Merry maker Thomas Lauderdale (the blonde), China Forbes (to right) and band shake up NYC
The queue stood three blocks long outside Town Hall, NYC, last week with people scramming for tickets for cult music sensation, Pink Martini, loved throughout Europe, in arts circles, and in from hometown Portland, Oregon. The band– led by platinum composer pianist Thomas Lauderdale and singer, the saucy China Forbes — and a full orchestra including cellos, harp, trumpet, trombone (and the other night, Paper Magazine co-founder, Kim Hastreiter on triangle) surprised us all.
Forbes emoted sultry Latin beats, samba and French torch songs (many originally composed by Lauderdale); others included a Turkish song, to quote Lauderdale “sung by the great late Eartha Kitt.” The group brought several unexpected guest on stage. Alba Clemente, wife of painter Francesco Clemente, sang a Neopolitan song that she co-wrote. She cha cha’ed on stage with a sultry Fifties’ movie star panache in a fitted blue gown perfectly bobbed hair. Lauderdale told the story of how she insisted on flying to Portland to work on the tune with an entourage that included Eighties’ club king, Joey Arias, and Warhol superstar, Paige Powell—both were in the audience cheering. I was especially excited to see Emilio Delgado– Luis from Sesame Street– strumming Spanish guitar and singing. The Sesame Street website lists him as “the first human addition to the cast.” Rock it, Luis!
Meanwhile Pink Martini has just released a new album called “Splendor in the Grass,” featuring Delgado, legendary Mexican singer Chavela Vargas, NPR’s Ari Shapiro, and Courtney Taylor-Taylor of the Dandy Warhols. It really is like swimming in a neon hued cocktail, deep within a golden age Hollywood dreamscape. For a sample of the romance: For a sample of the romance: NINNANANNA
Pink Martini… aesthetic vintage va va voom