I Cannot Pay my Electric Bill

If you look closely you will see fear in my eyes.  A stiff, yet quivering upper lip, a whisp of self-loathing, a shade of despair, an undercurrent of regret, an internalized terror,  the mind numbing horror of an uncertain future, a curiosity concerning the discomfort of hypothermia, the guilt of an American unable to pull herself up by her bootstraps, the return of grief for buried parents, the longing for estranged siblings. The romantic life of the artist, often idolized by audience members, romanticized by history, offers, I’ll admit, a bittersweet, intense life experience. The worries that accompany this lifestyle are many, and that is why no one would choose this life if it wasn’t chosen for them.

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The Song List Grows..and grows


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 My trio and I are determined to never be stumped by a request.

 

 

As Time Goes By    C

A Train   Bb

After You’ve Gone  C

A Foggy  Day    Db

All of Me   C

All or Nothing at all  Em

Be Meir Bis Du Eb

Black Coffee  G

Body and Soul   Ab

Blue Skies  Am

But Beautiful   Ab

Boulevard of Broken Dreams  Em

Best is Yet to Come   E

Can’t Take That away from Me  G

Can’t Take that Away  G

Crazy he calls me  C

Cheek to Cheek   G

Don’t Explain

Don’t Worry Bout Me  C

Fascinating Rhythm   D

Funny Valentine  C

Give my Regards to Broadway  Eb

I get a Kick out of You  G

Fever   Cm

It’s Don’t Mean a Thing   Bb

I Can’t give you Anything but Love  Eb

I Love Paris   C

I Want to Be Happy  Eb

Get Happy  Ab

Let’ Get Away from it All   F

Lover Man   D

More than you Know

My Buddy  Bb

Making Whoopie   G

My Kind of Trouble is You   F#

New York, New York  Eb

Pennies from Heaven   C

Route 66   G

Smoke Gets in your Eyes  A

Stormy Weather   D

Summertime  Bb

Satin Doll  C

Sing, Sing, Sing   Em

Side by Side  G

Slow Boat to China

The Man I Love  G

Tomorrow   Eb

Night and Day    E

Moon River   D

Lazy Afternoon G

Strangers in the Night  A

Love and Marriage   Eb

Let’s Get Lost  Dmaj

Summer Wind   E

All or Nothing at All  Em

Embraceable You   Bb

Just in Time   Bb

My Way  B

Nobody does it Better  F

Don’t Get Around Much anymore   Bb

Who Can I Turn To?  Bb

Where or When  C

 

 

Very good year  C

Whiskey Bar   Dm

More  Db

Shadow of your Smile  Bb

Wee Small Hours  Ab

Luck be a Lady   F

Witchcraft  D

Second Time Around

A tisket, A Tasket  G

Am I blue   Bb

Beyond the Sea  C

Blues Skies  Bb

But Beautiful   Ab

Cry me a River

Fine and Mellow   F

Good Morning Heartache   Db

How Long has This been Going On

I’ll be Seeing You  C

I should care  Eb

My Buddy  Bb

Sentimental Journey C

Slow Boat to China   G

Summertime  Bb

Stormy Weather  D

That’s All  F

Where or When

On a Clear Day  Emaj7

Tuxedo Junction  Eb

Pennies from Heaven  Eb

Honeysuckle Rose   G

In the Mood   F

Cheek to Cheek  G

Bill Bailey   Eb

Do Nothing till you Hear from Me

Cry me a River

Funny Valentine  C

I’m Always Chasing Rainbows

Smoke Gets in your Eyes Ab

Fever  Cm

Night and Day  E

Juke Box Saturday Night

Hello Dolly   G

I Could have Danced all Night  D

Climb Every Mountain  Bb

Make Someone Happy  C

Moonlight in Vermont

Once in a While  C

Let’s get Away from it All  F

Me and my Gin

One Meatball

It Don’t Mean a Thing

Ain’t Misbehavin   G

That Old Feeling  C

Something Stupid   Bb

Strangers in the Night   A

Over the Rainbow

My Favorite Things  Bbm

But Beautiful   Bb

Diamonds are a Girls Best Friend   C

Regards to Broadway    Eb

A Taste of Honey   Db

New York State of Mind   Ab

Pennies from Heaven   C

People will say we’re in love  Bb

Satin Doll  C

Till There was You  Bb

Unforgettable  F

Kick out of you   G

I’m all Smiles

Whiskey and Gin  Bb

Cement Mixer   C

Dancing on the Ceiling

The Parties Over

Chattanooga Choo Choo

When the Saints come Marching    C

When you Wish Upon a Star

Why Don’t you Do Right?

