Max Raabe & the Palast Orchester left an almost sold out crowd panting for more at the Merriam Theatre tonight. It was easy to be transported by in the Deco environs of this old Shubert house. The band was seated behind period ivory music stands and Max was astride a grand in his impeccable cutaway tails.
This show is on tour, but every detail including the lighting- cobalts and reds that silhouetted like the bandstand right into the 30s. Many in the audience were in fact in period outfits, Charleston dresses, Gatsby tuxes and a few who really knew what they were doing – Deitrich drag.
Musically, Raabe rescues whole genres of music that never should die. Cabaret German tangos and rhumbas, Berliner torch songs and subtle comic lyrics mis en scenes (a lost art). The audience went wild on exact era musicianship of ‘Happy Days are Here Again’ and ‘Cheek to Cheek’ and ‘Dream and Little Dream’ all from the 20s, playing now like a balm in troubled times. But it’s during many of the lesser known songs in German that are done with such artistry and flair that the audience responded to with the lustiest applause. A triumphant night at the theater for this outfit.
Re: the bawdiness of the recent poem Fausto and actually the section here is tame compared the rest of it. It is in direct response to a poem I read recently called Homosexuality which just was so clammy & morbid in tone, I wanted to celebrate the honesty of those gay men who refuse to be tortured by made up mores and pursue sex on its own honest terms.
The second reason Fausto is so sexual active is a response to yet another Republican hypocrite who is married with children, fighting against gay rights- that’s one slimy political beard – and was nabbed on a DUI with another man in the car coming from a gay bar. There have been no denials just “I’m sorry for my poor judgment.” He’s in for some grief and he would deserve it too.
And this on the heals of a Vatican scandal involving an intimate of the Pope procuring, exploiting and otherwise using his power to traffic for male sex slaves. Aside from the hypocrisy all of these scandals in the straight world involving self-loathing gays who act out inappropriately because they can’t live honest lives. Such stories rob reporting of the millions of functioning gay men and women who have positive relationships and are fighting in their daily lives for equality in jobs, housing, health-care and spousal recognition, standing up against homophobia and hate.
The straight world loves the lurid details of these scandals but they don’t want to hear about the real gay America. So….so there.