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Arts and Entertainment

Audra Mae at Hotel Café 04/22/08

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Tuesday nights in LA can be slow in the Spring; the energy of activation to get prettied up and brave the slick streets is much higher than that required to crack open a beer and settle on the couch. But when a heat wave hits with its concomitant restlessness, suddenly a weeknight outing is not only desired but sorely needed. It was in this fitful state I found myself making my way down a back alley off Cahuenga Blvd to check out songstress Audra Mae and finding a performance alight with the weather.

Hotel Café is a curious presence in Hollywood, more of a collective of true talent than a mere venue, and all shows seem to elicit a familial response upon first entry. Emerging into the second bar, strong cocktail in hand, I realized I had arrived in the middle of some between song banter, Mae holding down the semi-circular stage with brash and swagger in blood red skinny jeans and pumps. Pushing damp hair from her forehead, she kicked into a cover of the Rolling Stones’ “Miss You,” appropriating Mick’s sexual longing into rawness decidedly more substantial.