Blonde Ambition | Performance | South Florida | Broward Palm Beach New Times | The Leading Independent News Source in Broward-Palm Beach, Florida

Blonde Ambition

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It isn't easy, girls. You brave the city streets dressed in your Sunday best, your workout gear, or even a sandwich board, and sometimes it doesn't seem to matter. The catcalls and whistles follow. What's a girl to do? Deborah Harry heard one of those familiar calls -- "Yo, blondie!" -- and turned a daily occurrence into rock 'n' roll history. A perfect mix of street-tough New York and '60s girl-group glamour, Harry quickly became punk rock's most sought-after poster girl. With hands-down the best pout in the business next to Jagger himself, Harry was the glamour and beauty among the trashy and gritty punk and new wave scene. When Blondie outgrew the confines of the seedy New York City bar scene, it kicked down the door to mainstream success with songs such as "Picture This" and the answering-machine favorite "Hanging on the Telephone." Never a band comfortable fitting in any one genre, Blondie had a disco hit in 1979 with "Heart of Glass," and its song "Rapture" made Ms. Harry one of the first ladies of hip-hop. After six albums together and all the perks of fame -- such as an appearance on the Muppet Show and the Chipmunks doing a cover of "Call Me" -- the band was living the rock 'n' roll dream.

But like too many bad dye jobs, the band burned out and was left with its share of split ends. It took a much-needed break; Chris Stein battled a rare life-threatening disease, Harry acted in movies such as Spun, and Clem Burke and Jimmy Destri played in side projects. After 16 years off between albums, the band released No Exit in 1999. And now, Blondie has released its eighth album, The Curse of Blondie, which of course means world tour. Show your roots at Gulfstream Park, 901 S. Federal Hwy., Hallandale Beach. This show starts at 2:30 p.m. and kicks off Gulfstream's concert series. The show is free with paid admission into the park. Call 954-454-7000. -- Terra Sullivan

For the Truly Obsessive Fan

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Well, Phish's four-day at American Airlines Arena is finally over. For the typical Phish fan, this will only mean weeks and weeks of yearning for another Phish show -- it's difficult to satiate the obsessed. One good option to cure the post-concert depression would be to check out Vida Blue at the Jackie Gleason Theatre (1700 Washington Ave., Miami Beach) at 8 p.m. Saturday.

When Phish took its hiatus in 2001 and 2002, each of the four band members concentrated on a side project. Trey Anastasio issued a solo album, Mike Gordon made a bizarre movie with an even stranger soundtrack, and Jon Fishman toured around with his side band, Pork Tornado. As for keyboardist Page McConnell, he formed Vida Blue, pulling in ex-Allman Brothers bassist Oteil Burbridge and Funky Meters drummer Russell Batiste.

The resulting sound, instead of the psychedelic-meets-Southern-funk one might expect from the component parts, sounds a lot like the techno-fusion acts that appear to be the wave of the future in jam-band circles; Vida Blue owes more to The New Deal or The Disco Biscuits than it does to Phish or the Allmans.

Tickets cost $25. Call 305-673-7300. -- Dan Sweeney

Walk the Line

Obligatory-tribute alert!

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You knew it was coming sooner or later. Yes, it's a Johnny Cash tribute show at a venue that truly captures the grit and dirt-under-the-fingernails spirit of the Man in Black -- Churchill's (5501 NE Second Ave., Miami). Despite Cash's involuntarily becoming an icon for "punks" (the shot of him flipping the bird at Folsom Prison was mass-produced for T-shirts at Hot Topic), Cash sang in a voice that reeked of a perpetual hangover and continued to produce toe-tapping ditties well into his 70s. The Hellbound Rebels, the Spinouts, the 8 Wheelers, the Hooples, and a few more all dish out the Cash classics. And we're not just talking one or two songs here. These bands are going to play whole sets of Cash! So bring your friend Jack Daniels, find that pair of unwashed jeans in your hamper, and put on your drinking shoes. Show starts at 10 p.m. and costs $6. Call 305-757-1807. -- Audra schroeder

Tinsley Ellis Wails

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You know a type of music is getting old when fourth- and fifth-generation performers are being cited as influences, yet that's exactly the position Tinsley Ellis finds himself in these days. Like many of the modern blues players who first heard the form in the music of British blues bands such as John Mayall's Bluesbreakers or the Yardbirds, Ellis quickly dug up their source material; the guitarist you'll hear at the Bamboo Room (25 S. "J" St., Lake Worth) sounds more beholden to Texas blues and B.B. King than anything else.

Often mistaken for a native Floridian due to his childhood here and his perennial tour dates in Florida, the native Georgian's live shows are, to put it as modestly as possible, energetic. Until very recently -- within his last two albums, more or less -- that frantic pace and crunchy guitar seemed to mark Ellis as a one-trick pony. More subtle efforts on his latest album, 2002's Hell or High Water, show that the man's got more than plain-old guitar wizardry going for him. Call 561-585-2583. -- Dan Sweeney

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