So I’ve mortgaged my soul away to the Washington City Paper‘s Fringe & Purge blog, all about the Capital Fringe Festival, for another July, just like I did last year. Come see what we’re cooking over there.
But here‘s my Washington Post review of R. Kelly‘s not-nearly-freaky-deaky enough Verizon Center show from Independence Day weekend. I really wish they hadn’t cut the phrase “singing Tourette’s.”
Oh, and here‘s a really flattering, kind of embarrassing thing Andrew Beaujon for TBD wrote to pimp my participation on a panel about John Guare‘s play Six Degrees of Separation at the Phillips Collection last week.
I am very sorry I haven’t called you back or answered your e-mail. September is looking very good for that.
The abz of Songz
In the post-R. Kelly R&B carnality arms race (or is it an abs race?), 25-year-old Peterburg, Va. native Trey Songz is in little danger of being outgunned. He may one day use his limber tenor to map the terrain of other subjects and emotions, but four albums into a career on which he’s cited Kelly as the prime influence, Songz is, to hear him tell it, a man whose devotion to sex is so pure, so singular, so encompassing, “monastic” is the only word.
Last night at a sold-out DAR Constitution Hall, he prayed a high holy Mass.
The 100-minute session opened with “I Invented Sex” and peaked with “The Neighbors Know My Name.” (Not because they accidentally got some of his mail.) In between, Songz issued a more humble declaration of fealty with no, ha, fooled you. He did snap a photo of the audience, telling us, “There is no me without y’all.” Save for some conspicuous pre-recorded backing vocals, his tour with long-lived R&B star Monica was absent big-venue production gimmicks: the gig succeeded entirely on its star’s vocal power, energy and charisma, all boundless, though you wonder whether he has any other hobbies. Truth, his main addiction might be work: His breakthrough album, “Ready,” is barely a year old, but the follow-up, Passion, Pain & Pleasure drops next week.
The Paper of Record’s DeNeen L. Brown on R. Kelly’s acquittal on 14 counts of various kiddie-porn-related charges in Chicago:
“His work has pushed the limits of what was tasteful and what was comical, moving from ballads to farce. His multi-episode ‘Trapped in the Closet’ sex opera has logged millions of hits on YouTube. Watching it, you know it is not high art, but the song and the story pull you in anyway — with the feeling that you are watching people you know, in stories you know intimately.”
I don’t have anything to say about this — I haven’t followed the case, except to the extent that Dave Chapelle got some good satirical mileage out of it. But Kelly, as always, has plenty to say for himself.