DMV update and singing at the Gardenia - my new obesession!

Good Morning little one,

How is your Wednesday gonna be? Grand? I thought so.

So - to update you on yesterday's DMV adventure - I totally kicked the DMV's ass all over the place! There was this God energy everywhere and things where working and popping and happening and I got everything I needed in under 3 hours. Holy shit. AND I was in a good mood when I left. If that is not a miracle, I don't know what is!

Here are the few little synchronicities that helped me get my shit done and not loose my mind:

1. The smog check guy turned me away because of another appointment, but stopped me before I left and told me they could fit me in right then. It was perfect timing and he was a gem!

2. There were cute kids wandering around the place most of the day - helping me stay mildly joyful.

3. My outfit was cute and made me feel light and girly - causing me to smile and people to be nicer to me

4. I passed my written exam! Didn't study. And it was HARD. That was a God thing. You could only miss 3, and I missed 3.

5. The guy who tested my car was hilarious and asked me to sing for him. I made up a ditty to the old standard that goes: "Smile as you wait in line. Smile at the DMV. Although it's a pain in the ass, you'll be fine. If you smile..." It was funny and he loved me and wished me luck.

6. A lady told me I was going to have to wait in the mile long line all over again or come back tomorrow to get my plates. I was not rude, said thank you and walked away. She came up to me a minute later and handed me one of the 'special express numbers' and 5 minutes later - I had my plates!!!!

So anyway, that is how having the right attitude got me my California license and plates without a hassle!!!

I even had energy to go out and sing at the Gardenia later that night. I wanted to celebrate in a way and sing something that made me happy. So I got in a zebra print dress, put on some red lipstick, and headed off to sing "The Boy Next Door" from my favorite movie musical "Meet me in St. Louis" starring the one and only, my idol, Judy Garland.

This is the amazing piano player from last night. I love his posture.

It was another memorable night at the Gardenia. This place has magic. It is so quaint and eerie and beautiful and intimate and lovely. I know it is mostly the people that make it so, and I'm starting to fall for this wacky bunch of Cabaret open mike regulars. I want to call them the Rat Pack. They are there every Tuesday, religiously, to worship the likes of Cole Porter, Johnny Mercer, the Gershwins, and their singing idols: Barry Manilo, Frank Sinatra, Rosemary Clooney, Ella Fitzgerald, and the list goes on. It is almost as if the spirit of these greats is in the room because of the adoration that thrives in the hearts of this gaggle of singers. I felt a part of that last night as I sang my little heart out - always in ode to Judy. She is present in my mind when I sing her songs - and I am not copying her - but I am loving her with my interpretation - bowing to the master - almost in 'gasho'. It went great - and I think the room enjoyed indulging in a little Judy as much as I did. It's a wonderful room to get up, sing, and get loved - and it works even better when you are loving them. That's how I felt last night. I got up there - thanked them for the honor of singing there - told a little jokey - got a little laughy - and then loved the shit out of them with my song. It felt good to give. And it felt good to receive. And that is how I know I'm doing the right thing.

Here are a few of my favorite characters from the Rat Pack. (Names are made up - and characteristics might be only slightly exaggerated)

Gus - He's the first one there. He does not have time to socialize with the others. He grabs the left, front, corner table, his table, and immediately takes out his sheet music to study. He's been wanting to do this one for a long time. He remembers hearing Frank do it many times back in the day. Gus orders his cup of coffee and begins to practice on the mic. Gladys yells at him: "Don't blow in the mic!!!" But he doesn't listen. He blows and tests it out for a few minutes and then begins to practice. Mumbling little verses, testing out exaggerated, stylistic phrases, he wants to be perfect tonight. His rendition of "It was a Very Good Year" is haunting. The notes are not right, the performance is awkward, but Gus is in the zone and he does not just love this song - he has lived this song. Now in his mid 70s, Gus has seen many good years and some not so good - but he is enjoying this year and this moment with a good song. I love Gus.

Harold - This guy is the guy. The guy everyone wants to be. He knew everybody, sang with everybody - he writes the songs, he writes the songs. He is a crooner. Black shirt, scarf dangling, greased back jet black hair, and a devilish grin planted on his face. He has stories that people want to hear. He writes songs that people want to sing. And he sings like a guy who's gotten laid many times because he can sing. He is sort of the Godfather of the room. (When he greeted me and remembered me from a few weeks ago with a compliment - I knew I was officially IN.)

Julia - Julia lovessss Jazz. Always has. She worships it. When she listens to a song - her eyes are closed. She listens with her whole body, taps her foot, hums, cries, loves, becomes the music. She dresses like a boho and lights up the room with her warm personality. She stays close to Harold - they're both considered to be pretty damn cool. Cool cats.

Debbie - Debbie is the host. She is like a convection on top of a cake. Gorgeous, blond, bubbly, and dressed entirely in hot pink. Her skirt is short and fringe - it's a gogo skirt. She pulls if off with her humor and her joy. Debbie loves this open mic and she loves the wacky singers that come here. She tells little stories about her Chinese neighbors and the shoes she wanted to buy and gossips about the sensational stories in the news. This is her night and these are her people. She maybe, just may have been in a travelling circus back in the day.

Last but not least

Guy - Guy used to be hot. I mean hot. He is now 70 and still dashing. He is wearing a trendy Tee with a modern blazer and black jeans. His hair is white and his skin is painfully tan. He knows he looks good. He sings in the old crooner style - and it is very nice. But the reason Guy is Guy is because he is the guy that hums and sings along to EVERYONE ELSE'S SONGS. He can't help himself. That is how much Guy loves to sing. He sits there and once he gets a good feel for the riff, he starts riffing too. Most of the times, it's off pitch. Sometimes it's too loud. And all of the times, it's funny.

So there you have it. My Rat Pack at the Gardenia. I love this place and I can't wait to go back and sing. ALSO, I met a very talented singer last night who just moved to Los Angeles like me. She also studied with a noted local who is showing her the ropes and I think we have a lot in common. It was wonderful to make a new connection, especially to a young, female singer! I can't wait to find out more about her.

So there you have it. Have a wonderful day. I will be flying high from my Gardenia evening. And I leave you with my moment of Fran Zen:

"It was a very Good year" - Frank Sinatra

"May you live to be 100 and may the last voice you hear be mine." - Frank Sinatra


  1. I love hearing about your time in LA, but I love hearing about the Gardenia even more. It just makes me smile so much and I feel like I can see and hear and smell the place. And you in it!

  2. I wish you could come there with me! Oh how we would laugh and cry. Miss you!!!


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