Sleepin Bee  B

That Old Feeling  C

When Sunny Gets Blue

Who can I Turn To

Deep Purple  G

It was a Very Good Year   Ab

I Got it Bad and That Ain’t Good

Is you or Is you Not my Baby

Just One of those Things

Old Devil Moon

Polka Dots and Moonbeams

Swing Low Sweet Chariot   B

Just you, Just me

How High the Moon  B

Im a fool to Want You

You’re Nobody till Somebody Loves you

Hit the Road to Dreamland

Until the Real Thing Comes Along

The Good Life

I Wanna be Around

Smile

Up a Lazy River

Gimme A Pigfoot and a Bottle of Beer

I’ve been working on the railroad

Always

I’ll never be the same   Eb

I’m All Smiles

Deep Purple  G

I Believe in You

Running Wild

Another Opening, Another Show

I Can’t stop Loving You  G

Nevertheless, I’m in Love with You

Zing, went the strings  C

Spring is Here  Db

A Good Man is Hard to Find

After the Ball is Over

Here’s that Rainy Day

Hello Ma Baby    C

Don’t Go to Strangers

Rawhide   A

Im Beginning to See the Light   F

You’d be So Nice to Come Home To   Eb

Johnny One Note

Keepin out of Mischief Now

I Don’t Know Enough About You  Bb

Let the Good Times Roll

Good Morning Heartache  Db

I’ve Written a Letter to Daddy  F

Pizza Every Night   F minor

I should Care   Eb

Get Happy

Happiness is Just a Thing Called Joe

Big Nobody

La Vie En Rose   C

Nobodies Sweetheart Now   Bb

New York State of Mind   Ab

I’ll Never be the Same   Eb

Stout Hearted Men

 

The Song List Grows..and grows


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 My trio and I are determined to never be stumped by a request.

 

 

As Time Goes By    C

A Train   Bb

After You’ve Gone  C

A Foggy  Day    Db

All of Me   C

All or Nothing at all  Em

Be Meir Bis Du Eb

Black Coffee  G

Body and Soul   Ab

Blue Skies  Am

But Beautiful   Ab

Boulevard of Broken Dreams  Em

Best is Yet to Come   E

Can’t Take That away from Me  G

Can’t Take that Away  G

Crazy he calls me  C

Cheek to Cheek   G

Don’t Explain

Don’t Worry Bout Me  C

Fascinating Rhythm   D

Funny Valentine  C

Give my Regards to Broadway  Eb

I get a Kick out of You  G

Fever   Cm

It’s Don’t Mean a Thing   Bb

I Can’t give you Anything but Love  Eb

I Love Paris   C

I Want to Be Happy  Eb

Get Happy  Ab

Let’ Get Away from it All   F

Lover Man   D

More than you Know

My Buddy  Bb

Making Whoopie   G

My Kind of Trouble is You   F#

New York, New York  Eb

Pennies from Heaven   C

Route 66   G

Smoke Gets in your Eyes  A

Stormy Weather   D

Summertime  Bb

Satin Doll  C

Sing, Sing, Sing   Em

Side by Side  G

Slow Boat to China

The Man I Love  G

Tomorrow   Eb

Night and Day    E

Moon River   D

Lazy Afternoon G

Strangers in the Night  A

Love and Marriage   Eb

Let’s Get Lost  Dmaj

Summer Wind   E

All or Nothing at All  Em

Embraceable You   Bb

Just in Time   Bb

My Way  B

Nobody does it Better  F

Don’t Get Around Much anymore   Bb

Who Can I Turn To?  Bb

Where or When  C

 

