Cap off election week with the Capitol Steps!


OVER TWENTY-FIVE YEARS AGO, the Capitol Steps began as a group of Senate staffers who set out to satirize the very people and places that employed them. In the years that followed, many of the Steps ignored the conventional wisdom (“Don’t quit your day job!”), and although not all of the current members of the Steps are former Capitol Hill staffers, taken together the performers have worked in a total of eighteen Congressional offices and represent 62 years of collective House and Senate staff experience.

Since they began, the Capitol Steps have recorded over 30 albums, including their latest, Liberal Shop of Horrors and their special holiday release, Barackin’ Around the Christmas Tree. They’ve been featured on NBC, CBS, ABC, and PBS, and can be heard 4 times a year on National Public Radio stations nationwide during their Politics Takes a Holiday radio specials.

We were lucky enough to chat with one of the founding cast members, Elaina Newport, about the upcoming Capitol Steps appearance at Infinity Hall on Thursday, November 4th.

IH: This will be the first time that the Capitol Steps appear at Infinity Hall. For our patrons who haven’t seen one of your live shows before, what should they expect?

EN: It will be exciting! Our show is the only place where you’ll find Joe Biden in a rock song and Sarah Palin as a stand-up comedian. Each show includes 30 songs and skits mocking leaders from both sides of the aisle, all in good fun.

IH: You’re a founding member of the Capitol Steps. Just how exactly did a group of congressional staffers decide to form a comedy troupe satirizing your bosses?

EN: The year was 1981…so obviously I was extremely young! A zygote. I was working for Senator Charles Percy and a bunch of us Senate staffers were tapped to put on a skit for the Senate Christmas party. None of us expected it to go beyond that; in fact, we were pretty sure we’d be told to stop in the middle of the performance. That, or get fired.

IH: How did performing in the Steps become your full-time gig? Do any of the cast members still work on the Hill?

EN: When we didn’t all get fired, we took our act on the road. I worked as a Congressional aide for 7 years, but eventually they started noticing that I was gone an awful lot. Plus, the politicians I worked for kept losing. There’s one person in the cast who still works on Capitol Hill. Since she’s like to keep it that way, she doesn’t travel as much.

IH: So, becoming a full-time comedian actually improved your job stability?

EN: Our worst fear is that all the politicians will one day get quietly competent; then we’d be out of a job. Granted, it’s not a big fear.

IH: With mid-term elections coming up fast, is there a particular race or candidate that you find the most hilarious? How about here in Connecticut? The leader of the WWE (World Wrestling Entertainment) running for Senator, perhaps?

EN: Because we travel all over, we focus most of our material on national news. Our show isn’t partisan, our only criteria is “Who’s funnier?” That changes all the time. We write a new song every week. You’ll hear a line or two about local matters, and yes, that might be one of them. Since this show will happen right after the election, there’s sure to be fresh material. Who knows, we may be talking about Speaker Boehner. We’ll have to get one of our guys into a tanning booth…

Now, come on, you don’t want to miss that!

Capitol Steps
Thursday, November 4th • 8:00 PM

For show info and to buy your tickets now, visit infinityhall.com.

Don’t miss this weekend’s great shows @ Infinity Music Hall!

The stellar line-up of artists appearing at Infinity Hall this week offers something for everyone. Pick your favorite or go all out and enjoy them all! Either way, we look forward to seeing you there.

Friday 10/22 @ 8 pm (Tonight): Celtic Crossroads! You may think you’ve seen the best that Irish music has to offer, but this fresh new show from Ireland takes the art form to a new level. With a national PBS special about to break, Celtic Crossroads will be taking America by storm!

Saturday 10/23 @ 8 pm: Melanie!
In one magical instant onstage at Woodstock, Melanie became one of the voices of a generation. She’s kept every bit of her energy, her humor, and her vibrant talent through the years and she’ll share it with us all on Saturday night.

Sunday 10/24 @ 8 pm: The Tubes featuring Fee Waybill!
Some say The Tubes were about 15 years ahead of Madonna in spectacle, and light years ahead of the politically correct. One thing’s for sure, their show will be a performance art experience not to be missed!

Wednesday 10/27 @ 8pm: The Outlaws!
If you’re in the mood for high-powered, guitar-driven country-rock, complete with exciting songwriting and stellar three-part harmony, this is the show for you. Don’t miss it!

On Sale Today! Get your tix to these great shows now!

Infinity All-Stars • Seth Glier, Liz Longley, Jen Lowe
Thursday, December 16th • 8:00 PM

Holiday Acoustic Showcase with some of Infinity Hall’s favorite artists!

Seth Glier
Seth Glier will grab you…if not with his powerful falsetto or his melodic prowess, then with what Performer Magazine calls his “intoxicating groove.” The 20-year-old singer, pianist and guitarist aims straight for the gut.

