Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Lani Hall Alpert; Steppin Out

This above all: to thine own self be true,
And it must follow, as the night the day,
Thou canst not then be false to any man.
Farewell, my blessing season this in thee!

Polonius:Hamlet Act 1, scene 3
William Shakespeare

The Carlyle, A Rosewood Hotel welcomes back, by popular demand, the multi Grammy Award-winning duo Herb Alpert and Lani Hall to the Café Carlyle for their repeat engagement at the iconic New York venue which began last night and will be and playing through Saturday, March 21.
"We had such a good time playing at The Carlyle last year. Lani and I are looking forward to our return engagement and to performing our new songs in the program," says Herb Alpert about their repeat engagement at the Café Carlyle.
Lani Hall and Herb Alpert on stage last night at The Carlyle (Source: BroadwayWorld.com,Photo Credit: Tristan Fuge)
 They will be playing songs from their next album, Steppin Out, to be released in the spring.
Lani Hall and Herb Alpert on stage last night at The Carlyle (Source: BroadwayWorld.com,Photo Credit: Tristan Fuge)
The program will include a jazz set and songbook favorites such as: Puttin' on the Ritz, "And The Angels Sing," "Up on the Roof," "Anything Goes," "Moondance," "La Vie en Rose" and a nostalgic Tijuana Brass medley.(Source: BroadwayWorld.com)

Lani also has a new book out, Emotional Memoirs ..and Short Stories.

Her first book is as free form as a jazz piece, weaving in and out of intriguing situations and indelible characters.
She writes as she sings, with emotion and passion.
-Lou Adler
Kirsten Holly Smith, Herb Alpert, Lani Hall (Source: BroadwayWorld.com,Photo Credit: Tristan Fuge)


 In celebration of these two events, Lani and I sat down last week to celebrate HER and her body of WORTH!
I asked Who Is Lani Hall Alpert...
Lani Hall is a human being. She is a woman. She is an artist. She is a wife and a mother. She is a sister and a daughter. She is a grandmother. She is putting one foot in front of the other. She loves to sing. She loves to write.

What makes Lani happy and what makes her truly unhappy?
Being in her husband's arms makes her genuinely happy. Being with him and communicating with him and connecting. Connecting with people makes Lani happy on a deeper level, on a more emotional level or a more psychological level. Being with her grandchildren makes her very happy.
Being  with her children makes her happy. Being with people that matter to her that she can speak to that aren't judging her. The wind makes her happy. Seeing as far as the eye can see.
Lou Adler, Herb Alpert and Lani Hall 1973.
Laughing. Being romantic.
Shadows make her happy. All of these things make her happy. What makes her unhappy is people not treating people with respect and acceptance. Anger, rage, seeing people get hurt. When her grandson cries, Lani has a hard time not crying with him.

One accomplishment that Lani is most proud of above all others is sharing her life with Herb and her children and bringing them into the world and try to raise them as good human beings and to be honest and to be true to themselves.Lani performs to connect.
The performing part is to connect the singing part. It doesn't really matter if someone is in front of her when she is singing because she is singing more to release what is inside of her.
As a performer, the goal is to definitely connect and to hopefully have the audience feel something.
If there were no barriers, Lani would be doing exactly what she is right now!
Lani's parents were very emotional and dramatic people and Lani never felt unloved. But she did feel isolated and a little alienated because Lani's mother was lost in her own life. She had a lot of problems. God bless her. She got through them but it was a difficult life for Lani's mother, emotionally. Lani's father had the heart of a poet, but he worked in a factory.


He supported his family. He did what he could. He was a painter, a sculptor, a poet. He loved music, especially classical music.Sometimes, when Lani would go home to their apartment after school, she would usually find her father sitting in his chair in the living room listening to classical music. He would stop her and say, "What do you think this classical music is trying to say? What's the story that you see in your mind?" She would be thirteen and fourteen years old and she would sit down and say to him, "I have no idea." He would suddenly make the music come to life by telling her a story with what he thought the music was trying to say with what the storyline was.