 

Very good year  C

Whiskey Bar   Dm

More  Db

Shadow of your Smile  Bb

Wee Small Hours  Ab

Luck be a Lady   F

Witchcraft  D

Second Time Around

A tisket, A Tasket  G

Am I blue   Bb

Beyond the Sea  C

Blues Skies  Bb

But Beautiful   Ab

Cry me a River

Fine and Mellow   F

Good Morning Heartache   Db

How Long has This been Going On

I’ll be Seeing You  C

I should care  Eb

My Buddy  Bb

Sentimental Journey C

Slow Boat to China   G

Summertime  Bb

Stormy Weather  D

That’s All  F

Where or When

On a Clear Day  Emaj7

Tuxedo Junction  Eb

Pennies from Heaven  Eb

Honeysuckle Rose   G

In the Mood   F

Cheek to Cheek  G

Bill Bailey   Eb

Do Nothing till you Hear from Me

Cry me a River

Funny Valentine  C

I’m Always Chasing Rainbows

Smoke Gets in your Eyes Ab

Fever  Cm

Night and Day  E

Juke Box Saturday Night

Hello Dolly   G

I Could have Danced all Night  D

Climb Every Mountain  Bb

Make Someone Happy  C

Moonlight in Vermont

Once in a While  C

Let’s get Away from it All  F

Me and my Gin

One Meatball

It Don’t Mean a Thing

Ain’t Misbehavin   G

That Old Feeling  C

Something Stupid   Bb

Strangers in the Night   A

Over the Rainbow

My Favorite Things  Bbm

But Beautiful   Bb

Diamonds are a Girls Best Friend   C

Regards to Broadway    Eb

A Taste of Honey   Db

New York State of Mind   Ab

Pennies from Heaven   C

People will say we’re in love  Bb

Satin Doll  C

Till There was You  Bb

Unforgettable  F

Kick out of you   G

I’m all Smiles

Whiskey and Gin  Bb

Cement Mixer   C

Dancing on the Ceiling

The Parties Over

Chattanooga Choo Choo

When the Saints come Marching    C

When you Wish Upon a Star

Why Don’t you Do Right?

Sleepin Bee  B

That Old Feeling  C

When Sunny Gets Blue

Who can I Turn To

Deep Purple  G

It was a Very Good Year   Ab

I Got it Bad and That Ain’t Good

Is you or Is you Not my Baby

Just One of those Things

Old Devil Moon

Polka Dots and Moonbeams

Swing Low Sweet Chariot   B

Just you, Just me

How High the Moon  B

Im a fool to Want You

You’re Nobody till Somebody Loves you

Hit the Road to Dreamland

Until the Real Thing Comes Along

The Good Life

I Wanna be Around

Smile

Up a Lazy River

Gimme A Pigfoot and a Bottle of Beer

I’ve been working on the railroad

Always

I’ll never be the same   Eb

I’m All Smiles

Deep Purple  G

I Believe in You

Running Wild

Another Opening, Another Show

I Can’t stop Loving You  G

Nevertheless, I’m in Love with You

Zing, went the strings  C

Spring is Here  Db

A Good Man is Hard to Find

After the Ball is Over

Here’s that Rainy Day

Hello Ma Baby    C

Don’t Go to Strangers

Rawhide   A

Im Beginning to See the Light   F

You’d be So Nice to Come Home To   Eb

Johnny One Note

Keepin out of Mischief Now

I Don’t Know Enough About You  Bb

Let the Good Times Roll

Good Morning Heartache  Db

I’ve Written a Letter to Daddy  F

Pizza Every Night   F minor

I should Care   Eb

Get Happy

Happiness is Just a Thing Called Joe

Big Nobody

La Vie En Rose   C

Nobodies Sweetheart Now   Bb

New York State of Mind   Ab

I’ll Never be the Same   Eb

Stout Hearted Men

 

Tough Economy Got You Down?

Laurel makes everyone relax

(excerpted from Get Magazine, Mike Ritz, 11/08)

“Cold Weather clouds blocking your sun?  Looking for a stress reliever?  Experience Laurel Casey.”

