Go back in time: Throw on your bell bottoms and platform shoes and welcome the New Year with some groovy ’70s soft rock tunes from Tony Starlight and his band—expect renditions of Elton John, Neil Diamond, and Carole King.
KGW stops by the Showroom to get festive with Tony
The holiday season is in full swing at one swinging spot in southwest Portland where a show is bringing back musical memories of years gone by.
The Tony Starlight Christmas show recreates the magic of old holiday TV specials from the 1960s and 1970s that would feature performers like Bing Crosby and Dean Martin.
Created by Starlight and Bo Ayars, the Vegas-style show combines standards, comedy routines, impressions and more. There are also duets with guest vocalist Barbara Ayars on songs from classic holiday shows like “How the Grinch Stole Christmas!” and “Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer.”
Joe V. stopped by to catch up with Tony and get a preview of the Christmas crooning.
This venue usually hosts the long-running Tony Starlight Show, but you can also rent it out for your wedding.
Yelp says: “The Tony Starlight showroom was the perfect venue for us. Everything from the caterer (Spin Events – delicious steak, vegan, and vegetarian options), the customized wedding show, and kindness to a nervous bride.” – K T.
Tony Starlight’s Mother’s Day Brunch – Tell your mom “Thanks for giving birth to me” by taking her to a Vegas lounge act in Southeast Portland, complete with performances by Neil Diamond (Tony Starlight), Liberace (David Saffert), and Judy Garland (Jillian Snow Harris).
“No one ever thinks it’s blasphemous. The strangest comment I’ve ever received was, there was a guy about 80 years old, waving me to come over. I’m thinking, ‘What’s this old guy going to say?’ And, he says, ‘Neil Diamond couldn’t carry your jockstrap, young man.'”
It’s a Tony Starlight Christmas – Get into the holiday spirit Vegas-style, with a dinner show featuring swinging jazz, impressions of singers such as Bing Crosby and Neil Diamond, Joe Friday comedy routines, songs from holiday television specials and more.
Music and comedy. Music and comedy before Letterman and Leno. There are some things that just have to be seen. Tony Starlight and his old time renditions are some of those things. These special shows not only lovingly recall days gone by but the meticulous detail, the glitzy atmosphere, the memorable melodies work together to give you an uncommon treat. Tony Starlight has just created a new supperclub where everything will be amped up a notch but he made time to talk with Music on the Street about comedy, music, and putting it all together with his special spin.
The emerging lower Hawthorne Entertainment District is about to get quite a bit more entertaining. In August, the Tony Starlight Showroom opens at 1125 SE Madison beside the newish Mad Sons Restaurant, for weekend theme shows that have been so successful on Sandy Blvd. for the last seven years.
The grand opening will be Friday August 22 with a Variety Show and a Rat pack vibe, comedy and more. Tony Starlight includes impressions and parody songs (“My Hair Keeps a-Fallin’ from My Head”) in his act along with “original music with lyrics about your awful children, traffic gridlock, and our ever changing relationship with our pants.”
Kristy Turnquist, The Oregonian – November 6, 2013
The Tony Starlight Christmas Show: What combines showbiz razzmatazz, swingin’ arrangements, ring-a-ding-ding razzle-dazzle, and more holiday spirit than a buffet table piled high with figgy pudding? The Tony Starlight Christmas Show, in which Portland’s resident retro-swagger showman extraordinaire celebrates his favorite time of year. Steeped in Las Vegas-style energy and top-notch musical chops, the show combines jazzy renditions of “Winter Wonderland”; comedy routines; impressions of Dean Martin, Bing Crosby, Neil Diamond and others; and tunes from holiday animated classics, including “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” and Rankin-Bass specials.
David Greenwald, The Oregonian – October 6, 2013
Tony Starlight sings: Starlight, the emcee for the evening and the sharp-tongued proprietor of Tony Starlight’s Supper Club and Lounge, brought his gift for satire to a pair of time-filling tunes: a song about Portland traffic set to the tune of Johnny Cash’s “Folsom Prison Blues” and a mash-up of U2’s “WIth or Without You” and Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believin'” where he nearly matched Steve Perry’s glass-cracking vocals.
