Hello and greetings to all my faithful readers. I hope you all had a fun Valentine's Day and watched the Cincinnati Men's Chorus in their Dear Johns virtual cabaret. It was very festive and fun. This week I thought I would write about the history of Love Bites since we are waiting for our latest virtual Love Bites video to arrive with the 18th version of our ongoing gift to the community. I have included four photos of past program covers, including our first one so check them out.
First of all the chorus had been putting on cabarets before our first Love Bites in February, 2004. The titles of three of them were "Full Moon Full of Love", "Role Playing", and "Somewhere Over the Top". The idea for Love Bites was the brainchild of our AD, the beautiful and talented Stephanie Lynne Smith, aided and abetted by the Artistic Advisory Committee. I, along with Deb Cohler, was on that committee and we held meetings at Deb's house. I seem to remember that we talked about the success of these previous cabarets and what could we create to continue this tradition of showcasing the talents of our members. We were all of a similar mind that we more or less hated the schmaltzy love songs we listened to around Valentine's Day growing up and thought why not turn that around and sing songs that reflected an anti-Valentine's Day vibe since we had all experienced some kind of romantic breakup in our lives. When this idea was presented to the chorus it was like we all said "Yes, let's do this" so Stephanie asked singers who wanted to do solos, duets, trios, etc., to present her with songs to include in the shows.
As we went forward with a new Love Bites each year we came up with a specific theme and asked that the songs picked by the members fit in that theme. There were also full chorus songs that opened and closed the shows so there was certainly something for everyone to do. We all had great fun in putting these shows together and some of the talent we displayed and the songs that were performed by the soloists, duets, etc. surprised and amused us and maybe had us shedding a tear or two.
The very first Love Bites was held on Friday the 13th, 2004, at the LGBT Center in the Rainbow Room with our special guests, the Living Dolls, from Seattle. This was our home for Love Bites for the next two years. We also performed Love Bites at Theatre Rhinoceros, Exit Theatre on Taylor, and the Women's Building. When Billy Sauerland came on as AD in 2011 Love Bites was presented at the Mission Cultural Center where we had a 125 seat house, an actual stage and backstage. This was our home for the next few years for Love Bites. And then we went to Martuni's, the fabulous, intimate piano bar which has been home for Love Bites and Naughty and Nice. I guess this can tail onto what I mentioned in the last History blog regarding some of the venues we have performed in here in San Francisco. Wherever we were putting on Love Bites, our audiences found us, loved us and came back for more. I want to give the biggest loving shout out to Ms. Smith for her guidance and support and help she gave to us and especially for the soloists, duets, etc. who got out onstage and sang their hearts out for our audiences and for us.
So take care of yourselves my wonderful readers, stay safe and hopefully you will get vaccinated as soon as possible as more vaccines are on their way to a CVS or Walgreens near you or wherever you have your health care.
Sending all my love and harmony, Michael Lucero