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Rock Hall of Fame: Ringo Starr honored by Paul McCartney, plays with Green Day

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The 2015 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony took place in Cleveland, Ohio, on Saturday night and into Sunday morning. Here were the highlights as the evening unfolded, presented in reverse chronological order.

Ringo Starr: ‘Finally I’m invited and I love it’



Ringo Starr speaks at his induction in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. (Mike Coppola / Getty Images)

Whatever other transgressions Rock and Roll Hall of Fame officials may be accused of, they know you can’t follow a Beatle, much less two Beatles, and wisely left Paul McCartney’s induction of his long ago bandmate Ringo Starr as the grand finale of the 2015 ceremony in the wee hours of Sunday morning in Cleveland.

“I was doing the press earlier, and somebody asked, ‘Why did you wait so long,’ ” Starr, 74, said. “It had nothing to do with me — you have to be invited. Finally I’m invited and I love it.”

In one of the most personal and personable acceptance speeches of the evening, Starr sounded like he might have merely been courting favor with the hometown crowd when he said, “I also got lucky that it’s actually in Cleveland,” which elicited a huge ovation.

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Then Starr added, “And I’ll tell you why,” which he followed with a detailed rundown of his discovery of early rock and RB through a Luxembourg radio station he listened to in Liverpool — a station that carried influential American radio deejay Alan Freed’s broadcasts from Cleveland.

“Every Sunday at 4 o’clock in the afternoon, we’d listen to Alan Freed. He played Little Richard, he played Jerry Lee Lewis, who was here earlier, and that’s where we heard rock and roll music,” Starr, 74, said. “Alan Freed introduced us to so many great records.”

McCartney recounted the first time Starr sat in with the nascent Beatles, when Starr was still a member of another Liverpool group, Rory Storm the Hurricanes.

“I remember the moment, standing there, looking at John, then looking at George, and we were like…What is this? That was the moment. That was the beginning of the Beatles.”

RELATED Ringo Starr focuses on the next move

Following a surreal version of the Shirelles’ hit “Boys,” for which Starr was backed by the members of Green Day, and a version of his solo it “It Don’t Come Easy” featuring his rock star pal and brother-in-law Joe Walsh, the collaboration most of the crowd anticipated arrived as McCartney put on his bass and fronted an all-hands-on-deck rendition of “With a Little Help From My Hands.”

“Thank everyone on stage, what a great gift,” Starr said, and then launched into a revved-up performance of “I Wanna Be Your Man,” which also allowed McCartney to take a solo vocal near the end.

Bill Withers: RB legend brings the cool



Bill Withers speaks at his induction in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. (Mike Coppola / Getty Images)

RB singer-songwriter Bill Withers, at 76, brought an air of understated cool to an evening that had been filled with over-the-top performances by pop-punk band Green Day, an explosive rock-blues salute to Stevie Ray Vaughan and a decibel-slinging set by Joan Jett the Blackhearts.

“Miles Davis has no commonality with Jerry Lee Lewis,” Withers said, directing his gaze for the moment at the table near the front of Cleveland’s Public Auditorium, where inaugural Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee Lewis looked on. “But they each have their constituencies. And when you guys get too loud, I gotta go to the bathroom.”

PHOTOS: The 2015 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductees

Stevie Wonder gave an uncharacteristically concise induction speech for Withers, citing the civility and elegance of his music in a world that’s often lacking in both.

Withers drolly said, “I’m honored to be this year’s oldest living solo inductee. Don’t hate me because I’m precocious, OK? But who else came here with a Legend and a Wonder?” He was referring to John Legend, who joined Wonder in the performance of Withers’ early-‘70s hits “Use Me” and “Lean on Me,” which followed Wonder’s rendition of “Ain’t No Sunshine.”

Legend led Withers out during “Lean on Me,” eliciting cheers from fans who may or may not have known that Withers has performed live only sporadically since his first round of fame, making Saturday’s show his first major public performance in more than three decades.

“It’s been a wonderful, odd odyssey with ups, downs and sometimes screw-me-arounds — we all know about those,” Withers said with a chuckle. “But I will always remember the good things. So check this out: Stevie Wonder knows my name, and the brother just put me in the Hall of Fame.”

Lou Reed: Touching tributes from Patti Smith, Laurie Anderson



Patti Smith recalls her friend Lou Reed during his posthumous induction in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. (Mike Coppola / Getty Images)

Lou Reed was given not one but two of the most erudite tributes of the evening on Saturday in Cleveland as he was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame by poet-singer-songwriter Patti Smith, and then was saluted by his partner of 21 years, performance artist and writer Laurie Anderson.

Smith had to choke back tears several times talking of Reed both as a friend and a musician she first encountered in person “dancing to the Velvet Underground upstairs at Max’s Kansas City” club in New York.

“Somewhere along the line, Lou and I became friends,” Smith said. “It was a complex friendship — sometimes antagonistic, sometimes sweet. Lou would sometimes emerge from the shadows at CBGB when I was there, and if I did something he liked, he would praise me. If I made a false move, he would break it down.”

Likewise, Anderson said Reed “was hilarious, never cynical. He was my best friend, the person I admire most in the world. There were times I was frustrated; there were times I was mad. But I was never, ever bored.”

She quoted an adage that suggests “a person dies three times: the first time when your heart stops; the second time when you’re buried or cremated; and the third time when your name is spoken for the last time. “

RELATED: Lou Reed, rock giant, led the Velvet Underground

She then exhorted the crowd to join her saying Reed’s name, en masse, and they responded with a long, dark chorus of “Lou!!”

