Saturday, March 24, 2012

The Salon Wrap Up for March 18, 2012 - "Coping Mechanisms"

At the top of The Salon on Sunday night, we were greeted with the image of a blonde woman in high heels claiming "I am not Mark Janas." Producer Tanya Moberly took to the opening introduction reins, coping humorously with the fact that Mark Janas was out for the evening! She also coped by having the wonderful Matthew Martin Ward sit in at the piano all night, and coped even further by having the hilarious, gloriously-voiced Kenneth Gartman to co-host (who recently finished his debut show “Not Like The Other Cavemen” at Don't Tell Mama). Indeed, there was a lot of coping going on, as the theme was "Coping Mechanisms." And whether thru humor, tears, alcohol, or high sustained notes, we all pulled through the evening with flying colors!

Kenneth Gartman
Kenneth introduced the theme with the fervent "Someone Else's Skin" from the musical "Catch Me If You Can." Tanya was first introduced to Kenneth from the Tudor City Greens Concert series, and fell in love with his flawless tenor voice and presence (and we did that night as well). Next, Cathy Taylor (who finished a show at the Metropolitan Room last November and who is working on new material TBA) sang what she called "a bit of coping commentary and a little vocal nosh." This biting political parody was dedicated to the US Congress since, as Cathy herself put it, "the best way to cope is to do nothing at all." We then heard from funny Adam Shapiro, who brought in the full lyrics to "Where Everybody Knows Your Name," commonly known as the Theme from Cheers. Some of those lyrics were never heard by this crowd before, and it was glorious to sing along with the lyrics! Adam is excited to be a part of two upcoming Showcases - TONIGHT for Sue Matsuki's "People You Should Know Better...Comics in the House" version March 24th at Don't Tell Mama's, 6pm PLUS he's been asked to perform for Richard Eisenberg's showcase on May 6th, 1pm at the Laurie Beechman. Sally Darling was next in her Salon debut, singing the saucy "Madeira, M'Dear" our first alcoholic-related coping song of the evening. Her show "I'm a Stranger to Myself," will be at Don't Tell Mama with Matthew Martin Ward at the piano, May 6th at 5pm and May 11th at 7pm. We then added a SECOND master whistler to our Salon alumni - the fabulous Luc Vitry stepped to the mic to whistle "Non se piu cosa son, cora faccio" (I hope I typed that right) from Mozart's "Le Nozze di Figaro." He is preparing for the International Whistler's Convention in April, and coming to the Salon was his way of "coping" with his upcoming (and hopefully winning!) performance. Break lips, Luc!

Sally Darling
Luc Vitry
The always savvy Bobbie Horowitz then sang, performing her original "It Ain't Right," proving that it's not a good idea to double cross her! Her Slim, Strong, Sexy Seminar will take place tomorrow, March 25th from 1:30-3:30 at the Unity Center. We then heard spitfire Barb Malley, singing the ultimate Black Widow song (there's at least one way to cope within a marriage!) "To Keep My Love Alive." You can catch Barb on a commercial selling insurance, by the way. We then had a rare treat - Olga Slavine, a Russian classical pianist, sat at the keys and performed Mikhail Glinka's "Skylark," a beautiful, sweet and innocent song arranged as a full classical piece. Glinka was the father of Russian classical music, and it was an honor to hear one of his works performed so lovingly - this simple, folk-sy ballad was combined with bouts of amazingly complicated musical runs, which Olga effortlessly maneuvered. It was gorgeous! After Olga we heard Marnie Klar sing a Nick Levin original song, "At Last" (words by Nan Selle) with the composer at the piano. This song was the title song of Marcus Simeon's CD, and is now sung at weddings, to Nick's excitement. Next sung our own David Ballard, performing the heartwrenching "You Gotta Die Sometime," the "coping with death" song from "Falsettos." Then I (Sierra Rein) stepped up to sing "Thanks a Lot But No Thanks," a Comden/Green/Previn song about coping with COPIOUS amounts of attention by unwanted suitors...what's a girl to do?!
Olga Slavine, we had Susan Winter in our SALON SPOTLIGHT! Susan is a renowned singer and teacher and a MAC and Bistro award winner. She introduced her set with the thought that we all have to dream to cope with the world; she, as she confessed, is "a life-time dreamer." Her first song was "I'm Becoming My Mother," a funny song about the direct influence of our parents from the inside out. She's working on her new Mother's Day show, "If It's Not One Thing, It's Your Mother," and is currently crowdsourcing mother stories for her patter - if you have a good one, contact her! She then sang a beautiful combination of "Stop Time" and "If He Walked into My Life," about a mother's issues coping with how her son is growing up. She then closed her set with the hot "The Other Side of the Tracks," which brilliantly included a quote of "Some People" from "Gypsy" mixed in.

