We performed five shows in Duluth, MN, and four shows last weekend in Portland, OR. All is well in Liberace & Liza Land! Here are some fun photos of the show and audience members. Join us for our last 5 shows in Portland this Tuesday, December 26th - Saturday, December 30th.
The first time I met Jillian she was watching TV from a couch as I was trying on 1950's dresses.
The first time Jillian and I performed together she was singing "Cabaret" as Liza Minnelli and I was playing piano for her as... Ellen DeGeneres!
We were destined to be weird and perform together. Bo and I wish you the happiest of birthdays, darling!
Michael Jackson House & The Liberace Foundation
What Happens in Vegas - Part 1 was a dreamlike afternoon of Bo & Jillian & I filming two episodes of Under the Vegas Sun at the Liberace Mansion. The next day we were mostly unscripted. Our only plan was to meet with the CEO of The Liberace Foundation. My dear readers, this man provided a wondrous script of his own.
Jonathan Warren has been the Chairman and CEO of The Liberace Foundation since 2014. The most important role of the foundation is to award scholarships to students in the creative and performing arts. That was Liberace's original intention and it continues to this day. Jonathan met us for breakfast at our hotel. I'm happy to say that he's charming, innovative, and down to earth. We had an agenda that morning. What was discussed can not be revealed at this time. But as a certain lady once said, "All in good time, my little pretty. All in good time."
What we didn't expect was Jonathan's invitation to join him at the Michael Jackson house (AKA "Thriller Villa") that afternoon. Jackson's home entertains the Liberace Collection, and it didn't take us long to accept the offer. What follows are photos taken on our visit: the house, the collection, and quite a few surprises. YOU TOO can see the house and collection! Make sure to visit The Liberace Foundation for more details. Our many thanks to Jonathan Warren and his lovely partner Paulina for a truly spectacular afternoon.
It's here! Steve Schorr interviews David Saffert & Jillian Snow Harris at the Liberace Mansion. Jillian rocks it on an Irving Berlin tune, and Bo Ayars joins in for a touching finale. To watch CLICK HERE.
Our sincere gratitude to Steve Schorr & Martyn Ravenhill (proprietor of the Liberace Mansion) for having us.
Scroll down for Episode One and photos of our luxurious time spent at the mansion!
Our first television episode of "Under the Vegas Sun" is here! Host, Steve Schorr, asks about Bo Ayars' past relationship with Liberace as his Music Director, and David's performances of playing "Mr. Showmanship." And don't miss David playing Liberace's "Gershwin Medley" on a super-shiny piano! To watch, CLICK HERE!
Episode two (with Jillian Snow Harris) comes out on Vegas TV this Monday and will be online later in the week. Check back for the link, or view it on David Saffert Piano Facebook page.
For more photos of our filming at the mansion, scroll down!
Filming at the Liberace Mansion
Friday, June 30th. "Under the Vegas Sun" is a 30-minute TV interview show produced in Las Vegas that highlights the careers of past and present Vegas entertainers. Bo Ayars & Jillian Snow Harris & I were honored to be on two of those episodes. Thanks to TV host, Steve Schorr, these episodes were filmed inside the Liberace Mansion. For the record, the Liberace Mansion is a privately owned home. Martyn Ravenhill bought this house a number of years ago and spent a great deal of money to restore it to it's original Liberace-beauty. It is not normally ON-THE-TOUR! Because of that, I wanted to share some pretty fabulous photos that we were allowed to take inside. My sincere gratitude to Steve Schorr and Martyn Ravenhill for giving us a day we will never forget!
Both episodes are up at David Saffert Piano Facebook.
Michael Jackson house & The Liberace Foundation
+ Photos from the Liberace Collection
Was Liberace a woodsy guy? Probably not. But David Saffert had to be. This past weekend David had the honor of performing as Liberace at the wedding reception of Ninkasi Brewery co-founder Jamie Floyd and Lila Bichel. About 30 miles east of Eugene, Oregon is a beautiful outdoor spot called the Oregon Cliff House. Overlooking the McKenzie River, it is breathtaking.
Jamie has been an incredible sponsor of ours, most notably this past Christmas when we debuted our "A Liberace & Liza Christmas." Cheers to the happy couple and we hope you enjoy these 'rare' photos of Liberace in the great outdoors!
