Thursday, February 23, 2012

The Salon Wrap Up for February 19, 2012 "Enough With This Love Sh*t! Songs About Anything But."

The Salon was bubbling with energy, perhaps due to the nearly 50 degree weather we had on this lovely Sunday. But perhaps it was due to the sunny and sardonic personalities of our co-hosts, Mary Liz Mcnamara and MAC & Bistro Award Winner Ritt Henn! Ritt & Mary Liz will be performing TAKE THAT! Tunes by Mcnamara & Henn on Thursday, February 23rd at 9pm at The University Glee Club’s “Afterglow” at The New York Society for Ethical Culture, 2 West 64th St, NYC. But, before that, they were HERE hosting The Salon!

Mary Liz and Ritt kicked off the evening with their song, “An Opening Number.” (No really, that’s what it’s called.)
Co-Host Ritt Henn
Co-host Mary Liz Mcnamara
Marya Zimmet sang a fresh and gorgeous version of the popular song, “Bye Bye Blackbird”, while Ritt plucked along on his bass with Mark ably accompanying on piano. Marya has a show coming up at Don’t Tell Mama on March 7 (7pm) and March 11 (5pm.) Elaine St George sang a lively and smooth version of “Swanee River Rock” which she says is related to her “evil ex who’s from the south.” (I’ll take her word for it.) Elaine has a show coming up in June - “Take Me As I Am: Joni Mitchell (and others) on Relationships” With her amazing arrangements and interpretation, I can’t wait to see what Elaine does with these songs!

Elaine St George
Stephanie Zagorin, lovely lady in red, was next with “A Flower is a Lonesome Thing.” Susan Hodgson amused us about all kinds of foods, including BACON! BACON, BACON BACON in a song called (wait for it), “Bacon.” The song was written by our own Mary Liz Mcnamara, and I believe won the 2004 MAC Award for best song (thanks to Stephen Hanks, for the info!) Susan has a show, “On The Bumpy Road to Love,” coming up on February 25 at 3pm at Don’t Tell Mama’s, directed by Peter Napolitano and musical direction by Barry Levitt. Tickets are only $5!

Barb Malley started off by telling us a charming story about counseling her grand-niece about love, which despite being against the theme, warmed our hearts. She then charmed us further with Barbra Streisand’s “Evergreen.” Barb is doing her cabaret show all over Queens and Brooklyn after touring through Manhattan. We’re so thrilled to have her here week after week.

Barb Malley
Composer and lyricist Nicholas Levin invited Candice Oden to the stage to sing one of his tunes, “Who You Really Are.” Candice joked that she felt immense pressure being asked to sing a composer’s work -- she came through with flying colors. Nicholas should be thrilled to have paired such an exciting and touching song with this powerful singer. Bravo and brava!

David Ballard sang one of our favorites, “Way Ahead of My Time” by Peter Mills. David is still in the BMI Workshop and continues to write clever lyrics with other young musicians. Erin Cronicanyour blogette, sang “How Long”, another song from Peter Mills. Erin (that’s me!) is starring as Masha in an upcoming production of Three Sisters with The Seeing Place Theater March 9-25 here in NYC. (The translation is done by Irish playwright, Brian Friel, which promises a funnier, more modern version of this classic Chekhov play.) Tickets are only $12, so you have no reason to not to go out to see it! Liz told a story about a show she did called, “Three Sisters, the Club Act” - where Masha had a long red wig and sang a rap song (!) about being aloof and adulterous. Hopefully Erin’s show will be just as funny!
Nicholas Levin
Adam Shapiro sang the haunting and heart warming “Disneyland” from the musical, Smile. Adam is The Salon’s very first male Etceterette. We think he did an amazing job, testosterone aside. :) Our Salon Spotlight tonight was Amy Engelhardt! Amy spent 13 years writing, recording and touring with the Grammy-nominated vocal quartet, The Bobs. Her solo album, Not Gonna Be Pretty, garnered multiple Just Plain Folks Award nominations (“The Grassroots Grammys” – LA Times). Amy is the recipient of MAC’s 2011 Dottie Burman Award for Songwriting and is thrilled to be back in New York after a long stint “from behind the orange curtain” (aka Los Angeles.)

Amy’s first song was “Dateline: Alaska,” and she was accompanied by Ritt on the bass. Her second song was the track entitled “Like Me” from a solo album she released in 2008 called, “Not Going To Be Pretty.” Her last piece was a “holiday” song called, “How Did This Thing...” saying that holiday songs can be sung at any time (after all “Christmas can be in your heart.”) Actually, she said, the song was about family - Jesus’ family. With a line like, “How Did This Thing Get In Me” we don’t care what kind of song it is -- we thought it was hilarious!

Classical Corner

For this week’s Classical Corner, Mark Janas asked Ritt to join him on the stage and they both “flew by the seat of their pants” - classical improv! Mark started with a refrain that everyone would recognize - this week it was “Painted Black” by The Rolling Stones -- and they riffed on it for a good 10 minutes. First, Ritt would back Mark’s piano on the bass. Then Ritt took over and created a melody with Mark providing backing chords. This went back and forth as they ebbed and flowed together through different melodic lines, themes, and genres of music… still using that same basic refrain from The Stones. It’s one of the more incredible things I’ve witnessed at The Salon. Seriously, aside from the feeling of family and the talent that The Salon attracts, Classical Corner is a standout attraction in New York cabaret!
The Salon Host, Mark Janas
Second Set

Our fearless co-hosts, Ritt & Mary Liz bounced back to the stage for the send set of the evening. Now, I’ve spent a bunch of time trying to find a way to recap their banter… it’s really difficult. They lay on the jokes faster than I can type, and I can type VERY quickly!

