Yale's Whim 'n Rhythm @
Dr. Suzy's Speakeasy

by Susan M. Block, Ph.D. '77

Whims, Whiffs & Alums of Yale at Dr. Suzy's Speakeasy .. Photo: Ines Blum

Just two nights before I was engulfed by the septic shock that nearly took my life, I produced a concert with Yale University’s all-girl a Capella singing group Whim ‘n Rhythm, at the Speakeasy. It was a truly marvelous evening, from the first rehearsal notes to the last call for a Mory’s-style cup. The night I was rushed to USC Medical Center, I was writing up a blog entry about it (for comments, go to my bloggamy). So – better late than never – here it is:

I first heard the lovely ladies of Whim 'n Rhythm sing in New Haven when I was at Sex Week at Yale. No, it wasn't at a dildo demo. I was dining at that venerable York Street Temple of Elite Intoxication where senators and CIA directors mix with Nobel Peace Prize-winning scientists and insurgent sex therapists, all of us passing around silver loving cups of Old Eli cheer: Mory’s Temple Bar. I’d heard men’s and mixed groups sing at Mory’s before, but never an all-female group. It was like Girls Night Out! But instead of girls out looking for fun, they were singing at our table. They sounded just heavenly, and this was even before we’d started drinking.

Whim 'n Rhythm rehearses before the big show.. Photo: Paul Bleiden

By the time, we were half-way through our first Blue Cup, I was in love. They came to my table, looked me in the eye with a mischievous twinkle, then with perfectly pitched cascading harmony, crooned 'Lady is a Tramp.' That was it. They nailed me. They captivated me. They sounded so beautiful, so powerful, so tight and sooo sexy. After they sang, they invited me to their table to talk about my favorite subject. Then, in a burst of inspiration, I invited them to sing at my Speakeasy, and they accepted, little realizing what they were getting themselves into...

Megan Stern, Rachel (“Ricky”) Trudeau, Miranda Jones toy with my Dildo-Scepter .. Photo: Paul Bleiden

They arrived here late Saturday afternoon: Thirteen bright and shining young women all freshly graduated from Mother Yale, kicking off their World Tour with a visit to Dr. Suzy’s Speakeasy in their only LA performance. I took them on a tour of the Gallery, the Womb Room, the Commissary, the Zen Room, the Bar and all the other rooms and spaces. And just as I’d been charmed by their music, they were being charmed by my Speakeasy and all its erotic exotic art and magic. At least, most of them were charmed. With over a dozen, each sporting a very strong, smart personality of her own, there were a variety of reactions. Though all were supremely polite, and some exclaimed that they wanted to live here, or at least create their own loft like it, a few seemed overwhelmed. I reassured them that if and when anyone needed to lie down, we have plenty of beds...

Victoria Neiman, Allison (“Allie”) Goldberg, Miranda and me play with the Vulva Puppets and Giant Dildo Pillow Photos: Paul Bleiden

Some of them got right on the beds. But don’t get the wrong idea. No Sex, Please, We’re Yalies. Though they did bounce and pose excitedly on my Show Bed, holding up my giant pink dildo pillow, phallic sceptor and vulva puppets as if they were visiting a tourist attraction. And in a way, they were.

Nika Hasegawa, Meaghan Burke and Megan Stern join us on the Show Bed ... Photos: Paul Bleiden

Angelic Jazz Fills the Speakeasy

Before they could do anything kinkier than pose with the dildos, the Speakeasy started filling up with a slightly different crowd than *usual.* Lots of Yale Club members, current students, graduating seniors and alumni of all ages, mixing with Speakeasy regulars, jazz buffs, blues-loving bonobos and sweet jelly rolls, including several Whim ‘n Rhythm alumnae, and a sprinkling of Whiffenpoofs (Yale’s oldest all-male a capella singing group, founded in 1909). The Whiffs had driven down all the way from their own gig in Santa Barbara to hear their female counterparts sing in the gallery of the notorious Speakeasy. Little did they know that they'd eventually find themselves part of the show.

