Nona Hendryx to Play Renberg Theatre, 7/12
The L.A. Gay & Lesbian Center's Lily Tomlin/Jane Wagner Cultural Arts Center proudly presents rock/funk/R & B legend Nona Hendryx, the two-fisted, avant-garde alumnus of the groundbreaking vocal group Labelle ("Lady Marmalade"), in a high-energy, multi-media-techno mix of new works as well as her classic material ("Busting Out," "Why Should I Cry?"). Hendryx's performance incorporates cutting-edge music technology, including a Plexiglas tutu with built-in speakers, wireless remote-controlled visuals, and the wired-up ability to manipulate digital instruments. With powerfully principled lyrics wrapped in funky grooves, soulful vocals, and driving, rock-charged rhythms, Hendryx is once again discovering new artistic territory and ushering in the future.
Hendryx developed Re-Wired with 20 students and faculty of Boston's Berklee College of Music. The students rearranged and rewired songs from Nona's catalogue along with new material written for the performance. Nona and three students, Jason Lim (video projections), Takahiko Tsuchiya (sound design & robotics), and Christopher Konopka (robotics) worked on the designs for The W.A.V.E Glove and M.I.T The Mini Tutu robot. Tsuchiya and Konopka also built the wireless sound manipulators to create unique and strangely beautiful vocals controlled by a hand gestures. The wireless glove transmits signals that twist, turn, stretch and freeze Nona's soulful vocals over rhythmic and melodic backgrounds. The material reflects Hendryx's broad range of musical ideas and interests, from ambient, atmospheric work to funky, rhythm and blues influenced rock and pop.
More information is available at www.nonahendryx.com.
$25: General Admission - Proceeds benefit the free & low-cost services provided by the Center.
From her beginnings with Pattie LaBelle & The Bluebells (the sweethearts of the Apollo Theater); to Labelle, the groundbreaking rock-funk band of the '70s ("Lady Marmalade"), to her stunning solo career, which brought her induction into the Rhythm & Blues Foundation's Hall of Fame in 1999, Grammy nomination for "Rock This House" and a Grammy win for Best Jazz Vocal Album with Mosaic, Nona Hendryx has always been at the cutting edge of music.
Her solo efforts have ranged from rock (Nona 1977) to funk (Female Trouble) to New Age (SkinDiver), with top-ten hits including "Bustin' Out," "Keep It Confidential," "Transformation," "Why Should I Cry?," "I Sweat (Goin' Thru the Motions)," and "Winds of Change." Sandwiched in between are fruitful collaborations with Material, Prince, Peter Gabriel, Arthur Baker, Dan Hartman, and Talking Heads. And over the past few years, Hendryx has worked with many young rappers/poets/hip-hop artists.
Hendryx collaborated on the successful "play with music" Blue in 2000, for which she wrote 11 new songs. First produced at The Arena Stage in Washington, D.C., it transferred to Roundabout Theatre Company's Gramercy Theatre in New York for a three-month run, where it broke box-office records, selling out every performance. Skindiver the musical is a work in progress, with music by Hendryx and book co written with Charles R. Wright, Nona's theatre writing partner and the celebrated director of Motown, the musical that's having a very successful run on Broadway.
Photo Credit: Peter James Zielinsk