The musical tribute featured Yeah Yeah Yeahs members Karen O and Nick Zimmer singing “Vicious,” followed by Beck doing “Satellite of Love.”

Smith recalled that when she got the news of Reed’s death in 2013, she had been alone at Rocky Beach, and then took the 55-minute subway ride back to New York City.

She said she found “The entire city was in mourning. I realized at that moment, that I had forgotten when I was on the subway, that he was not only my friend, he was the friend of New York City.”

The ’5′ Royales: Recognition that’s long overdue



Fred Tanner, brother of two of the “5″ Royales at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction. (Mark Duncan / Associated Press)

Guitarist Steve Cropper recalled sneaking into a performance by RB group the “5” Royales in Memphis in the early 1960s, along with bassist Donald “Duck” Dunn well before both became members of Booker T. the MG’s.

“I’d never heard anybody play guitar like Lowman Pauling,” said Cropper, who became one of the most respected guitarists of the 1960s and played on hundreds of sessions during that golden era of RB and soul music.

He noted that the “5” Royales never achieved the level of commercial success of other early RB vocal groups such as the Coasters, the Drifters and the Platters. “They’re long overdue for this kind of worldwide acclaim,” Cropper said. “They’ve been nominated before, but I’m extremely proud to induct them tonight into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.”

ALSO: How to fix the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame? Start all over again

Then he took a moment to express gratitude at seeing all the musicians being saluted during the evening, before adding, “What tonight is about — what all these events are about — is about educating the younger generation, so we never lose the great intention of rhythm and blues and soul music in America.”

Because all the original members of the group have died, Ray Tanner, the brother of Eugene and Johnny Tanner, was accompanied by children of Pauling and other group members in accepting the award.

Vocalist Leon Bridges sang “Dedicated to the One I Love,” the song Pauling wrote and which was subsequently popularized by the Shirelles and the Mamas the Papas, as images scrolled on a screen above the stage for the “In Memoriam” segment paying homage musicians who died in the last year.

Green Day: Raised in ‘ “Romper Room” of degenerates’



Green Day performs during the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony. (Mike Coppola / Getty Images)

Billie Joe Armstrong credited his upbringing in the Bay Area on “Gilman Street, which was like ‘Romper Room’ for degenerates,” and a fiscal crisis in his school district that resulted in him meeting bassist Mike Dirnt as key facets of the long-term success of pop-punk band Green Day that culminated Saturday in the trio’s induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

“When we were on tour in our yellow Ford Econoline we called ‘The Tooth,’ and when we were silk-screening T-shirts on Billy’s guitar, I didn’t think back then that we’d be here now in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame,” drummer Tre Cool said, after the induction speech given by members of Fall Out Boy. “I thought it would take at least another year or two.”

BIOS: Meet the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductees

The band’s evolution from simple, hard-thrashing punk to the more textured sounds of the Grammy-winning “American Idiot” album has had one thing in common, Armstrong said: “Every song I’ve ever written is about a state of confusion.”

They served up high-octane versions of “American Idiot,” “When I Come Around” and “Basket Case” during their performance, pushing the volume in Cleveland’s Public Auditorium even higher than it had been during the blues guitar summit tribute to Stevie Ray Vaughan that preceded it.

The group’s induction gave the ‘90s generation of music fans, many of whom discovered Green Day through the 1994 breakthrough album “Dookie,” something they could call their own on a night mostly devoted to the ushering in of musicians in their 60s, 70s and some in their 80s.

Fall Out Boy’s induction speech raised questions of what constitutes punk rock, and what is rock ‘n’ roll, but at the end of his own time at the lectern, Armstrong suggested that such definitions don’t matter.

“I love rock ‘n’ roll music,” he said, “and as soon as I opened my eyes and took my first breath, I am a fan. That’s what I want to close with: I love rock ‘n’ roll.”

Stevie Ray Vaughan: ‘The ultimate guitar hero’



John Mayer speaks during the induction of Stevie Ray Vaughan and his band, Double Trouble. (Mike Coppola / Getty Images)

Electric guitars came out in force for the induction of Texas blues rocker Stevie Ray Vaughan and his band, Double Trouble, during an emotional tribute to the man who died in a helicopter crash in 1990 at 35.

“Guitar players can appreciate his technique, but it was his enthusiasm that set him apart,” said Vaughan’s older brother, guitarist Jimmie Vaughan, who spoke of the ways his younger brother copied him early in life, then turned the tables after they both developed drug and alcohol addictions.

“Big brother showed little brother how to play the guitar,” Jimmie Vaughan said, “but little brother showed big brother how to get clean and sober…. Every day I wake up clean and sober, I think of my brother.”

RELATED: Stevie Ray Vaughan tops fan vote for 2015 Rock Hall induction

Guitarist-singer-songwriter John Mayer gave the induction speech, lauding Vaughan as “the ultimate guitar hero,” a phrase he repeated like the chorus of a song, and which drew a hearty cheer from the crowd of nearly 10,000.

“He gave me hope,” Mayer said, “because heroes give you hope. There’s an intensity to the way Stevie Ray played. It’s a rage without the anger, it’s devotional, it’s religious, it’s as otherworldly as Hendrix, but where Hendrix came down from outer space, Stevie came up from below the ground.”

Mayer also praised Vaughan for the example he set in triumphing over his demons.

“He fought drug and alcohol addiction, and he emerged an even better guitarist for it,” Mayer said. “He had the courage to talk openly about it on stage, talking to his fans about how drugs and alcohol wasn’t where it was at. He was my hero, and I grew up proudly turning down every drug and drink I was offered, so it might bring me closer to the man I never met. Heroes can save your life.”

