April: Looking back, looking ahead

April was filled with travel and music, including a sunny week on the Baja in Mexico, filled with painterly sunsets and pizzas on the grill, weathered wooden doors in sleepy little towns, and morning tea in oversized Talavera mugs. It’s always restorative to soak up the sun for a few days, especially in early April, when one is thoroughly tired of winter (even a relatively mild one) but spring has not yet officially made her presence known.

Mexico…I think that’s a perfectly reasonable size for a margarita, don’t you?

Later in the month, I found myself in the verdant, misty Pacific Northwest with Duchess for some teaching and a few shows in Portland and Seattle. I spent my early twenties in Seattle, discovering the city and adulthood itself through waitressing, singing, and some ill-considered love affairs. Singing has brought me back to Seattle several times in recent years, and I’m always grateful to be able to (at last!) enjoy the memories and familiarity without carrying the weight of old, bad decisions and cringe-worthy moments.

I’ve been traveling pretty frequently, mostly for work, since December and it feels great to be at home for a while. Looking ahead, there’s much to do and the calendar has a way of filling up, for which I am thankful; my official performance schedule is fairly bare until mid-summer, but a number of private party gigs have materialized in recent weeks. I’m also putting the finishing touches on my new website (huzzah!) and firming up release plans for my new recording project, a piano/vocal collaboration with Ehud Asherie.

I am buying armloads of lilacs at every street corner flower stand that still carries them and waiting, with bated breath, for warmer temperatures and clearer skies.

In April, I…
Blogged about: February and March.

Read: In Altre Parole, by Jhumpa Lahiri. I’ve longed to recommence thinking and speaking in Italian, and since a return to la bella Italia isn’t on the horizon at present, I figured that reading in Italian would be a good place to start. I found Lahiri’s bilingual memoir of studying and writing in Italian to be circular and overly precious, but I loved the ritual of reading aloud in Italian every evening with an Italian/English dictionary at my side. I’ve got a couple of Italian-language books here at home, and the Brooklyn Public Library has a great foreign language section, so I’m looking forward to making this a new habit.

Watched: Z: The Beginning of Everything. Christina Ricci stars in this Amazon series about the early years of Zelda and F. Scott Fitzgerald. The clothes, music, and art direction are lots of fun, once you get past Ricci’s Southern accent. The New York Yankees! This team is on fire and I had a blast at my first game of the season. I can’t wait to go back.

Listened to: Louis Prima, The Wildest. God, what a fun record.


Here come the Yankees!

I grew up in a “baseball house.” As in, there was a pitching machine and batting cage in my backyard. My brother played Little League and American Legion ball as a kid and my father coached, as well. When March rolled around, we’d flee the frigid temperatures of Alaska for the scorching Arizona sun and MLB Spring Training.

In short, my jazz-and-theatre-loving Alaskan tuchis warmed up many a bleacher during my formative years. And despite my best efforts to appear disinterested and disengaged, I osmotically wound up with a fairly good understanding of the game of baseball. I’m no expert, by any means, but I know the basic rules of the game and have tremendous respect for all the strategy involved. Being at the ballpark just makes me feel good.

So it’s fitting that I am now living with a rabid Yankee fan, which I suppose is a redundancy; is there any other kind? I am known to grumble when he turns on the Yankee game the second he walks in the door, but the truth is, I like watching the games with him. And he always laughs in bemusement when a batter fouls one off and I shout things like, “Atta kid, atta kid, you got a piece of it, now just straighten it out. Straighten it out!” Then we clink our beer bottles and cheer on the Yankees.

I’ve been a New Yorker at heart forever, so it’s only natural that I’ve grown to love the Bronx Bombers. I mean, after every win at home, Yankee Stadium is filled with the sound of Frank Sinatra singing “New York, New York.” How could I not love the Yankees?

And so today, on the eve of Game 1 of the World Series, I leave you with a simple, heartfelt: Go Yankees! (See, Dad? You made me a baseball fan, after all.)

“Here Come the Yankees,” by Bob Bundin and Lou Stallman, recorded by the Sid Bass Orchestra and Chorus

Here come the YANKEES
Let’s get behind and cheer the YANKEES
They’re gonna learn to fear the YANKEES
Everyone knows they play to win, cause

They’re the New York YANKEES
Show them today why you’re the YANKEES
No other way when you’re the YANKEES
Wadda ya say we win a brand, new, ballgame

We’re gonna shout when ya powder the ball
We’re gonna scream, “put it over the wall”
The other teams gonna know what it means to play the Y.A.N.K.E.E.S
We love the Yankees
Shout it out loud , We Love The YANKEES
We’re really proud of our YANKEES
And we’re gonna win today
2, 3, 4, Hit, Run, Fight, Score, Go! Go! Go!