Tuesday, October 27, 2009

pink martini allures and awes at album release party

"Dazzling!" cheered the Diário de São Paulo.

"Exquis!" boasted the Le Monde.

"Encore! Encore! Encore!" roared the crowd.

Well, they would've said all that and more if they'd attended Pink Martini's CD release party last night at the Crystal Ballroom.

Entering a wonderland, thousands of balloons were scattered across the ballroom ceiling like jellybeans and their sparkling, rainbow tails dangled catching the stage lights just right to glimmer magnificently.

With 19 members on stage, the band took us from Napoli ("Ninna nanna") to "Brazil" bursting with tracks from their previous 3 albums and 11 of the 13 cuts on their new disc Splendor In The Grass.

China Forbes seduced in French, Italian, Spanish, and English while Thomas Lauderdale exuded boyish enthusiasm on the piano accompanied by a menagerie of strings with violins and cellos, a booming percussion section, a harp, a trumpet and trombone, and of course a whistle.

The pair bantered onstage with Lauderdale reading from his "menu," a poster-sized program that guests received along with a flower (or five) from the lovely hosts.

Ranging in elegance to simply cheeky, from dripping love songs to stories of dogs, the tunes traveled to the outskirts of Mexico City on "Piensa en mi" (sung on the album with Mexican lesbian and Frida Kahlo's ex-lover Chavela Vargas), to Sesame Street with "Sing" (originally written in 1971 for the children's program, popularized by The Carpenters, and recorded with Emilio Delgado aka "Luis" on Sesame Street), and back home to the view from Forbes' window overlooking the Tualatin Valley on "Over the Valley."

Couples chasséd, the audience chuckled to the "Tuca Tuca" touching dance between Forbes and Lauderdale, and naturally cheered the barbershop quartet on the album's most "controversial" song: an ode exposing Billy's alter-ego "Bitty Boppy Betty" with a moral that transgender soirées are just more fun.

Badda-bing, badda-boom, the band thanks you, sticking around to sign autographs and bask in Portland's love.

Read this article on Examiner.com.

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