She would inevitably start crying, it was so touching. As a result, music became very visual to Lani because of his influence and asking her these questions. She came from a very volatile household. There was a lot of arguing and fighting in the house.
Lani has an older brother and they did not get along until she was about eighteen years old. She slept in the dining room until she was fourteen. Isolation and privacy mean a lot to Lani. She believes it comes from that. If Lani didn't do what she does, she would hope to still be doing something creative. She has always been kind of interested in medicine and psychology. Maybe she would have gone down the therapist road. She says she certainly has had enough therapy in her life! She knows the terrain!!

She likes having insight and working on things that she thinks are "hurdles" in her life and getting over them. Maybe she would have been a therapist or a social worker.
Lani actually has a feeling within her that it all just happens. It is not a conscious move to do what she does. She feels that it is necessary for her own well being and her own health and her own feeling of purpose and she feels like it takes her on a journey. When she was a young girl and she finally got her brother's bedroom after he joined the air force, she would play all these great jazz records. She would listen to Anita O'Day and Carmen McRae.
She would also listen to Judy Garland and Frank Sinatra  and Barbra Streisand and Lambert Hendricks Ross and Oscar Brown Jr and all these great artists and Lani would learn all these great songs.
But more than that, she was singing. She felt the release that it created.
She felt the space that it gave her internally. The same thing happens with writing. When Lani feels that things are piling up too much like snow drifts in her brain and she needs the release, she will either start writing or she'll start singing. It is her way of getting more in touch with herself and taking a look at what is bothering her or what is piling up in her head. It is very therapeutic for her and it always has been.
It just came naturally for her, fortunately. It was a natural route that she took in order to express herself.
Emotional Memoirs...And Short Stories
Lani has written all of her life. In the early eighties, she was writing poetry and lyrics to songs. She also started writing in a short story form. She would write these stories and she would put them in her drawer. She really had no plans for them. Then, a couple of years ago, a friend of hers was recuperating from surgery, and she was so bored sitting in her apartment trying to heal that Lani thought it might be interesting for her to read a story about Lani when she was sick.
Lani gave it to her and she loved it and asked Lani if she had any more stories. Lani started looking in her drawers and started pulling them out and sent them to her and at the end of about ten stories, she was so encouraging and said to Lani, "I think you've got a book here." When she said that, Lani's eyes widened and she started reading these stories that she had been putting in drawers and decided that were "disconnected" a what could connect them? She wrote a narrative which became the memoir part of the book. They are a collection of ten short stories but they are connected by this narrative before each story. When she did that, if felt as if she had finished a piece that she was satisfied with and decided to publish it.

There are three stories that are non fiction and the rest are fiction. There are pieces of Lani in all of the stories. Lani thinks some of them are very strange. When she was writing the stories, she could hear the music behind certain scenes like movie music. So, when she was approached to do the audio book, that was the first thing she got excited about. She thought, "Oh my Gosh!
I'm going to try and put music to these stories." She was fortunate enough to find Extreme Music Catalog
There is all of this movie music that you can lease. That is what Lani did. She chose the music that she felt matched the scenes in each story and it just came to life.
She was really excited to do the audio book. That is what is coming out now. I have my own and I LOVE IT!
I asked Lani what the lowest point of her career was and how she surpassed it. In the 80s, she contacted Epstein-Barr virus which is commonly called Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

Lani had just done the Never Say Never Again soundtrack and her album was doing very well and she was very excited about traveling and this just flattened her. Around that same time, she won a Grammy. She was really ready to go!
She couldn't do anything. It just really stopped her in her tracks. When it comes to career lows, that was the lowest. It was also one of the low points in her life, and yet, even so, she learned so much from that experience, so she can't really fault it all the way. That was when she started to ask herself what to do instead of asking doctors. They had no answers and it was really frustrating  and discouraging. So when she started asking herself, she started getting answers and that really reinforced her intuitive sense.
That has come in very handy in Lani's life.

