Thursday, May 6, 2010

The Salon Wrap-Up for May 2nd, 2010: "It Better Be Funny!"

Salon this past Sunday was full of snorts, guffaws, chuckles, and hawr hawr hawr’s, it having the theme of “It Better Be Funny.”  As Mark so eloquently taught us at the top of the evening, comedy is a defensive gesture against the unknown threat of surprise.  I don’t know what would have happened, had anyone not been funny…maybe Tanya’s spiked heels would have been involved.  But everyone brought some hilarity, and certainly a lot of talent, to the stage – so, everyone survived!
In the first set of the evening, co-host Danny Leary (Q talk, MTV, Animal Planet, CW Morning Show, “On the Rocks with Danny Leary”), warmed us up comic-genius style, replete with sideburns and belt buckle.  Check out his website for some upcoming appearances, including a visit to Hollywood (June 2nd at the Hollywood Improv in LA)!  Danny introduced the first singer, Ann Dawson – she sang Sophie Tucker’s “You’ve Got to Be Loved to Be Healthy,” which is a step by step instruction guide on how to stay out of the health care debate.  Next came Edie Stokes, singing the lovelorn “River Seine,” then Valerie Lemon (appearing at Feinstein’s Oct 24th) sang the rambunctious “Humphrey Bogart.” Then came Mark Levy with the comedic “what if” song “The Old Dope Peddler,” which I googled to find was written by the great Tom Lehrer as a parody of “The Old Lamplighter” by Charles Tobias.  After him, Jillian Laurain rocked Mark Janas’ groove with “The Joint is Really Jumpin’ at Carnegie Hall.”  Jillian will be performing on May 11that the Metropolitan Room, 7pm.  Then Sunny Leigh accentuated the room with “Accentuate the Positive,” Jennie Litt and David Alpher (Jennie on vocals, David on piano) sang their hilarious “Thong Song” (<-- scroll down towards the “T’s” & read the lyrics!), and then Annie Lebaux sat behind the piano to sing her Joni Mitchell-inspired song (heavy vibrato and all), “Speed Dial.”
Always the man with a funny Noel Coward song, Bill Zeffiro first sang a dirty 25second Randy Newman ditty cut from “The Three Amigos,” then sang Coward’s “Louisa.”  After Bill, an ACTUAL Louisa, Louisa Poster (in a fittingly pretty burnt amber dress), sang “Orange Colored Sky.”  Next, Annie Kozuch sang “Beat My Dog” by Jay Leonhart (her CD release party happens May 25th!), Jane Glick sang the sultry comedic song “Dont’ Ask a Lady, and  Helena Grenot (Don’t Tell Mama, May 18th & 19th) sang the popular Sue Matsuki song “White Girls Can’t Sing the Blues.  Next, Raissa Katona Bennett and Candy Benge battled it out with a duet (!) of “Glitter and Be Gay, and I will tell you pearls literally flew off the stage after those ladies finished duking it out!  I (Sierra Rein) had to follow that up, but luckily I had the funny lament “Lowering My Standards” by the (now MAC Award winning vocalist) Hector Coris to keep the night’s theme going.  Next, Etceterette Danielle Erin Rhodes sang a parody of “Almost Like Being in Love,” except she extolled the benefits of a certain soap-like product…Dove!  To finish the first set, Maureen Taylor sang “It Would Never Have Worked.”  Taylor’s live CD recording of her Bob Merrill tribute, “Taylor Made: A Celebration of Merrill” will take place May 15th at 5pm at The Metropolitan Room.
Special Guest performerKarith Foster then took over the stage with her standup comedy and had us all in stitches.  Karith is a well-known comedian, TV and radio personality, author and, as she says on her blog, she considers herself a “lady.”   However, under that well-spoken ladylike exterior is a biting wit and unique perspective on her upbringing in Texas as a black woman (in Plano, TX, she starred in her high school’s all white – well, almost - production of “A Raisin in the Sun”).  All said, Karith was a truly special guest to The Salon – we all appreciated her hilarious standup comedy immensely!  Karith is performing this weekend at Stanford & Son’s in Kansas City.
After Karith, Mark Janas began playing Beethoven’s “Moonlight Sonata,” and before I could tell him “hell, Mark, even *I* can play ‘Moonlight Sonata!’), Tanya Moberly (as Lucy) began wooing Mark as “Schroeder.”  Continuing the Classical Corner, Mark then gave us a wonderful series of examples of comedy in the classical world (including Brahms’ penchant for practical jokes).  To finish the Classical Corner, Mark invited Danielle Erin Rhodes to sing parody lyrics to “I Dreamed a Dream” (in a Project Runway spoof) as written by his students at the Manhattan School of Music.  Mark and Peter Napolitano had been working with the students on lyric writing, and this was a wonderful exploration of their talents!
After the Classical Corner, Salon regular Kevin McMullen sang “Mammy” in honor of Mother’s Day, Whitney Chapman sang “Regretting What I Said: A Musical Apology,” and Richie Eisenberg sang his original “The Essence of Love” which - despite it’s subject matter - didn’t stink.  After Richie, Courtney Graves had his Salon debut and sang “I’d Like to Hate Myself in the Morning” by John Meyer.  Then Joan Jaffe (MAC Nominee!) sang the biting “Queens” with Matthew Ward at the piano.  Lyricist Michael Colby then sang (with composer Ned Paul Ginsburg at the piano) the song “Mei-Ling” from their musical “They Chose Me.”  Etcetera favorite David Ballard arrived from downstairs to sing “Way Ahead of My Time,” Mark Watson sang a ditty from 1900 entitled “Ticklish Reuben” (according to Wikipedia, it is a “laughing song” genre, and Watson certainly did fulfill the abyss of laughter well!), then Matthew Ward closed the evening with a “Sensitive Song.”  Matthew will be hosting the Salon on May 30th with the theme “Boats, Beaches, and Boardwalks!”
Speaking of themes, this Sunday’s theme is “Fairy Tales,” and it will be co-hosted by the hot-as-hell Terese Genecco and Shaynee Rainbolt will be our Special Guest.  So bring your songs from sources like Into the Woods, Peter Pan, songs from Disney, nursery rhymes, music about the personal myths and magic in your life, or perhaps a song your Mother might sing to you (oh crap it’s Mothers Day on Sunday! Must send a card now).
See you Sunday!

-Sierra Rein, The Blogette for The Salon
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