2012 - Celebrating 100 years of Frances Faye
Find us on Facebook too - lots of extras - Fabulous Frances Faye
NOV 4 2012: Happy 100th to FRANCES FAYE big concert in NYC tonight.
New discovery: Lovely snapshot of FF without make-up or wig in bed cuddling with longtime pajama clad girlfriend.
Facebook "migration" of our group dropped all our members, please re-join.
Fantastic Tribute to Frances Faye as part of JD Doyle's Jazz themed 12th Anniversary Show:
Russ Garcia died in New Zealand. http://www.jazzcorner.com/news/display.php?news=2411
Nick is back with his Frances Faye show for the Australian winter.
Heavy Frances with her original nose and teeth:
My father George Mann of the comedic dance act Barto and Mann appeared with Frances Faye at Loew’s State Theatre in New York in August, 1938. I thought a photograph taken of Frances at age 25 with singer Jerry Cooper might be of interest to readers of this blog. -- Brad Smith
New recording: 30 minute concert Live at the Cameo Room NYC 1956.
On March 5, 1956, Frances Faye was featured on NBC's national radio show "All Star Parade of Bands" sponsored but the US Treasury Bonds. She bravely performed a daring 30 minute set for Eisenhower's America. It is hard for us today to grasp the courage it must have taken her to perform what was then very racy and taboo material. To put her show in context, remember that Eisenhower had signed into law an order that banned homosexuals from government service and many lost their jobs and careers. Owning artwork and literature that the government considered pornographic was a federal offense. Gay bars and gathering places were illegal, gay men could not even safely gather in groups in private. Items with homosexual content could not even pass thru the mail. Censorship was very strict. Many songs has two sets of lyrics, the original and "radio safe" versions. Back in the early 50s, one of Frances's first singles "She Looks" was banned from the radio for the simple, tame lyric "...she looks as though she is but isn't." It was in this environment that on the national airwaves Frances boldly sang "Frances and Her Friends" about the gay couplings of the many characters: "Tillie goes with Millie....Moey goes with Joey, Joey goes with Tommy, Tommy goes with Seymore..." In the song, Faye gave a solitary shout out to movie star Tab Hunter, who just a few months earlier was famously scandalized by being outed in Confidential Magazine. In just such a coded way she reached out her gay fans when really no one else publicly did. During the broadcast Faye told two different men that they were not her type, chanted "gay, gay, gay, what is there to say?" thus giving a very rare and dear shout out to a deeply repressed group in a very dark and closeted era.
Terese performed her Frances Faye Tribute again in NYC on Feb 22, 2011.
Memory of FF and heavy drug use, and Martin Short below in ONLINE BUZZ section.
FRANCES FAYE TRIBUTE in THE NEW YORK TIMES. Only sorry they didn't get Nick's great act.
10/16/09: Nick Christo has booked more shows in Perth and Adelaide for November. New Bruz Fletcher biography includes Frances and "Drunk with Love." He did addtional shows last summer.
2/2/09: New TV concert footage found from the 50s! New letters, join our Facebook group, Nick does it again:
12/22/08 Nick Christo will be in NYC on Jan 11th and 15th with his Frances Faye Tribute show. I just saw a DVD of his performance of it in Sydney this fall and it took my breath away. Even better than I hoped and I knew it would be great. The act is superb, so fast and clever. I loved loved loved the patter, which is all authentic, taken from obscure bootleg recordings, videos and dusty old reviews and Nick makes it come alive and seem fresh and spontaneous. He captures the whole spirit and energy of Frances Faye without imitating her (how could he? A handsome very young Australian man) He included many obscure choices: After You, Bea Arthur, This Is My Last Affair and made them better than the originals. Last Affair was brilliant by the way. I never liked that song, and he made it so lyrical and lively! Now I love it. It is a very different show than Terese's triumph. The material coming from a guy is a very clever twist that really works.
11/21/08, Nick Christo will open his show in NYC on Jan. 11, 2009:
Invoking the Spirit of the Raconteur
The wicked wit of Frances Faye has inspired a versatile young actor
by Bryce Hallett
Sydney Morning Herald, October 20, 2008
Nick Christo goes on stage in "My Fair Lady" at the Theatre Royal each night to
share a brief, eccentric scene with the show's star, Richard E. Grant. The
performer, who is also the film actor's understudy as Professor Higgins, plays
Zoltan Karpathy, a Hungarian phonetician hired to uncover Eliza Doolittle's
origins through her speech. He is barely recognisable in the part and relishes
playing Higgins's exotic rival.
