Thursday, November 27, 2008

Katya - A Red Christmas

Katya Ludmila Smirnoff-Skyy, Ladies, Gentlemen, and those who are a little of both:

For those not yet in-the-know, Katya is a Russian Opera Diva with a fascinating life story. She is also the creation of J. Conrad Frank, a San Francisco countertenor who received his vocal training at The University of Oregon.

Katya's act is a combination of her own unique blend of Opera, Popera, and Broadway standards - musical parody and comedy with strong cabaret sensibilities. Praised for her “rich and moving mezzo voice” (San Francisco BAR) and her “wicked comic timing,” Katya’s shows are not to be missed, and regularly play to sold out houses.

Meeting Katya

I caught Katya at Martuni's for the first time a few weeks ago, and was both laughing at her hysterical parody of the famed Dreamgirls song "And I Am Telling You I'm Not Going" and in AWE of her amazing mezzo voice. Her vocal gymnastics (which normally I am not a fan of, but when they are this f**ing amazing, you don't really have a choice) are unparalleled, and had my mind swinging around the uneven bars just trying to keep up.

A few weeks later, I was most charmed to meet her creator, J. Conrad Frank - whom I immediately recognized from his Facebook photo. I had seen this photo because we have mutual friends on Facebook, and I was so entranced by it that I sent him a friend request, not having any idea that he was Katya. I soon found out, however, and when I recently caught sight of him in the audience at Martuni's, sitting at a table adjacent to mine, I was again entranced by that familiar, oh-so-photographical visage. As I watched his responses to the show, I found him to be utterly adorable. Naturally, I talked to him at the first opportunity, and found him to be as quite friendly and as easy to talk to as he is easy on the eyes.

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