Monday Open Thread: Old Souls Week- Michael Feinstein

This week is Old Souls Week. These are modern musicians that just seem like they really would have been comfortable in another era.

The first Old Soul is Michael Feinstein. Through his work, he has been able to catalogue and bring forth the Gershwins to new generations.

Style: "p25+-Ipro"


Michael Jay Feinstein[1] (born September 7, 1956) is an American singer, pianist, and music revivalist. He is an interpreter of, and an anthropologist and archivist for, the repertoire known as the Great American Songbook. In 1988 he won a Drama Desk Special Award for celebrating American musical theatre songs. Feinstein is also a multi-platinum-selling, five-time Grammy-nominated recording artist.[2] He currently serves as Artistic Director for The Center for the Performing Arts in Carmel, Indiana.[3]


After graduating from high school, Feinstein worked in local piano bars for two years, moving to Los Angeles when he was 20. Through the widow of legendary concert pianist-actor Oscar Levant, in 1977 he was introduced to Ira Gershwin, who hired him to catalogue his extensive collection of phonograph records. The assignment led to six years of researching, cataloguing and preserving the unpublished sheet music and rare recordings in Gershwin’s home, thus securing the legacy of not just Ira but also that of his composer brother George Gershwin, who had died four decades earlier. Feinstein’s extended tenure enabled him to also get to know Gershwin’s next-door neighbor, singer Rosemary Clooney, with whom Feinstein formed an intensely close friendship lasting until Clooney’s death. Feinstein served as musical consultant for the 1983 Broadway show My One and Only, a musical pastiche of Gershwin tunes.

By the mid-1980s, Feinstein was a nationally known cabaret singer-pianist famed for being a dedicated proponent of the Great American Songbook. In 1986, he recorded his first CD, Pure Gershwin (1987), a collection of music by George and Ira Gershwin. He followed this in quick succession with Live at the Algonquin (1986); Remember: Michael Feinstein Sings Irving Berlin (1987); Isn’t It Romantic (1988), a collection of standards and his first album backed by an orchestra; and Over There (1989), featuring the music of America and Europe during the First World War. Feinstein recorded his only children’s album, Pure Imagination, in 1992. In the 1987 episode “But Not For Me” of the TV series thirtysomething he sang But Not For Me, Love Is Here to Stay and Isn’t It Romantic? as parts of dream sequences.

By 1988, Feinstein was starring on Broadway in a series of in-concert shows: Michael Feinstein in Concert (April through June 1988), Michael Feinstein in Concert: “Isn’t It Romantic” (October through November 1988), and Michael Feinstein in Concert: Piano and Voice (October 1990). He returned to Broadway in 2010, in a concert special duo with Dame Edna titled All About Me (March through April 2010).[4]



In the early 1990s, Feinstein embarked on an ambitious songbook project wherein he performed an album featuring the music of a featured composer, often accompanied by the composer. These included collaborations with Burton Lane (two volumes: 1990, 1992), Jule Styne (1991), Jerry Herman (Michael Feinstein Sings the Jerry Herman Songbook, 1993), Hugh Martin (1995), Jimmy Webb (Only One Life: The Songs of Jimmy Webb, 2003) and Jay Livingston/Ray Evans (2002). He has also recorded three albums of standards with Maynard Ferguson: Forever (1993), Such Sweet Sorrow (1995), and Big City Rhythms (1999).

In the late 1990s, Feinstein recorded two more albums of Gershwin music: Nice Work If You Can Get It: Songs by the Gershwins (1996) and Michael & George: Feinstein Sings Gershwin (1998). Feinstein’s albums in the 21st century have included Romance on Film, Romance on Broadway (2000), Michael Feinstein with the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra (2001), Hopeless Romantics (2005, featuring George Shearing), and The Sinatra Project (2008).

