Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Bending Threads: What is Commitment? A Cabaret

A few weeks ago, I took in another stellar modern cabaret show. This one was held at the Mainstage of the Broadway Comedy Club and presented by Theatre Arts Workshop, headed by Lisa Jordan, and Bending Threads, a dynamic cabaret act whose work has shined at a variety of New York City venues, like the Duplex. Bending Threads is comprised of Patrice Bell, Kareen Foster, Westley Todd Holiday and Rejinald Woods, with special guest artist Frank Holmes both guesting and filling in for Woods for their latest offering, "What Is Commitment? A Cabaret."

The latter question was open-ended enough to keep things interesting and also made my mind wonder a bit to queries such as "And Who Should Be Committed?" because I'm deep like that and perhaps also because there could indeed be a relationship between these two questions, based on the last couple of dates I've gone on...

The event itself segued through an extensive range of material, with the commitment theme threaded loosely through the tracks, many of which, in a nice twist, were covered by the students involved in Theatre Arts Workshop's training program, with the always expressive Holiday serving as the M.C. in addition to putting together the vocal arrangements.

Highlights included a version of Hawk Wolinski's "Ain't Nobody" sung with spunk and assurance by Trish Pennix, a duet of "Friendship" offered in a comedic spirit by Chloe Berger and Ola Stefankoswski, and the opening and closing numbers performed by the Bending Threads foursome, whose range of styles both complemented and contrasted with one another in their characteristically strong, rich manner.

While interpretations of the show's central theme can and do vary, the journey's the thing, and I look forward to my next installment...of the Bending Threads/Theatre Arts Workshop collaboration, I mean.

Till then, check out Bending Threads' YouTube channel here.

Wednesday, June 02, 2010


So, I walk into the shiny Manhattan office building today and see the same security dudes — who mostly hold elevators, or stare — that I’ve been seeing there for several years. But now one is blocking my path, telling me I need to show him my i.d. “Why? You know me, man,” I say, kidding but not kidding. He mumbles something. I show him my face on a card. We are all safer now.

So, I'm riding the subway in the now safest large city in America, where the murder rate is the lowest it's been since 1962, when they first started tracking the kills. A voice comes over the loudspeaker, admonishing me to hold onto my personal belongings. I know he loves me. And I know he's right: if we all mistrust one another, they'll never be another September 11 again.