What a wonderful time I had with the magnificently talented Suliman Nawid in the creation of our Black Magic Woman image. Thank you, Suliman, for sharing your consummate artistry with DiVanessa! I do believe that you practice your own unique form of sorcery on the hearts of men, darling. So as a galactic witch, I was in such powerful, capable hands.
Special thanks also to the exceedingly brilliant Michael Smith for the amazing photography from the shoot. Kisses for days to you both!
Please don’t miss my Black Magic Woman show at Martuni’s on Sunday October 11 @ 7PM. I will be accompanied by the fabulous Tom Shaw Trio (Tom/piano, Roberta Drake, drums and Paul Eastburn bass) for this voo-doo-fab-song-fest!
Mother’s Day 2015 will forever be the fondest of personal memories for me. What an honor to perform at Martuni’s, representing the Tenderloin Tessie Holiday Dinners with my dear mother in attendance all the way from Chicago! Thank you, mama, and all my extraordinary friends for supporting me and our shared great cause. I love you all!
When Erik Chalfant sings for his supper at Martuni’s, he’ll be dressed to the nines: think cabaret legends Edith Piaf or Andrea Marcovicci. A trained singer, he sets himself apart from other drag artists with his powerful pipes. Performing began at an early age, albeit in a very different venue.
“I grew up in the Midwest, the only child of a Protestant minister,” Chalfant tells the Bay Area Reporter. “My father was a charismatic speaker and prolific author, and my mother an accomplished church organist and contralto soloist. I found myself on stage at an early age. Performing is definitely in my DNA.”
Though being gay was not encouraged in the Chalfant household, education was, and the younger Erik received exemplary music training. He holds a Masters in Voice Performance from Boston University. He calls his degree, “a living tribute to my two extraordinary parents, each with unique life stories that defy comparison.”
When he stands in the spotlight at Martuni’s, it will be as chanteuse extraordinaire Vanessa Bousay, who’s inspired by Phyllis Curtin, his beloved voice teacher. Curtin is an operatic soprano.
Vanessa Bousay has sometimes been called “the chanteuse of the Barbara Coast.” Chalfant said that his alter-ego will be doing what she loves best at Martuni’s: singing! He’ll be joined by popular local actor-singer-gogo guy Steven Satyricon and accompanist Alan Choy.
“I particularly relish the process of crafting a unique program of songs, based on some thematic inspiration,” Chalfant said. “I actually do sing in my own baritone voice, as Vanessa Bousay. Perhaps this is why my act may appear to be retro themed, as the sound of my classically trained voice does have a very distinctive timbre.”
The songs come from a wide range of musical genres. “Everything from Cole Porter tunes to ‘Let it Go’ from Frozen,” he said. “Vanessa Bousay earns her audience’s applause through quick wit, a cultivated vocabulary, and of all things, gorgeous singing!”