This was my second year to have the profound joy of attending the annual Thanksgiving Breakfast Dance at the National Guard Armory in Kansas City, Kansas. Unlike last year, I did not get trashed and end up at a former Chiefs player's house in exurban Jackson County. And that's OK, because I had a blast and a half and was fit for family activities afterwards. Though not for lack of trying. Heh.
For those unfamiliar with the holy ritual, it's a decades-long concert tradition attended and maintained mainly by the local black community. For the past 12 years or so honky cat Roger Naber (former owner of the Grand Emporium, current operator of the Legendary Rhythm & Blues Cruise has organized the event. It's a 21-and-up BYOB affair to which people flock in their finest attire and get nasty on the dancefloor. It's like a Sunday-morning-go-to-meetin' where Southern blues and soul blare from the pulpit and everyone gets crunk.
I caught only two of the three acts on the $40 ticket, Floyd Taylor and headliner Millie Jackson, she of the notorious Back to the shit album cover, unjustly regarded around the world as one of the worst album covers of all time. One of the best, I say.
Now, the word "shit" means many things to Millie. She's carved an outright subversive career as a lyricist and raconteur of the bluest, earthiest stripe. During the slow vamps in the songs she and her enormous band performed (horns, castrati-like male backup singers -- which, by the way, is twistedly appropriate), she would discuss the waning of lust and sexual energy that comes with age. In that context, "shit" often meant "female genitalia," as in We're lying there in bed, and he all gets to messin' with my shit. And I say, leave my shit alone, I'm tired!!! ... and ... I've had a lifetime of fucks. Now, I only fuck two times a year, just to make sure my shit's still workin'!!! Now, that's paraphrased, of course -- her actual dialogue is much more eloquent.
Her black leather getup was anything but post-menopausal.
And the crowd sure felt the libidinous warmth, twisting and swaying through Miss Jackson's consistently downtempo set. In fact, one complaint frequently heard was that Millie refused to play anything fast. You know, get it on. Rock that bitch. She wouldn't do it. It was Slow-Dance Central, which worked for some, but kept a lot of asses glued to seats.
Her medley of soul-arized disco hits was probably the fastest part of the set. And look, I got footage! This ought to be downright instructional for you white folk out there. Here's how you get down on motherfuckin' turkey day.
Check out Bill's photo blog for more snapshots of the dance.