Liz Longley
During the past year, Liz Longley has received the kinds of accolades and awards that recognize her as one of the finest new talents writing songs today. In 2010, Liz took the Overall Grand Prize in the International Acoustic Music Awards (IAMA.)

Jen Lowe
Jen Lowe is a true natural performer, whether she’s pounding ferociously on a djembe or gently finger-picking her old guitar; as a multi-instrumentalist, Jen’s shows are spontaneous, fun and never predictable.
[ More Details ] Ticket Price: $15, $25

Lucky Peterson Band featuring

Tamara Peterson

Saturday, December 18th • 8:00 PM
Lucky Peterson was discovered by blues legend Willie Dixon when he was three years old, released his first record at five and soon after appeared on The Tonight Show. Trained by keyboardists Bill Doggett and Jimmy Smith, Peterson went on to play behind Little Milton, Bobby “Blue” Bland and Kenny Neal. On return from the “Young Blues Giants” tour of Europe, he signed first with Alligator, then Verve, Blue Thumb and Birdology/Dreyfus, where he recorded what Amazon.com called “his finest album,” Black Midnight Sun, in 2003. The New Yorker called him “a master of the guitar, organ and microphone.”

[ More Details ] Ticket Price: $30, $40

Eight To The Bar
Saturday, January 15th • 8:00 PM

CD Release Party for “The Romper Room!”

Listening to Eight To The Bar is a lot like driving along a time-warped highway precisely halfway between Count Basie’s Kansas City and Fats Waller’s Harlem, where the car radio picks up everything from Take the A Train to I Heard It Through the Grapevine. Their material, like their outlandish wardrobes and onstage choreography, is a colorful mix of forties jive, fifties melodrama, and sixties through eighties Motown. With their female vocals, saxophone, guitar, bass, keyboards and drums, this unique sextet pack a musical and visual wallop. The band recently released their 11th album, The Romper Room. Come celebrate this amazing album!
[ More Details ] Ticket Price: $15, $25

West Lowe as Mark Twain:
An Evening of Witt and Wisdom
Sunday, January 30th • 7:30 PM

Mark Twain, reporter, author, critic, humorist, lecturer… in today’s vernacular the first American Super Star! By his 60th birthday, he had reached a celebrity status previously reserved for presidents, generals, and barn-burning preachers. West Lowe has been portraying Mark Twain for more than thirty years, to the delight of audiences from Norfolk to the St. Lawrence to Montana and back again. His theatrical impersonation captures the wit and wisdom, the cynicism and pathos, the drawl and timing of Twain with exceptional proficiency. Scripted from Twain’s original work, West’s performance will take you from rolling in the aisle to sitting straight with introspection. It’s all there: the white suit, the bountiful mustache, cigar smoke accentuating restless white hair…an American icon.
[ More Details ] Ticket Price: $15, $25

Blood, Sweat and Tears
Thursday, February 17th • 6:00 PM Thursday,
February 17th • 9:00 PM
One night, Two Shows!

A musical institution, Blood Sweat & Tears has left an indelible mark on the American music scene since 1968. One of the greatest horn bands in the history of popular music, BS&T’s alumni roster reads like a Who’s Who of the world’s greatest jazz and rock musicians. As BS&T has evolved through the years, it has maintained its commitment to high standards by including in its current roster the most talented musicians available.

1ST SHOW @ 6PM – [ More Details ] Ticket Price: $50, $70
2ND SHOW @ 9PM – [ More Details ] Ticket Price: $50, $70

Melanie — She’s Still Beautiful!

Infinity Music Hall Guest Post by:
Bridgette L. Rallo
The Greenwoods Studio
http://www.greenwoodsstudio.com

It’s been many years since Woodstock, but no one who was there can forget the peaceful, loving interlude that was Melanie’s performance. I was there and it was BEAUTIFUL.

That same spirit of peace, love and sanity is alive and well today, still singing, still imagining a much better world. Melanie Safka will spin her gentle web of kindness live at Infinity Hall this weekend, for concert goers young and old. If you’ve never heard her, don’t miss the chance. Her new song, “Hushabye,” is alone worth the price of admission. The pleasure will be all yours.

“It took my lifetime to create this album,” Melanie’s said recently about her latest release, Ever Since You Never Heard of Me. “For the first time, I’m not afraid to voice exactly what I feel. I used to feel that I didn’t want to say too much, but now I can say anything.” In that case, expect the unexpected…

A true rebel, Melanie is a legend on so many levels: for Woodstock, of course, but also for her appearance at the first Isle of Wight Festival in England in 1970, where she performed alongside the likes of Jimi Hendrix, The Who and The Rolling Stones. She’s eschewed the conventional route to fame and fortune, the one where an artist turns out two to four recordings a year for a huge music label. Instead, Melanie co-exists with rappers, hip-hop artists and ska bands, turning out musical poetry in her signature rich and raspy voice.