Having appeared alongside Topol in "Fiddler On The Roof" and in the new
Australian musical "The Hatpin," Christo is emerging as an assured, adaptable
tenor and a keenly observant actor willing to take risks and get under the skin
of larger-than-life characters. These don't just include Motel in "Fiddler" or
Karpathy in "Lady" but the outlandish American cabaret legend and comedienne
Summoning the spirit of the wicked raconteur and bisexual who loved to tantalise
audiences may seem an unlikely stretch for a young, unassuming performer but the
chameleon-like Christo is undaunted.
"I love Frances Faye's style of comedy and her no-holds-barred approach," he
says. "She was a strange-looking woman who used that for comic effect... Her
music and style of delivery spoke to me as a performer and I wanted to do a show
that captured her essence and treated the music as a celebration."
His show, "The Fabulous Frances Faye," had a brief outing in July and returns
for a one-night stand in Sydney tonight. It will make its New York debut in
January at the cabaret room Don't Tell Mama.
Directed by Neil Gooding, who produced "The Hatpin," and featuring the LB Little
Big Band, it showcases many of Faye's classic choices, including "The Man I
Love," "Bewitched, Bothered And Bewildered," "Night And Day," "Just A Gigolo"
and her signature song, "Drunk With Love."
"We set the scene of Faye's Australian debut at Chequers nightclub in 1962 and
how she made every performance a party," Christo says.
"She never fell into the trap of conventional banter. There was always a wink
and a nod in her delivery and she appealed to audiences because she brought them
in on the joke. There was enormous innuendo. She would talk openly about her
bisexuality, and being Jewish gave her licence to mock Jews."
By the time the Faye arrived in Australia, she was an illustrious jazz figure.
She had played in various speakeasies and gin joints, and then became a
semi-permanent fixture on Manhattan's club-cabaret world. She had earned a
reputation as much for her throaty singing -- "sawdust and sandpaper with an
urban twang," noted one reviewer -- as her honesty and irreverence.
Throughout Prohibition and the big-band '40s, she stood her ground and in the
conservative '50s became more sexually ambiguous and brazen than ever.
"She must have seemed like an alien when she came to Sydney," Christo says.
"Many entertainers were influenced by her, including Bette Midler, Peter Allen,
Lana Cantrell. Her comic timing and daring opened up opportunities on the
Australian entertainment scene and I wanted to do the show because of her
influence and the difference she made in people's lives...
"The idea isn't to replicate Frances Faye but to present a musical story
embracing a variety of styles while channelling her sly wit, outrageousness and
charm. I especially hope the vitality and strength of her arrangements shines
Christo admits that taking the show to New York will compound the pressure of
revealing his own talents while not disappointing Faye's admirers. "Her fans are
called Fayenatics and they're incredibly protective of her music and legacy, but
also generous, I've found, which is something of a relief..."
9/1/08, Nick Christo writes that his show was a hit and he'll be doing it again Oct 20. Great new letters added and a fun new image from Warren on the Music Page, Out named Caught in the Act awild 69 on the list of 100 best LGTGQ albums in Oct 2008 issue.
June 18, 2008: A new Frances Faye show is opeing down under. I provided all the rare Austiralian info on Miss Faye and a stellar contact for all her rare recordings and videos:
MEDIA RELEASE JUNE 2008
You're invited to a one-man show about one hell of a woman…
The Fabulous Frances Faye
NICK CHRISTO captures the magic and music of comedienne, jazz legend and entertainment revolutionary Frances Faye in a one-man, one-night-stand on Tuesday July 29th at Slide Bar, Darlinghurst.
Outrageous recording artist and wickedly naughty band leader Frances Faye was certainly without equal. Her outlandish style, cut throat vocals and highly camp quips had seen her rise from mobster gin joints of the 1920’s to become the phenomenon of clubs across the United States, eventually smashing the record set by Peggy Lee at New York’s famous Basin Street East in the early ‘60s.
