Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Phoebe Snow and a recap of The 26th annual Bistro Awards!

"I call upon you to draw from the depths of your being — to prove that we are a human race, to prove that our love outweighs our need to hate, that our compassion is more compelling than our need to blame."
Miss Elizabeth Taylor - 1932-2011

Yesterday was a day of ups and downs and it all centered around music. I was devastated to hear of the passing of Phoebe Snow. I only met her once. Several years ago at The MAC Awards. What a gracious sweet woman.
About a year ago, CBS Sunday Morning did a profile on Phoebe. With all of her music, she led a sad life. I hope she is now at peace. Here is a little tribute to Phoebe.
Phoebe Snow, a bluesy singer, guitarist and songwriter whose "Poetry Man" was a defining hit of the 1970s but who then largely dropped out of the spotlight to care for her disabled daughter, has died.

Snow, who was nominated for best new artist at the 1975 Grammys, died Tuesday morning in Edison, N.J., from complications of a brain hemorrhage she suffered in January 2010, said Rick Miramontez, her longtime friend and public relations representative. She was 58.

Snow's manager, Sue Cameron, said the singer endured bouts of blood clots, pneumonia and congestive heart failure since her stroke. Her real name was Phoebe Laub (born July 17, 1952 in New York City)

"The loss of this unique and untouchable voice is incalculable," Cameron said. "Phoebe was one of the brightest, funniest and most talented singer-songwriters of all time and, more importantly, a magnificent mother to her late brain-damaged daughter, Valerie, for 31 years. Phoebe felt that was her greatest accomplishment."

Known as a folk guitarist who made forays into jazz and blues, Snow put her stamp on soul classics such as "Shakey Ground," "Love Makes a Woman" and "Mercy, Mercy Mercy" on over a half dozen albums.

Not long after Snow's "Poetry Man" reached the Top 5 on the pop singles chart in 1975, her daughter, Valerie Rose, was born with severe brain damage, and Snow decided to care for her at home rather than place her in an institution.
"She was the only thing that was holding me together," she told the San Francisco Chronicle in 2008. "My life was her, completely about her, from the moment I woke up to the moment I went to bed at night."

Valerie, who had been born with hydrocephalus, a buildup of fluid in the brain cavity that inhibits brain development, was not expected to live more than a few years. She died in 2007 at age 31.

Over the years, Snow found time to sing on Paul Simon's song "Gone at Last" and tour with him, as well as perform at the Woodstock 25th anniversary festival in 1994, as part of a soul act that included Thelma Houston(pictured), Mavis Staples and CeCe Peniston.

Snow was also recruited by Steely Dan's Donald Fagen to participate in the New York Rock and Soul Revue, which took her, Charles Brown, Michael McDonald, Boz Scaggs and others on tour and into New York's Beacon Theatre to record a rollicking live album in 1991.

"Occasionally I put an album out, but I didn't like to tour, and they didn't get a lot of label support," she told the Chronicle. "But you know what? It didn't really matter because I got to stay home more with Valerie, and that time was precious."

She was born Phoebe Ann Laub to white Jewish parents in New York City in 1952, and raised in Teaneck, N.J. Though many assumed she was black, Snow never claimed African-American ancestry.

She changed her name after seeing Phoebe Snow, an advertising character for a railroad, emblazoned on trains that passed through her hometown.
Snow quit college after two years to perform in amateur nights at Greenwich Village folk clubs.

Her first record, "Phoebe Snow," came out in 1974, and showed off her songwriting chops on a selection of tunes that spanned blues, jazz and folk. Hit-bound "Poetry Man" took the record to No. 4 on the album charts, but her success was uneasy.
"There are turning points in everyone's life where you decide if you're going to sink or swim. My insecurity wasn't serving me well at all. It was really a stumbling block," she told The Associated Press in 1989.

Rumors abounded that Jackson Browne was Poetry Man. "No. It's somebody you wouldn't know. People just thought Poetry Man was Browne because he was the first act I toured with," Snow told USA Today in 1989.
After 1976's gold-selling "Second Childhood," Snow's subsequent albums found smaller audiences. Through the 1980s and into the 1990s, Snow sang commercial jingles -- for companies including Michelob, Hallmark and AT&T -- and performed live here and there.

Inexperienced in the music business, she broke a number of contracts with record companies and others, and found herself embroiled in a number of lawsuits and severe financial problems. Snow's husband, musician Phil Kearns, left her while Valerie was still a baby. She sang the theme for NBC's "A Different World" and the jingle "Celebrate the Moments of Your Life" for General Foods International Coffees. She also sang at radio host Howard Stern's wedding to Beth Ostrosky in 2008 and for President Bill Clinton, who asked her to perform at Camp David during his presidency.

