Thursday, June 16, 2016

N3D Festival on the Hilltop! Gospel! Summer festivals! Music, music, music!

Hello friends.... are you doing ok? Are you hanging in there? It's not safe out there for a lot of people. Well, in reality, it hasn't been safe for a lot of people for a really long time.... but recent events have proven just how unsafe it really is. I have been in LBGTQ spaces for a long time. I have been in African American and Latino spaces for along time. I have been going to gay bars since I was 16 years old and found out Zak's on 4th Ave and Pegasus had all ages nights. I started openly identifying as bisexual when I was still in high school. I got beat up by yinzers and neo Nazi skinheads back then too.... And while I have had more boyfriends than girlfriends, and I did eventually marry a hetro man who doubles as an Amoeba,  I never ever forgot or ever wanted to be too far away from my LBGTQ bothers and sisters. 
Image by Billy Hileman of Planet Queer, a Gay newspaper in the 90's in Pittsburgh, this photo from 1993
My first Pride march was 1993 when I marched with Ted Hoover and Art Manion of Pittsburgh Queer Theater and back then our Pittsburgh Pride parade was hundreds of people, marching for equality through Shadyside to a small community picnic in the park. Since then we have had so very many  wonderful changes.... Gay marriage is legal in Pennsylvania. Anti discrimination laws are popping up all over,  and it has been very easy to get lulled into a false sense of security. Pittsburgh Pride is now a celebration of thousands with food trucks and bars setting up disco parties in the middle of Liberty Ave with local eateries like Shiloh Grille offering "Big Gay Iced Teas"! Glitter beards and unicorn hats abound and the colors are brighter than ever and so our are the dreams and hopes of the all the beautiful Gaybies....10,000 Caftans is a movement and drag kings and trams men have their own floats in a real honest to goodness parade downtown right past Grant Street! Ru Paul is a household name, and well she should be!

But the stigma still exists and so does the ignorance and fear. HIV, especially in the Black community, is on the rise. Republicans keep passing anti gay legislation and spreading hateful lies about same sex marriage and trans people in the bathrooms while conveniently forgetting that straight men molest children all the time but no one is trying to keep them out of the stalls. They keep defending their right to military style assault weaponry and now 50 innocent people, most of whom were young and of color, possibly about to celebrate their own "Pride" for the first time in their tragically shortened lives, have lost their right to life. Their families are in mourning, their friends are devastated, the nation is in shock.... but we shouldn't be surprised. 
Image taken from http://pittspecialcollections.tumblr.com/post/132014666029/lgbt-pittsburgh
This level of hate is nothing new.... we just didn't have snapchat when someone torched the Lesbian bar "Bloomer's" back in the South Side of Pittsburgh in 1990's. We didn't have twitter when popular LBGTQ bartender Jamie Stickle's burned body was found in her jeep in the Northside and cause of death is still "undetermined". We didn't have have instagram or facebook when the "Cross Dressers" (before we knew what a "Trans" community was) most of whom were not white, stood up to the New York City Police department in 1969 and refused to run away or be ashamed or pay off the bribes to have a  semblance of a "safe space" in Greenwich Village at the now venerated Stonewall Inn. 

One of my vocal students this week asked if I had had "fun" at Pride this weekend... she had seen the photos on my facebook wall.... and I said to her that it was intense, and yes I had had fun and got a terrible sun burn, but it was amazing to see how far we have come and yet still be horribly devastated to understand how very far we still have yet to go. She didn't know the birth of the Pride Celebration came about to commemorate the incredible bravery and courage of those early drag queens in 1969 at the Stonewall. She didn't know it used to be illegal just 40 years ago, to be gay, that it was considered a mental disorder and if too many congregated in one place, the gathering was deemed illegal and a place could be raided and all the patrons taken away to jail where they would be beaten, raped and brutalized by both the police and the inmates. They never saw the pictures from my friend Tracy's grandmother's secret stash of photos from her bridal studio, where she used to host after hours secret parties for men to come as ladies and have tea in secret with each other in her bridal shop basement.... So, did I have fun? I was deeply honored to be included in carrying the biggest rainbow flag I have ever seen, larger than a swimming pool, locally sourced and commissioned by my old friend Richard Parsakian, proprietor of Eon's Fashion Antique
Image shot during the Pittsburgh Pride Parade 2016 just before we set the flag down and had a moment of silence to remember the victims of Pulse Orlando
He and 40 of our friends, some old ones like my friends Amy Kreger and Brother Strawberry and Sister Shortcake, whom I have known for decades, along with the Mayor Bill Peduto, Congressman Mike Doyle, County Executive Rich Fitzgerald and Police Chief McClay right behind the Dikes on Bikes..... I was honored to have the privilege to be among this incredibly beautiful, diverse, multi generational and beautiful community.... and I will admit, the glitter beards and the caftans got to me. I did have fun, but I also shed many tears.... We just have so far to go my friends. 

