Home August 2013 Hill-arious


This is the first time in my life that I performed at a venue where the temperature (120 degrees) was more than twice my age!” said Shelley Fisher when she walked onstage at the Arthur Newman Theatre at the Joslyn Center in Palm Desert on a steamy Sunday afternoon.  Onstage her life was an open book, as she shared stories about being a songstress, teacher, investment wizard and Jewish southern belle.
Fisher blends her 14 original songs with a narrative that strikes a chord when it comes to romance, parents, career choices and comedy.  Watching her perform is like reading a Harold Robbins novel that you just can’t put down.
After listening to Shelley sing “Hebrew Hillbilly,” spiked with Yiddish, Phyliss Eisenberg, my photographer, said, “She is a definitely a Jewish Dolly Parton.”  I replied, “With the timing of Mae West.”  This petite, one-woman wonder captivated the audience for 90 minutes with her anecdotes focused on growing up in Memphis with a yearning deep in her Southern heart to sing and compose songs, despite caution from her protective mama, Freda.
Today, Shelley’s white, high-heel bejeweled hillbilly leather cowgirl boots with mix-and-match glitz from head to toe, confirm what she says during our interview, “I put the Jew back in bejeweled.”
She says it all with her fitted black-hot pink lace-trimmed polka dot satin camisole and Swarovski crystal-studded black belt screaming size 7 at the most.  Accentuate that with her blonde hair and big smile.  Definitely, this kosher cowgirl took the audience on a roller coaster ride, charming the audience with her “This Is Your Life” drama.
There was no time for an intermission and that’s the way Shelley wanted it; nobody would want to miss a word of her clever lyrics, from the theme song when she sings about being “raised up on gefilte grits –I specialize in Hebrew hits !”  Delving into her romances, from a brief marriage to a cantor followed by a liaison with a Jewish tennis player, leads her to a scintillating song she titles “Younger Man.”  She relates that the father of her only daughter dropped her off at Cedars-Sinai Hospital in Los Angeles while in a mad rush to see the second half of the Raiders game.  She arrived just in time for the birth.
When she described with a wry smile and perfect timing how her romantic relationships went from “hero to zero,” it was obvious that her forte is comedy.  Shelley the storyteller told how she met Elvis Presley on a flight from Memphis to the west coast.  In her irresistible way she wangled the seat next to him.
He advised her, “Darlin, you got a sparkle that a lotta gals don’t have.  Don’t you lose it out there in California or you’ll become another hard broad, and they are a dime a dozen out there.  And don’t forget it.”
“The Hebrew Hillbilly” opens at the Santa Monica Theatre, 1211 4th St. in Santa Monica for four weekends starting October 12 and 13. Get tickets at www.brownbagtickets.com.


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