Herb Alpert and Lani Hall Present at the 4th Annual American Music Awards
Who are Lani's artistic heroes? Those who have had an impact on her life.
Cole Porter, Johnny Mercer, Irving Berlin, The Gershwins, Judy Garland, June Christie, Anita O'Day, Barbra Streisand, Frank Sinatra, Vincent van Gogh, Willem de Kooning, the Impressionists. Her husband, Herb Alpert, is her greatest inspiration.
He is the most creative person Lani has ever met and she lives with him. So she is around it all the time. He paints, he sculpts, he has his music. He is arranging, producing. He is a right-brain person and he is very inspiring to live twenty-four hours a day with. It is inspiring to be with someone that artistic and talented.
He is her number one.
Lani doesn't have to try very hard.

 Her artistic side has taken her on this remarkable journey. She practices every day and that really helps. If they are on the road or if she has days off and they don't do that, she does not feel quite right.Things start to build up inside her and she needs to express something creatively. That's really her vehicle for expression.
Lani "journals" every day. As far as writing goes, she writes about five times a week.
Lani and Herb live in Los Angeles. The very first page of Emotional Memoirs is about the light in Chicago (where she grew up).

She started writing about Chicago a lot for some reason and she was really surprised. She did not imagine that Chicago was such an important character in her life. It turned out that it really had quite a strong effect on the way she sees things. She is more of a city girl than she is a Los Angeles, Californian. She does like it there. Considering what we have just gone through this winter in New York, I'll gladly change places. 
Lani Hall and Herb Alpert on stage last night at The Carlyle (Source: BroadwayWorld.com,Photo Credit: Tristan Fuge)
When we sat down for our phone chat, Lani told me it was seventy degrees there!
She likes Los Angeles but she has to say that she feels more at home in a city.
If Lani could sit down with herself fifteen years ago, she would say to herself, RELAX and don't take everything so seriously. 
The older you get, the more you realize "Swing with it. Go with in. Don't fight it so hard. It's not going to be that important to you at some point."
Lani's father used to quote Shakespeare, " This above all: to thine own self be true..."
She didn't know what that meant when he would say it when she was growing up in Chicago. But as she got older, she started understanding that if you are not true to yourself, you are never going to be happy. You can't be yourself and be around people that appreciate you and accept you unless they know who YOU are. Everybody else is saying, "Wow! This is the greatest! We love this." It doesn't matter. It matters what you think about what you do.
What is Lani's guilty pleasure? Chocolate Chip Cookies!

Catch Lani and Herb at the Carlyle through the next two weeks. After this, they are doing five cities in a three week tour.
They are then back home for ten days before going to Japan. They do a week there. Every month, they are doing something through December. In June, they will be with a Symphony Orchestra. They are on the road back and forth.
If Lani could let go of anything that has held her back, it would be fear.
Lani, and I, are both in disbelief of the "age" she is right now. I cannot believe she is going to be seventy years old. She doesn't even know what that means.She cannot connect with that. Herb is going to be eighty. He looks like he's sixty-two! This preconceived photograph in Lani's mind of what those ages look like is not how they feel. She cannot
relate to the numbers any more.
AS if all that I've mentioned here is not enough, Lani is at this stage one hundred pages into her next book which is just starting to take on a life of it's own. A lot of it is about her parents and it will be a non-fiction book so far. We'll see where it takes her.
Where does Lani feel the most authentic? In her husband's arms. 

Thank to Lani and Herb Alpert for the gifts you have given to the world and continue to give!

With grateful XOXOXs ,

 



 

Check out my site celebrating the legacy of Jerry Herman's Hello, Dolly!

NO COPYRIGHT INFRINGEMENT INTENDED.  FOR ENTERTAINMENT PURPOSES ONLY!