In 1997, a beautiful drag queen named Carmella Marcella Garcia, who sang just like Loretta Lynn, from Sarasota, Florida, taught me how to create my glitter lip look at the Gay 90's in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The first person to ever put me on a stage outside of high school was Ted Hoover of Pittsburgh Queer Theater. The most incredible jazz standard ever penned was by Billy Strayhorn, a gay Black man from Pittsburgh who became Duke Ellington's right hand man and composed some of th most beautiful and complicated music ever written. So, if you ever loved any part of my performance, it is because a Gay person helped me get there. Please help stand up for the right to exist for our LBGTQ brothers, sisters and everyone in between.  Donate some money to the GLCC, Dreams of Hope, Pittsburgh AIDS Task Force, Shepherd Wellness Community or GLSEN. If you here someone say "Faggot" or "Dike" or "Tranny" or "Queer" and they are not LBGTQ themselves, slap those fools. Or at least don't let them think it's ok. It's not ok to say the "N" word is it? Well it's not ok for a straight person to say the "F" one or anything like it either. Call your law makers and make sure they are doing everything they can to prevent this from ever happening again. Request protections for LBGTQ people and defense against discrimination. Tell them we need to get assault weaponry off the streets. Get educated and be aware and let's make this world one we are proud to leave to all the children, no matter who they love or what the color of their skin is, which God they worship (or don't) and what land they are from. If you want to pray, that's amazing.... please do. But remember what Pastor Shanea Leonard of the Judah Fellowship in Pittsburgh said at the Pittsburgh Clergy Consotrium's rally earlier this week: "I pray with my hands when I write about discrimination, I pray with my feet as I march for justice and I pray with my mouth when I speak out against hate" she also said "Every time we let someone on the bus mutter an anti gay hate slur then Orlando is our fault." We can stop this, but we must fight this hate in person, every time. So did I have fun? I think I did, and though it was laced with much pain,  there was also hope. I met a sister from the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, an order of nuns who believe that to sin is to be human, to celebrate it is divine and that we should expiate guilt in all it's forms so we can be as the universe created us without fear. Sister Tillie Screams has come to help Pittsburgh to set up a sister house here, so I still have hope. We just have to work for it. 

Oh yeah, did you actually want to hear about the many shows I have lined up? Cuz, I do, have a bunch of gigs, lined up, like awesome ones, with great musicians, and entertainers and artists.... I am exhausted because I just got back from taking Liz Berlin's and our Creative Life Support's  "We Rock Workshop" students to the Pocono Mountains to a resort to perform for the Pennsylvania Department of Human Services conference on adoption.... it was wonderful and painful to ride a big yellow school bus all the way across the state.... but the show was worth it! So proud of them! 
Me with the 2016 students of the We Rock Workshop with other teachers from Creative Life Support Mario Quinn and Shaunden Smith! 
And the week before that I was in North Carolina singing to a sold out crowd at the 10th Annual Americana Burlesque and Sideshow Festival.... 
Image by Isaac Harrell at 10th Annual American Burlesque Sideshow Festival at the Orange Peel, waves by Ed Pinto
And now I have 3 gigs this weekend and a summers worth of incredible festivals coming up! NO REST FOR THE WICKED! 

THIS WEEKEND
Friday June 17
With N3D Kick off party! 
Age Limit: 21+   Tickets: $12.50 advance, $15 at door, for Mt Washington and Allentown residents, $5 adv and $10 at door! I will emcee this event which features Beauty Slap, Gone south and local dj's, there will be an art show and enjoy the local cuisine from our Caribbean restaurant Leon's in Allentown and Kasvar in Mt Washington, the area's only Uzbeki restaurant and more! 
More info:

Saturday June 18

All ages, noon - 4 p.m. N3D Saturday concert! I will sing at noon for in Grandview Park where Beltzhoover Ave meets Boggs! This beautiful park has a stunning view of the city and I will be singing with Dwayne Dolphin, Carlos Peña and other groups performing inlcuding Christiane Dolores and her group Amor Fati, in which I sing back up with Geña Musica, Stevee Wellons with Izzy Arlet (guitar), Chris Belin (drums), Justin Brown (bass) and Paul Cunningham (keys) as our super solid trance funk band.....as well as other spectacular performances by my husband's space rawk band Amoeba Knievel and Geña Musica's rebel salsa riot band, Machete Kisumontao! Seriously, don't miss this one. It's going to be off the chain and it's going to be a stunningly beautiful day of music in the park! 
Tweet and Gram with us!  Program Hashtags: #N3DPgh #DestinationHilltop

Sunday June 19
All Ages, 4 p.m. No entry fee, free will offering. Please join us on the Father's Day for "Hymns for Him"! The gospel choir with whom I sing is run by Pastor Deryck Tines, an openly same gender loving man, and his voice (just like his heart) is as big as the sun! He leads the Lemington Gospel Chorale and the median age of this group is somewhere on the later side of life. We sing classic old African American gospel and we invite you to be in the congregation at St andrews Episcopalian Church in Highland Park at 5801 Hampton St. All are welcome! More info:  https://www.facebook.com/events/1744913045791026/

NEXT MONTH!
Saturday July 9 - the Lemington Chorale will be joining the Pittsburgh 200 Celebration and march through downtown for an event at Point State Park! 

Saturday July 16 - In Sherman, NY, I will lead the Brushwood Folklore Center's Family Choir, a Pan Spiritual, Multi Lingual Psychedelic Gospel Experience at the closing Saturday night celebration of SanKofa! If you want to join the choir or just come out to camp with us at this sacred "Sanctuary for An Open Mind" get your camping gear in order!  It is $20 just for the show, but if you want to camp out with us, the whole week is $150. There is a pool and a hot tub and classes and workshops and performances and vending all week long. For more info visit http://www.brushwood.com/sankofa/ 

Tuesday July 19 - In Sherman NY, still at Brushwood Folklore Center, at the Sirius Rising festival, I will perform with Pittsburgh's favorite sideshow and burlesque troupe "Kabarett Vulgare" on the MainStage. Tickets are $20 for just the show and up to $180 for the week of camping. More info: http://www.brushwood.com/sirius-rising/

Saturday July 23 - Oil City, Pa I am very excited to part of a parade to celebrate Oil City's rich heritage! I will be on a float with musicians from my band The Cultural District, riding through town during the Oil Heritage Festival Parade! We kick off at 5 pm at Mayer Street and I will sing all the way to State Street! 

