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.


  1. what a nice story of how you met your friend because of blogging/sewing/acting/singing. I would feel so inadequate in that company. I can only carry tune if I have a large bucket to put it in. Much love to you and yours this season. Have a wonderful time doing everything you do.

    1. That bucket sentence has me rolling!!! And I would do my level best to make you feel nothing but welcome 😊. Love & good wishes to your world as well!

  2. Oona, of Oona,
    of kindred fuel,
    four growing collectively,
    whilst a stranger shoots pool.

    Soon you chirp,
    New Year's canary,
    On the cusp between,
    with time you parry.

    A smokey lounge,
    ensconced in hip,
    you burnish the space;
    let the pauses drip.

    Songs and places,
    both of old,
    life's leading edge,
    summons the bold.

    So know your way,
    put a hundred down,
    a message to listeners,
    from a self-made gown.

    You'll hijack their night,
    journey they must,
    never fall in love,
    the night ain't a bust.

    You'll leave them wanting,
    and wandering through,
    in their collective arms;
    a room loving you.

    So find your stance,
    as Ms. Warwick showed,
    sing from your reaches;
    footprints on this road.

    1. This is just. FABULOUS. I’m going to need to print your poems one day (spellcheck will be soundly thrashed).

  3. Oona, oh Oona (proofreading and spellcheck, not enough of one, way too much of the other)

  4. how I would love to be there, for your singing, your costumes and also because my husband is a big plus fan and still gives out about the concert he missed in Galway (Ireland where we live) years ago when they played here ...... if I was to go, I would wear my new embroidered skirt (which has still to be made). best of luck and best wishes for the holiday season

    1. I would have surely yelled over your embroidered skirt! Hopefully, there will be more...and who knows where we might jet to.....

  5. totally gonna pretend i'm at the gig, while staying home with baby, at the other part of the planet.. we've discovered the bad plus pretty much the same way, except the song was karma police.. pretty much all of my current music superheroes were discovered that way, we even have small (and also handmade) notebook next to our computer whose only purpose is to be filled with names of musicians or bands that made us pause what we're doing and listen.. would be totally awesome to be able to start bumping onto them in bars, but unfortunately it just isn't possible (and not only because we're living on wrong part of the planet for that to be possible, but also because i haven't set my foot in a bar in a very long time, as i'm being a full time milk factory, but i digress..).. so, as i said, gonna pretend i'm watching and enjoying your amazing gig, and if i manage to sew a dress for that occasion, gonna let you know what burda pattern i used to make it :*

    1. That book must be pretty amazing. Have you got Frank Ocean in it? Have you made your burda dress? Maybe one with a sequined removable breast cup for bebe.......

      I hope y’all had a LOVELY New Year’s, sis ❤️❤️❤️

  6. That's amazing. :) And now I have a new musician to check out! Wish I could be there to see you perform!

  7. BEST STORY EVER!! I smell the makings of a new pilot starring all these characters...ya never know.


i thankya truly for taking the time to comment, i love a good conversation-- and hope you know my thanks are always implied, if not always written!