Singer-songwriter Brandin Lea’s got rhythm, both in terms of, y’know, being able to play guitar and sing awesomely and also in the George-and-Ira-Gershwin, Ethel-Merman kinda way.

The son of famed Broadway performers and local dance studio owners/directors Bruce and Frances Lea, Brandin pretty much grew up in a rehearsal studio, studying, among other things, dance, hence his getting behind his ballet. On Friday at Embargo (210 E. 8th St., in SoDo, 817-870-9750), Lea’s epic mod-rock band The February Chorus will play a fundraiser along with bombastic sepia-toned folkies Telegraph Canyon and singer-songwriter Josh Knight for Texas Ballet Theater – North Texas’ only major classical ballet company is going through some tough financial times. (See this week’s cover story on pg. 10.)

Behind the show, apocryphally named “Rock the Ballet,” is Get Behind Your Ballet, an informal fund-raising and publicity group created and run by TBT dancers whose mission, members say, is to save both their company and their “life’s work.” As part of their goal – to raise a cool million dollars, and soon – GBYB is doing everything to “heighten the public’s awareness of the cultural gem sitting right here in our community,” including dancing in the streets (not kidding) and now putting on a rock show.


Lea was approached by professional acquaintance and GBYB member/dancer Thomas Kilps about doing a rock-oriented fund-raiser specifically at Embargo about a month ago. “I told [Kilps] if you want jugglers or cover bands, I’m not your guy,” said Lea, whose bread and butter, the mod-rock quintet Flickerstick, is on a permanent hiatus. “I was, like, ‘Here’s what I have to offer,’ ” i.e. local indie-rock bands that are well respected and regarded. (Local indie-rock darlings Calhoun were supposed to play, Lea said, but had to back out at the last minute.)

“It’s a worthy cause,” Lea said of “Rock the Ballet.” “I just wish I could have done more. … I hope they do well.” Admission is $25 per person and includes some light Cuban fare and also “salsa dancing with the artists.” (Sounds dangerous, especially for people – unlike moi – who ain’t got no rhythm.) Doors open at 5:30 p.m., rocking out at 7. For tickets, call the company at 877-828-9200 or visit and click the “Rock the Ballet” link. FYI: In reference to the Gershwins, TBT’s repertoire includes Who Cares?, a small piece set to their music. …

The Toadies are on the radio, a Democrat in the White House seems inevitable, and everyone’s wearing torn jeans – the ’90s are back, baby! Further proof is in this year’s Jazz by the Boulevard, taking place this weekend by the Will Rogers Memorial Center. Buddy Guy, Randy Brecker, Lee Ritenour, and David Sanborn – four guys who cracked the mainstream during the Clinton era – headline the event that’s now in its fifth year. Admission is free, and part of the proceeds from the sale of food and goods onsite will go toward a campaign to help maintain and beautify the historic Camp Bowie District. Bring your blankets and lawn chairs, but leave your coolers at home. Visit

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