By Elaine Matsushita
Years ago, when there was a husband living in my humble home, a beautiful singer/songwriter and her handsome and charming mate came to have dinner with us.
Lucy Kaplansky, psychologist-cum-performer, was in town to sing at Schuba’s. And we had a delightful evening– despite me asking silly (but sincere) questions of Lucy’s hubby/ co-lyricist Rick Litvin, about whether he ever felt some songs should grow into novels. (Hey, in my defense, listen to “Still Life” on Lucy’s “Flesh and Bone” album.)
Isn’t life wonderful when great people flow back into your life? It’s five albums and a little daughter later, and Lucy and I have reconnected. This time — shortly before her return to Chicago where she’ll be singing at S.P.A.C.E. in Evanston on Oct. 25 and then at Nordstrom on Michigan Ave. Nov. 12 (they keep changing the date so double-check in advance) – the conversation revolves around a subject I’m quite familiar with: home.
It’s “Snooping With the Stars” time and Lucy is telling me all about the two-bedroom, two-bath apartment in which she and Rick, an associate professor of film at New York University, and, now, 7-year-old Molly (and Molly’s fish) live. It’s on the 14th floor of a modern 34-story apartment building (“built in the late 1960s, I think”) in Greenwich Village.
Naturally, since it’s the home of Lucy and Rick, it is full of warmth — lots of wood and earth colors, vintage posters from Paris, a collection of Native American art that belonged to Lucy’s mother.
“She just loved Native American art and collected it for years. Every time she went to Arizona or New Mexico, she’d buy stuff . . . rugs, baskets, pottery,” says Lucy, whose latest album is “Over the Hills.”
But Rick is the one with the decorating style, she says. “He’s great at figuring out what will look good together.” His style — big white couch, comfy brown leather chair, glass table in the living room, for example — “totally works with my sensibilities.”
The apartment gets lots of light (“We have two exposures – north, with a great view of the Empire State Building, and east”), and has a great layout and “a beautiful garden and swimming pool on the roof,” Lucy says, explaining why they fell in love with the home in the first place.
But when it comes to writing those songs that find a way into your soul, the bedroom is where you’ll find Lucy. “On my bed, that’s where I usually write,” she says. It’s also her refuge for calm.
One thing on your nightstand: Books I’m reading (current book is “Crawling: A Father’s First Year” by [Elisha Cooper] the father of one of Molly’s friends, a hilarious book)
What in your home screams “Lucy Kaplansky lives here!” My AFIM (Association For Indepent Music) awards for Best Pop Album of 2000 and 2002.
What is the biggest collection in your home? My mother’s Native American art collection: lots of woven baskets, sculptures, woven rugs
Three things we would find in under your bed: A futon that my daughter likes to sleep in sometimes, free weights that I use. I think that’s it.
Color of your bedroom walls: Off-white
What reading material would we find in your bathroom? The New York Times
Most embarrassing thing in your home that you hide when guests come over: The never-ending mess
On a surprise visit, would we find your bed made? If I’m home, then it would be made. If I’m away, no way would it be made.
Best furniture bargain you ever got? A lounge chair I found on the street when I was about 23.
Liquid body soap or bar soap in the shower/bath? Bar soap
Do you hang your toilet paper over the front or down the back? Over the front
What music have you been listening to at home lately? The Beatles, my daughter has become a Beatles fanatic.