TAINT! Alt Variety Show Benefit for Pangea

(‘TAINT Christmas, ‘TAINT New Year’s, It’s Now)          

Pangea, at 11th Street and Second Avenue, accurately calls itself an “East Village Restaurant, Bar, Alt-Cabaret Supper Club, and New Work Incubator.” Both its restaurant (up front) and cabaret room are intimate, giving the club a hospitable feel, but real family, as partly seen here, is made up of the iconoclastic performers who find a safe, welcoming place to present…and those who go to support them.

When owners Stephen Shanaghan and Arnoldo Caballero Y Cespedes  moved East 7th Street’s Spaghetteria to its current location, it was renamed Pangea, a restaurant with Italian/ Mediterranean cuisine. Starting in 2015, the venue opened a performance room. Artists quickly recommended it to one another as an outlet for the original. Audiences arrived as if smoke signals had risen. A vacuum had been filled.

Once upon a time there were domains like this all over the Village. Not anymore. Surely as worthy and valuable as any tourist destination, Pangea represents “other” at a time when “other” is facing extinction.

Bergman & Bloustein – guitar and vocals – offer “Cheeseboard of My Dreams,” : I wanted Manchego, but I got Baby Belle/I wanted prosciutto, but I’m stuck with Hormel…which is not, they admit, about cheese. ‘Gentle country sound, wry lyrics. One wonders what they’d do with more provocative subject matter. Poor Baby Bree (Bree Benton) is a persona that might’ve come directly from a Depression era breadline or an Edward Gorey book. “I Think I’ll Have Some Music with My Meal” has a piano-lag, 20s vibe. Vocal is evocative contralto trill.

“Over the past few years Pangea has vaulted to the forefront of the alt-cabaret scene!” Elisabeth Vincentelli THE NY TIMES

Amber Martin with Brett Every – guitar and vocals – sing Don Williams’ “If I Needed You”:If I needed you would you come to me/Would you come to me, for to ease my pain…in classic, country-gospel style, unfussy with appealing harmony. Rachel Garniez (also on keyboard) offers a slower, more serious “I Can See Clearly Now” than usual (as the times dictate) with really pretty musical arrangement. Its songwriter John Nash died this year.

Actor/writer Charles Busch, who’d never call himself a singer, delivers a heartfelt, parlando “You Must Believe in Spring” which is warm, wistful and leaves us wanting more. “Don’t Tell Me to Stop” (Madonna/Mirwais Ahmadzaï/Joe Henry) arrives by way of Sylver Wallace and Matthew Dean Marsh. Sylver is a find – cool, understated with a controlled, slip/slide R&B voice. Vicki, Kristina, Barcelona (Rachel Garniez, Amanda Homi, and Terry Radigan) end the show with a three part harmony (plus accordion, tambourine and guitar) of “Hold On.” It’s as deadpan funky as their hats. A slide show from happier days at Pangea follows.

“A bohemian oasis not unlike the fabled Max’s Kansas City from days gone by.” Stephen Holden, THE NY TIMES

Also featuring: David Ilku, Carol Lipnik, Cleo Berlin with Becky Koln, Advice from Steve Haye’s Mother, Joseph Keckler (good idea, poor lyrics), manic Kristine Zbornick, a brief, wide-eyed ditty by David Cale (whose full theatrical shows are not to be missed), Matthew Dean Marsh’s polished, pop offering with zero expression, Flotilla DeBarge, and 500 million year-old Claywoman with a warning than Pangea is holding the entire earth together.

Directed by Kevin Malony
Edited by Adam Pivirotto
Photos by Albie Mitchell

Through January 20: https://www.showtix4u.com/event-details/44731

About Alix Cohen (1312 Articles)
Alix Cohen is the recipient of nine New York Press Club Awards for work published on this venue. Her writing history began with poetry, segued into lyrics and took a commercial detour while holding executive positions in product development, merchandising, and design. A cultural sponge, she now turns her diverse personal and professional background to authoring pieces about culture/the arts with particular interest in artists/performers and entrepreneurs. Theater, music, art/design are lifelong areas of study and passion. She is a voting member of Drama Desk and Drama League. Alix’s professional experience in women’s fashion fuels writing in that area. Besides Woman Around Town, the journalist writes for Cabaret Scenes, Broadway World, and Theater Pizzazz. Additional pieces have been published by The New York Post, The National Observer’s Playground Magazine, Pasadena Magazine, Times Square Chronicles, and ifashionnetwork. She lives in Manhattan. Of course.