I hope everyone reading this right now is doing great, wherever you may be. Me? I am loving the cooler weather in New York City, but I am a little overwhelmed by the rush of activity brought on by the Fall. I know it’s to be expected and one of the things to love about the season, but I didn’t think I had that much scheduled. Somehow, however, I do.
Would you care to hear about it?
If you checked No, then please skip to “Love, Larry” with my best wishes, because this email will not be to your taste.
But before going to my future, allow me to recap a few things from my recent past:
I performed my newest scripted musical show, “What a Difference!” at Joe’s Pub on August 21st to a sold-out house! “What a Difference!” is my fourth in a series of shows about surviving the wreckage of irreparable family conflict and creating something new and deliberate—a chosen family—built on love. I have been proud of all of the previous shows (“Who or What I Am” at Joe’s Pub in 2018, “Beyond Repair” at the RISD Museum in 2019, and “Loving You is Easier” at The 8th Floor in 2022), but this one felt the best. I had Jim Andralis and Julie DeLano helping me out on guitar, accordion, bass, and beautiful SINGING, plus the amazing crew and staff at Joe’s Pub and a pop-up chosen family choir of a baker’s dozen of my dearest friends to sing and support me on stage (as well as to shield me from the audience as I changed into my final costume). An extra bonus was angel-voiced/hearted Bridget Everett leading the choir and remaining onstage to sing one of my oldest songs, “Take me Back” with Jim and me backing her up. It was an evening of the physical manifestation of how I see my closest relationships in my head—singing in harmony, supporting each other when we need it, and dressing in beautifully detailed coordinated costumes!
I also felt the most connected with an audience that I ever have. For at least that one night, I included everyone there in my family, and the result was an overwhelming feeling of warmth that I think we all felt. I know I did! Anyway, I loved this show, and I want to do it again! Once I gather myself together, I hope to shop it around for festivals and short runs in New York and beyond. In the meantime, you can watch the video of the whole show at Joe’s Pub HERE
I put a ton of work into “What a Difference!”—not only in the songwriting, rehearsing, and ENDLESS SEWING, but I also drew up a 4-page program,
Made up a special edition, hand-bound book of the lyrics to all the songs in the show,
And I hand-screened a whole mess of new t-shirts to sell using some vintage screens from my archive.
A few of these shirts are still available in my website SHOP if any of you are in need. Each is unique, so snatch ‘em up fast!
And actually, more stuff is coming from that show, because Rhode Island PBS Executive Producer for Art and Culture Tracy McDonald and her crew followed me around on the day of the show & interviewed me in my studio the next day to get a hot take on who I am for a segment about me and my whole interdisciplinary art practice for their great art program, Art Inc.
I recently met up with the Art Inc. crew again at the RISD Museum in Providence to provide them with more sizzling content as Curator and Head of the Department of Costumes and Textiles Kate Irvin and I conversed in the presence of my piece in their permanent collection, Then and Now (Circles: Coreopsis Moonbeams, Irises, Poppies, Forest Road) 2016. If all goes well, my segment should be ready and on the air before the Fall is over!
Now how about something new that you can SEE and HEAR?
Me at Francis Kite Club! Francis Kite Club is a cool new art space/bar run by a collective that includes Laura Raicovichand Kyp Malone. And it also happens to be located just a few blocks from where I live! So, when, after having seen “What a Difference!”, Laura was inspired to invite me to do a series of performances there, I immediately said my favorite word: “yes”! I wanted to do something special and new for this series, so I decided to integrate some of what I’ve been working on in my book, More Than You Need to Know About an Artist You’ve Never Heard Of, into my stage act. This is both scary and exhilarating for me—I have never ever presented my writing this way—so I figure it must be the right thing to do.
There will be four performances spaced out on Sundays in November and December. The first one is in about 2 weeks, on November 5th. I’ll be reading from Chapter 6, “M.W.A.H. (Manifesto for Wayward Artists of Honor),” and I will be joined by the inimitable Jim Andralis.
If any of you are in the New York area, I’d love to see you there! And/or at any of the upcoming installments with the following readings and guest performers:
OK, back to the past!
I’ve done a few other gigs since I last wrote. The ones I can remember are a recent show at The Bowery Electric…
I also recently joined Jessie Kilguss singing Willie Nelson & Sinead O’Connor singing Peter Gabriel & Kate Bush’s “Don’t Give Up” as part of Loser’s Lounge at Joe’s Pub. And in one of my strangest and most challenging gigs to date, I found myself in Austerlitz, NY emceeing the Millay Arts Gala and 50th Anniversary celebration. The emcee part was easy, but the tribute in song to Millay Arts alum James Lapine, co-creator with Stephen Sondheim of Sunday in the Park with George shook things up for me a little bit! Luckily I had Allyson Briggs and her band Fleur Seule to support my best attempt at Mandy Patinkin’s part in the stirring, beautiful “Move On” and Allyson to distract from that with her soaring interpretation of Bernadette Peters’ part. And luckily, I was desperately laser-focused on the conductor, so I did not have to see Mr. Lapine’s reaction to whatever I thought I was doing.
You know that thing on RuPaul’s Drag Race where they make the final contestants look at a picture of themselves as a baby and tell their younger selves what they can expect from life? Well, if anyone ever asks me to talk to a picture of myself as a baby, I’m going to leave my Sondheim singing debut out of my speech to spare that kid the worry. (Baby me: you will get through the song, but it won’t be good.)
