Aretha Franklin, the Queen of Soul, will sing on Dec. 21 at MotorCity Casino.Detroit's Sound Board. (Max Ortiz / The Detroit News)
Aretha Franklin said she was eager to get back “into it” after a summer spent undergoing medical treatment for an unspecified ailment — and now she’s playing the MotorCity Casino’s Sound Board on Dec. 21 (tickets are $65-$95, available Nov. 7 at Ticketmaster). That’s a month after she’s due in the studio here in Detroit with producers Don Was and Kenny “Babyface” Edmonds to work on that album for Clive Davis. Davis may not be in the studio with them, but he keeps a close eye on things. After a pre-production session two weeks ago, Was said before he could run out to see the Tigers game (alas, they lost), they had to call Clive and give him a full report. Davis, who worked with Franklin during his years at Arista Records, has been firmly at the wheel on the project suggesting songs. Was’ participation was his idea.
During a lull in their work, Edmonds asked Franklin when she had last been in Europe (due to her fear of flying). “Not since 1982,” Franklin said, as Edmonds and Was gasped. “Yes, I have a standing invitation to go to Buckingham Palace and perform for the Queen,” she said. “I will make it. I will fly again some day.” She pooh-poohed ships (“Too much water!”) and trains (”They can derail”), and of course, her beloved bus takes too long, and there is no land bridge to Europe — yet.
Estate sales of the rich and famous
After the brouhaha surrounding the estate of the late Don Barden and his late, estranged wife, Bella Marshall
Barden, it appeared that things have been resolved. Or, maybe not. Last week, a fancy flier advertising the Barden estate sale came across our desks. “This beautiful mansion belonging to Donald Barden and Bella Marshall Barden is filled with furniture and decorative items from their life together,” the flier read. “The furniture includes a white upholstered sectional with two matching club chairs, eight turquoise leather club chairs on wheels, a pair of floral upholstered wing chairs with matching ottomans …” It goes on to say, “We are also featuring ... ladies’ designer clothing, shoes and accessories and costume jewelry … Come and experience Detroit history.” The ad booklet for the sale (which took place last Friday and Saturday) also features lots of photos of the plush merchandise. Here’s the rub: we understand that Alana Barden, the couple’s only child together, knew nothing of the sale (Alana lives in California). Does that sound like everything’s been resolved? Just asking.
No wine before its time
Wine quotes and wine jokes prevailed last week when the Oakwood Healthcare Foundation presented its annual Wine for the Spirits event to benefit patients living with diabetes and nutritional disorders. Even Oakwood Healthcare’s CEO Brian Connolly got in on the act when he addressed the “Chardonnay Sponsors” (they paid $6,000 or more) during the brief program which, in an unusual twist, took place at the beginning of the party. (Probably smart considering all the wine that was to be consumed). Connolly quipped: “Rose Kennedy once said, ‘I’m like old wine. They don’t bring me out very often, but I’m well-preserved.’” The wine-laden event included a strolling wine and food tasting with more than 80 wines. It raised more than half a million dollars.