A finicky guy's exploits in finding gustatory (and other) satisfaction in his kitchen, his neighborhood, and beyond.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

In which Michael forges a relationship with Mariah Carey's husband

First I run into George the sexy pleather-clad dancer at the gym.  (Well, he was towel-clad when we "met.")  Then, yesterday, a world-famous fashion designer/fragrance purveyor who shall remain nameless was — Bang! — changing at the locker next to mine in the very same gym.  (How rude of you to wonder if I was tacky enough to snap surreptitious photos of this fit and tattooed but here-unnamed celebrity in his blue and white undies with my phone.  And, no, I'm not going to post them on my blog.)

Well, my encounters with the glitterati continued into today, when I had a long, meaningful 47-second conversation with Nick Cannon — radio and TV personality, actor, comedian, rapper, and husband of Mariah Carey.

Why have all these celebrities been throwing themselves in my path lately?  Perhaps it has to do with my being seen recently around town with gorgeous supermodel Cathy Lane on my arm.

Even the biggest stars in the world will do whatever it takes to become a part of Cathy's select circle, of which I am — through coincidental good fortune alone — a part.

Anyway, until yesterday at a quarter after four, I had never even heard of Mr. Cannon, who is apparently pretty famous, especially after recently making public some nude photos of himself with his very pregnant stratospheric-singing wife.  But at 4:15, I received a call from a representative of Mr. Cannon's popular radio show (Rollin' with Nick Cannon on FM 92.3 NOW in New York), asking if I would be willing to announce one of Thursday morning's Top 5 songs.   Apparently, auditions for American Idol are in town, and, to feed off of the frenzy this show inspires, Nick Cannon was having an Idol-themed morning show.

Complete with song announcements by "The five top vocal coaches in the Tri-State area," of which they had apparently decided I am one, even though I'm not a vocal coach.  (I think that my savviness in getting my website high up on Google searches has more to do with how they found me than my actual teaching skill.  This is not to denigrate my teaching skill, which may very well be one of the best in at least 3 states, but to express my cynicism at being awarded an accolade from people who don't know me or my work.

My initial reaction was to decline this opportunity — did I really want to attract to my practice a demographic of American Idol hopefuls who listen to commercial morning radio shows? — but Peter helped me to realize that saying no to this opportunity would have been similar to staying on the couch in lieu of attending the opening-night party of Priscilla, which turned out to be a highlight of my year if not my life, so I decided to seize the day.

In the world of morning radio, this meant seizing a rather early part of the day; I had to wake up at 5:30 in order to be ready to telephonically record my spot with Nick at 6:30.  (Yes, we're on a first-name basis now after our 47 seconds of relationship-building.)  I improvised a morning radio preparation routine: did some stretches and breathing exercises, made some tea, looked over my marketing materials for pithy phrases I could sprinkle into our conversation, and cleaned up some dog poop out of the litter box.  (Despite my emerging status as celebrity BFF, I am still attending personally to my dogs' excrement.  So far, fame hasn't changed me.)

I got my call right at 6:30.  Louie (or Luis or Louise, for all I know; I discovered today that modern radio folk do not have the diction skills of those scrupulously coached stars of the Golden Age of Radio) confirmed my information and explained that when he patched me through, Nick would greet me and give me a chance to plug my business before I would announce today's #5 Song, which he told me was Britney Spears's Till the mfggh wrmmmps.  I had to ask him to repeat the song title twice more before I could figure out that he'd been saying "Till the World Ends."  I'm sure he was wondering what kind of vocal coach would not be familiar with the latest hit from one of our most prominent ex-Mouseketeers, but at least I knew who Britney Spears was.

I was instructed that, when Nick asked me what today's #5 hit song was, I was to say "Britney Spears's Till the World Ends....Rollin'!"  That "Rollin'!" being apparently the show's trademark catchphrase.   And so far from my personal mode of expression as to be ridiculous coming out of my mouth.  Like Queen Elizabeth saying, "This song has a sick beat.  Gonna groove all night, yo." 

