I got to Keri Kelsey’s open mic at The Gardenia late and was called up to the mic right after Karen Hernandez, Dori Amarillio, Michael Saucier did such a kick-ass, jazz instrumental session, that I didn’t want to get off my bar stool, personally, thinking that the evening could have ended perfectly right then.
However, I did get up…
On that bar stool I had a few ideas of what song I’d sing, but changed my mind on the fly on my walk over to the piano with my iPad, quickly searching for and selecting another song, only to change it once again after I put my electronic tablet down in front of Mike Farrell who was back at the piano. He is one of Hollywood’s go-to pianists for many of the singing or music-based TV shows…and has played with/for many well-known bands and singers.
Although I really didn’t want to get up, once the music started and I started singing, it truly felt awesome, at the very least it was a selfish joy to sing with such talented, world-class musicians playing behind me.
– Quiche Out
One For My Baby by Johnny Mercer & Harold Arlen
Tom Kiesche at Keri Kelsey’s open mic.
1/16/2018 The Gardenia – Hollywood, CA
with world-class musicians
Mike Farrell – piano
Dori Amarillio – guitar
Michael Saucier – stand up bass
That was an adventure! Tech’ week for Hollywood Premiere Party (the show), cue to cue, dress rehearsal, opening with audience, opening for press… EXHAUSTING. Each night portraying super star Chaz Dearbourne. Each night brought its own challenges. Each night brough its own energy. Each night taught me a little more about myself, Chaz, other characters, performance focus, and most importantly interactions with others in life.
The show is really a party, just a party… a chance for people to mingle at a premiere party for a fake film called “Love & Waffles.” Things go wrong. Things go right. Some are planned, some really are issues. HOWEVER, like in life, it just keeps going. Life keeps going. Some guests chose to engage, some ticket holders chose to avoid. Some people play along hard, adopting a character for themselves and some remain too cool for school. Some interact from moment go, while some bury themselves in their phone. Some come in wide-eyed and open, some come in tight-lipped and closed. Some are joyful, some dance, some wear bitterness.
Now… let me ask you, isn’t that true in life and at any party?
The brilliant thing about it is, it’s simply a choice. It really is. Especially inside this particular venue. This coming from someone who has been referred to as an Eeyore by many friends over the years… but really we can choose our own path at any second. What’s really cool about this show, from my perspective, is that it’s like a carnival of liars. I often don’t know who and when someone is bullshitting me, if they are what they say they are… and inside the venue it doesn’t matter. Some times it’s obvious. Maybe he really does work for PBS. Maybe she does write for Enterainment Tonight. Maybe she did write songs for Prince. But there’s no way they produced a movie called “Belgium Waffles” spoken in Flemish. Who cares… I’ll run with it. I’ll play your game.
Chaz isn’t Tom and Tom isn’t Chaz. I turn my phone off and leave Tom in the dressing room before each show, and say good-bye to Chaz at the end of the night, leaving him and the improvised lies inside the venue. There is a lot I’m learning from playing hard each night, wearing the shoes of another person, living in a world of a much higher status. Committing to being a cocky bullshitter who plays the game as good as anyone.
My friend Deirdre, who I have done duet shows with, chose to be cutting an album of popular loved Monogolian songs with Chaz (or something like that). My girlfriend, Feona chose to be Chaz’s catsitter. My friend Rebekah chose to be one of Chaz’s trainers. My actual entertainment lawyer, Ivy chose to be Chaz’s lawyer. My friend Tim chose to be a bitter actor who was in acting school with Chaz, who secretly dissed Chaz behind his back. My friend Randy chose to have done a film with Chaz in the past. My friend Jeanette chose to be the casting director for the fake slate of Chaz films called Steel Spinter. It’s all good. Other friends chose to meet Chaz in person for the first time. So much changes from night to night. Sunday I got fake interviewed last night by a few people wanting to know more about the fake movie. Friday there was a ton of fake flirting and Chaz was sending his helicopter limo over to pick a few of them up the next day. It’s all good, as long as its harmless.
I took the challenge on because I believed I would learn from the experience. That it would uncomfortable. That it could be terrifying. And after only a few shows, it has already enlightened some areas where I can make honest improvements in my personal life, professional life, and overall happiness. Everyone is the lead in their own play. At any one time, you are the supporting, extra, or lead character in someone else’s life. Life happens in three hundred and sixty degrees. Nothing is so important to everyone. Nothing can’t be missed. Say hello even more frequently. Find more compliments about more people. Look at ways to improve someone else’s moment. Don’t take so much so personally.
