Tag Archive | "Suffolk Theater"

Ani DiFranco Returns to the Suffolk Theater

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By Emily J. Weitz

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Ani DiFranco’s gift for articulating the present moment, whether it’s the moment after a painful breakup or a tenuous conversation in the thick of marriage, is unfaltering. Now, Ms. DiFranco has two children, juggling motherhood and super-stardom as she’s juggled everything else in her life – transparently.

Her newest album, “Allergic to Water,” was recorded in the final months of her second pregnancy and the early months of her son’s life. That truth comes through, not always directly in the lyrics of her songs, but in the quality of her voice, the sound of her guitar, and the overall feeling of the album.

“Having kids definitely dictates the process,” said Ms. DiFranco. “I have to work in fits and spurts. I have to steal time in the wee hours. This record, I did a lot of overdubbing and singing while my family slept. You can hear an intimate quality to the vocals. There’s a quietness that surrounds the songs.”

You can even hear the difference from track to track. When she told me which songs she recorded late in her pregnancy (“Happy All The Time” and “Harder Than It Needs to Be”), they happened to be my two favorite songs on the album. There’s a lightness and buoyancy to the sound of these songs, even though the content is complex.

One would think that when a brilliant singer/songwriter is at home with her family, the children should just gather round the guitar and sing along. One would think the living room would always be alight with song. One would think music and motherhood existed in a happy yin yang shape. One would think.

“I would make music around my children more if they allowed it,” said Ms. DiFranco, “but both of them recognized pretty early that when mommy picks up a guitar, she gets a far-away look, and that’s not okay. Both exhibited jealousy from the beginning, and they shut me down from making music with them. There’s an excruciating period when these new beings come into my life where I have to let my work and my passion go.”

But perhaps it’s better that the worlds remain somewhat separate. Because Ms. DiFranco has to step away to create music, the role music plays in her life remains what it’s always been: an escape.

“It used to be escape from dark trauma,” said Ms. DiFranco, “and now it’s escape from babies and momming… It’s humbling and useful and I come back from grateful for my job.”

When she had her first child, who’s now almost eight, Ms. DiFranco took her on the road. For the first 3 ½ years, her daughter was there to meet her backstage. But her son was not having the road lifestyle, and she realized it was less about the world she created for her kids than it was about the kids themselves.

“Turns out it was not my genius momming skills, but the personality of my kid,” she said. “So after four tours, I fired the baby.”

It’s not easy for either of them to have the separation. When she packs up to go on tour for several weeks, it’s excruciating to say goodbye to her son.

“But now,” said Ms. DiFranco, “when I go on the road, I revel in guitar and writing and reading and talking to friends. Your time becomes so precious.”

On her last tour, she was so inspired and amped up from the time and space to create that she found herself writing a new song every other day. These songs are even newer than her most recent album, but she’ll be playing them at her upcoming show.

“It was great to realize that I am not dead as a songwriter,” she said. “I was engaged in the creative act of making a human. But this last stint I’ve written a lot, and I’m excited about the new songs.”

Things that have been inspiring her in her recent life come through on her new album, “Allergic to Water,” as well as in her newest songs.

“There are a lot of meditations on humility and patience,” said Ms. DiFranco, “things that children bring to us. The title track, “Allergic to Water,” is talking about the things that are most meaningful and life sustaining can also be the most painful. The biggest struggles have the biggest rewards and that’s the way it works and you better accept it. I wrote it the year I birthed a baby.”

Ani DiFranco will return to the Suffolk Theatre on Saturday, January 24. The show starts at 8 p.m. Go to www.suffolktheater.com for tickets.

 

The Roaring ’20s are Back at Suffolk Theater Anniversary Gala

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2014 Gala InviteBy Tessa Raebeck

Celebrating its anniversary, the Suffolk Theater in Riverhead hosts a ‘20s dance party, asking guests to “take a step back in time to celebrate the evolution of jazz” with Vince Giordano and the Nighthawks. Grab your flapper dresses and bowler hats; the theater encourages guests to “dress in your ‘20s best” for the gala, starting at 6:30 p.m. Saturday, March 1.

Vince Giordano and the Nighthawks act and perform on HBO’s hit series “Boardwalk Empire,” appeared in the Martin Scorsese film “The Aviator,” and are frequent players both in film soundtracks and onscreen. Well-known on the jazz festival circuit, the band specializes in 1920’s and 1930’s jazz and is highly regarded as one of the genre’s preeminent acts. Vince Giordano and the Nighthawks won a Grammy in 2012 for their contribution to “Boardwalk Empire.”

Before the music, which begins at 8 p.m., guests are invited to come early for cocktails and a dinner with a special “Gala Menu” at 6:30, 7 or 7:30 p.m. Guests will have the option to purchase dinner at an additional price after they are seated.

Following the “big band sound” of Vince Giordano and the Nighthawks, at 10 p.m. a DJ will entertain in the Deco Lounge at the After Hours Speakeasy Party.

Tickets to the gala and speakeasy party are $45, not including dinner. The prix fixe dinner is $35 (not including tax and gratuity). Those who wish to attend only the After Hours Speakeasy Party can buy tickets for $10 beginning at 10 p.m. For more information or to purchase tickets, visit suffolktheater.com or call the box office at 631.727.4343.

Winterfest: Live on the Vine Brings Six Weekends of Wine and Music to the North Fork

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Gene Casey and the Lone Sharks Perform at the Live on the Vine Kick-off Event January 17 at the Suffolk Theater. Photo by Lenny Stucker.

Gene Casey and the Lone Sharks Perform at the Live on the Vine Kick-off Event January 17 at the Suffolk Theater. Photo by Lenny Stucker.

By Tessa Raebeck

Blues, soul, rock, jazz and country music are awakening the vineyards of the North Fork this winter as Winterfest: Live on the Vine combines over 100 musical performances with the natural beauty and exceptional wines of the East End.

Started as Jazz on the Vine in 2006, the annual six-week music festival returns this year as Live on the Vine, with a wider range of musicians, including many Grammy recipients and Grammy-nominated artists, performing at local hotels, restaurants, vineyard tasting rooms and other venues. Designed to stimulate local businesses – and entertain local residents – during the off-season, the festival offers countless specials on accommodations, restaurants and transportation for ticket holders, including ‘Winterfest Getaway’ package deals. Hopper Passes, new this year, allow festivalgoers to see multiple performances in a single day, weekend or throughout the entire festival, without paying separate entrance fees at each show.

Winterfest: Live on the Vine kicked off January 17 at the Suffolk Theater with a sold-out performance by blues-rock icon Johnny Winter. The music continues with multiple performances each day over six weekends, ending Saturday, March 22.

This Friday on Valentine’s Day, the Alexander Clough Trio, a jazz ensemble from Brooklyn, will play a free show at Bistro 72, a restaurant and lounge at Hotel Indigo in Riverhead from 7 to 10 p.m. Also in Riverhead at the Suffolk Theater, Myq Kaplan of Comedy Central’s show “Last Comic Standing” will present a stand-up routine, “Valentine’s Candlelight Comedy,” with dancing to follow.

Throughout the day on Saturday, February 15, 10 North Fork vineyards are hosting shows, with a performance by Gene Casey & The Lone Sharks at the Hotel Indigo Ballroom in Riverhead closing out the day. Another 10 concerts are scheduled for Sunday.

General Admission tickets for Winterfest: Live on the Vine cost $20 and include a glass of wine. Hopper passes do not include wine and are $30 for the day, $50 for the weekend or $200 for the entire six-week festival. For more information, visit liwinterfest.com.