Hats off

Song Sung Blue

By - Nov 7th, 2008 02:52 pm
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Milwaukee rallied for one (or a few dozen) of its own last night – almost 1000 people showed up for the local premiere of Song Sung Blue, a documentary by Greg Kohs about local legends Lightning & Thunder, a husband-and-wife Neil Diamond tribute duo. Milwaukee Film literally rolled out the red carpet for the crew and much of the cast, notably Claire “Thunder” Sardina, who stepped out of her limo in a fabulous scarlet sequined gown just as we arrived at the theater.

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VITAL was there in full force along with hundreds of community luminaries and personalities. The film, though tragic, is joyous and exultant, an eloquent, oddball testimony to the power of love and of music and performance. The entire VITAL team – a hard-scrabble handful of toughies – was choking back tears at the end of the night.

Song Sung Blue – which has won major film festival awards around the country – certainly stands alone as a beautiful piece of documentary cinema, but seeing it in Milwaukee was extra-special. Walking back to the car in the rain we ran into Dancing Queen and Dancing Machine, whose maniac moves were featured briefly in the film:

And of course, at the after party at Shank Hall, where we crowded around the bar talking heatedly about this week’s monumental election, we were graced by the presence of Thunder herself, who gave a rousing performance with another Neil Diamond impersonator (“We call him ‘Frightening,’” Thunder said) as well as Dave Alswager, Mark Shurilla and the Greatest Hits.

And maybe the best part: I hadn’t realized it right away, but I spent most of the night sitting next to the bass vocalist of The Esquires, Milwaukee’s most famous soul band. When he was finally convinced to take the stage with the Esquires’ keyboard player, they joined the Greatest Hits for a stumbling – but perfectly triumphant – rendition of “Get On Up.”

It was a good night for Milwaukee, and it made me proud to live here.

More information on Song Sung Blue available here. Cheers!

Categories: VITAL

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