SAVE THE DATE! 
Friday August 5 - Detroit, MI I am very excited to be invited to work collaboratively as a musician with the artists of Dark Passage and the Seafoam Palace. Phat Man Dee shall be the vocal element to a riverfront spectacle at dusk celebrating the totems that make up a regions history and fables. More info shall be posted, as this event solidifies, which may be difficult as the theme for this performance is "phantom islands".
More info about the event we have been invited to participate in: http://www.totemsfestival.com
More info about the Seafoam Palace: http://seafoampalace.org

That's it for now..... go fight some injustice and enjoy the music and the dancing while you can. We have right now. Much love to you. We are stronger together. 
xoxo
Mandee

Friday, May 20, 2016

That time when I was singing on stage and my mom and sister's house was burning.....

Thankfully my entire family was out of town.... no humans were home. While we sadly lost 2 kitties and a pet hamster, my sister, her partner Oliver, my nephews and niece and their housemate were all off at Louie's cabin in Pymatuning. They found out their home was on fire over facebook. I found out when my mother called me while Vinsantos (director of the New Orleans Drag Workshop) was explaining that to achieve a non streaky white I needed to dab (or pound as she so "daintily" demonstrated) NOT "smear" on my face..... my mother called mid-pound and said on the phone while I was upstairs at the Rex Theater and said in some hysterical calm that only mothers can manage "My house is burning, no one is home, don't go, there's nothing you can do, but I thought you should know...." And with that knowledge I went off to sing the role of The Dodo is this year's Morose and Macabre's Atrocity Exhibition about our take on the fable of Alice in Wonderland.... the promo for which all read "You can never go home again" (Lesson of today, be careful what you prophesy folks!)
I wanted to go after my act, but my brother in law said not to go, there was nothing I could do... so I stayed and tried to take in the absolutely incredible performances of some of America's creepiest performances, featuring burlesque, sideshow, drag and visual artists at the top of their game. Here is a shot of me, as the Dodo, with the devilishly delightful Macabre Noir, as Alice.
photo by Ang Delmastro-Harshman
I even made a pretty cool doll with the help of artist Danielle Robinson and manufacturer Zoe Collins. It has a usb drive with my "A Decidedly Creepy EP" featuring songs I have performed and written for past Atrocity Exhibitions. My head wasn't really in the game of of trying to sell too many of them though.... so if you bought one (Jess, Ed and Beth!) THANK YOU! You can see it's listing in my brand new just opened for the first time ever Etsy shop and buy it there!  https://www.etsy.com/shop/PhatManDee


That said.... we are planning a massive benefit show and thank you concert for those who want to or already have donated to help my sister and the family. They didn't have any renters insurance so they did lose absolutely everything (except the most important things, their lives!). I am thrilled to say that instead of planning a funeral, we are planning a concert at Altar Bar on June 2, 2016, all ages, suggested donation $10, tix available here: https://www.ticketfly.com/purchase/event/1197081?utm_medium=bks  
We would love you to attend! If you cannot be there, you can donate online!

We are going to be live streaming the event with the help of Taylor Hall of the Peace House in Washington, D.C. Musicians scheduled to perform include: Miguel Sague, Pastor Deryck Tines, MACHETE - KisumontaoSosa, Zeeppo The-Clown and the Steel City Clown BrigadeLiz BerlinMoemaw NaedonSmokin' McQueenShad AliSlippy the Clown, HollyHoodMacabre NoirWest, Lita D'VargasBilly PilgrimChance EncountersLAZYBLACKMANHot Metal Hardware and Guaracha Latin Dance Band

And on top of all this amazing art events and communal blessings I have 2 major performances scheduled for the coming weeks.....next weekend for Memorial Day weekend I am venturing south.... to the beautiful city of Asheville, NC for Tenth Annual ABS Fest! Now I know that NC is on the no-go list.... but the people that this event celebrates, the very thing we are fighting for, the freedom to be who you are without fear of of violence, abuse and now the bathroom police, is celebrated by the Americana Burlesque and Sideshow Festival. This event is signed to help people be themselves and celebrate their god and goddess given truths. I am really hopeful that when people see how much better it is to be free, and to be yourself, that we can help end the attack on our LBGTQ brothers, sisters and everyone in between. To live in defiance of their hatred and oppression is a real tool against their violence.
Festival founder Onça O'Leary 
I will be appearing at the main event on Saturday night at the Orange Peel and I will be hosting the following morning at the Grey Eagle for the Sunday morning Burlesque Brunch! Tickets do sell out, so I sincerely recommend you visit the website and get yours well in advance! I am really excited to be reuniting with my old friend Bullfrog Willard McGhee for these performances! 
Get your tickets here, and check out their amazing schedule of workshops and classes in addition to the performances! http://www.absfest.com/schedule/

On Memorial Day proper, th' Bullfrog and I will be reuniting with our old friend Tall Paul Leech for a afternoon session of blues, bluegrass and jazz standards up on Black Mountain at the Lake Lure Festival

Upon my return from the southern wilds (and assuming I don't get jailed for my potential civil disobedience of peeing in the "wrong" bathroom) we have my sister's benefit and thank you concert (see above) and then that following Saturday June 4 I will be singing with Christiane D's band Amor Fati at the Layer Cake Festival at Spirit at 2:20 pm! My sweet husband Tommy Amoeba's band Amoeba Knievel to follow!
More info and how to buy tickets! http://layercakefest.com
I have also just been booked for the Next 3 Days (N3D) event in Allentown and Mt Washington! I will be emceeing the kick off party on Friday June 17 at 7 pm and singing with my band The Cultural District and also with my husband's band Amoeba Knievel and more the following day June 18 at noon at Grandview Park! More info : http://www.nextpittsburgh.com/features/explore-allentown-mt-washington-next-3-days/

