A REPRINT FROM THE
Cliff Simon paints cakes. This fact has been the source of much joy for him-and much neurotic energy.
For this native of Flushing, New York (whose demeanor and frame suggest a more well-rested, better hair-styled Woody Allen), the joy and neurosis combine to birth comedy. Simon's been baking cakes since the mid-'70s. Somewhere along the line, he became a cake decorator to the rich and famous and moved to Santa Fe. (He's baked and decorated for Liberace, Marilyn Horne, Malcolm Forbes, Madonna and others.) And, usually, everything goes fine. But sometimes, because of the unique nature of his medium, he faces problems other artists never dream of. Michelangelo never had to worry whether the Sistine Chapel had enough lemon-walnut filling, for example. Such problems--a collapsing Tower of Babel wedding cake for Diana Ross--a giant cake-carved hand that wouldn't come out right ("It wouldn't have been so bad if it were a little smaller," Simon says. "Well, a lot smaller.")--Madonna's need for "vegetarian" cake--have prompted Simon to write They Ate My Cake, about his occasional near-disasters.
He's also turned his book into a show, a "Stand-Up Cake Routine" for the cakes that didn't. He'll be giving it this month. What moral does he draw?
"My criterion for cake making," he says, "is this: if you can't do a mock-up in chopped liver first, don't do it as a cake. "
"An Evening with Cliff Simon ... and Cake" . . . Call firstname.lastname@example.org. -Ryan Underwood