Diggin' the dancing queen
You have to understand that, especially in my role as teacher, I strive to embody a mindful centeredness that is the polar opposite of the kind of frenzied bantering characteristic of radio morning shows.  But in the spirit of seizing the day, I decided to go with the flow and say the "Rollin'!" with as much gusto as I could muster.

After Louie (?) was finished prepping me, I was put on hold and "treated" to what was presumably a currently popular song.  (I stopped caring much about current popular music once Irving Berlin wasn't churning out the hits anymore.)  Eventually, Nick came on, we bantered amiably for 2.7 seconds, and then he departed from the plan for which I'd been prepped by putting on his cohost and asking me to teach her something.  I'd just claimed that I could help anybody with their "vocals" (cleverly mirroring Nick's pop-music jargon), but when I heard the cohost peeping "mi-mi-mi-mi-mi" in a squeaky little-girl kind of non-voice, I blurted out that perhaps this was the first person I'd encountered whom I could NOT help.  This ill-thought-out response which I immediately regretted nevertheless inspired much morning-radio-show hilarity and whooping, so I guess it was appropriate in this context.  

I even rocked my "Rollin'!" and announced Britney's song — with exquisite diction.  (I've since listened to about 30 seconds of this song, and, believe me, it's no "There's No Business Like Show Business."  But it does have a sick beat, yo.)

Having been coached by Peter on how to effectively market myself during this spot, I was scrupulous in dropping as many Art-and-Science-of-Singing's as I could into the conversation, and even managed to plug my website once in a not-too-obnoxious way.  We'll see what kind of singers, if any, this little bit of craziness lures to my practice.  Perhaps I'll soon be teaching the next American Idol.  Or even Mariah Carey.  I'll bet she'd give up an octave of her range to meet Cathy.

My big radio appearance by michaelhanko


  1. Wow - you are FAMOUS now! I'll be able to say I knew you when you was jus' folks.

  2. That's wonderful - congratulations!

    But, when are you going to be on The Splendid Table with Lynne Rosetto Kasper?!

  3. Your "Rollin" was great and I hope it was worth the effert of getting up so early!

  4. Simon Cowell is going to kill you - it was a promo for his (NEW!) X Factor, not his (old) American Idol. ;-) Um, you do know who Simon is, right?

    But you did great! I would've just squeaked and dived under a table. I hate public speaking, even if it's from the comfort of my own home. (I'd also be another one of those voices you couldn't help.)

    You and Peter (and Cathy) are really rubbing some famous elbows (insert preferred body part here) lately. How fun!

  5. Believe it or not, it was Louie (name verified when I got an email from him) who told me it was a promo for American Idol. I didn't realize the mistake until I listened to the sound clip!

  6. Thanks for the supportive comments, everyone!

  7. LOVE IT!!!!!!!! My sister is a professional medium and does a spot every other week on a hip hop radio station. No matter how much I love her, I just can't bring myself to listen to the morning 'talk' and all those horrid hip hop songs. It's like a fish out of water. But you my dear, did great. Loved it!!! and you never know who might call you next.

  8. Sassy, every little wonderful morsel you reveal about your family makes your story more and more intriguing! What could be more crazily American than a medium on a hip hop radio show? You couldn't make this stuff up!

  9. Fantastic! That is SO fun, and I'm hoping you'll get some new clients from the shout out. You came off with just the right touch of spice!

  10. hahahahaha..oh, Michael, that is hilarious. Considering the diction of most people these days (we refer to it at my house as being 'in the vicinity' of consonants.'), I'm sure listeners thought they were listening to Sir Laurence Olivier. On the other hand, if you want to see what is probably the best (or at least the only) film made on the topic of black college marching bands (esoteric if nothing else), check out "Drumline" -- Nick Cannon is in it, as is Zoe Soldana before she was animated blue for "Avatar".

