I'm counting down the last few days until I start my new full time job so I've been trying to take advantage of the free time. Today, I did 3 things I've been meaning to do for a while. First off, I took the bus downtown to check out the Essex Street Market. It's an indoor market with a bunch of different food vendors that's been there since 1940, and was a place to put all the pushcart vendors that were crowding the streets on the Lower East Side. Today it caters mostly to an Hispanic clientele, but there are a couple of old time Jewish-y butchers and a few lovely cheese shops too. I was tempted to buy some fish because the prices were good, but I wasn't going home yet, and didn't think carting around a bag of fillets were such a good idea.
Next stop was Russ & Daughters for their Super Heeb sandwich. I had read about this concoction in Time Out New York and have been dying to try it ever since. It's a combination of whitefish/salmon salad, horseradish cream cheese, and wasabi-infused caviar, all on a bagel. Whah. So good.
The last stop wasn't actually a stop. Starting several months ago, the MTA has been allowing people to ride the 6 train downtown to the last stop, Brooklyn Bridge, and remain on the train as it turns around to make it's way back uptown. The cool thing is that it uses the old, abandoned City Hall station as the turnaround route. The station has been closed for decades and I've always wanted to see it. I sat in the train as the conductor said, "Brooklyn Bridge, last stop. Next stop, Brooklyn Bridge." I peered out the window as the train made the turn and I could see the dimly lit "City Hall" mosaic on the walls, under a blue mosaic arch design. It was a pretty quick trip - the station is really short, which is one of the reasons it's no longer in use - and less than a minute later we were back on the uptown side. But my itch was scratched.
There was nothing left to do but get off at Union Square, sit in the park, and eat my delicious Super Heeb. L'haim!
It's Bulletproof - March 4, 2008
My extremely talented friend, Dan Azarian, conceived of and directed this awesome spot for a new makeup company called Bulletproof Airbrush Makeup. He combines live action and computer graphics in a way that creates this cool new world. And that's my voice in the beginning, sounding all computerized.
Jon and I just back from Fairfield, CT after an afternoon gig at Las Vetas. I've got to say - I really like playing during the day. It feels just kind of friendly and low key. We played for 2 hours, alternating songs, to an audience of teenagers looking cool and nonchalant, tapping along on their cell phones, and parents letting their children stare mesmerized at the musicians, moving instinctively to the music. And most amazingly, we neither got stuck in stand-still traffic, nor stuck in a torrential downpour, two common occurrences during our trips to CT. In fact, the sunset coming home looked like a Turner painting, and Dvorack's New World Symphony serenaded us along I-95.
the other little italy - February 24, 2008
I spent the day in the Bronx's Little Italy - Arthur Avenue in the Belmont section. I went with a group of girlfriends I've known since I was a kid. We went to Dominick's for lunch. No menus - the waiter just tells you what they've got in the kitchen. We started with stuffed artichokes as big as my head, overflowing with sausage breadcrumbs, sitting in a pool of fragrant liquid that begged to be sopped up with the crusty bread. Next up were two big entre platters - penne with broccoli rabe and veal roast. The penne was spiked with delicious garlic and the broccoli rabe was crunchy and bitter. The veal was prepared as a rollade with some kind of meat stuffing in the middle that was unrecognizable but tasty nonetheless. We washed it all down with red house wine served in small water glasses, just like in the old country. We capped the day off with coffee and pastries at a bakery around the corner - creamy eclairs and Napoleons. And, of course, a couple of chocolate-covered canolli to take home.
Another TV pilot - February 4, 2008
This morning I met a film crew at Macy's in Herald Square to shoot a pilot for an online program for WE TV called "She Got Game." Here's the premise: stylish, personable host walks up to an unsuspecting shopper and offers to pay for her purchases if she can answer a bunch of trivia questions about fashion and pop culture. I was the unsuspecting shopper - which is funny, because I'm the ANTI-shopper - I hate shopping and only do it when I absolutely have to. So, I'm standing there with a pair of jeans and a couple of shirts that I picked off the racks, and stylish host comes over with his offer and I get SO EXCITED! That's ACTING! He asked me a couple of trivia questions: What celebrity doesn't have her own line of clothes? Mary-Kate Olsen, Beyonce Knowles, or Oprah Winfrey! Got it! Oprah! Yay! I win the jeans! Cue the requisite excitement. Next question - Beyonce Knowles' fashion line is called House of...? I honestly have no idea. B? I ask. Good guess, but no cigar - or in this case, no shirt. It was Dereon, named after Beyonce's grandmother. No kidding.
Of course, this was just the pilot, so I didn't actually win anything. But if they shoot the show for real, they said they'd call me and I could actually win something. I'll let you know. In the meantime, my burgeoning action career progresses...
There's this great music site called Pandora. It streams music to your computer based on artists you've already told it you like. So, say you like, I don't know, uh, Elisa Peimer. You can put that in and get lots of other artists who sound like Elisa Peimer. What's cool for me is they don't take every submission. I've been trying to get my music into Pandora for a while, and they just added the new album. And there are already people listening to it! So I'm psyched. You can try it with a bunch of artists - it's fun. I've already plugged in my Jellyfish radio station for my power pop music needs.
apparently, I was on TV - January 10, 2008
It seems as though Cinematherapy, the program I taped this past fall for the WE Network, aired on TV and I didn't even know it! A friend of mine told me she was changing channels the other day and suddenly saw me being interviewed about Forrest Gump. Yup, that was it. I'm trying to see if it's airing again, but if any of you have seen it, let me know! What's the point of taping a TV program if you never get to see it?