So, yes, my mother's house, where my beautiful sister and her wonderful family have lived for many years is burned, and it is shell.... I have no idea what is going to happen with it. But I do know that my family is still alive. My nephews and niece and sister and her partner and their housemate are still here. We plan a party, not a funeral, so to the Gods and the Goddesses, to sweet King Jesus and the holy blessings of Yocahoo and Atabe and everyone in between, I give much thanks now and forever. I am thankful for the hundreds of friends and family that have come forth to offer love, money, help, donations, we are blessed and humbled by your generosity and your grace. 

Thank you for letting us be in your life. 

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Film screenings! Theater openings! Strange weddings and a Jabberwocky!

Though the skies over Pittsburgh may be attempting to belie the truth, spring is here and for Phat Man Dee that means fabulous events, grand openings, social justice disco and more!
Join us this Friday April 8 when Lawrenceville's hottest concert hall and pizza palace, Spirit, turns 1 year old!
For a venue which gives life to psychedelic haunted mazes and the best pizza below Butler, I cannot wait to see what their next year will bring! I am singing at midnight, but get there early to catch all the performances by Pittsburgh underground icons as Grand BuffetThe Gotobeds, Jordan Weeks, FOSTER CARE, Shaky ShrinesSOFTSPOTGiggly Boys, TWIZ (AKA Old Dream)! 
More info and ticket link: FB page: https://www.facebook.com/events/1032252676864010/Tickets ($10 adv, $15 day of) : https://spiritpgh.yapsody.com/event/index/35695/spirit-turns-1Spirit is located at 252 51st St, Lawrenceville, Pittsburgh

To see more of what I have been spending my time on, please come out on Tuesday April 12 to Pittsburgh Filmmakers Melwood Screening Room for Film Kitchen! Join us for a magical evening gazing at the silver screen, munching popcorn and laughing together, at one of the nation's oldest film collective's theatre! Hosted by local filmmaker and cinemagraphic whiz kid Matthew R. Day, originator of such roles as Julius Duvatine and Squirellilla, this evening is sure to amaze and delight!

This series features the work of local movie makers and this month they are screening my work from "Take it to the Bridge with Phat Man Dee", as well as the world premiere of Amoeba Knievel's new music video "Cowboy Ed and the Caterpillar".
FB event page: https://www.facebook.com/events/852104374898508/
Movies to be featured include video from my international musical series includes musical duets with musicians and dancers on bridges all over Europe! See Phat Man Dee sing with musician Nik Phelps in Belgium! See her scat with Moe Seeager in Paris! Sing for dancer Wonderful Ginger in Rome! Get down with the Church of Malcolm in Scotland! Sing gospel with Tracey Adele Cooper and Jodi Phlegar in Germany! Sing with Jake Goldwasser at the World Body Painting Festival in Austria! Sing in view of the basilica with Daniele Mutino, accordionist and singing story teller! Also presenting #new and #unseen footage!!!  Video shot and edited by both Take it to the Bridge with Phat Man Dee and Alistair McQueen of Smoke This Productions. Anthing else could happen as well, so don't miss it! And don't be late, or you'll miss all the beer!
Showtime 7 pm. Only $5! All ages!
Pittsburgh Filmmakers Melwood Screening Room is located at 477 Melwood Ave, Pittsburgh!


April 16 JUST ANNOUNCED! I will be performing at the new venue in Mr Smalls theater, an intimate 150 seat, limited capacity venue called "The Funhouse at Mr Smalls". I will be sharing the bill with Liz Berlin of Rusted Root! We will be performing our own sets and then, because sometimes not only dreams, but April Fools jokes really do come true, Liz and I will be performing a set of of social justice songs for a new genre we are defining called "Social Justice Disco".....  I can see this needs some explaining.... On April 1, this year, on my private FB page I made a series of ever more bizarre announcements, ranging from announcing that concert promoter Brian Drusky and I were going to get married while my current husband Tommy Amoeba would don my old half man-half woman sideshow costume and be both ring bearer and flower girl.... I then later said Wendy Bell and I were going to wrestle in Ramen noodles and donate the $$ to Wwhats Up Pittsburgh? and then I said I would be playing Zoe Saldana, playing Nina Simone, in an up and coming zombie documentary bio pic called "I've Got You Under My Skins"....I think in one update I  may have challenged Mayor Peduto to a round of Isaly's Chip Chopped Ham Wrestling during the Arts Festival.... and in there was the announcement that Liz Berlin (who is my boss at We Rock Workshop) and I were working on a Social Justice Disco album with the Pittsburgh Symphony and members of Rusted Root.... so what happens but Liz texts me and is like "yeah, we should absolutely do that!" While we have not gotten the symphony or any other members of Rusted Root on board yet, the music won't be stopped! Liz and I intend to work on Anne Feeny's "Have You Been to Jail for Justice" and Billy Bragg's and Woody Guthrie's "All You Fascists are Bound for Hell" and They Might Be Giant's "Your Racist Friend"..... So, I am not sure about times, or ticketing info or anything, I will put it all up on my calendar when I get the info, so check my web calendar closer to the actual date and stay tuned on my twitter and fb pages.....