  11. LOL — in the vicinity of consonants! I will have to use that phrase with my students.

  12. You got me Michael! You speak the truth on this whole community thing... and the beauty of having a smartphone is being able to do comments anytime! So for what it's worth your blog is one of my favorites! (Well, yours and Peter's) I feel for you on the whole scenting issue as I do mostly essential oils and use things I can pronounce the ingredients (like Dr bronner's soap and I use baking soda and vinegar to clean just about everything ). I laugh nearly every time I read your blog (epic gym stories btw ) and if you ever wrote a book (have you?) I would read it because I love your writing style.
    (Too much? Did I overdo it? Lol.) Much love, Kristen

  13. Hey, Kristen — it's great to have you visible on my blog! It sounds as though you and I are on the same page with home cleaning/scenting products.

    I will expect to see you in line for an autograph on my book tour.....whenever that happens. And you definitely did not overdo it — thanks for writing.


  14. Found this simple book and loved it... http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1603420851?ie=UTF8&force-full-site=1 my favorite is the germs be gone spray which is water, castile soap, and tea tree oil. (A d I make my own laundry soap ... amazing how perfumey everything is after you do this... and use apple cider vinegar for cleaning/rinsing my hair...)

    First in line for that autograph. Promise!

  15. Thanks, Kristen, I ordered that book. Will report on my experiences.....

  16. Ah, there's no business like show business.

  17. i just read this blog to larry. he has never read your blog before. i told him about the baked bean story and how you mentioned me in your blog.
    he suggested that you should have posted one of the pictures of me that hangs in the military room (with the big thick glasses on) with the caption "this is the one who ate the bean sandwiches".
    i love larry.

  18. Now my readers are going to have so many questions:

    Who's this Larry?

    What is a "military room"?

    Can anyone request pictorial representation on Michael's blog?

    I'll have to address all these topics soon....

  19. OMG, so I actually listen to 92.3 during my commute (though not at 6:30am--thanks for posting the clip). Your banter fit right in with their morning show style. Great job!

    Oh, and I'm not surprised your first reaction to doing the spot was 'no'...you are an AT teacher after all!

  20. Thanks for the compliment, Kyle, to which your status as a regular listener contributes extra validity!

    Are you a student/teacher of the AT, to have recognized my refusal as Alexandrian inhibition? (Your analysis is over-generous; I was really just scared.)

  21. I miss your posts! Your fans in Afghanistan miss your posts! :)

  22. Hi Saro! Thanks for letting me know. I have been super busy with teaching-related stuff lately, and just haven't had time or energy to blog. But I'll be returning to it soon.......

  23. Since you're too busy to blog, I'm worried you might be too busy to cook. Here's a series of quick meals you might like to try.
    Day 1- roast a chicken. No time to make stuffing! Instead, put in the cavity a handful of dried herbs (I use summer savoury), a diced onion, and a half lemon placed skin out and positioned to block the opening. No need for a baking pan, just put it on a low rack in your convection oven. Baste occasionally if you have time. Menu- roast chicken, rice, steamed vegetables or salad. Put the jus from the bottom of the oven in the fridge.
    Day 2- Remove all the meat from the chicken and reserve. Discard the lemon and make a stock with the rest. The stock is for tomorrow. Lift the fat from the top of your saved jus and discard. Make gravy with the jus. Warm up some chicken in the gravy. Menu- leftover rice with gravy and chicken, steamed vegetables or salad.
    Day 3 - Remove fat from the top of your stock and discard. Make chicken soup. Menu- well, chicken soup :-)
    If you end up with "leftover leftovers", for example you have leftover chicken in gravy that you want to put in the soup, just make sure you keep it at 75 degrees Celsius (or too hot to leave your finger in it) for 20 minutes before you eat it.

    Do you have any time saving meal sequences you want to share with us in future blogs?

  24. Michael, to answer your question: my best friend has been taking AT lessons for ages. :)

  25. Who's your friend's teacher? It may be someone I know.

  26. He's in Manchester, England, and I think his name is Jan Dames.

  27. Was that English, Nick was speaking?? surely he was speaking Manglish??? You on the other hand, were perfectly understandable:)