Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Power of Two Concert Review

You know who is one of my very favorite guys?

Cheyenne Jackson. (I don't think I have ever mentioned it before on here.)

Not only is he one of Broadway's brightest young stars, but he's also one of the all-around greatest guys you'll ever meet. Who he is on the inside outshines his physical appearance by far...and that is saying a lot!

This month, Cheyenne and Michael Feinstein appeared together in a cabaret act called The Power of Two.

I was afraid I was going to have to miss this one, since the price of two tickets (I would have brought along my mom) was way (way way) out of my budget.

I was disappointed...especially after I read these fantastic reviews...





...and couldn't believe I had to miss it...

...but as luck would have it, I was able to go on Thursday night due to somebody else's generosity.

I was probably the youngest (and poorest!) person in that room. I realized a lot of people around me were most likely there for Michael Feinstein and not for Cheyenne...since I was hearing things like, "WHO is Michael singing with? I hear he played Elvis?"

(Sidenote...my parents were constantly playing Michael Feinstein albums when I was a kid.)

Cheyenne and Michael took the stage. Cheyenne's quite a bit taller than Michael (well, he's quite a bit taller than just about everybody) and they wore matching suits and joked around onstage like they had been friends forever.

One of my favorite moments was when Cheyenne talked about when he attended a dinner party at Michael's house and was telling a story and grew very animated...and ended-up breaking the chair he was sitting in.

Cheyenne: It was very old!
Michael: Yes, 18th Century France! (I think one of Cheyenne's greatest qualities is that he never tries to be something he's not, and isn't afraid to come-off a little silly, a little flighty. The way he is in concert and in interviews? That's who he is.)

Cheyenne sang "Don't Get Around Much Anymore"...and I'll say it was a close second to Harry Connick, Jr.'s version..."A close second to Harry Connick, Jr." is the ultimate compliment coming from me. Michael and Cheyenne did a snappy duet of "Me and My Shadow", made famous by Frank Sinatra and Sammy Davis.

And whey Cheyenne sang "A Foggy Day", I asked myself, "Buble??? Who's that?" Seriously. (Well...I also have that reaction whenever I listen to Peter Cincotti!)

They wrapped-up the show with another duet..."We Kiss in a Shadow" from The King and I. That song takes on a whole new meaning when sung by two men in 2009...and every bit as poignant and meaningful.

What a fantastic evening...I am so glad and grateful that I was able to go!

And, yes, I was also extremely, extremely proud of "my boy". That chorus boy I randomly began talking to in the park six years ago has officially emerged as a star. I always knew he had it in him...

Diana Rissetto

Monday, June 29, 2009

Great-Uncle Albert Wins for Funny Quote of the Weekend

Older Lady: Did you know (insert name)?

Great-Uncle Albert: No.

Older Lady: He died.

Great-Uncle Albert: Well, I'm glad I didn't know him, then!

I don't really care about what happens to celebrities....

...most of the time.

When Princess Diana died, I watched coverage for days and cried. (I was named after her.)

When John F. Kennedy, Jr. died, my father had just died two months earlier and I was still quite bruised...so, once again, I was glued to coverage and cried. (Plus, I'm one of those annoying girls that really love Jackie.) Seeing that young, handsome face all over the place and knowing this man was gone was just really, really sad. There are no other words for it. Just sad.

I can't even read about Michael Landon's last days without crying. He has always been my idol, and I feel an extra kinship with him and his family since my dad also died of cancer.

I thought the endless "Jon and Kate" coverage was nauseating, and people's reactions equally so. My coworker was reading-off her friends' Facebook statuses...all-upset over Jon and Kate's break-up. Who cares? You don't know these people, and for all those saying "those poor children"...YES, those poor children for having immature, money-hungry parents who are okay with sticking their kids in the spotlight...but, their parents are getting divorced. They still have both a mom and a dad who love them. They will be taken care of. It's not that tragic.

And then two celebrities die in the span of a few hours and I felt sad about both of them, despite that they weren't any Princess Diana or Michael Landon, in my eyes.