“Laurel doesn’t just sing or put on a cabaret show, she creates a nightly experience that engages the audience on a level usually found at an AA meeting.  Speaking of which: We’re addicted to Laurel!  Come see the show that never stands still!

“Laurel’s voice is filled with emotion and beauty.  Her 1920s – 1930s depression era songs are exquisite.  Her comedic diatribes hones, bold and hilarious.  If her unpredictable behavior and passionate voice don’t have you on the edge of your seat, nothing will.”

 — Get R.I. Magazine

Homophilia

Homophilia

Two tall, gallant gay men hold hands as they saunter down Waterman Avenue. The collars of their brown leather jackets cock to the angle of their jaw lines which jut from their necks like glacial ice. Cashmere scarves blow about their aquiline faces as their stove-pipe piston legs pump forward in synchronicity through rows of short heterosexual people with donut waistlines.

I love to watch beautiful gay men and women in their tight jeans and salon fashioned hair freshly trimmed and shining as they politely dodge the pasty, over hairy straight herd in cheap t-shirts or polyester suits. The straight dullards squint at the gays from beneath Neanderthal brows, lids heavy with curiosity and envy. “If I looked like that” a straight man without a neck sneers, “I’d find some action big time.” “What a terrible waste, on all fronts.” sighs a neglected, thin-lipped straight woman as she adjusts a chaffing bra strap.

From the gay men’s perspective, the hetero-herd of multi-shaded, slithering human flesh must look like an electric multi-colored rope rug, but they continue walking tall, smiling kindly with unabashed graciousness at the heterosexually horny pygmies who appear to be gaining strength by rubbing against each other.

The bumpy-butted crowd, clutching faux designer bags, seems on the brink of panic as they weave down the street in search of a mate with which to procreate.

I want to follow the gay men to their home. I crave beauty. A vision of fresh flowers, Adagio for Strings, shitake mushrooms marinating in a balsamic dressing. I desperately long to press my face into layers of Egyptian cotton bedding and goose down, sip a hearty burgundy by candlelight below an original David Hockney, suppress my ugly heterosexual propensities.

I lose track of the Adonis’s, and am left alone with the straight masses. We are caught up together at rush hour, heading towards a suburbia of chain-link fences, plastic flower arrangements and canned soup. The mob slows in front of a Dunkin Donuts. Two broad shouldered gay men are in line, thumbing through the new definitive biography of Jean Genet. They are carrying a Whole Foods grocery bag. I inhale the warm bread and fresh dill as another member of my hetero cheetos-at-midnight set, waddles to the counter to take their order.

Back on the street, prematurely dark with daylight savings, the pulsing bodies under the bobbing hetero-heads slow to an evening pace. They now appear as nondescript shadows floating through the neon glow of the Thayer Street pubs. Their straight-jacket brains have been lulled into an alpha state as they sit at outside tables and stuff melted cheese objects into their mouths.

Two movie star handsome gay men are sitting at a corner table. I sit at the bar behind them. Their features are chiseled white stone under moonlight. Two pixie coiffed women, one carrying a cake, sing out “Happy Birthday!” and sit with the men. Four handsome faces glow around a candled cake. The women lean into each other like two pieces of a sectional sofa. Wine glasses click. I am close enough to breath in a heady mix of candle smoke and musk. I settle onto my bar stool, comforted.

I hear a pig-grunt-cough from across the bar. A thick skinned puffy-eyed Pluto in a football shirt winks for me to join him. There are mirrors where his eyeballs should be and they reflect the tiny garter snake erection tugging at his crotch. A couple of his drooling buddies, damp hairy wrists wrapped around their spilling beer glasses, salute me as they perform grinding hip rotations in sync.

I quickly pay my bar tab and move back onto the street. Again, as always, I head home alone.

To be continued……………….

ve been straight for 56 years and I will always be straight because there isn’t anything I can do about it, but I have recently considered expanding my libido choices. Now that the recession is in full swing, it wouldn’t hurt if I became bi-sexual in order to network in a more lucrative way. As a middle aged woman, sleeping my way to the top of the straight world is now impossible, but in the Lesbian community, my twat is still considered desirable.

