Friday, March 21, 2014

a Coward Cornucopia

This is an event posted after the fact. But I am doubting anyone really had the time or resources to make the trip to NYC and catch the benefit event. It was last Weds. the 19th at the Laurie Beechman theater. I mention it because I think Noel Coward had a particular slant towards cabaret songs. Some came from theater pieces, others were topical songs of the day - most which never reached the influence of say Gershwin or Porter. But they are witty pieces nonetheless, many involving sprawling lyrics colored with character. I know I sang one recently in our showcase "Why Do the Wrong People Travel?" and it continued to gauge audience reaction near a century later.

The evening in New York is/was a benefit for the Mabel Mercer Foundation, devoted to fostering cabaret. And in true cabaret format it was a mix of historical bon-mots of Coward by lecturer David Garrad Lowe with musical interludes by a popular slate of artists like D.C. Anderson, Lauren Fox and others. Perhaps this is a different spin that TCCAN could put on our Showcase format in the future which remains relevant to our own cabaret work but puts it in the context of a specified arc for an evening of entertainment...

Thursday, March 20, 2014

the Divine Miss M

This posting has nothing to do with cabaret, but yet is everything a cabaret artist should be about. I am referring to Bette Midler of course. Her name has resurfaced again as of late with her memorable performance at the OSCARS and as a recommended feed on my Twitter account.

I am hoping that many of us have seen her on stage. She can take a whole arena circus show with mermaids in wheel chairs and make it seem like a private pool party in our own back yards. Her sense of connection is faultless to everyone in that auditorium. And her ability to get inside a song and make it uniquely hers is impeccable. And not only that - she can cross into ANY genre without missing a beat. A true showman.

But what I have come to admire about her even more as she "matures," is her sense of an artist being true to herself. As I shared with a few at out membership meeting she is not a manufactured celebrity. The stuff she spits out in a few words on Twitter is authentic and witty. Her website is the same; from her outlook on life with New Year's resolutions to features on girl power and in depth journals on the albums she has recorded. Old scanned photo pics and articles on greening up the planet. You never feel she is hawking a product, but sharing a passionate part of her life. Bumps bruises and all without apology. I hope many of you agree with me.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Let's Get Away

In all fairness to our members, since I gave a shout out to Dorothy last week, here is a feature for Barbara Meyer as she headlines the Jazz Central vocalist series this Thursday. She is collaborating with Liz Lupien and embarking on a musical travelogue with songs from the 20's, 30's and 40's. Those of us who know Barbara are prepared to expect the unpredictable. Her last outing at a salon had her with a hula hoop and ukelele performing an Austrian folk song. Not too many performers can master those skills at the same time. It promises to be an eclectic and welcoming evening.

Jazz Central - Thursday Mar. 20th
7:00 - 9:00
(no ticket price noted on the webpage)

Monday, March 10, 2014

Dorothy & Phil

A shout out for local members Dorothy Doring and Phil Mattson. Every once in a while they are lucky to collaborate on a project and this coming Thursday is another of those fortunate opportunities.

Jazz Central is offering a new calendar with Thursday nights featuring vocalists from around the Cities. Dorothy and Phil have this week on 3/13. Dorothy is able to adapt across many genres and styles of music. Phil can play along with anything. This week will showcase some of her jazz and blues repertoire. They recently collaborated on a beautiful Strayhorn/ Ellington disc and I am guessing we will hear a few of those cuts.

Jazz Central - 407 Central @ 7:00 PM (no charge noted on the website)

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Intro/ Outro workshop

A snapshot of our recent TCCAN workshop this past weekend. Our Education outreach has really been stepping it up a notch this year in terms of opportunities for our members to grab some great cabaret skills and utilize them in their performances. Much of this is due to the diligence of leader Vicky Mountain. In particular, her connections at the fabulous MacPhail Center where we have had some great meeting spaces complete with open windows, sound systems and great pianos on hand. It makes for a great setting and we are lucky to have it.

This one concerned the all-important time we have to collaborate with our accompanist, even if the time is short. A great lead-in can make or break your song. So it is important to know what you want, how to ask for it, and notate what you need in your music. The same can be said for your finish, it all needs to tie seamlessly from dialogue, to music, to lyric so that it delivers exactly what you want to your audience. Phil Mattson was on hand to share some of his expertise as 5 members tried out new and old pieces of their material. Vicky took great notes which will eventually be shared to all via the DropBox account.

I know that our calendar gets full with Salons, Showcases, meetings, committees et al. But remember that these monthly workshops are a great membership benefit as well. And also, for any of our network of fans out there - all workshops are open to anyone to attend as an observer if you wish to learn more about the process of bringing cabaret onto the stage.