Saturday, May 21, 2011

Rants about THE END OF THE WORLD, RAVES ABOUT THE STATE OF CABARET, RAVES FOR VINCENT WOLFE...and more!

Happy End of The World!
Well, I'll take this moment to thank all of you who have crossed my path and those whose paths I've crossed! All the ones who have contributed positively to my life,Thank you!
You have made this journey worthwhile. Those of you who add negativity, you add a little more "spice" to my world and I thank you as well! And those paths that I have crossed, I hope I have contributed to your lives on a positive level! Thank you ALL! See you on the other side after 6PM!

(Sue Matsuki and Danny Sherman)
The picture you see at the top of this blog was taken last night at The Triad. That, of course, is Canadian visitor Vincent Wolfe. I say Canadian visitor because he was just in town for just this week singing around town leading up to his appearance last night at The Triad.
My blog, yesterday, was devoted to him. What a great entertainer and story teller. You don't always get both in a show but he delivers both! The show was entitled, "Divas Are A Boy's Best Friend". Vincent has been lucky enough to become friends with some of the greatest divas in the music industry and those who did not become friends, well, at least, they had some great encounters and lucky for us, he shares these stories with us. His encounter with Ella Fitzgerald towards the end of her career was very poignant and grabbed my heartstrings. It is still one of my greatest regrets that I never saw her perform live. Sue Matsuki, who joined us last night, also does a wonderful show honoring Ella Fitzgerald.
One of the divas was even in attendance last night, Julie Wilson.
(Lee Summersand me)
Vincent opened with a rousing "I'M GONNA LIVE TILL I DIE" which Julie sang in MGM's, "THIS COULD BE THE NIGHT". Vincent pulled out the stops and it was a fitting opening number and got the show off to a rousing start. The only thing missing was a gardenia and a boa. Julie, and the rest of the audience(myself included) loved it. Joining us last night were Gary Crawford, Sue Matsuki, and Bart Greenberg. Also in the audience last night were Tym Moss and Colm Reilly and Shane Mathews, who looked fabulous. It has been a few years since I've seen them and it was a nice reunion. I LOVE this community and in addition to seeing shows in New York, it's always nice to run into friends.
It's a shame that it was only one performance. Vincent and an appreciative New York audience need to find each other. I had heard a lot about Vincent for sometime from my friend and songwriter, Bob Levy, who unfortunately, could not be there last night due to a previous engagement. Vincent has a smooth silky voice that reminds me a lot of Mel Torme. I bought his cd last night, DREAM WEAVER, and am listening to it as I write this blog. It is available at CD BABY. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

Last night's show was part of Lee Summer's JUST A PIANO series. It's nice to see a performer on stage with nothing more than JUST A PIANO and talent (along with a great musical director!)In this case, it was Mark Kieswetter.
Lee Summers introduced Vincent last night, first of all giving a little history of The Triad and then telling how the JUST A PIANO series started. I wish ALL the cabaret rooms would do this! It is more welcoming than just a discombobulated voice making the usual "turn off your cell phone, etc" announcement. Lee Summers is a class act and the other rooms should take a page out of his book. When I served on the MAC board, I suggested this. I thought it would be a great way to welcome people, explain what MAC is, and let the audience know that they would have the option to become a member of MAC after the show.
MAC needs to reach beyond its borders. The entire cabaret community needs to do that!
The experience for the "average" person (meaning non-entertainer)going into a cabaret room is not always a pleasant one. We (Danny and I) for example live outside the city. Coming in, we are dealing with traffic issues and then finding a parking spot. Luckily last night, and because of the timing of the show (9:30), we were able to park on the street(72nd Street). If the show were at 7:30, for example, we would not have been so lucky.
Then we get there to find out that they don't accept credit cards at The Triad! My first quibble of the evening! And I say this to all clubs who have this policy...Going to these shows is not always "cheap" and if I'm treating several people, I should not be walking around with that much cash on me!Please change this policy! Do whatever you can to entice audiences instead of turning them away! We put up with these things because we are there to see each other.
I can almost guarantee that if Joe & Nancy Schmoe from Idaho happened to come in because they were a fan of Julie Wilson's and they had read about this show, they would not return because of the "no credit card" policy and the 2-drink minimum (which is antiquated and needs to GO!). The 2-drink minimum was implemented in the days when people would go into a nightclub and nurse a drink all night long. Number one, people don't drink the way they used to. Number two, enforcing two drinks in a 55 minute time frame is outrageous! Some people drive! They should NOT be enticed into two drinks. I used to love the way that Scott Samuelson and Eddie Dudek ran The Bradstan Inn at Bradstan Country Hotel in White Lake, NY! I MISS THAT ROOM! I was lucky enough to play there a couple of times! Also loved ALL of the acts I saw there. I NEVER HAD A BAD EXPERIENCE AT THE BRADSTAN INN!
They charged a flat fee. In that fee, a non-alcoholic drink or a glass of wine WAS INCLUDED. If you wanted a beer, a cocktail, or an additional drink, you paid for it! THIS is the way EVERY CABARET ROOM in NY should operate!
Those two "quibbles" aside, I had a great time at The Triad! Great staff and great vibe!
It was appropriate that Vincent referred to Julie last night as his first Diva. This clip captyres the excitement of what it must have been like to see Julie in the nighcluns/supper clubs of the 50s! I miss this glamor! She STILL has it!"Cabaret is one-to-one, like a party, and you're the hostess who wants to please. Most of all you have to have a good time and hope your audience joins in the fun." - Julie Wilson

