Sunday, December 28, 2008

Death Of A Disco Dancer - Eartha R.I.P.

I first clocked sight of US performer Eartha Kitt watching reruns of '60s action comedy Batman. Kitt was Catwoman, of course. And, with apologies to Julie Newmar, Michelle Pfieffer and Halle Berry, she always remained Catwoman to me. The political significance of a black woman taking over a role originally cast as white was lost on me at the time, nor did I know then that the reason I'd not heard much of Kitt until that point was that she had been quietly blacklisted in the late '60s due to her anti-Vietnam War stance. However, in the '80s the woman who had already conquered Broadway, films and mainstream music success, went clubbing. She scored big with hi-NRG cut 'Where Is My Man' ("with a big big big... yacht!") and then replaced the late Divine as guest vocalist on post-Jimmy Somerville Bronski Beat's 'Cha Cha Heels' (a tribute to John Waters' film Female Trouble). Kitt toured Australia on the heat of her career revival and the concerts were a cut above - reclining on a chez lounge attended by a strapping waiter who kept her champagne topped up on stage - she purred through classics such as 'I Want To Be Evil', 'C'est Ci Bon', 'Let's Do It' and 'Santa Baby'. Coincidentally, the woman who gave us the Xmas classic 'Santa Baby' passed away on Xmas Day, age 81.

Eartha Kitt merchandise

Eartha Kitt & Bronski Beat - 'Cha Cha Heels':

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