High five

What counts in music today

By James Reed
Globe Staff / July 29, 2011

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Pardon the innuendo, but Lea DeLaria doesn’t play anything too straight. From her origins as a stand-up comedian to her acting ambitions that took her all the way to Broadway on to an unlikely foray into jazz singing, DeLaria has always been full of surprises.

Her latest project is no exception. In “House of David . . . DeLaria + Bowie = Jazz,’’ she’ll transform David Bowie’s catalog (specifically songs he has written) into jazz standards. After debuting it at last year’s London Jazz Festival, DeLaria brings the show to Oberon, a cabaret-style club in Harvard Square, for a one-off performance this weekend. It’ll be a warm-up before DeLaria records an entire album of Bowie material later this year.

We recently quizzed DeLaria to find out about her relationship with Bowie’s songbook.

1. First Bowie song she ever learned: “Fame.’’ (’’The first time I saw Bowie was such a revelation. I think he really helped me get in touch with my gayness as well as my artistic side.’’)

2. Favorite song to dance to: “Suffragette City.’’ (“It’s gotta be. C’mon. You can jump up and down like a maniac, and you can pogo out of control to ‘Suffragette City.’ Interestingly enough, ‘Let’s Dance’ was not one I ever danced to.’’)

3. Favorite song to sing: “Let’s Dance.’’ (“We’ve got an incredibly swinging arrangement for this song, and I scat during it.’’)

4. Saddest song: “Life on Mars?’’ (“If you pay attention to the lyrics, it’s a really sad song. I do it almost as a junkie slow ballad.’’)

5. Most overrated song: “You’ll never, ever get me to say that anything of Bowie’s is overrated, except possibly his saxophone playing, which is horrendous. It fits his music really well, but he’s got the worst honky-tone about sax.’’ JAMES REED

Lea DeLaria performs Bowie’s songs and more at Oberon (2 Arrow St., Cambridge) on Sunday at 8 p.m. Tickets: $20. 866-811-4111.