Women Who Rock Flyer

This past Thursday I organized and played in Women Who Rock, a show to benefit Empire State Pride Agenda through Drinking for a Change, my friend Peter Dunn’s organization which raises money for LGBT causes through hosting bar nights in NYC. Man, do I hate organizing shows, but luckily this one turned out great.

After a flurry of emails and months of stressing about it, Peter and I put together an evening of music hosted by my friend, soon-to-be theatrical/burlesque star Lady Killer, DJ’ed by DJ Ahomii, and featuring performances by Jené, Charlene Kaye, Anna Haas and me. As is the case with all show biz endeavors, everything seemed to be in a shambles one hour before the show was scheduled to start, but by 9:20 or so we had opened the doors, and our fantastic crowd was pouring in as the dance pop tunes blared over the sound system. Jené started things off with a bang with a short set that included a bit of a strip tease and some fierce belting, then Charlene Kaye kept it rockin’ with her fabulous band, then Anna Haas brought it home with her soulful belt and a wonderful cover of “Man in the Mirror” by Michael Jackson at the end of her set, during which Charlene and I picked up our mics and spontaneously joined in on the background vocals while getting the whole crowd dancing and singing along. That was a great moment!

Finally, it was my turn to take the stage. I was initially a bit sad that my backup dancers weren’t able to do this gig with me, but once I got there and was reminded of how teeny-tiny the stage is, I realized it was all for the best since there would have been no space for them to dance. Everything happens for a reason!

This show went so well. The crowd was perfect, they loved my stuff, and I had plenty of funny things to say in between songs. I remember at one point saying, because it was an LGBT charity fund raiser and most of the crowd was gay, “Listen. I LOVE gay people. One time I was at a gay guy’s birthday party and it was just me and a bunch of gay guys, and I kid you not, we ACTUALLY ended the party by spontaneously singing “Seasons of Love” from RENT, complete with all the proper harmonies, riffing and backup vocals. You know that would never happen at a straight party, and it was amazing. So, if you guys ever get tired of being gay, just, you know, take a breath and keep going, because you’re doing the right thing. Don’t stop being gay!” Everyone laughed a lot at that. At another point, after singing a few songs, I was so out of breath and sweaty and exhausted from the last few days of running myself into the ground, that I just sat down and was sort of laughing uncontrollably at the whole situation, and said, through laughs, “I feel like an old, overweight drag queen who’s trying to prove she’s still got it. I am so exhausted, hahahahha,” and I did that thing where performers feel out a moment with the audience and get them to the point where they have to spontaneously erupt into applause, which was just what happened. It was SO funny and awesome and I don’t know if anyone caught it on tape, but if they did, you can bet it will be on this blog pretty soon.

About halfway into the set, people started to really get up and dance to all my songs and it was so fun to get down on the dance floor and jump around and sing with them. They really got into “Everybody’s Crazy in New York” as always, and at the end of the set, people were clamoring to sign my email list, and I sold some CDs, so it was quite a fantastic evening.

If someone else will do all the legwork next time, we should do it again! 🙂

Yay!

I meant to write this chain of events down right when it happened, and then four days passed. Oops! But check this out:

1. Many weeks ago, I went to see my friend Anna Haas play a show at an event called Drinking for a Change.

2. At that show, I met one of the D4AC organizers, Peter Dunn.

3. I went to a Songwriters Hall of Fame networking meeting where I met a singer/songwriter/producer.

4. This singer/songwriter/producer was also in the Songwriters Hall of Fame New Writers Showcase at the Bitter End.

5. Peter Dunn hosts karaoke on Tuesday nights at Barracuda sometimes.

6. Peter invited me to do karaoke at Barracuda with him.

7. I went to Barracuda to do karaoke with Peter.

8. At Barracuda, I ran into the singer/songwriter/producer.

9. He introduced me to the owner of Barracuda, who had been to the Songwriters Hall of Fame show and loved my set.

10. THE OWNER OF BARRACUDA ASKED ME TO PERFORM AT BARRACUDA AND ELMO LOUNGE!!! These are both totally awesome gay venues. Who else came up in gay venues, you ask? Madonna, Bette Midler, Lady Gaga, the list goes on. VERY exciting.

11. At Barracuda, I sang my favorite song ever, “Show Me Love” by Robin S.

12. Mimi Imfurst, the host of karaoke that night, loves that song and all the 90’s songs I sang there.

13. I won the karaoke contest  and $100.

14. Mimi Imfurst asked me to sing with her on a future project she’s concocting, as well as BE HER SPECIAL GUEST this Sunday at Posh, where she wants me to sing “Show Me Love” and an original song of mine.

15. Posh is another fun gay club in Hell’s Kitchen, and I think this show is going to be REALLY fun and effective for expanding my fan base and proving that I can be a great entertainer for a gay club crowd, which will hopefully lead to more gigs and more fanbase expansion!

I’ve been wondering how and wanting to break into performing in gay clubs for a long time, and assuming that it would be really hard, when really, it’s just like anything else: once you’ve done the work to get good, it’s who you know. I did the Songwriters Hall of Fame showcase because I knew Peter Bliss. At the networking event and showcase, I met the singer/songwriter/producer. At Barracuda, he introduced me to the owner and I got to know Mimi Imfurst, who hooked me up with the show on Sunday. It’s also the old adage: 90% of life is showing up. If I hadn’t gone to Anna’s show or the networking event, I wouldn’t know Peter or the singer/songwriter/producer. If I hadn’t gone to karaoke, I wouldn’t have met the owner of Barracuda or Mimi Imfurst. Once I was there, all I had to do was be friendly and sing well, and from that I booked three gigs. Makes me wonder what the hell would happen if I went out to these kinds of things every single night! Maybe I should!

Also, I am VERY excited about the fact that the following chain of events also happened recently:

1. I went out with my dear friend Elijah to Sugarland in Brooklyn.

2. Sugarland is an AWESOME little gay club that is the perfect size, has a great crowd, plays great music, and has live performances on a little stage on the dancefloor that are very similar to what I do.

3. I asked someone how I get to perform there. He told me to talk to the bartender.

4. I talked to the bartender about what I do and asked how to perform there.

5. He booked me into the once-monthly showcase, Street Smart, on April 25th, from which he often culls acts for the dancefloor performances. If I impress him there, I’ll get to perform again at Sugarland!

So, the awesome news is that it seems if I just get out there and do what I do best (singing, performing, talking to people, chasing the opportunities I want), the results can be really amazing, easy and quick. Hoo. Ray.