Kerin Auth

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March 30, 2011 0 comments Articles & Reviews, By Jonathan Cristaldi

Sherry Podcast & Update on Sinatra Simulacra

Because I’m knee deep in memorizing Sinatra tunes and his every subtle nuance I failed miserably at uploading the podcast from our Sherry event. Really, a very thorough and engaging dialogue with Kerin Auth of Tinto Fino, Mayur Subbarao of EVOE, El Cobre, Cienfuegos, etc., and Christine Wells of the French Culinary Institute.







So, 17 days into preparing for Sinatra Simulacra, I’ve not blogged once, as promised. So it goes. Better late than never, someone always says. Okay.

I’m growing concerned that my wildly attentive audience is confused about this particular event, and so I hope to set the record straight right now. This is not going to be some cheap, ho-hum imitation or impersonation of Frank Sinatra. I’ve got one of the bright starts of the composing and arranging business, Mr. Daniel Barnidge, working out new renditions to the following songs, which will be performed by yours truly with a magnificent group of seven very talented musicians:

  1. I’ve Got You Under My Skin
  2. Day In, Day Out
  3. I’ve Got a Crush On You
  4. Fly Me to the Moon
  5. You’re Nobody Until Somebody Loves You
  6. Luck Be a Lady
  7. That Lucky Old Sun
  8. One For My Baby
  9. That’s Life
  10. Angel Eyes

It’s no easy task, working to emulate, working to revive the energy and perfect performance of such a well-known artist. Frank Sinatra became a phenomenon that generations will have a hard time comprehending in the future because at the pace were going the future is going to be devoid of his kind of entertainer. A controversial figure, a contradicting figure, with enough rumors about his life, habits, run-ins, to fill billions of pages of books and still have room for more. The question I posit to myself is: How did one man achieve such a legacy? And my answer: Well, simply put, and as I believe Sinatra might suggest, there is no other explanation than to say that his celebrity occurred at such a unique time and place – historically and contextually – and he had a rare gift, which received the right attention at the right times and the right places.

There’s no question that The Voice, as he is often referred to, was brilliant in it’s own right: What Sinatra did, that not even Crosby was doing, was talking to his audience; speaking to them through the songs he sang. When you watch some of the marvelous videos that have surfaced on YouTube, if attention is paid to Frank’s expression and focus, not only is he very naturally acting out the scenarios in the songs he sings, but he embodies the character of the person singing – embodies the subject of what they are singing – and does it so well that it’s almost as if he isn’t singing at all, but simply speaking the lyrics. (And Sinatra grew up listening to Crosby who was the king of crooning at the time. Early in his career, Sinatra worked to emulate Crosby before Frank’s own status as a crooner and own voice began to evolve into the mature voice so well known from recordings like “New York, New York,” “My Way,” “I’ve Got You Under My Skin,” etc).

This skill (speak-singing I’ll call it) was what separated him from every other performer, and still does to this day. He focused the sounds, vowels and consonants, right into the front of his face, through his nose, vibrating in his cheeks and jawbones, never singing in falsetto voice (save for a few recordings in his early, early days with Harry James) but maintaining his mid-range and singing songs as if his speaking voice was merely stretching the vowels and consonants, elongating them melodically and rhythmically. Reinforced with impeccable breath control, able to sing through many bars of music before taking a breath, and paying careful attention when to breath, his singing developed into a style so satisfying to listen to that all he had to do was stand up on stage and…sing. He didn’t need to do anything else. His show was his Voice.

And this is my challenge. As Jonny Cigar, I’m used to flailing about the stage, throwing myself down into the gutter, into the depths of my own despair and climbing out with one hell of an army of bells and whistles. I’ve got to channel all that now into subtle hand-gestures and let my body find the natural rhythm of the music, let it respond naturally to it as well. I’ve got to focus my gaze and I’ve got to speak-sing with an orchestra backing me up – I have to be tuned into the orchestra and so comfortable with everything happening that I can also be open to the spontaneity of a show with a crowd fueled by cocktails and ready to be impressed. I’m not going to try to “become” Sinatra, because for Christ’s sake that’s ridiculous, and Christ would agree. I’m going to put into practice the very elements that made him the artist he was, and in theory I ought to come out on top, if I can pull it off.

So, a rigorous voice-training has commenced. 30 minutes of vocalizing everyday followed by a couple hours of singing the songs and getting into the subtext of the lyrics. I’ve got to know what I’m saying in order to sing and convey the emotion. It’s no different than memorizing a monologue and performing it: an audience can tell if you’ve done your homework or not.