Kristi Turnquist, The Oregonian – October 27, 2012
Wearing a shaggy black wig, sporting a sparkly shirt, tight pants and a bejeweled belt buckle reading “SEXY,” Tony Starlight saunters onstage, into the spotlight, while the band plays.
“Hello, Portland!” he hollers. The crowd of about 90 people applauds, and Starlight pauses as he looks around dubiously. “Are you sure this is the Rose Garden?”
It’s the first of many jokes about appearance versus reality coming up this evening. Starlight is at his Northeast Portland home base, Tony Starlight’s Supper Club & Lounge, where he typically does songs and patter inspired by stars of earlier eras, notably Frank Sinatra and other Rat Pack-vintage icons.
But tonight, Starlight is taking on another identity, that of Neil Diamond — specifically, 1970s Diamond, with his fluffy hair, unbuttoned shirts and arena-filling showmanship. While Starlight and the band sell Diamond’s songs with sincere, professional flair, there’s humor layered into the concept. The narrow club may be crowded and cozy, but it’s hardly an arena. And obviously, Starlight isn’t Diamond. For that matter, he’s not even Starlight. The 42-year-old entertainer’s real name is Brett Kucera, and Starlight is his wisecracking, showbizzy alter ego.
by Peter Ames Carlin – The Oregonian – Thursday August 27, 2009
Photo: Leah Nash/Special to The Oregonian
When Tony Starlight hits the bandstand he comes in a blue tuxedo, with a glimmering blue cummerbund and a shirt ruffled to just this side of outlandish. He’s got a drink in one hand, a tight jazz trio behind him and a smooth croon that’s part Frank, part Dean and every bit as old school as the chrome broadcast microphone standing in front of him.
As long as I’m singin’, then the world’s all right, and everybody’s swingin’. …
He’s snapping and grooving, and the whole club is right there with him: the young woman in sea foam green taffeta, her companion in the black Kangol cap, the older couples in their cocktail gowns and blazers. Cufflinks are not unheard of. You could show up in spats.
Tony Starlight, who also owns and manages the club, would love it if you did. It’s all his vision, this luxurious remove from the bonds of time and place, so when he gazes down at the shimmering faces and glittering gowns, he’s seeing a dream come to life.
Text and photos by Typod – September 21st, 2010.
What an evening! PDXposed has reached a new summit. By tooth and claw, they’ve earned every single gouged crevice. If not entirely seamless, they certainly accomplished it with great attitude and style. “Always fun, always positive”, this evening was no exception. I am so glad to have attended this exclusive engagement, chock full of great entertainment and comradeship far and beyond measure.
by Marty Hughley – The Oregonian – September 20, 2010
“It’s nice to have both jazz and customers,” Tony Starlight said late Saturday night in his Northeast Portland nightclub. He was talking to Bill Royston and Jenn Lawson of PDX Jazz during a sold-out show by Devin Phillips, and Royston, a veteran of jazz booking, had a ready reply:
“I’ve always said there’s at least three or four dollars in this business.”
Money aside, Saturday’s show appeared to mark the start of a fruitful relationship between PDX Jazz, which produces the Portland Jazz Festival each February, and Tony Starlight’s Supper Club – Lounge. It was the first in a monthly series of shows intended to give PDX Jazz a year-round presence in the music scene.
As Starlight’s quip suggests, serious straightahead jazz hasn’t been the club’s bread and butter. But the strong reception for the saxophonist Phillips — who led a quartet with drummer Alan Jones, pianist Ramsey Embick and bassist Eric Gruber in a firebreathing tribute to the classic John Coltrane album “A Love Supreme” — proved the match can work.
The series continues with something closer to the swanky, retro aesthetic that defines Starlight’s place — an Oct. 16 show by the redoubtable duo of singer Rebecca Kilgore and pianist Dave Frishberg. The pop-savvy jazz singer Jenna Mammina, a favorite in these parts since Royston brought her to the Mt. Hood Jazz Festival a decade or so ago, performs on Nov. 20.
by Angela Allen – oregonmusicnews.com – August 10, 2010
Tony Starlight opened his namesake place in January 2007, determined to bring Portland a nostalgic entertainment venue it didn’t have. Not a jazz club, a New York City-style piano bar, high-end resto, nor a concert hall, his room would be a supper club with a variety show, starring himself as Dino, Tom Jones, Frankie, Neil Diamond and made-up characters. He’d make people laugh, connect with the audience, get to know the community — at least the ones who showed up at his nightclub.
