Interview by Stanley Naftaly on Jazz Straight Ahead KCSB-FM 91.9
Alan Bergman and his wife Marilyn head the planet-wide list of today’s song lyricists. This phone interview was triggered because Alan, with Bill Cantos on piano and Trey Henry on bass and supported by Santa Barbara’s favorite jazz chanteuse, Tierney Sutton, was scheduled to perform at the Lobero Theatre Saturday evening, May 17, 2014 at 7:30.
Jazz Straight Ahead, KCSB-FM
S Alan, thank you for being with us.
A Thank you for having me.
S So, your long career together has made you and Marilyn one of music’s premiere lyricist teams. And I understand that, at 12 years old, you already knew you wanted to be a song writer.
A Yeah, it was more than wanting, I had to be a song writer.
S You had to be a song writer. I’m interested in how that came about and in particular, how your family life prepared you for that early decision.
A Well musically, if you were Jewish and you lived in Brooklyn, when you were a child, when you were six years old you got piano lessons. That was automatic.
So, I got piano lessons and I loved that and I’d sit by the radio in those days and listen to the bands. It was the early start of the Swing Band Era; Benny Goodman and Tommy Dorsey and Glen Miller and so forth. And it’s interesting because their songs – what they played, the pitch was wonderful. They were really great songs. And those were the songs that molded the opinions of listeners all over the country. It was the time of the musical environment in this country when the people who were picking the songs were musicians, they weren’t A&R men, they weren’t executives of record companies, they were musicians and they had great taste. You heard Jerome Kern, Cole Porter and those wonderful people, composers and lyricists in those days. You heard them because of these new good songs. And I heard them as a kid and I said, “God, that’s wonderful. I have to do that.” It was the generation that was influenced and listened and took it in like osmosis.
In true #TBT (Throwback Thursday) style, Check out this gem from a 1951 production of Quisicosas at the Lobero Theatre. There is so much to enjoy in this vintage program — from the Spanish pronunciation guide, to the inserted flyer for the Music Academy of the West‘s Summer Festival Gala, with tickets for $3! Not to mention the old phone numbers and the fact that you can still eat at El Paseo before a show at the Lobero.
“And today, In the year 1951, Fiesta seethesagain around andwithin Lobero. Santa Barbarans and their guests reliving the days of the past, and holding fast to those traditions that lend enchantment to life for all who dwell here.” (pg 4, Quisicosas program)
It’s summertime at the Lobero, and I’m looking forward to spending some warm summer evenings on the new Esplanade, enjoying a cool drink before a great show. With performers like Richard Thompson, Marshall Crenshaw and the Bottle Rockets on the lineup, the Lobero LIVE season is off to a great start.
We are excited to welcome back the Music Academy of the West for performances by members of their Festival Orchestra, and Opera Scenes featuring some of the genre’s most beloved moments. And of course we can always count on Sings Like Hell to present “the greatest music you’ve never heard.”
Recent renovations to the theatre will make each of these summer performances even more enjoyable. The Esplanade gives us a safe and comfortable place to meet before the show with guests and friends. New seats provide better sight lines and more legroom. Enlarged restrooms mean the intermissions run smoother with much shorter wait times. And of course, a state-of-the-art air conditioning system keeps the climate cool when weather is warm, the house is full, and the audience is rocking out.
Jensen Guitar & Music Co.’s RockCamp starts next week!
The Lobero Theatre hosts a number of arts educational opportunities throughout the year; we love helping kids shine onstage. In 2014-15 there will be an emphasis on giving children a professional performance experience, instilling a lifelong love of the spotlight.
Coming up this summer, the Lobero is excited to have Jensen’s Guitar & Music Co. back in a Performing Arts Residency for their summer RockCamps. These residency programs teach the performing arts to local students and allow them to demonstrate their new shredding-skills on a professional stage. RockCamp is a series of three week-long summer intensives designed to teach students to play an instrument of their choice, culminating in a professional performance on the Lobero stage–the same stage recently occupied by Slash, Keb’ Mo’, Alan Parsons and more guitar greats. This program will also include one work mentorship opportunity for a student, teaching stage management and technical skills. (Presented In partnership with New Noise Music Festival.)