In Sequins Productions costumer Jason Bray
I met Jason Bray several years ago while we were both working at Portland Opera. Eventually, I would ask Jason to create my Liberace wardrobe. He works on a lot of interesting projects, so it seemed fitting that I introduce him to all of you. I think you'll enjoy the following discussion I had with him.
Portland Opera & Michael Curry Design
David: What work did you do at Portland Opera?
Jason: I was their First Hand, Assistant Shop Manager, and Design Assistant. We built several new productions for Portland Opera, most of which I was the Design Assistant for (Rinaldo/Galileo Galilei/Postcard from Morocco). The designer is never in town, so the Design Assistant is responsible for doing all the shopping and communicating with the shop. I’ve done lots of work with designer Sue Bonde. Lots of detail! Lots of gold trim! BLING! See, working with you is the culmination of all my training because of Sue Bonde being my mentor, and she’s the queen of bling.
David: And what do you do now for Michael Curry Design?
Jason: I'm a Fabric Artist. Projects that are more costume related come to me. Things that have tight deadlines. I do a lot of dye work. I work on a lot of projects that require specialty sourcing of materials, which is how I discovered the LA garment district. I also source from China, Korea, Japan, Vietnam, and Taiwan. The textiles we got for the Dementor project came from Japan.
David: Let's talk about Japan! How long were you there and what were you doing?
Jason: I was in Osaka, Japan three times from December through May at Harry Potter World in Universal Studios. We were building flying Dementors for their “Expecto Patronum Night Show.”
David: Was this the first time you’ve worked overseas?
Jason: No, I also worked at Shanghai Disneyland last year. I was at their Grand Opening Celebration doing costumes and props.
David: You must have some interesting people show up at Michael Curry’s.
Jason: We get client visits from Disney and Universal Studios all the time. Siegfried from Siegfried & Roy has been here because he’s friends with Michael (Curry). Steve Wynn is another of his friends that makes appearances. Who else? It was a bummer that Michael Jackson was never here. We did all the puppetry for his “This is It” tour. A couple of my colleagues are in the “This is It” documentary that was made from the rehearsal footage for the tour.
David: I know that you listen to music while you work. What music has inspired you?
Jason: At the opera I tortured people with some of my music tastes. Most notably Philip Glass. I have quite a Glass collection. I find his music to be so focusing. Lately I’ve been listening to Eydie Gorme & Steve, the Nirvana Unplugged album, opera, classical music, and Liberace.
David: What do you eventually want to make for Jillian?
Jason: I need to make her some kind of Bob Mackie-Liza Minnelli outfit! Mackie designed for everybody… the Carol Burnett Show, Cher… The quintessential Liza outfit is the sparkle jumpsuit. Black or red.
David: If you could design and build costumes for anyone, who would it be?
Jason: It used to be Lady Gaga. Definitely RuPaul. I’m also in love with this guy, Perfume Genius. I’d love to costume him.
The Next Liberace Outfit!
David: I’m sitting here looking at swatches of the Liberace Christmas costume you are making for me. You are creating it. It’s not based on an actual Liberace outfit.
Jason: Well, there’s a Liberace style I’m trying to emulate. He originated this style. All these people that came after him, like Elton John and Prince, emulated him. One of the major inspirations for your Christmas outfit is from my book about the Russian Master Goldsmith’s Faberge eggs. There’s a template that I’m following, but I’m dressing it differently; gold and green and red sparkle, plaid, poinsettias, jingle bells, and holly.
And finally, for the kids
David: What do you have to say to children who would like to have a job like yours?
Jason: Being a doctor or lawyer is nice! No… you don’t have to go to a fancy school and pay a lot of money. A degree in design is great, but you go to a firm like Michael Curry’s and there’s ONE designer. Learn as much as you can from home or a private sewing tutor. Try to get an internship. Get in ground level somewhere and don’t put yourself in debt over it! You should definitely learn how to sew, know your way around a sewing machine, but most importantly be able to take direction. That’s what I look for when hiring. Can someone take direction? I want people who listen, have some sort of skill to build on, and be willing to improve. Most of my best stitchers have been retired people and those who have learned from home.
But what about Project Runway?
