Isengart & Lady Rizo
May 28, 2009
Bringing the raunch back to TIMES SQUARE where it belongs, LADY RIZO, a chameleon comedienne chanteuse, opens her set as a gobbling pill-popping, then literally vomiting, housewife. One part cabaret singer, one part burlesque performer, one wonders – “where can she possibly go from here?”
But at “Foreign Affairs,” the “transnational lounge, postmodern cabaret” at THE NIGHT HOTEL with her co-host, the precisely campy German cabaret singer ISENGART, the show goes just about everywhere in a rollicking roller coaster ride that left the audience screaming with pure joy.
Presented by producer LEE CHAPPELL, (who created the original Saturday nights at the ROXY from 1990-91, Saturdays at the Palladium, events at the Limelight, Tunnel, USA, etc.), included enough fishnet and feathers to fill a millinery store. Taking place smack-dab in the middle of the new “Disneyland” on West 45th Street, this show was a welcomed reverie back to a time of fun-filled elegance, decadence, absurdity, song and dance — on the smallest stage in NYC. Wednesday night’s performance included everything from German folk songs, to Lou Reeds’ “A Walk on the Wild Side,” along with “the Russian Sourdough Pretzel,” EKATERINA, a stripping contortionist, and the voluptuously muscular Ballet Trockadero dancer, CARLOS MILLER, who singularly comprised the nights’ “Middle Eastern homosexual harem.”
Yes, there was something for everyone of every possible persuasion.
Did I mention the Muppet? Well … you’ll have to see for yourself.
In beautiful clear voice, fishnets and very high heels, Isengart managed to get a NYC audience to sway in unison to a German beer song, and Lady Rizo got us to sing along, dancing, clapping and shouting.
The party shifted to 5th gear when Tsar Stefan, the “impresario of NYC cabaret,” who was seated practically on the tiny stage, joined in the fun as the ever-flexible Ekaterina managed to hoist her leg up atop his 6-foot plus frame. During the wild frolic, Lady Rizo shouted out from the stage: “That’ll cost you $100 between my titties.” True to form, and without missing a beat, Tsar Stefan promptly whipped out a Franklin and shoved it smack in the middle… where upon the “Lady” replied “You’re not getting it back this time, I’m gonna eat it and shit it out so you won’t want it!”
When I read those words in print, “Lady” Rizo sounds course and unappealing, but coming with her lovely smile in the context of her performance, she’s more Mae West than guttersnipe. This powerful Lady, at home with hecklers and able to put each and every one in their place, simultaneously delights us with a lovely voice and her hour-glass figure zipped in an array of skin-tight evening gowns – one for each and every song. Equipped with a riveting gaze and trained vocal instrument, she’s in control of every nuance.
Dedicating one number to “all the ladies getting Botox,” and with a tongue-in-cheek nostalgic introduction to “My Man” and “the good old days when women got beat up” – she’s a strong performer who can involve us on multiple levels, dead-on serious, violent, over the top disgusting or just pulling our collective leg.
Do I have any regrets after my night of debauchery? Only that Lady Rizo didn’t sing her drop-dead powerful rendition of the song Edith Piaf’s made famous “Non, je ne regrette rien,” which I was privileged to hear recently at Joe’s Pub – the song that drew me to last night’s performance. But I suppose I’ll just have to return another Wednesday for the pleasure – and so should you!
The show was backed by the ever vigorous and subtle trio of Mike Jackson on guitar, Patrick Farrell on accordion and Dave Berger on percussion, who managed to play in time despite Ekaterina’s leg in his face.
Future Wednesday show dates: 6/10, 7/15 & 8/26, then every Wednesday starting September 16. Doors open at 8 pm, showtime 9:15-10:15. Tickets $20
Lady Rizo: http://www.myspace.com/ladyrizo
After being so high, how could I go home? So we dashed straight across the street THE GRACE HOTEL, where within steps from the street, at “Drip,” the pool party with pretty boys bathing in a multi-colored light drenched swimming pool paraded around in tiny suites. The party, also produced by Lee Chappell, includes several beautifully lit lounges enjoyed last evening by guys in high drag, cute Chelsea types and a smattering of women. Also on hand were the
“AlienNation” Creatures costumed by designer Hector Perez, as “Waterina”; Alex as “Blinkarina,” and Raquel Giberstein, the self-proclaimed “female Broadway Danny Rose,” as “Swirlien.”
My night concluded when I stopped in for a bite down the street at Europan Bakery Café on my way back to Brooklyn, where the server recognized me from a recent evening because of my handmade necklaces and blue fabric-tied hair. I may not be a star, but I’m recognized on Broadway! See images of my handmade wearable art at http://www.zamo-zamo.com
VIVA NYC Nightlife!
Judith Z. Miller
Aka Artist Soul