The Performant: TLC for the holidays

Brian B. performing at the Lost Church

Try to ignore it as we might, the end of another year draws near, accompanied by all its attendant solstice-cycle celebrations -- last ditch attempts to keep warm perhaps. Well, spike the eggnog with everclear and pass the bacon-wrapped latkes, in my book a little conviviality goes a long way in making bearable the quickly darkening days, the applejack-crisp night air. Sure, shaking off the hibernation vibe can be hard to do, but a good compromise between comatose and cabin crazy is to cuddle up to nightlife’s cozier side: intimate venues, good company, low lights, warm interiors. The Lost Church provides all of the above with its lushly-appointed “parlor performance” space and a tight-knit crew of regulars who call the venue their artistic home, plus homegrown music, a multi-media nod to vaudevillian theatre, and quiet cheer.

An ambitious TLC bill awaits the intrepid each Saturday night through December 17. Actually, ambitious musical lineups abound on Thursdays, Fridays, and even one Sunday (the 11th), but in December, Saturdays include a tongue-in-cheek, meta/metaphysical musings of a brief one-act entitled “The Golden Goddess, Demon Dan, and the Doorway to Darkness,” nestled in the center of the evening, the jelly in the sugar donut. A brashly conniving demon (Dan C.) finds himself in literally the middle of nowhere where an extremely bored goddess (the projected image of Jessica K.) is spending her eternity guarding a doorway that no-one wants to open. No-one but Dan, that is, and his persistent, flirty wheedling, rendered de facto charming by a wise-guy cockney accent, gradually wears down the goddess’ resolve. The battle-of-the-immortal-sexes dialogue is interspersed with snatches of Rolling Stones songs (“Sympathy for the Devil,” “It’s All Over Now,” “The Last Time,”) provided by a rock n’ roll “Greek Chorus” fronted by bodacious blues chanteuse Kim K., by far the heavenliest presence on the stage.

Taking a page from the hootenanny handbook, the theatrical portion of the event is bookended by an assortment of musical acts, a little something something for everyone. Last weekend, the evening opened with Brian B. playing a variety of instruments including a sultry slide guitar, an accordion, and the harmonica while singing a series of introspective ballads which began on a blue note with a love lost and spiraled further downward and outward encompassing junkyards, street corners, and a nod to St. Cecilia, martyred patron saint of music. A quick flurry of rock songs from venue hosts Brett and Elizabeth C. in their joint bass n’ drum incarnation as “Juanita and the Rabbit” followed, and the post-show glow was further prolonged by more singing from the divine Kim K. An evolving work-in-progress, TLC has carefully crafted a tempting cocktail of home comfort blended with retro cool and hot licks, all of which make it a great place to spend the
 holiday, or any, season.

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