Mayer joined with Jimmie Vaughan and fellow guitar shredders Doyle Bramhall II and Gary Clarke Jr. in blistering renditions of “Pride and Joy,” “Texas Flood” and “Six Strings Down” that also featured the members of Double Trouble, freshly inducted into the Rock Hall: keyboardist Reese Wynans, bassist Tommy Shannon and drummer Chris Layton.

Paul Butterfield: A lasting influence



Musicians Zac Brown, left, and Tom Morello perform a Paul Butterfield Blues Band song onstage. (Mike Coppola / Getty Images)

Southern rocker Zac Brown and L.A. rock guitarist-activist Tom Morello teamed for a scorching run-through of the Paul Butterfield Blues Band’s “Going to Chicago” in tribute to the blues harmonica player and bandleader who helped establish electric Chicago blues as a viable complement to the rural Delta blues.

“We kind of set an example, which was badly needed in those days, that people of different races could work together,” said Butterfield band guitarist Elvin Bishop, who launched a successful solo career after honing his skills in the band in the 1960s.

ALSO: Seven complaints about Rock Hall’s 2015 selections

Butterfield, who died at 45 of a drug overdose in 1987, had been nominated three times previously, and was voted in for 2015 on his fourth time in the running. He was inducted by former J. Geils Band lead singer Peter Wolf, who praised the band’s style for influencing subsequent acts, including the Grateful Dead, Santana and the Steve Miller Band. Butterfield’s two sons accepted the award for him. Butterfield band guitarist Mike Bloomfield, who died in 1981, also was inducted posthumously.

Butterfield’s now 80-year-old drummer Sam Lay apologized for being somewhat frail, saying, “I may not be as strong as I was, but I’m still here … and I intend to stay here.”

He then walked slowly to center stage, took a seat behind a drum kit and sang lead on the song closely associated with Muddy Waters, “Got My Mojo Working,” accompanied by Bishop, keyboardist Mark Naftalin and several others in a powerfully pulsing demonstration of electric blues.

Joan Jett: ‘It’s a little overwhelming’



Joan Jett the Blackhearts perform at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony. (Mike Coppola / Getty Images)

It was a funny phrase with which to open an evening dedicated to enshrining musicians in a hall of fame: “I don’t give a damn ‘bout my reputation,” Joan Jett sang at the outset of the 2015 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony on Saturday in Cleveland.

She was the first to perform before a crowd of almost 8,000 at the Cleveland Public Auditorium, and she started with “Bad Reputation” and was joined by her Blackhearts bandmate, bassist Jerry Ryan, and the rock musician who’s everywhere, Dave Grohl, for the Runaways’ punk standards “Cherry Bomb.” They wrapped up in short order with her version of Tommy James the Shondells’ “Crimson and Clover,” with a little help from Akron, Ohio native James himself.

RELATED: Joan Jett proves she never left

Then Miley Cyrus, a newer-generation female musician with a bad reputation, arrived to share her longstanding admiration — and lust — for Jett in a speech, much of which isn’t suitable for a family publication. She did note that through an odd set of circumstances on a tour entertaining troops overseas that “Joan Jett became maybe the only woman to offer a prayer on the men’s side of the Wailing Wall.”

“To me she is superwoman — what superwoman should be,” Cyrus said. “She did a lot of things first, not just as a woman, but as a badass babe on the planet.”

Jett thanked her parents, periodically and uncharacteristically wiping away tears, saying ,“I was really going to try not to cry. It’s a little overwhelming.”

Getting ready for the show



From left: Kori Withers, daughter of Bill Withers, John Legend and Steven Van Zandt. (Tony Dejak / Associated Press; Michael Loccisano / Getty Images)

On the red carpet in the front of Cleveland’s Public Auditorium, fans craned their necks in hopes of getting a glimpse of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame’s 2015 inductees and other pop music world luminaries as they strolled into the 93-year-old municipal building. It’s been spruced up for the evening with crystal wine glasses and gleaming white dinnerware on glittering gold tablecloths — for those seated on the floor.

For the rank-and-file fans who sit in the upper decks, it’s upholstered flip-down sports arena seats as usual.

The induction ceremony will feature speeches and music welcoming in Lou Reed, Ringo Starr, Stevie Ray Vaughan Double Trouble, Joan Jett the Blackhearts, Green Day, Bill Withers, the Paul Butterfield Blues Band and the “5″ Royales.

The hall was still largely empty as Jett ran through her sound check, and even with a skeletal audience of waiters and video and sound crew, she still shouted defiantly “That’s rock ‘n’ roll [epithet].”

That proclamation is a blessing and a curse for the institution celebrating its 30th induction ceremony this year — a year when the hall again overlooked some prominent acts such as rap group N.W.A and pioneering German techno band Kraftwerk — that don’t fit into the traditional definitions of rock ‘n’ roll, which means many things to many people.

But that keeps the debate lively year after year — who should be inducted, and who shouldn’t? Is James Taylor “rock ‘n’ roll”? Laura Nyro? And why aren’t the Moody Blues in yet — or Chicago, or the Monkees?

Those questions surface year after year. And each year, a new class of inductees pleases one group of music fans and ticks off another.

Follow @RandyLewis2 on Twitter. For more classic rock, join us on Facebook

Copyright © 2015, Los Angeles Times

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Modern Love: An itemized marriage proposal via voice mail

When I checked the home answering machine after my ferry commute across San Francisco Bay, there was a proposal of marriage from my old friend John Basso, who was now living in Florida.

