At their annual Spring Gala that raised a cool $2 Million in support of arts in the community, the Kennedy Center chose A Celebration of John Lennon: COME TOGETHER as its theme. I was excited when I saw the best graphic backdrop I’ve ever seen at the KEN CEN, with colorful signature bifocals that Lennon was known for.
Add to that an exceptionally inspiring message from Afa and Aaron Dworkin as the super couple received a much deserved Award For The Human Spirit for their work in Detroit with The Sphinx Organization that promotes diversity in the arts, and I was on cloud nine as I anticipate “LUCY IN THE SKY WITH DIAMONDS” and other Beetles classics.
And then David Duchovny best known as Fox Mulder of X-Files fa me took the stage as the MC. After a downer monologue that wasted at least 12 minutes, he was allowed to sing, along with three other real musicians to kick off the musical portion of the event.
The salvation of the show was Esperanza Spaulding’s second appearance at the Kennedy Center in less than a week, as she followed up her collaborative tribute to Abbey Lincoln with Dee Dee Bridgewater and Dianne Reeves, with a spirited ‘drop the mike’ and oversized bass performance with the Rennie Harris ‘PureMovement’ free style dance group from Philly.
Corinne Bailey Rae, Judy Collins and Taj Mahal also added some much needed flavor as executive music director T Bone Burnett mailed in a pedestrian and forgettable evening of obscure Beetles music with one exception – “IMAGINE” that featured a slow motion duet by vanilla soul artist Amos Lee and Corrine Bailey Rae.
But the great thing about the Kennedy Center is they always reward their heavy hitter donors and supporters with a lavish After Party on the terrace level that includes a chance to meet and mingle with the stars and throw down on the dance floor where I even saw arch conservative Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos cut-a-rug as DJ DUG played the hits.
But with the exception of a few awkward jokes by Duckovny, it was a fun and non-political night under and around the stars, where the PureMovement team dancers showed out and set the pace for the evening!