Wednesday, December 31, 2008
Rudolf Wanderone Jr. aka Minnesota Fats the professional pool player entertainer was and still is one of the most recognized people not only in the billiards industry but in the world. Fred Walther one of Minnesota Fat's closest friend being privileged to hear all the fascinating stories told by his friend wrote the book, Minnesota Fats - Never Behind the Eight Ball. This book provides an insightful look into the life of one the greatest pool players that every lived. A truly entertaining book for any billiard enthusiast. Order From Amazon.
Jackie Gleason as Minnesota Fats in The Hustler (view trailer),1961.
The '30s, '40s, '50s and part of the '60s … those were the days when being entertained by a ventriloquist and his dummy sidekick was as close at hand as the end of your fingertips. When simply walking into your living room and turning a dial could magically make them appear just for your entertainment. At first it was the dial of the family radio and the voices of Edgar Bergen and his wooden sidekick Charlie McCarthy drifting from those grand speakers to fill the room for the whole family to enjoy. Later it was the television set and the voices and moving images of Jimmy Nelson and Danny O’Day and Farfel … or … Señor Wences and Pedro and Johnny … or … Paul Winchell and Jerry Mahoney and Knucklehead Smiff … or … Shari Lewis and Lamb Chop and Charlie Horse and Hush Puppy. Yes the days when ventriloquism was as near as flipping a switch or turning a dial. Those were the Days … those were the "Dummy Days."
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Order From Dummydays.com
Tuesday, December 30, 2008
I first heard this LP at the local library when I was 14 years old and it changed my life in a big way. It was my first introduction to Gerry Mulligan, Sweets Edison, Herb Ellis, and most significantly, the Dizzy Gillespie composition "Woody'n You". It also features Stan Getz, Oscar Peterson, Ray Brown, Art Farmer, and Louis Bellson. Long out of print, not reissued on CD that I’m aware of (although a couple cuts have sufaced on Verve compilations), this album is well worth seeking out on vinyl.
In the late 1950s, Nancy and Walter Katin were in the business of making canvas boat covers, and the "multi" billion dollar surf wear industry of the late nineties and beyond was all but unimaginable. Yet one day a young man came into the Katin's shop in Surfside, California, complaining of the difficulty in finding a pair of swim shorts durable enough to stand up to the then-quirky pastime of surfboard riding. Walter focused on a vision with his sewing machine and some of the sturdy boat canvas previously used for boat covers and whipped up the first pair of Kanvas by Katin surf trunks . The surfer was stoked. Word of Nancy and Walter's creation quickly spread up and down the coast, and the Katin's were suddenly in the surf trunk business. The American surf wear industry was born.
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Katin Online Store
by Tracy R. Twyman - With Additional Material by Commander X, and Nick Redfern, Tim R. Swartz, and Tim Beckley (Paperback - Jul 4, 2008)
A Very Scary Read
The admittedly beyond-controversial subjects of mind control and sexual slavery are dealt with surprisingly rationally in this new offering from Global Communications. It's been said that paranoia can be entertaining, but perhaps that is still inadequate to describe this particular tome, which pushes past some barriers in ways that the reader may have trouble dealing with.
Material: Fiberglass. Knock on his leg to see if he's hollow.
Height: From bottom of shoe to top of head or hat, between 18-25 ft. tall
Head: Well-chiseled facial bones, prominent brow and squarish "lantern" jaw. Crack a beer bottle over this guy's noggin and he wouldn't be fazed. Eyes may appear to stare blankly into the middle distance, or may be painted to leer down at visitors. Exceptions: Halfwits and Indians
Torso: Broad-shoulders, and familiar design of fake shirt folds. Pockets, suspenders, shirt patterns sometimes painted on. Exceptions: Indian models often barechested.
Arms: Short-sleeved shirt, well-articulated veins bulge on forearms. Bent at elbow, left palm faces down, right palm faces up -- with an open grasp to hold an ax, muffler, golf club, etc.
Shoes and legs: Big, blocky shoes measure about 4-ft. from heel to toe. Pants exhibit familiar pattern of folds and creases.
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Monday, December 29, 2008
Jazz trumpeter Freddie Hubbard, who played on some of the most notable records of the 1960s and '70s, died today in a Los Angeles-area hospital, where he had been since suffering a heart attack last month. The Grammy-winner was 70.
Rip Kirby was a comic strip featuring an eponymous character, created by Alex Raymond in 1946.
