Saturday, December 27, 2008

My Moment with Miss Eartha Kitt

Some years ago - the very early 80s - Eartha Kitt came to DC and did a concert at the Warner Theater downtown. I remember telling my Mom I was going to the concert and her reminding me that I would be seeing a "legend." Of course, my best memories of her were as Cat Woman in the old Batman series of my childhood.

The night of the concert arrived and I went with a lesbian couple who were good friends. Ann and Jackie were a lot older than me and I knew them from MCC-DC, the church where X and I met and attended for a few years. Jackie described herself in two ways - a "Stomping Bull Dyke" and Eartha Kitt's "Biggest Fucking Fan." I had proof of the first - X and I had seen her stomp around our apartment - she liked Sousa marches - no doubt to the terror of our downstairs neighbors.

I was soon to learn that the latter was mostly definitely true, though.

Watching Eartha Kitt in concert was, indeed, to see a legend perform. One of the moments I remember best was her taking a lengthy pause and simply looking out at the audience - nothing, really, was happening until she simply lifted an eyebrow and the crowd went crazy. Never have I seen a performer more in possession of her audience - the lady, often billed as a seductress, earned the title.

Anyway, at one point, Jackie grabbed my hand and pulled me down to the stage where she bulldozed her way (and mine) right up to the edge of the stage. Miss Kitt leaned down to speak to us and before I knew it, Jackie had thrown her arms around her neck, the whole time saying "IloveyouIloveyouIloveyouIloveyou..." I could see security coming from the wings, but I could also hear Miss Kitt very gently saying, "Honey, you have to let me go, I love you, too, but you have to let me go..." While Jackie was a little slow to let her go, I clearly saw her rather subltly wave off the security guys.

Jackie and I made our way back to our seats and that big bad stomping bull dyke cried like a little girl for the next ten minutes!

I've been to a lot of concerts in my time, but that evening with Eartha Kitt ranks as one of the great concert going experiences of my life.

A truly elegant, graceful, and compassionate woman.

We don't have many Stars left - another has returned to the heavens.

Rest in Peace, Eartha Mae Kitt, 1927-2008