And I donated a special work of art for their silent auction:
Now, here was a surprise gig that popped up in my Fall: Joe’s Pub hired me to make a 28-by-14 foot patchwork curtain (gathered to 14 x 14’) and devise a rigging so that it could dramatically drop to reveal the newly updated photos on their wall of fame. The amazing thing about this project: it worked! Here’s the curtain.
That evening was a celebration of Joe’s Pub’s 25th year alive combined with a retirement party for the amazing KB Burton, retiring as General Manager. Part of the celebration was a show that closed with Bridget Everett. Bridget asked Jim Andralis, Neal Medlyn, Jeff Hiller, and me to help her out & back-up dance on “What I Gotta Do (to get That Dick in my Mouth)”. Of course we said yes!
Speaking of my husband Jim Andralis, he has been making some fine music!! September 21st he released his EP “September”. It’s a gorgeous collection of stripped down songs, four of his own and one Taylor Swift song. It’s also beautiful looking, because some joker named Larry Krone did the album art!
Jim is currently finishing up his fifth full album called “Ghosts”. This one is fully produced and engineered by superstar/mensch Tom Beaujour at The Nuthouse and features all of us Syntonics plus a whole slew of great musicians. What I’m trying to say is that it has a big beautiful sound, and you are going to love it!
If you are like me, you are saying “Oh Lourdes, please let this newsletter end!!” right now. Oh, wait! She just told me not to worry—there are only a couple more things:
1) I’m in a movie!!
My work was actually done in 2006 when filmmaker David Wild and his crew (including DP & spouse Lulu Gargiulo) interviewed me on camera about cowboy hats. Now Howdy Pardner: Tales of the Cowboy Hat is finished and traveling the festival circuit, including at the Tucson Film Festival for the film’s world premiere on November 5th! I’ve watched HP:TotCH & it’s great, so please keep an eye out & see it when you can!
2) I’m a character in fine literature! Actually, it’s a restaurant review by my virtuosic writer friend Kathleen Alcott, but I’m in it, and since she wrote it, it is like fine literature. Kathleen took me on assignment to Stoned Pizza as her guest, and it was quite a ride. Stoned Pizza is an underground weed restaurant. Everything in the meal was laced with THC to the total of something like 200 milligrams if you eat and drink everything. I’ll let Kathleen tell you the rest. Read her review in The Baffler entitled “Sky High” HERE. And please read everything Kathleen writes (especially America Was Hard to Find and her new collection of short stories, Emergency), because she is one of the best writers I’ve ever read.
Oops, oh shit, did I never write about Ox-Bow? It was so long ago by now, but it did happen! I spent 3 weeks in residence at Ox-Bow in Saugatuck, Michigan in June. It’s in one of my favorite parts of the world, southwestern Michigan, right on the lake, and just to be in that location was wonderful. For the first 46 years of my life, I used to vacation about an hour away from Saugatuck with my family until things went bad seven years ago, so it was a rush of emotions to find myself surrounded again by the woods, the lake, and the thrift shops! (I spent two full days of my time there with my great friend Cindy who drove all the way to Saugatuck so we could relive our old familiar routine of hitting the region’s thrift shops till we dropped.) Between the shopping and the party atmosphere at Ox-Bow, I struggled to get into a routine there, but I did actually get a lot done! I got the beginnings of “What a Difference!” figured out, I finished a revised first draft of “Eulogy,” my essay about grieving for my parents (who are technically still alive), I did some drawing, and I sewed a lot of damn sequins on my long-term textile piece, Then and Now (Everybody Loves Flowers #4).
This piece is about 13 feet long by 3 feet high, which is very big for me! I started work on it while I was in residence at Yaddo in 2021. There, I assembled the main structure of it out of found embroidery projects that all used flowers as their subject. The piece is too big for me to manage easily in my home studio, so I have saved working on it for when I am lucky enough to have time at a residency with more space. I really have been pretty lucky, because I got to work on it first at Yaddo in 2021, at Millay Arts in 2022, at Ox-Bow in 2023, and I’ve just learned that I’ll be heading back to Yaddo this January, so look out for a few more feet of crazy-ass sequinning!
I leave you with the lyrics to my song “Rhinestones,” an attempt to capture the feeling I have when I am sewing something for a person I love.
RHINESTONES by Larry Krone ©2021 Getting started isn’t easy When the job that’s to be done Is to sit still for hours Applying rhinestones one by one And I need to remind myself That once I’m in the groove Each crystal as it sparkles Illuminates my love for you As I reach into the pile Of tiny little stones Refracting rays of light From the lamps around my home I think about the person This garment soon will touch Overcome with emotion Because I love them so much But the pile will get smaller And I can’t wait to see That moment that I live for This gift for you from me And I hope that when you see it A light comes from above To fill your face with rainbows Reflections of my love I’ll keep working through the night Listening to my favorite songs Trying not to wake the neighbors As I sing along This could go on forever Because my love will never die But there’s a limit to the rhinestones I could afford to buy And at this rate I’ll be working through the dawn And I’ll know I’m done when all the rhinestones are gone And even though my love for you goes on and on My job here will be finished when the last rhinestone is gone And I just know I’ll be working through the dawn And I’ll be done when all the rhinestones are gone And I can’t wait to see you try it on Our love will be for the world to see When the last rhinestone is gone And we can finally get some sleep When the last rhinestone is gone Amen
Thank you for your attention, everybody, and for reading this. Do YOU have something to say to ME? Send it on over, and I’ll read it, too!
*P.S. and by the way, Gregory Kramer is also a wizard when it comes to solving website problems & stuff. He helped me spruce up and unkink this old dinosaur, and I could not be happier with the results! Contact Greg thru his website if you’re interested in hiring him for your website needs!
Thank you, and good night.