Monday, March 28, 2011

The Salon Wrap-Up for March 27, 2011: "The 8-Track to the iPod: Songs on the Go since 1965"

WARNING: It will be physically and emotionally impossible for me to blog about last night's Salon with any sense of have been warned...thank you!

It was a magical night for myself and the rest of the members of Marquee Five, who co-hosted the evening's mix of tunes from 1965, before, and beyond.   Marquee Five had just performed our show "8-Track Throwback" at the Laurie Beechman the day before, and in four days had a deadline to complete our CD fundraising.  Mark, wearing an enviable Skywalker Sound tshirt, introduced the concept of the evening: the 8-Track was the first audio equipment that allowed one to program one's own music entertainment and take it on the road.  After the 8-Track was introduced in 1965, it was preceded by the cassette player, then the discman, then the iPod (and now our phones are our own traveling jukebox!).  Throughout the evening, we celebrated the songs we remember listening to on these modes of playback, or those that reminded us of any time we plugged in our earphones and got lost in the music on the way somewhere.

Marquee Five started the evening with "Wonder Love," a mashup arranged by Adam West Hemming of Stevie Wonder's "Sir Duke," "Superstition" and "Signed, Sealed, Delivered, I'm Yours," and we were accompanied by the dance interpretations of Layla Fields (Reyburn), who busted some moves on the floor.  Sierra (myself) then grabbed the co-hosting mic to introduce Elaine St. George, who sweetly and slowly sang her interpretation of "I Only Want to Be With You."  Elaine will be performing her Ray Charles show "InspiRAYtion" on April 27 and three dates in May at the Metoropolitan Room.  Make reservations now, and you'll be entered in to win a copy of Ray Charles' autobiography!  After Elaine, we had the amazing Adam Shapiro, who can be funny one moment and endearing the next: last night, he sang one of the first songs he ever learned (he had it on vinyl, cassette, and CD, and it's currently on his iPod) which reminds him of his mom - "Somewhere Out There" from An American Tail (a huge "Awwww!" came from the audience within the first bar of music, I kid you not.)  After Adam, Barb Malley sang a lovely connection of Charlie Chaplin's "This is My Song" with "I Do Not Know a Day I Did Not Love You" (apparently she heard a bride and groom sing these songs to each other at their reception!).   Barb is planning a show in September, benefitting the Jackie Robinson Foundation and celebrating Brooklyn.

Next, Tony Imgrund brought the ballad "Not Like the Movies," written by current culture icon Katy Perry...a reminder that beautiful songs are still being written by pop stars, and to experience an artist's entire album (don't just buy the hit song on iTunes!).  Tony will be performing in a stage reading of the musical "All the World's a Stage" as the role of Orlando in Donna Stearns.  Then, the lovely Shana Farr sang a pre-1965 song: "Many a New Day" from Oklahoma with sass and spunk.  Then Maureen Taylor stood up at the microphone and sang "Gifts of Love," which was published after 1965 in the musical The Baker's Wife.  Stephanie Zagoran then brought in the first sing-along song, Paul Simon's "Feelin' Groovy," which inspired hums and "la da dee daa daah's" from the audience to accompany her choruses and verses.  I then had the honor of introducing co-M5'er Julie Reyburn, who sang James Taylor's "Enough to Be On Your Way" (off of his "Hour Glass" album) in honor of a number of friends she has lost in past months.

After that beautifully emotional musical offering, Mick Bleyer took over co-hosting duties and introduced Marnie Klar to the microphone - she sang her lovely version of Cindy Lauper's "Time After Time," once again instigating multi-harmony choruses from the audience to accompany her.  After Marnie, Dani Erin Rhodes introduced her experience with 8-Tracks: she remembers her friend owning one, only Dani misstook it for a video game player and thought that "Kiss Destroyer" was a new album.  However, once she learned what an 8-Track player was, she became eager to get one.  Dani then sang Crystal Gayle's "Don't It Make My Brown Eyes Blue" (and the answer was, yes, Dani, it did!).  After Dani, Richard Eisenberg sang his song "The First Time," which he definitely can say was written after 1965.  He revealed to Mick and audience members that he likes to write the music to his compositions first, then the lyrics.

Our Etceterettes were then up!   Jan Brennan did a belted, full-voiced Johnny Mercer song (arranged for Bette Midler and always on Jan's iPod), "Drinking Again."   Then Arianna stepped away from the opera-diva veil and surprised us all with Jefferson Airplane's "White Rabbit," a song which she learned in her youth to sing for her father.  Then Steve Schalchlin handed out music and invited members of the audience to sight-read backup vocals for his sweet, inspirational song "Every Day A New Amen." You can watch video of this performance here!  And Steve revealed that he writes lyrics first, then music!

