I was thrilled a couple of weeks ago when a show business pal posted on my Facebook page that he had just received the June/July "Pride" issue of The Advocate magazine in the mail and, while thumbing through the pages, he had stumbled upon my picture and a short shout-out about my shows at The Iridium Jazz Club in NYC. I quickly picked up a copy, cut out my blurb from page 58, pasted it on the cover and posted it on Facebook. Since then, I've heard from friends around the world who subscribe to The Advocate and the response has been pretty amazing. I'm even hearing from my straight friends, some of whom I haven't been in touch with since high school, via Facebook and email with good wishes and congratulations. It's always nice to get a little pat on the back and a "good on ya" from your friends and acquaintances, especially among the gay community. To be celebrated by anyone at all makes it worth all of the effort but I wonder... What have I actually accomplished? The magazine says that one of the reasons to have pride in 2013 is because "we've got staying power." Does that mean that gay people have more endurance than heterosexual people? Am I just being belligerent and unrelenting? Should my show at The Iridium really now be in its fifth year because it's a great show or because I refuse to give up and throw in the towel?
I've always loved a good fight. I got it from my Mother. When I was 8 years old, I wanted to participate in the Punt, Pass, and Kick competition with the local boys. They let me compete - and I should have won a ribbon (my punt was particularly spectacular) but only boys were allowed official entry. I was crushed and confused but my Mom wasn't. She sent me to the car and when she arrived there a few minutes later, she handed me my score card and a blue ribbon. A couple of years later, when I was playing catcher in little league baseball (one of only 2 girls in the entire league) an asshole umpire asked me if I was wearing a cup. I wasn't, of course, because there was nothing to put IN a cup so I was benched because I didn't have on the proper safety equipment for the position. My Mom was livid. The next day, we went to the sporting goods store and bought a cup and a jock strap and fit it onto the middle of my back where my Mother said it would do just as much good as it would on any other part of my body. The next time the umpire asked if I was wearing a cup, I said yes and the game went on as scheduled. I'm sure he was enraged every time he looked at the hump in the middle of my back as I took pitches from my teammate and threw guys out who were trying to steal second base!
So, when people told me that doing a show featuring classic pop and swing songs from The Great American Songbook in a world class jazz club in the heart of the Times Square theater district in the city that doesn't sleep with an 8-piece band of amazing musicians would be too expensive to produce and that no one would want to see it... well, I felt a trip to the sporting goods store coming on! And thanks to a visionary producer (ScoBar Entertainment) we've built a monthly attraction that is regularly bringing in tourists, locals, and repeat attenders! I think we have developed into a supremely entertaining night of live music and comedy where anything can happen and usually does. So I really do hope that the gay community who is just finding out about us via this great blurb in The Advocate will give us a try. Holding the record for the longest-running major engagement for a cabaret act on Broadway doesn't mean all that much in the greater scheme of things but who else is doing it? And the fact that I'm gay really doesn't have anything to do with what kind of music I make with my amazing 8-piece band but perhaps it does have something to do with my tenacity and unwillingness to give up without a fight. I'm determined to keep the old Rat Pack vibe alive while adding my own personal flare to the proceedings. If Frank Sinatra had had a little butch dyke kid sister who could sing and swing, do you think he would have put her in his act in 1962? You never know. He was quite progressive and inclusive and certainly fought for civil rights for his black friends in the entertainment business. I like to think he would have been a champion of gay rights as well. Gay or straight, we do put on a swinging show that has a little something in it for everyone. Come hang out with us at The Iridium on July 30th for shows #97 & 98 and on August 27th for shows #99 & 100! I shall prove my tenacity...at least through this summer... and I promise you a fabulous night out on the town in one of the greatest cities on earth! Happy Ring-a-Ding-Ding, everybody!