Luna 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!
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