Roots Report: Pinball Wizard Hits the Big Screen: Can’t-miss music events from stage to screen

Okee dokee folks… The other night I went to see the film Rocketman, a pseudo-biopic about Elton John — I think it’s being advertised as a “rock ‘n’ roll fantasy.” I was a huge fan of Elton back in the ’70s, have seen him in concert a couple of times and even shook his pudgy hand. The first time I experienced Elton live was on July 4, 1976, the bicentennial of this country. I was 15 years old, and this wild and crazy stadium show was only the second concert that I ever attended, and it still ranks as one of the most memorable. But back to the film. The way that the story is presented is what makes it. The song and dance numbers are akin to a Broadway musical featuring Elton’s music as the score, mostly the good stuff. The sequencing of the songs is not accurate, but it doesn’t matter — they are not used for historical timing, but more as a tool to move the story along. The scene transitions are some of the more creative that I have seen. This film is original, funny, sad and clever, and the cast works well. Rocketman made me reminisce about the soundtrack of my youth and the days when music was amazing and rock stars earned their place in music history. Check it out! In the meantime, read on…     

Someone who should have a biopic film made about her is the late Sarah Good. She was a musician, artist and a friend to many in the RI arts and music community. Sarah passed away in February 2018 from breast cancer and her husband, Michael Darigan, founded the The Sarah Good Foundation (SGF) to honor “the creative, vivacious, bad-ass entrepreneurial spirit that allowed Sarah to support herself as an artist/businesswoman her entire adult life.” The second annual Sarah Good Foundation benefit concert is happening June 23 at Nick-a-Nee’s in PVD from noon to midnight. Morgan Johnston is the first recipient of the SGF award, given to women artists and entrepreneurs who plan on using their creativity and work ethic to launch successful small businesses. She will receive her award then play a set of music. The music line-up includes The House Combo, Tanya McIntyre & The Professors, Biscuit City, Free Radicals with special guest Mark Cutler, Gary Cummings, Heidi Nirk, and Neal Vitullo. Tickets are available at the door.

Common Fence Music with Hope & Main will be partnering to bring a free concert series to Hope & Main’s Schoolyard Market located at 691 Main Street in Warren every second-to-last Sunday of the month from June through September. The market will be open from 9am – 1pm while live music and activities will be presented from 10am – 12:30pm. The series will feature a diverse range of performers alongside Hope & Main’s eclectic array of member businesses, local farmers and artisans. Adults are invited to enjoy brunch beverages in the beer garden while kids build their own instruments in the family craft tent. The Schoolyard Series kicks off on Sunday, June 23, with a performance from RI’s own hometown Cajun band, Magnolia. On Sunday, July 21, it’s Boston-based West African/Caribbean quartet Kalfou. Bringing the spirit of the street fair to the Schoolyard Market on Sunday, August 18, is Latin band Robertico Arias y su Alebreke. Bluegrass band Four Bridges closes the season on Sunday, September 22. For more about the series, get with Julio and go down to commonfencemusic.org

A few months back, Joanne Lurgio’s popular Tuesday Night open mic was halted at the Pub on Park. This left a huge void for original songwriter music open mics in the state. She laid low for a bit pondering her next move, and it wasn’t a long wait because Joanne is back with a new Tuesday Night Open Mic! Right now she is running them once per month on the first Tuesdays. The venue is the The Punjab Indian Cuisine restaurant located at 1565 Plainfield Pike in Johnston. Lurgio says, “It is an early night … I encourage players to stay until the end and support the other players when possible so those at the bottom of the list have as nice a listening audience as the top of the list.” The signup list goes out at 6:30pm and music is from 7 – 10pm. Punjab features a full bar and authentic Indian Cuisine so, as Joanne adds, “Grab a bite and/or beverage, and support the venue supporting live music.” July 2 is the next first Tuesday so make your plans now!

My band, Forever Young — A Tribute to the Music of Neil Young, will be at The Assembly Theatre in Harrisville on Saturday, June 29. This gem of a theater in Northern RI is presenting more and more shows. Put it on your radar! Tickets are available on Eventbrite; hope to see you there! And remember I am always adding to my concert photos at facebook.com/motifri. Thanks for reading. JohnFuzek.com

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