In 2000, the Library of Congress appointed Feinstein to its newly formed National Recording Preservation Board, an organization dedicated to safeguarding America’s musical heritage.[5]

In 2008, The Great American Songbook Foundation, Michael Feinstein, Founder located its headquarters in Carmel, Indiana. The Foundation’s two-fold mission includes the preservation, research, and exhibition of the physical artifacts, both published and non-published, of the Great American Songbook and educating today’s youth about the music’s relevance to their lives. The Foundation houses an archive and reference library; plans exist for a free-standing museum. The organization also holds an annual Great American Songbook Vocal Academy and Competition that invites high school students from around the country to compete in regional competitions. Finalists gather at the Foundation’s headquarters for a vocal “boot camp” and final competition. The winner receives scholarship money and the opportunity to perform with Michael at his cabaret in New York.

In 2009 Feinstein became the artistic director of The Center for the Performing Arts.[6] located in Carmel, Indiana. Construction of the $170-million, three-theater venue was completed in January, 2011. The Center is home to an annual international arts festival, diverse live programming, and The Great American Songbook Foundation, Michael Feinstein, Founder .

In 2009, Feinstein teamed up with Cheyenne Jackson to create a nightclub act titled “The Power of Two”. The show was hailed by the New York Times as “passionate,” “impeccably harmonized” and “groundbreaking”.[7] Variety acclaimed it as “dazzlingly entertaining”.[8] Their act became one of the most critically acclaimed shows of 2009,[9][10][11] and the duo created a studio album from the material, The Power of Two.

In 2010, PBS aired Michael Feinstein’s American Songbook, a three-part television documentary that depicts the history of the American popular song up to 1960, as well as Feinstein’s own life and career.[12]

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34 Responses to Monday Open Thread: Old Souls Week- Michael Feinstein

  1. rikyrah says:

    7 Things I Can Do That My Black Son Can’t
    Calvin Hennick
    October 27, 2014

    In the days after the Michael Brown shooting, I wrote an essay titled “I Hope My Son Stays White,” detailing my fears about what might happen to my biracial three-year-old son if he grows up to have dark skin. The upshot: America, to its shame, is still a place where black males are feared, and I don’t want that fear to turn itself on my son in a way that leads to his arrest or death.

    I published the piece on, and the reactions from black readers ranged from “sad but true” to allegations that I myself was engaging in the very racism and colorism that I was decrying. But buried among these was a comment from a white reader who accused me of “sucking up to black folk” and then went on to list the supposed advantages of being black in America. (Apparently, according to this reader, my son will have an unearned fast track to a career as an air traffic controller. Um, okay?)

    I can’t help but think that, if the essay had been published in an outlet with a larger white readership, many more commenters would have chimed in to deny the continued existence of racism. In my experience, white people (and straight people, and male people, and Christian people — all groups of which I’m a member) tend to dismiss the notion that we’re privileged. It’s an uncomfortable thing to acknowledge that you’re the recipient of unfair benefits, especially when those benefits are often nearly invisible to those who receive them.

    But when you’re a parent, those privileges stop being invisible. It’s the reason why male congressmen with daughters are more likely to support women’s issues. It’s the reason why Ohio Sen. Rob Portman suddenly declared his support for same-sex marriage after his son came out as gay. And it’s the reason why, everywhere I look, I see hassles that my son will have to face that I don’t. Here’s a partial list of things I can take for granted, but which will likely be problematic for my son:

  2. rikyrah says:

    Michael McDonald @ElectProject

    Now that’s some “Souls to Polls” in Georgia: 68% of Sunday voters were African-American
    1:42 PM – 27 Oct 2014

  3. rikyrah says:

    The Project 2017: GOP ACA Replacement They Don’t Want You To See
    By karoli October 27, 2014 1:00 pm

    During his debate with Alison Lundergan Grimes, Mitch McConnell stumbled around with his answer to what he would do with the Affordable Care Act. While he promised to repeal it, his word salad about what to do about the popular Kynect website that has connected Kentuckians with access to health care was unintelligible.

    The Huffington Post subsequently tried to get some clarification from the campaign, but a cone of silence has been dropped and no one is talking, except for Senate staffers in McConnell’s office:

    The office added, however, that McConnell doesn’t want to simply leave it at full repeal. He wants to replace the Obamacare model, a “broken system,” as the aide put it, with “common-sense reforms that would lower costs for Americans.” It remains to be determined what that replacement would be.

    As it turns out, they actually do have a detailed plan, but no one is talking about it. It’s like a surprise — trust Uncle Mitch to repeal and replace and it shall become reality! Why aren’t they shouting it from the mountaintops?