What’s odd is that by now the club has become all of those things.
By NoPo Ness – neighborhoodnotes.com – January 28th 2009
Though the hey-day of the supper club has long since past, there are some that miss the relaxed refinement for which these places were known. Portland’s own crooner/entertainer extraordinaire, Tony Starlight (aka Brett Kucera) is just such a person. Longing for a venue to perform in which people could sit and leisurely enjoy entertainment while dining, was what drove Kucera to open his alter-ego’s eponymous supper club and lounge. “There was nowhere to perform the kind of show that I wanted to perform.”
By Pam Jones, Writer Jazz Society of Oregon – November 20th 2007
Karla Harris is an engaging performer with stage presence and a stellar voice. Lucky for us she’s relocated here, bringing her St. Louis style of swing with her. Her repertoire includes jazz, pop, soul and show tunes. She sings Ain’t Misbehavin ‘ with panache, and tells a story of how Fats Waller came to write it, when he needed money to get out of jail. She engages the audience and makes us happy to be sharing the evening with her.
Don’t Explain, a haunting love song by Billie Holiday, is sung unhurriedly and with emotion, “Hush now, don’t explain, you know I love you. You are my joy, you are my pain…” Karla lightens the mood with Deed I Do, a show tune by Walter Hirsch and Fred Rose.
By Carolyn Joyce, Writer Jazz Society of Oregon – October 6th 2007
The jazz at Tony’s tends to feature groups who are audience-focused and proud to be viewed as both musicians and entertainers. This includes The Midnight Serenaders, Midnight Siren featuring the bluesy and bawdy vocals of Karen Maria Capo, Pete Peterson’s Porkpie, The Bureau of Standards Big Band, and The Stolen Sweets. Check the website for other bands, and for events such as Monday Night Bingo, The Tony Starlight Show, and special parties. Each event is described in detail, making it easy to decide when to plan your visit.
By Tyrone Beason – Seattle Times staff reporter
Some of the newer spots trade in a swankier kind of cool. Take the just-opened Tony Starlight’s Supper Club-Lounge, located in a triangular building near 37th and Sandy, where live jazz and a Saturday night “Vegas-style” show by Tony Starlight himself are the main draws. On the lounge’s Web site, patrons are cheekily urged to dress to impress: “Don’t embarrass yourself. It should be noted there will be a $3 surcharge for men in open-toed shoes and a $1 fee for each item of Patagonia on your person.”
by: Michael Byrne – Willamette Week – March 7th 2007
Ask anyone in Portland– even a Hollywood-neighborhood native– to list all the businesses that have called the odd, triangular building at Northeast 37th Avenue and Sandy Boulevard home, and probably the only people able to do so would be the Realtors who have guided the property through its many, many tenants.
Just since 2000 it’s played home to indie venue the Blackbird, Rafael’s Comida Mexicana, Uncle Butchy’s Low Carb Creations and Brandy’s strip club…even the Yellow Pages can’t keep up.
But Brett Kucera doesn’t believe the building’s cursed. In January, he reopened the joint’s doors, fashioning it as a home base for his longtime lounge-crooner alter ego, Tony Starlight.
Portland Tribune January 15, 2007
Brett Kucera didn’t invent the vintage vibe, but his alter ego Tony Starlight does it better than anyone.
The Oregonian January 19, 2007
Lounge-king Tony Starlight once ruled the Portland nightscape. But after wowing fans at spots like the Gypsy in Northwest Portland, Tony left for Los Angeles in 1999 to try his hand at acting and improv. The performer moved back to the Rose City late last year, and for the past three months has been quietly transforming the space at the late, lamented rock club The Blackbird on Northeast Sandy Boulevard into Tony Starlight’s Supperclub and Lounge…