One of the best ways to learn your craft is by observation. And live music in all of its various forms can be a rich learning experience for singers, musicians, educators and songwriters. Over the next few weeks we’ll take a quick look at a number of storied and unique venues to engage your imagination, encourage your creativity and growth as an artist, and promote opportunities to perform. First let’s start off with a unique opportunity for singers.
There are a number of restaurants worldwide that employ singing waiters and waitresses. One of the best known in southern California is Miceli’s Restaurant which has two locations, one in Hollywood and one in Universal City.
Miceli’s was established in 1949, when Carmen and Sylvia Miceli along with sisters, Angie and Millie, and brothers, Tony and Sammie, opened Miceli’s Pizzaria, the first pizza house to open in Hollywood. Among the many celebrities that have dined and been entertained at Miceli’s restaurants over the years are the Beatles, former presidents Richard Nixon and John F. Kennedy, actors Jim Carrey and Adam Sandler, and actress Julia Roberts.
Singing waiters and waitresses singing waiters and waitresses treat diners to a variety of Italian arias, musical show tunes and old standards. This is not quite the same as dinner theatre where a show is separate from the meal. At Miceli’s the singing is one very key ingredient to a rich dining experience.
Visit www.micelisrestaurant.com for more information on this vital part of the regions rich culture and artistic community. Why not visit a few eateries in your neighborhood to see about offering your talents to enhance their entertainment menu?
The Great Northeast
Club Passim in Cambridge, Massachusetts has been known as one of the top traditional, folk, and acoustic music venues in the world. It started out as Club 47 (1958-1968) and changed its name to Passim in 1969 and became known as Club Passim in 1994. Club 47 is revered by many as America’s most definitive folk music venue during the great folk boom of the sixties.
Among the artists who have grace its 30 by 40 stage over the years before moving on to bigger venues are Joan Baez, Tom Rush, Jackie Washington, Peter Wolf, Taj Mahal, Patty Larkin, Maria Muldaur, Shawn Colvin, and Suzanne Vega.
One of Club 47’s founding members, Betsy Siggins Schmidt, returned in 1997 as the Club Passim’s executive director. With Siggins as Artistic Director and Executive Director Dan Hogan, Club Passim strives not only to deliver great music but nurture new artists while preserving and promoting folk and acoustic music.
As a folk music and cultural center Club Passim provide a variety of life-affirming programs. Its School of Music offers classes and workshops. Its Culture for Kids program, created in 1999, is a free, monthly, multicultural program that provides children with exposure to other cultures and peoples. Club Passim truly fuses culture, community, and the arts, connecting circles and building bridges for a richer, fuller ongoing life experience. Visit www.clubpassim.org for more information on this amazing center of artistic and cultural communication.
And The Great Northwest
The Crocodile CafÃ© has been touted as Seattle’s best live music venue for 16 years. As a rock and roll venue The Crocodile opened its doors in April, 1991. The venue is situated at the corner of Second Avenue and Blanchard, where a Greek gathering place known as the Athens CafÃ© once stood. Among the bands that have played The Crocodile are Nirvana, Pearl Jam, Cheap Trick, R.E.M., Mudhoney, the Indigo Girls, Rhonda Vincent and even Yoko Ono.
The Crocodile has always been seen as an oasis, a place to escape from the dark and seedy side of town and a place for making connections to friends and music. The club closed unceremoniously and abruptly in December, 2007, but after months of renovations and reconstruction, it has come back with a vengeance and wide open arms full of welcome.
The club officially reopened on March 19, 2009, with upgrades and improvements that include a grander stage with better sitelines. Scenes from the 1995 film Georgia were shot at the Crocodile. Visit www.thecrocodile.com for upcoming shows.
Check out music venues in your area. Look for opportunities to get involved behind the scenes and under the lights as you hone your craft and grow your gifts.