When Julie Wilson's eyes slyly skim the room, her husky voice toying with Stephen Sondheim's, "Can That Boy Fox-Trot" wow, does she ever evoke that old Maisonette magic of the 'Fifties, when she reigned as hostess over the famed St. Regis Hotel club room.
The rich heritage of St. Regis informs every touch across every address. It is, quite simply, the very essence of the St. Regis brand. Cherished traditions such as fresh flowers, afternoon tea service and midnight supper are carried out as flawlessly today as they were a century ago under the discerning eye of Lady Astor. Likewise, the art of sabering a bottle of champagne is still practiced by the St. Regis Butler, and cognac and hand-rolled cigars remain an after dinner staple. The Bloody Mary, a signature cocktail of St. Regis since it was first concocted by Fernand Petiot in the King Cole Bar and Lounge, is brought to life through new interpretations that reflect the distinct personality of each address.
Fernand Petiot (born in Paris, 18 February 1900 – died in Canton, Ohio 6 January 1975)(Another Aquarian!) was a bartender who claimed to have created the Bloody Mary, a popular cocktail drink.
These time-honored traditions of The St. Regis and countless others have helped create the air of magic and seduction sought after by guests of St. Regis. (http://www.starwoodhotels.com/stregis)


Tossing that scarlet feather boa around her shoulders, Julie can still wear those same signature slinky, silky sequined gowns; her hair is back in a sleek chignon; that white gardenia, a tribute to the late Billie Holiday, is still tucked behind her left ear.
I wished on the Moon --Billie Holiday 1935
20 year old Billie Holiday sings in a first session with the Teddy Wilson Orchestra on July 2 1935 in New York. Next to Teddy on piano the All Star Band consists of Benny Goodman clarinet, Roy Eldridge trumpet, Ben Webster tenor sax, John Truehart guitar, John Kirby bass and Cozy Cole drums. Jazz promotor John Hammond heard Billie for the first time in New York's Monette club in 1933 and wrote in Melody Maker: "Billie although only 18, she weighs over 200 lbs, is incredibly beautiful, and sings as well as anybody I ever heard". Hammond told Benny Goodman, and the two went to this Monette club. Both were impressed and it was the start of Billie's career
But except for that svelte figure, sculptured profile, and generous smile, Julie Wilson has journeyed a long way from her famed niche during the glory days of cabaret.

Here are some of my favorite Divas. I've written in recent weeks about them.
Please visit: http://www.beautyshopstories.com to read more about this year's Bistro and MAC Award winner!




