Christmas with Ninkasi Brewing

We love our friends at Ninkasi Brewing. And we loooooove their beer!

Ninkasi Gifts.jpg
Ninkasi close up.jpg

Every year that we have done our Christmas shows in Portland, OR, Ninkasi Brewing has provided financial support and gifts. These gifts are given out each show to some very surprised audience members! The gifts arrived this morning, and we were told that Ninkasi Brewing cofounder, Jamie Floyd, wrapped them himself. Don’t you just love their wrapping paper? Will you be gifted one of these this year at our shows? Come join the fun this December 28, 29, & 30 at Broadway Rose Theatre. CLICK HERE for ticket info. Thank you, Ninkasi Brewing!

Show Photos - Join us for our 5 final performances!

We performed five shows in Duluth, MN,  and four shows last weekend in Portland, OR.  All is well in Liberace & Liza Land!  Here are some fun photos of the show and audience members.  Join us for our last 5 shows in Portland this Tuesday, December 26th - Saturday, December 30th.


"A Liberace & Liza Christmas!"

"A Liberace & Liza Christmas!"

Liberace (David Saffert) with Graham

Liberace (David Saffert) with Graham

Some enthusiastic audience members!  And Melody Mendis as Barbra Streisand.

Some enthusiastic audience members!  And Melody Mendis as Barbra Streisand.

Liberace (David Saffert) with costumer Jeffery Wilson

Liberace (David Saffert) with costumer Jeffery Wilson

Liza Minnelli (Jillian Snow Harris) officiating the Limbo

Liza Minnelli (Jillian Snow Harris) officiating the Limbo

What Happens in Vegas - Part 2

Michael Jackson House & The Liberace Foundation

                                                                                    Front exterior of Michael Jackson house, Las Vegas

                                                                                   Front exterior of Michael Jackson house, Las Vegas

What Happens in Vegas - Part 1 was a dreamlike afternoon of Bo & Jillian & I filming two episodes of Under the Vegas Sun at the Liberace Mansion.  The next day we were mostly unscripted.  Our only plan was to meet with the CEO of The Liberace Foundation. My dear readers, this man provided a wondrous script of his own.

                                 David, Bo, & Jonathan Warren

                                David, Bo, & Jonathan Warren

Jonathan Warren has been the Chairman and CEO of The Liberace Foundation since 2014.  The most important role of the foundation is to award scholarships to students in the creative and performing arts.  That was Liberace's original intention and it continues to this day.  Jonathan met us for breakfast at our hotel.  I'm happy to say that he's charming, innovative, and down to earth. We had an agenda that morning.  What was discussed can not be revealed at this time. But as a certain lady once said, "All in good time, my little pretty.  All in good time."


What we didn't expect was Jonathan's invitation to join him at the Michael Jackson house (AKA "Thriller Villa") that afternoon.  Jackson's home entertains the Liberace Collection, and it didn't take us long to accept the offer.  What follows are photos taken on our visit:  the house, the collection, and quite a few surprises.  YOU TOO can see the house and collection!  Make sure to visit The Liberace Foundation for more details.  Our many thanks to Jonathan Warren and his lovely partner Paulina for a truly spectacular afternoon.



"Under the Vegas Sun" Episode Two

It's here!  Steve Schorr interviews David Saffert & Jillian Snow Harris at the Liberace Mansion.  Jillian rocks it on an Irving Berlin tune, and Bo Ayars joins in for a touching finale. To watch CLICK HERE.

Our sincere gratitude to Steve Schorr & Martyn Ravenhill (proprietor of the Liberace Mansion) for having us.  

Scroll down for Episode One and photos of our luxurious time spent at the mansion!


Interview & performance at the Liberace Mansion, Las Vegas!

David & Liberace at the rhinestone piano.

David & Liberace at the rhinestone piano.

Our first television episode of "Under the Vegas Sun" is here!  Host, Steve Schorr, asks about Bo Ayars' past relationship with Liberace as his Music Director, and David's performances of playing "Mr. Showmanship."  And don't miss David playing Liberace's "Gershwin Medley" on a super-shiny piano!  To watch, CLICK HERE!

Episode two (with Jillian Snow Harris) comes out on Vegas TV this Monday and will be online later in the week. Check back for the link, or view it on David Saffert Piano Facebook page.

For more photos of our filming at the mansion, scroll down!

What Happens in Vegas - Part 1

Filming at the Liberace Mansion

                                                                                            Waiting to be let in to the Liberace Mansion

                                                                                            Waiting to be let in to the Liberace Mansion

Friday, June 30th.  "Under the Vegas Sun" is a 30-minute TV interview show produced in Las Vegas that highlights the careers of past and present Vegas entertainers.  Bo Ayars & Jillian Snow Harris & I were honored to be on two of those episodes.  Thanks to TV host, Steve Schorr, these episodes were filmed inside the Liberace Mansion.  For the record, the Liberace Mansion is a privately owned home.  Martyn Ravenhill bought this house a number of years ago and spent a great deal of money to restore it to it's original Liberace-beauty.  It is not normally ON-THE-TOUR!  Because of that, I wanted to share some pretty fabulous photos that we were allowed to take inside. My sincere gratitude to Steve Schorr and Martyn Ravenhill for giving us a day we will never forget!

Both episodes are up at David Saffert Piano Facebook.

