Saturday, October 9, 2010
Whole lotta Liza: Minnelli still sings, still struts and still sells...
Daily News Writer
Saturday, October 9th 2010, 4:00 AM
Liza Minnelli recorded parts of her new album, "Confessions," in the comfort of her New York City living room. She was recovering from knee surgery, and she'd chosen songs she was used to singing around the piano with friends. Of course, Minnelli's friends are people like Tony Bennett and Janet Jackson, so her home-style CD has plenty of razzle-dazzle.
Now, with the album in stores, the 64-year-old is getting ready to tour. "I feel like a neovaudevillian," she says when reached by phone. She'll go all the way to the West Coast and come back for a Nov. 20 concert at the St. George Theatre in Staten Island.
Liza's interview answers are full of italics ("I'm having a wonderful time.") and peppered with husky laughter. She has enjoyed a recent pop-culture resurgence that included a cameo shimmying to Beyoncé's "Single Ladies" in "Sex and the City 2," giving Kathy Griffin acting pointers on "My Life on the D-List" and sending up her image in a Snickers commercial with Aretha Franklin. This summer she hawked her clothing and jewelry line, The Liza Connection, on HSN, where callers couldn't get enough of the spangled jackets and velvet pants.
She has no plans to slow down. Ask her what's up next and she laughs before she says, "I'm working! That's it!"
You recorded a lot of your album at home, is that right?
Yes I did! I was recovering from knee surgery. First of all, I had to have knee surgery.
Well that's a pain.
Truly! And then I was recovering and I did the album before and after. It was so comfortable! (Laughs.)
How did you choose the songs?
They're all songs that people have sung throughout the years — or I've heard — in different people's homes.
Who would you invite to your perfect home sing-along?
I mean, my God. First of all, I guess Billy Stritch [who collaborated with me on the album], because he plays the piano like he's orchestrating the song as opposed to, you know, playing the piano. And Tony Bennett. Janet Jackson. I had a birthday party once for Barbra Streisand and all these different people got up and sang — and it was some people she'd never heard of that I just thought were really talented — and she got so inspired that she went back onstage!
Sounds like a fun party.
You know, they were Saturday evenings at home.
And now you're going on tour?
We're going to Alabama next. I love it there. Spokane. I love that. I just love that. Houston. Indiana, here I come! It's a real tour. Do you know what I mean? It's hitting all the places that I haven't hit in years. And people seem so excited about it. I'm just thrilled.
How do you travel? Plane? Tour bus?
Depends on where we're going. This last traveling session, we would do the show, get in the car and off we'd go. It was a real bus-and-truck tour. Which was fun because we were all together!
Fans of "Arrested Development" are desperate for the movie version. Will you reprise your role as Lucille 2?
I haven't heard anything. And neither have the people that I know. So I'm not sure. There've been rumors for quite a while. But nobody's called me yet.
What made you want to design a clothing collection for HSN?
Well, it was stuff that I was comfortable in. I find everything now cuts you off at the waist. Or the, you know, the mid-thigh. And it all seems to be in layers. And I wanted to have that long line that's comfortable for women — so that you move your arm and the dress moves with you. The clothes are like your dancing partner.
Do you think you'll do another collection?
Oh, I'd love to! I'd love to.
The ice skater Johnny Weir was at Fashion Week and some people said he was borrowing from your look. How does it feel to be a style icon?
I meet people who admire me and I guess if they tell them they look like me ... I'm so flattered! I hope they like it!
How's your knee now? Are you dancing?
Oh yes. I go to Luigi's class in the mornings and I'm active through the whole day, so that keeps me in shape and I'm passionate about it.
You go to dance class every day?
Yes, every day. At 11 every morning.
What do you like best about living in New York?
I guess it's the activity of the city and the passion of the city. You can't even walk down the street without somebody looking like they have a mission.