The NPR reporter who follows the president these days is taking a break to perform at the Hollywood Bowl this weekend.
Ari Shapiro says he often went to Pink Martini concerts when he was growing up in Portland, Oregon – the band’s hometown. Cut to 2008, when Ari invited the group to his house for a party.
“It went very late into the night and turned into a big sing-along around the piano," says Shapiro. "And the next morning, the band leader Thomas said, ‘Hey, I’ve got this idea. How would you feel about doing a song on the album?' Which, first, I didn’t think was going to happen and, second, I thought it would be a one-off if it did happen, an amazing thing that I would go and do once and it would sit on a shelf somewhere, and that would be the time I sang with Pink Martini. Well, two years later, here we are.”
Shapiro has sung and recorded with the group, but has he sung on Air Force One?
“No! the news has not gotten out around Air Force One that I have this alter ego life," says Shapiro. "You know, I covered the Justice Department until April and the rumor spread among the Justice Department press corps and the staff there.
"But at the White House, I think it’s still under wraps. But that may change in April when Pink Martini comes to the Kennedy Center and does four nights with the National Symphony there and it may be hard to keep the cat in the bag at that point.”
Pink Martini wraps up the Hollywood Bowl’s season tonight through Sunday.
"There’s also going to be a full orchestra, Rufus Wainwright, the entire cast of Sesame Street, Jane Powell, and fireworks," says Shapiro. "So, the bandleader, Thomas, has really upped himself.”