Patricia Racette has mastered opera and is trying her voice at cabaret. Although the soprano is accustomed to singing sad songs in opera, she opened her act last evening at 54 Below in NYC with a medley of “I Got Rhythm,” and “Get Happy” backed by Craig Terry on piano . She has the pipes but not the jazz although she made a good attempt at Rodgers and Hart’s “Where or When” and “Angel Eyes.” The latter sounded more like a blues or operatic combo than jazz as she labeled it. She credits her high school choir director with introducing her to jazz.
The small room at Don’t Tell Mama in New York’s theater district was packed last Saturday and Sunday morning. Marilyn Maye, who at 85 is the sweetheart of New York’s bustling cabaret circuit, shared her humor, talent and wisdom in stage performance with a dozen or so participants for five hours each day. In addition others – including an enthusiastic 90-year-old fan from Maye’s hometown, Kansas City, wearing a KC baseball cap – audited the day long class. Even rock singer Helen Reddy stopped by .
Helen Reddy, once known as the Queen of 70′s Pop in her heyday, wants us to forget that label. After a ten year hiatus from the stage during which she practiced clinical hypnotherapy, the Australian songwriter/singer, now 71, a few pounds heavier and a couple inches shorter, heard her voice again after singing a duet with her older sister at the latter’s birthday celebration. “Not bad,” she thought. The red head with the dynamic voice played two shows at BB Kings Blues Club in NYC this weekend. But now the third generation entertainer sings the songs she likes –some familiar and others not so – “Lost In The Night,” “Angel Baby,” “Ain’t No Way To Treat A Lady.” But all have meaning and reveal her personal struggles as a woman.
An endless flood of books pours into the paper. They pool in canvas-sided mail carts before being diverted into a windowless room where they linger, the literary version of an algae-covered retention pond. A few seep onto my desk, so I feel duty bound to flip each volume open and sample a few lines. That’s usually enough. Most can then be cast aside without another thought. But there are rare exceptions.
What connection could there be between a routine police traffic stop on a quiet Los Angeles street a half century ago and the recent shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School, 50 years removed and 3000 miles away in Newtown, Connecticut?
When Dianne Feinstein (D-Democratic Republic of California) proposed a ban on so-called assault weapons as part of a broader gun control bill, she thought she had two things going for her: public support post-Newtown, and support from her party’s leadership in the Senate. Turns out, she had neither.
According to FOX News, Team Obama has decided to deploy 14 additional ground-based interceptors (GBI) in Alaska and California against the North Korean nuclear and missile threat, reversing itself on numbers proposed by the Bush administration.
As America becomes increasingly involved in the global war on terrorism, the Bush administration is planning to shut down its worldwide English-language broadcasts on the Voice of America. This is a serious error.
If you haven’t seen Marilyn Maye perform, join the crew on her MAYE-den voyage at 54 Below. This octogenarian is the ultimate entertainer who has perfected and carefully honed her stage skills. Easily breaking through the fourth wall illusion, she portrays a story in song. Her expressive and interpretative style sets her apart from most current cabaret performers. Approaching 85 years young, this energetic and talented dame is a real presence in a flashy fire engine red pants outfit accented with glittery sequins and a large rhinestone brooch.
The Museum of Modern Art has had many dalliances with art projects whose suitability for inclusion in a world-class museum should be questioned and criticized. But surely one of the strangest and most ironic must be their shameful decision to hang the Warhol portraits of Chairman Mao in their sleek, well-stocked second floor cafeteria. They might consider hanging Marie Antoinette’s portrait alongside, though her probably apocraphyl “let them eat cake” pales in comparison to this quotation by Mao: ”When there is not enough to eat, people starve to death. It is better to let half the people die so that the other half can eat their fill.” The engineered famine in Mao’s China lasted from 1958-1962, during which time an estimated 45 million people died of starvation,exposure to the elements and torture. You know which half of the people portly Mao fell into, unquestionably showing that he ate more than his fill of his favorite dish, hong shao rou, cubes of pork belly (from specially bred pigs) glazed with caramelized sugar and rice wine. Diners in the cafeteria can enjoy the colorful multiples of Mao while consuming upscale designer food - now knowing how many Chinese people were murdered - starved for want of a morsel.
They have it all – a contemporary look, infinite sound and sex appeal. Grammy winners Herb Alpert, 77, and his wife, Lani Hall, opened their repeat engagement at the Café Carlyle in NYC this week to a packed house which included talker Regis Philbin and a woman who said she traveled from Korea to see the show. The intimate room was the perfect venue for the classy duo.
I wonder how many charitable Jewish alumni and parents of current students know that Columbia, Barnard and NYU are hosting presentations for Israeli Apartheid Week, commencing March 11th. At Columbia/ Barnard, the topic is “Colonialism from the US to Palestine,” an interesting choice considering the recent expose of Islamist enforced slavery in Mauritania, not to mention the wholesale rape and murder of Black populations in Mali, Sudan, Somalia and other parts of Africa. At NYU, the topic is “Israel’s Deepening Apartheid,” another odd conclusion given that a million Arabs are citizens of Israel while Arabs object to any Jews living on or near territory that might eventually be turned over to them. Hamas even went so far as to destroy the intact, money-making greenhouses built by Israelis and left behind for Arabs to continue working when Israel voluntarily left Gaza. It must have been a fear of contamination similar to Wagner’s donning white gloves before conducting a piece of music by Mendelssohn.
