Luther: Never Too Much

I was amazed at the Sarasota Film Festival update that not only had the Luther: Never Too Much performance to which I had a ticket was sold out, but tomorrow’s was nearly sold out as well. Here I thought my soul background and devotion was unique. In the long queue I began talking to two ladies who also loved Luther Vandross. Proudly I mentioned having seen him in concert 5 times.
My spirits dipped a little after I had chosen my seat. It’s a feeling I’ve had more and more as of late, this thickness of pretentiousness in most over heard conversations. These aren’t merely prideful “I saw Luther 5 times” musings, these are how many foreign countries have I vacationed to this past month or what ballet/opera/third home I’m building monstrosities. I felt small, if not invisible with people talking around me. I guess long story short, I had my hopes up too high to talk movies with 20 minutes to spare before the film, rather than portfolio comparisons. That doesn’t make me a bad person. I had just chosen the wrong section to sit in.
Fortunately, when one of the group returned to her seat and announced she ran out to get her cough syrup and antibiotic, I hustled down to the end of the row, where at least I had the company of two women who just really liked Luther. Goldilocks had found her home.

The documentary, directed by Dawn Porter, was very well made, offering up enough partial performances to take me back to the days when I worshiped regularly at the alter of Luther. (Two faves: the Mariah Carey Endless Love duet and his singing A House is Not a Home at Dionne Warwick’s NAACP Award Reception) I can almost bet hearing the music again is why most of us were there. My heart soared and my fanny did the seat dance as did many in the audience. Music made us all equal and transformed to a deeper and higher power. Besides, any true fans already know about his weight struggle and most likely his inability to feel proud about who he was in regards to relationship preference.
Additionally, I was really happy to see Richard Marx get a decent amount of screen time as he co-wrote Dance With My Father Again, and he spoke angrily how the media (never a nice bunch even back then) wanted to fixate on Luther’s weight rather than his immense talent. Rarely do I recommend a book in my blog, as that’s my day job, but Richard Marx’s Stories to Tell is an excellent memoir and sweet storied compilation of Richard’s work with not only Luther, but other greats as well.

I teared up at the end of the doc, of course, as Luther died at 52, far far too young. But I also teared up for the Sarasota I moved to almost 8 years ago, that has turned from a place where people had soul to a place where leveling up and ‘stuff’ has overtaken many real conversations, and for that matter relationships, between humans. Like Luther who said his favorite song of his was “Any Love” because it spoke to how lucky he was in life, but yet still longed for any love, I, too, feel very fortunate. Yet a growing melancholy is simmering, those innocent and beautiful people I no longer connect with due to their attempts to keep up/level up with the Joneses/Kardashians.

By Goldie

Aspiring writer who has retired from the institution of education. I've written plays, three of which have been performed both in Rochester NY and here in Sarasota FL. I also write stand up and obviously, film critique. My comment section does not work, so please email me your comments at

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Unable to load the Are You a Human PlayThru™. Please contact the site owner to report the problem.