Monday, August 22, 2016

Moment of Truth

You know how it feels when you lose somebody you cared about deeply, someone you thought was the one?

Yea, well, Billy Christopher Maupin knows that feeling, too, only he's got a far better singing voice than you do and he's a whiz at mining soundtracks for musical gems to tell the highs and lows of trying to navigate the world once you've been smitten.

So quit yer whining.

The Camel was the setting for his cabaret, "This Fish Needs a Bicycle," an evening of history ("I was a virgin until I was 19"), self-reflection (resolving to be okay with being single) and observation ("I'm always hitting on straight guys"), accompanied by Tristan on guitar and Joshua on keyboards, punctuated by show tunes and obscure character-driven songs.

Occasionally a random dancer appeared to great effect, like when long-legged Emily began shimmying to "Sister Kate" right up the aisles between the tables to the stage.

As long as they were songs about missin' a feller, lovin' a man or muddlin' through heartache, he was all over it while nattily clad in a red blazer, black shirt and cuffed pants.

Barefoot, naturally.

From Oklahoma's "I Can't Say No" to a torch song such as "The Man I Love" to "Down With Love," with a Cher imitation (not just voice, but hair flipping as well) smack dab in the middle of a killer medley, it was pretty easy to see where  this boy had channeled his feelings after his last big romance had ended.

Acknowledging his constant companion, stage fright, he promised to do one more song before the break, during which we were instructed to get a drink, order some dessert and avail ourselves of the bathroom, which he also planned to do.

Just as he was about to hop off the stage, he realized his error, sheepishly saying, "Oh, yea, the song."

Of course he'd told us about the romance that had spawned the evening earlier, because that's what lovesick people do after they call the whole thing off.

But their heart will go on, and in this case that meant the trio returned after a break (BC in a different blazer) only to start, stop and restart a song before realizing that their juju was off. "Okay, I'm just gonna go out and come in again," he said and once he did, all was well in the world of sung emotions.

BC brought up acoustic guitarist Psalm Swarr because at his request, she'd written a song about his breakup, telling him if he didn't want it, she'd sing it herself. Between Tristan's slide guitar and his harmonizing with Psalm and Emily, the heartbreaking song was rendered achingly.

There were songs about why people fall in love (can you say hormones? how about convenience?), future chances and endless optimism.

Things got a little emotional when he talked about getting really good at "hiding from life," but he also shared his attack plan: (F*ck that!" with enthusiasm), simultaneously citing Auntie Mame's advice abut life being a banquet while letting drop that Mame was one of his dream roles.

It never hurts to let people know what you want, said every kvetching mother ever.

When he came back for an encore, he asked the sell-out crowd, "One more?" and someone yelled out, "Ten more!" just before someone else laughing instructed, "Calm down there!"

Reaching in for a prime nugget with which to close the well-sung show, he pulled out Rodgers and Hammerstein's "Something Good" from "Sound of Music" and performed it like his life depended upon it.

Or at least his heart. The good news, he'd already sung, is that love is going around, heck, it's practically in the air.

Best to keep your resistance low.

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