And on April 30, I am thrilled to say I will be singing at a most nefarious wedding of 2 very old friends of mine, Mr Arm and Velda Von Minx of Trundle Manor!
It's a day long festival, and its open to the public. It will be unlike any wedding you have ever seen before! More info on the wedding registry and event itself: http://trundlemanor.com

Saturday May 14, 2016! Buy your tickets in advance, (from me if possible) to this year's Morose and Macabre's Atrocity Exhibition VIII: Jabberwocky!!!!! I am thrilled to be part again of Morose & Macabre's annual cavalcade of the beautiful and bizarre. The Atrocity Exhibition promises to create an immersive theater experience that tells one horribly wonderful story through the art of nationally recognized sideshow, burlesque, and cabaret entertainers. The Atrocity Exhibition is also host to an array of exhibiting artists and artisans for those of a darker sensibility.  This year, the event takes us to a place where innocence is lost, nothing is as it seems, no one can be trusted, and most importantly, there is no way home.
Welcome to Wonderland...watch your head.
The Atrocity Exhibition takes place at the Rex Theater, 1602 E Carson St, South Side, Pittsburgh
Over 21, advance tickets STRONGLY recomennded 
9:00 GENERAL ADMISSION - 21 AND UP ONLY
$15 IN ADVANCE - $17 NIGHT OF SHOW
For ticketing and information visit: WWW.MOROSEANDMACABRE.COM

Save the date!!! May 27, 28, 29 I will be heading south to Asheville, NC to perform in the 10th Annual Americana Burlesque and Sideshow Festival known as "ABS Fest"! I will be singing in the gala event on Saturday night at the Orange Peel, and I will be emceeing and singing at the Sunday morning Burlesque Brunch with my old friend th' Bullfrog Willard McGhee, as we celebrate the feminine (and possibly masculine) divine in a sea of sacred mimosas and tassel twirling! Join us for a weekend of amazing performances, workshops, vendors and community! For schedule and ticketing info: http://www.absfest.com/schedule/ 

That's it for now folks! Except, please, for the love of all that is holy, get to the polls and vote.... I don't want to tell you who to vote for, but I don't mind sharing that I am absolutely voting for John Fetterman, currently mayor of Braddock, PA, for his bid in the senate race of Pennsylvania and I am also strongly supporting Bernie Sanders for his presidential bid. We need to continue supporting change and evolution, and I am all about rebuilding infrastructure, health care and education for all.
Tomorrow is not promised, friends, we must work for it!

Love, power, compassion, thank you for being in my world, Mandee

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Jazz at Blue Moon Bar this Sunday! 23rd Annual Ides of March March! New videos about fascists and weddings!

Friends! So much is happening! It's crazy, how much is going on, it's hard to keep up with myself!

I am singing this Sunday March 13th at the Blue Moon Bar in Lawrenceville, with guitarist Carlos Peña! 10 pm, 21 and over, no cover, 5115 Butler St, Lawrenceville!
More info: https://www.facebook.com/events/1754252291472851/
I just love this venue, it is small and intimate, non smoking, the home for the best Drag artists in the city, and has extremely generous wine pours! There is no cover! It's free! Just come on down and go to the bar that Cheers would have been if it had been run by your Gay yinzer uncle! The evening is presented by an up and coming filmmaker and producer Smokin' McQueen!

However before that fateful performance, specifically in about 17 hours of the posting of this blog/email blast, if you would like to know what *I* recommend on a Friday night in Pittsburgh....May I suggest that you attend Friday March 11you might attend the 33rd Anniversary Concert celebrating the Afro American Music Institute? The Spelman College Jazz Ensemble is the guest artist, they are here all the way from Atlanta, GA and also performing will be the Jazz Lab students, who are taught weekly by my old friend Howie Alexander! They sound great and the future of music is safe with these young ones! They rehearse right after my own vocal class every Saturday and if you can make it tomorrow you will really be in for a treat! 7 pm at St James AME church, 444 Lincoln Ave, in Homewood! $10, all ages!
More info:
and then later this same night on Friday March 11 I whole heartedly recommend an evening of rock n roll, clowns, earnest singer songwriters and the best Polish food in the 'Burgh! At the Bloomfield Bridge Tavern, 4412 Liberty Ave, Bloomfield! 10 pm, 21 and over, $5!
With my sweet husband Tommy Amoeba's band Amoeba Knievel, Slippy the Clown, Dru and Amy MmmHmm and Robin Votes! Also the World Video Premiere of Amoeba Knievel's FIRST EVER music video,  created by Smokin' McQueen of Smoke This Productions, of "Cowboy Ed and the Caterpillar"!  More info: https://www.facebook.com/events/191793034518671/

AND THEN THE THING YOUVE BEEN WAITING 23 YEARS FOR!!!! BEWARE! BEWARE!!!!!!

On Tuesday March 15 is the 23rd Annual Ides of March March!!! 
Come march with us for no particular reason at all! This proud and completely unreasonable annual tradition has plagued the Southside for over 2 decades! Join us with your heads held high in a celebration of the IT that IS! For we are, we have been and we shall continue to be for as long as we are able! Beat the gong soundly and dress up like the best version of you that you could imagine! Afterwards we retire for a bit of cake and coffee, so wear some comfortable walking shoes and bring your own percussion! Clowns and nefarious ne'er do wells welcome!
Gather 6 pm at 12th and Carson! March at 6:30!
More info:
https://www.facebook.com/events/1072236659474513/