Their first song of their 3 song set was “Speak of the Devil” with Mary Liz at the piano, and Ritt on vocals and bass. For song two -- “Sometime I’m Gonna Fall” -- Mary Liz moved to bass and Ritt to the… ukelele? Um, just so you could see what it looks like to have a wee lass playing a large standing bass and a VERY tall man with a miniature instrument -- a photo:

Co-hosts Mary Liz Mcnamara and Ritt Henn
For the final song of their set, Mary Liz was back at the piano and Ritt on bass for “The Monkey Song” complete with primate calls. I have seen a lot cabaret acts, and this is one that is absolutely unstoppable and unmatched in our community. We’re so lucky to have them with us… seriously.

Salon Producer, Tanya Moberly, brought us, “Out of Habit,” a Ani DiFranco song that she did NOT sing in her recent, acclaimed cabaret show. Instead of promoting her own show, she promoted The Salon’s next “Salon Presents” show, which is happening Monday night! Carolann Sanita is our next performer in our series, “The Salon Presents” - she has two amazing shows scheduled for February 20, one at 7pm and the next at 9:30pm right here at Etc Etc. For reservations, please contact (The 7pm show is sold out, so shoot for the 9:30pm show!)

Louisa Poster brought up the timeless Jerome Kern song, “Look For The Silver Lining.” She’s in the longest running show Off-Off Broadway, First in Line, by Israel Horowitz. Mary Liz asked her if she had any stories about bad love. Louisa simply said, “His name was Bud, and he was married.” Lawrence Florek came to the stage best with his rendition of “On A Wonderful Day Like Today” with some fun and imaginative accompaniment by Mark (he sure know’s how to bring some personality out of a traditional chart!) Lawrence has been studying cabaret for a time, and has a show that he’s putting together! We sure hope he brings some of his songs into future Salons.

Lawrence Florek
Lou Iacovino was next with the charming, “Let Me Try Again” After the song, Mary Liz and he riffed for about 4 minutes about love, loss, and religious people on boats. Joan Jaffe sang an ode to America’s hometown, “Queens.” (Wait, what?) This week, Joan will be shooting the film, “One For You” and is finishing up on the documentary, “Steps Beyond.” So exciting to see Salon members doing work in other parts of the industry!

Joan Jaffe
Candice Oden came back to the stage with her own song with her signature tune (or, at least that’s what I call it) “The Time Around” by Frank Wildhorn. Richard Eisenberg sang, “The Grand Old Game”, a song about the duplicity of the political system. Richie is putting together a show of his works. Dates are TBD - you’ll hear about here first! Erin Cronican (me!) was invited back to the mic to premiere a Nicholas Levin original, “I Deserve Better” - I was honored to be able to bring this to The Salon (thank you, Nick!)

Candice Oden
Marissa Mulder blew us away with her sultry and “Money Tree.” As Ritt chit-chatted with Marissa after her song, she quipped, “This is a great conversation, but can I plug my show?” Marissa is doing her MetroStar winning show at Metropolitan Room called Illusions, March 7-10pm at 7pm with musical direction by Salon board member Bill Zeffiro and direction by previous Salon co-host, Karen Oberlin.

Todd Monroe, with Mark Janas on piano and Ritt Henn on bass, brought in “All You Get From Love Is A Love Song.” It’s been a while since Todd came to the Salon - we’re very glad to have him back with us. Marnie Klar sang the amazing pop ballad, “Ghost of a Dog.” Marnie had a show in late 2011 - we’re hoping that she brings a show to us again soon!

Father Jeff Hamblin, Salon benefactor and great friend of the arts community, was next with a lovely, “I’ll Never Fall In Love.” Melissa Heche came up (with Bill Zeffiro on the keys) with the timeless and sassy, “Proud Mary.” Did you know she was an audiologist? You learn something new every day! Kathleen France was next with her deep, throaty alto, armed with charts for both Mark and Ritt, with the song “King of the Road.” We love it when this talented lady comes to Salon!

Kathleen France
Dawn Derow, with guitar in hand, charmed us with “Ode to Cape Cod” from her show (backed by Kathleen France on vocals). Tonight Dawn recorded her show so it can be released on CD - all or part of the show will be posted on YouTube, with an album in the works - we’ll post links in future blogs as they become available! After accompanying several lovely ladies this evening, Bill Zeffiro came to the piano with his tune, “The Final Daze.” Bill says that this is one of the older tunes in his repertoire, related to a certain marriage that failed. Kind of appropriate for this theme. We’re sorry for your pain, Bill, but are thrilled for the creativity it yielded!

Marissa Mulder

In a rare treat, Bill Zeffiro brought back Marissa Mulder to the stage with an original tune that was born at The Salon in late 2011, called, “My Kind of Guy.” (written by Mr. Zeffiro.) Co-hosts Mary Liz and Ritt were came back for one final number (no, so sad!) with their quintessential closing number (which I got the pleasure of hearing at the Urban Stages Winter Rhythms festival) -- “Being Here With You Is Worth 20 Bucks”.” They riled the audience into singing and clapping along as they swayed their candles and cell phones in the air. What an amazing end of an amazing evening!

Co-hosts Mary Liz Mcnamara and Ritt Henn


RETURNING MARCH 4: The optional theme for the evening is “City Life.” Bring along any song that talks about cities, towns, crowds, dirt, noise or pest infestations. We also welcome songs that are off-theme. (Be sure to bring a second option, in case your song has already been reserved.)

Our Co-Host will be Corinna Sowers-Adler.
Our Salon Spotlight will feature Tom Vaughn.

-Erin Cronican
Blogette for The Salon
URL’s I missed? Names misspelled? Please email me.

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