Thursday, June 21, 2018
Features and More

Review: '20 Feet From Stardom' has a joyous spirit of rediscovery

20 Feet From Stardom (PG-13) (91 min.) — Unsung heroes of song get their due in Morgan Neville's documentary, pulling backup vocalists out of the shadows to center stage. Their names are seldom remembered, or even known except for liner notes and introductions by headliners. But their voices, harmonies, hooks and now their stories are unforgettable.

One exception to the anonymity factor is Neville's focus, Darlene Love, who parlayed her reputation as a sublime sessions vocalist into a Rock and Roll Hall of Fame career. As a member of the generally overlooked girl group the Blossoms, she caught the ear of producer Phil Spector in the early 1960s, singing on several of his signature hits — including Da Doo Ron Ron and He's a Rebel — while the sound was credited to others. Love speaks with resignation about Spector's desire to be the only star in the recording studio, which she believes cost her the recognition she deserved.

Love's story branches out to that of Merry Clayton, whose career took off with the British invasion, when acts like the Rolling Stones and David Bowie sought a "black sound" in their music. "When the rock 'n' roll world came and said no, we want you to sing, it saved us," Clayton says on camera. "It saved our lives." One of the film's highlights is Clayton's recalling her shocked reaction to her first such gig, squealing the "rape, murder, it's just a shot away" riff for the Stones' Gimme Shelter, and being convinced that helping out Sweet Home Alabama wasn't an endorsement of bigotry.

Neville's documentary rocks regularly with juicy clips focused on Ray Charles' Raelettes, Ike and Tina Turner's Ikettes and a young Luther Vandross backing up David Bowie on his Young Americans sessions. Bringing the art form into modern entertainment, Neville tips his hat to recent The Voice contestant Judith Hill, and her involvement with Michael Jackson's ill-fated "This Is It" tour. The movie's talking-head sequences also fascinate, with heads like Bruce Springsteen, Sting and Stevie Wonder doing the talking.

20 Feet From Stardom gets a bit repetitive with its adulation for overlooked talent but maintains such a joyous spirit of rediscovery that you can't complain much. The movie should also expand your next concert experience, urging closer attention to background singers anonymously making the songs what they are. A- (Tampa Theatre)

Steve Persall, Times movie critic

Comments
Bar review: St. Pete’s Garage is a dive with Pride

Bar review: St. Pete’s Garage is a dive with Pride

Last year’s St. Pete Pride went smoothly, despite some behind-the-scenes drama involving the decision to relocate the parade to the downtown waterfront, rather than the Grand Central District, where it had traditionally been held. After all, the Gran...
Published: 06/21/18
Local craft beer of the week: Beach Slap Piña Colada Wheat Ale from Mad Beach Craft Brewing Company

Local craft beer of the week: Beach Slap Piña Colada Wheat Ale from Mad Beach Craft Brewing Company

"Hooray, it’s summer!" exclaimed no Floridians. But if it’s summer proper and not just the usual year-round weather, you might as well embrace the heat and humidity with a trip to the beach, accompanied by some suitably refreshing beers. While you’r...
Published: 06/21/18
Wine dinners, beer projects and more will wet your whistle this summer

Wine dinners, beer projects and more will wet your whistle this summer

FILIPINO FOOD: WELCOME CHISMISHave you been to the Heights Public Market at the 73,000-square-foot Armature Works yet? It’s the buzzy food market in Tampa Heights with more than a dozen vendors offering up everything from rolled ice cream to Cuban sa...
Published: 06/20/18
On stage this week: Freefall Theatre’s ‘The Musical of Musicals,’ Jay Pharoah

On stage this week: Freefall Theatre’s ‘The Musical of Musicals,’ Jay Pharoah

SENDUP: MUSICAL OF MUSICALSFive composers, a talented cast, choreography by Cheryl Lee and music directed by Michael Raabe — that’s Freefall Theatre’s recipe for a laugh-filled, season-ending summer musical, appropriately titled The Musical of Musica...
Published: 06/20/18
Artists’ talks and Sharon Norwood’s definition of beauty

Artists’ talks and Sharon Norwood’s definition of beauty

MARK MAKING: DEFINING BEAUTYBlack, squiggly lines are at the center of multidisciplinary artist Sharon Norwood’s works, an exhibition of which titled "Defining Beauty" opens at Tempus Projects on Saturday. Norwood’s use of the line in a variety of me...
Published: 06/20/18
Here’s the skinny on the ketogenic diet: What it is, how to follow it properly

Here’s the skinny on the ketogenic diet: What it is, how to follow it properly

It started with jugs of olive oil and cans of tuna, lots of it, which my husband hauled in one day and plunked on the counter. "That’s my lunch!"That was about three months ago, and every day since there has been a new entity in our house to consider...
Published: 06/20/18
Five ideas for rainbow-themed foods to serve at your Pride party

Five ideas for rainbow-themed foods to serve at your Pride party

More than 50,000 people are estimated to attend Pride weekend in St. Petersburg, which runs Friday to Sunday. (June is LGBTQ Pride Month.) Whether you plan to march in the parade or host your own smaller gathering, we’ve selected five rainbow-themed ...
Published: 06/20/18
My husband has been on the ketogenic diet for three months. Here’s how he does it.

My husband has been on the ketogenic diet for three months. Here’s how he does it.

This week I wrote about something with which I have become very familiar: the ketogenic diet. If you’re like, "Huh?" you are where I was three months ago, before my husband, Phil, embarked on the weight-loss regimen. The keto diet is a high-fat, low-...
Published: 06/19/18
Updated: 06/20/18
Jobsite’s ‘Dancing at Lughnasa’ should be more gripping than it is

Jobsite’s ‘Dancing at Lughnasa’ should be more gripping than it is

TAMPA — The virtues of Dancing at Lughnasa, with which Jobsite Theater closes its season, are many. This drama by the celebrated Brian Friel opened in 1990 to much acclaim. It captures a family’s joys and sadnesses, and the quickness with which one s...
Published: 06/19/18
A perfect pick for dessert

A perfect pick for dessert

America’s Test KitchenIt might seem impossible to improve on a perfect peach, but we decided to try. We wanted a simple, warm dessert that amplified the peaches’ flavor. To achieve tender, flavorful peaches with a lightly sweet glaze, we began by tos...
Published: 06/19/18