Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Canadian blues queen Rita Chiarelli to play Lakewood Ranch Cinemas, attend screening

Rita Chiarelli, who has for years reigned as Canada’s Queen of the Blues, will be headlining an evening of live music and film at Lakewood Ranch Cinemas on July 21.

The theater will be screening the documentary "Music from the Big House," in which she visits Louisiana State Maximum Security Penitentiary.

Best known as Angola and nicknamed Alcatrez of the South and The Farm, it's famous for its history of rough conditions and blues musi

Alan Lomax discovered Lead Belly there in the 1930s and New Orleans piano great James Booker, who taught Harry Connck Jr. how to play,  also served time at Angola.

During Chiarelli's trip to the prison she plays with inmates serving life sentences.

"Their shared bond of music, and Chiarelli’s vivacious personality, draw striking revelations from the inmates," reads the official synopsis. "Rather than sensational stories of convicts, we witness remarkable voices of hope as their love of music radiates humanity and redemption on their quest for forgiveness."

Chiarelli will provide attendees with a Q&A reception and concert following the screening. Complimentary beer, wine, and soft drinks will be provided.

Details: 6 p.m. with the screening to begin at 7 p.m. and the reception and concert to directly follow, July 21, Lakewood Ranch Cinemas, 10715 Rodeo Drive, Lakewood Ranch. Tickets go on sale May 25 and are $25 in advance, and $30 at the door. Information: 941-364-8662 x2008 or

—Publicity photo of Rita Chiarelli in "Music from the Big House."

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