Monday, February 22, 2010

Feinstein’s Fables

Ayers Rock

And so the cobra and the mongoose sat down to rehearse their upcoming Broadway show when suddenly the grossly garish snake quite without provocation bit the mongoose on the butt for no other reason than the butt was there to be bitten. Whereupon the wee beastie feeling this pricking pain so close to his family treasure proceeded to bash the snake on the head with the Complete American Song Book. Whereupon the director yelled “Stop.” He had been staring wistfully out the window at a marquee being erected across the street proclaiming the arrival of The Addams Family. And so the director with a sigh stared at the murderous menagerie before him and wondered once again why he had let his agent delete the "no animals" clause from his contract.

Of Michael Feinstein, the mongoose, I know little. I think I have heard him sing and play. But if so I remember him as a sort of Uta Lemper, a crinkly carbon facsimile of an actual entertainer. I seem to recall my friend John Wallowitch had some choice if corrosive words that he would sputter at the mere mention of "fingers" Feinstein. I sometimes wonder why Muzak doesn’t sue for copyright infringement. Mr. F’s concept of an elegant piano man is strictly Wal-Mart when placed next to say the Tiffany class of cabaret’s true crown prince, Steve Ross.

Which bring us to the snake. Once again visiting NYC is Australia’s Mount Edna, the traveling version of Ayers Rock, another sacred lump. Billy Blackwell and I first encountered this invasive species Off-Broadway in the early 1970s. He threw wilting gladiolas at an empty house for about a week and then slithered back down under. While he was here he patiently explained to anyone he could corner how straight he is. In fact that was the only time he ever showed any energy, chasing innocent strangers thru the Village, forcing them to look at photos of his wife and kids. It never occurred to me at the time that he would ultimately become the media’s darling.

I deeply and profoundly disdain the Dame. And now the Mountain has once more returned to Manhattan with his new understated and self-effacing show called All About Me. Whatever Michael Feinstein might be guilty of, he does not deserve this hell. I suppose it makes perfect sense that an audience who cheers on the disintegration of actual human beings on Reality TV, is willing suffer sophomoric insults while waiting to be impaled by a gladiola. I only wish someone would borrow the Alaskan Moose lady's shotgun and punctuate this Australian landmark in his heterosexuality!

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