And then the DAY AFTER THAT (no rest for the artful) I am singing on Wednesday March 16 with Christiane D at Artful Wednesdays at the University of Pittsburgh's William Pitt Student Union!  All ages, 12 pm, no cover, at 5th and Bigelow, in Oakland!
More info about the show: https://www.facebook.com/events/831030443692824/
It's at NOON, so don't be late! I sang on her record, if you would like to download it check it out! http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/christianed3

And then..... as I started the week singing in a Gay bar.... and because every good story uses bookends.... something that is reminiscent of that which was at the beginning is again referenced in the end.... I shall go back to my roots and sing for a benefit fundraiser for the nation's ONLY LBGTQ BURLESQUE FESTIVAL! On Friday March 18, we shall celebrate the Fierce Queer Burlesque Festival and perform a murder mystery burlesque variety cabaret extravaganza at James Street Gastropub! I am on FIRST so if you want to see me DON'T BE LATE! There are over 26 performers, so if you are late, there will be plenty of bawdy beauties to tempt the eyes!
9 pm, $5, over 21 only, 422 Foreland St, Northside!
More info about Fierce NOIR: https://www.facebook.com/events/1086719181359276/

And as if that was not enough, all these opportunities to see me LIVE and IN PERSON, iffen you just live too far away, or you work too much, or you would like to share the fascinating world of Phat Man Dee with a friend or loved one.... please enjoy these video offerings.... the first video here is one shot and edited by Smokin' McQueen and myself at the World Bodypainting Festival in Austria during European adventures last year. I sing with a young musician named Jake Goldwasser who was on his way to study at the Conservatory of Music in Vienna.... the models and the incredible artists who painted them were so inspiring and beautiful, I was so happy for the opportunity to sing to them while they worked!
https://youtu.be/tkkVNYbq0WA

And, because the world isn't all body painted wood elves who play the flute....I have been feeling the fear of the nation building around me, as madness threatens to create a hellish kingdom on this earth.... I believe that we on the planet are one people, with the capacity to love and honor each other and celebrate our diversity with opportunity, equity and respect. Not everyone feels this way. As a patriotic American I have a sacred duty to do my best to prevent the rise of fascism. If his name is Trump, if his name is Cruz, or Toomey or even Hitler, whatever you call him, we need to fight the home grown "American" terrorists who would like to see him in the Oval office. So, I wrote a song about it. It is in demo form, I just wrote it and I recorded it in my home studio, it's not what I would consider a finished piece by any means, but if you would like to check it out, here is the demo for "4th Reich is Rising" by Phat Man Dee.
https://youtu.be/kDdGFAU1x6Ehttps://youtu.be/kDdGFAU1x6E

One final thought, horrible thing happened yesterday,  something I can't understand. A family was massacred while having a bar be que in their back yard, in Wilkinsburg, PA, its a small city just east of Pittsburgh. I have been there many times. It is on hard times, but there are some wonderful people who live there. Today there are 5 less. 5 people and an  unborn baby were shot and killed. There are 11 children orphaned now as a result. The family has a fund set up at Citizen's Bank, the "Shelton-Powell Memorial Fund". If you can share something, they have many people to bury and now many children to care for. The bank info is Citizen's Bank, 2020 Ardmore Blvd, phone: 412-271-9183.

As I cannot just let you go on that horrible reality, I wrote a song called "Why Wait (to say I Love You)" which the World Bodypainting Festival featured in a video they made of my dear friend's wedding! My friends Madelyn and Scott are award winning bodypaint artists from the Livingbrush, which is the reason I went to the festival last July in Austria.... my song is my way of saying don't wait. If you love someone, now is the time to say it. Now is the time to love. Now is the time to be beautiful.

https://youtu.be/0xMeCMmWgcQ

One love,
Mandee

Sunday, February 7, 2016

It's Phat Tuesday!

Well, almost! Down in New Orleans and all over the world Carnevale is happening, parades are swinging, masks and beads adorning the beautiful people as they make merry and celebrate life! I am doing my part to help raise a glass and sing some songs and bring the glitter and the fun! In the spirit of Mardi Gras I hope you will join me next Tuesday!
Tuesday, February 9, 2016 from 6-9 pm
Chaz and Odette, 5102 Baulm Blvd, Pittsburgh, PA 15224
Join me and members of the Cultural District, Carlos Peña - guitar, Dwayne Dolphin - bass, and Miguel Sague III - conga, as we light up the most decadent night of the year! No stranger to good jazz, great cuisine and fabulously feathered masks, I am thrilled to add my voice to the superior dining and drinking experience as only one of Pittsburgh's most delightful divas can! Fresh ingredients, a multicultural menu and a homey atmosphere really make Chaz and Odette one of the hottest new restaraunts on the scene. They offer live jazz every Sunday night but have decided to make their first Fat Tuesday as "Phat" as it can be! Don't miss out on this exciting evening of great food, wonderful music and celebration! The word is that Odette shall be bringing in the beads! 
Dinner reservations highly recommended, please visit the website to make the reservation or call (412) 683-8300
More info about the venue: http://chazandodette.com

I personally am now teaching voice to young people twice a week, and I am very excited about it! I am teaching at my friend Liz Berlin's Creative Life Support Program's We Rock Workshop, which works with foster youth from Allegheny County. 
http://afroamericanmusic.org 
I am also teaching every Saturday to young people (ages 9-14) at Afro American Music institute. Enrollment is open for my young people classes is open, so if you have a young person in your life whom you would like to study voice with me, I teach on Saturday afternoons at 2 pm at Afro American Music Institute, 7131 Hamilton Ave, Pittsburgh in the neighborhood of Homewood. More info: http://afroamericanmusic.org 

In between when I am teaching and performing, I am hard at work sifting through the hundreds of hours of footage with young Alistair McQueen, and we are adding to the "Take it to the Bridge with Phat Man Dee" youtube channel as we go:
Image by Danielle Robinson
I am hoping to fund more shoots like we did in Europe, but on a local level in Pittsburgh, on our bridges, with our artists, to celebrate our 200th year as a city in 2016. To that end I have been working on submitting grant applications and sponsorships. 

