Moscow as capital of the United States

A president… unfit to clean toilets in Obama’s presidential library or to shine George W. Bush’s shoes

Former ‘Son of Sam’ at Albany Med for heart ailment

On SNL, Santa’s Tricky Moment With Savvy Kids

Derivative Sport: The Journalistic Legacy of David Foster Wallace

Colonoscopy…..is such a lonely word – as I heard a comedian say recently, life is like a colonoscopy prep

Once in a while the pessimist is wrong

Why we need art

in praise of second fiddle

Levidrome – a series of letters that yields up a word in one direction and a wholly different word in the other

Mark Evanier’s blog post #25,000

The Complicated Legacy Of A Panda Who Was Really Good At Sex

Now I Know: The Largest Man-Made Accidental Explosion and What Do You Do With 10,000 Pounds of Spoiled Mayo? and How NASA (Almost) Got Its Rock Bag Back and The Problem With Five-Cent Hot Dogs and The Surprising Way to Get Rejected

Talking about Kevin

MUSIC

Que je t’aime – Johnny Hallyday; and A million take to Paris streets for his funeral

Pat DiNizio, lead singer and songwriter of The Smithereens died at age 62

Happy Harry Chapin Day and Coverville 1196: Cover Stories for Billy Bragg and Harry Chapin

Trump vs Talking Heads – Swedemason

Coverville 1195: The Jimi Hendrix Cover Story IV

The Alan Parsons Project: If you believe in the power of magic…

More of the Whitney Avalon Show!

BBC: Perfect Day and God Only Knows

Rock and Roll Hall of Fame class of 2018 inductees. Performer Category: Bon Jovi (inevitable), The Cars (voted for), Dire Straits (would have voted for if there weren’t 19 candidates for five slots), The Moody Blues (my pick), Nina Simone (worthy but hardly rock – see Baez, Joan). Award for Early Influence: Sister Rosetta Tharpe (should never have been on the competitive ballot; just put her in!)

Sheila E. , B.B. King Blues Club, 18 Aug 2017

The singers are on stage left, which was close to us.

Rebecca Jade, Sheila E., Lynn Mabry
When we heard that the #1 niece, Rebecca Jade, was going to be a backup singer for Sheila E., the percussionist a protege of the late artist known as Prince, we were pretty excited. But when we found they were going to be performing in New York City, well, that became a priority.

First, get tickets online at the BB King Blues Club. Next, find a place to stay downtown that cost only an arm and half a leg; the Distrikt fit the bill. I took the bus down early for a work meeting, and the wife and daughter followed about three hours later.

We met at the hotel at 4 pm. I actually took a nap, largely because of some tooth pain (another story). We get to the club less than two blocks away, and found ourselves in line. It’s a dinner theater, as it were, and since I bought only the “cheap seats,” ($49.50 each, plus handling), by the time we got in, there was but one table left that was close by, stage left, already with a single patron.

We had a $10 minimum to eat/drink; easy enough. The Daughter had a cheeseburger and fries that was only $13. I had mac and cheese for $20, with a slab of salmon for an additional $7; not bad, especially the latter. The wife’s meal of shrimp and grits was not only overpriced at $36, but skimpy. I gave her a chunk of both the mac/cheese and fish, and the Daughter was generous with her fries. Her Mississippi mud cake ($12) was like it came from a box of frozen dessert.

Then the show begins, sort of, with two Sheila E. videos. Watch America and Funky National Anthem: Message 2 America, the latter of which shows the Niece at 0:58 and beyond.

The band comes out:
Lynn Mabry – vocals
Rebecca Jade – vocals
Eddie M. – saxophone
Mychael Gabriel – guitar
John Wesley McVicker – drums
Raymond McKinley – bass
Bertron Curtis – keyboards

Ooo, the singers are on stage left, which was close to us. We were watching Sheila, of course, but also my first sister’s only child.

Watch:

Love Bizarre (with a Prince/P-Funk/Sly Stone medley). The niece is in the striped skirt.