Ann Hampton Callaway:Ann Hampton CallawayAnn Hampton Callaway performs How High the Moon with the Boston Symphony. I used to go see Ann all the time at The Bradstan Inn.
Visit Ann's website @ http://www.annhamptoncallaway.com
Ann is an insatiable creative spirit. Ann fondly remembers the first song she made up at the age of three. But it wasn't until she first heard Carole King's Tapestry that she decided to devote herself to songwriting. As a champion of the great American Songbook, she has made her mark as a singer, pianist, composer, lyricist, arranger, actress, educator, TV host and producer. A born entertainer, her unique singing style blends jazz and traditional pop, making her a mainstay in concert halls, theaters and jazz clubs as well as in the recording studio, on television, and in film. She is best known for Tony-nominated performance in the hit Broadway musical Swing! and for writing and singing the theme song to the hit TV series The Nanny
Callaway is a Platinum Award winning writer and the only composer to have collaborated with Cole Porter, she has also written songs with Carole King
Here is a song written by Carole King and performed by Ann: .
Ann has also written for Rolf Lovland and Barbara Carroll(pictured) to name a few. Callaway's live performances showcase her warmth, spontaneous wit and passionate delivery of standards, jazz classics and originals.
Ann has been a special guest performer with Wynton Marsalis and the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra and performed for President Clinton in Washington, D.C. and at President Gorbachev's Youth Peace Summit in Moscow.

Ann Hampton Callaway and sister Liz Callaway perform the Rodgers and Hammerstein 1945 Carousel show stopper, 'You'll Never Walk Alone'.Callaway performed with her sister, Broadway star Liz Callaway, in their award-winning show Sibling Revelry and has performed twice in Berlin's famed Philharmonie Hall by special invitation.
It is only natural that Ann become part of this sure-to-be grand tribute to Carole King for Lifebeat. (Source: http://pozevent.blogspot.com/2010/11/lovin-ann-hampton-callaway-out-loud.html)

Two more of my favorite divas/divos:Jeanne MacDonald and Miles Phillips (my Millie!)
Jeanne MacDonald
2008 MAC Award Winner
2008 NY Nightlife Award Finalist
“Watching a singer like Jeanne MacDonald, who brings an emotional balance; a subtle, good-humored sexiness; and an originality to everything she sings, makes you realize the crucial role good instincts play...” NEW YORK TIMES - Stephen Holden

Karen Oberlin (another favorite) and Miles won the 2009 MAC Award for their duo show The Pleasure of Your Company! And their Musical Director Tracy Stark (another favorite) won as well!
The Colony Hotel, Palm Beach Continues 10th Anniversary Cabaret Season with KAREN OBERLIN TONIGHT

The Colony Hotel - which The Palm Beach Post has hailed as "probably the best place for cabaret on the planet" - continues its 10th annual cabaret season in its popular Royal Room Supper Club with: Karen Oberlin: Back By Popular Demand

One of the most most sought-after and celebrated singers in the world of cabaret, multi-award-winner Karen Oberlin was hand-picked by The New York Times as one of the "Saviors of the Great American Songbook." Winner of this year's New York Nightlife Award, Oberlin brings the heart and humor of many of the most beloved songs from the Great American Songbook, with thrilling highlights taken from her critically-acclaimed shows at the Algonquin's Oak Room, Feinstein's, Jazz at Lincoln Center and Town Hall, among others. Oberlin has performed at major clubs and theatres around the country, has starred in more than 100 Off-Broadway performances of the smash-hit show Our Sinatra, and has appeared on All My Children among other television and film credits. Her recordings include the highly lauded "My Standards", and the award-winning "Secret Love: The Music of Doris Day," and the brand-new, critically-acclaimed live CD of her most recent engagement at the legendary Algonquin Hotel Oak Room (which she brought to the Royal Room) of the songs of Frank Loesser. As David Kenney reported on New York's WBAI radio, "She dazzles me from the moment she steps on stage!" For more information, please visit www.karenoberlin.com.


Stephen Holden in The New York Times: Karen Oberlin has "impeccable classic pop style...musical intelligence...arresting and perfect moments (with) beautifully shaped, delicately voluptuous phrasing."

