Aretha's no Mavis! The declaration gets a laugh in Jessica Edwards' documentary Mavis! on HBO. Last week's premiere screening at the Alliance Francais, was the film party of the season: inspiring at 76, Mavis Staple is a dynamo. When Edwards heard her perform at the band shell in Brooklyn's Prospect Park, she knew she had to make a film about her. Mavis Staples started making gospel 65 years ago with her family, The Staples Singers. She's influenced Bonnie Raitt, Prince, Wilco's Jeff Tweedy, and Bob Dylan, who, as a young folksinger when they used to tour together, asked her dad for her hand in marriage. "You'd better talk to Mavis," he said.
But marriage never quite worked out for this dedicated performer and civil rights activist. As Bonnie Raitt aptly puts it, both she and Mavis were daddy's girls. What man could live up to them, referring of course to John Raitt and Roebuck "Pops" Staples.
Following the screening, Jean Batiste, introduced Mavis and her band for a live concert, explaining that he and Stephen Colbert worked their first night of The Late Show around her. The music kept everyone singing and dancing along: "I'll Take you There," "Respect Yourself," and some songs from "Mavis Staples: Livin' on a High Note."
A version of this post also appears on Gossip Central.