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Miss Sharon Jones!

Documentary premiers in Portland

8/23/2016, 4:37 p.m.
The film captures the stark difference between life on and off stage for the dynamic soul singer most often compared ...
Singer Sharon Jones performs in a scene from the documentary Miss Sharon Jones!

Preparing to go on stage for the first time in months after intensive rounds of chemotherapy, an atypically nervous Sharon Jones sat backstage at New York's Beacon Theatre, clutching a cup and shaking.

"Then they announce her — 'Miss Sharon Jones!' — and she goes like a prizefighter onto the stage," recalls Barbara Kopple, the Oscar winning filmmaker. "And she just kills it."

It's one of the many moments in Kopple's documentary "Miss Sharon Jones!" which has opened in theaters nationwide and debuts in Portland on Friday, Aug. 26 at Living Room Theaters, downtown, and Friday, Sept. 2 at the Hollywood Theater in northeast Portland.

The film captures the stark difference between life on and off stage for the dynamic soul singer most often compared to James Brown. In 2013, Jones was diagnosed with stage-two pancreatic cancer. The film documents her transformation into cancer patient and, ultimately, back into a full-throated force as she struggles to keep her band “Sharon Jones and The Dap-Kings” together.

The documentary has, the 60-year-old singer says, turned into a kind of motivation for her second round with cancer: visual proof that she got through this once before, and can do it again.

"You got to be brave," says Jones. "I want to use the time that I have. I don't want to spend it all laid up, wishing I had done that gig."

--Associated Press contributed to this story.