20 Questions

Bettye LaVette

by PopMatters Staff

13 February 2009

Photo: Elizabeth Fladung 

1. The latest book or movie that made you cry?
I don’t like the latest books and movies, but I always cry when I see Now Voyager and at leat 10 other black and white movies made before 1940.

2. The fictional character most like you?
Blanche Dubois from A Streetcar Named Desire because life drove her crazy, too.

cover art

Bettye LaVette

The Scene of the Crime

US: 25 Sep 2007
UK: 24 Sep 2007

Review [26.Sep.2007]

3. The greatest album, ever?
John Coltrane & Johnny Hartman (1963) and Coltrane’s Lush Life, which is the last time that John Coltrane played and I could understand it.

4. Star Trek or Star Wars?
Star Trek, because I remember the first episode and went through all of the others with them. Star Wars was made by children.

5. Your ideal brain food?
6. You’re proud of this accomplishment, but why?
Getting to be 63 and still wear a size 6.

7. You want to be remembered for…?
Singing. In fact. And still wearing a size 6 ;-)

8. Of those who’ve come before, the most inspirational are?
Slaves, my mother, and my first manager, Jim Lewis.

9. The creative masterpiece you wish bore your signature?
I have no desire to create, just interpret.

10. Your hidden talents…?
I can tap dance.

11. The best piece of advice you actually followed?
“Master your craft.”—Jim Lewis, my first manager.

12. The best thing you ever bought, stole, or borrowed?
The Carmen Marc Valvo gown that I wore on The Kennedy Center Honors.

13. You feel best in Armani or Levis or…?
If I’m dressed up, Armani or whomever, I’m not designer conscious. if I’m dressed down, Levis. If I’m home, naked.

14. Your dinner guest at the Ritz would be?
All the dinner guests that I was fortunate enough to be with at the Kennedy Center Honors. A small amount of musicians, and LOTS of politicians and politicos.

15. Time travel: where, when and why?
Back to Harlem in the 1920s and 1930s, when show business was show business.

16. Stress management: hit man, spa vacation or Prozac?
Champagne. And a joint.

17. Essential to life: coffee, vodka, cigarettes, chocolate, or…?
Champagne. And a joint. And lobster.

18. Environ of choice: city or country, and where on the map?
In the country, close to the city, in America.

19. What do you want to say to the leader of your country?
I was fortunate enough to say to the new leader of our country, “We’re with you.”

20. Last but certainly not least, what are you working on, now?
A new CD. No particulars yet, but immediately forthcoming.

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