I listened in awe to his rambling message: “You are the love of my life, and I want you to be with me while I take care of my mom in Gainesville. She is now bedridden. She’s got half a million in stocks and bonds, a pension, two properties in Crystal River, the house in Gainesville, a fur coat, two diamond rings, antique furniture, rugs from Panama and Wedgwood china. I’ll send you a plane ticket, and you can help me take care of her.”

He didn’t sound drunk. He must have thought this would win me over. I hadn’t seen him in 10 years, but a few months earlier he had started mailing me letters, poems and artwork.

I met John when I was 17. He would pick me up from Miami Beach Hgh School in his red MG and wait with an eager look for me to ask a favor.

“Take me to get a Whopper, then let’s drive down Collins Avenue,” I might suggest, and he would happily comply. He was lithe, blond and blue-eyed, but not mysterious and misunderstood enough to be the one for me.

I lost track of him when I moved to New York and then Los Angeles before finally landing as a single mother in Marin County, where I worked in San Francisco for law offices.

Serendipitously, my then-boyfriend announced one day that he had to go to the city to see his friend John Basso.

Could it be?

“I knew a John Basso,” I said. I wrote down the first few lines of the poem John had written back then. I had repeated it so many times when I was 17 that I still knew every word.

John’s poem began: “There is just a tincture of me until I strangle the fissioning cougar that stalks my jungle night in a neon city of flashing, clicking streetlights.”

“Take this to him and see if it’s the same guy,” I said.

My boyfriend later verified it was John’s poem; he had been living in Miami but was now out here.

It was deja vu to see him again, now balding and stocky but still with the flicker of wildness in his eyes.

Eventually I visited John on my own in his apartment by Golden Gate Park.

We went walking in the park’s rose garden, ate tapas in a Haight-Ashbury cafe, walked to Coit Tower for the panoramic view and ended up getting drunk at a dive on Broadway.

John would phone me from time to time, but years went by without our paths crossing.

Ten years, three jobs, one house and one condo later, I got a call from John, who was back in Gainesville, Florida. His familiar voice and flattery brought me back to our early days and the gratifying feeling of being worshiped.

Then the onslaught of mail began. Every day I would find at least one letter from him, sometimes two, waiting in my mailbox – rambling observations, snippets of poetry and references to my once-upon-a-time teenage beauty.

My boss wished me well when I took my two-week vacation to visit him.

On the last day of my vacation, I was floating offshore in the warm gulf waters, looking at the bluest sky and billowing clouds, and it struck me that I could not bear for this vacation to end.

I extended my vacation to visit John’s mother and see his home in Gainesville. Josephine spent all day crocheting hats and watching TV. She never ventured far from her bed, so the kitchen was neglected and dated, with curling linoleum floors and dingy cabinets crammed with rusty iron pans and blackened utensils.

Revolted, I decided I could never make this my home.

Back in my pristine condo with a view of Mount Tamalpais, the daily mail from John continued, now with packages of countertop samples, cabinet designs, pieces of tile and paint pallets.

To the chagrin of my boss, I rented my condo, surrendered my apartment-size furniture to cross-country movers and flew to the Jacksonville airport, leaving her looking for another assistant to deal with her paper pileup.

On the drive back to Gainesville, John was hyper, describing all the work he had done, and indeed, his house was transformed.

There were chandeliers in every room, including the bathrooms. The kitchen was new, stylish and immaculate. On the back deck, a hot tub overlooked a terraced rock garden made of boulders and expensive Japanese maples and bonsai junipers.

My new mom

John wanted me to take care of his mother. She wanted me to take care of John.

I ended up doing both, being a daughter to Josephine, having girly talks, modeling her floppy crocheted hats, bathing and dressing her up for visits with her lawyer, doctor and financial adviser, taking glamorous photos of her when she put in her false teeth, and serving Thanksgiving dinner on her Wedgwood dinnerware.

She objected to leaving lights on, turning the A.C. below 80 and throwing away unused napkins, yet her savvy stock purchases put a half-million in her portfolio.

Josephine lived for a year after I arrived. She left us her trust fund, her home and three wooden trunks filled with crocheted hats, plus the items John had listed in his voice mail proposal.

Now we live on Amelia Island, Florida, and I have a nest egg of stocks and bonds, diamond rings on three fingers, fur coat in the closet, china, rugs, antiques and a poet/artist who greets me with, “Hey, gorgeous” no matter how rumpled, mismatched or disheveled I am.

Best of all, whenever anyone asks for a decision, John nods toward me and says, “Ask the boss.”

Diana Frank is a real estate agent on Amelia Island, Fla.

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Behind the mule

Beacons of light pierce the darkness way before the crack of dawn, drawing car after car of volunteers to various Columbia venues.

It’s Saturday, the biggest day of the entire Mule Day festival, and another opportunity to entice visitors to purchase a home-cooked meal or find a yard sale treasure, all for a good cause.

Numerous civic organizations and church groups depend upon these annual sales to fund benevolent projects throughout the year — fundraisers that require an army of volunteers working long hours behind the scenes.

Members of 1st Methodist Church in downtown Columbia get a jump on the weekend with their annual Hee-E-Haw Chili Supper on Thursday.

Inside the church kitchen, Portia Lea overlooks a stainless steel table covered with all sizes of jugs and jars containing chili, made and donated by various church members.

