May you ALWAYS make the right move

Table Setting Photo by Ellen Easton© All Rights Reserved

The team that gets to play to their plan is usually the team that has the most success.  
Mike McCarthy, football coach

Happy New Year!I will never forget the people who stood with me throughout this year.

Yesterday, I was saddened to hear that Natalie Cole and Wayne Rogers had passed on.  
When I first heard the news, my first thought was that there would be a third that I know. 
Sure enough I got the call last night from a friend, Lisa,  that her mom's significant other, Jerry had passed on. It was strange because we had lunch yesterday at Sylvia's in Harlem with Lisa. 

Lisa is our dog Horace's groomer. 
Going to Sylvia's on New Year's Day for black eyed peas and collard greens (which is supposed to bring us luck throughout the year has become a tradition for us. Lisa and her mom, Joan, have always been part of that tradition for the past seven years. Joan was unable to join us yesterday due to Jerry's illness. He had gone into the hospital on December 12th with pneumonia. Unfortunately, his body had an allergic reaction due to a medication they gave him. 
When we spoke about Jerry yesterday, Lisa was optimistic that Jerry would pull through. Many of his family members and Joan were at the hospital yesterday. When they left the room for dinner last night, he passed on. Another reminder of how fragile life is. At midnight on New Year's Eve, I had everyone at our party have a moment of silence for those that we have lost in the past year. I never would have thought that another member of our circle would no longer be physically with us in less than 24 hours. Please hug those that are close to you today and carpe diem!   
 Join Buddy Beaverhausen, and his entertainment blog full of reviews and celebrity interviews! His personal goodbye to Natalie Cole! Exclusive QandA with Richard Pryor Jr.! Review of the new Quentin Tarrantino film, Hateful Eight, and of Denise Spann-Morgan's holiday show at Metropolitan Room!  Plus surprise celebrity Q and As to come in 2016, along with so much else, only at Let's all have the HAPPIEST New Year! Cheers!!
Also, please follow Liz Smith's NY Social Diary for all things entertainment. Here is her latest column.
Liz Smith wrote the above column to mark the occasion of Frank Sinatra’s 100th birthday anniversary which was on December 12, 2015. The day has been billed as “The Sinatra Centennial” by his three children, who compose the Sinatra Estate, and they’ve been ballyhooing the occasion every month for the past year.    
I thought I'd start 2016 with a bit of introspection, personal recollections and positive goals moving forward.  We all enjoy it in different ways.  In reflecting on 2015 today, I got out the calendar and realized just how many amazing opportunities I’ve had, the fabulous places I’ve gone, and how many TRULY brilliant folks I’ve had the pleasure of working with. The year began with me hosting The Salon at Etc. Etc. Thank you, Tanya Moberly for giving me that opportunity. The featured guests were Broadsway who were in town to perform at The Metropolitan Room.
The theme for the evening was Life Inside Out. This was because I was promoting the New York premier of this great independent film that I did the press for. This came about because of my friend, Tessa Bell. Tessa used to be on the board of MAC (Manhattan Association of Cabarets and Clubs) many years ago. That's how we first became familiar with each other.

 I thank you so much for your on-going support of Richard Skipper Celebrates. 
I wish you every happiness and prosperity in the New Year. 

In Lorelei, Carol Channing sings, "It's Nice Looking Back..." However, enjoy life in the present even as something possibly more intriguing may await us in the future.
Did you know...

In Spain and Mexico, the tradition is to eat 12 grapes at midnight on New Year's Eve into the next year.
In Greece, people bake a coin into a Vassilopita bread. Luck goes to whoever gets the coin or the dentist who repairs the damage. Ireland calls New Year’s Day “The Day of the Buttered Bread,” and people bang loaves against walls to keep bad luck out. A Finnish tradition is to melt tiny tin horseshoes, then drop the melted tin into cold water. The shape it takes is said to predict what will happen in the new year.

In Ecuador, people burn a scarecrow at midnight to ensure cleansing energy.
In Turkey, people throw pomegranates off balconies. The more they break open, the better the year will be.
Take a listen to my recent appearance with Lisa Dascoli's Talk of the Town for December 2015 featuring an interview with Lisa Bertrand of the Volunteer Theatre Actors Association plus I spin some tunes of the musical guests we've featured this past year - Julie Budd, Peggy Eason, Jerry Costanzo

In 2016, don't go through life alone. Take a risk...or two...or more! Open your heart. You never know what you may find just outside your door.
Before the end of last month, thanks to my friend Ellen Easton, we went to see Michael Feinstein at 54 Below. We had a great time! The show was superb and Michael has never sounded better. It was also fun to run into Michael Colby and his wonderful wife Andrea. 