Under the direction of Neil Gooding (The Hatpin, Back to the ‘80s, Short Sweet+Song, Fast+Fresh), Nick Christo recreates the essence of Frances Faye; her explosive 1962 Australian debut at Chequers nightclub; her taboo-incinerating relationship with Australian audiences; and her unmistakable stamp (or stomp) of influence on performers like Bette Midler and Peter Allen - “Whatever comic timing I have, I got from Frances Faye.”
A wild, new show from Nick Christo, winner of the Sydney Cabaret Showcase Competition (2005). A graduate of WAAPA, Nick received a Western Australian Equity Award (A Swell Party) and won the Short Sweet+Song Festival for 2007 (Building a Wing). Currently performing as Zoltan Karpathy in My Fair Lady for Opera Australia, Nick’s recent credits include the world premiere of The Hatpin, Motel in Fiddler on the Roof (TML), Louis in Sunday in the Park with George (Q Theatre), Salvador Dali in Barber of Seville (Opera Australia), Jay Yates in Titanic (Seabiscuit Inc) and Mordred in Camelot (The Production Company). His cabaret credits include working as a co-writer and performer in Cabaret Soiree, Shopping Centre Santa with James Millar, as a writer/director on Doorknockers and in My Cabaret Comeback Tour with Phil Scott.
The Fabulous Frances Faye promises another musical jibe-fest of latin heat and jamming hip cats featuring the LB Little Big Band, under the swinging baton of Luke Byrne (The Hatpin, I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change, Urinetown, The World’s Wife, Tick, tick…BOOM!)
Featuring all the Faye classics like… Darktown Strutter’s Ball, Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered, Tonight You Belong to Me, Fever, Shimmy Like My Sister Kate, Frances and Her Friends, Night and Day, Just In Time, The Man I Love, All Of a Sudden My Heart Sings, Just a Gigolo, I’m Going to Kansas City, I Love You Porgy, Nobody Knows the Trouble I’ve Seen and Drunk With Love.
A night not to be missed… or mistered!
THE FABULOUS FRANCES FAYE
Featuring NICK CHRISTO and the LB Little Big Band
Tues July 29, SLIDE BAR 41 Oxford Street Darlinghurst
Dinner and show from 7pm $60 Show only 9pm $20
Bookings 8915 1899 www.slide.com.au
Media: for images, interviews, review tickets, live in-studio performances or more info about Nick Christo, Frances Faye and the rest of the crew, contact Geoff Sirmai, Watchdog Communications ph: 8218 2109 mob: 0412 669 272 e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
March 1, 2008: Heaps of new pics posted - just click on pics that are not links to find them. Terese is still playing with Jack Costanzo - they just had a gig in Hollywood.
10/29/07: Terese has a new Frances Faye show making the rounds called Drunk with Love 2. My help to her has been invaluable. This site has been plagierized by so many and my research on Frances and Bruz just outright stolen with no thanks or credit. Thanks to Thomas Coyle of the Sinatra Music Society who is publishing an article based on this research in their next newsletter and scolars like Stuart Timmons who have acknowledge this fresh research and intellectual property.
07/07/07: Terese played her Frances Faye show WITH JACK COSTANZA a few nights early June and has announced a new show with Jack for August: BACK WHERE IT ALL BEGAN!! and once again featuring...JACK COSTANZO on bongos!!!
with Mike Greensill and *the little big band*!THURSDAY, AUGUST 30th, 2007 M BAR & RESTAURANT 1253 North Vine Street, Hollywood, CA. There will be a LOT of people at this concert, some very heavy hitters from the Hollywood of fifty years ago, and friends of Frances Faye. New Christine Jorgensen story thanks to Michael.
5/15/07: Terese's new Faye CD now avialble as disc or download: DRUNK WITH LOVE: A TRIBUTE TO FRANCES FAYE! began as a 30-minute showcase at The Purple Onion in San Francisco in September of 2004. As a full theatrical production, it made it's world premiere at the New Conservatory Theatre Center in San Francisco, for a five-week run, in the summer of 2005. From there, the nightclub act was launched in NYC in October of that same year. Critical acclaim and high demand resulted in two resulting major engagements at The Metropolitan Room in NYC, plus two headlining appearances in San Francisco, at Jazz At Pearl's, throughout 2006. NOW, "DRUNK WITH LOVE" the CD is available on the BUG:OUT:MUSIC label! Recorded live over four nights at The Metropolitan Room in New York City, October 13 - 16, 2006, these tracks capture the excitement and energy of the show that TIME OUT NEW YORK Magazine named to its TOP TEN BEST list of live performances of 2006, and ultimately resulted in Genecco and her stellar band winning the coveted BACKSTAGE BISTRO AWARD for BEST TRIBUTE SHOW of 2006!
