Luna Tart Died at Joe’s Pub & Took Me Down with Her!

Luna TartLuna Tart at Joe’s Pub May 18, 2009

Pathos. Fragility. Drama. The absurd.

… Sung by the kind of slightly aging woman you’d pity, drunk, at the end of the bar.

Draped in a bright yellow boa, paired absurdly with a ukulele – this broad’s got a sardonic sense and a surprisingly beautiful voice. She’s so damn depressing, it’s funny – like when you cry so hard you start laughing, or vice versa.

Luna Tart – a Bernadette Peters look-a-like – with an equally on-target sense of timing, is the alter ego of Laura Freeman, who wobbled on stage at Joe’s Pub tonight, in a semi-drunken stupor. Deceptively faltering, yet always in charge of her phrasing, Luna left me hanging on every word. Whether quivering her poetic lyrics, or singing in shockingly high full voice, she imbued her story-songs with heartbreak and longing. Luna’s “I’ve Forgotten You,” an imagistic piece sung by a woman struggling to remember even a fragment of her lost love, was simply devastating. When she eeked out the final question “Did we dance … did we … dance?”… In the silence that followed, I felt a tangible unity with the rest of the audience – a kind of group mourning, a shared sensibility of personal loss and grief.

For some odd reason, I kept imagining a TV show where Luna gets into all kinds of hopeful, sad and bizarre romantic situations, punctuated by the songs on her “Luna Tart died” CD … the plotlines are all there: Luna remembers her sad childhood as her mother sings a lullaby, Luna gets jilted, joins the circus, becomes a prostitute, lives the highlife, gets jilted, gets jilted, gets jilted … time and time again … as she reflects on it all from a barstool in a dark and seedy joint.

I advise you to check out Luna out at her next gig. If you’re a TV producer, at least give her a screen test for a pilot. Whoever you are, while sitting, listening in the dark – you won’t feel alone in your anguish – and you’ll probably find the strength to laugh at your relative good fortune.

Many thanks to Tsar Stefan for bringing her to Joe’s! Follow me, Judith Z. Miller, on Twitter

About artistsoulspeaks

Zelda (aka Judith Z. Miller) Bio Zelda (aka Judith Z. Miller) is a multifaceted artist who lives in an erotic, musical, spiritual universe. As a feminist Jew who studies shamanism, she is inspired by the beauty of nature and the guiding force of her intuition as she explores the themes of connection to the Earth, spirituality, sexuality and gender. She sculpts, draws, writes, performs, photographs, and is an ecstatic dancer/percussionist/healer. Currently, under an Individual Artist Commission awarded by Arts Mid-Hudson, Zelda is developing Que Será, Será (Whatever Will Be, Will Be), a multi-media one-person show that chronicles the joys and challenges of navigating non-binary Queerness from a childhood in the 1950s to adulthood. This project is made possible with funds from the Decentralization Program, a regrant program of the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature and administered by Arts Mid-Hudson. She is also producing ZELDA’S Happenings, a series of black-light, body-painting, percussion dance parties that will produce original wearable art for a new UpState Artists Clothing Collection representing artists of the region. Zelda co-founded The Fine Line Actors Theatre in Washington DC and performed at such venues as Source, GALA Hispanic Theatre and the Kennedy Center in DC, in NYC at WOW Café Theatre and Dixon Place, at the Lace Mill and with the TMI Project in Kingston. She published in Inside Arts magazine, The Washington Post, and American Theatre magazine. Zelda currently resides at the Lace Mill artist residence in Kingston NY with her Great Dane “Z”.
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