We’d barely recovered from storm Sandy when Lavinia Draper blew into Brooklyn, making a welcome debut at DJ RDK (Richard Kennedy) and Mr. Fire Island Leather 2012 Mark Nayden’s Excelsior Bar in Park Slope on November 1, with Richard responsible for music, lights, and sound.
Lavinia opened with “Faithfully,” dedicated to her boyfriend Jimmy. Then, from atop the bar, she sang Etta James song “At Last.” After these romantic numbers came Amy Winehouse’s “Back to Black,” an audience request; “Rehab;” and later, “Valerie,” with the crowd encouraged to sing along.
Lavinia remembered Donna Summer with “On the Radio,” her song-and-disco-dance number, as she worked the room, and “Last Dance” followed. “Don Juan (your money’s gone)” was her love song (?) to Mark. She clutched her bottle of ‘Absolut vodka,’ or not, as she belted out “Honky-tonk Woman,” and serenaded Richard and Mark with “Since You’ve Been Gone.”
Back up on the bar, Lavinia sang Madonna’s “Like a Virgin” and “Hanky Panky” and went back to disco with “Got to Be Real” to end her first set.
Lavinia’s second set opened with a sultry “Fever,” the Peggy Lee song, and draping her pink boa on Jimmy, returned to dance on the bar as she sang ABBA’s “Dancing Queen.” She enlisted the ad hoc Excelsior Bar chorus to back her up in Queen’s “Find Me Somebody to Love.” Lady Gaga’s “Edge of Glory” came next and then Barbra Streisand’s “Evergreen”—hey, we were in Brooklyn and Barbra had just been back in Brooklyn! Lavinia closed by lovingly dedicating Cyndi Lauper’s “True Colors” to her fans at Excelsior.
Look for Lavinia at Excelsior, 390 Fifth Avenue, in Park Slope, on Thursdays at 10 p.m.