FORMER Philadelphian Collette McLafferty has been forced to turn to the crowdsourcing website Indiegogo to finance her legal fees after she was sued for $10 million.
Her alleged offense: Earning $75 to sing in a tribute band to Doylestown's homegrown pop star, Pink.
"I've been a professional singer for 20 years. It's not my first time at the rodeo," said McLafferty, who started her professional career here and was a regular at Old City's Khyber and Manayunk's Grape Street Pub with her band edibleRed in the '90s. "But it's my first time at the courthouse."
McLafferty is named in the suit, filed in Suffolk County, N.Y., along with bandmates Rik Nevone and John Rodriguez, for performing with their band, Funhouse (named for Pink's fifth album). The suit was filed by drummer/attorney Charles Bonfante III. In the suit, Bonfante, who did not return a request for comment, goes after McLafferty's looks, saying in the suit, "She didn't look the part, or at least contribute to the overall aesthetics of the band," an angle played up by the New York Post in their coverage.
"The Post and everyone is playing the angle that she's too old and ugly to sing, but it's really about stealing [Bonfante's] idea. But he has no right to his idea. Only Pink does," said Martin Kera, McLafferty's attorney, calling Bonfante "insane." ("Who writes a 112-page complaint?")
In addition to the $10 million, the suit also seeks to ban McLafferty from playing in any other Pink cover bands in perpetuity, an issue McLafferty sees as a First Amendment issue.
Regardless of the suit's merit,McLafferty is still saddled with $3,200 in legal fees for what Kera said is essentially the bad luck of being hired to sing in Funhouse. Fortunately, she's getting pro bono offers for future legal proceedings, but McLafferty still needs to pay for Kera's work.
Indiegogo reached out to McLafferty after she wrote a personal essay for the website xoJane about her ordeal. In the week since it's been up, McLafferty's supporters have already pledged more than $1,000.
To donate, go to ph.ly/pinkdefense.
"American Horror Story," FX's scary anthology series, is known for packing its ranks with powerhouse actresses, such as Jessica Lange, Kathy Bates and Angela Bassett, so why not add a powerhouse singer to the list?
Wynnewood's own Patti LaBelle was recently added to the upcoming season, subtitled "Freak Show." She'll reportedly play the mother of Oscar-nominated actress Gabourey Sidibe. LaBelle's character will not sing, but, according to TVLine, will play "a local townsperson who begins to unravel the murderous secrets of Twisty the clown killer."
LaBelle is not the first singer on the show. Last season's "Coven" featured a cameo by Fleetwood Mac's witchy woman, Stevie Nicks. LaBelle has logged screen credits before, including a role in the Outkast musical "Idlewild," a regular spot on "Cosby Show" spin-off "A Different World" and a starring role on the sitcom "Out All Night." "Freak Show," set for a fall premiere, also stars Lange, Bates, Bassett and "The Shield" star Michael Chiklis.
* The Roots members James Poyser and Questlove made a surprise visit to Hard Rock Cafe Philadelphia (1113-31 Market St.) on Friday to see King Britt and Dozia's Back2Basics Reunion Tour. During the reunion, Questlove took to the drums to do his thing. Philly kids remember Back2Basics as the city's longest running live parties, mixing DJs and live bands.
* On Saturday night, "Girls" star Zosia Mamet (who plays the amazing Shoshanna) and her boyfriend, former Philly actor, Broadway figure and "X-Men: Days of Future Past" star Evan Jonigkeit, grabbed a cocktail at newly opened Italian eatery Martorano's, in Harrah's Resort Atlantic City (777 Harrah's Blvd.), during the restaurant's celebrated grand-opening month.
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