Please do what YOU can to be more aware that words and actions DO HURT...but they can also heal and help!    
            
February 25th, 1986 - After spending all day sick in bed, Lani Hall attends the 1986 Grammy Awards Ceremony. Her husband, Herb Alpert, announces Hall as the recipient of the “Best Latin Pop Performance” award for her work on Es Facil Amar.

Here's to an INCREDIBLE tomorrow for ALL...with NO challenges!



The Café Carlyle is located in The Carlyle Hotel - 35 East 76th Street at Madison Avenue. The performance schedule is: Tuesday-Saturday at 8:45 PM. Tuesday through Thursday there is a $95 music charge ($60 bar seating, $145 premium seating). Fridays and Saturdays there is a $110 music charge ($60 bar seating, $160 premium seating).
Dinner is served from 6:30PM. For reservations please call 212-744-1600. For additional information please visit www.thecarlyle.com.Playing through Saturday, March 21.
Would LOVE to see you!
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TILL TOMORROW...HERE'S TO AN ARTS FILLED DAY


Richard Skipper, Richard@RichardSkipper.com










Monday, March 9, 2015

Happy Birthday, Sidney Myer!

Today you are you! That is truer than true! There is no one alive who is you-er than you!
Dr. Seuss

What do you get when you mix equal portions of Sally Adams and Pearl Mesta and a little Auntie Mame for good measure?
You get Sidney Myer. To me, Sidney is the greatest thing to hit the New York Cabaret scene EVER!
From the first time I met Sidney, he welcomed me to Don't Tell Mama with welcome arms. When I felt I was alone in the world (in the world of entertainment), he was always there for me. He called ME a "stand-up person in a sit down world."
Sidney, to me, is Switzerland. He tries to remain neutral in terms of taking sides. However, push the right (or wrong) button, and you see him on a soapbox to rival Julia Sugerbaker. THIS is a compliment!
Today, I celebrate Sidney and his body of WORTH! Sidney, sit back and enjoy the LOVE!

HI Richard,
so wonderful of you to do a Tribute and Celebration of the Amazing Sidney Myer!!!
He has always been so gracious, supportive and REAL, which makes him so SPECIAL in this business.
He gave me the most wonderful feedback and support when I did my first Show at DTM several years ago, and his on-going encouragement and support have never wavered. His professionalism and huge heart speak volumes - He is a Rare GIFT to us all......AND, then there is the TALENT!!
Thank-you Sidney, for all you have done for me!!
Happy Birthday, too!!!!!

Jennifer Roberts



Sidney is the most giving man in Cabaret - He really cares about the performers - and it's an absolute joy when you share the stage with this immensely talented, funny man - He's a Mench!
                                                         -Joan Jaffe
Sidney and Joan Jaffe
                                                     

I spent one evening with Sidney Myer.  I happened by chance and was not planned.  I happened back
in 2000 I believe.  It was an incredible night and I will always remember it.  The concert was called 'Barbra Streisand The Final Tour"   It was at Madison Square Garden. Called the final tour and this was the final performance.  I got to my seat and recognized the person in the seat next to me.  It was Sidney Myer.  What a wonderful night that was.  I was very moved by what Sidney told me.  He had a choice to buy a ticket to see Streisand or go on a weeks vacation. He chose Streisand. He loves singers!  That evening has always flashed across my mind.  So happy to have shared it with him.-
 John Jerome
 

