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John Fugelsang @JohnFugelsang
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My 1st-ever thread, in honor of #ArethaHomecoming

In 2011 I got to perform, along with @aishatyler & @StephMillerShow on the @sexyliberaltour, at one of the most beautiful theaters in America, the Detroit Opera House. We found out Aretha wanted to come & bring 11 friends.
2. We had only planned on selling the orchestra section so we offered the queen & her court the entire mezzanine. We also offered her comps but she insisted on paying for the tickets for her entire party.
3. The orchestra section was packed & it was a spectacular crowd. Nobody knew who was sitting above them as the show began. Backstage we had agreed to hold the curtain until her entire group was seated.
4. A few minutes into my set, I realized that I could hear her booming laugh from above the crowd. The audience began to realize that she was there as well, and the orchestra section began lighting up with cell phone glows as people started posting that Aretha was in the house.
5. Aretha was very political and listened to Stephanie Miller, and was a regular viewer of progressive cable TV news programs. There have been many articles written about her activism but I want to thank her for supporting artists who performed political comedy.
6. I love her pop & R&B performances but since I was a teen I've loved her Gospel work. One Lord One Faith One Baptism was big in the 80s but I highly recommend you check out the '72 live album "Amazing Grace," which I first heard when @JediBunny gave me a copy in our NYU dorm.
7. it features the Rev. James Cleveland and the Rev C.L. Franklin (Aretha's dad) & won Aretha the '73 Grammy for Soul Gospel Performance & became the best-selling live Gospel record of all time. Sydney Pollack filmed the LA performance but Warner Bros shelved the doc until 1999.
8. Aretha's songs on the album include "Mary Don't You Weep" "Wholy Holy" and the best version of "You'll Never Walk Alone." Her father preaches and Aretha's piano playing is lovely throughout. It helped me understand the differences between spirituality and religion.
9. The album taught me that her soul, pain, joy, empathy, and grace was the link between her spiritual recordings, her hits, and her political activism. All those parts of her were driven by the same love - of God, of life, of a common humanity, and of justice.
10. Wealth & success did not make her care less about the less fortunate. She consistently cared about the marginalized, the hopeless, the struggling. Physically, politically and spiritually, she lived in #Detroit.
11. I had seen Aretha Franklin perform live but was not prepared for the experience of knowing she was watching my set. Making a lifelong hero laugh was a gift that inspires me to this day and makes me continuously want to live up to the honor.
12. I could never repay her; I could never give to her what she gave me over my lifetime and on that night. But I'll keep listening to her; remember to be grateful for having been alive while she was here; and honor the inspiration that's shared by all who loved her.
13. Thank you for letting me share these memories; I've never attempted a thread before but few artists have ever been so creatively, spiritually AND politically inspirational. #ArethaHomegoing #ArethaFranklinFuneral
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