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Fortunately for Blackbird’s Esparza, Jackie Gage is equal parts talent, energy and ambition. As soon as she bought into his concept, the San Jose Jazz marketer reached out to Abuelata, whom she met a year ago. Both of their bands were playing at the Blank Club in downtown San Jose, Gage recalls, “and I liked her vibe. She’s so organized and detail-oriented. It’s been easy working with her.”. It helps that the two women individually have extensive contacts and circles of friends. “Everyone’s saying yes, yes, yes” to appearing at Fatale, according to Gage, who’s also continuing her Blackbird residency on Thursday evenings with her future-funk band, JurassiC. So far the musicians for the Wednesday performances hail from Oakland and San Francisco as well as San Jose. There are hopes of booking musician from Santa Cruz and Salinas, too.
Thanks extra wide womens ballroom dance shoes to Gage and Abuelata’s efforts, at least one musical act is booked every Wednesday through the end of Fatale’s scheduled run, The first big show, on April 30, coincides with International Jazz Day, So far the lineup includes the band Sweet HayaH plus singer and rap activist Aïsha Fukushima from San Francisco, Gage is hoping to get world music vocalist Kat Parra on the schedule, too, Vintage-jewelry vendor Mel Scouts has signed up, and will probably be joined by up to five more vendors..
In the meantime, the two singers who will share opening night with Gage are stoked about the opportunity Fatale presents. Leila Motaei, whose stage name is Rabbit Quinn, says she’s looking forward to “the experience of being surrounded by strong female energy” at Blackbird. “Hopefully we will become friends and support each other,” Motaei says of her sister artists. “Hanging out with other women artists is liberating and comforting to the soul.”. A Mountain View native who now lives in San Francisco, Motaei has been singing and playing music professionally since she was 17 years old. She’s got a CD, titled Lost Children, that turned into a cathartic project.
“I was carrying around a lot of experiences, some of them very dark and negative,” extra wide womens ballroom dance shoes she says, “I needed to put them somewhere, to empty them into a vessel so I could look at them and understand them and heal from them, Lost Children was that vessel.”, Motaei’s “dark and romantic” music draws heavily from her background, “I grew up listening to Azeri folk music–my dad is from Azerbaijan–so it’s in my ears and blood, My grandma was from West Virginia, and so those beautiful folk ballads were sung to me a lot, I try and write what feels true, and those two styles resonate frequently.”..
Meanwhile, Steely Nash, whose real name is Jacqui Elliott, has spent a lot of time in soul bands performing cover songs. Elliott majored in musical theater at Roosevelt University, a Chicago performing arts school, and tried out for American Idol, season 11. She made it into the top 60, but claims she wasn’t sad when she got cut. “It was an epiphany. I learned things,” she says. “For one, there as so many blond Jackies singing soul. I didn’t want to be one anymore. I needed a new image.”.
Presto, Elliott darkened her hair and changed her stage name to the hipper-sounding Steely Nash, Since moving to San Jose, Elliott has split time between her extra wide womens ballroom dance shoes job teaching preschool in Palo Alto during the day and tending to her music career afterward, She and her band, the Cuts, can often be found performing in clubs like Back Bar in San Jose, “I love the concept of promoting females in music,” she says about her Fatale gig, The audience, she figures, will be receptive to her persona, which “is very girly, A lot of my lyrics are almost a cheeky way of being a feminist.”..
All this creative fervor is just what Gage was hoping for when she, Abuelata and Esparza sat down in late 2013 and sketched out a vision for Fatale. As for what she personally wants in return for all her hard work, Gage pauses for more than a few beats before answering. “Nothing, really,” she says at last. “I want to see my friends in three months in shows in San Francisco, Santa Cruz, all over. This is a moment for all of us to jump out of our local bubbles and make something happen.”.
I learned more than 500 people had already signed-up as Friends of Crown Beach, and more than 30 had volunteered to carry petitions to get the 4,500 signatures needed to place the issue on the November 2014 ballot, I’ve done this sort of work before, and the numbers looked very good, very doable, Still, it would be better to have more people working on this, signing up as Friends of Crown Beach and carrying and signing the petition, I understand time is precious, we’re all busy, our lives are full — and the neighborhood we live in is more important than the neighborhood across town — but tackling the same issue one neighborhood at a time, as extra wide womens ballroom dance shoes we are doing with Harbor Bay, Crown Beach and Alameda Point is thinking small and wasteful of energy and will lead to smaller victories rather than larger..