Bass-Baritone Christian Van Horn – A Busy Season at San Francisco Opera

“I won the Metropolitan Opera Competition in 2003. From the time I won it to the time I came back as a principal artist was ten years. This is rarely easy for anybody….” Click here to read the full interview on

“Veda Pierce” – Lounge Lizard or High Toned Viper?

Ann Blyth enters as the youngest in our series, Ladies of the Nightclubs. As Veda in the 1945 production of Mildred Pierce starring Joan Crawford, Ann was assigned a familiar rag from 1911, “Oceana Roll” – lyrics by Roger Lewis, music by Lucien Denni. By the time filming began at Warner Brothers Studios, the song […]

Johnny Mercer & The Fabulous Drag Queens

2014 marks the 105th birthday of Johnny Mercer. It seems like only yesterday that he turned 100. It was on that occasion in 2009 that his lyrics were remembered and celebrated on television, radio and in cabarets from coast to coast. I’ll venture to guess that the “Johnny Mercer Centennial Birthday Bash” hosted by stage mother extraordinaire, Mrs. Trauma Flintstone at Martuni’s in San Francisco was one of the most raucously joyful of them all.

Sheet Music and the Ukulele

Like an LP record, old sheet music represents a little four-cornered bygone world. Without hearing a note, one glance at the cover art transports us back to a time when music lovers had to actually get up and put the needle on the record; or before that when folks who wanted music at home had to produce it themselves.

How Can I Make History? A Tribute to Eddie Maxwell Cherkose

“Fame, what is fame? It’s the net result when folks pronounce your name…”

So go the opening lyrics to the song, “Would You Like A Souvenir?” from the 1947 Warner Brothers pot boiler, NORA PRENTISS starring Ann Sheridan as Nora. The song was written by M.K. (Moe) Jerome, Jack Scholl and Eddie Cherkose.

JEANETTE MacDONALD and The Great American Songbook, Pt. 1 — Close encounters with “Dinah” and “Some of These Days”

As Janet and I continue our front row view of films that include some variety of nightclub scene featuring – as Rosemary Clooney might put it, “girl singers” – we are also keeping an eye on how much of this material is appearing in an expanding archive referred to these days as, The Great American […]

Ethel Waters survives Monaco and Dubin’s “Quicksands” in Stage Door Canteen

Ethel Waters is on a very long list of popular and revered celebrities who appear in the 1943 film, Stage Door Canteen. The title refers to an actual New York City location that was staffed and operated by members of the American Theatre Wing. Its purpose was to offer refreshments and entertainment to enlisted folks […]

Everything Happens To Me

The very first jazz tune I ever sang in my life was, “Everything Happens To Me” by Matt Dennis and Tom Adair…

“One For My Baby” and One For Ida Lupino

“She reminds me of the first woman that ever slapped my face,” says this guy to his date. “If she sings like she looks…” His girl interrupts, whining, “You wouldn’t let me wear a dress like that!” For sure. Nobody but Lily Stevens COULD wear a dress like that…

Marie Windsor and The Paper Doll Club

On January 30, 2013 the Castro Theatre will screen two film noir gems: THE SNIPER, 1952 and EXPERIMENT IN TERROR 1962, both noted for their cinematic tribute to the streets of San Francisco – a city born to be shot in black and white.