4/13/07: Great Faye videos on Youtube thanks to a good friend. Check them out.
8/22/07: Ray Hagen is back with a new Faye story from Whitey Mitchel on the music page.
1/13/07: Wild, wild, wild Frances! Best new writing about Frances Faye in years at David del Valle's blog: http://filmsinreview.com/Features/CampDavid/jan07-1.html
Wigs of Frances Faye Page no longer available.
12/8/06: NO RESERVATIONS Fran's stellar Capitol Album to be released by DRG on CD in Februray 2007. No need to buy it if you already have the more inclusive NO REGRETS CD set below though it has one new song. 5 Faye albums still yet to make it to CD including the truly great Verve LPs. New radio show discovered and heaps of new images.
10/17/06: CLICK HERE for THE ALL NEW WIGS OF FRANCES FAYE PAGE. Full of new stuff from Mark Trevorrow!
Also: Terese Genecco was back in NYC yet again last weekend with her Frances Faye Show. She ran 4 days at the Metropolitan Room: Oct 13 - 16. Still a hit! She recorded the show for a CD and will record her upcoming shows in San Francisco Nov 3-5.
Happy Birthday tomorrow to Fran's partner, I wish her all the best. More info about Australian performances on Bio Page 2 and the fascinating letters keep coming and are on the Fayenatics Page.
7/1/06: The Jasmine CD set came out JUNE 30th at long last!!!! FRANCES FAYE: NO REGRETS (2 CD set includes all Capitol recordings and Decca, 2 Soundies, early radio, many International cuts, I'm Wild Again, Relaxin') Great liner notes and with royalties to Fran's partner.
Heaps more photos added on site. Terese's Faye Tribute show played again this March in San Francisco and in May again in NYC. Lots more Faye on the Music Page, King Levinsky, more Malle & Studio One. Adam Dugas is stirring the pot. New Gus Wildi comments about FF's contract and salary on the Bethlehem Site.
03/08/06: VERY SAD NEWS. Author Stephen MacLean has died in Thailand. His long letters to me about Fran are the most vivid descriptions and memories of her that anyone has given.
02/04/06: Finished collecting much more new material and deleted the 3 colorful and long Scrapbook pages as the site had gotten enormous. Bio and Music Pages have also been edited to a much shorter length (or rather gutted) to protect the private life of Frances and her surving partner. Thanks to Mark Trevorrow for his help, images and terrific cover work. Lots of new research, TV Spots and stories, but have not posted it yet.
01/19/06: Another Fran CD is out: Frances Faye Sings - Russell Garcia Conducts: The Complete Gus Wildi Recordings Frances Faye - Russell Garcia. Both I'M Wild Again and Folk Songs are included. Featuring: Maynard Ferguson, Don Fagerquist, Herbie Harper, Frank Rosolino, Milt Bernhart, Gerald Wiggins, Howard Roberts, Red Mitchell, Mel Lewis, Chico Hamilton REFERENCE: LHJ10224 LABEL: Lone Hill Jazz
10/16/05: New pics on the Archive Homepage. The Jasmine 2 CD set will be released in the 1st quarter of next year. It has some of the Decca and International sides, all the Capitol recordings and the first 2 Bethlehem albums and a few rare extras. It should be available for advanced purchase on Amazon after the first of the year. Unlike other recent and upcoming issues from other companies, they are sharing profits with Fran's partner. Fresh Sounds has released Fran's I'm Wild Again as a part of their new Russ Garcia 4 Trombone Band CD. It is available now. Terese's Faye tribute show "Drunk with Love" in SF had terrific reviews this summer and is opening in NYC this month.
05/05/05: A few new images on Fayenatics page and elsewhere, Jasmine in the UK is working on a 2 CD set of Fran's Capitol and Bethlehem work. They want to do it right and have great extras.
