I consider myself to be sort of a collector of people. I even have a folder in my e-mail box called “people collection” where I put introduction emails to people that I’ll want to collaborate with in the future but, as of yet, am not sure why or how.
When I had the idea to start Standard I joked that I was going to pull together the best of my collection and just let them “play in the sandbox.” And this joke turned into an awesome reality.
Tonight at the Hollywood Bowl I witnessed someone else’s version of the sandbox. My friends and I went to see Pink Martini (best described as as pre-war symphonic dance hall music with a pan-global jazz influence.) They are amazing on their own… but what I loved most about them was that, in spite of the fact that they already have so many influences, themes and collaborators (they were playing with the philharmonic tonight) they did not feel the need to cut off the invitation for more friends to play in the sandbox—and each friend brought something great and surprising.
My favorites included NPR Whitehouse Correspondent Ari Shapiro, who sings on one of the band’s albums (and is really unbelievable!) Rufus Wainwright blew me away with “Les Feux D’ Artifice T’ Appellent,” the final aria from his opera, Prima Donna… as a general rule, I despise opera but this aria moved me to mouth-hanging-open-immobility (luckily I was revived by the live cast from Sesame Street came out and led the audience in classics such as “C is for Cookie.”)
A mixed bag? Absolutely. But it was also one of the most entertaining and emotionally fulfilling concerts I have every been to.
Taking a cue from Pink Martini, I’m even more inspired than ever to keep collecting, to keep inviting extraordinary people to play in the sandbox that is Standard.
The more the merrier.