    The Project 2017

    Let me introduce you to The Project 2017, headed up by Bill Kristol and Dan Senor, among others, and presumably funded by the usual billionaire suspects. The Project 2017 has a comprehensive plan outlined on their website for how they propose to replace the ACA.

    First, we start with full repeal of the Affordable Care Act. That means pre-existing conditions are once again in play, no premium assistance, no co-pay assistance, no state exchanges, no minimum benefits, and annual and lifetime caps on what insurers must pay are reinstated. Also, premiums would not be limited for different age bands, so that 60-year olds could pay as much as 10 or 15 times what a 20-year old might pay.

    Now that it’s 2008 all over again, here are the bullets The Project 2017 would like us to swallow as “common sense reforms”:

    I. End of Year Refundable Tax Credits

    “We propose providing a refundable health insurance tax credit of $1,200 for those under 35 years of age, $2,100 for those between 35 and 50 years of age, and $3,000 for those over 50, in addition to $900 per child. These tax credits would be made available to those, and only to those, who purchase health insurance through the individual market.”

  4. rikyrah says:

    Kansas Governor Is Forcing Disabled People Off Medicaid

    by Carl Gibson – Guest Contributor Posted on October 27, 2014

    The conservative experiment in Gov. Sam Brownback’s Kansas has led to more suffering across the board — not just for the state’s economy, but for people with disabilities who are losing life-sustaining services.

    At the time of his inauguration, Brownback was touted by fellow Republicans as a model example of what conservative governance nationwide could look like. While he promised to rejuvenate the state’s economy by slashing the state’s top income tax rate by 26 percent, his fiscal policy has instead blown an $800 million hole in the state budget, downgraded the state’s bond rating, and slowed job growth to a much lower rate than the national average. Brownback, once thought to be a strong contender for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination, now has just a 48 percent chance at being elected to a second term, and his tax cuts are the central issue of the campaign. These tax cuts have been devastating for Kansas’ disabled population.

    Since Brownback’s inauguration, 1,414 Kansans with disabilities have been forced off of the Medicaid physical disability (PD) waiver. In January of 2013, Brownback became the first governor to fully privatize Medicaid services, claiming he would save the state $1 billion in 5 years without having to cut services, eligibility, or provider payments. Now, under Brownback’s “KanCare,” PD waiver cases are handled by for-profit, out-of-state, Fortune 500, publicly-traded managed care services. Kansas has contracts with three managed care profiteers — United Healthcare, Sunflower State Health Plan (owned by Centene Corporation), and AmeriGroup. Amerigroup and Centene each gave $2,000, Kansas’ maximum allowed contribution, to Brownback’s re-election campaign.

    “They wanted to cut my full-time care hours by 76 percent, which all three of my doctors said was totally unrealistic,” said Finn Bullers, a disability rights advocate who suffers from muscular dystrophy, uses a wheelchair, has type 1 insulin-dependent diabetes, and requires a ventilator in his throat to breathe. “Essentially, they wanted three out of every four hours to go away.”

    “Often, these are not optional services,” said Rocky Nichols, executive director of the Kansas Disability Rights Center. “These are life-sustaining services like properly caring for and cleaning out feeding tubes, colostomy bags, and other devices so people don’t die, transferring the person with a mobility impairment from the chair so they can toilet, assisting with the critical and life-sustaining activities of daily living that most of us take for granted. These are basic human needs, not optional wants.”

  5. Jonne’ at Pastor’s appreciation dinner.

    Jonne at Pastor's appreciation.

  6. rikyrah says:

    This cracks me up.


    Dems face betrayal after accepting Republican concessions
    10/27/14 10:19 AM
    By Steve Benen
    In recent years, congressional Republicans have had one specific demand as part of any debt-reduction talks: “chained CPI.” The basic idea is that Democrats are supposed to accept a change to how Social Security benefits are calculated, relying on a less-generous Consumer Price Index (CPI) to save money.

    For Republicans, if Democrats aren’t willing to consider this policy, there’s no point in even having a conversation. It’s not the only provision the GOP expects as part of a deal, but it’s the one non-negotiable starting point for any conversation.

    And so, centrist and conservative Democrats have generally been quick to align themselves with Republicans on this issue, eager to prove their bipartisan bona fides and commitment to “fiscal responsibility.” For their trouble, these Dems are now facing a rather ugly betrayal at the hands those they’re trying to please. Lori Montgomery reported the other day:

    The latest attack came in Georgia, where the National Republican Campaign Committee posted an ad last week accusing Rep. John Barrow (D) of “leaving Georgia seniors behind” by supporting “a plan that would raise the retirement age to 69 while cutting Social Security benefits.”

    Crossroads GPS, the conservative nonprofit group founded by GOP strategist Karl Rove, has run similar ads against North Carolina Sen. Kay Hagan (D), Arkansas Sen. Mark Pryor (D) and Rep. Scott Peters (D-Calif.). Crossroads accused Hagan of supporting a “controversial plan” that “raises the retirement age.”

    Just so we’re clear, what we have here is Republicans condemning Democrats for agreeing with Republicans. When the Washington Post asked Crossroads and the NRCC for comment, neither would defend their campaign messages.

    Imagine that.

    • eliihass says:

      Lots of lessons will be learned this particular midterm election cycle, and it will be a turning point in the way things work. Some of our Democratic legislators will learn that integrity, loyalty and respect matter!! The most important lesson however will be, never trust or pick a Republican over the Democratic President.

  7. rikyrah says:

    Texas Election Judge Had To Turn Away 93-Year-Old Veteran Due To Strict Voter ID Law

    by Emily Atkin Posted on October 27, 2014 at 9:08 am
    Updated: October 27, 2014 at 10:45 am

    HOUSTON, TEXAS — In the six days that early voting has been underway in Texas, election judge William Parsley on Sunday said he has only seen one potential voter turned away at his polling location, the Metropolitan Multi-Services Center in downtown Houston.

    “An elderly man, a veteran. Ninety-three years old,” Parsley, an election judge for the last 15 years, told ThinkProgress. “His license had expired.”

    Under Texas’ new voter ID law, one of the strictest in the nation, citizens are required to present one of seven forms of photo identification to vote. The identification can be a Texas-issued driver’s license, a federally-issued veteran’s ID card, or a gun registration card, among other forms. Licenses can be expired, but not for more than 60 days.

    The man Parsley said he had to turn away was a registered voter, but his license had been expired for a few years, likely because he had stopped driving. Parsley said the man had never gotten a veteran’s identification card. And though he had “all sorts” of other identification cards with his picture on it, they weren’t valid under the law — so the election judges told him he had to go to the Department of Public Safety, and renew his license.

    “He just felt real bad, you know, because he’s voted all his life,” Parsley said.

    As of Sunday evening, almost 137,000 Harris County voters had cast early in-person ballots. Those ballots were cast just days after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the state’s controversial voter ID law, crafted to prevent in-person voter fraud, could be implemented for the election.

  8. rikyrah says:


  9. rikyrah says:

    London’s Housing Boom

    OCT. 27, 2014

    LONDON — Here, bricks are stacks of cash. “If you have capital in this country,” Alex Hilton, director of the advocacy organization Generation Rent, told me, “you can get other people’s money.”

    Without capital, those of us who do not own property resign ourselves to running in an exploitative rat race. The race is rigged, of course, because some rats can never win.

    With property at a premium, it’s renters who are paying full market value just to stay where they are. The average home in London costs nearly 20 times the average salary in Britain. The imperative to get a return on that capital investment is passed on to the renter. According to the housing charity Shelter, Londoners spend nearly three-fifths of their monthly income on rent.

    London’s housing is no longer for those who need it but for those primarily concerned with accumulating capital. When bricks are cash and houses are savings accounts, the meaning of the word “affordable” is warped beyond all recognition.

    In Stratford, the East London site of the 2012 Olympics, a new postcode has appeared. E20 used to be the made-up postcode of the fictional London borough Walford, from the BBC’s hugely popular soap opera “EastEnders.” Now, it’s the postcode of the East Village, which was briefly home to the athletes competing in the Games.