2/11/05: New site launched. Good-bye AOL! Terese is working on her first, full-length CD and the debut of her solo show (Drunk with Love!) both set for release in 2005. Terese will celebrate the spirit and live performance style of the fabulous FRANCES FAYE! Look for Terese's debut of this show at The New Conservatory Theater Center in San Francisco!! from July 14th to August 14th, 2005. Click here for a video preview.
9/10/04: Great new letter on Letters Page from AlfredoZ remembering meeting Frances. And another letter from MARK TREVORROW (aka 'Bob Downe') in the Scrapbook following the MacLean article. See news from Terese in NEWS section below.
8/6/04: Jack Costanzo writes:
"Of all the stars I have worked with, the most exciting was Frances. She allowed me the freedom to stretch out and also be a part of her show. While there was never a doubt that Frances was the star of her show she featured me very much. I have to say there was only one Frances. She and I were dear friends and when her girlfriend joined up with Frances, she and I also became good friends.
You have so much stuff on Frances it is unbelievable. I notice you have a lot of the things Fran said on her shows. There was a maitre'd called Mario at the Thunderbird Inn in Las Vegas. During the show Fran would say, “Mario this song is for you.” And then as though Mario couldn't hear her she would say, "He’s been after me for days but I could never It would be too wild," or “I just can't he’s too short,” or “I'm too much for him, goodness.” I'll try and come up with something once in awhile." Terese adds: I had a fun talk with Jack Costanzo and he gave me a good feel for how it was to work with Frances. My favorite bit: He remembered her singing "Mona Lisa, Mona Lisa, Men have laid you." He said he'd come and see the show when it's up and running.
A bit more about the 1940's: Fran was mangaged by Paul Maul and re: her 1946 album: it included the daring choice of the obscure song "Drunk with Love" written and recorded for a small "underground" label a few years earlier by gay performer Bruz Fletcher who committed suicide at age 35 in 1941 after police crackdowns on gay perfomers made it virtually impossible for him to work. It became one of Fran's signature tunes. She recorded it frequently over her career. Research in this area has yeilded a second spinoff website called THE BRUZ FLETCHER PROJECT. Hopefully overtime it will collect data and expand as this site has.
7/7/04: New Family Page in Scrapbook includes early family photos and more from Parker. Frances Faye on "The L-Word" - See Music Page for details.
4/21/04: Parker Taylor has contacted me and begun to tell me the family stories and memories of Frances Faye. For now they are being put on page one of the Frances Faye Scrapbook.
Great new Faye stories on Scrapbook Page One courtesy of author Stephen MacLean. Marlene Dietrich and a very wild Faye backstage.
8/04: San Francisco singer Terese Genecco is cooking up a Frances Faye Project.
Bob Naujoks of KCCK-FM Iowa did a super 30 minute tribute to Frances on his long running series "The Short List" which features a different singer each show.
1/25/04: AOL has been featuring the Frances Faye Archive with a great link and plug at KEYWORD: Gay, People, message boards. Thanks!
"Strange Places" section added to Music Page. It lists all sorts of odd places references to Fran have popped up. For instance, Michael Mascioli found a Faye reference in Rod McKuen's BEATSVILLE recording. SEE the all new FRANCES FAYE SCRAPBOOK. There are many new images, clippings and hairstyles. I have added new articles and am moving some material from the archive to these new pages.
New info (Livingston-Capitol, letter) in Bio Page One.
10/12/03: See heaps of new photos on the Bio Pages, the Music Page and the Fayenatics Page. New radio shows on Music Page.
8/16/03: I interviewed designer Burt Goldblatt. The Faye parts are in the Bio Page One: 50's Bethlehem section. The whole interview is posted on my Bethlehem page.
7/2/03: Tons of new quotes and ancedotes It is integrated into the Bio - now 2 webpages long.
5/21/03: Michael Mascioli generously shared the Faye Live in Australia '68 with me. Fun to hear new songs such a "Goin' Outta My Head," "Look of Love," the ulitmate version of "What Now My Love?," "This Girl's In Love with You," new patter and new twists on Faye classics. Details on Music Page. Also, a letter was added to Faynatics page that details Paul Shaffer's spoken tribute to Fran on the Letterman Show when she died.
