Jeannine Frank is the LA Broadway Danny Rose. She has unerring taste in artists and boasts a handsome roster of talent. She produces shows that have inspired me and made me laugh more than any other shows with the exception of Flight of the Conchords.
( Jeannine by the way refers to herself as a cross between Mel, the crazed fan and Murray the bumbling but tirelessly faithful agent of the Conchords).
She produced the show we did on Friday night, did a silent auction, booked us into a lovely hotel and showered me with love – even going so far as to help me undress and tuck me into bed. In Flight of the Conchords, Murray cautions the band not to be too “rock and roll” in the hotel by doing things like eating from the mini bar. I got very rock and roll on the balcony, backing my wheelchair into a glass table, knocking down the glassware and sending a bottle of Acai juice over the rail from the 5th floor. I’m wild like that but Jeannine doesn’t seem to mind.
The show was fun – Andy Kindler and Betsy Salkind ( one of my favorite comics) opened for us and then we did one set. The guys all sounded great and I couldn’t have felt more supported. I have the best band in the world – they are cuter than all other jazz bands, funnier than most (John R. is THE funniest musician, period, Jon Evans is damned funny on a consistent basis and David is one of those that tells fewer jokes but when he does tell one, it’s so funny a laugh just explodes out of me – sort of a Jason Capone of humor) and they are the kindest and most helpful guys you could hope to meet. Jon sweeps me up and carries me onto the stage and the other two are at the ready for car transfers, help with taking medicinal herbs, opening bottles – you name it. They have the luckiest wives on the planet. It was a great night and in some respects one of the best I can remember.
Performing is one of the only times I forget about all the other stuff. I feel safe and loved on stage and I adore finding the story in each song and telling it. I loved how the band sounded, how we played together, some of the magic moments. I loved meeting new folks and seeing old friends. I met Scott Lew (mentioned in a previous blog and subject of the documentary Living With Lew) and his fabulous wife Anabel and Don Heckman (who wrote the wonderful review) and his wife as well. Scott has had ALS for 7 years and has an amazing attitude. David mentioned that during a quiet duet with John R, Scott’s breathing machine was almost accompanying us it was so loud and Scott’s wife wondered if they should step out but David said “no.” I agree with David. The sound of the machine seemed appropriate to us both.
Lots of adventures. Two nights out of 3 alone in the hotel (yippee!) and a solo flight back home. It was not easy to travel without my Lisa but I managed. One the way she helped me in the airplane bathroom. As we closed the door, I caught the flight attendant’s eye and said “Mile High Club.” “Girl, you are bad!” he gasped. At Rent-a-Wreck, Lisa told Dave the manager why we were there and he decided to give us the car for free. Life is a constant surprise. A gentleman connected to the music school upstairs from the hall gave me a gorgeous photo and love and kindness was everywhere.
I’m still not out of my slump but I feel myself pulling slowly out of the muck and moving into this next phase. I think of Scott, needing this ventilator, having to repeat himself when I can’t understand him, and just so very cool and I think, “Hey girl, you’re lucky. Love this time as much as you can.”