After World War II, Raymond did not return to work on any of his previous successful comic strips (Flash Gordon, Jungle Jim, Secret Agent X-9) but instead began work on a new strip starring an ex-marine private detective named Rip Kirby, based on the suggestion by Ward Greene that Raymond try a "detective-type" strip. The daily strip was first published on March 4, 1946. The strip enjoyed enormous success and Raymond received the Reuben Award in 1949.
Three years ago, my friend Paul Greenstein sent his 1936 Tatra Tatra T87 to the Czech Republic for ground up restoration. Here’s a couple recent pics of the nearly finished project. This vehicle design was Ferdinand Porsche's original inspiration for the Volkswagen.
Click Here For Tatra 600 Web Page. Super Cool Stuff.
Accounts of the name, Hollywood, coming from imported English Holly then growing in the area are incorrect. The name in fact was coined by Daeida Wilcox. On a train trip to the east, Wilcox met a woman who spoke of her country home in Ohio named after a settlement of Dutch immigrants from Zwolle called "Hollywood". Daeida liked the sound of it and upon returning to Southern California, bestowed the name to the family ranch.
Sunday, December 28, 2008
GERMAN "MIKIPHONE" POCKET PHONOGRAPH, c. 1925. The nickel plated round brass case with large key winder opens to reveal black painted speaker which attaches to the extended armed needle head above the record platform. The key winder also doubles as the carrying case handle.
Click Here to view Youtube Mikiphone video
LOS ANGELES – Anne Savage, who earned a cult following as a femme fatale in such 1940s pulp-fiction movies as "Detour," has died at 87. The actress died in her sleep at a nursing home on Christmas Day from complications following a series of strokes, said her manager, Kent Adamson.Her Hollywood career had largely been over since the mid-1950s, but she had a resurgence over the past year with a starring role in Canadian cult filmmaker 's " ." Full Article
Film Noir And The Femme Fatale
Saturday, December 27, 2008
"I am learning all the time.
The tombstone will be my diploma."-Eartha Kitt
In an era when manufactured "celebrities" are as common as drab backyard sparrows, Eartha Kitt, who died on Christmas day of colon cancer at age 81, was the kind of strange, wondrous, exotic bird you lay eyes on once and never forget.
Eartha Kitt Official Site
It’s been said that James Dean idolized Marlon Brando to such a degree that Brando became annoyed with him. Dean even took up conga drumming because of Brando’s love for Afro-Cuban percusiion.
1955. The Lincoln Futura was built in Italy for Ford by a body-building company called Ghia. Total cost for designing and building this one vehicle was a cool quarter of a million dollars.
Years later it was sold to George Barris who transformed it into the Batmobile for the television series. I prefer the original car, although the Batmobile ain't too shabby either.
Click Here For Full Futura Article.
Click Here For The Making Of The Batmobile.
At the turn of the 20th Century, no building dominated Bunker Hill like the Crocker Mansion. Perched high at the corner of Third and Olive, the imposing 3-story Victorian structure overlooked the emerging metropolis for a mere 22 years. Though its reign over Bunker Hill was short, the Crocker Mansion remains an indelible part of early Los Angeles history.
Click Here For Full Article.
Friday, December 26, 2008
This now pretty rare instrument had been developed and patented by Johann Matthias Augustus Stroh at around 1900 for use in the Phono Industry due to its more focused and more voluminous sound compared to normal violins and got more attention during the last years , by being used on recordings by bluesman Tom Waits, amongst others.
This quality instrument comes out of south-east-asian manufacturing with a lot of attention to details.
Inside The Early Recording Studios
From the 1920s to the 1950s, a ubiquitous advertising gimmick made its way into the purses, pockets and kitchen drawers of millions of Americans. The giveaway matchbook, from its humble origins as an entrepreneurial gamble, quickly caught on and became one of the most pervasive means ever found of putting promotional images into the hands of the public. Order Here.
The Queer Movie Poster Book by writer and filmmaker Jenni Olson is a colorful and often amusing look back at many of the images that have represented—or misrepresented—queer people over the past century. Olson’s survey is admirably balanced between films about gay men and films about lesbians, even though she points out that films about men have always outnumbered those about women, straight or gay. The book is divided into chapters by decade, with each poster accompanied by a brief paragraph exploring its imagery and significance.
Click Here For Full Review.
Click Here To Order From Amazon.
This photo was taken my friend Tony Notaberardino, who resides at the legendary Chelsea Hotel, NYC. It’s part of an editorial called The Graduate, influenced by the Mike Nichols film.
Click his link to check out the complete series & more. Great Stuff.