A few night's later, I saw Shawn Moninger at The Metropolitan Room with special guest Nancy-Timpanaro-Hogan. It was a trip down memory lane. Shawn did my lights and sound at Don't Tell Mama for years when I was first starting out in the world of cabaret. One of my favorite memories was when I was appearing in Atlantic City and Shawn came to see the show and just being able to spend some quality time together. Shawn left the world of cabaret and became a minister. He also became the life partner of David Friedman and they settled into domestic bliss in Norwalk, Connecticut. Shawn had a desire, however, to be on the boards and he fulfilled that desire in spades at the Metropolitan Room. The venue was packed to capacity! 

I LOVE to celebrate.

That is why I call my business Richard Skipper Celebrates.

As we careen towards what I hope is a sweet 16, I have some hopes for the world.

 May 2016 be a turning point for humanity to find a better way!

A better way to treat the environment.

A better way to cease hostilities around the world.

A better way to treat those running from wars and those seeking to improve their lives.

A better way to spread the wealth and stop the few dominating the many with power, greed and bullying.
A better way for those who envy and spit out their resentment - causing nothing but trouble, to find contentment.

A better way to share a smile and a joke without it  being taken the wrong  way through political correctness.

I want to celebrate all that life has to offer.
I'm about building people up rather than tearing them down. I'm all about celebrating the past as well as looking forward to what the New Year holds for us...hopefully 12 months of wonderful celebrations.
As people were panic stricken about holiday gifts and shopping, my focus was on being with friends. I truly cannot think of another item that I need in my life.

I am reminded daily of how precious life is and truly would rather be with friends than caught in the rat race of holiday shopping.
As I celebrated the holidays this year, I was so proud to also be celebrating what I have accomplished in the last quarter century.
This year will mark twenty five years that Danny and I have been together. Another think that I am grateful for is Johnny Carson's return to TV, thanks to Antenna TV!
When I was a kid, I used to sneak up to see him after my parents went to sleep. He celebrated a style of interviewing that we  sadly don't see on TV anymore. Johnny felt genuinely interested in his guests. The interviews came off more as conversations than interviews. It didn't seem forced and/or contrived and/or scripted.   Over the holidays, I received an email from dear friend and fellow Aquarian, Ellen Easton about holiday etiquette.
Actually, this applies year round.

It amazes me how many people do not respond to an invitation anymore. 
When they do, the response is usually, "I don't know what my schedule is that day. Can I get back to you?" 
Sometimes, they do. Sometimes, they don't...OR they respond right down to the wire. When I'm invited to ANYTHING (party or show or event), I open my calendar and respond immediately. 
I'm not asking anything of anyone that I am not willing to commit to myself.
Celebrating another birthday with friends

In The Music Man, after Marian finally commits to meeting Professor Harold Hill on the footbridge, she tells him she almost didn't show up.

He tells her that, "you can spend a lifetime collecting tomorrows only to find out you have no yesterdays."
Another favorite quote of mine is from the book, Illusions by Sebastian Bach, "Argue for your limitations and they are yours." 
What does that mean? Put another way, if you argue for your limitations, who will argue against you and against your limitations?

A few years ago, William Shatner was being interviewed by Piers Morgan.  Shatner had just turned 80. At that time, he had come to Broadway with a one man show, he was very busy with a bio, the lecture circuit, and oodles of commercials.

When asked what he contributed to his success, he  answered, "I get out of the house." Our culture has gotten so complacent with everything so readily at our fingertips.
You can order a date, dinner, movies, music, all sorts of entertainment, shop, so much more without ever leaving your homes. We are ALL social beings and EVEN with social media, if we don't take it beyond the email and texting stage, what is the purpose?

I did the PR for the NY Premier of this film January 2015
It amazes me how many people will respond to a phone call with an email and/or text rather than taking the time to follow up with a phone call.
NO ONE IS TOO BUSY for the personal touch.
When that becomes the case, you are essentially saying, "You're not worth the effort." I often hear people say: “I stopped communicating, because they weren't/aren't responding.” Being SOCIAL takes time to become effective, and will not immediately seem “worth it” from a personal standpoint – you need to give yourself time to keep the communication flowing.

One other thing, NEVER, EVER ask someone if they are going to "so and so's" party! There may be a myriad of reasons why a certain person has not been invited to a party and none of them MAY be personal!

Since the holidays are upon us, I want to share a great article written by my friend Ellen Easton of Red Wagon Press. PLEASE pay attention to what she says and apply it to your own holiday plans and beyond.
Celebrating my birthday a few years ago with Lori Tan Chin
By Ellen Easton 2015© All Rights Reserved

Why do manners matter?  Manners matter because they are the foundation to good communication and social order.  
While etiquette and customs do evolve over time, some issues are not negotiable. Just because some customs are practiced does not validate the inappropriate behavior.
If we, as a society in general, stop caring about the customs of civility, at what point does systemic disruption follow?

