Singing Ava

Happy Leap Day!!
February 29th, also known as Leap Day, has always been a day that held special importance and significance for me. Tonight, at the midnight hour, on this glorious, once-in-every-four-years holiday, I’m thrilled to announce that my album “Singing Ava” is available for listening on most streaming platforms. This album is both a love letter and tribute to a fabulous lady who has inspired me, Miss Ava Gardner. She was a down-to-earth gal who lived a wild, fast-paced, glamorous Hollywood life but never forgot her family or her hometown.
“Singing Ava” features songs Ava Gardner sang in her films, as well as other special tunes. On this album cover, I am wearing my Mother’s gown and pearls, and on the album itself, my Father accompanies me at the piano. This album represents the best of what Ava stood for and what I stand for in regards to honoring, including, and cherishing family.
Like Leap Day, “Singing Ava” is a strange enigma in so many ways. It catalogues the few songs of a naturally musically-inclined womin who was not always given a chance to sing, despite her love of music, and musicians, and singers. I read that Ava’s dream as a teenager was to sing with a big band and perform on stage. I feel this album is a tribute to that dream; a showcase of the neglected musical career of a Hollywood Star.
Happy Listening 💚💚

The Gershwin Album

“The Gershwin Album” is now available for listening on most streaming platforms. The album debuted on December 27th, 2023 on what would have been Oscar Levant’s 117th birthday. Levant was a close friend of the brothers Gershwin and his recordings of George’s piano hworks are considered some of the best interpretations on record. This album is a family collaboration celebrating a family collaboration, as my father accompanies me on the piano, while I sing Ira’s lyrics.

Strawberry Cobbler for New Year’s Eve!!

Tonight is the last night of my Ava December project! For the special occasion of New Year’s Eve, I decided to make her recipe for strawberry cobbler! It was a tasty recipe that I was happy to try out! Even though strawberries are not in season, I actually found a ripe strawberry on my strawberry plant in my garden, which I thought was a good sign for ringing in the new year with hope, health, and happiness!!

Thank you so much for joining me on this month-long project. It has been a great learning experience for me, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. Take care, and happy 2021 to us all.

Don’t Tell Me – by Buddy Pepper

Welcome to Week Five of Ava December! It is officially the last week of my Ava Gardner project celebrating her life, and I couldn’t be happier with all the work and videos that have come out of my efforts.

Today I am celebrating the song “Don’t Tell Me,” with music and lyrics by Buddy Pepper. Ava Gardner starred in the 1947 film “The Hucksters” (also starring Clark Gable and Deborah Kerr). Ava’s character, Jean Ogilvie, a songstress, sings “Don’t Tell Me” opposite a grand piano on a beautiful big stage. I did my best to imagine the stage. 😉

Once again, I was happy to be accompanied by Mr. DB on the piano. Wardrobe assistance and dress design by the beautiful and creative Martaine!

Happy 98th Birthday, Ava!!

Today is December 24th, which means it is Miss Ava Gardner’s 98th birthday!! In honor of the special occasion, I decided to bake a coconut cake for her. It is a recipe that her mom used to make for her every year on her birthday. It came out splendidly! Lots of coconut shreds, flakes, and chips!! Cooking the sugar was a new experience for me, as was baking four layers!! Such a delight to bake this cake in her honor. Enjoy!!

Coming Thru The Rye

Welcome to week four of Ava December!! Happy Ava Tuesday!! In honor of Ava’s birthday week, I have a special surprise today!! Read on…

In 1953, Ava Gardner starred in the John Ford film, “Mogambo” which was a remake of the 1932 film, “Red Dust.” Ava’s performance as Eloise “Honeybear” Kelly in the film garnered her an Oscar nomination, the only one in her long career. 

In this film, Honeybear sings the Scottish folk tune, “Comin thru the rye” one night after dinner; dancing, swaying, and enjoying every moment of the song. In Ava’s own words (from her autobiography “Ava: My Life”):

“As far as my career as an actress went, Mogambo was probably as close to a pinnacle as anything I’ve done. For someone with my naturally irreverent temperament, playing a sassy, tough-talking playgirl who whistles at men, drinks whiskey straight from the bottle, and says about wine, ‘Any year, any model, they all bring out my better nature’ was a gift from the gods. I never felt more comfortable in a part before or since, and I was even allowed to improvise some of my dialogue. Yet if you would have told me that I’d feel this way about a film directed by John Ford, I would have sent you straight to Artie Shaw’s psychiatrist.” 

I was excited to learn this song, and when it came time to performing, I was actually able to wear a dress that my mother designed and had made for her. In the 1970’s she attended the San Francisco Opera in this dress, notably seeing Tosca from a box seat. For this reason, this video and this performance is very near and dear to me, as I am honoring both Ava Gardner and my mother, who was so generous in letting me borrow her gown AND her pearls. Thank you!! 

“How am I to know?”

“How am I to know?” is a song that was featured in the 1951 MGM film “Pandora and the Flying Dutchman,” directed by Albert Lewin. Pandora Reynolds (Ava Gardner) sings this song in the bar scene at the beginning of the movie. She sits at the piano and wistfully sings about love, introspectively asking herself questions about what it means. Her character is that of a disappointed womin; unfulfilled, longing yet hesitant, eager yet cautious. It’s a beautiful song, with lyrics by Dorothy Parker and music by Jack King. It was first featured in the 1929 film “Dynamite” directed by Cecil B. DeMille. I was thrilled to get to learn it, sing it, and now perform it here. I am accompanied at the piano by Mr. DB and received wardrobe assistance from Martaine. Enjoy!!

Pie Dough & Ava’s Pecan Pie

Week Three of Cooking With Ava! I got ambitious and did two recipes this week (maybe it’s the reason why I got ambitious and cooked for Tuesday instead of Thursday this week)! I started out making a Pie Dough, and then I made a pecan pie in the pie dough! I had a lot of fun and was pleased with the results! The pie was TASTY!! And the crust was decorated and delicious! All around a good time! Enjoy!!

Myra’s Blueberry Buckle

Welcome to week two of Cooking with Ava! In continuing to celebrate the birthday month of Ava Gardner, I baked a blueberry buckle, which is a delicious dessert recipe from her older sister Myra. Hope you all enjoy! Thanks for watching!