Hal Willner Residency at The Stone

Spokes need a hub to keep that wheel turning, and for the last 40 years or so, in certain NYC circles, Hal Willner has been one helluva hub. The boho boomer is a record and concert producer who pretty much invented the modern tribute album; his acclaimed various-artists nods to Monk, Weill, Disney, Mingus and others are cornerstones of insightful song interpretation – utterly entertaining. His occasional visits to The Stone never fail to charm (everyone needs a little more Allan Sherman and Edgar Allen Poe in their lives, right?). Dude’s Rolodex is as thick as his curatorial savvy is deep. This latest residency finds him updating his very first homage, turning a tiny chunk of Loisaida into a Fellini set with a nod to Nino Rota that features both the irrepressible Steven Bernstein and ever-insouciant Karen Mantler. The week-long schedule teems with intriguing notions. Expect this lover of texts to come up with some memorable frolic when saluting Ken Nordine (Sex Mob provides the music), Allen Ginsberg (a duet with NRBQ’s Terry Adams) and cool-cat poesy from the wondrous 1959 album, “How To Speak Hip.” Wisely, an entire evening is given over to the multi-layered wordplay of Firesign Theatre, with Chloe Webb, Janine Nichols and Steve Weisberg’s Orchestra shaping the action. Front and center for each event? That would be Willner himself – a circus ringmaster with a knowing grin on his puss.

The Stone schedule

 

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