It had been about ten years since last we saw her in NYC and I was anxious to say hello before the show. When she appeared in the room before her set, I raced over to her. She turned and saw me and before I could say anything to her, she said, "I know you". Roy joined us and we reminded her that, aside from knowing her through the sideshow social set of '90s New York, we had once hired her to perform before a show of ours where she greeted the audience in the lobby by playing classical music on her concert harp while wearing a gray, bodice-revealing, crushed-velvet catsuit, ripped fairy wings and a Santa cap. She didn't immediately recall that evening, but allowed, "That sounds like something I'd do".
We had only seen her perform as a vaudeville act or a sideshow performer or soloing on the harp -- all excellently -- and her new concert builds on the promise of all those incarnations and exceeded my already high expectations. She played with a full band and presented a set of mostly her newest compositions and they were breathtaking. I cried within the first thirty seconds of her first number, the title track from her new album, Safe Inside The Day. Minutes later, I laughed. During the entire performance, I loved. Her arrangements were beautiful, her vocal choices astonishing and her lyrics both concise and poetic. She sees the truth the way very, very, very few people can. Again and again, she made the personal universal. In a world where nothing is new and mediocrity is celebrated, Baby Dee is a uniquely gifted individual who brings true beauty to the world.
My friend Nancy alerted me to this LA Weekly article about Dee from last week that captures her perfectly. Love the article's ending interview:
What are your dreams and aspirations?
"I want an airship."
Where do we go from here?
Any advice for the lonely young people of Middle America out there?
"Find a sweetie and make mad love. Smoke lots of cigarettes and stop wearing underpants."
If you could do it all over again ...?
"I would have drunk more."