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The Sound & the Fury

Bett Butler and Hell's marimbas

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Bett Butler


Bett Butler is a busy lady these days. On February 7, she released American Sampler, a beautiful, minimalist take on classics by the Gershwin brothers, Cole Porter, Irving Berlin, and others. It is a collaboration of Butler (voice and piano) and bassist Joël Dilley, and it includes — among many highlights — an absolutely fabulous version of 1931's "Brother, Can You Spare a Dime?" written by E. Y. Harburg and Jay Gorney and turned into a Great Depression anthem by Bing Crosby. She will present the album March 24 at the Josephine Theatre, but before that she will return with another edition of the monthly American Musical Geniuses series 7:30 p.m. Monday, March 5, with The Lives & Music of Billie Holiday and Fred Astaire. It is a combination lecture (with author Herbert Keyser) and music by Butler.

I could go on trying to convince you why this series (and concerts) is a must, but Current theater critic Thomas Jenkins already nailed it, once calling the series "an absolute delight."

"The evening is punctuated at crucial narrative intervals by Butler's exquisite piano playing and singing," he wrote. "She's the real thing, and I could have listened all evening to her stylings. Her voice is like the sun in the morning, and the moon at night." I could not have said it better, and I could not agree more. The Josephine Theatre is located at 339 W Josephine, and tickets cost $25 for each performance or $110 for the whole series. Call (210) 734-4646 or visit josephinetheatre.org for more details.

As promised last week, here's a few recommended music-themed movies for this week's CineFestival. Aside from Marimbas from Hell, don't miss Oscar-nominated Chico & Rita, and Esperando a los Bitles (Waiting for the Beatles, a documentary on Beatlemania, Mexican style, 1 p.m. Saturday, March 3). All movies are $8 and at the Teatro Guadalupe, 1301 Guadalupe, guadalupeculturalarts.org.

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