In 2003, she released the CD "Natural Wonder," her first album of new, original material in 14 years. Her other albums include 1989's "Something Real," and 1981's "Rock Away." In 2008, she released a live album titled "Live" and a best-of CD in 2001. Thank you, Phoebe, for the gifts you gave the world!Well, the 26th annual Bistro Awards have come and gone and what a great night for me. Dionne Warwick was the ultimate in class. Listening to Alex Rybeck's incredible medley of Dionne's hits was one of the highlights of the evening for me. I was sitting with Dionne and her reactions were priceless. She LOVED it and was very appreciative. Tyne Daly was supurb. She looks gorgeous and I cannot wait for MASTER CLASS in June! Lee Roy Reams adds class and elegance to anything he lends his name to. I would love just an evening of him. Sarah Rice was fabulous performing Greenfinch & Linnet Bird from Sweeney Todd. Of course, Sarah is the original Joanna. She performed this number as part of Sondheim Unplugged, which won the 2011 Bistro Award for Cabaret Series
Written, directed, and hosted by Phil Geoffrey Bond
Laurie Beechman Theatre, Don't Tell Mama That is Tym Moss interviewing Cynthia Crane in the background and Ed Stimler and I embroiled in a meaningful conversation in the forground.

I just received the following from Leslie Orofino: Dearest Richard,

I am still glowing from the magnificent array of talent that performed last night at the Bistro Awards. I was so excited when I arrived home I awoke Tom and had to tell him all about the evening.

For starters, I know your contribution as Associate Producer of the evening was monumental.
You are tireless when it comes to helping our community and I love you for it. Your tender portrayal of Carol Channing accepting the awards and asking to contribute to Dr. Carol Channing-Harry Kulijian Foundation for the Arts ( www.ChanningArts.Org) was magnificent.

Congratulations to Sherry Eaker ( Producer ), Jim David ( Host), Edie Cowan ( Director) .Lenny Babbish ( Musical Director), Mary Rodriguez ( Drums) Kimothy Cruse ( Stage Mgr.) and Frank Dain ( program design). Also, to the Bistro Awards Committee Sherry Eaker, Elizabeth Ahlfors, David Finkle, Rob Lester, Erv Raible and Roy Sander.

Needless to say, Dionne Warwick ( Liftetime Achievement Award ) and Carol Channing/Skipper ( Special Award) were amazing . The talent that performed were knockouts..... Carole J. Bufford, Tyne Daly, Kevin Dozier Sean Harkness, Allan Harris, Hilary Kole, Faye Lane, Colleen McHugh. Fabulous.

Congratulations and Champagne Toasts to you all !!!!

Love, Leslie Orofino
Here I am with Peggy Herman. Peggy is returning to cabaret after many years in a new show in her Metropolitan Room Debut!, Herman On Herman with a Touch of Merman. Directed by Peter Glebo and Tommy Tune. Music Director Alex Rybeck. I'm attending on Sunday, May 15th at 7PM at The Metropolitan Room. If you would like to join us, please let me know. "I want to thank everyone who made the "Bistro Awards" a fantastic event. It was a pleasure and honor to meet some people for the first time, and some that I have not seen in years. The evening was one I won't forget, with exceptional performances by exceptional performers."
Ed Stimler (pictured with me)

(Joseph Macchia, Dana Lorge. and Doreen Montalvo on the red carpet)"I thought the show was terrific. Everything went very smoothly, the performers were wonderful."
Dana Lorge

"Congratulations to all the Bistro Award winners last night. It got off to a hot start with Johnny Rodgers Band and the evening kept sizzling on. Tyne Daly looked toned and terrific, and Dionne Warwick was gracious. The winners proved they are all winners. And all the women wore stilettos! I'm jealous."
Elizabeth AhlforsMusical Comedy
"Faye Lane's Beauty Shop Stories" Award recipient
Soho Playhouse just extended at SoHo Playhouse through September! God is Alive! Magic is Afoot! Moonpie Martinis are delicious! xox Here I am with Jim David, the brilliant emcee for the evening.

"It was a very warm and friendly group of people who came together for this event. Met some incredible people who helped add to the excitement of the evening in sharing stories about the event, performers, etc. While our seats were all the way on the side, was close to where the award recipients and others entered from so we saw them as up close as possible even in the dim lights.

This is the 2nd awards show have attended - the first being the Nighttime Awards at Town Hall and definitely had better feelings about this one - felt more connected to the entertainers, award recipients, etc. - the champagne party was a great way to start everything and everyone in a good mood.... even found some entertainers that we might seek out to see at a later date...

If think of anything else, will let you know but I think you are a class act and did a great job! Looking forward to next year!"
Leslie Mark Alter
(ALLAN HARRIS, 2011 Bistro recipient for Ongoing Achievement in Jazz and Cynthia Crane)

"It was a wonderful, supportive evening and everyone had a fantastic time. Tyne Daly was such a delight and stayed until the very end to support and enjoy all of the performers and was delighted to meet and speak with each of her fans.
She's a class act."
Paul Lucas

"Dear Richard and Sherry-
Last night's Bistros were marvelous !
Bravo and Congratulations !
Stephanie Zagoren
(Here was a fun moment backstage. Record producer Phil Ramone, who presented to Dionne, Alex Rybeck, Dionne, and Sherry)