Whim 'n Rhythm at the Speakeasy sing "Galileo" with Lauren ("Tello") Tarantello soloing . Photo: Michael Blum

So, I introduced our guests from our little Speakeasy Gallery stage, and discreetly warned any Harvard alums in the audience to keep their crimson mouths zipped. Apparently, they did. It was a night for the sons and daughters of Eli to enjoy the angelic jazz of the musical cream of our crop.

Yale's Whim 'n Rhythm sing at Dr. Suzy's Speakeasy .. Photos: Ellis Martin, Paul Blieden, Michael Blum

The Whim gals outdid themselves, even better than when I’d heard them at Mory’s. They looked sharp and coolly sultry in their black-on-black pants and spaghetti strapped tops, tanks and halters (a lot sexier than the collegiate woolens I saw them in back in February!), all 13 of them lined up in a half-moon on the Speakeasy Gallery stage.

All Hail Yale . Photo: Ellis Martin

They sang with such passion, such precision, such professionalism and purity - the four P's of a capella singing as far as I can tell - they showed us all just why Whim ‘n Rhythm is "the premiere all-female undergraduate a capella singing group in the nation." I sat back on my rickshaw dandling my stuffed Bulldog on my navy blue-stockinged knee, wearing my Yale blue straw hat (created by Gene), beaming like the overzealous alumna that I'm afraid I've become, proud to present this wonderful *girl group* from my old school to my new city, and to hear them fill up our Speakeasy with their heavenly harmonies.

Photos: Ellis Martin, Paul Blieden, Michael Blum, Eban Lehrer

Showing off their versatility, they sang songs of inspiraton ("Galileo"), pop torch songs (“You’re No Good”), love songs (“Givin’ Him Something He Can Feel”), bluesy pop (“Black Coffee”), songs of feminist empowerment (“Shakin’ the Tree”), musical humor (“Mr. Monotony”), college head-butting rituals (“Yale Football Medley”), and, of course, *my* song, “Lady is a Tramp.” They animated their music with some sexy, funny moves and spins. One of them even barked “Ruff!” when they sang “Bulldog, Bulldog, Bow Wow Wow, Eli Yale.” Good thing it wasn’t me who told them to bark like a dog at the Speakeasy, or I might get in trouble with Yale College Dean Peter Salovey. I’d certainly catch flak with Assistant Dean and Director of Undergraduate Career Services Philip Jones. Hi Phil! Hi Pete! You guys missed a great show.

Whim 'n Rhythm Alumnae join in . Photo: Michael Blum

At one point, several Whim ‘n Rhythm alumnae came up from the audience, and everyone sang "The Hammond Song." Once a Whim, always a Whim. After a standing ovation from the Speakeasy crowd and an encore, we presented them with something I knew would make them feel right at home: a Mory’s-style silver loving cup, etched with “Dr. Susan Block’s SPEAKEASY Yale Annex” and filled to the brim with a delectably wicked concoction of Absente Absinthe, champagne and ice.

Passing the Cup .. Photos: Ellis Martin, Paul Blieden, Michael Blum, Eban Lehrer, Ines Blum

We passed the cup around, Mory’s style, each of us taking a sip or maybe a gulp, from the Whims onstage to the audience and back to the Whims again. Singing is thirsty work!

Post-Show Shmooze, More Yalies Pose with the Dildo Pillow and Whims Catch a Rising Star at Dr. Suzy's Speakeasy . Photos: Ellis Martin, Paul Blieden

Then we opened the curtains to reveal the hitherto discreetly hidden erotic art, including Yale alumnus Col. Jirayr H. Zorthian (Class of ‘36) classical masterpiece “5-F.”

"5F" Painting by Colonel Jirayr H. Zorthian (Yale '36) .. Photo: Alex Saglimbeni

And then was time for the wild and crazy "After-Show" to begin...

continue to page 2 for
"Yale Girls in Dr. Suzy's Personal Slutwear" and
"Whiffenpoofs Gone Wild"

PAGES 1 . 2

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