American Parlor Songbook

  • Hosted by JP Houston, Julie Van Dusen

Come into the Parlor for clever songs, charming stories, and hilarious sketches each week. Hosted from the piano by acclaimed composer JP Houston, with his wife, comic actress Julie Van Dusen. JP and Julie are joined by special guests from national music acts to raconteurs and stand-ups. American Parlor Songbook is recorded in front of live audiences at the Tudor House Theater in Lake Arrowhead CA, and at venues across the country.

JP Houston is a Canadian born singer, songwriter, pianist, and producer. JP has a large catalog of songs composed for record, theater and television, from Funny or Die Presents to the Big Comfy Couch. He has written for BBC, HBO, CBC,PBS and countless others. Houston has been nominated for a Canadian Emmy for best score.

In addition to his composing work, JP is an accomplished performer who has toured andrecorded all over North America and Europe.

Most recently in Brian Bell’s Weezer side project The Relationship. In 2013, he wrapped a 2 year stint leading the house band at the legendary venue, Pappy and Harriet’s in PioneerTown CA. The popular shows saw JP trading songs with the likes of Victoria Williams, Band Of Horses, The Jay Hawks,M.Ward, John Doe, and a host of other notable guests who sat in each week.

Houston has also worked extensively in comedy clubs and theaters as a performer and musical director including shows at UCB, Steve Allen Theatre, and 24th St Theater,to name a few.

Julie Van Dusen is a stage actress hailing from Michigan. She is an alumni of the prestigious Interlochen Arts Academy, and a graduate from Oakland University’s theater program. Since earning her degree, Julie has held key rolls in productions including Diary of Ann Frank (Jet Theatre), Psycho Beach Party (Strand Theatre), Twelfth Night (Attic Theatre), and The Fantastics (Henry Ford Theatre). Van Dusen has also worked in comedy and improv, with stints in Detroit productions of Tony and Tina’s Wedding, and improv group Awkward Silence.

7/13/18 - Beauty

Jul 13, 2018

Join us for sketches, stories, and songs about beauty. JP tells another true childhood tale, a public radio news host mistakes poverty for fashion, retired actress Martha Young competes in the Miss Glolden Years Pageant, performance artist April Hava Shenkman considers motherhood, and singer Daniel Rosa performs his heartfelt tunes.

7/6/18 - Battle of the Sexes

Jul 6, 2018

Join us for sketches, stories, and songs about men and women. We uncover another outdated propaganda cartoon, JP tells a true childhood tale about his love of Broadway dance numbers, Hailey Jones returns as "Safety Sue" to lecture us about the dangers of online dating, and Kris Gruen performs his thoughtful folk-pop tunes.

6/29/18 - Gypsies

Jun 29, 2018

Join us for an episode about the nomadic lifestyle. JP tells a story about a travelling street performer, strangers meet on a plane, Steven Benaquist brings us Captain St. Beaves, and Eva Mikhilovna performs her dreamy folk.

6/22/18 - Conspiracy

Jun 22, 2018

Join us for sketches, stories, and songs about conspiracies. Sachet Vaneers interviews an imposter Beatle, JP tells a story about a schoolyard misfit, and retired actress Martha Young gets paranoid. Rob mills returns as cryptozoologist Emil Konk in a piece written by Kit Pasold, and singer-songwriter Young Mister performs.

5/4/18 - Pop Culture Meltdown

May 4, 2018

Join us for sketches, stories, and songs about pop culture, featuring new bits and some old favorites. April Hava Shenkman brings us back to the 1940s with her vocal gymnastics, Zach Sherwin raps an anagram, JP tells a childhood tale about fashion, and musical guests Eva and the Vagabond Tales, Black Tongued Bells, and Jordie Lane & Clare Reynolds perform.

4/27/18 - Pushing Pencils

Apr 27, 2018

Take a number and have a seat, it'll be a while on this episode about bureaucracy. JP tells a true childhood tale about school health regulations, comedian Hailey Jones keeps us in check as Safety Sue, and singer-songwriter Matt Coleman performs his acoustic pop.

4/20/18 - The Precise Comedy of Science

Apr 20, 2018

Join us for sketches, stories, and songs about science, recorded at The Tudor House Theatre. April Hava Shenkman returns with her vocal gymnastics, and L.A. duo Aloud perform their passionate acoustic pop tunes.

4/13/18 - The Exact Science of Comedy

Apr 13, 2018

Join us for an episode about comedy itself, recorded in front of an audience at the KVCR PBS TV studios in San Bernardino California. John Pate returns with another charming story, and folk duo Lawrence and Clare perform their likeable ditties.

4/6/18 - The Greatest Episode Ever

Apr 6, 2018

We celebrate greatness this week, with an episode from the studio. Canadian singer-songwrite Rueben DeGroot performs his heart felt roots tunes, and comedian Matt Knudsen brings us another edition of The APS News.

3/30/18 - Spring Jumble

Mar 30, 2018

Join us for a spring mix of some of our favorite clips recorded at The Tudor House Theatre. JP sings a song about censorship in China, and tells a true childhood tale about his father's press pass. With music from Joey Chrisman, Freddy & Francine, and Severin Brown. Phil Proctor and Jamie Alcroft return as our Boomers on a Bench.

3/23/18 - Storied

Mar 23, 2018

Join us for an episode about books, plays, and story craft all kinds. JP tells a true tale about his 3rd grade book report, a future society rediscovers Shakespeare, Art Podell brings us the history of the talking blues, and Vermont singer-songwriter Kris Gruen performs.

3/16/18 - Schrodinger's Episode

Mar 16, 2018

Join us for a show about philosophy. Sachet Vaneers interviews Elon Musk, Jason Feddy sings another item from the police blotter, comedian Matt Knudsen does some stand-up, and musical performances from Canadian singer Carolyn Mark, Jonathan Eller, and acoustic latin fusion group Machin.

