Two Nights With Minky Woodcock

Hark now to the tale of my two trips to the 1920s, to unravel a mystery with a seductive PI in the making.

We’re spending more time on this than, say, The Lifespan of a Fact because in that case all I can do is give a synopsis and maybe try to recall the better lines, and that’s less satisfying.

Minky Woodcock, on the other hand, was an experience.

Pearls Daily and Lord Kat. Image credit: Speakeasy Dollhouse

Minky Woodcock. Would-be private eye. Sharp mind, crafty in a fight, able to talk her way almost anywhere, and with a body that gets her anywhere else. Stuck in a time period that doesn’t appreciate her.

And the main character of the graphic novel-turned theatrical experience that lured me to New York eight days after getting back from LA.

Although Minky had some help getting my attention.

The Siren

For the uninitiated, this is Robyn Adele Anderson.

A voice from the past covering the songs of today. Well, today-ish.

The original singer for Postmodern Jukebox, way back when they turned contemporary hits into vintage ditties in a small apartment.

If finding “translating the rap breakdown into Yiddish”  hot is wrong, hey I don’t wanna be right.

She has her own channel now, since Postmodern Jukebox now juggles many, many singers and possibly is based in LA now, not New York where they started. 

I suppose my lo– chaste and respectful admiration for Ms. Anderson began the first time I saw Postmodern Jukebox live, June of 2015. All five vocalists brought the house down that night, but I became fond of Ms. Anderson in particular.

I was already quite fond of Ariana Savalas and this performance only solidified that so my above statement remains true.

A year later, I’m following the Twitters and Instagrams of both Ms. Anderson and Gracie Terzian, a jazz singer with a harp ukulele and a voice so beautiful it defies description, and she has nothing to do with this story, really, but here’s a video anyway.

I didn’t even know harp ukuleles were a thing, but they’re pretty great in the right hands.

Back on track… Both Robyn and Gracie seemed to be doing zero-cover gigs at jazz clubs across Manhattan, while I was stuck on the far side of the continent like a chump. That’s what got me thinking about a third New York trip back then… go to NYC, meet up with Maria, one of my Peru travelmates, then find some rooftop jazz bar and hear Robyn or Gracie sing live. Of course when I actually went to New York in the fall of 2016, for an ill-fated Brooklyn pizza adventure we’ll discuss another time, both were on tour and nowhere near the city and Maria was in Russia. So it goes. 

Two years pass. As I mentioned earlier, Ms. Anderson plugs a show she’s doing with a group called Speakeasy Dollhouse. Minky Woodcock: The Girl Who Handcuffed Houdini. The title has my attention, so I check out their page.

An interactive theatrical experience… based on a, let’s be honest, pretty sexy-looking graphic novel… about Harry Houdini… that uses true facts about his death to construct a conspiracy involving spiritualists and the creator of Sherlock Holmes… featuring one of my favourite singers as Bess Houdini. 

Other than the “audience participation” of it all, this was ticking a lot of boxes for me. It seemed like, were it playing remotely near me, it was exactly the sort of show I’d want to see. The Kickstarter was a fair distance from its goal, so I thought, what could slipping them $100 hurt? Other than $100 plus exchange rate. That’s two or three nights at home instead of a pub. Maybe they wouldn’t make their goal and I wouldn’t even be on the hook.

Anyway a week or so later I get an email saying they’re funded and asking when I want to see the show.

Which… was a very fair question.

Next Page: When am I going, exactly?

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