A Week of Tastlessness

Edgar Winter and Patti How Much Is That Doggie in the Window? Page within 72 terrifying hours!

For they didn't come any more safely Caucasian than Page, who plays the Orange County Performing Arts Center on Friday and Saturday nights. Her work stands with the creation of Wonder Bread, mayonnaise, golf and the Cleaver family as a high-water mark of White Culture. The Space Age double-tracked vocals, sickly saccharine backing music and pure-as-the-driven-snow Aryan princess vocal timbre consummately define the era that Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell would have us return to. The Page formula was to take a country-music tune, bleach all the hillbilly out of it, adorn it with ribbons and a lace doily, and watch all the Protestants blissfully snatch it up like ladyfingers. Purty Patti was among the best-selling and most popular artists of the '50s; she even had a couple of her own TV shows late in the decade. She has remained active in music ever since, but the big hits had dried up by the early '60s.

Patti Page 2000 bears little resemblance to the '50s Queen of Kitsch. Her voice seems to have dropped about five octaves, she's developed a lovely vibrato, and the double-tracked trickery is long gone. She's a proficient if unspectacular singer, still given to flights of rampant corniness (such as combining songs with similar but opposite themes, like "Ain't No Sunshine/ You Are My Sunshine" and "Person Who Used to Be Me/A Brand New Me"). Best of all, you have to wonder if she vicariously tastes dog shit every time a fan yells out a request for "How Much Is That Doggie in the Window?"

Edgar Winter, Leon Russell and Dave Mason play at the Sun Theatre, 2200 E. Katella Ave., Anaheim, (714) 712-2700. Sun., 8 p.m. $25-$35; Patti Page performs at the Orange County Performing Arts Center, 600 Town Center Dr., Costa Mesa, (714) 556-2787. Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m. $23-$67.
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