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Sing It So I Believe It!

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In concert, Blier’s emotional curiosity emerges as good humor and tenderness, but it can startle singers, says Sasha Cooke. “People open up when they’re around him,” she says. “You enter the room and all of a sudden everything feels very intimate. But some people don’t want to be figured out.”

Vulnerability and determination are the performing artist’s two contradictory but equally essential tools, and Blier, the hypersensitive man who will bawl through The Mikado, has armored himself against his disability in a tough shell of optimism. A recent breakthrough in the genetics of FSH, one that has potential to slow the progression of the disease, has given him hope. “When you look at your mother and both of her sisters and the kind of deterioration they went through, and you think it might not be that way for you … It’s huge, even just to think it.” Recently he performed at a benefit for the FSH Society, and came away with renewed gratitude for his still-powerful hands and forearms. “Instead of being freaked out, I thought, I dodged so many bullets. I was talking to this guy who always looked so angry, and I realized, he’s not angry—he lost the ability to smile. I didn’t lose that! Think what didn’t happen to me.”

“Manning the Canon: Songs of Gay Life”
Merkin Concert Hall.
November 30 and December 2. 8 p.m.


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