You learn every word and realize someone understands what you’re going through. These are the songs that become important markers of time, standards to celebrate, closely guarded companions after a tough breakup, or when you can’t quite find the words yourself.
Jimmy Webb and Karla Bonoff, two celebrated GRAMMY-winning songwriters of such lovingly-crafted songs, will share their most famous compositions in a rare double-bill appearance as Songwriters of a Generation on Saturday June 7. For these artists, the moniker is not an exaggeration. Webb is the only artist to receive Grammy’s for music, lyrics, and orchestration, has provided career-making classics for Glen Campbell, Art Garfunkel, The Fifth Dimension, and Joe Cocker. Karla Bonoff too, has seen many of her ballads become pop classics with artists such as Linda Ronstadt, Bonnie Raitt, Wynonna Judd and Lynn Anderson offering their interpretations.
Karla Bonoff has been described as one of the finest singer-songwriters of her generation.
With a career spanning four decades, Bonoff has enjoyed critical acclaim, commercial success, as well as the unwavering respect of her peers. In addition to her own success, Karla has seen many of her ballads become pop classics, and songs such as “Tell Me Why” become hits for top artists.
Ronstadt recorded three of Bonoff’s songs on her 1976 album, Hasten Down the Wind, leading to a recording contract for Bonoff and the release of three albums, the last of which, Wild Heart of the Young, featured the Top 40 hit “Personally.” Bonoff worked on movie soundtracks during the ’80s, notably on Footloose and About Last Night. Rondstadt’s voice brings soaring authenticity to Bonoff’s resolute words. Together, they formed a realistic grown-up perspective for female pop music, tapping into the female perspective of everywoman. Their impact on female songwriting can still be seen today.
A true living legend of songwriting, Jimmy Webb’s been crafting amazing songs, many of which have become cherished standards, for some forty years–and he’s still at it. His songs are soaring dramatic creations born from his piano and sharp mind for metaphor.
Though the name may not sound familiar, the song’s titles sure do. Webb’s compositions include “MacArthur Park,” “Wichita Lineman,” “By The Time I Get To Phoenix,” “All I Know,” “The Highwayman,” “Up, Up and Away,” and many more. The list of musical icons who have interpreted his songs reads like a rolodex of the best in rock ’n roll from the late 60’s & 70’s, with even Donna Summer putting her disco spin on his classic, “MacArthur Park.” Along with his personal idol, Burt Bacharach, Webb is one of the few non-performing artists of the 60’s to achieve personal stardom and professional acclaim as a songwriter.
Don’t miss Karla Bonoff and Jimmy Webb, Songwriters of a Generation on Saturday, June 7. Tickets available here.
28 locations in the area offering this new technology
The Lobero Theatre and the New Victoria Theatre (New Vic) have recently joined the growing ranks of local venues to adopt state-of-the-art hearing loop technology, including Campbell Hall at UCSB, the University Club of Santa Barbara, the Santa Barbara Museum of Art’s Mary Craig Auditorium and the Ojai Playhouse. For a full list of looped venues, visit www.loopsantabarbara.org.
In May of last year, “Let’s Loop Santa Barbara” set out to turn Santa Barbara into one of the most hearing accessible cities in California. A year later, there are 28 places offering hearing loop technology across our region. Because of this important movement, individuals with hearing loss are obtaining equal access through the usage of hearing loop technology.
Already widely used in Europe and Scandinavia, hearing loops are rapidly gaining popularity across the US, thanks to advocacy campaigns like “Let’s Loop Santa Barbara” brought to the community by the Independent Living Resource Center. The technology lets hearing aid users receive sound signals directly through their t-coil enabled hearing aids. As most hearing aids include a t-coil as standard, users do not need any additional equipment to access sound in a looped venue – a major advantage over other systems.
The hearing loop installation at the Lobero Theatre has been entirely funded by Jack and Kathleen Moseley, contributors to the Encore: Lobero capital campaign. Speaking about his donation, Mr. Moseley said, “I am just pleased that more hard-of-hearing people can enjoy the theatre.”
Read more about the Lobero’s recent Encore: Lobero upgrades to improve accessibility here.