Really it’s just a festival, life… we constantly choose how or if we want to play.
– Quiche Out
I’ve posted previously about the show, details, and discounts. If you want on the info train, to be in the know about whatever… please feel free to subscribe for future posts, or scroll back a few for past.
Address: 7066 Santa Monica Blvd, West Hollywood, California 90038
Time: The Gardenia opens for dinner at 7PM, show time is 9PM.
Dinner reservations are recommended: 323-467-7444
(Walk ins are welcome, but the Gardenia only guarantees seats for dinner reservations)
Cost: $15.00 (+ $10 min, 2 Drink or Food)
Deirdre Moncy & Tom Kiesche bring their spin, creativity, humor, voices, and “The Golden Age” of Broadway (1950s) to the Gardenia, for one special night, with the handsome and talented, Michael Collum laying down audio delight, with the baby grand.
An entertaining blend of show tunes you know, songs you may have misplaced, few you may have never heard, and some you never heard done quite the way Deirdre & Tom will sing them. The 50s premiered some of the best shows ever written: “Sound Of Music,” “Gypsy,” “Guys & Dolls,” and many, many more…
D&T started their music collaboration way back in ‘14, and have enjoyed singing a variety of styles together, amusing audiences in venues all around SoCal.
She’s, a graduate of The Musicians Institute College of Contemporary Music, has been performing in clubs and festivals in Los Angeles and across The U.S.A. and Canada as a solo artist, as well as numerous collaborative projects. She co-produced and judged the 3 year run of the live hit Hollywood show ‘Cabaret Idol’, an LA Weekly’s* ‘Must See/Pick of the Weekly’. She originally hails from wickedly awesome Boston.
For more: DeirdreMoncy.com
He has an eclectic background of both school and training, has appeared in dozens of TV shows, commercials, plays & films… is a published novelist, poet, produced playwright, and a screenwriter. As a singer, he became internationally known through a web series of his own entitled Closet Singer. He hails, originally from Jersey, born in Hackensack, and growing up off Rt 80, exit 34B.
Last night, talking with a friend, I offered a technique that has helped me last as long as I have in the Show Biz world of frustrations, rejections, broken promises, shattered dreams, fluff, bullshit, fake people, built up false hopes, unreturned phone calls, feelings of disrespect, not getting parts, people passing on my scripts, people letting me down, good auditions that didn’t result in jobs, and bad auditions that felt like they crushed my soul…
Now, whether or not I developed this technique on my own, or I borrowed, learned, stole, or adapted some part of it from one, or a variety of classes I took, books I read, or series of various cassette tapes I listened to during my years selling pharmaceuticals or during my early acting days, I don’t know, I only know that twenty plus years ago, it greatly helped me move beyond things that were in my past, both recent and distant, and help me create tools to “let go” easier.
As silly as this may sound, and as ridiculous & insane as I may have looked doing it walking down sidewalks in Manhattan, I can remember the exact street I was on when I first tried this technique. I was dressed in cool weather clothes, walking in the sun, on the South side of 23rd Street, slogging Westward, towards 5th, the Flat Iron Building & Madison Square Park. I can’t remember what rejection, acting job, or phone call that I wasn’t getting that I was obsessing over… But it was just one more broken dream piled on top of a huge stack of NOs that were weighing me down, and I was at a point of bending back the breaking point, from feelings of heartbreak, being punched in the metaphorical guts, and perceived defeats…
At that very instant it hit me, I decided I would give myself one solid minute to obsess about whatever I was obsessing over, and for one, exact, timed, sixty seconds, I would allow myself every permission, every ugly thought, every crazy fantasy, delusional drama, crude curse word, everything I could think of that had anything to do with whatever one particular thought I couldn’t let go of. For one minute I could curse out the people involved, blissfully consider how my life would change if the phone rang, dream of who would be on the other end, how stupid a particular person was for not choosing me or calling, how much of a victim of circumstance I had been… Whatever… No rules… No censorship… No apologies… Anything that came to my mind was permitted and encouraged… And all this as I was walking in full view of the passing public… At the same time I forced myself to tense EVERY SINGLE MUSCLE I COULD, as those thoughts flew through my mind, holding on to everything that surrounded that obsession, as tight as I could.