Or just something close. Or maybe not that close. Either way, my song "Set To Fly" did make it onto the American Idol Underground Folk Charts (I'm a little bit folk, a little bit rock 'n' roll...) debuting at #5. The chart is here, and you can listen to the song and comment to your heart's desire.
If there's one thing that makes me sit in front of the computer, or open a magazine, and moan in delight, it's beautifully shot pictures of food. Here's one of my favorites, Smitten Kitchen. I don't know this person, but she takes some of the most delicious photos I've seen. The front page is all cookies now. Yum, baby.
Dan Fogelberg died yesterday. As I have a long history of being uncool, I'm not afraid to say that this makes me very sad. I've been a fan of his since high school, and I regret that I never had the chance to see him perform live. Dan might have epitimized the soft rock genre that was never particularly hip, but I always found his voice beautiful and his songs catchy and moving. "Same Old Lang Syne" still makes me cry every time I hear it. And I have one of those crystal clear memories of sitting in the hall in high school one very early morning, with the sun streaming in the windows outside the school radio station, and Dan's record "Longer" drifting out of the station door. I was just listening to his songs a few weeks ago. Take another listen yourself.
A poet in the family - December 8, 2007
My sister's husband is a poet. I guess we both have in common the ability to write short lines of text. It works out well for both us.
His name is Jeff Croteau, and he's just published a book of his poety called Oranges. It's published by Penhallow Press and he's doing a reading this Tuesday the 11th in Portsmouth, New Hampshire at RiverRun Books. Jeff's collection is of love poems, each with something to say about oranges as well. And who doesn't love oranges?
New Pull of the Moon review - December 2, 2007
Indie-Music.com just posted a fabulous review of Pull of the Moon! Writer Catherine Tully says, "Lovely. Both the faster and slower tracks on the CD are well done, but it is the softer, silkier ones that really showcase this singer's skill for relating to the listener. Good stuff." The whole review is available here.
Here's a secret... - November 30, 2007
I really love show tunes. I love listening to Broadway cast albums and singing along at the top of my voice. So, it was with delight that I got to join my friend, vocalist Susan Gregory, at the Duplex last night for an evening of show tunes and '70's and '80's pop songs. In case you don't know it, the Duplex is one of those piano bars in the West Village with a piano player who knows every standard number in the book, and a staff and clientele who have no qualms about grabbing the mike and belting one out. And, after a couple of drinks, the whole SRO crowd was belting along too. Good times, good times.
That's right, folks! Now, for a limited time, my catalog albums - "Transparent,""Shed This Skin," and "EP," - are on sale at CD Baby for the low, low price of $5 each when you purchase all three albums together. That's pennies per song! We're practically GIVING them all away! All you need to do is put all 3 albums in your shopping cart. It will look like you're paying the regular price, but when you check out, the CD Baby fairy will reprice the albums at $5 each, for a total of only $15.
And the new album, "Pull of the Moon," is still only $11, and we'll give you a 20% discount if you buy more than one. Why shop anywhere else???
I have officially made it - November 12, 2007
This is possibly the cutest, most complimentary thing I've ever seen. My friend Brian's kids, Priva and Yitzchak, singing along with my "Living in a Bubble." This is up there with my greatest musical moments, ever.
Oh, say can you see - November 11, 2007
The National Anthem was great last night. We got to the TD Banknorth Arena at around 6:20pm, and I got to warm up for a couple of minutes in the Women's Locker Room. Then they led me to the rink, where I waited at the side as the hockey players were introduced and skating onto the ice. A red carpet led from the side to the center of the rink, and when they announced my name, I took the mike and walked down the carpet, turning to the flag.
It's funny - I know in the back of my mind that the announcer is introducing me and giving the (rather large) audience some background info on me, and the only thing going through my head is one note, "mmmm, mmmm..." The D note on my pitch pipe that I listen to moments before I walked out there, and the key to a successful Anthem performance. It's not really a hard song to sing - it's just got a pretty substantial range, and if you don't start on the right note you could find youself screwed later in the song by either starting too high or too low. But I can't blow the pipe immediately before I start, so I have to remember the note by humming it continuously until I begin to sing. So, basically I hear the guy stop talking and I start the song. Going through my brain - "don't forget the words, just relax, enjoy the performance..." A minute later it's over, I walk off, and then watch hockey players slam into each other for the next hour, until we took off for the gig at Jitters.
A long, but fun, night.
And a quick question for my video-savvy readers - I have a HUGE mpeg video of the performance that I want to post here, but I don't have the software to make it smaller and edit it down a bit. Is there any basic free software than can do this? Suggestions are welcome!
I actually said, it's too bad my performance at Quinnipiac is so soon - I won't have time to book a gig in Connecticut while I'm out there. Lo and behold, Jitters Coffee House in Southington, CT just emailed to ask if Jon and I could come out tomorrow night to replace a last minute cancellation. Since we'll be about 20 minutes away in Hamden for the ice hockey National Anthem gig, we said yes! So, if you're in the Hamden/Southington area, come on by and say hello!
Goal! - November 7, 2007
I'm about to add a new sport to my National Anthem roster - ice hockey! My friends at Quinnipiac University in Hamden, CT have invited me back to sing at their men's hockey game this Saturday, Nov. 10 at 7pm. Apparently, they roll out a red carpet onto the ice for me to step out on the rink and sing. Pretty cool.