We then had a unique and totally unexpected Classical Corner.  Unbeknownst to us, Mark Janas chose to open up his time to "auction off" requests from him and from Marquee Five to raise money for our Kickstarter fund.  Now, at the beginning of the evening, we had a little over $600 to go, but by this time we had checked our emails and were shocked to realize that we only had a little left to go due to some online backers suddenly coming out of the woodwork.  Mark called the bidding to start, and immediately the shout of "COPACABANA" rang out.  So, we ran up and sang this goofy, wonderful song from our show (arranged via who-knows-what-part-of Adam West Hemming's-brain).  Then, we had a shout out for "Frankie and Johnny," a song from Julie Reyburn's Feinstein's show.  She jumped up to the mic, pear martini in hand, and hilariously brought the song forth (with Mark playing piano from memory).  Then, a request for "Simon and Garfunkel," came out, and at that moment we realized that the Salon had come through for us; we added their donations to our online backers, and we unofficially had achieved our $15,000 CD fund goal! With lumps in our throats (sniiiiiif!) we sang "The Sounds of Simon and Garfunkel" and then took a break to thank our amazing Salon family.

Marquee Five returned to do our official 3-song set after the break, starting with "All That Jazz," the opening number from our 2010 MAC Award-Winning show "We Can Make It: The Songs of Kander & Ebb."  Vanessa then took a moment to reveal how The Salon itself was a huge part in introducing the members of Marquee Five together (Vanessa introduced Julie to Adam during an Algonquin-located Salon, and Vanessa introduced The Salon to me almost three years ago!...and Mick just naturally endeared himself to us later on).  With that, the three women of M5 sang our rendition of "Jolene" (in which the titular lady is painted as a much busier woman!).  Then, Marquee Five sang our mashup of  Leonard Cohen's "Bird on a Wire" and "Hallelujah" entitled "The Reverend Leonard Cohen," and dedicated to the mother of Producer Father Jeffrey Hamblin, Opal Pearl Hamblin, who would have been 96 that day (sniiiif sniiiif!).

Julie Reyburn then took over the co-hosting responsibilities for the rest of the second half.  Producer Tanya Moberly then brought in something special, truly special.  People might know that Tanya sang with Paul Vasquez in a duo called "Pickadilly Circus." Paul played guitar and sang, and apparently hated it when Tanya recorded him so she could practice singing at home.  Well, Paul passed away almost a year ago, but Tanya was still able to sing with Paul via her collection of rehearsal cassettes.  So, last night she brought Paul back into the Salon and sang to his taped guitar recording of a Jethro Tull trio of songs; "Cheap Day Return," "Mother Goose," and "Wondering Aloud" (sniiif sniiif sniiif!).

Joan Jaffe, funny lady extraordinaire, kept the heartfelt memories of yesteryear alive and sang "It's Not Easy Being Green" (another "awwwww!" arising from the audience), written in 1970 by Joe Raposo, who once was the assistant conductor to a show Joan Jaffe was in!  Joan is currently shooting a short film entitled "Keys, Wallet, Phone" by director/writer J. Ravine. can't really type in the actual spelling of the next song, but it was written by Tenacious D, transcribed by Adam West Hemming, and brought out of the karaoke world and into The Salon hilariously and fearlessly by Mick Bleyer...yes, I'm speaking of "**** Her Gently."  After that lovely song, Bill Zeffiro (who can be seen co-hosting at San Martin with Marissa Mulder each Tuesday night, 8-11pm) sang his witty "The Final Daze."  Bill's Houdini musical will be in one of the theater fests in October, and his play "The Backseat of the Lincoln" recently received great response.  We then heard Marissa Mulder, with Bill at the piano, sing "It's Nice to Go Travelin'" in sweet and sultry jazzy tones.  Her Jimmy van Heusen show will take place at the Metropolitan Room in June (4th, 8th, and 16th all at 9:30pm).

We then heard from a few encores and I experienced my fourth emotional moment of the night (sniiif sniiif sniiif sniiif) as Tony Imgrund brought in "The Role of a Lifetime" from bare, the musical I introduced him to via The Salon (and which he's had on repeat on his iPod for weeks now - I had to run up and hug him!).  After Tony, Shana Farr retuned to sing "Living in the Shadows" from the musical Victor/Victoria, and from her own Julie Andrew's show.  Shana is going her show in Missouri next month!  Then, Adam Shapiro whipped us towards the funny by singing "One More Minute" by Weird Al Yankovic (an artist Adam remembers collecting obsessively on cassette tape in his youth).  Then, Elaine St. George simply and honestly sang "Still Crazy After All These Years," recorded by Ray Charles, Richard Eisenberg sang his Clinton-era parody to "Officer Kruptke," and Barb Malley brought the beautiful ballad "It Amazes Me" recorded by Blossom Dearie, written by Cy Coleman (music) and Carolyn Leigh (lyrics).  Barb will perform on April 8th and 9th in a multi-cultural and ASL-infused version of "The Vagina Monologues" - contact her for details.  After Barb, our Door Etceterette, Arianna, belted through "Tell Me on a Sunday."  Marquee Five then performed two pieces from "8-Track Throwback":  Vanessa Parvin, with the rest of M5 doing a cappella backup, sang Joni Mitchell's "Case of You," and then we all sang "Ain't No Sunshine, Jack," our combination of "Hit The Road, Jack" and "Ain't No Sunshine."  That concluded this emotional and (for me) incredibly memorable evening. 

NEXT WEEK NO SALON!!!! A break will be taken for one week, but in TWO week's time, April 10th, the theme will be "It's a Country Thing" with co-host Roger Anthony Mapes! So bring your country songs, or songs from other countries, or things that remind you of the country (or big hats, or cowboy boots!).  See you then!

Marquee Five

-Sierra Rein
The Blogette for The Salon
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