Originally created 12/13/04

The week ahead

The thrill's not gone just yet.

Blues legend B.B. King and the love of his life, his guitar Lucille, will play the Bell Auditorium on Saturday.

The show is my pick of the week.

Not because the Mississippi native turned 79 two months ago, although the fact that he is still touring and performing is a feat worthy of seeing.

And not because he's put out more than 50 albums, although that's another good reason.

It's because in light of a recent story my colleague and I worked on about Ray Charles, I learned a lot about the once-segregated Bell and the struggles black entertainers endured before the civil rights era.

Sure, I'd heard tales of how Augusta was, but doing the research for yourself is something different.

Because of events such as Mr. Charles' refusal to play to a segregated audience in 1961, the auditorium was eventually integrated.

Given all they were up against, for artists such as Mr. King, Mr. Charles and others during their heyday to hang in there before, during and after "the movement," you know they loved the music.

Such obstacles as being ripped off, subjected to arbitrary police questioning, or performing in cities where they had to search for restaurants, restrooms and hotels that would allow them in could easily have stopped these guys. But it didn't.

So you know they put their soul into what they did; they weren't just in it for the money. Not like these teenybopper pop stars out now, here-today-gone-tomorrow kids who don't have nearly the amount of hindrances but have double the complaints.

No, Mr. King is one of those rare solid musicians. One who was in it for the long haul. His sincere appreciation for the music is reason enough to appreciate him.

I wish I'd seen Mr. Charles play live, but it's too late. I won't make the same mistake with Mr. King.

He played the Bell before it was integrated and after, and I'll bet Saturday's show will be just as good as any he's given. Whether you've seen Mr. King perform or not, I suggest you go. It might be the last time the musical icon will play the auditorium.

Here are other things to do.



Help patients at the MCG Children's Medical Center get gifts on Christmas by dropping off new, unwrapped toys between 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. at the Department of Family Services on the first floor of the children's center.



Send warm wishes and prayers to James Brown, who will have surgery for prostate cancer today. Let's hope that when the Godfather of Soul leaves, he can say, "I feel good!"



Break out the silken tofu and fire up the lentils. Vegetarians and vegans can bring a dish and share others at the vegetarian potluck and movie night at Aiken Unitarian Universalist Church. The potluck begins at 6 p.m., followed by the film at 7:30 p.m. Interested? Call (803) 502-0404.



Augusta's treasure, trombonist Wycliffe Gordon, will present his annual Christmas in the Garden City music and dance extravaganza tonight. Eight local students will be awarded $500 scholarships. The show starts at 8 p.m. at the Imperial Theatre, 745 Broad St.



Marathons of the Real World/Road Rules Challenge are shown on MTV all weekend. See members of the cast battle in person at National Lampoon's Reality Bar Crawl at Last Call. Doors open at 9 p.m.

Reach C. Samantha McKevie at (706) 823-3552 or samantha.mckevie@augustachronicle.com.


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