Young girl from Annheuser; no man could surprise her. Pabst took a chance, found her at her aunt's, now she is sadder Budweiser. Forgive me.
Every year it never fails,
Christmas makes you drag your tail
worry over what to gift
the ones you love, can’t give short shrift!
Music helps the shopping, fool
So play it, doll, for the coolest yule!!
It was a dark and stormy night...no, that’s not right! Actually, it was a sunny summer day when I finally decided to knuckle down to do a Christmas album. I had recorded “White Christmas” with Barry Manilow, on our tribute to Rosemary Clooney, and it reminded me of how much I love that music, and how much a part of American life those songs had become, even for this Jew.
I worked with Robbie Buchanan again (he had played keyboards in the band featured in “The Rose” and was my music director when I went on my only world tour), and we had a great time. He called in wonderful arrangers, including Jonathan Tunick, William Ross, and Patrick Williams, and we tried very hard to achieve a warm, familiar sound...the kind of sound that transports one to a much simpler time.
Working with Johnny Mathis was a thrill and a shock. He arrived in a big white fur coat, chewing gum, looking exactly as he has for the last 50 years! I looked older than him!! You can imagine how that white fur flew. And when he opened his mouth, it really was as though time had stood still; the same timbre, the same tone I remembered swooning to in 1955. The result is a medley of Winter Wonderland, and Let it Snow, which still gives me goosebumps. How does he do it?
Before I got the answer, he was out the door, and I had to tackle Mele Kalikimaka, a song from my childhood, and one of my favorite songs on this record. Jonathan Tunick’s wacky arrangement that suits the song down to the ground, and swings it into outer space.
Speaking of swing, the title track was inspired by the great Louis Armstrong, who cut the first version of the song. I have been a fan of all things Louis for years; I have even visited his museum/home in Corona, New York. The whole house is brilliant, but the turquoise kitchen is to die.
Looking back, a great time was had by all. Add to that a wonderfully silly video, a red feather hat, and some fake snow, and you have my offering for the season, and my best wishes for the coolest of Yules...
Laughing, crying—occasionally dying; I love to act! Once I even milked a cow and sang at the same time – a feat that required great sensitivity and impeccable rhythm. I’ve had hits and misses, and now after 40 years or so, I’ve finally returned to the stage in “I’ll Eat You Last,” a one-woman show about one of the great Hollywood characters, Sue Mengers.
Look what I dug up! Some old snapshots and things I never put in the scrapbook but always intended to. I haven’t seen these in years, and neither has anyone else. They are personal and have never been published. Hmmm, I wonder what else I’ll find in that storage unit? You know I never throw anything out…
If you’ve made it this far, you probably won’t be surprised to hear that my new motto is “Let’s get trash off the streets and back on stage where it belongs.” I grew up in Hawaii, but began my career in New York City. I founded New York Restoration Project in 1995 to clean and preserve green spaces in under-resourced neighborhoods located throughout the city.
Back in 1999, we purchased 52 community gardens that were in danger of being auctioned off by the city. A cartoon is worth a thousand words, so you can see Ward Sutton’s perfect encapsulation of that saga here. We currently have 27 gardens available for adoption. With all my heart, I want every one of these gardens to become a thriving patch of green for the community around it.
You can also help support us – and have a great meal – by dropping by the New Leaf Café in beautiful Fort Tryon Park.