Read more: http://florida.broadwayworld.com/article/Karen-Oberlin-A-Savior-Of-The-Great-American-Songbook-At-The-Colony-20110502#ixzz1N0xFtckK



DORIS DAYDoris Day, the quintessential all-American girl, continues to be revered by her fans, while the media still celebrate her as an actress and singer with a legendary Hollywood "girl next door" image.
However, Doris Day's personal life, faced with steely resolve, was the very antithesis of how most fans perceived her super-stardom. The studios promoted her in screen roles highlighting her wholesome, vivacious blonde personality. However, in hindsight, this concentration on her image belied her great acting and musical talents; a full retrospective appraisal of her career in recent years has brought her fans a fuller appreciation of her gifts. Of her 39 films, Calamity Jane, Love Me or Leave Me and Pillow Talk remain popular favorites, and still run frequently on cable television. Rock Hudson & Doris Day star in this perfect romance & comedy combination movie of 1959. A landmark in many people's teenagehood innocently favorite time. Doris Day was nominated for an Oscar for best actress for this movie.Paralleling her success in big-screen entertainment, a series of excellent albums recorded between 1956 and 1968 expanded her popularity, and are as relevant today as when they were first released.
Born Doris Mary Ann von Kappelhoff on April 3, 1924, in Cincinnati, Ohio, her parents came from German stock. Her father, Frederick Wilhelm Von Kappelhoff, was a music teacher, choir master and church organist and loved classical music. Her mother, Alma Sophia Welz, on the other hand, was an outgoing woman who enjoyed "hillbilly music." Doris was the youngest of three: she had two brothers, Richard, who died before she was born, and Paul who was a few years older. She was named after silent movie actress Doris Kenyon(pictured), whom her mother admired. Doris Kenyon (September 5, 1897 – September 1, 1979) was a popular actress of motion pictures and television. Growing up in the 1930s Doris was attracted to music and dance, eventually forming part of a dance duo which performed locally until a car she was riding in was struck by a train, crushing her right leg, a severe injury that curtailed her ambition to become a professional dancer.Scenes from Doris Day's first movie, "Romance on the High Seas", with various photos of Doris Day through out the years.
However, while recovering, Doris gained a vocal education by listening to the radio, becoming a fan of the embryonic records of upcoming Ella Fitzgerald. Do you sense a theme in this blog? Vincent Wolfe, Sue Matsuki, Ann Hampton Callaway, and Doris Day ALL have Ella in common!
Her mother encouraged her to take singing lessons. Alma took Doris to see vocal coach Grace Raine, who was so impressed with Doris' natural talent that she offered her three lessons for the price of one. Doris credits Raine with impressing upon her the importance of delivering a lyric, and today Doris says that Raine had the greatest impact on her singing career.

I also love the Divos! Yesterday, I wrote about Jim Brochu and touched upon his partner, Steve Schalchlin. Steve is a great entertainer in his own right.I was lucky enough to share the stage with Steve two weeks ago when we shared the stage in the Zani's Furry Friends benefit at Birdland.

I love the comments I'm receiving and THE FACEBOOK requests from those who are reading my blogs.
Thom Waldman, after reading my blog on Julie Sheppard wrote:
"First met Julie Sheppard in the late 70's at open call where huston allred would command the room." Houston Alread was the VERY FIRST person who played for me as Carol Channing when I first got up to sing at THE PIANO BAR at BEEFSTEAK CHARLIES (67th and Broadway)! Remember? I wish that those evenings were on tape.
Everyone of those evenings was a party! Thursday night was their Broadway night. I used to go every other Thursday night. I learned so much from those evenings. I learned how to work an audience and almost every other aspect/technique I have learned as an entertainer. I used to go there and sing as "Richard Skipper". One night, a couple of friends of mine from South Carolina were in attendance. After I sang, Houston asked if I had anything else prepared. I did not. One of my friends yelled, "Do Carol Channing!". I used to do it, believe it or not in school! Houston said, "You do Carol Channing?" I quickly answered an emphatic "No"! My friend responded, "Yes, Ricky, did Carol Channing in high school" which brought the house down. Houston kept egging me on. I finally relented and agreed. I felt I would get it over again and never have to do it again. So, Houston decided to "stage" HELLO, DOLLY! He cast all of the waiters and I began to sing. That one moment changed the entire trajectory of my LIFE!


