the next service is in Los Angeles on June 11

Posts In Fetishes

Anton Salaks | Featured Artist

This Sunday in LA – June 14th – at the Bootleg Theater, our theme is FETISHES and, we have an incredible artist making wearable art for us. Anton Salaks is a sculptor and designer who has been using rubber tubing to fabricate headpieces, corsets, skirts, collars and more. And, he’s making an outfit for me to wear as well as select pieces for the choir and band. It’s going to be FABULOUS!! Anton’s a bit of a man of mystery – all I know is his work is beautiful and sort of dangerous to see…evokes a kind of post-apocalyptic world. I can’t wait to wear it and share it with our LA community.

Here’s what he sent in the way of bio: Anton Salaks is a sculptor, film editor, and game designer. The primary goal of his work is to push the medium further.

“Art is a step in the known toward the unknown.”   -Kahlil Gibran


Cabaret Versatile | Featured Performers

As many of you know, I’m always trying to get dance into our events – makes such an impact when bodies are moving in space…and, for this Sunday’s LA event – June 14th at noon at The Bootleg Theater – I wanted to have something that spoke to the theme of FETISHES: extremes, physical expression, fascination, specific adornment – all of this led me to think of The Cancan. So, I’m thrilled to announce that Cabaret Versatile will be performing for us. This is a French run cabaret operation with (semi) traditional French Cancan dancing. WOWZA!! Cannot wait to share with you all.

Here’s a little blurb about them:

Parlez-vous Cabaret?

While the contemporary American cabaret came into being in the 1970’s, its tradition reaches back more than a hundred years. The first Rodolphe Salis’ “Cabaret Artistique”, later renamed “Le Chat Noir” (The Black Cat), opened in France in 1881, in the Parisian district of Montmartre.

The famous Cancan, first appeared in the 1830’s working class ballrooms in Paris. The Cancan, meaning “tittle-tattle” or “scandal” was perceived as a scandalous dance and for a time, the french authorities attempted to repress it. Occasionally people dancing the cancan were arrested but it was never officially banned.

Cabaret Versatile is an authentic French owned Cabaret company. Costumes, choreography, décor and ambiance…all remain faithful to the original spirit of ‘Les nuits parisiennes’. Private events are a fabulous opportunity to better enjoy this kind of show…bringing the audience the ‘French touch’ through magical, sparkling entertainment.

And their website:


Nick Mancini | Featured Artist


This Sunday’s musical guest in LA is someone I’ve admired and enjoyed for a while now. Nick Mancini is a vibraphonist whom I met shortly after I moved to New York, he was playing out a lot and we were on some shared bills together. Nick is really a master – and moved to LA shortly after we met. He’s been creating a name for himself there and leads and hosts a bunch of great jazz events in LA. I’ve had him in my sights as someone who would be great to present at The Secret City. So, this Sunday, June 14th at Bootleg Theater – the theme is FETISHES – Nick is our guy! Check him out.


Nick Mancini

Vibraphonist and composer NICK MANCINI began his professional career as a drummer, at the age of 15. His undergrad studies earned him degrees from Schenectady County Community College and The Crane School of Music at Potsdam. He moved to NYC and graduated from Manhattan School of Music with a masters degree in jazz performance; a recipient of the President’s Award scholarship. After 10 years of honing his craft in NYC, he relocated to Los Angeles. He has performed and recorded with such diverse luminaries as Arturo Sandoval, Charles Fambrough, Harvey Mason, Marvin “Smitty” Smith, Peter Erskine, Poncho Sanchez, Kenny Werner, New York Voices and Jennifer Holliday to name a few; and at notable venues such as The World Famous Apollo Theater; Showtime at the Apollo, Birdland NYC, the Aspen Music Festival, Fasching Jazz Club (Stockholm), Ford Amphitheater, Angel City Jazz Festival, Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA), Catalina Jazz Club, The Blue Whale, Vibrato, Zipper Hall, Vitello’s, Carpenter Center and virtually every jazz venue in Los Angeles.

