Pain Relief Beyond Belief





From Blakey to Brown, Como to Costa, Eckstine to Eldridge, Galbraith to Garner, Harris to Hines, Horne to Hyman, Jamal to Jefferson, Kelly to Klook; Mancini to Marmarosa, May to Mitchell, Negri to Nestico, Parlan to Ponder, Reed to Ruther, Strayhorn to Sullivan, Turk to Turrentine, Wade to Williams… the forthcoming publication Treasury of Pittsburgh Jazz Connections by Dr. Nelson Harrison and Dr. Ralph Proctor, Jr. will document the legacy of one of the world’s greatest jazz capitals.


Do you want to know who Dizzy Gillespie  idolized? Did you ever wonder who inspired Kenny Clarke and Art Blakey? Who was the pianist that mentored Monk, Bud Powell, Tad Dameron, Elmo Hope, Sarah Vaughan and Mel Torme? Who was Art Tatum’s idol and Nat Cole’s mentor? What musical quartet pioneered the concept adopted later by the Modern Jazz Quartet? Were you ever curious to know who taught saxophone to Stanley Turrentine or who taught piano to Ahmad Jamal? What community music school trained Robert McFerrin, Sr. for his history-making debut with the Metropolitan Opera? What virtually unknown pianist was a significant influence on young John Coltrane, Shirley Scott, McCoy Tyner, Bobby Timmons and Ray Bryant when he moved to Philadelphia from Pittsburgh in the 1940s?  Would you be surprised to know that Erroll Garner attended classes at the Julliard School of Music in New York and was at the top of his class in writing and arranging proficiency?


Some answers  can be gleaned from the postings on the Pittsburgh Jazz Network.


For almost 100 years the Pittsburgh region has been a metacenter of jazz originality that is second to no other in the history of jazz.  One of the best kept secrets in jazz folklore, the Pittsburgh Jazz Legacy has heretofore remained mythical.  We have dubbed it “the greatest story never told” since it has not been represented in writing before now in such a way as to be accessible to anyone seeking to know more about it.  When it was happening, little did we know how priceless the memories would become when the times were gone.


Today jazz is still king in Pittsburgh, with events, performances and activities happening all the time. The Pittsburgh Jazz Network is dedicated to celebrating and showcasing the places, artists and fans that carry on the legacy of Pittsburgh's jazz heritage.






Duke Ellington is first African-American and the first musician to solo on U.S. circulating coin



       In Her Own Words

That time when I was singing on stage and my mom and sister's house was burning.....

Thankfully my entire family was out of town.... no humans were home. While we sadly lost 2 kitties and a pet hamster, my sister, her partner Oliver, my nephews and niece and their housemate were all off at Louie's cabin in Pymatuning. They found out their home was on fire over facebook. I found out when my mother called me while Vinsantos (director of the New Orleans Drag Workshop) was explaining that to achieve a non streaky white I needed to dab (or pound as she so "daintily" demonstrated) NOT "smear" on my face..... my mother called mid-pound and said on the phone while I was upstairs at the Rex Theater and said in some hysterical calm that only mothers can manage "My house is burning, no one is home, don't go, there's nothing you can do, but I thought you should know...." And with that knowledge I went off to sing the role of The Dodo is this year's Morose and Macabre's Atrocity Exhibition about our take on the fable of Alice in Wonderland.... the promo for which all read "You can never go home again" (Lesson of today, be careful what you prophesy folks!)