Purple Rain. A guy in a blue T-shirt was way too loud nearby with his running commentary.

17 Days/Alphabet St./Raspberry Beret, the latter with an RJ solo!

Girl Meets Boy. Sheila E. slows it way down to sing a song she co-wrote after Prince’s death. She says it’s available for free on SheilaE.com. She urged everyone to find a stranger and tell him or her that you love them. The Wife and I took that opportunity to catch RJ’s eye.

America/Baby I’m A Star/Glamorous Life.

A nice show. We see the niece after the show far too briefly, then went back to the hotel and were asleep before Snoop Dogg started his 11:30 show at that venue.

BTW, there were a LOT of people recording her, and she didn’t seem to care. The videos above were taken very near where we were sitting, on our side of the stage.

August rambling #2: Mamihlapinatapai

Mamihlapinatapai

Lynn Mabry, Sheila E., the niece Rebecca Jade in Philadelphia. We saw them Aug 18 in NYC!

Hymn: A New Poem by Sherman Alexie. The author addresses the hatred currently plaguing the United States

Children of Catholic priests live with secrets and sorrow

Salt Lake County Mayor posed as a homeless person

How we talk about ‘ethnic’ food matters

Why top chefs are starting to give dishwashers their due

The Symptoms of Dying

Questions for Me About Dying By Cory Taylor

Etiquette and the Cancer Patient

Female Lawyers Can Talk, Too

Actually, I was biologically designed to be an engineer

The Many Lives of Pauli Murray, an architect of the civil-rights struggle—and the women’s movement

For ‘Little Mermaid’ star, a rude awakening in Middle America

A study of the 1947 short Don’t Be a Sucker suggests old attitudes about fascism in America have never gone away

Mark Mishler: WE WHO WILL DEFEAT WHITE SUPREMACY

With teamwork and hustle, Toledo Blade dominated after Charlottesville attack

Robert E. Lee was against erecting Confederate memorials

Is there a Confederate general in my lineage?

Yorkshire Pudding of the UK wrote: “My initial definition of ‘trumpish’ is “egotistical, arrogant and boorish, having the capacity to swat away all criticism and blunder ahead in the unsophisticated manner of the 45th President of the USA”

HOW DONALD TRUMP AND ROY COHN’S RUTHLESS SYMBIOSIS CHANGED AMERICA

He’s A Racist In Public, And ‘In Private.’

He has a fake Civil War monument at his golf course and Lies About His Reaction To Charlottesville

The Real Story Behind All Those Confederate Statues

Silence is complicity; ‘support’ is collaboration

John Oliver: North Korea

Scott Pruitt Is Turning the EPA into the KGB

Border wall at National Butterfly Center violates property rights and worse

David Letterman Reflects on Harvey Pekar

The World’s First Robot Lawyer

Upstate New York is waiting for the next eclipse: April 6 2024

The Moral History of Air Conditioning

How (not) to memorise mathematics

The Meaning of ‘Mamihlapinatapai’

Yes, Your Manuscript Was Due 30 Years Ago

A Social Media-Fueled Bestseller List, of Poetry

Notes from a Baby-Names Obsessive

Albany’s Nipper the dog history

Safe and Healthy Formulas for Your Feline Friend

The day Captain Kangaroo visited Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood

Will Disney stop publishing Marvel comic books?

TV’s Original SPIDER-MAN Breaks His Silence

Woman Sues Cap’n Crunch Because ‘Crunchberries’ Are Not Fruit

Now I Know: A Penny (or 2,500) For Your Misdeeds and The Man Who Liked Himself So Much, He Went to Jail and The Balloon Expedition to the North Pole That Was a Bust and LEGO’s Grayscale Color War

MUSIC

Sheila E. Stands Up for Freedom in ‘Funky National Anthem: Message 2 America’

Pachelbel’s Canon in D, scrolling score

Rubber Soul

Back Alley Oproar

i got music, part iii: i like my hands (and will not cut them off)