When the minute passed, and my body and mind had both been worked, once again I’d look at the watch on my wrist… I gave myself 30 seconds to let everything go, before I made myself DO IT ALL AGAIN. However, this time it would be for half the amount of time… After 30 seconds, I had to tense my muscles up again, gripping and holding, for 30 seconds, once again thinking of every single thing I was obsessing about, with that one particular issue I was stuck on… I could repeat things that came up during the 60 second silent rant, explore ideas and thoughts further, rant on things I discovered in the 30 break, mention things I forgot in the 60, or come up with new crap that just popped into my head in the moment.
At the end of those 30 tense nutty moments, I gave myself another short period to relax… But after about 30 seconds, I’d split the time again, giving myself only 15 seconds, tense up, grip, hold, after getting clear and specific on what I wanted to obsess over. Another short break, 30 seconds or so, I’d split the time again, 7 seconds, to hold on to and obsess over… By the time you get to 3 seconds you only have time for one thought while tensed up… And at one second it’s pretty much only a singular feeling that you’re able to obsess over and let go of.
I loved the results so much that I used it many times afterwards, and still, to this day, though I’m able to move past things much quicker, and I’ve found other techniques, I occasionally find myself employing a mutated version of the gripping obsessing technique. And if there has ever been a singular issue I wasn’t able to move past by using the TIMED TENSION method, I would simply repeat it, starting back at one minute, and again, each time splitting the time in half, till I got back down to 1 second.
I don’t know if I’ve ever shared this publicly before, and perhaps you’ll find my silly, simple technique hilarious or worthless… But if it helps even one of you get over one singular thing… And move on to a more creative, positive moment afterwards, then perhaps it was worth the time in me writing it down and sharing.
It’s getting off the mat when we’re knocked down and no one seems to be routing for us that’s equally as important to having a dream and believing in your talent.
Yesterday I volunteered at a nursing care facility with 3 other singers. Here’s what I ended up singing & what I learned. 1st don’t assume you know who the patients are, and know you’re pretty much locked out & in.
1. Luck Be A Lady – went over big, showy, uptempo & recognizable, a few people sing along, though none got the words right. One woman who kept asking where her teacher was, was soon taken away, I will remember to use that in my future, maybe in Jury Duty.
2. Can’t Help Falling In Love – A few tears. A few smiles. Trying not to get distracted figuring out what words are being mouthed. One woman is definitely mouthing, “I love you,” over & over, and blowing kisses. If I can’t get out I may have a new girlfriend.
3. Mack The Knife – thought this was going to be the last song, it went over big, building song, showy, uptempo & recognizable. It’s really odd singing about gloves, knives and murder here, but don’t think they noticed. At this point I have been informed by a boyfriend that his girlfriend, in the first row dated both Sinatra & Bobby Darren. Great.
Surprise! Bonus set!
4. Summer Wind – wrong-word singalongs & kisses no longer distracting. Song went over well, but it’s really weird singing about anything that could be interpreted as “death” here. “I lost you…”
5. Play Me – 40 year old song, definitely too current, but that didn’t stop the sort-of-singalong, or tears. A few residents haven’t changed expressions the entire time. Song was appreciated, but maybe like when you sit in a living room only to have to watch your sibling’s kids show you what they learned in ballet & karate classes. I swear 1 guy’s eyeballing me.
6. Anthem (from Chess) – they liked the explanation of the song but had no idea who I was and what was happening once I started singing. No one sang along, and I think I may have scared away my new girlfriend.
I had a picture taken and signed an autograph… The experience was endearing, lovely, depressing, fun, frightening… & I’m glad I did it.
The other day I posted “GIVE UP? I gave up on giving up years ago” on my twitter feed…
In short, the reason I posted it was as a response to a response… After I mentioned something on social media about singing, a FB pal wrote and asked if I was going to give up acting.
Tonight I may have opened a door in my singing career. The future will tell. But I am flying on a cloud.
You giving up acting
GIVE UP? I gave up on giving up years ago.
Honestly, at this point, I don’t believe in “giving up” any more. I do however believe in out-growing. I believe in moving on. I believe in changes of focus. I believe that people find other things to be passionate about. I believe in living to fight another day. Trying other paths. I believe in determining what fits better, swimming with the current once in a while, and resting… But “giving up,” I truly “gave up” on years ago, after having given up too many things I truly enjoyed. In each instance it was for the wrong reason, and if you don’t know the difference between “giving up” and those things I listed… It’s one word, “REGRET.”
Never “give up.” Never ever “give up.”
– Quiche Out
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