Sidney basically gave me my "big break" when he booked me at the Duplex for my cabaret show, but he also supported and encouraged me. He is a positive loving person and I have never forgotten his kindness -Lisa Dascoli 
I did two shows at "Panache" when Sidney was the Creative Director, Booking Agent. This had to be some 34 years ago. I was accompanying a singer who at times refused to use the mic and did not like to take any instruction, and was closed off to most suggestions. Nevertheless, Sidney was always the gentleman, and always encouraging.
He also sang a song I co-wrote with the now deceased Dorothy Bates called The Harvard Preppy Song. Only months ago, Sidney told me it was one of his favorite songs. I was very touched.
-
John Todras
Sidney Myer is, as with so many other admirers, my GURU of Cabarets!  Sidney and I have known
and shared a Lifetime together (since PANACH AT THE MAGIC PAN) on 6th Avenue.
That's before it moved over on the East Side.  I knew his wonderful parents (of blessed memory) and his sweet brother. It's a family affair I can tell you which fills me with great pride to have
these memories along with and about Sidney. He's been a one in a trillion friend and great ally.
This world is a better place in endless ways because of the one and only Sidney Myer!
WITH ADMIRATION AND LOVE LOVE LOVE! On this birthday and always. 
Vickie Phillips 
Check out this video on YouTube
 Alexander's Ragtime Band! Sidney Meyer at Uncle Mike's Invitational Variety Show

 
Sidney Meyer has been my darling friend from the day I moved into New York in 1994. He is one of the finest people in our business and one hell of a performer.
Each time he steps on stage he brings superior showmanship with his humor and a different take on life to the audience.  I just love him.  Happy birthday Sidney
, Martha Lorin


Notwithstanding his duality of functions, Sidney Myer is the most beloved individual in Manhattan, both as a performer and the longtime booker/manager of the venerable cabaret, Don’t Tell Mama which supplies an initial stepping stone to anyone who has become ANYONE in musical theater as well as to the many who’ve remained anyone, through no fault of Sidney’s.

What cabaret manager or talent manager of any kind could be sweeter than Sydney Myer? It was my
great privileged to be booked at Don't Tell Mama many, many times. He was always interested, always kind, patient, attentive, even attending our shows. I can't imagine a nicer, more supportive person who is just a joy to know and so talented in his own right!  Much love and many good wishes to you Sydney on your birthday! Michelle Russell

The day I met Sidney I knew I'd met someone special and wonderful.  I'll never forget that first meeting, as a new artist in New York, getting ready to play Don't Tell Mama for the first time.  It was (and remains for every artist I send his way) the best introduction to cabaret there is.  In an hour's time I not only received a great education on the history of the artform itself, but a glimpse into the passion and understanding and connection that an artist like Sidney brings to cabaret.  Over the years he has been a champion, not only of me, but of my clients as well.  He never misses a show! And he always makes a point to find me and talk to me about the show with such joy and passion and interest.  He defines what it means to champion artists, and he also happens to be a dear friend.  And as a performer himself, he's brilliant. I am beyond grateful for the wonderful Sidney Myer and I wish him the happiest of birthdays. 


Thank to ALL mentioned in this blog for the gifts you have given to the world and continue to give!
With grateful XOXOXs ,
 



 
Check out my site celebrating the legacy of Jerry Herman's Hello, Dolly!

NO COPYRIGHT INFRINGEMENT INTENDED.  FOR ENTERTAINMENT PURPOSES ONLY!


Please do what YOU can to be more aware that words and actions DO HURT...but they can also heal and help!    
            
with Cynthia Crane

Here's to an INCREDIBLE tomorrow for ALL...with NO challenges!



I saw the delightful Donna Hayes at The Metropolitan Room. What a delightful evening celebrating "Ordinary" Miracles. The quotation marks are mine. There is nothing ordinary about this show! Kudos to director Gretchen Reinhagen, percussionist Donna Kelly, Bassist (It's all about that bass!) Matt Scharfglass, and Musical Director Justin Stoney. It was great to sit with Billie Roe and her beautiful partner.  Great Night! Donna's next show is Friday, May 22nd. Don't Miss Her!
Would LOVE to see you!
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TILL TOMORROW...HERE'S TO AN ARTS FILLED DAY


Richard Skipper, Richard@RichardSkipper.com