Jason: You can’t be doing this for any recognition or stardom. Project Runway is NOT reality! It’s fun, but it’s not real. It’s a fantasy that you’re going to be a star and that these outfits are busted out in an hour.
Thank you for reading, folks! And thank you to Jason Bray for taking the time to answer a few questions. If YOU have any questions that you would like to ask Jason, please leave them in the comments section below.
P.S. To see Jason's Liberace outfits in action, check out our GALLERY & VIDEO page.
What a rock star! And look at that smile. His zany zest for life was contagious. So much has been said concerning his warmth and generosity as a performer and human being. What more could I possibly add? Happy 98th, good sir. You and your music are remembered, just as you had hoped.
Enjoy this clip of Liberace playing "12th Street Rag."
Bo Ayars turns "39 plus tax"
"39 plus tax." That's how Liberace would answer someone if they asked him his age. Bo Ayars is a gem of a human and musician. He's lived three times a normal person's life and he's still going strong. There's much more to Bo than music, but it has definitely driven and defined his life.
We love you, Bo. Here's to years & years of great music and friendship.
Sincerely, David & Jillian
Jason Michael Miller
In Sequins Productions is pleased to bring aboard the marketing talents of Jason Michael Miller. Originally a good-ol' Midwestern boy, Jason lives in New York City and is the perfect publicist to "start spreading the news." We are humbled by his enthusiasm for our shows and we look forward to our collaboration. Also, he'd kind of make a nice Scott Thorson, don't you think? We'll see.
Our newsletter recipients were given the opportunity to have their names put into a drawing for two free tickets to our May 14th Mother's Day Brunch Show at Tony Starlight's Showroom. Names went into a sparkly silver Liza hat and one lucky person was drawn.
Below is the video of our winner being drawn! Congratulations!!
There will be more drawings and fun in the future, so if you have not registered for our newsletter, CLICK HERE!
Whether you won or not, check out our Calendar page for all upcoming shows.
In Sequins Productions LLC
We love what we do. Call it an addiction if you will. It is our goal to take our brand of entertainment to new levels and to share & honor the talent & spirit of the world's greatest entertainers. This is step one in what we hope will be an exciting adventure for not only us, but our audiences as well. Our fingers are crossed, which is hard to do with so many big rings!
Forming a company took a lot of time and effort, and we could not have done it without the guidance and advice from some very smart people: Dave & Kathy Saffert, Aaron Cronan (Cronan Law), Tony Starlight, Stephanie Cordell, Marilyn Scott (SCORE), and Jim Brickman.
Our audiences are what keep us going. Thank YOU for coming and inspiring us!
- Jillian, Bo, & David
Kenton Waltz, a professional photographer in Portland, Oregon, took some marvelous photos of our show "Dirty, Stupid Music." Actually, he took around 250 photos. I've chosen a few to share with you.
Resonance Ensemble's "Dirty, Stupid Music" cast had the honor of performing on All Classical Portland's live radio broadcast of "Thursdays @ Three." Robert McBride was on fire as host and Stacey Murdock, Beth Madsen Bradford, Erik Hundtoft, and Vakare Petroliunaite sang for a very enthusiastic studio audience! David Saffert played piano and gave the audience a little taste of his Liberace wardrobe.
Host Robert McBride & David Saffert - live broadcast on All Classical Portland Radio
Some major talent was being assembled for that 4th year birthday show. But Jillian, my Liza Minnelli, was about to give me some news that would change our lives.Read More
"How did 'a la Liberace!' get started?" "When did you and Jillian realize that you were so good together?" "How did you meet Bo Ayars?" These questions come up time and time again. And it's about time that I gave you some answers.Read More
Christmas is really really over. Someone is responsible for decapitating my Liberace ornament. Suspects include my girlfriend, Stephanie, and a West Highland White Terrier named Journey. Any information concerning the incident is greatly appreciated.
"Well, look me over!"
Welcome to our new Blog. This page will be updated frequently to provide you with never-before seen photos & video, special interviews, fun facts, and insider information. It's the kind of page you'll want to visit if you've been having a rough day. Or ANY day, for that matter! We keep things light and positive around here. So sit back, relax, and enjoy!
For upcoming shows, check out our CALENDAR page. And if you want special treatment, subscribe to our newsletter by CLICKING HERE!
From all of us at "a la Liberace!" - Happy New Year!