round minus
round plus + Pangea Gigs

Mad Jenny's website is up, and I'll be joining her along with the Society Band (with Ric Becker on Trombone and Marty Isenberg on upright bass) for a few gigs at Pangea on September 28th and October 26th.  Hopefully you caught a taster at Money Lab back in March, but if not, Jenny's show is an hour of original arrangements (and translations) of pre-war Weimar Cabaret in both German and English.  Plus a few surprises, of course! 

We'll also be doing a residency at Dixon Place on Jan. 13th with some special guests, so don't miss that! 


Art! Sin! Travel! Decadence!

Funny how no matter where you travel, you seem to run into the same people with the same stories. Anna and her sister (Anna) travel the states and share their lessons of morality and sin. Meanwhile, Andi and I just need an excuse to sing some Kurt Weill before she takes off to Asia.

We'll be performing selections from Weill's Seven Deadly Sins, mixed with a variety of other European Cabaret songs on the theme of Art! Sin! Travel! and of course, Decadence!

With soprano Andriana Smela and myself on piano and accordion.  The live performance will be enhanced by original artwork by the extraordinary Emily Bradley.

Admission is $10. Beverages will be available for purchase, but you are most welcome to bring your own. Basically, drinking is encouraged. It was, after all, a necessary part of Weimar decadence.

Saturday, May 16th, 2015

7:00 PM
The Drawing Room
56 Willowby Street, #3
Downtown Brooklyn


Mad Jenny and the Society Band at Money Lab

Man, I've really dropped the ball on the whole blogging/website thing.  Never fear!  Here is an exciting update of all things Maria, since that's clearly what we're here for.

First and foremost, thrilled to finally share a collaboration that has been long in the making - Jenny Lee Mitchell has put together a beautiful program of traditional German, Czech and English cabaret songs mixed with some cabaret treatments of more modern songs by Mischa Spolianski, Hans Eisler and Kurt Weill among others.  We'll be performing a few of these selections with a small band at Untitled Theater Company #61's production of Money Lab, An Economic Vaudeville at HERE Arts Center at the end of the month.  Our act, Love und Greed will be performing on 5 of the 12 performances.  We recorded a short EP of songs last week in honor of the event which I'll post in the very near future! 

Also part of Money Lab, I'll be accompanying tenor Jonathan Kline for a few performances of Letters to Engels, a short 7-minute opera with text taken from the letters of Karl Marx to Friedrich Engels.  Probably not what you might envision from the father of communism!  I'll leave it at that.... Music by Avner Finberg and libretto by UTC's own Edward Einhorn.

Catch both Love und Greed and Letters to Engels on these dates:

Friday, March 20th @ 7
Saturday, March 21st @7
Sunday, March 22nd @2 - Letters to Engels / @7 Love und Greed
Monday, March 23rd @ 7 (Love und Greed only at this performance)
Saturday, April 11th @ 6

Tickets to all Money Lab events here!  Some really clever, thought-provoking acts involved over the three-week run, so check it out if you can.  Mad Jenny's full-length series of shows will happen later this spring, so I'll keep you posted on that.

IN OTHER NEWS, man, it's been a busy year, not that you would know that from this website.  All sorts of cool collaborations - besides The Pig and Performing Captivity, I teamed up with Untitled Theater Company #61 on the Velvet Oratorio at Bohemian National Hall. The show, with music and lyrics by The Pig's collaborators, Henry Akona and Edward Einhorn, mixed history, opera, and farce in its evocative retelling of the Velvet Revolution, as seen through the eyes of Václav Havel's signature character, Ferdinand Vaněk.  We did a few performances throughout November, December and January to commemorate both the Velvet Revolution and anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall. 

Earlier in the year, I was at the Czech Center with Katarina Vizina to perform a sing-along of songs by Karel Hašler, which was a very touching experience.  If you don't know Hašler's story - he was truly a renaissance man and Czech national treasure.  Not only a composer, but also an actor, lyricist, film and theatre director, dramatist, screenwriter and cabaret performer until his untimely death at the Mauthausen concentration camp in 1941. 

Aside from working with UTC, I also got the meet and work with the awesome and hilarious ensemble Dysfunctional Theater Company on their show, Clamour of Cabaret at Under Saint Mark's.  Then in December, I joined forces with Adam Burnett of Buran Theater on some original music for his show, POSHLOST SAUDADES!, which will be fully produced in 2015.

One of my favorite collaborators, Eric Schmalenberger will occasionally call me up so we can bust out in song during one of his ALICE performances at the Slipper Room.  Somehow Eric has this incredible skill of pulling together the most talented performers of many disciplines - aerialists, burlesque performers, vocalists, musicians and circus folk you can only imagine in your wildest dreams.  We've done a bunch of shows at the Slipper Room as well as Wild Project in the East Village this year.  Eric always has something creative, shocking and somehow totally endearing planned. 

What else? Oh man!  There was the time Sting listened to me play accordion in a three-hour production of Fiddler on the Roof, that was awesome.  There's my obligatory name-dropping.  I'm not sure how he felt about that, to be honest.

If you get a chance, check out the awesome Adriana Alba of Trust in Love.  She wrote a beautiful song called Memory Drives which I produced earlier this year for AMDISCS Future Reserve Label.  Hopefully I'll be able to share that with everyone soon.

Aside from theater and music collaborations, the bulk of the year has really been me getting back in touch with composing.  It's been years since I was in the composing zone, and now I'm doing it every day, which is a huge blessing I really didn't see coming.  I've learned more about digital synths, recording and mixing music than I ever thought I had the capacity to, and I'll have a whole post on that sometime soon when I have a chance to sit and gather my thoughts on the subject.  Unfortunately, I can't share most of that music since I don't exactly own it (but don't worry, I'll let you know when my feline epic Good, Bad and the Ugly game comes out), but instead here's a nugget of exploration - just a (mostly) improvised sketch of sounds I threw together to learn how to use some instruments in Logic earlier in the year. 

Here's some rambling musical fun with the EXS24 sampler: