Life is an annual cabaret
After 10 years of presenting a cabaret-style April in Paris show at Vanessie, the creators and performers of the program — accordionist and singer Ron Romanovsky and pianist and vocalist Charles Tichenor — considered a change in subject. “We thought we could call it ‘April in Santa Fe: 20 Songs About Allergies,’” Tichenor quipped. “Or ‘ Songs About Potholes,’” Romanovsky added. Instead of changing the subject, though, the duo will add some new songs, bring out all the favorites, and once again bring a little bit of France to Santa Fe for three Sunday-afternoon performances this month, beginning Sunday, April 11.
Meeting recently with Pasatiempo for croissants and cappuccino at Café Paris, where Romanovsky plays the accordion on weekends, Tichenor arrived late, bearing fliers, programs, posters, and CDs of previous April in Paris shows. That gave Romanovsky a few minutes to talk about another duo he once belonged to.
For 20 years, the rollerblading accordionist was half of the folk-comedy duo Romanovsky & Phillips. “We were the gay Smothers Brothers,” he said. “We offered gay-identified satire, songs like ‘ What Kind of Self-Respecting Fag Am I?’ and a song about the pope, the KKK, and the Supreme Court called ‘ Homophobes in Robes.’ We were in sync with the times. And then the touring started to get harder, doing all the booking and management got more tiring, and things just petered out. I really didn’t know what to do after that.”
Romanovsky moved to Santa Fe in 1986. “I’d always wanted to learn how to play the accordion,” he said, “and I thought, what could be more lucrative than to play French music in Santa Fe?” Romanovsky gave a satirist’s smile. “And I don’t do polkas.” He doesn’t do just French repertoire, either. His Gypsy band, Welcome to Bohemia, performs at Café Paris on April 19.
Asked the origin of his nickname, “Dadou,” Romanovsky said, “In France, no one had ever heard of my first name, ‘ Ron,’ until I reminded them of the song lyric ‘ da doo ron ron.’ So they started calling me Dadou, and it stuck.”
April in Paris actually began at a French language class at Santa Fe Community College, where Romanovsky met Tichenor. “I have a better accent, but Charles has much better grammar,” Romanovsky said. “It was Charles’