Mistakes: A Tribute to Elvis Costello
singer-songwriter John Brodeur has been hard at work lately
in an effort to get a decent Elvis Costello tribute off
the ground, and by the looks of things, he has done just
that. Brilliant Mistakes: A Tribute to Elvis Costello, taking
place Saturday at Valentine’s, involves a mobster’s trunkload
of bodies—all in the attempt to commemorate the 25th anniversary
of Costello’s debut, come on, say it with us, My Aim
Brodeur searched far and wide for talent to take part in
his vision quest, and he came up with more than 20 artists,
bands and otherwise to perform songs by the new-wave quirkmeister.
Yep, it was 25 years ago, kiddies, when Londoner Declan
McManus—that’s Mr. Costello to you—unleashed My Aim Is
True on the world.
Hailed as a punk-rock manifesto of sorts, due to Costello’s
coarse cynicism and angry manner, My Aim Is True
offered the masses a glance into the artist’s passion via
a slew of musical genres, ranging from ’50s pop to reggae
to country. Costello began to record the album with American
band Clover and producer Nick Lowe, and though the first
two singles, “Less Than Zero” and “Alison,” didn’t reach
the charts, the longplayer debuted in ’77 to positive reviews.
Other songs on that release that you may recall: “(The Angels
Wanna Wear My) Red Shoes” and “Watching the Detectives,”
which became Costello’s first hit.
Costello went on to fame and fortune, following up My
Aim Is True with a gazillion other releases, such as
This Year’s Model (1978)—his first album with the
Attractions—featuring the likes of “Radio, Radio” (can anyone
forget his fuck-the-authorities performance of that song
on Saturday Night Live way back when we were young?),
“Pump It Up” and “(I Don’t Want to Go to) Chelsea”; and
Armed Forces (1979), with “(What’s So Funny ’Bout)
Peace, Love and Understanding,” “Oliver’s Army” and “Accidents
Will Happen.” You know the rest (hell, you knew all that—we
just like walking in the park and reminiscing). Costello’s
most recent release, When I Was Cruel, has critics
in a froth. It’s just like he used to be, they say, with
Rolling Stone claiming the album “is a collection
of tough tunes and textures that recalls—but doesn’t recycle—the
records that endeared him to his earliest admirers.”
So, at Valentine’s on Saturday, the Costello songs will
flow from upstairs and down, and the evening’s finale will
see John Brodeur and the Suggestions, with some guest singers,
performing My Aim Is True in its entirety. The lineup
includes out-of-towners Paula Kelley, the Trouble Dolls,
Steve Shiffman, Parallax Project, Julia Brown, Stephen Clair
(who used to be a towner), and gosh, many others. Local
acts are the Wait, the Day Jobs, Rob Skane, Michael Eck,
Mitch Elrod, Jason Martin and, gee, many others.
Some of the acts who schlepped into town will also play
the Fuze Box (12 Central Ave., Albany) tomorrow (Friday)
and Sunday (tomorrow: Paula Kelley Band, Julia Brown, Trouble
Dolls and local guy Carl Smith with his band; Sunday: see
Noteworthy, page 45). Proceeds from the event will be donated
to the Vietnam Veterans of America Foundation’s Campaign
for a Landmine-Free World, and the show will be recorded
for future release.
Brilliant Mistakes: A Tribute to Elvis Costello will take
place Saturday (Aug. 10) at Valentine’s (17 New Scotland
Ave., Albany), on both the upstairs and downstairs stages.
Tickets are $10 (and, remember, the money goes to a good
cause). Call the club at 432-6572 for information.
@ the Pillow
those of you who thought drag was reserved strictly for
cabaret tributes to pop divas like Judy, Babs or Liza, consider
dancer, choreographer and author Richard Move’s unusual
performance piece at Jacob’s Pillow this weekend. Martha
@ the Pillow is part satire and part homage, starring Move
as 20th-century modern-dance giant Martha Graham. With one
eye on camp and the other on art, Move will alternate monologues
with his own reinterpretations of her epic ballets. This
format, which bears an intentional resemblance to a variety
show, allows Move to poke fun at Graham’s Grande Dame image
while recognizing her legendary accomplishments with seriousness
Move first staged a version of this show at Town Hall in
New York in 1996, to near-universal acclaim. With subsequent
editions, Move has kept the show fresh by varying the selection
of dances, and changing the roster of guest stars and participating
artists. Martha Graham’s former partner Stuart Hodes will
be on hand for this production, as well as postmodern dance
icon Yvonne Rainer and three other dancers.
Mark Morris, no minor figure himself in the pantheon of
contemporary dance, sums it up best: “Richard Move’s a genius.
He’s more Martha Graham than Martha Graham was.”
Martha @ the Pillow will be presented at the Doris Duke
Studio Theater at Jacob’s Pillow (358 George Carter Road,
Becket, Mass.), Thursday, Aug. 8, through Saturday, Aug.
11, at 8:15 PM. There will be matinees at 2:15 PM Saturday
and 5 PM Sunday. For more information, call (413) 243-0745,
or go to www.jacobspillow.org.
warned: This is not your typical production of Love Letters,
A.R. Gurney’s 1989 play detailing the bittersweet, lifelong
friendship between a man and a woman as told (and implied)
through a series of letters. No, the performance Monday
at Lenox Memorial High School in Lenox, Mass., doubles as
a campaign fund-raiser for former U.S. Labor Secretary Robert
Reich, one of four Democratic candidates facing off in a
Sept. 17 primary for Massachusetts governor—and Reich is
starring in the play, along with his wife, Clare Dalton.
According to his campaign office, Reich is considered a
party outsider in this race, and deliberately has sought
creative ways to engage potential voters in his candidacy.
But lest you think this is a mere political stunt by an
amateur thespian, you should know that both Reich and Dalton
have theater backgrounds—in fact, they met at Oxford University
in England back in 1968 when he (then doing graduate work
as a Rhodes scholar) cast her (studying as an undergraduate)
as the lead in a play he was directing. And while this is
the only such production currently scheduled during the
gubernatorial campaign, it will not be the first time Reich
and Dalton have performed Love Letters together.
Letters will be staged at 8 PM on Monday, Aug. 12, in
the Lenox Memorial High School auditorium, 197 East St.,
Lenox, Mass. Tickets are $25 general admision; sponsorships
at $50, $100, $250 or $500. For more information or to reserve
tickets, call (413) 585-1256 or (413) 243-1111, or e-mail