Lea said each volunteer makes two gallons of chili using their own recipe — adding up to about 90 gallons this year. Cooks then dump and mix the contents into one giant container on the stove to create a final product that is never the same year to year and doesn’t have a single recipe. There is even a vegetarian version.

“Everyone says its the best chili they ever ate … and it’s just all dumped in together,” one volunteer on kitchen duty said.

Near an outside entrance, four men sit around a propane-heated cooker watching a pot of boiling water cook hot dogs. Each had their own duty — from unwrapping packages totaling 800 hot dogs, to timing each batch at eight minutes and then dumping them into a foil-lined foam container to keep them warm.

Some of the volunteers here have been involved with the chili supper for so many years, they’ve got the process of preparing, serving and cleaning up down to a science.

On Friday, it’s a fish fry and bake sale at Riverside United Methodist Church. There a cook watches over vats of hot grease to deep fry fish, hushpuppies and French fries.

“Keep the temp between 300 and 323. That’s ‘bout right,” one cook constantly reminds another volunteer.

The cooks begin the event with 110 pounds of catfish and bag after bag of corn flour to mix it in. There have been years when demand for the fried fish exceeded the supply, he said, and workers had to run back to the store to buy more.

On Saturday, it’s time for pancakes, country ham and “Bloodys Biscuits.”

Volunteers with the Culleoka Lions Club arrive at the Memorial Building hours before the doors open to the public at 6 a.m. For the next four hours, workers flip flapjacks, sear sausage patties and serve pot after pot of coffee and orange juice with the help of local scouts.

“If you leave hungry, it’s your own fault,” one volunteer said.

Just across 7th Street at the Polk Home Gardens more workers prepare for the 5th Annual Bloodys Biscuits event that helps support the operation of the James K. Polk Ancestral Home and Polk Presidential Hall.

Volunteers at both morning events just finish cleaning up before parade begins.

Across town on Theta Pike, members and volunteers at Columbia Chapter #287 Order of the Eastern Star heat up the skillets to begin cooking nearly 80 pounds of ham and gallons of grits and gravy. The sky is just turning a lighter blue when the first customer arrives.

Preparation for Faith Free Will Baptist Church’s annual garage sale began Friday night when a group of women sorted through boxes of donated items and placed price tags.

Church member and volunteer Lois Pillivant relies on her years’ of experience as a garage sale guru to help decide a good price. She worked until she tired Friday night and returned before dawn the next morning to help arrange tables and place more signs.

It is well after 1 p.m. when more volunteers returned to help cart away the leftovers and return the tables to storage.

By the time the day ends, the dishes and tables are clean, the chairs are stacked and all the garbage is in its place at all these special fundraisers.

“It’s a lot of work,” one volunteer said as she rested on a folding chair. “Really, a lot of work. But it’s worth it.”

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Miss Manners: They say I don’t look Latina, and it makes me sad

DEAR MISS MANNERS: All of my life (21 years) I’ve been listening to an observation when mentioning that my mother is Latina: “You don’t look Latina!”

Sometimes, when a very exotic-looking friend of mine is nearby, although not Latina herself, people compare her to me, saying she looks more Latina than I do. I never know how to respond to such a comment. What could I say?

Explaining how stereotypical the comment is, or how I look like my father, feels like giving an excuse when I honestly feel that the comment is rude, uncomfortable and should not have been made. However, we can’t control what others say. I always feel sad about these comments since I feel very proud of both of my parents’ heritages, and I don’t like identifying to a stereotype, much less explaining why I don’t fit one. Am I overreacting?

Is it polite to make such comments? If not, do you think there is a proper answer to them? When friends are around who know how I feel, they tend to scold the commenter, but they are not always there (of course). I might answer, “Sorry to disappoint you” to the first one, but to the comparison I am speechless. I would hate to be rude to the commenter, but sometimes I wish I had a smart comeback!

GENTLE READER: You might try the boomerang comeback. That is when you return a remark that is not only rude but stupid and thoughtless to its sender.

Not a remark in kind, Miss Manners insists, but the original remark, only strengthened. In this case, it would be: “Really? I don’t look Latina to you? Which part of Latin America, or the Hispanic world, are you familiar with?” Perhaps not what you would call smart, but — smack! — effective.

DEAR MISS MANNERS: Good fortune has provided me the opportunity to live a more comfortable life, and I need to get one bit of information clear before I begin.

You indicate that flatware need not match. Does this give me license to, say, go online and purchase, piece by piece, attractive silver-plated dinnerware from many sets and patterns and use the unmatched (but attractive) utensils? I’m ready to begin the moment if and when Miss Manners says “Go!”

GENTLE READER: Go!

There are several justifications for unmatched flatware:

  • Financial: This does not seem to be your problem, but if it is a choice between a matching set and supplying diners with the tools they need, the latter is more hospitable.

  • Artistic: Miss Manners assumes that what you have in mind is to assemble an attractive and varied collection that might be more interesting than a set.

  • Snobbish: Are you familiar with the nasty British characterization of people who have made their own fortunes (the sort we Americans, in contrast, admire) as “the kind of people who buy their silver”? Responding to that would not constitute a justification, but you could use it to cite tradition.

    DEAR MISS MANNERS: Isn’t it wrong for a bride-to-be to have a bridal shower given by someone who is not invited to the wedding, and to invite people who aren’t invited to the wedding? That sounds like you’re having a shower just to receive presents.

    GENTLE READER: Sure does.

    Miss Manners is the pseudonym of Judith Martin. Miss Manners runs Mondays and Wednesdays. Contact her at dearmissmanners@gmail.com.

