(Jeanne Trevor at Brandt's Café, the Loop)

The song was "Stardust," and she sang it exquisitely, hauntingly: a David Lynch movie, a Siamese cat. It seemed impossible that this tiny, smiling woman could produce such an enormous voice, could evoke so artfully tenderness and loss, could wrap you in cellophane and deliver you to a sentimental place without irony.

It was like being handed a picture of someone you once knew well, or returning to a less complicated time, when a song could actually embody gallant ideals: about love, or life. A time when fools rushed in, stumbling madly over doorjambs, and were heroes.

Dangerous, this sentimentality, and seductive. When the singer pins you to the wall, makes it seem as though she's speaking directly to you. You fall into a trance, float through those cloudy lyrics, bask in the absence of cynicism. And when you come to, you're just relieved to find you haven't moved, haven't wept, haven't done anything to embarrass yourself.

Meantime, still smiling, the singer inclines her tiny body toward the applause.

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