Published in the November 8 – 21, 2017 issue of Morgan Hill Life

Charlie Lustman

Charlie Lustman is truly the musical Patch Adams. Diagnosed with an extremely rare form of cancer (osteosarcoma) in his upper jaw bone in March 2006, Charlie came fact-to-face with challenging personal and professional life choices. During the course of two major surgeries, and a year of adjuvant chemotherapy, Charlie wrote lyrics and music to hundreds of songs pertaining to his cancer experience.

A custom fitted prosthetic replacement jaw enabled Charlie to get back on stage to tell the world, through his songs, about his cancer experience from diagnosis through treatment and recovery. Exactly two years from the day he received that infamous call, Charlie mastered his new recordings, Made Me Nuclear, which was released in the summer of 2008.

Charlie has performed at numerous cancer centers including The City of Hope in Duarte. His Made Me Nuclear album was transformed into a theatrical adaptation and eventually produced into the Made Me Nuclear operetta performed at The Santa Monica Playhouse, which opened in September 2008 and ran for 88 performances during an 11-month span.

His Musical Hope Campaign across America and throughout the world is Charlie’s answer to cancer as he is doing what he was meant to do, which is making a difference to those battling cancer. His show is presented by Phyllis Tubbs-Gingerich, director of the local Ginger-K Center and will take place at 7 p.m. Nov. 13, at Bubbles Wine Bar & Bistro, 17105 Monterey Road.

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On another note, local waitress Chantilly Lace Vincent is a wonderful vocalist singer with a big show coming up at The District Friday, Dec. 15. The show will include her band Los High Tops plus on the bill will be Sweet Daddy & The Bad Cats.

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It’s going be a good night for live music in Gilroy. Watch for a future story on Chantilly coming soon. We met at a house party a few years ago and got the opportunity to play some songs together there. Her bubbly personality makes it always fun when she is serving a cheese omelet or on stage singing with her band.

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The turnout for Morgan Hill’s first ever blues festival was not bad considering organizers had just 60 days to put the event together. Stopping by for a sample of blues music was a treat for me and my brother visiting from the East Coast. I did get to see Alvin Draper, who is a longtime pillar of the San Jose blues scene. Last time I ran into Alvin, he was recovering from throat cancer and had to speak with his fingers covering a talk box on his throat. It was a great feeling seeing him playing and singing as the opening act of a long day of blues music. Congrats to local musician and Coldwell Banker Realtor Tony Johns who not only produced and created the entire event but when I saw him, he was donning an apron and flipping burgers and sausage at one of the food booths.

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Take a trip to San Jose for the San Jose Jazz Fall Concert Series featuring Rene Marie and her trio, Experiment in Truth, at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 14, at Café Stritch in San Jose. In a span of two decades, 11 recordings and countless stage performances, vocalist René Marie has cemented her reputation as a singer, composer, arranger, theatrical performer and teacher. Guided and tempered by powerful life lessons and rooted in jazz traditions laid down by Ella Fitzgerald, Dinah Washington and other ladies of past generations, she borrows various elements of folk, R&B and even classical and country to create a captivating hybrid style. Her body of work is musical, but it’s more than just music. It’s an exploration of the bright and dark corners of the human experience, and an affirmation of the power of the human spirit. Tickets are $30 in advance, $35 at the door. For more information, visit sanjosejazz.org.

Got a music tip? Send it to harmonicaman1@yahoo.com.

Mark Fenichel

Mark Fenichel

Mark Fenichel is the Advertising/Marketing Director for Morgan Hill Life with more than 40 years of marketing experience. If you're interested in learning more about building your business brand, contact Mark at (408) 410-4782 or email him at sales@MorganHillLife.com.
Mark Fenichel