Examples of good verses bad, inexcusable manners, whether in one’s social behavior or simply setting the table incorrectly can result in the difference of a positive or negative out-come.

Invitations:  When one receives an invitation it is important to reply quickly with a response of yes or no. It is very rude to ignore an invitation.  Do not keep your host(s) waiting in limbo.  If you do accept, you must show up.  If you do accept and find you are unable to attend it is imperative you notify your host(s) in advance. It is never acceptable to be a no show.  It takes a lot of time and money to plan a party or event.  Be respectful and understand why it is necessary for a guest to communicate their attendance with the host(s). 
with Pat Barr and Joyce Bulifant in Palm Springs several years ago
When the day arrives, DO show up on time.  There is no such thing as being fashionably late. 

The reputation of being a good guest earns one future invitations.

Setting the table:  The table setting is not negotiable. The equipage of the table is individually placed for a specific reason to insure the flow of the dining experience.  The décor of the table is secondary to the application of the service.  Setting the basic table should be a simple task.   Regretfully, even mainstream media has forsaken the responsibility to depict a correctly set table.  My newest pet peeve is to see brand name companies
exhibiting their wares with plates, forks, knives, spoons, glasses and napkins strewn about on the table in chaos. 
I don’t care how many establishments are now serving bowls without an under-plate; it is absolutely wrong and will never be acceptable.  The lack of an under plate is not a design statement.  The under plate is to insure hygiene so that no server’s hands touch the vessel from which the diner is eating.   In addition, the under plate is where one places one’s used dining utensils as to not soil the cloth or table.  Unless you are in a private home, it is OK to discreetly ask the server for an under-plate.
Please take the time to learn how to set a simple table.  In the long term, you will not regret it.


With your left fingers form a small bThe bread and butter plate is set on the left.

With your right fingers form a small dThe drinks are set on the right.

LEFT has 4 letters... FORK has 4 letters.
RIGHT has 5 letters... KNIFE and SPOON each have 5 letters.

BREAD AND BUTTER PLATE: set to the top left, above the forks.
BREAD AND BUTTER KNIFE: place horizontally, blade facing
down, across the top of the bread and butter plate.
PLATE: set in the center of the place setting. 
LARGE FORK: set to the left of the plate.
SMALL FORK: set to the left of the large fork.

NAPKIN: set to the left of the plate, to the left of the fork, folded edge to the left-open edge to the right; or, if with a fancy fold, set in the center of the plate.

LARGE KNIFE: set to the right of the plate. The sharp edge of
the knife faces the plate.
TEA SPOON: set to the right of the knife.

SOUP SPOON: set to the right of the teaspoon.
WATER GLASS: set to the right, above the knife.
ADDITIONAL GLASSES: set to the right of the water glass.
TEACUP AND SAUCER: to the right side of flatware.
TEAPOT: place within easy reach, set to the right of each guest, with the handle facing on the right.
PLACE CARD: traditionally set above the plate. Modern setting allows the place care on the napkin if placing the napkin on the plate. Place card can also be placed directly on the plate.
CANDLEHOLDERS (optional): Only light candles after 5 PM with the curtains drawn. 
 CENTERPIECE: The centerpiece on the table should always be low enough to not block the view of another diner.
Ellen Easton's first Tea Dance
SERVING: Serve foods from the left side and clear from the right side. 
Serve and clear beverages from the right side.
WHEN IN DOUBT: Eat using the utensils from the outside of the place setting towards the inside of the place setting.

Table Manners~ DO’s and DON’Ts
Good manners and good behavior are for everyday, not just for sometime.™

By Ellen Easton ©All Rights Reserved

When first seated, oneself or the server immediately places the napkin on the lap.

When to begin eating: follow your hostess. If for some
reason that is not an option, then do as follows: when hot food is served, begin eating after three people have been served; when cold food is served, wait until everyone has been served.

Chew with your mouth closed.

Do give thanks.

When at home, do offer to help set the table.

Wash your hands before dining.

Sit up straight in your chair.

When seated, place the napkin in your lap.

When leaving the table, place your napkin to the left of your place setting.

Be a good conversationalist. Do not monopolize the conversation. 
Do not be a braggart.

When you want something, ask for it to be passed,“ Will you please pass the bread?”

Remember to say, “Thank you.”

Ask to be excused,“ May I pleased be excused?”

When an elder or a woman approaches your table, always stand up to show respect.

Do offer to help with the chair if the person seated next to you is elderly or a woman.

