9 p.m. June 1 at Buster's Billiards & Backroom. 899 Manchester St. $32. (859) 368-8871. Bustersbb.com.
Few pop celebrities have so thoroughly reinvented themselves for the depraved new world of reality TV as has Bret Michaels. Flavor Flav comes close, but Michaels, by far, takes the crown. Let's look at the reasons why.
In 2005, Michaels was one of the judges on the USA network's Nashville Star, the country music talent contest equivalent of American Idol. If you were left scratching your head over the connection that the frontman for pop-metal band Poison shared with country, you weren't alone.
Two years later, Michaels jumped to VH1's Rock of Love, where he spent three seasons in the company of female contestants vying to be his girlfriend. Although hardly a cultural high-water mark for any network, the program became a major ratings hit.
Almost concurrent with Rock of Love's final season was Michaels' winning run on the third installment of NBC's Celebrity Apprentice. He beat Sharon Osborne, Cyndi Lauper and disgraced former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich for top honors. Michaels and Donald Trump: Who could have imagined that alliance?
No sooner did Celebrity Apprentice wrap up than he was back at VH1 for Bret Michaels: Life as I Know It. Designed to present Michaels as more of a family man, the series scored initially strong ratings, but it shut down production as the star's health declined. Michaels had been injured during the televised ceremony for the 2009 Tony Awards when a falling set piece hit his head. There then were successive hospitalizations in 2010 for an emergency appendectomy and a brain hemorrhage. The Tony injury prompted a lawsuit, which was settled last month.
Factor in TV appearances on Don't Forget the Lyrics, American Idol, America's Got Talent and even Extreme Makeover: Home Edition, and one almost forgets that Michaels was first and foremost a rock star.
That glory came to him via Poison, which emerged from a stable of '80s, video-savvy hair bands that included Mötley Crüe, Ratt and Cinderella, among many others. Poison's albums, notably Open Up and Say ... Ahh!, boasted enough voltage to fill the largest concert venues, including Rupp Arena in 1989. But Poison's defining hit, the multiplatinum-selling ballad Every Rose Has Its Thorn, defied the genre.
Today, Michaels works extensively off camera with a variety of charities, including Muhammad Ali Foundation (for Parkinson's disease research), American Diabetes Association and Barrow Brain Tumor Foundation.
So what brings the Rock of Love back to Lexington? Music, of course.
Michaels maintains an active solo career and aims to send his audiences home with a mix of Poison's hits and tunes from his Poison-esque 2010 album Custom Built.
"I tell myself in my brain — my hemorrhaged brain — that I want to hear them whooping and slapping five in the parking lot afterward," Michaels told the Chicago Tribune in December. "I want them to leave the concert jacked up. That's why they came."
Jazz at the Winery
It's round three for the Lexington Jazz Festival. The annual showcase of local and regional jazz talent takes to Talon Winery & Vineyards, 7086 Tates Creek Road, on Sunday. The daylong celebration will feature traditional and contemporary jazz, funk and smooth jazz.
As was the case with the two previous festivals, Sunday's gathering will be a rain-or-shine event.
Scheduled to perform are The Jamey Aebersold Quartet, The Jazz Collective with Gail Wynters, The Baja Yetis, The Ben Lacy/Bob Bryant Duo and O-Zone. Music begins at 1 p.m.
Tickets are $15 in advance, $20 at the gate. For more information, call (859) 246-6885 or go to Lexingtonjazzfestival.com.