Susan Winter
Our Classical Corner, led by Matthew Martin Ward, centered around his involvement with the Isadora Duncan Dance Foundation, for which he's a pianist. Duncan invented her own vocabulary of dance to reflect the natural lines of the human body, danced barefoot, and even spent time prone on the floor during her dances. She also enjoyed choreographing to Chopin and Brahms. In playing these classical pieces for the Foundation, Matthew noted that dancer "made sense" to him - they breathe, phrase, and listen in the same way a singer or pianist relates to the music. The same "psychic muscle" that Matthew uses to play the piano seemed to be the same muscle Duncan used to dance. The subtext of the music was expressed much in the same way as an actor would. Matthew first played a Chopin Mazurka "Opus 33 No 3", which had an upbeat waltz, a little hop-step on the second beat. He also played Chopin's "Butterfly Etude," which he did not play at concert tempo - the big moments are meant to be filled for the dancer's sake, and to play for dancers is to allow their physical expressions to have their full moments. He ended with Liszt's "Opus 32, No 5", which Duncan choreographed to express the story of shots being fired into a crowd of striking workers. It was monotonous, claustrophobic, roiling, dark and feverish.

Classical Corner with Matthew
After the break, Kenneth Gartman stepped up to sing his co-host featured set. Kenneth has a beautiful and versatile tenor voice, and a musical-theater sensibility of acting through the lyric. He started his set out with "Cry," a crowd-pleasing 50's do-wop song. With apologies to Weight Watchers, Kenneth then sang "I Eat," an incredibly funny piece about eating to cope with the troubles of the world. He finished up by singing "Sam That's Okay," another uniquely funny song about coping, this time about finding solace in the self-help section of Barnes and Noble. One of the lyrics contained the phrase "stop 'should'-ing all over yourself," which I immediately wrote down as both hilarious and life-affirming. The entire audience quickly got the "That's Okay" chorus and rallied themselves to sing along with Kenneth.

Producer Tanya Moberly (hey, she's nominated for a MAC Award for The Salon!) took to the mic next, singing the unwavering "I Resolve." Sunny Leigh poignantly sang "Ten Cents a Dance" - her CD release performance of "Believe in Love" at the Triad (with Barry Levitt on piano and a great collection of band members) will take place tomorrow, March 25th at 3pm. Next, Richard Eisenberg (remember, his showcase will be on May 6th, 1pm, at the Laurie Beechman - further performers TBA) sang "It's Never Too Late," an original song of his that combined both his "cynicism and optimism" in one! We then heard from 2012 MAC Nominee Joan Jaffe, who sang "Too Old to Die Young." Joan is part of the filming of a documentary, hopefully to be released soon, and is excited for her MAC nomination of her most recent comedy show. Lou Iacovino performed next, singing the swinging "The Best is Yet to Come." Returning to The Salon was Scott Evan Davis, performing his original "More Than Just Sundays" at the piano, which was sung by baritone Joshua Dixon. Scott's CD, "Cautiously Optimistic," was conceived as a compilation of songs regarding acceptance, moving forward, and dealing with the issues and complications of life. He then sang "I Am" from the CD as a solo piece (you'll catch the opening and closing musical motif from this song on his website).

Sunny Leigh
Scott Evan Davis
With Ricky Ritzel at the piano, our next singer was Alison Nusbaum, who sang "Don't Cry For Me, Argentina." She is a 2012 MAC Nominee for her cabaret solo debut, and is debuting her new show, "Ladies: a Raucous Homage to Mel Brooks' Broads" at Don't Tell Mama on April 24 and 27 at 9:30 and April 30 at 7pm. If her performance of "Don't Cry For Me" (which I will not describe, as it would ruin the affect next time) has any inkling, I can only imagine the comedic brilliance to be discovered in her new show. After Alison, we welcomed Marnie Klar back to the mic to sing the powerful acceptance ballad, "Maybe I Like It This Way" from "Wild Party." With a tan and apparently a book full of photographs at home, Kevin McMullan returned to the Salon stage after a trip to India - he will actually take up residence there for half a year at a time, to teach music 3-5 months out of the year - such exciting news! He sang "Say That We're Sweethearts Again," a funny patter song sung by a man in denial about the state of his romance (never a good way to cope with a broken heart, believe me). Kenneth Gartman concluded the evening to sing "Blow Me," a comedy song that had the audiences in stitches with it's clever sexual imagery. Kenneth told us that he is working on a Fall show to celebrate his home state of Texas, the "state that won't go away" and should not be confused as a Southern state, he claimed. Looking forward to it, Kenneth! It was a great evening, and I hope everyone walked out feeling a bit better about themselves.

Kevin McMullan
Kenneth closes the night!
TOMORROW! The optional theme for the evening is “The Rat Pack”.   Our Co-Hosts will be the Multiple MAC and Bistro Award Winners Terese Genecco and Shaynee Rainbolt! Their most recent win is as a couple - a 2012 Bistro Award for their Russ Garcia 95th Birthday Show. They are also both nominated individually for 2012 MAC Awards. Shaynee and her Quartet will be performing on Friday, April 13th at Ashford and Simpson's Sugar Bar, 254 West 72nd St. NYC, 212-579-0222. Sets at 8 and 9:30pm. For more information: /

-Sierra Rein
Blogette for The Salon
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