“I played my first violin concert at age 9 at the Lobero, and am super excited to return “home” nearly 40 years later for Danny Click’s show on May 3, as his fiddler!” – Adrienne Biggs
Adrienne Biggs, aka, Violin Femme, and her musician parents (Grammy-winning singer/arranger Salli Terri and Ojai-based composer John Biggs) lived in Santa Barbara in the 1970’s. Mom, Salli, also taught at UCSB. The Biggs family played the Lobero Theatre on Dec. 17,1975. (Check out the photo in front of the Lobero’s kiosk!)
Adrienne mentions on her facebook page that she didn’t have the typical upbringing: “Instead of vacations, our family toured professionally in nearly 30 countries, performing an eclectic program including Renaissance to Americana music on period instruments that we owned, like harpsichord, piano, krumhorns, hurdy gurdy, recorders, hand bells, portative organ, rauschpfeife and of course, violins.”
After playing in youth and then professional orchestras and ensembles, in the early 90’s Adrienne moved to San Francisco and played with numerous bands in all of the notable venues, including Danny Click and the Hell Yeahs, who take the stage by way of Sings Like Hell this Saturday, May 3.
Just Added! Pre-Curtain Discussion with Dance Critic Rachel Howard
New ticket prices! See Dystopian Distractions! from $12
We’re now halfway through the 2014 DANCEworks residency with nationally-renowned choreographer Mark Dendy. Not only is there tremendously thought-provoking work being accomplished onstage, Mark is engaging the community with fascinating open rehearsals, and even brought local dancers into the new work. Check out photos & videos.
While in residence, Mark Dendy Projects is creating a new work entitled Dystopian Distractions!, a black comedic take on the American war machine through the lens of pop culture. Audiences can expect a social commentary sending up many American notables from Elvis Presley, Honey Boo Boo to Donald Rumsfeld – and will still be surprised by what Mark comes up with.* The premiere of the fearless and insightful new work is Saturday, April 26. Tickets start at just $12 – that’s the price of seeing a movie! So, before you head to the cinema, consider a once-in-a-lifetime premiere of dance theater…
“Dendy is a most unusual talent. The dances are brilliant!” – THE NEW YORK POST
New to DANCEworks this year the “Friday Club.”a chance to go behind the scenes with Mr. Dendy and the company each Friday of their residency with open rehearsals and a reception with the company. This amazing perk is available for DANCEworks supporters who have made a contribution of just $50. There’s still one more Friday Club coming up on April 18! If you want to experience this rare glimpse into the creative process, make a gift at SBDANCEworks.com/donate.
Just Added: Pre-Curtain Discussion with Dance Critic Rachel Howard, 7:15 p.m., April 26. Who is Mark Dendy, what is dance theater, and how does Dendy’s new Dystopian Distractions! carry forward the tradition of dances made about war and society? Dance Critic Rachel Howard offers a deep dive into Dystopian Distractions! Read more.
Are you hip to DANCEworks? Thisgroundbreaking collaboration between SUMMERDANCE Santa Barbara and the Lobero Theatre Foundation offers notable choreographers a month-long residency in which to create, rehearse and premiere a brand new work on the Lobero stage. It’s a truly innovative partnership that puts Santa Barbara on the map as a community that supports the creation of new choreography in a significant way. DANCEworks is gaining broad recognition within the world of contemporary dance and has already contributed to the careers of choreographers Aszure Barton, Larry Keigwin, Doug Elkins, and Brian Brooks.
DANCEworks ’13 company & community dancers with Larry Keigwin. Photo: David Bazemore
Three of Santa Barbara’s historic theaters, The Granada Theatre, the Lobero Theatre, and the Ensemble Theatre Company at the New Vic, each with their own rich history, are collaborating in a new partnership to further promote our thriving performing arts scene. By working together as the Santa Barbara’s Historic Theatre District these three theaters are ushering in a new era of cooperative programming and access to the performing arts to Santa Barbara’s savvy patrons and presenters.
1st Thursday: After Hours heats up with spring with three more evenings in Santa Barbara’s Historic Theatre District hosted by the Lobero Theatre (Apr 3), the Granada Theatre (May 1) and The New Vic (Jun 5) who are offering fun new ways to access Santa Barbara’s Performing arts after dark.
Stay tuned for more exciting announcements from this partnership.