What Happens in Vegas - Part 2

Michael Jackson house & The Liberace Foundation

+ Photos from the Liberace Collection




Q&A with Jason Bray

In Sequins Productions costumer Jason Bray

Jason Bray at the Michael Curry Design costume shop

Jason Bray at the Michael Curry Design costume shop

I met Jason Bray several years ago while we were both working at Portland Opera. Eventually, I would ask Jason to create my Liberace wardrobe.  He works on a lot of interesting projects, so it seemed fitting that I introduce him to all of you.  I think you'll enjoy the following discussion I had with him.

Portland Opera & Michael Curry Design

Portland Opera's  Rinaldo.   Design:  Jacob Climer

Portland Opera's Rinaldo.  Design:  Jacob Climer

David:  What work did you do at Portland Opera?

Jason:  I was their First Hand, Assistant Shop Manager, and Design Assistant.  We built several new productions for Portland Opera, most of which I was the Design Assistant for (Rinaldo/Galileo Galilei/Postcard from Morocco).  The designer is never in town, so the Design Assistant is responsible for doing all the shopping and communicating with the shop.  I’ve done lots of work with designer Sue Bonde.  Lots of detail!  Lots of gold trim!  BLING!  See, working with you is the culmination of all my training because of Sue Bonde being my mentor, and she’s the queen of bling.

David:  And what do you do now for Michael Curry Design?

Jason:  I'm a Fabric Artist.  Projects that are more costume related come to me.  Things that have tight deadlines.  I do a lot of dye work.  I work on a lot of projects that require specialty sourcing of materials, which is how I discovered the LA garment district.  I also source from China, Korea, Japan, Vietnam, and Taiwan.  The textiles we got for the Dementor project came from Japan.

David:  Let's talk about Japan!  How long were you there and what were you doing?

Jason:  I was in Osaka, Japan three times from December through May at Harry Potter World in Universal Studios.  We were building flying Dementors for their “Expecto Patronum Night Show.”  

Promo photo for "Expecto Patronum Night Show" at Universal Studios in Osaka, Japan

Promo photo for "Expecto Patronum Night Show" at Universal Studios in Osaka, Japan

David:  Was this the first time you’ve worked overseas?

Jason:  No,  I also worked at Shanghai Disneyland last year.  I was at their Grand Opening Celebration doing costumes and props.

David:  You must have some interesting people show up at Michael Curry’s.

Jason:  We get client visits from Disney and Universal Studios all the time.  Siegfried from Siegfried & Roy has been here because he’s friends with Michael (Curry).  Steve Wynn is another of his friends that makes appearances.  Who else?  It was a bummer that Michael Jackson was never here.  We did all the puppetry for his “This is It” tour.  A couple of my colleagues are in the “This is It” documentary that was made from the rehearsal footage for the tour. 

For Fun

David:  I know that you listen to music while you work.  What music has inspired you?

Jason:  At the opera I tortured people with some of my music tastes.  Most notably Philip Glass.  I have quite a Glass collection.  I find his music to be so focusing.  Lately I’ve been listening to Eydie Gorme & Steve, the Nirvana Unplugged album, opera, classical music, and Liberace.

David:  What do you eventually want to make for Jillian?

Jason:  I need to make her some kind of Bob Mackie-Liza Minnelli outfit!  Mackie designed for everybody… the Carol Burnett Show, Cher…  The quintessential Liza outfit is the sparkle jumpsuit.  Black or red.

David:  If you could design and build costumes for anyone, who would it be?

Jason:  It used to be Lady Gaga.  Definitely RuPaul.  I’m also in love with this guy, Perfume Genius.  I’d love to costume him. 

The Next Liberace Outfit!

David:  I’m sitting here looking at swatches of the Liberace Christmas costume you are making for me.  You are creating it.  It’s not based on an actual Liberace outfit. 

Jason:  Well, there’s a Liberace style I’m trying to emulate.   He originated this style.  All these people that came after him, like Elton John and Prince, emulated him.  One of the major inspirations for your Christmas outfit is from my book about the Russian Master Goldsmith’s Faberge eggs.  There’s a template that I’m following, but I’m dressing it differently;  gold and green and red sparkle, plaid, poinsettias, jingle bells, and holly. 

And finally, for the kids

David:  What do you have to say to children who would like to have a job like yours?

Jason:  Being a doctor or lawyer is nice!  No…  you don’t have to go to a fancy school and pay a lot of money.  A degree in design is great, but you go to a firm like Michael Curry’s and there’s ONE designer.  Learn as much as you can from home or a private sewing tutor.  Try to get an internship.  Get in ground level somewhere and don’t put yourself in debt over it!  You should definitely learn how to sew, know your way around a sewing machine, but most importantly be able to take direction.  That’s what I look for when hiring.  Can someone take direction?   I want people who listen, have some sort of skill to build on, and be willing to improve.  Most of my best stitchers have been retired people and those who have learned from home. 

But what about Project Runway?

Jason:  You can’t be doing this for any recognition or stardom.  Project Runway is NOT reality!  It’s fun, but it’s not real.  It’s a fantasy that you’re going to be a star and that these outfits are busted out in an hour. 

Thank you for reading, folks!  And thank you to Jason Bray for taking the time to answer a few questions.  If YOU have any questions that you would like to ask Jason, please leave them in the comments section below.

- David


P.S.  To see Jason's Liberace outfits in action, check out our GALLERY & VIDEO page.