3/9/18 - Elbow Grease Is the Word

Mar 9, 2018

Join us for a show about work. JP tells a true childhood tale about earning fake money, comedian and playwright Steven Benaquist delivers a "FRED Talk", and from Switzerland, songwriting duo Sarah Bowman and Coal Burrel perform their haunting folk tunes.

3/2/18 - Sportsmanlike Misconduct

Mar 2, 2018

Join us for a show about competition, recorded live at The Tudor House Theater in Lake Arrowhead, CA. JP tells a true childhood tale about his grade school Olympics, a bake-off goes off the rails, comedian Matt Knudsen delivers the first ever APS News, and British singer-songwriter Jason Feddy returns to sing the police blotter.

2/23/18 - The New Old Show

Feb 23, 2018

Join us for sketches, stories and songs recorded over the past year at venues around So-Cal. With previously unaired bits from Sachet Vaneers, alt-right conspiracy nut Aaron White, singers Coco Love Alcorn, Jon DeRosa, Joey Chrisman, and more!

2/16/18 - Songbook of the Dead

Feb 16, 2018

Join us for sketches, stories, and songs from the dark side. We drop in a horror movie pitch meeting, Emil Konk lectures on fear, retired actress Martha Young provides comentary for one of her classic B-movies, and Joshua Kjerstad of The Clouds performs his haunting folk.

2/9/18 - Heart Emoji (Easier Than Words)

Feb 9, 2018

Join us for a show about love from The Tudor House Theater. Sachet Vaneers interviews Cupid himself, JP tells a true tale of young love, comedian John Pate relives the perfect high school date, and singer Josh Cuadra performs his romantic pop.

2/2/18 - Words with Fiends

Feb 2, 2018

We'll twist our tongues on an episode about words and communication. John Pate returns with a tale of southern idioms, and Canadian singer Ben Wilkens brings us his thoughtful piano ballads.

01/26/18 - The Clppening

Jan 29, 2018

Join us for some of our favorite bits. We dust off another lost propaganda cartoon, JP sings about marijuana legalization, Zach Sherwin raps about a bee attack, Bill Chott does magic on the radio, Carly Ritter sings her own charming song, and Nashville strummer Darren Bradbury performs.

1/19/18 - Corporate Meltdown

Jan 25, 2018

Join us for an episode about corporations and the way business is done. We unearth another lost 1950s propaganda reel, JP tells a true childhood tale, comedian Steven benaquist is back with another piece, and UK/US roots pairing Robert Garson and Kirsty McGee perform as Ocatillo.

1/12/18 - Nogginscape

Jan 16, 2018

Join us for a show about the human brain. JP has a childhood meltdown, Steven Benaquist premieres his new science program, and we hear live performances from Louise Goffin, Peter Harper, and Chris Unck.

1/5/2018 - Happiness

Jan 8, 2018

Join us for sketches, stories, and songs from Hemet, CA. We'll search for bliss on an episode about happiness. We uncover another lost propaganda cartoon, motivational speaker Angus Rage delivers a message about the power of happiness, Eva Mikhailna sings some new haunted folk tunes, and retired actress Martha Young finds joy in chaos.

12/29/17 - Justice

Jan 2, 2018

Join us for an episode recorded at The Tudor House Theater in Lake Arrowhead, CA. We'll search for mercy on a show about justice. JP tells a true childhood tale about property lines, special guest Art Podell sings the news, Dylan Chambers performs his catchy pop tunes, and Steven Benaquist plays Pastor Scott Gene.

12/15/2017 - Holiday Special

Dec 18, 2017

Join us for our holiday spectacular, recorded live at the Tudor House in Lake Arrowhead, CA. JP tells a true tale of a Christmas prank, Mr. Trump tries to ruin the holidays, and retired actress Martha Young crashes midnight mass. With music from Chris Unck, Jade Bennet & Gino Mateo, and Matthew Szlachetka. Plus comedian Hannah Gansen returns with an alternative holiday classic.

12/8/17 - All Things Must Pass

Dec 11, 2017

All things must pass on an episode about the inevitable direction of time. Sachet Vaneers interviews Julian Assange, Steven Benaquist brings us NPR host "Roger Smeegle", rapping comedian Zach Sherwin turns a phrase, and singer-songwriter Andres Valenzuela performs in the studio.

12/1/17 - The American Scheme

Dec 4, 2017

An episode from Lake Arrowhead, CA. With comedian Steven Benaquist, and singer songwriter Patrick Park. Join us for an episode about con jobs, pyramid schemes, and grifts. JP tells a true childhood tale of a Time Square scam, Steven Benaquist pitches an unorthodox diet plan, and singer songwriter Patrick Park performs his down to earth folk songs.

9/8/17 - Life

Sep 11, 2017


JP tells of a childhood awakening, a robot date goes well, Matt Coleman sings his folky pop, and comedian Steven Benaquist performs a piece from his "Letters to Tupac". 

9/1/17 - Crime

Sep 1, 2017

We get crooked in this episode about crime. JP sings about copyright infringement and tells a story about prank calls. Julie joins in for a send up of HBOs The Brink.

Guests Chikster and April Hava Shenkman take us back to Hollywood's golden age, Steven Benaquist interviews the crime dog, and The Bastards of Belleville perform their harmonica driven gypsy jazz. 

8/25/17 - Privacy

Aug 25, 2017

An episode from Lake Arrowhead with Phil Proctor & Jamie Alcroft's Boomers on a Bench, and folk singer Art Podell.

8/18/17 - Justice

Aug 24, 2017