Singer Janis Siegel (of the Manhattan Transfer) dedicated her Spring 2003 CD to Frances Faye. I'll add her to the Fayenatics list.
5/10/03: Gus Wildi kindly answered questions I had about Bethlehem and Frances. Some of the details have been worked into the Bio Page. For the whole interview and more go to the new Bethlehem website.
11/8/02: 11 years ago today Fran died, 90 years ago from the 4th she was born. Singer Mark Murphy released a CD this Fall called 'Lucky To Be Me" and on it is a song titled: 'Blues For Frances Faye'! He says, "Frances dared to be bizarre in the up-tight, button-down 50's...I get the feeling that maybe Janis Joplin stumbled across Frances somewhere in a former life or something, and heard that extra-ballsy type singing." The song borrows a lot from "Frances and Her Friends" but is his own composition. Peggy Lee gave Fran a plug on the CD just released this year, the lost Live at Basin Street concert . I also finally got the Gibson/Camp song removed from the album 'Gate of Horn' by lawsuit that lampoons FF. It really is a fun little song.
10/12/02: New info on Fran at Capitol and her "very first recording, naturally her favorite song, with all due respect to Cole Porter;" also her move to California for health reasons and Artists and Models. Thanks Brian for the tips on Downbeat and to Ebay which found the articles for sale which was essential as the originals on the microfilm had torn pages. Ron, thanks for xeroxing the article when I lost the auction.
7/16/02 As of April, Chop Suey Club was still slowly making the rounds to Art Theatres about one city at a time. Then it seemed to have fizzled out. Many major markets were skipped. The schedule for the film at Weber's own site BruceWeber.com is out of date. It only shows Feb - April and this is mid July! Luckily, an abundance of bootlegs are now popping up on ebay and the prices are dropping fast. There are a few brief clips of Fran performing. Oh the hair! Worth it to see elegant Teri and hear her take on things. Some details are at the end of her interview below. All the reviews I collected praised the sections about Frances, but were mixed as to the rest. (That is not unexpected. The 30 or so reviews in Variety I gathered of Fran from the 50's to late 70's were all raves. She was a hit!)
8/11/02: Chop Suey has been given a breath of life and is appearing again in the UK. Copies constantly on Ebay for US viewers.
1/23/02: M. Gallob alerted me to the great pic of FF with her poodle on page 34 of this month's (Feb2002) Interview Magazine.
11/6/01: It turns out that the Library of Congress has "The Lively Ones." If you get to Washington you can screen it! Brian sent lots of Variety articles to find.
I have also started researching one of FF's brothers, Marty. He was a very respected DJ in Chicago for decades and also had a talk show. Very knowledgable on Jazz. If anyone has any Marty Faye stories to share or material, please let me know. We've got to find that Vic Damone Show.
There is an article about FF thanks to Bruce Weber and Chop Suey in the new Interview Magazine.
10/26/01: Many exciting additions to the Bio in every decade thanks to the new cache of articles from David McCain. TV info and Variety articles added thanks to Brian.
10/5/01: FF Film Chop Suey Club finally opens to a very limited release after a few previews at festivals. There is a large cartoon image of FF in the New Yorker dated 10/8. The artist captured no physical likeness at all but got the jewels perfectly.
June 2001: site launched. Since so little Faye info and music is out there I really wanted new Faye fans due to the upcoming release of Chop Suey Club to be able to find SOMETHING of significance on FF before they gave up, and to give long devoted fans a treat. Previously, I had been sharing info on Fran online thru very clever Ebay auctions. Ebay had been my Fran forum and I met lots of fans there and thru them obtained some real rarities.
People still discuss FF online. There are lots of write-ups on the Chop Suey Club of course, but also some amusing reivews. For example:
Martin Short 2011: The first time Martin Short left his native Canada for the United States was when he and his mother visited his sister, a nurse in San Francisco. It was 1965 and although the 15-year-old didn't know it at the time, that trip would foreshadow Short's future career. One of their first stops was the heart of the city's legendary '60s club scene, where cabaret singers mixed with jazz greats and a slew of future legends of comedy, including Mort Sahl, Lenny Bruce and Woody Allen."We went to the Hungry I to see Frances Faye. We also saw Carmen McRae and, I think, Joan Rivers," says Short, by phone from Los Angeles, where he lives. "They dressed me up to look older and we were getting away with it.