"I must say it was a most enjoyable evening---and great seeing you honor some of the great bistro and cabaret performers. There are fewer and fewer venues for this type of performance.Thanks for the invite---it certainly was a lot of fun and I got to meet interesting people. I spoke with the Rescignos who lived near me in Delaware, I know Alex Rybeck's brother and I am obsessing about Sean Harkness "
Peter Schott, Delaware

"Last night was the highlight of my month! I got to share in a very special evening with my dear friend Alex Rybeck, who had a small dream of his come true, when he got the opportunity to play for his favorite performer, Dionne Warwick. We're both huge fans of Ms. Warwick and have in the past performed her music at a couple charity events, so he invited my partner Christian and I to be his special guests for the evening. All the performers, the comedy, the high caliber of musicians, sitting next to Dionne and the GREAT Phil Ramone...I could have died and gone to heaven! Carol Channing was perfectly channeled through you last night because if I were to close my eyes and hear you, it's the voice of Carol I hear. You are amazing too. The program was perfectly timed and it didn't even feel like 2 and a half hours, which was a good thing. Christian and I were thoroughly entertained! Thank you so much for helping produce this wonderful event!"
Mark Anthony Lee

26th Annual BISTRO Awards Recap
by Sandi Durell

The Bistro Awards are a mix and match of honors, in a wide variety of categories, a tradition since its inception in 1985. The Award recognizes and congratulates accomplishments for those who have done something special during the year. As producer Sherry Eaker describes “there is no “best” anything of the year; instead it’s a “Congratulations for doing great work!”
The festive event took place at the Gotham Comedy Club on April 26th hosted by the funny and truthful Jim David. Present and accounted for was the legendary Dionne Warwick, graciously accepting the Bob Harrington Lifetime Achievement Award after a medley of many of her hit songs was played by Alex Rybeck.

Tyne Daly received a Bistro Award for major engagement at Feinstein’s, singing “Oh Boy” from that show and accompanied by Steven Lutvak.
Various artists performed, showing why they were chosen as Bistro Award Winners: Liz Lark Brown for debut; Nate Buccieri, musical director; vocalist Carole J. Bufford; Anthony Cochran, theme show; Kevin Dozier, vocalist; Janice Hall for tribute show to Marlene Dietrich; Sean Harkness, instrumentalist; Allan Harris, for ongoing achievement in jazz; Hilary Kole for her recording with music legends Oscar Peterson, Dave Brubeck, Michel LeGrand; , musical comedy; Colleen McHugh, entertainer; The Rescignos twins, receiving the Ira Eaker Special Achievement Award; Johnny Rodgers Band, musical group; Phil Geoffrey Bond, writer/director/host of “Sondheim Unplugged” cabaret series.

Carol Channing, scheduled to received a Special Award, was ill and couldn’t attend but sent her special thanks via her good friend, performer Richard Skipper who has been paying tribute to the great Ms. Channing for many years. He channeled her thanks aplenty after a rousing introduction by Broadway’s Lee Roy Reams.

It was a filled-to-capacity night with a warm and fuzzy audience of well-wishers, performers, friends and cabaret aficionados including legendary Julie Wilson. Talent abounded both on-stage and off.

As an aside, if you know the bubbly and always stylish Ms. Eaker, you also know how she worries and wrings her hands yearly lamenting that “there are hardly any ticket sales” until a week prior when the tune changes to “we can’t fit one more person in that room, there are no more tickets.” And so it is that another fabulous Bistro Awards event has come and gone. Thanks Sherry! And thanks to the Bistro Award Committee, Elizabeth Ahlfors, David Finkle, Rob Lester, Erv Raible and Roy Sander and to Edie Cowan, Director and Lenny Babbish, Musical Director for a job well done.
(Photo credit: Jim Baldassare)
2011 Bistro Award winner Colleen McHugh has a big show tomorrow...
and we don't want to jinx ourselves,
but there are some big deal press folks planning to attend!
We would love nothing more than
a full house of our friends enjoying themselves.
Or, frankly, pretending to enjoy themselves. Either way, really.
The room is really filling up... but there's still room for YOU!
Reservations are more important than ever!
April 28th at 9:30pm
Calendar Girl presents

Colleen McHugh and the Calendar Boys Trio reunite to blaze through
tunes by Rodgers & Hart, Irving Berlin, Cole Porter, Hoagy Carmichael and more,
with a special tribute to the one and only Blossom Dearie.

Reservations are so easy online. No credit card necessary!

At The Duplex!

The AWARD-WINNING Calendar Girl series

Coming Soon:

Friday May 20th at 9:30pm
Admit it - they're all your childhood favorites.
Come and join us on TOP OF THE WORLD.....

This baby will sell out for sure.

Thursday, June 16th at 7pm
"FRIEND OF DOROTHY: The Songs of Judy Garland"
See if the crowd turns on us, as they did last year!!

Thursday, July 14th at 7pm
"PRET A PORTER: Cole Porter's French Connections"
It's Bastille Day. Attention must be paid.

And there you have it! A recap of the 26th annual Bistro Awards. Kudos to ALL involved...both on and off stage!

Tomorrow's blog will be YOU TELL ME...the first three suggestions I receive!



Richard Skipper,

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