    The village’s cluster of affordable homes was available to rent at 80 percent of market rates, which meant that they cost between £1,244 and £1,688 a month (about $2,000 to $2,700). The average annual salary is £26,500 ($42,600). The numbers just don’t add up.

    I was born a few miles from Stratford, in the London borough of Tower Hamlets, the setting of Monica Ali’s critically acclaimed novel-turned-film, “Brick Lane.” A working-class area, Tower Hamlets has experienced waves of migration, and is one of the most multicultural areas in London. It’s also still one of the most deprived, with half of the borough’s children living in poverty.

    There was a time, too, when nobody cared about Stratford. Stratford is a 30-minute bike ride from where I live now, and the wealth that the Olympics brought with it is palpable. My journey takes me through Leyton, a residential district peppered with fried chicken shops and budget Internet cafes. The amenities here are basic. But pedaling toward Stratford, I’m confronted by the imposing £1.4 billion ($2.25 billion) Westfield shopping center, built in 2011. Preparation for the Olympics saw lavish construction of new motorways and roads, complete with segregated cycle lanes and rows of new housing.

    The effect is glaring, shiny and incongruous. Today, properties near where I was born are on the market for up to £5 million (more than $8 million). After a miserable stint of graduate unemployment, I settled in Walthamstow — farther out than where my immediate family lives, but one of the few places in London I can afford to rent without living costs swallowing up a majority of my income. So I live two boroughs away from where I was born, yet I’ll never be able to afford a home.

    • eliihass says:

      The English housing market has always been ridiculously expensive, it’s only gotten worse since. London is still the preferred vacation/second home destination for wealthy middle-eastern, Nigerians, and in recent years, Russian oligarchs. It’s crazy!!

  10. rikyrah says:

    Saturday, October 25, 2014
    Will To Glower

    Posted by Zandar

    When George F. Will is parroting right-wing blog inanities about Gov. Scott Walker of Wisconsin being the “victim of liberal fascism and judicial activism”, you know an election is just around the corner

    From the progressivism of Robert La Follette to the conservatism of Gov. Scott Walker (R) today, Wisconsin has been fertile soil for conviction politics. Today, the state’s senators are the very conservativeRon Johnson (R) and the very liberal Tammy Baldwin (D). Now, however, Wisconsin, which to its chagrin produced Sen. Joe McCarthy (R), has been embarrassed by Milwaukee County’s Democratic district attorney, John Chisholm. He has used Wisconsin’s uniquely odious “John Doe” process to launch sweeping and virtually unsupervised investigations while imposing gag orders to prevent investigated people from defending themselves or rebutting politically motivated leaks.

    According to several published reports, Chisholm told subordinates that his wife, a teachers union shop steward at her school, is anguished by her detestation of Walker’s restrictions on government employee unions, so Chisholm considers it his duty to help defeat Walker.

    Please note that all this is coming from a right wing blog in Wisconsin that’s leaking the John Doe proceedings, where the real problem is Scott Walker has abused the power of his office in order to pressure political foes, attack unions, and take cash outside of the law.

    Besides, can Walker possibly be a victim if he has the multi-billionaire Koch Brothers financing his campaign? He’s the best governor you can buy, after all. He’s run Wisconsin’s economy into the ground, completely failing on his promise to create hundreds of thousands of jobs, and the state continues to languish at the bottom of the pile in growth. Profits for Koch related industries in the state, well, those are up big.

  11. rikyrah says:

    Monday, October 27, 2014
    The GOP’s Great White Dope
    Posted by Zandar

    Well, you knew at some point the Republican Party was going to try to inflict another Bush upon us, and it looks like the attempt will be made in 2016 with Jebby.

    Will another member of the Bush family dynasty make a run for the White House? In an interview in College Station, Texas, this week, George P. Bush told ABC News’ Jonathan Karl he thinks his father, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, will “more than likely” run for president in 2016.

    “I think it’s actually, I think it’s more than likely that he’s giving this a serious thought in moving forward,” George P. Bush told Karl aboard his campaign bus in College Station, Texas.

    “More than likely that he’ll run?” Karl asked.

    “That he’ll run,” Bush said. “If you had asked me a few years back, I would’ve said it was less likely.”

    Bush said his family will support his father “a hundred percent” should he decide to launch a bid for the White House.

