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Grammy Events Reviews: My Hang Suite & Janelle Monae

February 12, 2009

Written By Zanne of Deep LA

Monae Monae MooooNAE!

It ALWAYS pays off to listen to one’s intuition. I knew before today began that a woman of my early 30s-gone-77 paced lifestyle would need a nap part way through a pre-Grammy day, especially since I’d be rolling with the one and only Queen of Fusicology, Asya Shein.

A lovely brunch showcase put on by My Hang Suite in the O Hotel lobby featured Heavy D, J*DaVeY, Res (rocked “In the Garden”!!), Wayna + Janelle Monae and was hosted, “Soul Train style” (self-proclaimed ;-)) by Uncle Garth Trinidad, which started the day off perfectly.

Smiling we were, effortlessly fulfilling the request made by Janelle’s cover of “Smile” (Yes, she’s the got pipes to take that song in every direction and make it her own) and less overtly by her loving rephrasing of Garth’s question about her album being released on Bad Boy Records + Sean Combs. She clarified that her record label, Wondaland Arts Society does the choosing. After the music we lingered a couple minutes, just long enough for me to do what the 2nd half of my mission was:  Promote Deep LA’s 10 Year Anniversary celebration next Sunday Feb 15 (6pm – 4am).

A snack and nap were in order or there would be no hope for any more social frolicking for Zanne. So home I went, and home…I…love…and the rain began again. Umm…is there anyone in LA who’s calendar is not affected by rainy weather? You go, girls + boys! I’d be lying if I write “I knew I had to go all along” to Giant Step’s Mondrian event which was next up on deck. No, it wasn’t until the 5:30pm voice said “30 minute nap, and you’ll feel great + be so glad you decided to go.”

The more I call on that voice, the easier I recognize it over the verrrrry similar tone of the “other” that is always overflowing with every excellently tantalizing reason to stay home + read + chill + “go to sleep early because I have to wake up early…”

So I listen. Brush the teeth, toss on the clothes and red lipstick…text Asya that I’m on the way…

Get to the Mondrian Hotel to the Sky Bar event hosted graciously by Giant Step…by myself casually roaming about to see what this intuitive-final-say-having voice knew before I did…Garth Trinidad is spinning the perfect selects… Ah yes…here we go…I run into old NYC friends like Tyler of HVW8 and DJ Jahi… Lovely. Chat with a friend of a friend who’s publishing 2 books, congratulations, that is wonderful…

…Time for Janelle.

The place is loud while mostly attentive. She plays a similar set to the morning showcase, and though showing little expression as the Angelenos do so well, folks are enjoying her. Then the rock-out section begins, janelle + her andre-3000-favoring guitarist heavy head nodding…until she gets down into the crowd, roams….goes back toward stage…then back off into the crowd…
Then…
She jumps in the POOL!

Hallelujah! The Angelenos are looking more like enthusiastic European football fanatics by the second. I can’t see anything through the crowd, but the field of phone cameras overhead of the silhouetted crowd is reminding me of an illuminated birthday cake. She stayed in there a while! Next thing I knew she was back on stage opening a bottle of water to drink…which then found itself over her head slooowwwwly trickling it onto her mohawked-french-twist crown…until the bottle was empty. The theatre of it all! We love it. Her freedom unlocks the (self-inflicted) conformist chains of onlooking fans.

Just when I felt completely grateful for the entertainment and self-congratulatory for “deciding to go out”, I looked up…in the latern-laden tree next to the stage…she ain’t done yet! 3-4 minutes of graceful climbing was all it took to win over the any remaining righteous skeptics. Jaws open + SMILES on every face.

After seeing her live, Monae seems to do everything with the same vibrance and imagination (album artwork, uniform, lyrics, melodies, beats…) In one 30 minute show, she went for swim, rinsed herself off, then felt like exercising so she went for a climb. And by the way, she was sober through it all.

A little “nuts”…a breath of fresh air…answered prayer…whatever you want to call her…

People…gottta haaave it!
Monae monae moooNAE!
(You know the song.)

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