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    Caption Rock Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony 2015

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    The 2015 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony took place in Cleveland, Ohio, on Saturday night and into Sunday morning. Here were the highlights as the evening unfolded, presented in reverse chronological order.

    Ringo Starr: ‘Finally I’m invited and I love it’



    Ringo Starr speaks at his induction in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. (Mike Coppola / Getty Images)

    Whatever other transgressions Rock and Roll Hall of Fame officials may be accused of, they know you can’t follow a Beatle, much less two Beatles, and wisely left Paul McCartney’s induction of his long ago bandmate Ringo Starr as the grand finale of the 2015 ceremony in the wee hours of Sunday morning in Cleveland.

    “I was doing the press earlier, and somebody asked, ‘Why did you wait so long,’ ” Starr, 74, said. “It had nothing to do with me — you have to be invited. Finally I’m invited and I love it.”

    In one of the most personal and personable acceptance speeches of the evening, Starr sounded like he might have merely been courting favor with the hometown crowd when he said, “I also got lucky that it’s actually in Cleveland,” which elicited a huge ovation.

    CLASSIC ROCK: Follow us on Facebook

    Then Starr added, “And I’ll tell you why,” which he followed with a detailed rundown of his discovery of early rock and RB through a Luxembourg radio station he listened to in Liverpool — a station that carried influential American radio deejay Alan Freed’s broadcasts from Cleveland.

    “Every Sunday at 4 o’clock in the afternoon, we’d listen to Alan Freed. He played Little Richard, he played Jerry Lee Lewis, who was here earlier, and that’s where we heard rock and roll music,” Starr, 74, said. “Alan Freed introduced us to so many great records.”

    McCartney recounted the first time Starr sat in with the nascent Beatles, when Starr was still a member of another Liverpool group, Rory Storm the Hurricanes.

    “I remember the moment, standing there, looking at John, then looking at George, and we were like…What is this? That was the moment. That was the beginning of the Beatles.”

    RELATED Ringo Starr focuses on the next move

    Following a surreal version of the Shirelles’ hit “Boys,” for which Starr was backed by the members of Green Day, and a version of his solo it “It Don’t Come Easy” featuring his rock star pal and brother-in-law Joe Walsh, the collaboration most of the crowd anticipated arrived as McCartney put on his bass and fronted an all-hands-on-deck rendition of “With a Little Help From My Hands.”

    “Thank everyone on stage, what a great gift,” Starr said, and then launched into a revved-up performance of “I Wanna Be Your Man,” which also allowed McCartney to take a solo vocal near the end.

    Bill Withers: RB legend brings the cool



    Bill Withers speaks at his induction in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. (Mike Coppola / Getty Images)

    RB singer-songwriter Bill Withers, at 76, brought an air of understated cool to an evening that had been filled with over-the-top performances by pop-punk band Green Day, an explosive rock-blues salute to Stevie Ray Vaughan and a decibel-slinging set by Joan Jett the Blackhearts.

    “Miles Davis has no commonality with Jerry Lee Lewis,” Withers said, directing his gaze for the moment at the table near the front of Cleveland’s Public Auditorium, where inaugural Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee Lewis looked on. “But they each have their constituencies. And when you guys get too loud, I gotta go to the bathroom.”

    PHOTOS: The 2015 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductees

    Stevie Wonder gave an uncharacteristically concise induction speech for Withers, citing the civility and elegance of his music in a world that’s often lacking in both.

    Withers drolly said, “I’m honored to be this year’s oldest living solo inductee. Don’t hate me because I’m precocious, OK? But who else came here with a Legend and a Wonder?” He was referring to John Legend, who joined Wonder in the performance of Withers’ early-‘70s hits “Use Me” and “Lean on Me,” which followed Wonder’s rendition of “Ain’t No Sunshine.”

    Legend led Withers out during “Lean on Me,” eliciting cheers from fans who may or may not have known that Withers has performed live only sporadically since his first round of fame, making Saturday’s show his first major public performance in more than three decades.

    “It’s been a wonderful, odd odyssey with ups, downs and sometimes screw-me-arounds — we all know about those,” Withers said with a chuckle. “But I will always remember the good things. So check this out: Stevie Wonder knows my name, and the brother just put me in the Hall of Fame.”

    Lou Reed: Touching tributes from Patti Smith, Laurie Anderson



    Patti Smith recalls her friend Lou Reed during his posthumous induction in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. (Mike Coppola / Getty Images)

    Lou Reed was given not one but two of the most erudite tributes of the evening on Saturday in Cleveland as he was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame by poet-singer-songwriter Patti Smith, and then was saluted by his partner of 21 years, performance artist and writer Laurie Anderson.

    Smith had to choke back tears several times talking of Reed both as a friend and a musician she first encountered in person “dancing to the Velvet Underground upstairs at Max’s Kansas City” club in New York.

    “Somewhere along the line, Lou and I became friends,” Smith said. “It was a complex friendship — sometimes antagonistic, sometimes sweet. Lou would sometimes emerge from the shadows at CBGB when I was there, and if I did something he liked, he would praise me. If I made a false move, he would break it down.”

    Likewise, Anderson said Reed “was hilarious, never cynical. He was my best friend, the person I admire most in the world. There were times I was frustrated; there were times I was mad. But I was never, ever bored.”

    She quoted an adage that suggests “a person dies three times: the first time when your heart stops; the second time when you’re buried or cremated; and the third time when your name is spoken for the last time. “

    RELATED: Lou Reed, rock giant, led the Velvet Underground

    She then exhorted the crowd to join her saying Reed’s name, en masse, and they responded with a long, dark chorus of “Lou!!”