It felt like family gathered in the living room for John Gabriel’s performance at the Metropolitan Room in New York’s West Village, Sunday evening. Not only were his grandsons ages 6 and 8 there, but his pharmacist, doctor, and closest friend for the past 50 years, actor/talker Charles Grodin.
It was nice that the U.S. government, in the person of Secretary of State John Kerry, called the Turkish prime minister’s most recent anti-Semitic remark “objectionable,” and everything, but there are still problems with how the episode is portrayed in the press.
In the last century, Senator Pat Moynihan coined a term for the creeping erosion of our standards and values - he called it defining deviancy down, and it referred to our escalating acceptance of abnormal behavior in mainstream society. One of the handmaidens of this worsening tendency is the media which exposes us to a barrage of borderline perversity as if that were just another lifestyle or artistic choice. An example is the front page article in the Style section of the NYTimes (2/28) titled, “A Hush-Hush Topic No More.” The accompanying photograph is of two people in what appears to be a cage: the seated woman sports a prim hairdo, blouse and jacket, her bare legs in shiny patent leather pumps rest on an ottoman while before her, an unclothed man lies bent over, head at her feet, in a submissive pose. The article details the popularity of Fifty Shades of Grey, a documentary called Kink, a student group devoted to kinky predilections at Harvard called The Harvard Munch Club, and The Sexual Freedom Legal Defense & Education Fund (surprisingly not acronym friendly) which seeks to pressure the American Psychiatric Association to depathologize certain sexual practices so that people who enjoy them don’t face discrimination. One can only wonder what questions would come up in a job interview or a real estate purchase that would result in such discrimination, but the truth is that the organization is seeking something else and that is normalization.
STUNNING: U.S. takes Serbia’s side over KLA monument; issues “warning” to Albania over NATIONALIST rhetoric as Albanian officials openly call for UNIFICATION of “Albanian lands.” State Dept in bizarre departure from accusing and threatening Serbia over such things
Imagine being told by your doctor that you needed a double organ transplant and if it didn’t happen within two weeks or possibly a month you wouldn’t live. That was the fate faced by Bobby Rydell, one of the most talented and popular singers to come out of the “teen idol” era of the late 1950s and early 1960s.
It’s unusual for an artist to perform a CD from top to bottom as a cabaret act, but that’s what Tom Wopat did in his one nighter at 54 Below in NYC. He opened his show Monday evening with the title song, “I’ve Got Your Number,” followed by “The Good Life.” Wearing a vintage suit (“Sinatra wore a suit,” he quipped), white shirt and tie, he described his show as “more like a saloon than cabaret.” For Wopat, that translates to less story telling and “more of a vibe”. . . or perhaps, more of a publicity opportunity. Wearing a baseball cap, he personally passed out CD’s to his fans before the show.
CHICAGO — Three films nominated for Best Picture at this weekend’s Academy Awards are based on actual events. All three received critical acclaim, even though the historical accuracy of each has been challenged.
A number of years ago, I had the opportunity to interview computer scientist David Gelernter from Yale University for a documentary on the translation of the Bible into English. A brilliant thinker, I saw that the Wall Street Journal did a recent story on his answer to the 2013 annual question of Edge.org, “What should we be worried about?” In today’s digital and disrupted age, his answer is worth reading – especially if you’re a writer, filmmaker, speaker, or other professional communicator:
Last November, I wrote a piece concerning The Other Israel Film Festival at the JCC on the upper west side. Ironically, no Arabs would get to enjoy the Israeli filmmakers’ critical representations of their country’s politics and attitudes because Arabs exercise a wholesale boycott of all things Israeli. Now two Israeli films are nominated for Oscars in the category of documentary film; as usual, both find fault with their country’s leadership and policies. One of them, 5 Broken Cameras, is a collaborative effort between an Israeli and a Palestinian on the subject of the treacherous occupation in the Palestinian’s village. The Palestinian expressed regret that he would never get to screen this film in his own village or any other Arab country because there was an Israeli name attached to it. There are no comparable films being made by Palestinians or other Arabs concerning their violence towards Israel or the corruption, misogyny and indifference of their own leadership towards their populations’ poverty and plight. There are few films being made by Israelis or anyone else concerning Muslim anti-semitism and the indoctrination of their children with this poisonous legacy; they don’t get screened at Film Festivals, art theaters or other major venues such as HBO and PBS.
Stylishly dressed in black tux and a sequin lapel on her bare-shouldered jacket, Lorna Luft paid tribute Monday evening at “Lorna’s Living Room” aka Birdland in New York City to three influential female composers who impacted her life: Dorothy Fields, Betty Comden and Laura Nyro. Luft, who began her career at 11 on her mother’s TV show, exhibits a strong stage presence and energy which compensates for any notes she misses. Even off pitch, she can belt out a song and is a sensational entertainer.
Members of the mainstream media have finally had a “light bulb” moment. After five years of getting the runaround or of being simply shut out from access to President Obama, it’s finally dawned on them that Obama loathes them and doesn’t give them much access at all—ever.