Morgana King

Tomorrow marks the 88th birthday of Morgana King.  What a unique and talented soul this woman is.  I was first exposed to Morgana in the early 90s.  One of her first Mercury (EmArcy) albums was released on CD with a host of other jazz artists like Helen Merrill, Billy Eckstine and Blossom Dearie.  It was packaged in one of those maddening long plastic boxes with the artwork on the top and the disc on the bottom.  It’s a wonder I have any teeth left.  Yes, I was one of those who opened the boxes without a knife.  . 

Later I was turned onto more recent Morgana recordings including the following beautiful examples.

Miss Morgang King with Torrie Zito – Mainstream Records
It’s A Quiet Thing – Reprise Records
Stretching Out – Muse Records

In mid 2000 I was living in San Diego but in the process of moving to Los Angeles.  I learned that Morgana would be at the dearly missed Cinegrill at the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel for a 70th birthday celebration.  I talked a buddy into going with me.  I was so blessed to be there.  Here’s a picture of Morgana from that day.

I have since learned from the wonderful writer James Gavin in his Jazz Times article about Morgana that this was her Farewell Birthday Show.  This was one time that I was in the right place at the right time.  (James’ article provides a great insight into the life of Morgana.)

Here’s a clip of Morgana at the Hollywood Bowl in a tribute concert dedicated to Billie Holiday.  (Thank you Morganafan for the Youtube posting!)

Happy Happy Birthday Morgana.  (June 4th).  May you be as blessed as you’ve blessed us!

Erwin & Elephants

OhMyYum, yesterday I had lunch with my besties at The Farmer’s Daughter restaurant in Chuckey, TN.  No, you (probably) do not know where it is.  It’s literally in the middle of nowhere in the country.  But oh my goodness is it delicious.  And trust me, I made an absolute pig of myself.  I was in such a hurry I only managed to pop off one picture of my dessert.  Otherwise, I ate all of the evidence.

Coconut Cream Pie

And since Coconut is my favorite, I managed to shove one more thing in my “PieHole”.

Afterwards, I rode through the county in a food coma. Along the way I encountered a Skunk Cow.  This cow was so cute with it’s white stripe running from its head all the way along the center of it’s body.

MOO!

It was either go home and take a nap (not a good idea) or to go somewhere to walk around. I chose to go over to Erwin.  I got out and walked for an hour or more.  My digestive system was so happy.

I’m glad I randomly chose  Erwin.  There is an Elephant Installation in it’s downtown.  From the Facebook link I can see this isn’t the first time.  But, it was my first time.  These elephants are so cute and will be up for auction later in the year.  One might look really cute on my porch.

I LOVE Public Art.  It adds so much to the character of a town.  Los Angeles has its Angels, Chicago has its Cows, Goldsboro NC has its Pigs, Fullerton CA has it’s sheep and Erwin TN has its Elephants.  Fun times indeed.  #CelebrateArt

 

 

LIVE!

I love Live Theater.  I have been fortunate enough to have seen some really great theater in my life.  I’ve also had a privilege to have performed in live theater as well.

Since moving back eastward, I have decided to get out more and support the local arts as much as possible.  And I can report, Eastern Tennessee is RICH in live theater.

The first show I saw here was Del Shore’s “Sordid Lives.”  The show was staged at Johnson City Community Theater.  I saw this show  in Los Angeles several times, so it was a pleasure for it to be my first theater outing in my new home.

I loved the TV show “In The Heat Of The Night.”  I do remember seeing the original movie when I was quite young, but I remember the TV show more.  I was thrilled to be able to see it in a theater setting.  And oh what a powerhouse.  I saw this show in Abingdon, VA at the Barter Theater.  BTW, the Barter is Virginia’s state theater.

I had so wanted to see “I Love A Piano” in Jonesborough.  I had thought I was to be out of town the last weekend it ran.  But my travel plans changed and I had completely forgotten to pick up tickets.  But Fate had a very different plan.  On the last Saturday it ran, I happened to wonder over to Jonesborough (a whole 8 miles away) and was walking around and getting a bit of exercise and window shopping.  As I was meandering down Main Street I happened to see that “I Love A Piano” was starting in less than 10 minutes.  I popped my head into Jonesborough Rep Theater to see if any tickets were available and there was one.  And that’s all I needed.  So I said YES.

The next two shows were both presented by Kingsport Theatre Guild.  And what shows.  Both are deep and rich in family issues.  First up was “‘Night Mother”.  A two woman show featuring a mother and daughter.  A solid show with great performances.  This is a show I’d love to see again.

And last night I saw the Southern Melodrama “Steel Magnolias”.  Oh what deliciousness are the quips, and how heart-wrenching is the seriousness of the piece.

In three months I have been dazzled by 5 very different shows.  The casts have  possessed a wide range of talent.  Each theater is different in setting, staging, lighting.  But all of them have the same thing in common:  A Desire to Entertain.  And all of them have succeeded wildly.  Come to Eastern Tennessee (and far western VA) and be  entertained.  It ain’t only NYC and LA that know theater!

Let’s Go LIVE!