  12. rikyrah says:

    We’ve got to make a hard right-hand turn’
    10/27/14 09:20 AM—UPDATED 10/27/14 09:21 AM
    By Steve Benen
    Georgia’s U.S. Senate hopefuls gathered in Atlanta for their latest debate last night, and viewers saw a striking encapsulation of contemporary politics.

    Michelle Nunn (D), echoing her usual message, emphasized the need for compromise. “I just don’t believe that it’s one party or the other. I think it has to be both sides coming together,” she said. “I think that we do have a very clear contrast in terms of how we see breaking through that dysfunction. I don’t think it’s about prosecuting the other party; I think it’s about problem-solving.”

    At which point, David Perdue (R) dismissed this approach out of hand.

    “I disagree,” Perdue answered. “When you have a failed presidency, you have to prosecute it,” he said…. “When we look at the direction of this country, we’ve got to make a hard right-hand turn.”

    Those 31 words are arguably the most emblematic I’ve heard in a while of the current partisan divide. The Democrat struck a non-partisan tone, emphasizing governing and problem-solving, while the Republican forcefully rejected such an approach, insisting instead on a “hard right-hand turn.” Every pundit who likes to maintain the fiction that “both sides” are to blame for Capitol Hill dysfunction should keep this exchange in mind.

  13. rikyrah says:

    The House GOP’s crumbling anti-Obama lawsuit
    10/27/14 08:46 AM
    By Steve Benen

    Americans first learned back on June 24, more than four months ago, about the House Republican plan to file a lawsuit against President Obama. Two weeks later, House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) announced the basis for the case: the GOP would sue to implement an obscure provision of the Affordable Care Act, which Republicans don’t actually want to see implemented.

    When the case was announced, congressional Republicans made it seem as if they were headed to court as part of a bold move to preserve our constitutional system of government against the tyrannical moves of a lawless presidency. But four months later, it looks as if Boehner & Co. got lost on the way to the courthouse.

    Josh Gerstein reports that the case hasn’t even been filed yet.
    It takes about 10 minutes to walk from the Capitol to the federal courthouse just down the hill, but House Republicans haven’t managed to make that trip in the four months since they announced they’d be suing the president.

    House Speaker John Boehner came out swinging hard last June when he announced that his chamber would take President Barack Obama to court. The suit, charging that the president grossly exceeded his constitutional authority by failing to implement portions of the Obamacare law, was billed as an election-season rallying point for aggrieved Republicans. But days before the midterms, the House’s legal guns seem to have fallen silent.

    Lawyers close to the process said they originally expected the legal challenge to be filed in September, but now they don’t expect any action before the elections.

    Republicans not only won’t file the case, they also refuse to say why they won’t file the case – party officials refused to explain the delay when asked by Politico for comment.

  14. rikyrah says:

    The curious case of Kaci Hickox’s quarantine
    10/27/14 08:00 AM
    By Steve Benen
    On Friday, Kaci Hickox, a Doctors Without Borders nurse, arrived back in the United States after helping treat patients in West Africa. It was not a happy return: after arriving at an airport in New Jersey, officials put her in quarantine.

    Hickox’s isolation is the result of a new policy endorsed last week by Govs. Chris Christie (R) of New Jersey and Andrew Cuomo (D) of New York, who announced new guidelines requiring 21-day quarantines for those arriving from West Africa – whether they’re showing symptoms or not.

    The result is a scenario that seems hard to believe: New Jersey has effectively detained a nurse in a tent with no shower, not because she’s showing symptoms of the Ebola virus, but because officials fear she might at some point show symptoms of the Ebola virus.

    Christie defended the mandatory quarantine, saying the nurse was “obviously ill.” This was apparently obvious only to the governor – who has no background in medicine or public health – and was clearly not obvious to Hickox herself.

    Christie boasted on one of the Sunday shows yesterday, “I absolutely have no second thoughts about it,” adding that he expects his policy to soon become “a national policy.” A few hours later, however, second thoughts emerged.

  15. rikyrah says:

    Good Morning, Everyone :)

  16. Good morning all. It took long enough but . . .
    Justice Is Served: Court Finally Overturns Marissa Alexander’s 20 Year Sentence

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