I don’t want you to think that I am only interested in forwarding my career and social status. I admire the gay community and have always been envious of their parades, great bars and dance clubs, cute dogs and apartments, recipes and solidarity. Gay people tend to be creative outsiders who do not march to the drum of dumb-dumbs. As a straight person, I am surrounded with thick necked, football obsessed meatheads, PTA soccer moms, and pseudo intellectuals and artists who sit around their framed poster apartments over-intellectualizing about their world philosophy. They write a lot of bad poetry and spend most of their energy jerking off or feigning orgasm with their drab conclave partners.

There are no straight pride parades because straight people aren’t proud of being straight. I’m tired of being on the losing team, the sexual mandate of yester-year, which now, due to overpopulation, is dangerous for the planet. I feel no connection to my straight constituents because until recently I hadn’t had sex in four years, and even now I am only having sex about once every three months. Being that it’s straight sex, it doesn’t seem to count, especially since the man I am sleeping with can’t support me.

I have been hanging out in gay bars lately, trying to jumpstart a latent homosexual tendency that might catapult my life into overdrive. There I sit, straight, bored and boring, dulled down by my lack of horniness for innovative booty fare. Yes. The gay men love me and support me, because we share an obsession with penises and cabaret, but I feel like Lesbians are my lost sisters. They could lead me towards independence and true prosperity, away from torch singing self destruction ala Judy Garland.

There is a glitch. Like most straight women, I have been programmed to consider my body repulsive and drippy unless I am airbrushed. The dark cavern under my skirt is still suspect, even in the 21st Century, of being the Black Hole of Calcutta or worse, a sacred love canal leading to large child support payments. I’m stuck with it. Even if I had the money for a sex change operation, it wouldn’t work because I would want to sleep with straight men not gay men, and they wouldn’t have me. Then again, I might want to sleep with Lesbians and they wouldn’t have me either. What kind of career plan is that??

Note: Lesbian. The term is horrifying, isn’t it? “Gay” sounds less foreboding. Why do Lesbians have to be called Lesbians and Dikes, and gay men aren’t called “Buttbians” or “Dicks”? Is it a sexist thing? I suppose it doesn’t matter because if I became a Lesbian as a straight woman I would then be considered “bi”. If I could convince a gay man to sleep with me, I would be a “Tri.” From there, the numbers get too big to crunch. Mate swapping, orgies, gang rape. Let’s keep it simple:

If I became a “Lesbian” I would lose a lot of my gay male friends and they support my cabaret performances but the Lesbians are not going to help me get anywhere if they do not see potential for a flesh fest. I can’t go “both ways” because there is a great divide between Lesbians and Gay Men- an undercurrent of hostility, in Providence. A Lesbian friend: “Those assholes think they own the city. All that dress up Diva shit.” A gay friend: “Those dikes have no sense of humor. They’re not in drag, they are a drag.” At the risk of losing the thrust of this piece, no pun intended, what gives? Maybe they are each offended by the other’s choice, as much as some straight people are offended by both Lesbians and Gays, or straight people, like me, who are offended by straight people.

Can’t we all just get along, for my sake? I am considering Lesbianism and Gayness and Bi-ness and Tri-ness and group masturbation. I want to be a member of every group, every parade, every fund-raiser, every gallery opening, every bar and restaurant and night-club in the universe .I want each and every sexual orientation to believe that I am a member of their tribe, a proponent of their lifestyle. I am the one to call when an opportunity presents itself.

Why hedge my bets? Times are hard and getting harder. To stay “on top”, I intend to fuck anything that moves.

Photo: Laurel and Miss Kitty (First Lady of Providence?)

Laurel Casey

Who’s Afraid of Laurel Casey? by Sue LaMond – Owner of Salvation Cafe in Newport

Laurel and Susan

It is strangely warm for a Christmas Eve but a crisp, wet winter wind periodically gusts through the outdoor courtyard of the Salvation Café. As the audience begins to trickle in, I find myself privy to their expectations. “I thought it was going to be later, Laurel never performs this early.” whines a local insider trying to explain to her friends why they haven’t time to drink before the performance.

