There just ain't nuthin' Sugar Pie DeSanto can't do. Whether you want girlish and wistful, like the Chess nugget "She's Got Everything," or countryish blues, like on "Mama Didn't Raise No Fool," or, as is usually the case, hot-buttered blues like her signature song, "Soulful Dress," the former Umpeylia Marsema Balinton can pull it out. And at nearly seventy years old, the San Francisco native still writes most of her own material, and the teeny-tiny temptress Oakland bluesman Johnny Otis named her "Little Miss Sugar Pie" in the 1950s because she weighed in at about 85 pounds and wore a size three shoe can sing jazz, blues, and soul with equal aplomb.
Though DeSanto scored some hits in the '60s, it's her live show that has made her a sensation in her later years. She's renowned for her acrobatic gyrations, lascivious wit, and stage presence. She rarely plays out and we can't recall the last time she performed in the East Bay so head down to the Ivy Room (858 San Pablo Ave., Albany) this weekend for a 10 p.m. Saturday show and another at 8 p.m. Sunday. Cover charge isn't set yet, but it's sure to be worth it just dress light, because it's gonna be a hot one. Info: 510-524-9220. -- Stefanie Kalem
Soul legends in Coco
Have you ever wondered how some acts end up as headliners, while others are relegated to opening slots? Most of the time it makes sense, but sometimes ... sometimes you get a press release with the name "Al Green" real big, and the name "Isaac Hayes" underneath, at about half the size. Sure, Green has recently made a lauded return to the secular soul music that made him a legend -- but Hayes is Chef, for cry-eye! Yeah, South Park is kind of old news, but with his voice acting stint on the Comedy Central series, Hayes humbly created the greatest pop culture self-parody since the late Marlon Brando's turn in The Freshman. Ah, well. With luck, the opening set at the Chronicle Pavilion in Concord will be at least half as long as the headliner's. 8 p.m. showtime. Tickets: $31.25-$51.25 -- Stefanie Kalem
Be Happy in Your Work!
With his show The Human Race at Work, photographer Jesse Kalisher considers the cost of the lives we live. Work "is what we do to pay for our homes and our meals; for our clothes and our toys," in his words. In Agra, India, that may mean cleaning up the grounds of the Taj Mahal. In China, the morning commute may be two soldiers sharing a bicycle. Meanwhile in Napa, a Mexican immigrant farm worker loads grapes into a cart. Through June 10, 2005 in the lobby gallery of 500 12th St. in downtown Oakland. Info: MuseumCA.org -- Kelly Vance
Local Fave Returns in Triumph
But still lacks self-esteem
The East Bay loves to claim Adrian Tomine as its own, but the cartoonist has been spending an awful lot of time on the other side of the country lately -- living in Brooklyn, illustrating for The New Yorker and Esquire, etc. On Friday at 7:30 p.m. at Cody's (2454 Telegraph Ave., Berkeley) he'll be ours again for a little while, talking with Eli Horowitz of McSweeney's. What does a highfalutin literary journal want with a comic-book artist? Well, the latest issue is a compilation of contemporary comics, with work by Tomine and others. But pick up a copy of Scrapbook: Uncollected Work, 1990-2004 -- that's what he is really here to talk about -- a superbly revealing book, with early work, sketches, and loads of self-deprecation and failing relationships. Thank God for artists like Tomine. They make the rest of us feel normal once in a while. CodysBooks.com or 510-845-7852. -- Nora Sohnen
What the Fork - January 19, 10:29 AM
Culture Spy - January 18, 10:25 AM
What the Fork - January 17, 1:52 PM
Culture Spy - January 11, 9:55 AM
What the Fork - January 3, 2:06 PM