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BWW Review: Kim David Smith A VERY WEIMAR CHRISTMAS at Club Cumming Serves Christmas In Black Satin

With this cabaret on film, Kim David Smith warms winter nights.

BWW Review: Kim David Smith A VERY WEIMAR CHRISTMAS at Club Cumming Serves Christmas In Black Satin

A Very Weimar Christmas is a fascinating study in commitment. Kim David Smith has accomplished something that many artists struggle for years to achieve: he has found his voice. Not his singing voice, naturally, because that's always been there, and it's gorgeous. Kim David Smith has found his artistic voice... his mission statement, his point of view. He has found what people call "His Brand" and it's beautiful. It is also important because the Weimar Kabarett period is an enormous piece in the mosaic that is live entertainment - it's not a shard, it is a really big chunk of the history of the art form. A lot of people don't know about Weimar, and they should, and it is artists like Kim David Smith who are seeing to it that the Weimar movement stays present and stays relevant. Mr. Smith does this in every show he creates, even his Kylie Minogue show because Weimar is his passion (or, at least, one of them) and it is his "brand". As such, there is a uniform, there is an aesthetic, there is a mood, and it all fits like perfect little puzzle pieces in a downtown dive called Club Cumming.

Kim David Smith has a strong relationship with the edgy, artsy club helmed by the King of edgy and artsy, Alan Cumming, and Smith can often be found playing the Tony Award recipient's intimate nightclub on the lower East Side - there is no other place where A VERY WEIMAR CHRISTMAS should have been filmed. With the club's dim ambiance, Matt Berman's smoky, sexy lighting, and Kim David Smith's absolute commitment to his brand, every aspect of this fifty-minute cabaret on film achieves the KDS goal, so much so that it should not surprise anyone to find visions of Marlene Dietrich or Sally Bowles dancing in their heads. This film is an extremely accurate representation of what the audiences get when they pay to see Smith in action.

But don't get it twisted - it's not a Christmas show.

And that's alright! This writer isn't really sure that KDS is interested in doing a Christmas show, as much as he is interested in doing a show at Christmastime. Oh, there are a couple of Christmas songs throughout the evening just to keep the spirit of the season, and Smith is simply sumptuous in his black satin Santa Hat and faux-fur trimmed black satin Santa jacket (actually, it may be leather, it's hard to be certain on film - but black leather sounds a lot more like KDS than satin... one suspects he saves the black satin for his bedsheets). With the divinely decadent Santa fashions and the occasional secular seasonal song, this is easily billed as a Christmas show, but those timely tunes come courtesy of Smith's guests - most of his musical offerings are Kurt Weill or Kylie Minogue numbers, which is just what Kim's audience wants. You see, as dedicated as KDS is to his brand, that's how devoted his fans are to his artistry. It simply wouldn't be a Kim David Smith show without the flamboyant character he creates onstage, without Kurt and Kylie, without something auf Deutsch or off-color. This is what people want when they come to (or tune in to) a Kim David Smith show. So if the Christmas in A Very Weimar Christmas comes from smooth-as-silk vocals from Boy Radio or a Broadway medley from Alexis Michelle or a Carpenters classic by Natalie Joy Johnson, take these lovely stocking stuffers and enjoy them while waiting for the next edgy, sexy, naughty and nice moment from Le Smith. You'll get the best of both Christmas vibes, and you'll get authentic KDS.

As filmmaking goes, A Very Weimar Christmas is very straightforward. Cameraman/editor Evan Quinn keeps it simple and clean, which is one way to go: by doing so, he keeps the emphasis on Kim and his work (made more magnificent by musical director Tracy Stark, sharing the stage with him). A different filmmaker might have gone for a multiple-camera shoot with extensive angles and editing - would it have been better? Who knows? It would have been different. That is clearly not what Team KDS had in mind, so this show video keeps it crisp - as crisp as Kim's coiff. The sound design might have benefitted from a little attention here and there - these are theater singers whose voices can boom a bit, and Ms. Stark's artistry on the piano can get lost in the shuffle, something that should never happen. A sound choice that Smith and Berman made that is working for them, though, is the clever tongue-in-cheek choice to substitute live applause for a clap track. With safety practices in place, a live audience was simply not possible (a shame because Smith is deliciously flirtatious and five socially distanced people in the house would have given him some playmates) but with the silliness of the canned applause, Kim can be cheeky and playful in other ways. It's a very effective way to work with whatcha got.

All of what Kim is working with in this streaming holiday special is working for him and that is because he, himself, controls every aspect of what he creates. He knows who he is, what his art should look like, and how best to achieve it, and it all shows in every choice he and his team make, and the happy beneficiaries of those efforts are the Kim David Smith fans who were disappointed there would be no live show this year and, frankly, the newcomers who will be seeing Kim and his Weimar aesthetic for the first time, because they are destined to become fans, too.

But word to the wise: there is homework to do before watching this show. Dim lights are a must, a blazing fireplace is a strong suggestion, Pajamas are essential, a companion is preferred, and a bottle of Jagermeister, Frangelico or Peppermint Schnapps will close the deal. Once these things are in place, just push play, sit back, and enjoy the KDS ride.


A VERY WEIMAR CABARET aired online to such response that an encore viewing has been scheduled for December 30th. For information and tickets please click HERE.

Photo by Jose Espaillat



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From This Author Stephen Mosher