“I thought it was inside. I didn’t dress warmly enough!” utters another disappointed audience member. “I heard Laurel’s crazy, she does her show naked!” stage-whispers a friend of mine, readying herself for an EXPERIENCE.

I begin to think about how low my expectations are. I mean, this is conservative Newport.

But wait, what’s going on? The place is beginning to buzz. People are asking the confused wait staff for extra chairs. I quickly make an approximate head count and am surprised to tally about fifty people huddling together against the chill. Spontaneously, an air of camaraderie develops. People go to their cars for blankets and extra sweaters to share, still others go to a nearby liquor store to fortify themselves with brandy and other belly warming beverages. The ambience begins to take on the feeling of an artsy version of an autumn twilight football game, it’s Al Fresco Theater.

Despite a rational attempt to ground myself, my expectations soar, and just as this energy spreads and everyone nestles down, in walks Laurel Casey, on cue, of course.

So begins our evening’s roller coaster ride, into the contradictory world of Laurel Casey’s search for our cumulative position in the universe. Having enjoyed reading her work, I am struck by the extra dimension added by her performance. This is not a competitive- “I have five minutes to get your attention and be as obnoxious as possible” poetry slam. It is a jazz artist’s dynamic use of spoken word, music, comedy, and audience participation.

Laurel’s relationship with her audience is that of an eccentric cousin, as she cajoles, evokes, interviews, advises, and in this case bribes us with expensive aperitifs (At this performance she brings two huge bottles of the best cognacs and fills our glasses if we’re quiet!”) We wince at her ability to dig up emotions we’d firmly planted in the sand, with eclectic interpretations of seemingly simple standards, (Side by Side, Tiptoe through the Tulips, and Don’t Sit under the Apple Tree.) She skids and coasts through ideas, observations, reflections, social and political satire, advice, and confession until we want to be her best friend. Honesty and vulnerability are rare and very attractive.

Suddenly I understand why Laurel is “politically incorrect.” It is convenient for people who need to hear her and take responsibility for creating a world where she doesn’t fit- to dismiss her as angry and crazy. Collectively we make it impossible for her to question the ideals and role models we have created. By boxing her work into a pretty package marked “inappropriate” we handily divest ourselves of any obligations of reflection, or, God Forbid, change.

William Gass, in his Atlantic Monthly essay, “The Shears of the Censor” wrote, “The self censors itself because it does not want to receive or inflict pain. The truth, of course, is a casualty.”

Laurel Casey does not believe in censorship, which is why she is considered a “loose cannon.” Instead, she is two skilled artists in one. She’s a writer, penning insightful anecdotes and essays that resonate with the rusty taste of anguish, but then she is able to improvise these texts “on her feet”, like a jazz musician.

It is evening’s end, and Laurel sings “Lush Life” in a smooth, luscious contralto. No one wants to leave and they say so. “We’re going to catch pneumonia when we sober up.” She warns. Everyone laughs as she goes into a story about planting a rose garden with her daughter a week before an eviction notice. The laughter turns to pensive sadness as Laurel sings “I’ll be Home for Christmas.”

Photo: Laurel and Susan

-Sue Lamond, Owner, Salvation Cafe, Newport RI

Will Sing for Champagne

Here it comes. Stalemate. Good thing I love a challenge, like finding a jazz gig as the recession deepens, consumers stay home and eat canned beans, club owners panic. I have decided that if need be, I will perform for free, or at least for champagne. As Oscar Wilde said, “Give me the luxuries and I’ll live without the necessities.”  During hard times, don’t give up every indulgence, cut back on necessities instead. Close the doors in your house and only heat one room but buy fresh flowers for your table. You need beauty and laughter to offset the darkening mood. Give extra time and help to your friends. Take in the stray cat. A simpler time is coming. Simple and tough. What a wonderful opportunity to practice your survivor skills and long dormant generosities. The silver lining is clearly evident, moreso now than ever. Those of us who have suffered the humility of being spoiled and indulged can reinvent ourselves. We’ve always been curious, haven’t we — How would we fare? — the answer is just around the corner. Seize the day!