In the summer of 2011, Mancini was celebrated as Honoree at the 18th annual Los Angeles Jazz Vibes Summit and was also invited to join the faculty at two California State University campuses; Northridge (CSUN) and Long Beach, Bob Cole Conservatory. Earlier that same year his face graced the cover of the popular Ventura county arts magazine, Ventana Monthly. From the Fall of 2011 to the Spring of 2012 Nick served on faculty of the Thelonious Monk Institute. He is on the cutting edge of the creative music scene in LA. In addition to a busy performing and recording career, Mancini also curates a monthly Jazz show at WitZend Live in Venice as well as a semi-annual performance series called “elastic hour,” which features many of LA’s most prominent performing ensembles and garnered honorable reviews by the LA Weekly. In the realm of production, he has arranged and overseen the production of multiple Jazz vocal records and boasts seven independently released records under his own name; storyteller, West Coast Cool, No Questions Asked and Impulse between 2013 and early 2015, alone. In March of 2015, he was named “Best Jazz Percussionist” on vibes in DRUM Magazine’s Reader’s Poll. Mancini holds endorsement contracts with Majestic vibes and Innovative Percussion mallets.

“Vibraphone virtuoso Nick Mancini heads a smooth, agile and expert combo. . .”
– Brick Wahl, LA Weekly (Pick Of The Week)

“From New York, vibist Mancini leads his ensemble to the Promised Land.”
James E. Fowler, LA Times

“In from New York City is the Nick Mancini Collective, led by an exploratory young vibraphonist with two toes dipped in tradition who splashes gentle swing, understatedly bent shoogabooga and exotic undersea layerings of filtered light. Original and good.”

Greg Burk, LA Weekly


Joanna Holbek | Food Offering

Our food offering for this Sunday, June 14th at The Bootleg – the theme will be FETISHES – is a complete secret! I can’t even tell you what it is. But I can tell you who’s preparing it – and this excites me – Joanna Holbek is a longtime food stylist, food lover, food celebrant and chef. She’s agreed to make something special for this them – I wonder what it will be….i keep thinking Lady Fingers…come join us and find out first hand, so you don’t have to hear it on the streets.

Here’s Joanna’s website:


I was allergic to milk,
Don’t give to my ilk!
Veg and fruit,
All good in my suit.
Poultry and meat,
Good to be eat!
Seafood and fish,
Don’t put in my dish!
Herbs and spices,
Easy on prices.
Chocolate and sweets,
The nicest of treats!
What the heck?
I’m Joanna Holbek!


From our Grand Poobah | MEMORY, FETISHES & CAMP

Bobby and I just got back from Maine! We took part in an informal artist retreat with some pals on a beautiful island in Penobscot Bay then we had a couple of days just adventuring along the coast. We left the morning after our benefit auction closed. Good timing! The setting was idyllic and the time away was crucial for recovering and rest and preparing for these next two months.

The 2014/2015 season is starting to come to a close. But it’s gonna be a big finish! Starting with our final NYC service of the year, this Sunday, May 31st at Dixon Place – the theme is MEMORY then our final LA service of the year will be Sunday, June 14th at Bootleg Theater, the theme will be FETISHES. We’ll wrap it all up in Wodostock on Sunday, July 26th at the Byrdcliffe Theater where the theme will be CAMP! In between all of these services we’ll also be presenting a couple of evenings of stories and music. We’re embarking on recording the stories so we can begin podcasting – which I’m very excited about. The first of these evenings will be Thursday, June 4th at Dixon Place. STORIES FROM THE SECRET CITY – I’ll read some stories and Jeremy will be along, too, playing music. The next evening will be July 10th and 11th at Franklin Stage Company in the Catskills – really excited to be performer there this summer.

It’s been a big, beautiful year of art and community – we’ve grown in lots of ways, many of which have been behind the scenes with our new board, new staff and lots of infrastructure. It’s been a season of stabilizing. Our recent benefit was an example of that – a beautiful night of support for the organization. Now, these final two months of the season feel jam packed and exciting.

I’m excited to share these final events with lots of wonderful folks – to experience the work and craft and joy of so many fantastic artists and performers. It gives life meaning and depth, to experience these things – and sharing them is one of the best parts of being alive.

See you at The Secret City.