David Bowie’s Life, Death and Legacy Celebrated at Numerous Special Events

Photo by Anastasia Pantsios

Wed 1/8 @ 8PM

Fri 1/10 @ 8PM

Sat 1/11 @ 8PM

Sun 1/12 @ noon

Fri 1/17 @ 8PM

A David Bowie fan for more than 45 years, CoolCleveland publisher, local arts activist and Vanity Crash musician Thomas Mulready annually celebrates the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame inductee’s iconic career with multimedia show “An Evening With(out) David Bowie.”

However, this year — just like the career of its namesake — the presentation has been reinvented and recharged into a multi-week affair celebrating what due to his 2016 death has ceremoniously become David Bowie Month.

“This is our chance to peel the onion back more than just one layer and go really deep,” said arts impresario and Bowieologist Mulready. “Even for people who have seen the show before in some form or fashion, they’re going to find new material and new stuff here.

“We’ll celebrate together — right around his birth (January 8) and death anniversaries (January 10) — with tears in our eyes, but hopefully they’ll be tears of joy.”

The fun begins with the Big Bowie Birthday Bash Wed 1/8 @ 8pm at Brothers Lounge with a presentation that delves into Ziggy Stardust with trivia, contests, giveaways and birthday greetings, while Vanity Crash plays the early ’70s material.

The centerpiece of Mulready’s 2020 presentation — also followed by live performances by Cleveland glam-rock act Vanity Crash — takes place January 10-12 at the BOP STOP at The Music Settlement. (NOTE: The same slightly tweaked show will also be presented at Fri 1/17 @ 8pm at CLE Urban Winery in Cleveland Heights.)

“We’re back at our home stomping ground — the Bop Stop — for three different shows,” Mulready said. “The Friday night’s ‘With(Out) David Bowie’ is his entire life. So we’ve dug up stuff that I’m sure even the most diehard Bowie fans are not going to know everything we talk about. They’re going to come away with some surprises as we’re covering his entire life.”

The following evening’s presentation stands out in numerous ways. Not only is it a benefit for the BOP STOP at The Music Settlement, but the hour-long show finds Mulready presenting a deep, if not somewhat obscure, dive into Bowie’s career. Also, Vanity Crash’s set will be decided by requests.

“We really haven’t done a benefit show before, so we wanted to say ‘thank you’ to the BOP STOP because it’s been five years there and they’re great partners,” Mulready said. “They do music education for kids and adults. The band is going to lay out the Bowie songs and other stuff that we do and let people request stuff.”

The weekend ends with “Brunch with Bowie,” where Mulready and company cover the second half of Ziggy Stardust’s career from Let’s Dance to his brilliant final albums, The Next Day and Blackstar.

“I’m super-excited to start when he’s on the top of the world, has millions of fans internationally and kind of loses his mojo and stumbles,” Mulready said. “The end of his life is absolutely fascinating.

“The whole second chapter has a lot of surprises and a lot of really good music. Vanity Crash has worked up a lot of his late material for those shows as well.”

Born Davey Jones and reborn time and time again as Ziggy Stardust, Aladdin Sane and the Thin White Duke, Bowie continues to gain in popularity with new reissues and tours by his former band members. In fact, it’s this interest that keeps Mulready returning every year to “An Evening With(out) David Bowie.”

“He’s endlessly fascinating,” Mulready said. “He took himself very seriously as an artist. He challenged himself constantly, which is why he changed so much. He was also supremely talented. He was also beautiful. We have to admit that men are attracted to him, women are attracted to him.

“I can’t find a bad photo of the guy. He looks awesome in every single shot. There’s no one else in the world like that. He seduced the world, not just with his looks, but with his talent and with this development of his skills. It’s incredible — after all of these years David Bowie continues to grow.”

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