Michelle Shocked 

9 p.m. Friday, September 11. Off Broadway, 3509 Lemp Avenue.

When a photographer for the San Francisco Examiner captured the scene of a riot-helmeted cop putting a stranglehold on a young protestor named Karen Michelle Johnston, Michelle Shocked was, for all purposes, born. A romantic icon for the folk-punk-bi-curious (or committed) generation, Shocked is that rare musician who evokes a guileless air of political and artistic integrity but refuses to pander to her devotees. From Western swing to electric boogie-woogie, Creole music to Latin polka, choral gospel to theatrical jazz, children's music to dub remixes, Shocked's recordings make no pretense at genre mastery, yet she never sounds less than enthralled with idea and enactment of liberty, whether musical, social or personal. As a singer and songwriter, she's the definition of an unpredictable American original.

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