>GRACE JONES AT THE HAMMERSTEIN BALLROOM

6 Aug

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Text, Vivian G. Kelly

TIME & PLACE: Thursday night, July 30th
@ the Hammerstein Ballroom, 311 West 34th Street, NYC

It’s music, it’s pop, it’s fashion, no…it’s ART – It’s the one and only inimitable Grace Jones.

We were thrilled to be attending the Grace concert, which was woefully underpublicized [shame on you agents and promoters for missing out on this platinum opportunity!] With icons dying off right and left [and in the proverbial threes]
– Michael, Farrah. Billy [Mayes] we want to catch them all before it’s too late.

SHOW DAY
Stars aren’t really expected to be on time [one of the perks of stardom]. The doors opened at 6:30p.m., and thanks to an attendee who had friends in the band, we found out that Grace wouldn’t be going on before 9p.m.

SHOWTIME!
We were squarely in the middle of the standing floor seating, squashed between a drag Grace wanna-be and boys born way after 1981 when Grace ruled the music scene in downtown NY who had recently discovered her. WE were in the same boat, unlike many of our friends; we had NOT seen her at the Palladium in the eighties in the early years.

FASHION FANTASY –She emerged on stage, singing, “This is Life”, in a black and white shroud – impossible to see the face or body – yet. She’s a rock/pop star, and like a Queen, she accepted the crowd’s screams of adoration – no smile. We had the first of many fashion moments that evening, admiring the handiwork of costume designer Eiko Ishioka’s handiwork. The Japanese costume designer’s credits include Oscar-winning costume designer, known for her work in stage, screen, advertising, and print media. She won a 1992 Academy Award for costume design for Bram Stoker’s “Dracula” and costumes for Cirque de Soleil.

FUN FACT
Total number of costume changes in 1 ½ hours [no break!] ELEVEN, each more fantastic than the one before.

OF SPECIAL NOTE
Grace is a woman who loves her milliner; that is she loves a good hat and knows HOW to wear them. There was a white patent gladiator helmet, a silver bowler hat, and a hat that looked vaguely Viking-like.

ROCKING THE BODY
You all want to know and that was the first question out of our friends’ mouths – “was she in shape?”
The answer, “yes!”. She looked as if she’d stepped out of a time capsule with her face and body intact, looking pretty much as she did in her eighties hey day.
The reality is that she’s known for taking extraordinarily good care of herself – no drinking, no smoking, etc. Add to that some dieting and maybe even a trip to the plastic surgeon. Even if that’s true, who cares? She’s set up a challenge for Madonna now, who looks wonderful at 50. Grace is 11 years older and still hot.

EIGHTIES FUN
Although the stage wasn’t huge, Grace packed in all the fun extras we loved back in the day. There was the wind fan, the laser lights, and the video screen showing MTV/VH-1 clips in the background.

BEST MOMENT – when Grace partnered up for some ballroom dancing with a tuxedo clad dummy and foxtrotted to “La Vie En Rose”. In between cracking jokes, such as “I’m 5,000 years old!” she also told the crowd that Director Roman Polanski asked her to use the song for his film.
If you didn’t make the New York on LA shows, you may have to content yourself with tracks on your ipod, it’s unlikely she’ll be performing again soon.

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