Went to see FELA on Broadway with Patti LaBelle last night. As I watched her in her scene stealing performance, I was reminded of the other time I saw her on Broadway in YOUR ARM'S TOO SHORT TO BOX WITH GOD with Al Green. It was so funny when Al's mic went out and Patti, being the giving performer that she is, grabbed his head and pulled it toward her chest so he could be heard through her mic. What a sight to see Al Green singing the title song into Patti LaBelle's right boob. A bouncing right boob at that since Patti was expressively jumping up and down in the spirit.
Many years later when I was working as a stand-in on awards shows, I had several opportunities to meet and work with her in rehearsals. One of the things that most impressed me is that on the morning before hosting a major award show she would throw down in the kitchen. Patti could cook anywhere. She didn't need to be in her own kitchen. She would cook in the morning and then bring it to the Shrine auditorium and invite us to her dressing room for a taste. Long before she wrote her cookbooks, we would ask her to teach us how to make that famous potato salad. I'm sure one of my friends has the original napkin we wrote the recipe on. I used to ask her how she could cook like that in the morning, rehearse in the afternoon and host the show that night. She told me she just loves to cook and was so proud to say that she gave Luther Vandross his first set of pots. I also asked her how she looked so fabulous all the time. Patti LaBelle is always camera ready. She admitted she loves to dress. She said if I ever saw her in a jogging suit I would know she had snapped.
The last time I worked with her was at Long Beach Pride. She did a Friday night solo concert and I was the emcee. We all know Patti loves to kick off her shoes, so when I went on after her to close the show, there was one of her shoes just laying there in the middle of the stage. I tried to steal it but she busted me so I had to give it back.
Patti LaBelle is an amazing talent, a true DIVA and a really nice lady.