I can't handle anything cancer-related. I really can't. I have seen a lot of it in my lifetime and I'm pretty sure I'll lose it if I need to watch somebody else in my family waste away from another long, painful death. I know what cancer does, how it robs your physical and emotional self until there's nothing left. I know what it's like to pray for the end to come...and that's why I found myself crying all over the place as I watched a few minutes of the documentary on Farrah Fawcett. I'd cry like that for anybody. It's truly one of the worst things a family can go through, and my heart goes out to her family and friends. My closest uncle died in February after a five-year battle with cancer. I saw him just hours before he died, and I'm yet to shake those images of him, along with the last images of my dad, out of my head. I wish Farrah peace now that she is no longer confined to a sick body...a body is just a body after all, isn't it?

And then The King of Pop died.

I liked what John Mayer had to say about Michael Jackson's passing: I think we'll mourn his loss as well as the loss of ourselves as children listening to Thriller on the record player.

Thriller was a few years before my time. I was a baby when it was released, and connect any of those songs with just being very little. I connect those songs with early childhood...and I always hated when people sang "Dirty Diana" to me. My sister and older cousins would do it because they knew it annoyed me.

And even if he wasn't as physically sick as somebody suffering from cancer, he was definitely "sick" and I feel that he, too, is now at peace, something I don't think he ever found while he was on this earth.

Fly free, Captain Eo!

A beautiful tribute to Michael from Gavin Creel and the wonderful cast of Broadway's HAIR:


Diana Rissetto

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Hey, it's raining!!!!

Raining for days on end
Staying inside again
Making up lists
Of things to do
When the rain ends
The Children are restless
They played all their games
Again and again and again
If we knew anyone
We could call up a friend

But it's raining
Raining, raining, raining

The sheets are damp
And the towels won't dry
Why bother to take all the
Clothes in from the line
Cause tomorrow may be

On a summer vacation
Here by the ocean
Look in the attic
To see if you might
Find an old toy
Maybe a magazine
Maybe a mystery
Something to look at
Or something to read

Cause it's raining
Raining, raining, raining

The salt won't shake
And the cards won't play
Damned if we go
But damned if we stay
Cause tomorrow
May be raining

Raining for days on end
Staying inside again
Making up lists
Of things to do
When the rain ends
Oh, it's raining
Raining, raining, raining

Carly Simon

Friday, June 5, 2009

And on the topic of ugly people who act ugly...

...here is an absolutely beautiful person, inside AND out, one of my favorite guys in the world Cheyenne Jackson (I have mentioned him a few times before, I believe) and a rave review from The New York Times.

Awesome awesome AND awesome.

Cheyenne Jackson, left, performing with Michael Feinstein.

Article Tools Sponsored By
Published: June 3, 2009

That weepy Rodgers and Hammerstein chestnut “We Kiss in a Shadow” wasn’t conceived as a gay-rights anthem. But if you scan the lyrics in which clandestine lovers in “The King and I” yearn “for one smiling day to be free,” it might as well have been. And on Tuesday evening two male stars, Michael Feinstein and Cheyenne Jackson — gazing into each other’s eyes — turned it into a passionate, impeccably harmonized duet in their groundbreaking show “The Power of Two” at Feinstein’s at Loews Regency.
Skip to next paragraph

The latest on the arts, coverage of live events, critical reviews, multimedia extravaganzas and much more. Join the discussion.

* More Arts News

Mr. Feinstein, the dedicated, 52-year-old custodian of the classic American songbook, and Mr. Jackson, the 33-year-old star of “Xanadu” and “All Shook Up,” are not lovers; each has another partner. But as they joined voices in a show that takes its title from a song by the Indigo Girls, they made vows of love and friendship exchanged by men seem “as normal as blueberry pie,” to quote another Hammerstein lyric.

As he usually does in his shows, Mr. Feinstein dug out a fascinating obscurity, “The Time Has Come,” by Marshall Barer and Mickey Leonard. Written after the Stonewall riot, the Latin-flavored coming-out song, Mr. Feinstein said, exalts “the right to heed a different drum.”

