A Blogger Walks Into A Bar....

Or, what are you doing New Year’s Eve?

Before I revealed my secret identity as an actress, this space was all about stitching. No one in the sewing world really knew what we were doing jetting from NY to lalaland, or why random strangers who had nothing to do with a sewing meetup were asking for pictures on the street, or why I was suddenly popping up on a tv screen, left on for background noise whilst setting in a sleeve. And on the flip side, people in “the business” had no idea I sewed, until I screamed THANKS I MADE IT when complimented on an outfit at work. And they certainly had no idea I had a blogging alter ego.  

But in this particular case, I had the surreal situation of making a friend, through blogging, who was in the music business, who had no idea this sewist was also a singer.

We first heard Ethan Iverson play the piano through a tiny, tinny TV speaker in a little LA tree house apartment. The cable TV “jazz radio” station had started off with the ubiquitous “Take Five,” swinging us from Coltrane, to Davis, then suddenly to the quiet opening notes of “Everybody Wants to Rule the World.” Rob and I slowly turned from our books and fabrics to the TV screen, in confused recognition, as the intro settled into a transcendent Tears For Fears cover, with Ethan’s piano as voice.

This was The Bad Plus. We immediately sought out everything they did, including all the live concerts we could make. I never said we’d been introduced to the catalog of their music on cable TV *out loud*—which at the time was akin to saying I'm a coffee afficianado, and then giving the name of your favorite Nespresso pod when asked which bean you drink. (Mine was Ristretto.) But we find so much music through streaming devices now, it seems completely normal. (And I’ve since graduated to fancy small batch indie coffee, SMELL ME.)

We started to become familiar faces at concerts. Then Ethan found us, through the blog. Through a post about the public appearance of thongs in airports, to be precise, in which our opinions were 100% sympatico. One evening in NY at Smalls, during a particularly awesome birthday week, he stopped at our bar stools between sets. I know you, he said. You’re oonaballoona

YES I AM, I grinned back, practically falling off my stool onto Rob’s lap, who was coolly shaking hands and exchanging actual names. Of course I shoved the Marcy part under the rug, I mean, I had just missed one of the few concerts they had done with a vocalist, because I was in the middle of shooting a David E Kelley pilot and starring in ”In The Heights” on Broadway, but more importantly, I MADE MY DRESS.

We met and fell immediately in love with his mate, Sarah Deming, author and Golden Gloves champion among her myriad talents. The four of us multi-hyphenated folk—author/pugilist/sommelier, writer/musician/composer, writer/actor/saucemaker, and sewist/secret identity, grew into the sort of Great Good Friends you cook for, and stitch for; friends that you watch all the important episodes of Buffy the Vampire Slayer with, friends that you eventually let your secret identities out with. The sort of friends you plan imaginary vacations with, and spend real New Years Eves’ with. 

We’ve been happy audience members at the annual Village Vanguard concert for years now, Sarah and I bedecked in oonaballoona originals, Rob in a handmade tie, Ethan bringing down the house.  This year, Ethan’s stepped out on his own, continuing his constellation of fantastic collaborations with jazz greats and mentors, writing, composing, creating, and basically exploding. And this New Year’s Eve, our musical paths converge, as I’ll be sharing the stage with him at the Zinc Bar (a stage where Billie Holiday sang while Sinatra watched from the audience. No pressure.)

Two sets begin with The Ethan Iverson Trio, Vinnie Sperrazza on drums and Corcoran Holt on bass, then I’ll totter on out in a handmade gown for a set of songs you likely know well— the music of Burt Bacharach, Hal David, and Dionne Warwick. And yes, I’ll wear a different dress for each set. Never pass up an opportunity for a costume change. NEVER

If you’re in town, I hope you’ll join us.  And let me know if you do, and let me know what pattern you’re wearing, because when you think about it...sewing is the thread that got us here.