Playlists Commissioned for
While some only know me as a modern-day, old-fashioned songbird, I actually bring a keen multidisciplinary vision to all my work. I approach musical curation much like an assemblage artist. However, I use mostly forgotten “found” music from varied sources and genres to create cabaret shows, revues, site specific works and playlists that tell a unique, entirely new narrative. I envision each live or digital experience as an opportunity for theatrical and atmospheric storytelling that I liken to 'time traveling through song'. Stringing together disparate pieces, I find a thru-line in the lyrics to tell a succinct story that remains entertaining, compelling and relevant despite the typical 70+year old age of the source material.
In January 2020, when the pandemic was keeping us all indoors and the means of staying connected was still primarily via Zoom parties, my husband, Paul and I attended an online Cocktails in Historic Places event presented by the Art Deco Society of LA. Subsequently I was approached by the group President, Margot Gerber, who offered some opportunities for us to participate in creating programming for future events. Over the course of the year, Paul and I had a lot of fun creating music videos for several different online Art Deco LA events (which you can now enjoy on my website and on my YouTube channel).
Additionally, I proposed providing the Art Deco Society with thematic playlists, as a musical supplement to their already rich art, architecture, dance and fashion programming. The playlists I created were made as companion listening experiences, designed to enhance the evening, by setting the tone for specific Cocktails in Historic Places events and extending the experience for the Art Deco members after the Zoom call ended.
When making playlists, I try to tell a sequential story that flows from beginning to end. Most of the songs are from the period and I usually spend upwards of 12 to 20 hours searching for just the right material; it's like fitting together puzzle pieces, looking for a missing link. The songs are thematically specific to the scheduled event, the mood and the location. However, I also like to add a few surprises from contemporary artists who play in the genre, which means I might include a modern rendition of a song instead of the original recording, or a new song in the same vibe. Oftentimes, original recordings simply don’t exist and it provides the perfect opportunity to highlight my own music, as well as the music of some of my friends and contemporaries, who likewise are indie musicians dedicated to preserving the Great American Songbook, Tin Pan Alley and Early Jazz.
Below are the playlists I created for the Art Deco Society of Los Angeles. I have additional seasonal and thematic playlists available on my Spotify page.
To learn more about this fabulous preservation and social organization, visit ArtDecoLA.org
"The Thin Man" Ultimate Playlist
Music fit for a cocktail party with Nick & Nora + Asta in 1930s Manhattan.
I imagined what might be heard at a swank cocktail party in the Charles' Manhattan penthouse apartment. I featured songs that would have been popular with 1930s New York cabaret and cafe society, including songs by Cole Porter, Noel Coward, and other luminaries of the era. Of course, there are songs about drinking. I even tip a hat towards Asta. There's even a link to an online radio program of the Thin Man, for those who really want to indulge in all things Nick & Nora.
A Toast to the
Carthay Circle Theatre
A Musical Nod to the Song, Scores and Shows held in this former Grand Theatre.
In my research, I found many show programs for performances at the Carthay Circle Theatre. These usually listed the performers and their concert selections, but oftentimes the songs were never recorded by that particular artist, so I substituted either the song or the singer.
Other times, I included a more contemporary version of a song because despite its historical significance, there were no other options available. For example, I was astounded to learn that today no recordings of the original Porgy and Bess soundtrack remain because an African-American story wasn’t deemed important enough to archive. The tragic loss of this artistic work is yet another sign of the times’ racial inequity.
However, the greatest dilemma when creating this playlist was in choosing just which material to include from the theatre's four-decade history.
Jazz Age Paris Mix
for Expats & Artists
An Ode to the Artists & Expats, the Emotions & Energy of Paris in the 1920s -1930s.
Oh to live in Jazz Age Paris! The city was magnetic and vibrant, drawing artists and expats alike with it's promise of vitality and cheap living. It became a haven of hedonism and escapism for the Lost Generation, but also a crossroads for all of the greatest artists and thinkers of the era. I wondered, just what were people listening to in that city during that heady time? What music captures that energy?
The Art Deco LA event was an imagined bar crawl through some of the most celebrated venues of the time, highlighting the experiences of expats and International bar flies. This playlist takes it a step further; to encompass the whole of Paris. It's a whimsical reimagining of the music heard in and inspired by the city. As such, it reflects the richness of that uniquely creative climate with a diverse selection of songs and genres, including early jazz roots by black American musicians, such as James Reese Europe's WW1 era 369th US Infantry Harlem Hellfighters; French popular music favored by the working class; theatrical music that features Paris as it's muse, plus some experimental works inspired by the poetry of Jean Cocteau, Eric Satie and his disciples, Les Six.
Drive-in Double Feature
A Playlist of Traveling Tunes for wanderlusty movie fans. Motor down the highway, drive-in and take-off to the 1930s.
No passport required.
Though this playlist can be enjoyed at any time, it is good to know that it was initially designed as a bonus for patrons. The idea was to create a playlist that could set the tone for the attendee, as they listened to it en route to and from the actual event, which was held at a historic airfield in Orange County. It was estimated that for most people, the drive would take 1-2 hours roundtrip.
The "travel" starts at night as the listener is motoring to the Art Deco LA Drive-In movie show. From there, the narrative echoes the evening's films. First up is music from and inspired by “Flying Down to Rio”, which features Latin music sounds of the 1930s. Then I “switch reels” to “Love on the Run” and madcap adventures ensue, as the listener travels on a train, ocean liner and airplane to finally reach the continent. To wrap it up, I set the traveler back in the car for the commute home.