In its 11-year history it served as a training ground for what later became some of the best and most well-known and well-loved comics, actors, musicians, mimes, singers, and songwriters of our times. Entertainers like Jay Leno, David Letterman, Robin Williams, Al Jarreau, and Sting performed there before anyone had ever heard their names, 200+ songwriters hung out there—performing and listening to each other while they were writing some of the most popular songs of the day and preparing to write hits that we listen to and enjoy now, popular sitcom actors jumped up on open-mics to read introspective poetry, and musicians played-out with their own arty/creative rock and jazz groups each night and then recorded million-seller commercial records in studios during the day.
During that time-period hundreds flocked to Hollywood to try to make it in the entertainment industry. Many found careers, many did not. But at the Bla-Bla Café all found a home and a family, and formed relationships that have lasted a lifetime.
Although mostly written by Sandy Ross, one of the Bla-Bla Café's original regular performers and its entertainment coordinator for 8 years, it also contains chapters of stories, interviews, anecdotes, and perspectives contributed by 15 other regular café performers, family, and staff, including: jazz singers Jelsa Palao and Al Jarreau, country singer-songwriter and Capital Records recording artist, Maxine Sellers, Fred Bliffert (of the '70s Electra/Asylum recording group, Jelly), hit country songwriter Gene Nelson, and pop artists Lisa Nemzo, and Lauren Wood and Novi Novog (of the '70s Warner Bros. recording group, Chunky, Novi and Ernie).
Also included is a staff table and a 90-page performers' table that lists hundreds of performers who showcased there along with a synopsis of their industry credits: Jimmy Webb, Karla Bonoff, Peter Allen, Keb' Mo', Roseanne Cash, Patti Davis, Keith Green, David Blue, Jay Leno, David Letterman, Robin Williams, Billy Crystal, William Katt, Amy Madigan, Liz Torres, Vonda Shepard, The Motels, Huey Lewis and the News, The Police, Sylvester, Michael Greer, Vicki Randle, Shelby Flint, Carl Anderson, Rosie Flores, Steve Gillette, Peter Alsop, Steve Seskin, Randy Sharp, Jenny Yates, Don Ellis, Morgana King, Joe Pass. . . and the list goes on and on.
Most of all, though, the book provides a portal in which to view the spirit of the performing artists of the 1970s, through their naivety, discovery and growth, at a time of stark contradictions and prejudices, political disheartenments, global violence, and sexual/social revolution.
It's a must-read for people who were there and everyone who appreciates the value of living their dreams.