    The musical tribute featured Yeah Yeah Yeahs members Karen O and Nick Zimmer singing “Vicious,” followed by Beck doing “Satellite of Love.”

    Smith recalled that when she got the news of Reed’s death in 2013, she had been alone at Rocky Beach, and then took the 55-minute subway ride back to New York City.

    She said she found “The entire city was in mourning. I realized at that moment, that I had forgotten when I was on the subway, that he was not only my friend, he was the friend of New York City.”

    The ’5′ Royales: Recognition that’s long overdue



    Fred Tanner, brother of two of the “5″ Royales at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction. (Mark Duncan / Associated Press)

    Guitarist Steve Cropper recalled sneaking into a performance by RB group the “5” Royales in Memphis in the early 1960s, along with bassist Donald “Duck” Dunn well before both became members of Booker T. the MG’s.

    “I’d never heard anybody play guitar like Lowman Pauling,” said Cropper, who became one of the most respected guitarists of the 1960s and played on hundreds of sessions during that golden era of RB and soul music.

    He noted that the “5” Royales never achieved the level of commercial success of other early RB vocal groups such as the Coasters, the Drifters and the Platters. “They’re long overdue for this kind of worldwide acclaim,” Cropper said. “They’ve been nominated before, but I’m extremely proud to induct them tonight into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.”

    ALSO: How to fix the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame? Start all over again

    Then he took a moment to express gratitude at seeing all the musicians being saluted during the evening, before adding, “What tonight is about — what all these events are about — is about educating the younger generation, so we never lose the great intention of rhythm and blues and soul music in America.”

    Because all the original members of the group have died, Ray Tanner, the brother of Eugene and Johnny Tanner, was accompanied by children of Pauling and other group members in accepting the award.

    Vocalist Leon Bridges sang “Dedicated to the One I Love,” the song Pauling wrote and which was subsequently popularized by the Shirelles and the Mamas the Papas, as images scrolled on a screen above the stage for the “In Memoriam” segment paying homage musicians who died in the last year.

    Green Day: Raised in ‘ “Romper Room” of degenerates’



    Green Day performs during the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony. (Mike Coppola / Getty Images)

    Billie Joe Armstrong credited his upbringing in the Bay Area on “Gilman Street, which was like ‘Romper Room’ for degenerates,” and a fiscal crisis in his school district that resulted in him meeting bassist Mike Dirnt as key facets of the long-term success of pop-punk band Green Day that culminated Saturday in the trio’s induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

    “When we were on tour in our yellow Ford Econoline we called ‘The Tooth,’ and when we were silk-screening T-shirts on Billy’s guitar, I didn’t think back then that we’d be here now in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame,” drummer Tre Cool said, after the induction speech given by members of Fall Out Boy. “I thought it would take at least another year or two.”

    BIOS: Meet the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductees

    The band’s evolution from simple, hard-thrashing punk to the more textured sounds of the Grammy-winning “American Idiot” album has had one thing in common, Armstrong said: “Every song I’ve ever written is about a state of confusion.”

    They served up high-octane versions of “American Idiot,” “When I Come Around” and “Basket Case” during their performance, pushing the volume in Cleveland’s Public Auditorium even higher than it had been during the blues guitar summit tribute to Stevie Ray Vaughan that preceded it.

    The group’s induction gave the ‘90s generation of music fans, many of whom discovered Green Day through the 1994 breakthrough album “Dookie,” something they could call their own on a night mostly devoted to the ushering in of musicians in their 60s, 70s and some in their 80s.

    Fall Out Boy’s induction speech raised questions of what constitutes punk rock, and what is rock ‘n’ roll, but at the end of his own time at the lectern, Armstrong suggested that such definitions don’t matter.

    “I love rock ‘n’ roll music,” he said, “and as soon as I opened my eyes and took my first breath, I am a fan. That’s what I want to close with: I love rock ‘n’ roll.”

    Stevie Ray Vaughan: ‘The ultimate guitar hero’



    John Mayer speaks during the induction of Stevie Ray Vaughan and his band, Double Trouble. (Mike Coppola / Getty Images)

    Electric guitars came out in force for the induction of Texas blues rocker Stevie Ray Vaughan and his band, Double Trouble, during an emotional tribute to the man who died in a helicopter crash in 1990 at 35.

    “Guitar players can appreciate his technique, but it was his enthusiasm that set him apart,” said Vaughan’s older brother, guitarist Jimmie Vaughan, who spoke of the ways his younger brother copied him early in life, then turned the tables after they both developed drug and alcohol addictions.

    “Big brother showed little brother how to play the guitar,” Jimmie Vaughan said, “but little brother showed big brother how to get clean and sober…. Every day I wake up clean and sober, I think of my brother.”

    RELATED: Stevie Ray Vaughan tops fan vote for 2015 Rock Hall induction

    Guitarist-singer-songwriter John Mayer gave the induction speech, lauding Vaughan as “the ultimate guitar hero,” a phrase he repeated like the chorus of a song, and which drew a hearty cheer from the crowd of nearly 10,000.

    “He gave me hope,” Mayer said, “because heroes give you hope. There’s an intensity to the way Stevie Ray played. It’s a rage without the anger, it’s devotional, it’s religious, it’s as otherworldly as Hendrix, but where Hendrix came down from outer space, Stevie came up from below the ground.”

    Mayer also praised Vaughan for the example he set in triumphing over his demons.

