A Cabin Christmas
Introducing Fruit Cocktail
Wednesday, December 13, 2017
If you happen to find yourself at the Cabin Tavern at 7pm Sun., Dec. 17 for “A Cabin Christmas,” you will be treated to, among other things, a performance by Fruit Cocktail, a dynamic duo that bears a striking resemblance to Jeff and Patti Braimes, musicians and longtime pillars of this fine community. Do not be fooled, however. The people you see before you are Frank Breech and Mona Hart, and they are the entertainment sensation you didn’t know you were looking for but have been aching to find—as long as you get to the Cabin early because Fruit Cocktail is no late-night lounge act or after-hours distraction for the drunk and weary.
Now that I’ve clarified what Fruit Cocktail is not, it might be helpful to know exactly what to expect. Since Breech and Hart are more than capable of speaking for themselves, I should probably allow them to do just that.
Cascadia Weekly: What is Fruit Cocktail?
Fruit Cocktail: Fruit Cocktail is Frank Breech and Mona Hart, a husband/wife musical duo. Many say their best years are behind them, but the performers remain blissfully unaware. It’s performance art, except for the art part. It’s an act, but not exactly lounge. It’s not really a band—more like a variety show. Kind of like the Gong Show with fruit instead of the gong. And cocktails.
Frank and Mona have been goofing around with this thing since their kids were born in the last century. They used to take turns going out, but found themselves housebound a lot. Fruit Cocktail started as a Friday-night hobby that was free and didn’t bother anyone except for the occasional neighbor who would knock when the “rehearsals” went too late or loud. When the kids finally left home, Frank and Mona started having some friends over for piano bar night, which eventually gave way to last summer’s Braimesworld Silver Cloud Piano Lounge and Juice Emporium as part of the Sunnyland Stomp. Lots of friends also performed and it was a great day. Probably the best backyard piano lounge and juice party of all times.
CW: What makes your performances special?
FC: For starters, we don’t do any original material. Only songs from the past that people love (even if they would never admit it). We don’t do songs that we don’t love. So even though it’s schmaltzy and often undignified, it is not ironic. You could call it inironic. Also frequently moronic.
There are bubbles, pratfalls, real fire and also fuckin’ magic.
And the songs and the sets are short. No one wants to hear a six-minute version of “Just the Way You Are.” But most people secretly enjoy a 90-second version. Fruit Cocktail carves up the classics with surgical precision. Plus it’s hard to have a solo break when you only have one instrument.
CW: What does a “Cabin Christmas” look like?
FC: The Cabin is such a perfect Fruit Cocktail bar. It’s cozy and funny and the drinks are not too metro fancypants. Just fancy enough. [Owner Christian Danielson] and his people have made it a really cool and welcoming place.
There will be festive decor and food and drink specials. There will be door prizes and surprises. Probably some vulgarity. Laughs if you want ’em and a general release of the stress and anxiety of the holidays. There will be some commemorative merch for sale, all the proceeds from which will go to Lydia Place.
The evening will be cohosted by local smart aleck comedian guy Marmaduke Cadwallader Jacobs and his untrustworthy sidekick the CornNut Lady from the Juice Emporium.
Lots of performers think you have to play Christmas songs at a Christmas show. So not so! You’d think that people would have had enough of silly Christmas songs. Just because you wear red sequins and white fur and rim the stage with barbed-wire holly and poisonous mistletoe and colored lights and invite the real Santa Claus and have festive holiday food and drink specials doesn’t mean it’s an all-Christmas show. Not by any stretch! Plus we’re not playing all Christmas songs. Some people might say later “they didn’t play any Christmas songs. It was a total rip-off.”
Which is funny because it’s free.
CW: Ideal Fruit Cocktail Christmas?
FC: There’d be a peaceful, easy feeling. Mimosas in the morning, Marys at noon. New pink slippers with a little heel for her, a new smoking jacket for him. Later we’d watch A Charlie Brown Christmas a few times and also Elf. Carols around the piano, Peace on Earth for heaven’s sake. Pretty much just like anyone else.
Making white noise
Owing to what I do for a living, I’ve been lucky enough to see a whole bunch of bands a whole bunch of times. Usually, after multiple viewings, I will wonder if a band or musician still likes playing my favorite songs as much as I like hearing them.
I’m pretty sure I know the answer…
Of blessings and curses
Over the years, I have written about a number of the children of musicians who are carving out music careers for themselves. In doing so, I have done a fair amount of thinking about the ways in which having a musically famous last name can lift a person up while simultaneously weighing them…
New Year’s Eve
Out with the old
I don’t know what phrases you plan to employ when it comes time to sum up 2017, but for many of us, words like “dumpster fire” and “unholy hellscape,” and “good god, what was that?” are the ones that come readily to mind.
Suffice it so say, it’s been a rough one.