Friends, we are a people going through many changes, many decisions must be made about who we are, who we have been and who we are going to be. I hope we may be remembered as a people who loved and lived and fought for equity and inclusion. I sing for peace, for justice, for love and for life. I hope I  may sing for you sometime soon.
Safe travels friends, its a scary world sometimes, and yet, I am still honored to be in it with you. 
Laissez les bon temps roulez! 
Mwah! 

Monday, December 14, 2015

Have Yourself a Phattie Little Holiday!

Make your Yule-tide Gay!!!!!  And what better way to do this than with Pittsburgh's favorite tattooed Jewishly leaning yet pan spiritual songstress??!?!? I am sure you have your traditions, and I hope you hold them with respect and dignity, love and remembrance.... We don't know where we're going if we can't remember the past, right? I remember once as a little girl, lighting my candles on the menorah I had made in shop class out of metal pop bottle tops and 2 x 4 wood, painted purple and green with gold glitter (even back then I was trying to get to New Orleans) with a blue glitter Star of David with hope in my heart, as these days I screw in the blue bulbs in my electric Chanukah menorah, just like the one my Grandma Claire up in Far Rockaway used to have.... and I remember Grandma Alene's Christmas tree in Tulsa, and Santa always went to her house.... but no matter where I was or whose winter holiday we were celebrating, as long as I got to eat a latke and have a candy cane, I was golden.... I am older now and even as I remember these things with sour creamed, apple sauced, and a pepperminty rose tinted fondness, I yearn for a new tradition, one who truly venerates and celebrates who I am today. 

And that my friends, is why Drusky Entertainment and Phat Man Dee Productions have come together to present 
 "A Phattie Little Holiday!"  
Let our new holiday traditions include Candy Cane Strip Teases, Dancing Dreidles and Elf-lesque while Phat Man Dee and her band play salacious holiday classics like "Let it Snow" and Ellington's "Sugar Rum Cherry" as Pittsburgh's top burlesque superstars shimmy it up one side and shake it down the other! Ho ho ho and a Merry ChristmaChannaKwanzaa to you and you and you! We don't care if you've been naughty or if you've been nice! We're gonna show you what Eve showed Adam and we're not talking about them apples! We're calling on and co-mingling the spirits of the Moulin Rouge and old Saint Nick so you can join us and celebrate the holidays with the classiest show in town! 

Featuring the dancers:
*Macabre Noir - director of Steel City Burlesque Academy and Best Variety Entertainer of Great Southern Exposure Burlesque Pageant!!
*Lita D'Vargas - assistant director of the Steel City Burlesque Academy!
*Lilith Deville - founding member of Kabarett Vulgare!
*Kat de Lac - founder of Steel City Kitty Variety show and international traveller!

Live music by:
Phat Man Dee and The Cultural District featuring musical director and bassist Tony DePaolis, guitarist Ronald Wingfield, drummer JT Smitty Smith, and trombonist Reggie Watkins.

Tickets are available online for $20! 
Discount Code for fans and friends will let you buy tickets online in advance for $15!!!! Use the code "PHATHOLIDAY" at checkout online!!! 

FB event page, please share it far and wide! 

Please join us and run from the family or bring them along (if they are over 21, this show is *not* for the childrens!) much love to you, and here's wishing you and yours a Happy (if belated) Chanukah, a Joyous Kwanzaa, a Merry Christmas and I hope you can join us for some holiday cheer in the form of jazz music, pasties and g strings made of tinsel! 

Stuck on what to buy for that hard to get for someone? You can buy my entire discography, discounted now thru Three Kings Day on CD Baby:

Love, joy, respect and an ever present prayer for peace,
Mandee
on twitter & instagram @phatmandee


Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Phat Man Dee's Guide to Fighting the Terrorists....

I have been a Francophile my entire life. I fell in love with French music and the language and the poetry of it's people and the peoples they invaded a long time ago. I love France, I love West Africa, I love New Orleans, I love a lot of places, but I really really like France. As an adult I look back and wonder WHY do I like France so much? I like cheese, but I like anyone's cheese, cheese is just delicious, and I like the cabaret songs from the 30's and the 40's, but I like most songs from the 30's and the 40's (unless their really degrading, it's a fine line, you have to be careful), I like the architecture,  their's is extremely special, I mean, even the subway stations are works of art! However, I am pretty sure it is because I like the way they live life. They celebrated and praised our Black jazz artists who couldn't even get served at a diner who might even get lynched in their own country.....They consider the music I love to be a form of the "Beaux Artes" a high form of art.... They consider poets and people who think to be important. They value what I care for and they do it passionately and beautifully. The French are not perfect, they have their social issues the same as my fellow Americans do. We are all hopefully evolving.... But it is their passionate love of a beautiful life, which makes them who they are, and what made them such unexpected targets. Their art, their freedom, their spirits and passions are an absolute offense to people who want to control and do so through through unspeakable violence. So, how do I recommend we fight terrorists? I state that we must be ourselves more than ever. We love harder, we celebrate freedom, we celebrate equality, we live life like we're going to the Moulin Rouge and then to an underground cavern filled with jazz and international poets from the Resistance...We refuse to let them make us who they can never be. We refuse to play their game and become the thing we're fighting against. I recognize this is kind of a simplistic view....and that terror doesn't just happen in France, it happens in Beirut, it happens in Kenya, it happens right here at home when innocents are killed by the police in "misunderstanding" after "misunderstanding" and on college campuses in Missouri, and in children's bellies who don't get enough food every day, but we can do better, we can be better, and we will survive to celebrate the gift of life another day. To those we have lost, we will never forget. 