Do compliment the cook! If dining in public, leave a good tip for the wait staff. When at home, do offer to help clean up.
Do Not
Do not cut all of your food at one time; instead, cut one piece of food at a time.

Do not take big bites of food.

Do not chew with you mouth open.

Do not talk with food in you mouth.

Again, the rule of thumb is CELEBRATE...but ALWAYS do it with CLASS, ELEGANCE, and GOOD MANNERS!
Happy Holly Daze!  

Creativity is more than just being different. Anybody can play weird; that's easy. What's hard is to be
as simple as Bach.
Making the simple, awesomely simple, that's creativity.
Charles Mingus, musician

Last month, it was great to see Terese Genneco return to The Iridium stage with her Little Big Band on Wednesday December 23rd in "Have Yourself A Merry Little Big Band," Presented by ScoBarEntertainment

“Maestro of Campy Nostalgia!” Stephen Holden, The New York Times

Joining Terese on stage were Barry Levitt – Piano, Marco Panascia – Bass, Ray Marchica – Drums, Mayra Casales – Latin percussion, Sean Harkness – Guitar, Mark Miller – Trombone, Bud Burridge – Trumpet, Cliff Lyons – Tenor sax. Guest and Backup Vocalists – Shaynee Rainbolt, Raissa Katona Bennett, Doris Dear and more!

Terese and her band have performed over 100 shows at The Iridium between 2009 and the present becoming known as “the longest-running nightclub act on Broadway” and winning multiple awards and international accolades for their efforts. Genecco and her band are thrilled to be back on the Iridium stage, this time with their completely original holiday show.

“There were no ‘mice’ in the Ratpack – it was strictly an all-boy’s club. But if Frank, Dean and Sammy ever returned from the Great Casino in the Sky, the first youngish female singer that I’d recommend to join their clan is this high-voltage entertainer.
Ms. Genecco is deeply rooted in the early 1960s, the colorful last gasp of the era of swingin’ lovers, and, as such, draws equally from Louis Prima and Sammy Davis on one hand and Ray Charles and Elvis on the other. She and her three horns and five rhythm put on an unstoppable juggernaut of a set at The Iridium, with one hard-hitting swinger after another, pausing only for what she describes as a mandatory ‘two-ballad maximum.’~Will Friedwald; The Wall Street Journal

Jimmy Shields, on the left, husband of actor/decorator, William Haines, second on left. Joan Crawford, (in the middle,) and the two men maintained a lifelong friendship, and Joan called them "the happiest married couple in Hollywood." Haines and Shields were together 47 years.
Today is the birthday of Charles William "Billy" Haines, known professionally as William Haines, was an American film actor and interior designer. Haines was discovered by a talent scout and signed with Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer in 1922. Wikipedia
Born: January 2, 1900, Staunton, Virginia, VA
Died: December 26, 1973, Santa Monica, CA

William Haines and Jimmy Shields, openly flaunted their relationship in Hollywood for almost 50 years.
Billy Haines, fell in love with his stand-in,
Although the Hollywood system at the time put pressure on gay actors to provide an 'acceptable' public image by marrying, Haines turned down an offer of marriage from Joan Crawford who was then still hoping to be a rising star. In 1930 Haines and Jimmy Shields bought an antique shop and developed their interest in interior design by giving free advice to their Hollywood customers and friends.
Jimmy Shields, committed suicide a few months after William Haines, death after almost 50 years together.
Jimmy Shields, and they moved in together in 1923, a move that destroyed his acting career.

Thank to ALL that are mentioned in this blog for the gifts you have given to the world and continue to give! 
Make 2016 the year of YES!

With grateful XOXOXs ,



Check out my site celebrating the legacy of Jerry Herman's Hello, Dolly!
Phyllis Diller and Richard Deacon,


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

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

Richard Skipper,

January 13th, Julie Budd in conversation with Bill Boggs at American Popular Song Society 
Local 802 AFM 322 W 48th St, New York, New York 10036  AT 1:30PM!

and her Musical Director Herb Bernstein along with Julie’s band
join  Julie Budd
The celebrity artist-in-residence of Manhattan's
Metropolitan Room talks about her career and performs
selections from her new tribute album.
Talk/Performance/CD Signing

Call Richard Skipper Celebrates at 845-365-0720 if you need more details.
Many surprises are in store. Please contact me if any questions.
Please LIKE Richard Skipper Celebrates on Facebook
Admission is Free for Members/$15.00 for Non-Members .

Doors open at 12:30 for those who want to buy sheet music Also members can take tables and sell their stuff. 2:30 -1:30 "Flea Market" 1:30 seating - showtime: 1:45 - 3:30.


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