I sat down for a brief conversation with a song that has been talking to me for most of my life. The song is “Once in a Lifetime” by the Talking Heads, and it comes from the 1980 full-length album Remain in Light. Released as a single on February 2, 1981, “Once in a Lifetime” has arguably become the group’s signature song. A mildly interesting fact: Remain in Light was released on October 8, 1980, and I was in utero, letting the days go by, letting the water hold me down…

There are many weird success stories in America, but Trans-Siberian Orchestra has to be one of the weirdest.


Trans-Siberian Orchestra has released five albums in the last thirteen years—three of which comprise the band’s Christmas trilogy: Christmas Eve and Other Stories (1996), The Christmas Attic (1998), and The Lost Christmas Eve (2004). Each has earned platinum status. The band’s latest release, 2009’s Night Castle (albeit, not a Christmas concept album) peaked at number 5 on the Billboard 200 chart. The Trans-Siberian Orchestra has become so popular there are two touring factions in America, covering each of the coasts: TSO East and TSO West.

I grew up in restaurants and hotels, daughter of a restaurateur. People came around, people who were famous sometimes for one thing or another, people who had an entourage, people who tried to demand preferential treatment somehow. I didn’t necessarily recognize any of these people, sometimes I did, sometimes not, but there was a tension that hung around the kitchen and chef’s office when a VIP was scheduled to be in the dining room, a tension that would disappear the moment he or she arrived and everyone remembered the star was as human as the rest of us.

Later on, as I grew up and lived in Manhattan, seeing celebrities wasn’t any big deal. It’s what happens in New York, and only tourists dare make a garish scene and acknowledge the famous in any way other than that of a peer. Even if the heart is a teen-aged girl gripped with the Beatlemania of the moment, the exterior had to be cool.