This seems like a good place to conclude for today… I hope that this attention to detail indicates that Sinatra Simulacra is going to be more than just another night out on the town, more than just another show. Without getting too hokey, the evening is intended to transport the audience back in time to an era devoid of instantaneous gratification and where entertainers relied on their talents to impress an audience. The style of performance that saw Sinatra’s hey-day is gone, replaced by the world’s 6.7 billion-person 15-minutes-of-fame-ridden atmosphere. For one night, I’m bringing it back and you’re gonna love it, like nobody’s loved it, come rain or come shine…

Like I’ve been saying, if you’d never seen Sinatra live, this’ll be your last chance. Grab a spot:

March 25, 2011 0 comments Articles & Reviews, By Jonathan Cristaldi

The Noble Rot (event): Sherry

Brian Quinn sets up the Tumblr page for Sherry. The Noble Rot will never be the same again.

Live Blogging. Here we go.

5:22pm. Friday, March 25, 2011. We are setting up for a wild night of Sherry tasting and Sherry cocktail-ing. Brian Quinn has arranged for a live Tumblr page ( for some interactive online engagement.

6:00pm. Mayur Subbarao, the evening’s bartender/mixologist and Kerin Auth from Tinto Fino are scheduled to arrive any minute. Christine Wells is cooking up a storm: gazpacho, white bean salad, pulled pork & sage polenta,

6:27pm. Kerin arrives with the Sherry and with Jeanette, a noble-assistant for the evening. EMERGENCY: The button broke off my tux jacket. #Panic. It will be mended…with #Sherry.

6:48pm. Mayur has arrived, and is setting up. He’s very late and we’re missing the Manzanilla he needs for the intro cocktail that people will be served when they walk in the door in 10 minutes. I have a back-up plan: stare out the window wishing I was in Disney Land.

Mayur! is stirring!

7:15pm. Guest begin to arrive. Turns out Mayur worked it out with a different Sherry, and as he only needed to batch Sherry and Gin, set up was less than 3 minutes.

7:30pm. Starting the podcast now. I smell danger in the air. The Sherry is making me Merry.

8:37pm. Several Sherry’s in. High ABV. My oh my. Damian Gutierrez shows up to tell me about his hair stylist who was deported. We should be on our last Sherry at this point, but we’re on our third out of five, but it’s seems to be okay—everyone is having fun.

11:17pm. Sherry baby, thank you Jerry Seinfeld. Who is Puff Daddy? I don’t know.


Hello good readers: I’m recovered from our rather posh Sherry soiree. While a good three hours elapsed between my last two “live” posts it was all in the name of encouraging guests to learn a little something about Sherry—education takes time!

So, what did we learn? Well, for one, Sherry in its many forms is truly quite enjoyable. And in cocktails, it’s classic, even legendary. Sherry is a fortified wine that hails from the town of Jerez in Spain. And in all honesty, the wiki entry does a good concise job of explaining Sherry, so take a peek at it.

The cocktails:

REVERSE Martini Aperitif

  • 2 oz. of Manzanilla
  • 1 oz. Beefeater GIN

Add ice, stir, strain and serve in rocks glass.

Manhattan Special (Digestif)

  • 1.5 oz. Rye whiskey
  • 1/4 oz. Benedictine
  • 3/4 oz. PX Sherry
  • Orange Citrate
  • Orange Twist

Combine all ingredients over ice, stir, strain and serve in rocks glass.

And the Sherry’s we sampled were:

The Sherry’s!!!!!!!!! Photo by Brian Quinn.

  • La Gitana Manzanilla — (Very light in color, almost straw-green, light flavor and mouthfeel. Delightful afternoon in Barkley Square.) Food Pairing: fresh gazpacho with chorizo oil and grated almond.
  • Vina AB Amontillado — (A bit on the verge of tan, nutty and good. Day sailing around Cape Town.) Food Pairing: white bean salad with chorizo, pecorino, arugula oil (pesto) served with beet chips.
  • Vides Palo Cortado Lustau Almacenista — (Moving on up to the darker side. The Lustau was like a midnight stroll through the streets of Yountville, CA.) Food Pairing: braised pork shoulder with sauce espagnole (riff on it) topped with crispy bacon, served on top of a crispy polenta cake.
  • El Maestro Sierra Oloroso — (A big-daddy type-Sherry, a lot of drunks cried in their glass over this mother.) Food Pairing: crostini with gorgonzola with caramelized pear.
  • El Candado PX — (You wanted it, you got it. Fig, nut, but oh so fit for a riled up game of bocci or fencing.) Paired With chocolate from our friend Daniel of Fine & Raw Chocolates—this was an outlandish finish.

The good news: there isn’t a massive difference in price between a great Sherry and an average Sherry. Top shelf will run you around $40. You can drop a total of $50-$100 and taste your way from young, lighter Sherry’s to full-bodied aged gems. Or you can spend $14 and have a blast with a great drink. Whatever you do, go to Tinto Fino (Lower East Side) if you live in New York, or if you’re visiting, and talk to Kerin Auth because she is a Sherry-genius and she will help you pick a Sherry that is right for you and for the occasion. She also knows a hell of a lot about it and you’d be wise to strike up conversation.

Thanks to all our collaborators.