I have some really special events coming up and I would love to see you. If you can't be there please share this post and let some folks know, I am singing for some great causes this weekend, let us stand up to the jagoffs who want to ruin the world, and refuse to let them steal our joy and faith in humanity. 

This Thursday November 18, 2015 (that's tomorrow as of the time of this posting!) I am singing at the "2nd Annual War on Women Art Show" at Clear Story Studios in the South Side, 1931 Sidney Street. Be a hero in the war on women by bidding on work by nationally recognized and respected regional artists that addresses the reproductive and social inequalities faced by women on a daily basis. All artwork will be available for purchase in a silent auction throughout the evening. I will sing and also performing will be the fabulous Tami Dixon, story teller, Producing Artistic Director, Bricolage Production Company, Carol Brown Awardee, and Post-Gazette Performer of the Year. Catering will be provided by Kate Romane Productions.


https://www.facebook.com/events/963747413685466/
General admission is $50 and includes drinks and light fare.
VIP tickets are also available and include a pre-show reception from 6:00-7:00 p.m.
 
You can purchase tickets here: http://bit.ly/1OIjx32

The next night on Friday the 20th of November, 2015 I will be singing at Mr. Smalls Theater for a night of fun and fancy with live music, a silent film, and great performances from unique artists. Sport your best top hats and parasols and meet us at the Steampunk Ball and Fashion Cotillion! Tickets: $10 in advance, $15 at the door! 

https://www.facebook.com/events/1071750026169598/

Then on Saturday November 21, 2015, I am joining Pastor Deryck Tines and the Lemington Chorale at the Fall Festival of Praise at the Pentecostal Church in East Liberty. Pastor Tines believes in radical inclusion and I am honored to be part of this incredible group of singers. We will bet at 6300 E. Liberty Blvd, Pittsburgh, PA 15206 at 5 pm. Tickets are $5 and you can get them at the door. 

On Monday November 23, 2015 I am singing at the August Wilson Center for A ReMARKable Recovery!
Mark Clayton Southers is a well loved and brilliant director. His passion for the 100 year cycle of 10  plays by August Wilson has helped bring them to light to many who may not have ever seen this invaluable work. His own company Pittsburgh Playwright Theater produces ground breaking independent theater for many years and his work is respected and celebrated by the entire community. He was in a terrible car accident earlier this year and I am performing at an event to help him and his family ease some of the burden this unexpected tragedy has cost him. Other performers to include: Vanessa German​, Wali Jamal Abdullah​, Tameka Cage Conley​, Raymond Werner​, and Leslie Ezra Smith​ will be reading selections from Mark's Chronicles at the event on November 23rd.

All details: https://www.gofundme.com/cs6gn3hw



Then on the Day after Thanksgiving on Friday November 27, 2015 I will be singing with my full band at James Street Ballroom with Tony DePaolis, Carlos Peña, Reggie Watkins and JT "Smitty" Smith. 
8 pm - midnight, tickets $5 at the door. 
After the turkey, after the cranberries, the sweet potatoes, the pies, please come join us and raise a glass to the many blessings we share.

SAVE THE DATE! SATURDAY DECEMBER 26 
AT ALTAR BAR! 
A PHATTIE LITTLE HOLIDAY!!!!

**The coolest jazz cats playing holiday classics for the hottest burlesque dancers in town!**
I will send more info and event details after Thanksgiving, but save that date, cuz I am sure it will be a deliciously salacious night to celebrate the holidays! (this event is kind of a bellwether for me, if it does well, I am going to A.) make it an annual occurrence and B.) use it sell the idea of hosting a burlesque and sideshow festival here in Pittsburgh! 

Also, while we're discussing holidays.... I launched a music store on CD Baby. I ask this year you consider the gift of music, for yourself, for your loved ones, many friends of mine make a killing on selling their beautiful wares on Etsy, I don't make physical items you can purchase, I make music, but they told me to market the heck out of it.... so I am making an effort to sell the work I have made over the years. It's kind of crazy how much music I have made....if you bought some, it would be just amazing to me....
Here is a link to my CD Baby Music Store online: http://www.cdbaby.com/Artist/PhatManDee

We have each other. Right now, we have each other. That is major. It is not something that everyone gets. The headline to this post is "Phat Man Dee's Guide to Fighting Terrorism" and my plan for fighting terrorism is fight hard to love each other, fight hard to sing every song you can, fight hard to be as happy in this life as you can be and make all the people around you as happy as you can help them to be. Every day, every time, for tomorrow is not promised any single one of us. We have right now. Make it count. For me, that means doing waaaaaaay too many shows, for not nearly enough money.... but you know what, I do it cuz I love the people I am doing them for and I love the people I am doing them with. Now or never, there is absolutely no reason to wait.

One final thing to leave you with.... my dear friend Donna Davis, known to us in the Pittsburgh Jazz Community as the High Priestess, passed away several weeks ago. I was (as were all who knew her) hit extremely hard by this. She had an aggressive cancer which was diagnosed late because she like many musicians, had no health care.... I am going to miss her until I see her again on the other side of the rainbow.... please listen to her music as she played at my last show with her at James Street last  month. And tell someone you care about that you love them. Don't wait. I told her I loved her when I last saw her. And that comforts me every day.