Jenna's Two Cents Blog   

Monday, September 21, 2009

My Brush With a Beatle!

I love living in NYC! For all of the times that I get annoyed with subway problems, tourists clogging up the sidewalks, smelly garbage, overcrowded stores and other everyday nuisances, once in a while, there comes a moment so incredible, it makes it all worthwhile. Last night, I had just such a moment. Little did I know when I left my apartment last evening, heading to hear Tony DeSare at Bemelmans Bar, that I was going to meet a living legend, a piece of history, a man who has been one of the biggest influences on popular music EVER! Funny thing was, I almost didn't go! I'd spent nearly eight hours in a photo shoot for my forthcoming CD yesterday and I was utterly wiped out! However, I decided that going to a classy venue, having a glass of wine, and hearing some great music would be a perfect way to unwind, so off I went! I met my friend, Angela, at Bemelmans and we settled onto a banquette facing the music, ordered our cocktails, and relaxed! Our table was right by the entrance of the bar, and shortly into the second set (I believe it was during "Girl From Ipanema"), I noticed a VERY familiar profile coming into the room, along with his date. "No!" I thought to myself, "It can't be...." His back was to me at this point, but when he turned around to face me, it was unmistakable: I was looking directly at Sir Paul McCartney!! I nudged Angela and felt my heart start to pound. All of those nights of insisting to my parents that I needed to fall asleep listening to my Beatles tape, all of those hours of discovering album after album, of learning the harmonies and singing them with my dad, the two amazing concerts I'd seen Sir Paul play...all of those memories came flooding back as I gazed at the man standing in front of me, who, it seemed, had his eye on the table right next to mine! Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!!!!! As he slid into the banquette, right next to me, my leather jacket serving as the only barrier between us, I found that I couldn't even look at him! I didn't want to give off "crazy obsessed fan" vibes, and I knew that if I looked, I'd simply stare! I leaned over to Angela, though, and said, "Ok, before he leaves, I HAVE to talk to him. At some point this evening, I just have to!" A few minutes later, his date got up from the table, and Angela whispered to me, "Now might be a good time!" So, I leaned over to him and said, "I don't want to interrupt, but I just have to tell you what an honor it is to be sharing this bench with you!" And he chuckled and said, "Thank you!" So, then, I proceeded to tell him that, from the time I was 6 years old, I had to fall asleep to a Beatles tape every night, and that my dad had brought me up right! So, he said to thank my dad - no, congratulate my dad for him! I said, "I will...but I have to tell you, he'll be a little bit jealous," to which he replied, "Well, thank him for me!" Of course, after the fact, I realized that I still had my '60s hair and makeup done from my photo shoot and I was wearing a '60s-style short dress and high boots...Paul McCartney was probably thinking, "Wow, this poor obsessed girl...stuck in the '60s: a Beatles fanatic, retro hair makeup, and clothes...yikes!" Anyway, after my chat with Sir Paul, I turned around to face the band again, and I have to say, it was pretty cool to hear little "buh-buh-buh-bum"s as Sir Paul improvised along with the music! He and his date left after the set, but he did take a few minutes to talk to Tony on his way out and tell him that he enjoyed his music and his cool is that?!!! :)
So, that's brief, exciting "brush with a Beatle," which I will treasure for the rest of my life! Now, back to the day job...

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Happy September!

Hello All!
Apologies for slacking on the posts - it was a busy, busy summer! Vacation? What's that?!!
I spent the first portion of the summer working hard on my Connie Francis show, and the second half mixing the live recording of the show! We're SO close to being finished on the recording, which is very exciting! Our release date is set for November 3rd, and we'll be doing a special CD Release Party at the Metropolitan Room to celebrate!
In between the day job, the performing, and the mixing, I've also managed to squeeze in quite a few shows, which I've written about in my Broadway World column - you can read the latest article by clicking here. While I don't have time to write about all of the shows in this post, there are definitely a few that stand out in my mind - like seeing Connie Francis AND Frankie Valli sharing the bill at a FREE concert at Coney Island...unbelievable! Connie is just such a special performer...she has a vulnerability and raw emotional quality in her singing that just draws you in and embraces you. It's hard to put into words; it's more something you have to experience...and boy am I happy that I've had the opportunity to do so! Frankie Valli sounded incredible, and the "Four Seasons" (NOT the originals, but four terrifically talented young men!) were spot on with their harmonies and choreography. The crowd was huge - probably between 9,000 and 10,000 people, and everyone had an absolute blast!

Another standout for me was seeing Tony DeSare at Bemelmans Bar. I've seen Tony a number of times before and there's a reason I keep going back to see him - he's THAT good! He's got a smooth, jazzy, easy-to-listen-to voice, and his piano playing is amazing! He always puts on a classy, entertaining show, mixing in well-loved standards with his own compositions (many of which sound like they should be well-loved standards), and has an easygoing, understated charm that makes him a pleasure to watch and listen to.

Klea Blackhurst in Everything The Traffic Will Allow, her acclaimed tribute to Ethel Merman, was also another favorite of mine. I just saw the show a few weeks ago at the Snapple Theater Center (where the revival of The Fantasticks) is playing, and I'm still in awe. Klea is an amazingly gifted singer and actress, which, combined with the excellent material and entertaining anecdotes in this show, make for a quite remarkable evening.

What's coming up next for me, you ask? Well, I've got to stop writing in a minute or two so I can dash off to sing and chat on the Barry Z show, then I'm running downtown to catch KT Sullivan performing at the newest venue in town, Kathleen Downey's Granite Room, which is located under City Hall Restaurant.

That's all I've got time for right now, but check back for another update soon!