I wanted to go after my act, but my brother in law said not to go, there was nothing I could do... so I stayed and tried to take in the absolutely incredible performances of some of America's creepiest performances, featuring burlesque, sideshow, drag and visual artists at the top of their game. Here is a shot of me, as the Dodo, with the devilishly delightful Macabre Noir, as Alice.
photo by Ang Delmastro-Harshman
I even made a pretty cool doll with the help of artist Danielle Robinson and manufacturer Zoe Collins. It has a usb drive with my "A Decidedly Creepy EP" featuring songs I have performed and written for past Atrocity Exhibitions. My head wasn't really in the game of of trying to sell too many of them though.... so if you bought one (Jess, Ed and Beth!) THANK YOU! You can see it's listing in my brand new just opened for the first time ever Etsy shop and buy it there!
That said.... we are planning a massive benefit show and thank you concert for those who want to or already have donated to help my sister and the family. They didn't have any renters insurance so they did lose absolutely everything (except the most important things, their lives!). I am thrilled to say that instead of planning a funeral, we are planning a concert at Altar Bar on June 2, 2016, all ages, suggested donation $10, tix available here:  
We would love you to attend! If you cannot be there, you can donate online!
We are going to be live streaming the event with the help of Taylor Hall of the Peace House in Washington, D.C. Musicians scheduled to performa include: Miguel SagueMACHETE - KisumontaoSosa, Zeeppo The-Clown and the Steel City Clown BrigadeLiz BerlinMoemaw NaedonSmokin' McQueenShad AliSlippy the Clown, HollyHoodMacabre NoirWest, Lita D'VargasBilly PilgrimChance EncountersLAZYBLACKMANHot Metal Hardware and Guaracha Latin Dance Band
And on top of all this amazing art events and communal blessings I have 2 major performances scheduled for the coming weekend for Memorial Day weekend I am venturing south.... to the beautiful city of Asheville, NC for Tenth Annual ABS Fest! Now I know that NC is on the no-go list.... but the people that this event celebrates, the very thing we are fighting for, the freedom to be who you are without fear of of violence, abuse and now the bathroom police, is celebrated by the Americana Burlesque and Sideshow Festival. This event is signed to help people be themselves and celebrate their god and goddess given truths. I am really hopeful that when people see how much better it is to be free, and to be yourself, that we can help end the attack on our LBGTQ brothers, sisters and everyone in between. To live in defiance of their hatred and oppression is a real tool against their violence.
Festival founder Onça O'Leary 
I will be appearing at the main event on Saturday night at the Orange Peel and I will be hosting the following morning at the Grey Eagle for the Sunday morning Burlesque Brunch! Tickets do sell out, so I sincerely recommend you visit the website and get yours well in advance! I am really excited to be reuniting with my old friend Bullfrog Willard McGhee for these performances! 
Get your tickets here, and check out their amazing schedule of workshops and classes in addition to the performances!
On Memorial Day proper, th' Bullfrog and I will be reuniting with our old friend Tall Paul Leech for a afternoon session of blues, bluegrass and jazz standards up on Black Mountain at the Lake Lure Festival
Upon my return from the southern wilds (and assuming I don't get jailed for my potential civil disobedience of peeing in the "wrong" bathroom) we have my sister's benefit and thank you concert (see above) and then that following Saturday June 4 I will be singing with Christiane D's band Amor Fati at the Layer Cake Festival at Spirit at 2:20 pm! My sweet husband Tommy Amoeba's band Amoeba Knievel to follow!
More info and how to buy tickets!
I have also just been booked for the Next 3 Days (N3D) event in Allentown and Mt Washington! I will be emceeing the kick off party on Friday June 17 at 7 pm and singing with my band The Cultural District and also with my husband's band Amoeba Knievel and more the following day June 18 at noon at Grandview Park! More info :
So, yes, my mother's house, where my beautiful sister and her wonderful family have lived for many years is burned, and it is shell.... I have no idea what is going to happen with it. But I do know that my family is still alive. My nephews and niece and sister and her partner and their housemate are still here. We plan a party, not a funeral, so to the Gods and the Goddesses, to sweet King Jesus and the holy blessings of Yocahoo and Atabe and everyone in between, I give much thanks now and forever. I am thankful for the hundreds of friends and family that have come forth to offer love, money, help, donations, we are blessed and humbled by your generosity and your grace. 
Thank you for letting us be in your life. 

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