Music, theater communities suffer losses

Assorted ramblings from the world of entertainment:

l The local music and theater communities suffered two significant losses this week.

Louise Hathaway, known to local music fans and fellow musicians as Madam Weez, lost her battle with cancer on Tuesday at age 60.

In addition to performing solo as Madam Weez, Hathaway led the Stevie Nicks tribute act Gold Dust Woman and played dozens of benefits for fellow musicians and others in need over the years. She was an early organizer of the Labor Day weekend cancer benefit concerts at Up a Creek Tavern in Howland, and this year she was the beneficiary of the event.

Also dying this week was Youngstown native Jeff Sanders, who lived in Chicago. In addition to being a member of The Sharkbites, which was a fixture in the Youngstown music scene in the late 1980s, Sanders served as music director for nearly every show by Easy Street Productions.

He was an original cast member of its long-running “Pump Boys & Dinettes,” and he continued to return to the Mahoning Valley after moving to Chicago to lead the Easy Street Little Big Band for its annual Christmas show “Miracle on Easy Street” and other performances. That band always was so tight, so flawless, its contributions to the success of ESP probably hasn’t gotten the attention it deserved.

Easy Street co-founder Todd Hancock said they are reeling from the news, but a tribute to Sanders definitely will be a part of this year’s “Miracle.”

Both will be missed.

l Youngstown native Eljay Williams will bring his film “Pathways (Sean’s Lament)” back to the Mahoning Valley for a local premiere on Saturday at Encore Cinemas in Niles.

The movie is set in 2010 in Atlanta’s independent hip hop scene and tells the story of a promoter, Sean Pathways, juggling personal and professional pressures when his girlfriend, a music producer named Beautiful, is working with an all-female rap group fronted by his ex-girlfriend. Beautiful is played by Joel Coleman of Warren.

The movie features several Atlanta-area indie artists and had its premiere there earlier this year.

Williams and cast members will be in attendance when “Pathways (Sean’s Lament)” screens at 7 p.m. Saturday. Red carpet festivities begin at 6 p.m,, and the 53-minute movie will be followed by a Q&A session.

Tickets are $10 in advance through, and packages that include a ticket along with a T-shirt and/or DVD also are available.

l Youngstown Cinema, on the third floor of the Knox Building in downtown Youngstown, will host a screening of “Wonder Woman” for a worthy cause on Friday.

The feminist superhero hit grossed more than $400 million in theaters earlier this year. A portion of the proceeds will benefit Babes Against Demeaning and Abusive Selfie Sharing (I’ll let readers figure out the acronym for themselves). The group is made up of victims of revenge porn and their allies, who are working to create consequences for those who share the photos and dismantling the platforms that host them.

The movie starts at 8 p.m. Friday with a cocktail hour starting at 6:30 p.m. Tickets are $8 in advance by visiting the website at and $10 at the door.

l One of the roles of newspapers is to alert readers to possible scams and frauds in their community.

With that in mind, Theresa Caputo, star of the TLC reality series “Long Island Medium,” where she claims to communicate with the dead, will be at the Covelli Centre on Sunday.

l Donnie Iris is a Pennsylvania rocker, but he’s played enough gigs around here over the years to qualify as an honorary northeast Ohioan.

Iris, whose career includes the 1970 hit “The Rapper” with The Jaggerz and radio favorites like “Ah Leah” and “Love Is Like a Rock” as Donnie Iris and Cruisers, will celebrate his 75th birthday with a concert on Feb. 3 at the Palace Theatre in Greensburg, Pa.

Fans are encouraged to share photos and memories of 50 years of Iris music on the band’s Facebook page leading up to the birthday bash.

Tickets will go on sale at 10 a.m. Saturday through Ticketmaster.