In Which We Met Liza Last Night (and more!)


Well, the focus of this planned blogpost has changed entirely. The original headline and lede was going to be “Vince Giordano and the Nighthawks Celebrate a Five Year Run at Sofia’s.” But that all changed when all of a sudden I realized a 40 year old dream last night by touching the DNA of Judy Garland. 

It happened towards the end of the evening during the band’s third set, and things were winding down and we were beginning to discuss our departure (“we” is me, the Duchess, and our friends Lorinne Lampert and Francis Heaney). I had just posed with Vince for this picture:

Trav & Vince

…when he told me that Liza Minnelli and Michael Feinstein had just walked in. Long story short, I got to give her a copy of No Applause (in which she is mentioned, by the way, making it much easier to present her with a copy) and signed it, and chatted with her a second about show biz. THEN Michael Feinstein told her he already had the book and that it is terrific! Told that to Liza! I have no idea what my horoscope was yesterday; maybe I should have gone to Vegas. But, no! Feh! The winnings there would only be money! This was a moment. A very good day indeed.

So, now…I think I’ll return to my original lede. You should go and see Vince Giordano and the Nighthawks play at Sofia’s Restaurant at the Edison Hotel. I know it gets easy to put off because it’s every Monday and Tuesday. My solution is that everyone should go every Monday and Tuesday and create, like a scene. I have already described the magic of their recreations of the jazz sounds of the 20s and 30s here. Since then, they’ve gotten a Grammy for their music on Boardwalk Empire. They even played for the Clintons a few nights ago. So this is the baseline attraction — this incredible music, with Vince the charming, funny host, multi-talented musician, and even an educator. (And generous – – he plugged my books, CD and upcoming vaudeville show from the stage, and even let me take the mike).

The dance team of Lampert and Heaney. Photo courtesy the Duchess
The dance team of Lampert and Heaney. Photo courtesy the Duchess

And then yes if you’re lucky you’ll rub shoulders with the great and near-great, because anyone with even a modicum of awareness or taste goes there to catch him. Last night we saw Rich Conaty, host of WFUV’s Big Broadcast (it was Rich who introduced me to Vince and his music many years ago), and Jimmy Roberts, composer of off-Broadway’s second-longest running musical I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change. I can’t promise stars of the caliber of Minnelli or Feinstein will always be there, but there’s only one way for you to find out. Go to one of shows! Better, go to all of the shows! The full schedule is here:


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