FRANCES FAYE–SHE SHOWED ME HER TRACKS
February 13, 2011
When we were a rowdy bunch of young lesbians, we went up to Vegas to hang with some friends and see some shows and we accomplished what we set out to do. My dad knew we were going to Vegas and he turned me on to one of his childhood friends. Little did I know it would be Frances Faye; we went to Caesars Palace, she was performing in the lounge…Two drink minimum and we saw her play the keys, fine jazz, plenty of eye contact. After the show she invited our crew backstage and asked me if I was the daughter of her friend, I nodded and she proceeded to show me her arms….Tracks for days and she said to me, “Don’t”. I looked at her arms and my response to her was, “I have too much respect for myself, in fact I love life.” Thinking about that time and what she was about. She was out and proud: Not bad as she said, “The Jewess from Brooklyn.” Don’t have any idea why she was an active junkie or recovering, but the bottom line to her giving me advice was, “Don’t.”
Love thyself and you shall be loved. http://nearlynormalized.wordpress.com/2011/02/13/frances-faye-she-showed-me-her-tracks/
2010: Fran's hairdresser Jimie Morrissey remembers Fran and others. Great FF pic: http://www.stylesectionla.com/area/article/2010/04/01/life-loving-locks?page=0%2C2
In 1948 when he was back in Miami for the winter season, he met Frances Faye, the lounge singer who got her start in Bing Crosby movies. She was opening at the Mocambo Nightclub and wanted a new look. Jimie changed her haircolor from red to blond and cut it short in a style he called the “parakeet.” Frances worked Las Vegas every year at Howard Hughes’ hotel, and in 1954 she suggested that Jimie move to Vegas, which he did. Jimie would do Frances’ hair every night before her act (“Whatever you want, Fran. Anything you want you can have, I’ve always told you that”), before going to work at Bozart’s, an all-night beauty salon (read: women of the night in need of a little touch-up).“Anyone who was on the Strip would go to see Fran at the Flamingo,” Jimie says. Jimie stayed in Vegas for about eight months and moved to California at the end of 1955.
From an anonymous May 2005 post on DataLounge.com: Frances Faye was a terrific entertainer. I had the pleasure of seeing her cabaret act. A knock-out singer and pianist. Her opening act when I saw her was the then unknown Dana Carvey. Dana was somewhat puzzled as to why so many in her audience were gay and lesbian. Guess someone eventually told him.
10/22/03 On Mister D's Bruce Vilanch Website he has a section called People and Friends. It only lists 4 people and links to them and one of the four is our Frances! http://www.wegotbruce.com/weblog/
Bruce was the one who sponsered Faye's Obit in Variety, brought Bette Midler to see Fran's act and an article he wrote about Fran is on the Fayenatics Page.
Friar Red Buttons sent this tribute to his dear friend, "One night in the 40s I was just out of uniform...I was a bellhop at the Astor Hotel (a little humor folks)...after watching a fight together at Madison Square Garden we went to see Frances Faye appearing at the Famous Door on 52nd Street. We walked to the club discussing the fights we had just witnessed. Waiting for the light to change at 52nd Street and Sixth Avenue Milton told me that the great lightweight champion Benny Leonard once told him that the most vulnerable spot on the chin was right there; he illustrated where with two fingers and knocked me cold- out like a light. He couldn't revive me so he picked me up- a hulk of a man like me-threw me over his shoulder and carried me into the club. Frances, who was performing at the piano, spotted Milton and announced that Milton Berle was in the house carrying a person. On the applause, Milton walked on the floor with me still wrapped around his shoulder, grabbed the mike, and did twenty minutes. I was fully conscious by then, but I didn't interrupt him -I wanted to hear my act."
Michael Mascioli sent this one with Hazel Scott:
Hired as an intermission player in support of star Frances Faye at New York's popular Yacht Club, Hazel soon began receiving notes on stage via the busboy that she was no longer to perform the song that she had just sung because Faye was using it in her act. "Well, let's see if Frances Faye can do this!," she grumbled and tore into a Bach invention played boogie-woogie style.
"Needless to say," she later recalled, "Miss Faye didn't do THAT in her show, so I was able to get through a complete show without being interrupted by the busboy."
