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I don’t know how much Starbucks coffee you have to glug to achieve Gold Card status, but it certainly has its … aah, I’ll say it … perks.

The top 10 My Starbucks Rewards people in Seattle were invited to sit still long enough to hear Sheryl Crow perform a 30-minute set at the Roy Street Coffee & Tea store last Friday. The store is run by Starbucks under a new concept built by company “rock star” Major Cohen.

Nice guy, but there were bigger stars in the room. Namely, Brandi Carlile.

“ ‘The Globe Sessions’ changed my life,” Carlile said of Crow’s third album, released in 1999. “ ‘Crash and Burn’ was the blueprint for ‘Again Today.’ ”

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She has also performed with Crow several times over the last few years.

Carlile and her wife, Catherine
Carlile, told me they had just celebrated their anniversary, and are happy to be off the road, which is where they spent most of last year, supporting Brandi’s “Bear Creek” album.

At home, they just canned 28 cans of tomatoes, and there was some sort of “fishing hook incident” that, hopefully, won’t affect Brandi’s playing.

Crow came in with her six-piece band, her 4-year-old son, Levi, and, once presented with her favorite drink (a triple-Venti nonfat latte), she kissed it. She’s got a Gold Card of her own, I take it.

She started her acoustic set with “All I Wanna Do,” tossing in a little Chuck Berry duck walk. And for “Easy,” from her new album, “Feels Like Home,” she broke out a capo that she said once belonged to Johnny Cash.

“It’s the only thing I have in the safety deposit box,” Crow said. “I gave back all the engagement rings. They karmically stink.” (There were three, from what she told Piers Morgan the other week).

After another new song called “Callin’ Me When I’m Lonely,” she invited “my favorite singer” Carlile up to harmonize on “The First Cut is the Deepest,” and then let her take over a verse of “If It Makes You Happy,” before closing the set with “Every Day is a Winding Road.”

Crow also praised Starbucks head Howard Schultz’s decision last week to request that people not bring their handguns into stores.

“We all have our rights,” Crow said. “But it’s nice to be in a safe place with your kids.”

The music of time

For years, pianist Overton Berryhas entertained crowds at the Sorrento and Doubletree hotels — including former Seattle Mayor Norm Rice, who brought his future wife, Constance, to see Berry on one of their first dates.

But when Berry took to the piano on the stage of the Paramount Theatre the other day with Evan Flory-Barnesand D’Vonne Lewis, it was to honor not just those days, but those to come.

All are members of AFM (American Federation of Musicians) Local 493, the Negro Musicians’ Union, which included Ray Charles, Ernestine Andersonand Quincy Jones
. It merged with Local 76 in 1958.

The union was the centerpiece of HistoryLink’s annual fundraising luncheon, which every year highlights a new addition to the online encyclopedia.

“It’s about time we do this,” said Dave Holden, an early member, along with his sister, Grace Holden, George Griffin, Barney Hilliardand Ruby Bishop, who still performs at Vito’s.

Spotted in the crowd was former Mayor Greg Nickels, who declined to handicap the current mayor’s race.

“I’m keeping a very low profile on that,” he demurred.

There was always-moving King County Executive Dow Constantine; Seattle City Councilmember Nick Licata; former Govs. Dan Evansand Mike Lowry; author Randy Sue Coburn; Mike Mann; Blueline Design owner Jonita Bernstein
; and, of course, Marie McCaffrey, widow of HistoryLink founder Walt Crowley

If you missed Berry, Flory-Barns and Lewis playing together at the luncheon, they’ve booked The Royal Room on Nov. 15, McCaffrey said.

Her husband’s legacy — and Seattle’s — continues.

As art activist Marlow Harris put it, “You know you’ve made it when you get a paragraph on HistoryLink.”

Shopping mad

The folks at Vogue first started Fashion’s Night Out to put a shine on the dull economy during the 2008 recession.

But the Downtown Seattle Association, Seattle Met magazine and Pacific Place have taken the idea and run with it as a way to get people downtown and spending.

They kicked things off the other night with Downtown Seattle Rocks The Runway — a night of loud music, cocktails, slinky models, lots of clothes and merchant discounts, culminating in a fashion show in the center court of Pacific Place.

Among the stylish:
Michelle Quisenberry in a rich red-leather pantsuit fresh from designer Carole McClellan’s studio.

“I just picked it up an hour ago,” Quisenberry told me. I had to say, she looked surprisingly cool for being slid into a second skin.

“I’m OK,” she said. “The stretch leather is pretty light.”

Over at the red carpet, Jane Becker, of Kirkland, was urging her daughter, Jennifer Loy, to ham it up for the camera: “You’re never going to look as good as you do now!”

She could say the same about herself. This was her first fashion show, and she’s usually in workout clothes.

“I count on my daughter to bump me up.”

Loy and Becker were there with Lisa Hess, the sponsorship chair of the Junior League of Seattle, which would receive some of the night’s proceeds to fund its programs.

“We’re about empowering women and giving back to the community,” said Hess.

She should know about empowerment; Hess is GM of Barrier Audi, where she has worked for 19 years.

“Tough business,” I said. Hess just smiled.

Nicole Brodeur’s column appears Tuesday and Sunday. Reach her at 206-464-2334 or

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