It took me away, for the most part, of pursuing a "legitimate" acting career with a few detours along the way. I am proud to say that Monday night, due to a phone call from Paula J. Riley, I am returning to my roots in IT'S ALL RELATIVE, scenes depicting THE FAMILY DYNAMIC. I hope that you will join us. As way of introduction to what Paula does and how she assists you on your journey toward a career as an actor, her edict as both a teacher and a coach is as follows: "My aim is to help the actor achieve the greatest possibility for the existence of nuance, through the profound understanding of character development and its inevitable progression."
I'll be dong a scene From Little Murders by Jules Feiffer. Elizabeth Burke (far left in photo) will be joining me as my wife: Cartoonist, playwright, screenwriter and children’s book author & illustrator Jules Feiffer has had a remarkable creative career turning contemporary urban anxiety into witty and revealing commentary for over fifty years. From his Village Voice editorial cartoons (see Explainers: The Complete Village Voice Strips, 1956-1966) to his plays and screenplays including Little Murders(Donald Sutherland performs a wedding ceremony in Alan Arkin's and Jules Feiffer's "Little Murders" (1971).) and Carnal Knowledge, Feiffer’s satirical outlook has helped define us politically, sexually and socially.
Actors in the movie: Vincent Gardenia, Elliott Gould, Lou Jacobi, Jon Korkes, Martin Kove.

Jules Feiffer was the first cartoonist commissioned by The New York Times to create comic strips for their Op-Ed page, Feiffer has since shifted his focus towards writing and illustrating books for children and young adults including The Man in the Ceiling, A Room with a Zoo and Bark, George!


He won a Pulitzer Prize and a George Polk Award for his cartoons; an Obie for his plays; an Academy Award for the animation of his cartoon satire, Munro; and Lifetime Achievement Awards from the Writers Guild of America and the National Cartoonist Society. Feiffer has taught at the Yale School of Drama, Northwestern University, Dartmouth, and presently at Stony Brook Southampton College. He has been honored with major retrospectives at the New York Historical Society, the Library of Congress and The School of Visual Arts.



May 23
6-8 pm

ROY ARIAS STUDIOS/THE PAYAN THEATRE, 300 West 43rd Street/5th floor
IT'S ALL RELATIVE
Paula J Riley Presents: Primary Principles of Acting workshop Industry Showcase. Five scenes that examine the family dynamic from: ROYAL FAMILY, BEAUTIFUL CLEAR-EYED WOMAN, DARK AT THE TOP OF THE STAIRS, WAKE & LITTLE MURDERS. e-mail Paula to reserve.

Whenever I am in San Francisco, I always make a point of visiting MARTUNI'S!
Martuni’s welcomes Martha Lorin(Another favorite diva)in
“Just Jazz”"Martha Lorin has developed into one of the most emotive singers to hit the jazz scene."

Growing up in Pueblo, Colorado, Martha Lorin found herself at a crossroads of diverse cultures. Martha's early vocal development was nourished by two generations, her Welsh grandmother, Sarah Dalton, a highly touted popular singer of the 1920's, and her jazz pianist/singer/songwriter mother, Margaret Dalton.
Martha will be joined at Martuni's with
Grant Levin (piano) Dean Reilly(bass)(Dean Reilly pictured on bass) Bob Blankenship (drums)

May 28th, 2011
Showtime
7:00pm to 9:00pm

Music Charge $15
Martuni’s
4 Valencia St.
San Francisco, CA 94103
Phone: (415) 241-0205
E-mail: skipzsf@aol.com
ATM, Cash, Mastercard, Visa

Martha Lorin
www.marthalorin.com


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Tomorrow's blog will any other suggestions I receive!

Please contribute to the DR. CAROL CHANNING & HARRY KULLIJIAN FOUNDATION FOR THE ARTS: http://www.carolchanning.org/foundation.htm
TILL TOMORROW...HERE'S TO AN ARTS FILLED WEEK!
Richard Skipper, Richard@RichardSkipper.com

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