(Bill Reed adapted "The Smokin' Life of Hazel Scott" for MSNBC.com from his book, "Hot From Harlem: Profiles in Classic African-American Entertainment.")
Michael Mascioli writes more eloquently about Frances than anyone else. His review of the Folksongs album is really a loving tribute to the lady herself. http://www.mrlucky.com/songbirds/html/sep99/9909_faye.html
By JOHN FLEMING, Times Performing Arts Critic © St. Petersburg Times published January 3, 2002
Bernadette Peters grew up on the jazzy pop singers of the 1950s -- Frank Sinatra, of course, but also performers who are little remembered today. She loved song stylists like Frances Faye and Gogi Grant who put their own idiosyncratic stamp on standards by Rodgers and Hammerstein, Irving Berlin and the Gershwins...
From Adam Dugas on CAUGHT IN THE ACT
WOWZEE-WOW-WOW!, From the first roll of the drums and fanfare to the last witty flourish, this recording is wild, wacky and completely and utterly wonderful. It makes me want to scratch the walls knowing I shall never see one of her live sets, as Frances passed on earlier this decade. Her patter is hilarious, her voice a force of nature, her phrasing and musicality on par with the ultimate best of the best.
Bob Selcoe on Ebay wrote the following describing the Faye album You Gotta Go Go Go:
WOW! '64 LP: FRANCES FAYE GOES GARARGE! Signed.
No, this is not a misprint! You read it correctly, and I wouldn't believe it either, if I didn't hear it for myself. That's right, it's the camp chanteuse herself, FRANCES FAYE, doing Up-Tempo Garage Boogaloo and R&R renditions of mostly jazz and pop standards! ... It's as Wild and Bizarre as you'd imagine. No, I take that back, nobody's imagination could be that vivid. Just try to picture Frances Faye doing a funky garage-boogaloo rendition of "Indian Love Call" and "Glory Glory Hallelujah" (this should only be done under the direct supervision of a trained professional). And as an added bonus, it's Autographed...
And a 1999 review of the rerelease of 'Porgy and Bess' I can nolonger find from the online Magazine Audiophile Audition included the thought that the album would have been better "if Frances Faye had sung Porgy and Mel Torme sang Bess." I couldn't agree more! www.audaud.com/audaud/NOV/gersh.html
There is an interesting Jazz site that has a few letters in which musician Milt Bernhart (who recorded with Fran and recently died in January '04) recalled FF and an funny introduction given her at one of her club dates. http://merchant.book.uci.edu/lists/jwc-l/1999-06/msg00367.html, (5/3/02 - I noticed that that site is now dead so here is the text:
On Sat, 26 Jun 1999 17:25:10 -0700, Milt Bernhart wrote:
I remember that date - I was always on the fence about Frances Faye. She had a following but not a lot of voice. Lots of style, I guess. She was certainly not a raving beauty - just raving. Shorty Rogers told me that he fell out completely once in New York when Chubby Jackson introduced her in some night-club as "George Washington, the Father of Our Country. "
I'm sure she got a big kick out of that. I liked her singing, such as it was.
And you know something? She did look like him. She had a colonial-type hairdo, a hooked nose and a very masculine manner- I think she was gay, but nobody talked about those things then.
She made allusions to the gay lifestyle in her club act. Sylvia Sims was another lady who almost never left New York but got be pretty well-known all the same. Like Frances , Sylvia was mainly style. But is that bad?
I liked Sylvia a lot too, both musically and professionally. Worked with her doing a Jazz Alive show for NPR, and found her to be very professional. Many of my favorite singers don't have great voices, but lots of feeling for the music and the lyric. And nobody ever accused my man Pee Wee of having a perfect sound on clarinet, but after Pres, it's a toss up for me between him and Buddy DeFranco on that instrument.
My best to you and to Chicago - that toddlin' town.
Al Hirshfeld did do a wonderful drawing of Frances in 1943 for her Broadway show. You can see it online at: http://www.alhirschfeld.com/cgi-bin/image_a?ID=2325
I have read over 20 reiviews of the Chop Suey Club all of which found FF to be Dazzling.
Copyright Tyler Alpern 2001 - 2012
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2012 - Celebrating 100 years of Frances Faye