Grace Slick Returns to South Florida After Health Scare
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by Skip Sheffield

Grace Slick is glad to be alive and well and happy to be returning to South Florida to promote her art. Slick will greet her public from 6 to 9 tonight at Wentworth Gallery in the Gardens Mall and 6 to 9 p.m. Saturday at Wentworth Gallery at Town Center at Boca Raton.

Slick enjoyed her first round of fame in her early 30s as lead singer and lyricist for Jefferson Airplane and its successor, Jefferson Starship.

Still lovely at 67, Slick is enjoying increasing fame as a painter, a career she has seriously pursued since retiring from music in1989. Icons of rock 'n' roll are often subjects of her

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work, yet her own musical legacy will never be forgotten. Slick and Jefferson Airplane band mates Paul Kantner, Marty Balin, Jorma Kaukonen and Jack Casady were inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 1996, and Glick's most colorful anecdotes come from the halcyon years of the mid-1960s through the early 1980s.

"If you are uncomfortable with fame you better not go into show business," she advised in a recent interview from her home in Malibu, California. "I certainly had my share of nutty incidents, including two guys on opposite coasts who claimed to be the father of my daughter, China. In New York one guy somehow climbed up 20 stories and came through the window. He was lying in the bed when Paul and I came in. In San Francisco, near the Golden Gate Bridge, a guy claiming to be the father of China was threatening to jump off a cliff if I wouldn't see him. I said you can't be the father because he's right here: Paul Kantner."

In a sense Grace Slick is still in show business; it's just a different medium. She is generous with her time and very entertaining for fans and media alike. She is nothing if not colorful. Slick has a storied career of drunken partying and arrests.

"I never was arrested for DUI," she insists. "I just couldn't keep my mouth shut when cops stopped me. I couldn't stop calling them pigs and insulting them."

Slick is relatively calm these days, and she has been sober for nine years. In the past year she endured the sobering experience of deathly illness.

"I'm the kind of person who never gets sick, but when I do, watch out, there's no middle ground" she explains. "I was in the hospital for six months last year, and for a while I was in a coma. They thought I had had a heart attack. Finally I was diagnosed with a severe case of diverticulitis, which is a very painful condition. After several operations I got better, but I can no longer eat rye bread or popcorn, which I love."

The down time put Slick's art career on temporary hold. This is her first tour since the illness.

"I am working right now on a huge painting of Johnny Depp as Captain Jack Sparrow," she confides. "He's a lovely guy and I admire him. My agent encourages me to paint subjects that are popular, and you have to please the public."
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