Little known legendary facts: Melanie was the first pop artist to appear at both New York City’s Metropolitan Opera House and the Sydney Opera House, the first pop artist to sing for the United Nations General Assembly, the first artist to receive an “encore request” in the form of a lighted device — first came candles, then lighters, then flashlights, now cell phones…

If you’re in the mood for a night of peace, poetry, musicianship and a little bit of irreverent magic, reserve your seats for Melanie, appearing this Saturday night at 8 PM.

Melanie live at Infinity Hall
Saturday 10/23/10 • 08:00 PM
For more info and to buy tix, visit the calendar at infinityhall.com.

Jeff Daniels the Musician – In His Own Words


I’ve been writing songs for over thirty years. I don’t write hits. I don’t send out demos to famous singers. I just write songs. They’re my diaries. I had everything I’ve ever written in this big, black notebook. Some of them were typed, some were in long hand, but all of them had a time and a place that marked some moment in my life. If you really wanted to get to know me, you’d find me in there.

A few years ago, I was in New York finishing up the Final Mix of ESCANABA IN DA MOONLIGHT. For those of you who’ve never mixed a film, it makes watching paint dry interesting. So while Steve Curran was slaving over every single sound in our epic tale of deer hunting in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, I sat in the back of the room typing three decades of my musical life into my computer. Like the teacher you never saw coming, I looked up and suddenly he was there. Through weary eyes, he asked me what I thought I was doing. I told him I was organizing my songs, getting ready for this little fundraiser at the Purple Rose Theatre in a couple months. It seems someone had suggested that if I were pushed out onstage with a guitar, people might actually pay money to see what happened.

In the non-profit world of fundraising, this is known as a “good idea.” Steve stared down at me with the stress of an eighteen hour day and no end in sight oozing from his pores, and he said, “You really should record the shows.” I told him to turn around and finish tweaking the fart scene. He asked me what I was afraid of. I told him that in case he’d forgotten, I make my living as an actor, not an actor who sings. I said if I put out a CD there’s a very good chance I’d be compared to William Shatner, to which Steve replied, “Sounds like a song to me.” And then he turned around and said something about adding more bass to that flatulence.

Excerpted from jeffdaniels.com.

Jeff Daniels with Krista Detor this Wednesday at Infinity!

Click here for more information and to purchase tix.

Infinity Hall Live TV Series!


Two of Connecticut’s Finest Cultural Organizations Join Forces to Bring Music to the State

Move over Austin City Limits. Connecticut Public Television and Infinity Music Hall & Bistro have joined forces to create a new live music concert television series for the 21st century.

Premiering in May 2011, INFINITY HALL LIVE is a new CPTV-produced series of music specials that offers viewers a “best seat in the house” experience celebrating the music and energy of today’s top performers in an intimate setting. Every special will be shot at Infinity Hall, an acoustically perfect, historically-renovated 19th century hall in Norfolk, Connecticut. The hall, which opened two years ago, was once a venue for vaudeville stars, and since October 2008 has featured performers ranging from Judy Collins and Jane Monheit to Tower of Power and Leon Russell.

Each episode of the INFINITY HALL LIVE TV series will include the “All Access/Backstage Pass,” offering a look at the artist offstage, both before and after the concert. While at press time the performers for the series were still being confirmed, viewers will be certain to see a top-notch collection of musical artists from rock, pop and folk music.

Infinity Music Hall & Bistro founder Dan Hincks is thrilled about this collaboration with CPTV.

“Since our opening, we’ve wanted to expand our audience,” he said. “Joining forces with CPTV, an organization with a clear track record for excellence, is the perfect way to bring music to the people of Connecticut.”

“For decades, CPTV has been a leader in producing and distributing extraordinary music programming featuring world class artists – from Carole King and Patti LaBelle to James Taylor and Dolly Parton,” remarked Jerry Franklin, President and CEO of CPTV. “Infinity Hall is a musical jewel right in our backyard, and this new series is a wonderful chance for us to bring that unique ‘Infinity’ musical experience to public television viewers.”

INFINITY HALL LIVE will be produced by multiple Emmy Award-winning producer Jennifer Boyd, Executive Producer of Local Programming for Connecticut Public Television. For more than 20 years, Jennifer has been producing award-winning documentaries and multi-camera events. Her projects have taken her across the United States and to countries such as the Czech Republic, Kenya, Haiti, El Salvador, Nicaragua and Nigeria. Most recently her February 2010 documentary produced for CPTV, The Blizzard of ’78, became one of the number one-rated local public television shows in the country for that week.