Vocally he and Mr. Jackson made an excellent match, with Mr. Feinstein sometimes acting as a Bing Crosby-like figure to Mr. Jackson’s Frank Sinatra in the movie “High Society.” But elsewhere Mr. Feinstein became a Sinatra-like leader of an imaginary gay Rat Pack, in which Mr. Jackson’s distant resemblance to Elvis Presley (who idolized Dean Martin) suggested a cleaned-up Martin-like crony to Mr. Feinstein’s Ol’ Blue Eyes. Both singers, however, are the antithesis of the boozy Las Vegas cutups that are part of the Rat Pack image. Mr. Jackson embodies the ’50s ideal of a clean-cut all-American male pinup: a composite of Rock Hudson and Tab Hunter.

Mr. Feinstein hasn’t forsaken the aggressive Sinatra-inspired style of his last album, “The Sinatra Project.” His strongest solos during a show in which he and Mr. Jackson took turns singing, were punchy renditions of “So in Love” (arranged by the pianist John Oddo for the six-member band as a hard-edged beguine) and “I’m Gonna Sit Right Down and Write Myself a Letter.” Mr. Jackson, a Broadway swinger with a gleaming timbre and stamina to burn, imparted the full force of his top notes to “Old Devil Moon” and “Don’t Get Around Much Anymore.”

How long ago was it that Mr. Feinstein, singing Gershwin, changed “The Man I Love” to “The Girl I Love”? That was last century.

“The Power of Two” continues through June 27 at Feinstein’s at Loews Regency, 540 Park Avenue, at 61st Street; (212) 339-4095).

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Ugly is as Ugly Does

My (very wise) father used to say, "You can't trust really ugly people. They always have a grudge against the world."

(If you knew my father, you would definitely laugh and say, "Yup, that sounds like something that he would say.")

Who is really ugly, though? How many people fit into that category of "really ugly"?

I don't think many at all...and if they are in that category, they put themselves there and it is their own fault.

For the most part, I don't consider myself a shallow person.

Aside from teeth, I really don't care about appearances very much...(yes, I have been known to look at less-than-stellar teeth and cringe inside a bit. I can't help it, and I'm being very honest in admitting it.)

The other day, my friend was telling me a story from our high school days...I had never heard this story, but I was able to very easily imagine it happening the way she told it.

One girl threatened another...who had reported her younger sister to the teachr for cheating on science class assignments...telling her, "You eff with my sister, you eff with me. Don't eff with me." while her trusty sidekick stood next to her and echoed, "Don't eff with her."

The two bullies walked-off, and the other girl burst into tears...as most 14-year-old girls would do.

To comfort her, another girl at the lunch table said, "Don't get upset...they're really really ugly. They are angry at the world."

While my friend was remembering this story, she laughed and said, "It's so mean...but I think it's true!"

I tried to remember the "really really ugly girls" that were "angry at the world." While I can't remember much about their facial features, I do remember constant unhappy looks on their faces. I remember them not being very nice to anybody. I don't remember them smiling. Ever. (Unless it was a sarcastic smirk to go with a nasty comment.)

What came first...a very ugly person, or a grudge against the world? Personally,I think having a grudge against the world is what makes somebody ugly.

I can't think of a single happy, pleasant, funny person who I would classify as ugly...nobody who takes care of themselves, is clean and well-groomed enough, smiles easily and carries themselves well can ever be ugly.

As I said in a previous entry, I think Adrien Brody is dreamy. Adrien Body...skinny and gawky with his Gonzo-like nose and too-small face...is dreamy! My favorite scene of The Pianist is the very end, when he is once again sitting at his piano and turns around to a friend entering the room and gives him a big smile. The entire film is summed-up in this beautiful, heartbreaking smile.

Yes, I know Adrien was just playing a character and isn't really a piano player who escaped the Nazis...but I don't think anybody with the ability to smile like that could ever be ugly!

My father was right (as he probably was about almost everything.)

Very ugly people DO always have a grudge against the world...but the choice to be ugly? All yours.

Diana Rissetto

Monday, June 1, 2009

When I get really annoyed...

...at a person, I say, "I hope he (usually he, that is) falls into a lake!"

I have no idea WHERE I got that expression from or whey I started saying it.

In fact, I even Googled "I hope he falls into a lake" and it doesn't seem like anybody else ever uses that exclamation.

Maybe I say it because it doesn't sound too harsh...I'm not wishing death or serious injury on anybody...I just want them to fall into a lake...ruin your shoes...catch a cold...not too bad.

And still, it is just so oddly satisfying to say.


Try it.

Diana Rissetto