    “He fought drug and alcohol addiction, and he emerged an even better guitarist for it,” Mayer said. “He had the courage to talk openly about it on stage, talking to his fans about how drugs and alcohol wasn’t where it was at. He was my hero, and I grew up proudly turning down every drug and drink I was offered, so it might bring me closer to the man I never met. Heroes can save your life.”

    Mayer joined with Jimmie Vaughan and fellow guitar shredders Doyle Bramhall II and Gary Clarke Jr. in blistering renditions of “Pride and Joy,” “Texas Flood” and “Six Strings Down” that also featured the members of Double Trouble, freshly inducted into the Rock Hall: keyboardist Reese Wynans, bassist Tommy Shannon and drummer Chris Layton.

    Paul Butterfield: A lasting influence



    Musicians Zac Brown, left, and Tom Morello perform a Paul Butterfield Blues Band song onstage. (Mike Coppola / Getty Images)

    Southern rocker Zac Brown and L.A. rock guitarist-activist Tom Morello teamed for a scorching run-through of the Paul Butterfield Blues Band’s “Going to Chicago” in tribute to the blues harmonica player and bandleader who helped establish electric Chicago blues as a viable complement to the rural Delta blues.

    “We kind of set an example, which was badly needed in those days, that people of different races could work together,” said Butterfield band guitarist Elvin Bishop, who launched a successful solo career after honing his skills in the band in the 1960s.

    ALSO: Seven complaints about Rock Hall’s 2015 selections

    Butterfield, who died at 45 of a drug overdose in 1987, had been nominated three times previously, and was voted in for 2015 on his fourth time in the running. He was inducted by former J. Geils Band lead singer Peter Wolf, who praised the band’s style for influencing subsequent acts, including the Grateful Dead, Santana and the Steve Miller Band. Butterfield’s two sons accepted the award for him. Butterfield band guitarist Mike Bloomfield, who died in 1981, also was inducted posthumously.

    Butterfield’s now 80-year-old drummer Sam Lay apologized for being somewhat frail, saying, “I may not be as strong as I was, but I’m still here … and I intend to stay here.”

    He then walked slowly to center stage, took a seat behind a drum kit and sang lead on the song closely associated with Muddy Waters, “Got My Mojo Working,” accompanied by Bishop, keyboardist Mark Naftalin and several others in a powerfully pulsing demonstration of electric blues.

    Joan Jett: ‘It’s a little overwhelming’



    Joan Jett the Blackhearts perform at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony. (Mike Coppola / Getty Images)

    It was a funny phrase with which to open an evening dedicated to enshrining musicians in a hall of fame: “I don’t give a damn ‘bout my reputation,” Joan Jett sang at the outset of the 2015 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony on Saturday in Cleveland.

    She was the first to perform before a crowd of almost 8,000 at the Cleveland Public Auditorium, and she started with “Bad Reputation” and was joined by her Blackhearts bandmate, bassist Jerry Ryan, and the rock musician who’s everywhere, Dave Grohl, for the Runaways’ punk standards “Cherry Bomb.” They wrapped up in short order with her version of Tommy James the Shondells’ “Crimson and Clover,” with a little help from Akron, Ohio native James himself.

    RELATED: Joan Jett proves she never left

    Then Miley Cyrus, a newer-generation female musician with a bad reputation, arrived to share her longstanding admiration — and lust — for Jett in a speech, much of which isn’t suitable for a family publication. She did note that through an odd set of circumstances on a tour entertaining troops overseas that “Joan Jett became maybe the only woman to offer a prayer on the men’s side of the Wailing Wall.”

    “To me she is superwoman — what superwoman should be,” Cyrus said. “She did a lot of things first, not just as a woman, but as a badass babe on the planet.”

    Jett thanked her parents, periodically and uncharacteristically wiping away tears, saying ,“I was really going to try not to cry. It’s a little overwhelming.”

    Getting ready for the show



    From left: Kori Withers, daughter of Bill Withers, John Legend and Steven Van Zandt. (Tony Dejak / Associated Press; Michael Loccisano / Getty Images)

    On the red carpet in the front of Cleveland’s Public Auditorium, fans craned their necks in hopes of getting a glimpse of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame’s 2015 inductees and other pop music world luminaries as they strolled into the 93-year-old municipal building. It’s been spruced up for the evening with crystal wine glasses and gleaming white dinnerware on glittering gold tablecloths — for those seated on the floor.

    For the rank-and-file fans who sit in the upper decks, it’s upholstered flip-down sports arena seats as usual.

    The induction ceremony will feature speeches and music welcoming in Lou Reed, Ringo Starr, Stevie Ray Vaughan Double Trouble, Joan Jett the Blackhearts, Green Day, Bill Withers, the Paul Butterfield Blues Band and the “5″ Royales.

    The hall was still largely empty as Jett ran through her sound check, and even with a skeletal audience of waiters and video and sound crew, she still shouted defiantly “That’s rock ‘n’ roll [epithet].”

    That proclamation is a blessing and a curse for the institution celebrating its 30th induction ceremony this year — a year when the hall again overlooked some prominent acts such as rap group N.W.A and pioneering German techno band Kraftwerk — that don’t fit into the traditional definitions of rock ‘n’ roll, which means many things to many people.

    But that keeps the debate lively year after year — who should be inducted, and who shouldn’t? Is James Taylor “rock ‘n’ roll”? Laura Nyro? And why aren’t the Moody Blues in yet — or Chicago, or the Monkees?

    Those questions surface year after year. And each year, a new class of inductees pleases one group of music fans and ticks off another.

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    Copyright © 2015, Los Angeles Times

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