Sinatra is comfortable with dichotomy—and good thing, too.
She is, of course, the daughter of one of the most famous
performing artists of the 20th century, but she speaks of
her own career with clear-eyed and hard-won practicality,
and she casually dismisses any attempt to link it to her
dad’s legacy: “I always used to say, ‘Nancy Sinatra will
never be the man her father is.’ The whole issue is absurd.”
She first achieved fame in the ’60s, and yet today she performs
her act—with a backing band comprising former members of
Blondie and Guns N’ Roses—in rock clubs catering to the
post-MTV generation. She is the mother of two, and a woman
of, shall we say, a certain age; yet it was only eight years
ago that she posed for Playboy. She has been an ardent
supporter of the men and women of the American armed forces
for decades, and yet in 1999 was selected by the U.S. Postal
Service to unveil their Peace Symbol stamp. Her biggest
hit, “These Boots Are Made for Walkin’ ”, was a sort of
proto-feminist anthem, inspiring the likes of later tough
girls such as Chrissie Hynde and Kim Gordon; yet those very
boots—and the accompanying miniskirt—earned her the No.
12 spot on Blender magazine’s 50 Sexiest Artists
of All Time list.
a Gemini trait, Gemini being the twins,” Sinatra explains.
“I’m very—no, not very but partially—controlled by the planets.
I really believe in the force of the universe, and in the
And, currently, the force seems to be strong with Sinatra.
Touring with her rock band, she has had the opportunity
to reinvent her music, and—unlike many traveling nostalgia
acts—she has found that her audiences appreciate the effort.
people come now to see me,” she says, “they see pretty much
a garage-band rock show, and I don’t think they’re disappointed.
The response has been really good to all the shows. . .
. We still do some of the hits, but we can’t do them all
because—believe it or not—there are 22 of them and that
would be well over an hour.”
Committed as she is to her rock & roll road life, Sinatra,
in true Gemini style, has several other irons in the fire.
She’s just completed an album with the songwriter-svengali
who first defined her image, Lee Hazlewood, and their original
arranger, Billy Strange. And she’s working with her daughter
putting together an album of songs written for her by young
fans, Morrissey and Steve Van Zandt among them.
Sinatra is fully aware of the her status as icon, she’s
come to accept it; yet she still speaks of her career like
a working musician. For all the praise, she says, her ambition
is to bring her music to as large an audience as is receptive,
fun and loose,” she says. “It’s something we need in our
lives right now, just to go to a club and just hang out
and forget about what’s going on in the world. It’s nice
to give people a change of pace.”
Nancy Sinatra will perform at Revolution Hall (421-425 River
St., Troy) on Wednesday (May 14). Tickets for the 8:30 PM
show are $20 advance, $22 door. For more information, call
Pun: Still Not a Player
late Christopher Rios, better known as the multimillion-selling
hiphop artist Big Punisher, is the subject of the “raw,
painful and occasionally beautiful” documentary Big Pun:
Still Not a Player, to be shown tonight (Thursday) at
the Albany Public Library. Director Marcos Antonio Miranda
mixes footage of Big Pun in concert, interviews with his
peers and peeps—including Fat Joe, Cuban Link, Ice T and
Da Sick One—and his family, who reveal his struggles with
obesity and domestic violence. Big Punisher was at the top
when a heart attack cut him down at the age of 28.
Pun: Still Not a Player is being presented tonight (Thursday,
May 8) at 6:30 PM at the Albany Public Library (161 Washington
Ave., Albany). Miranda will be present to answer questions
after the screening, which is being presented by the Albany
Independent Film Forum and the library. The film is not
appropriate for children. For more information, call 427-4300.
curious image of Barbra Striesand announcing that Eminem
had won an Oscar for Best Song in a motion picture two months
ago may seem emblematic of the complete mainstreaming—and
co-opting by the profitmaking powers that be—of rap. But,
as aficionados will tell you, there is a thriving underground
culture of rappers, DJs and artists still pushing boundaries
and taking risks, operating outside the mainstream but well
within the adventurous spirit of the pioneers of the form.
This weekend, Albany’s Altar Records presents a three-day
festival to illustrate just that continuity: Break Fest
2003 brings together some of the legendary architects of
the urban music and dance community, and hosts competitions
to see who is best carrying the B-Boy/B-Girl torch.
The whole affair kicks off today (Thursday) at noon and
runs through Saturday night. Grand Master Caz (the famously
unattributed lyricist for much of the Sugarhill Gang’s “Rapper’s
Delight,” and former Cold Crush Brother) and DJ Power will
be on hand, as will DJs Odi and Chris Cool, of local radio
station Jamz (96.3 FM). Also appearing over the course of
the festival will be Afrika Bambaataa (pictured), DJ Kool
Herc and Grand Wizard DJ Theodore—men without whose work
we’d all still be listening to Seals and Crofts.
There’ll be break-dancing competitions, DJ and MC battles,
graffiti art exhibitions, a vintage-fashion show and demos
of mad skills by the heavy hitters. And all of it will be
preserved on film, as two separate crews will be recording
the proceedings for use in future feature-length movies.
Break Fest 2003 starts up at Altar Records (1040 Madison
Ave., Albany) today (Thursday, May 8) at noon, with sign-ups
for the B-Boy and Girl, DJ and MC battles and a break-dance
demo. The festivities continue tonight at Club Matrix (942
Broadway, Albany). On Friday, the competitions begin at
Altar Records at noon, and enter the semifinal stage Friday
night at ABC Sports & Fitness (3 Johnson Road, Latham).
Break Fest culminates at ABC Sports on Saturday night, when
the final competitions will recognize the finest in B-Boyishness
and girlishness, and heap great honors on victorious MCs
and DJs—who will then be ego-checked by performances by
Afrika Bambaataa, Grand Wizard Theodore and the father of
hiphop, DJ Kool Herc.
Day tickets for Break Fest are $12 in advance, $15 at the
door. All-access, three-day passes are $30. For more information,
contact Altar Records, 690-2816.