My post-Commencement break is wrapping up, and on Tuesday I’ll start teaching a course or two for our first summer term. At this point, course #2 has no enrollees, but we’ll see if anyone signs up by or on Tuesday. In the meantime…
Mrs. M and I made a rare appearance on the Mondoville social scene, as we went to the town’s newest watering hole, Bar Figaro, to see one of her coworkers do some lounge singing. I’ll admit that I was also checking it out as a potential venue for the Berries, but that didn’t take long — it’s far too classy for my snarly 60s-style band.
The place is gorgeous, occupying one of the older buildings in our historic downtown, and they’ve done a lovely job of refurbishing it — lots of wood and exposed brick, with a dark-stained ceiling. There are two rooms; the barroom proper and the performance space, which has a stage that could easily accommodate a largish jazz combo (Medium Band?), and a lovely grand piano at the room’s opposite end. The room’s centerpiece (literally and figuratively), however, is an enormous stained-glass dome — imagine an 18-ft. Tiffany lampshade — that hangs from the ceiling, directly above where we sat with some other of Mrs. M’s coworkers at a large table. The dome also turns that space into something of a whispering gallery, with voices across the table occasionally popping into my right ear.
I thought the performance itself was interesting and professional; Mrs. M’s friend alternated sets with an older gentleman whose name snuck past me, but who was an almost archetypal lounge singer — silver hair, off-white dinner jacket with red carnation, black tie and vest, creamy baritone. In the first of his sets, he was working the Sinatra chapter of the Great American Songbook, doing “That’s Life” and “My Way”, among others. The “band” was a computer, run through the P.A., and the singers were able to dial up the songs from an iPad. In a sense, it struck me as almost like karaoke, but the singers were pro-quality and performed with assurance. Then it was Tracy (Mrs. Moore’s friend) ‘s turn on stage. She told me later that she hadn’t done a gig like this in a few years, but apparently it was like riding a bike. She has a lovely, warm alto, which served her well on numbers like Adele’s “Someone Like You.” Also to her credit, Tracy eschewed the sort of diva cadenzas and melismatic fireworks that so many singers deploy in lieu of understanding the song; no American Idol blight here.
She did a fine job, and then it was back to the guy, who “loosened things up” a bit, doing “My Girl”, “Under the Boardwalk”, and “Sweet Caroline”, even working the crowd to sing along on the choruses. I nursed my bottle of Coca-Cola (imported from Mexico, with real sugar), and then Tracy came back up, opening the set with a respectful take on Janis’s version of “Me and Bobby McGee.” I told her later that I’d love to hear her try Janis’s arrangement of “Summertime” — maybe next time. There was another Adele tune — the theme to Skyfall — and a few other numbers (including “Whiter Shade of Pale”! — I kept hearing Barrie Wilson’s fills in my head, though not on the track.) and then the guy came onstage and they did a couple of duets before he took over again. At that point it was near midnight, and as we didn’t want to risk turning into pumpkins, Mrs. M and I called it a night after telling Tracy what a nice job she had done. A pleasant evening, even if the place was a little more posh than I’m used to.
Thanks to a large band-aid, I got back on the treadmill yesterday after a week’s worth of healing and did a couple of miles. I had been getting kind of antsy, so it was nice to do it again. We’ll see how I fit it with my teaching sked, but I managed last summer, so here’s hoping.
Meanwhile, Heather O’Brien — a former student I’ve mentioned before, who now works in the college library with the Spawn — is in the process of having a baby as I type, and we expect to welcome baby Dean to the world in fairly short order. Good luck to Heather, Jimmy, and Dean!
And as it turns out, if matters proceed on schedule, young Dean will share a birthday with Vincent Price, who was born 106 years ago today. Therefore, since I like to wrap these things up with music, here’s a little reminder that Mr. Price did rock and roll before his appearance on “Thriller.”
Enjoy your weekend!