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Thursday, November 7, 2013

Scarlett Santana and Give K.i.D. a Chance at The Gallery Bar

The Gallery Bar at 120 Orchard St., on the border of the lower east side and Chinatown, is one of those crunchy little cozy clubs nestled in lower Manhattan. It has a very groovy aura to it and the staff is especially accommodating. I was on Scarlett Santana's guest list (through Queens Our City internet radio ) and was ushered in graciously, joining the very downtown-chic audience. I purchased a pino grigio at the glisteningly new cash bar as I settled in to watch the fundraiser event, "Give K.i.D (Kids of international Deportees) a Chance," a very worthwhile cause.

Arriving at Grand Street, I hailed a cab and asked the driver to take me to 120 Orchard. I admitted I wasn't sure exactly where that was. "I've never been there before," I said. Quoth the driver, in his Korean accent: "You never want to come back either, I tell you." I was pleasantly surprised upon arrival, then, and discarded the advice.

Paintings graced the exposed brick wall to one side of the room, where there also were seats and table, while the opposite side of the room, for the most part, was the bar. Everything looked clean and new and shimmery. The night was hosted by Dj Leo, who played some very funky sets before the show and during intermission. There were inspirational and touching speeches by guests about children of deported parents that brought attention to a not generally known known very serious issue in the United States. There was also a raffle and, of course, entertainment provided by soprano Sharon Cheng and dance diva Scarlett Santana, whom I recently interviewed (

Scarlett finished big-time with a powerful rendition of her international smash hit (top ten on U.S. Billboard and #1club song in the U.K.), "Rain," which she recorded with C&C Music Factory. Acoustics at Gallery Bar are perfection. There was an intermission after that and Scarlett greeted me and we chatted.

Scarlett is very petite and, even in her stilettos, was only as tall as I am (in my flats, of course, at 5'6"). She was warm and graceful, dressed in a multi-colored, very tailored frock. Her friend snapped our picture together. (Ok, goal for the New Year: lose some weight for crying out loud! I look like Chaz Bono!) Scarlett and I also engaged in some small talk and I was curious as to how she decided upon her stage name. (She was born Jasmine Mercedes, an equally lovely name in my humble opinion.) Ms Santana told me she just thought it sounded appealing to her and assured me, when I asked, that she absolutely was not thinking about Carlos Santana or the band that bears his surname.

A worthy cause, a diva encounter, a drink and a raffle in a cool, happening new club. Does it get better than that, people?  I think not, even if I didn't win the raffle.

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