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Unexpected Pleasures in the Bay Area

Kathleen Stebbins
November 28, 2007

You know you've stumbled into something intriguing when you see a 50-ish entertainer in a golf shirt and pressed slacks singing Justin Timberlake's "Sexy Back," and an 80-ish woman at a cocktail table nodding her head in time.

Welcome to Friday night at Petar's in Lafayette, Calif.

Earlier, at dinner, a buddy had challenged, "Wanna go see something unique?"

And I scoffed. Very little fits the definition of "unique." But the entertainer in question, "Diamond" Dave Hosley, has played to approving fans ranging from college kids to the Greatest Generation for almost two decades. He's unusual, to say the least, and hugely entertaining.

Now he's singing "Sweet Caroline." Ordinarily, Neil Diamond makes my eyes water (and not in a good way), but Petar's little lounge is packed, the dance floor's writhing, and the last time I saw a crowd sing its collective lungs out like this, it was to "Love Shack," circa 1990.

At first, our trio can't stop laughing, and when we do, it's because we're dancing.

Sinatra, Jimmy Buffet, 50 Cent, Madonna -- it seems there's no genre Dave can't sing, and his renditions are spot-on. It seems some songs call for visual aids -- Dave dons a fedora dangling an approximation of Michael Jackson's signature locks for "Billie Jean."

The man happily takes requests -- although seven dollars into the tip jar later, I find out he doesn't know Beck's "Loser" (or anything by Beck, alas). I shrug in the general direction of our party, and one of them yells an alternative.

Dave cracks up, and launches the Divinyls' "I Touch Myself."

Next thing you know, half the dance floor is yelling, "I don't want anybody else..."


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