I just found this rare photo of Chano Pozo, playing his conga backstage with Dizzy Gillespie. Chano’s legacy is one of mythical proportions, and I couldn’t believe it when I found this rare, unseen photo. For decades his music was difficult to find, until 2001, when a three CD box set was finally released (Chano Pozo-El Tambor De Cuba), containing thousands of dollars worth of rare records, along with a nice thick booklet of pics, bio, etc.
Four years before making the classic film noir Double Indemnity, Fred MacMurray and Barbara Stanwyck co-starred in Remember The Night (1940)-a sweet and sentimental comedy written by Preston Sturgis. This clip features the vocal talents of Sterling Holloway, who was later the voice of Winnie The Pooh, the cheshire cat (Alice In Wonderland), and Kaa (The Jungle Book). I found this song to be soothing in these chaotic times we are currently living in. Enjoy!
Wednesday, December 24, 2008
So much has been written about Mean Streets over the years that it's a moot point by now, but I urge all you cinephiles to rent the DVD and check out Martin Scorsese's commentary. It's insightful and inspiring to say the least. Click here to view Mean Streets theatrical trailer.
Tuesday, December 23, 2008
Okay. I thought I must have way too much time on my hands, as I'm constantly cruising the internet for weird & intersting trivia. But now I'm feeling much better about things, as I have just found that there are people out there who have built entire websites dedicated to the 60's teen cult classic film Village Of The Giants.
Click here for page 1. Page 2. Enjoy!
A vehicle that promised to revolutionize drowning, the Amphicar was the peacetime descendant of the Nazi Schwimmwagen (say it out loud — it's fun!). The standard line is that the Amphicar was both a lousy car and a lousy boat, but it certainly had its merits. It was reasonably agile on land, considering, and fairly maneuverable on water, if painfully slow, with a top speed of 7 mph. Its single greatest demerit — and this is a big one — was that it wasn't particularly watertight. Its flotation was entirely dependent on whether the bilge pump could keep up with the leakage. If not, the Amphicar became the world's most aerodynamic anchor. Even so, a large number of the nearly 4,000 cars built between 1961 and 1968 are still on the road/water. In fact, during the recent floods in Britain, an Amphicar enthusiast served as a water taxi, bringing water and groceries to a group of stranded schoolkids.
Long before the rise of the modern gay movement, an unnoticed literary revolution was occurring between the covers of the cheaply produced lesbian pulp paperbacks of the post–World War II era. In 1950, publisher Fawcett Books founded its Gold Medal imprint, inaugurating the reign of lesbian pulp fiction. These were the books that small-town lesbians and prurient men bought by the millions — cheap, easy to find in drugstores, and immediately recognizable by their lurid covers: often a hard-looking brunette standing over a scantily clad blonde, or a man gazing in tormented lust at a lovely, unobtainable lesbian. For women leading straight lives, here was confirmation that they were not alone and that darkly glamorous, "gay" places like Greenwich Village existed. Some — especially those written by lesbians — offered sympathetic and realistic depictions of "life in the shadows," while others (no less fun to read now) were smutty, sensational tales of innocent girls led astray. In the overheated prose typical of the genre, this collection documents the emergence of a lesbian subculture in postwar America. Click Here To Order From Amazon.
Jackie Gleason's 1955 chart-topper Lonesome Echo features more lush interpretations of standards such as "I'm Always Chasing Rainbows," "The Thrill Is Gone," "Deep Purple," and "How Deep Is the Ocean." The album also features striking cover artwork by surrealist master Salvador Dali.
Damon Runyon grew up in the West, moved to New York City, and became one of the leading voices of American popular culture. From sports writing to short fiction, this unique collection offers an eclectic sampling of his extraordinary talent. Here are newspaper pieces, stories— including the last one he ever composed—poetry, and, of course, the Broadway tales for which he is chiefly remembered: Guys and Dolls, Blood Pressure, The Bloodhounds of Broadway, and others. Featuring works that are impossible to find elsewhere, and Runyon’s signature eye for detail—particularly the sounds, smells, and tastes of New York—this book brings an American icon to a new generation of readers. Also features great cover art by Al Hirschfeld.
Monday, December 22, 2008
Yes, it's true, probably the worst Xmas movie ever made. So bad it's good. Every year around Chrsitmastime, it would show on t.v. when I was a kid. Also features an eight year old Pia Zadora. Click Here to see a hilarious video review!
My new podcast is up, with special guest Daniel Glass (drummer for Royal Crown Revue). Nearly two hours of great music and an extensive interview about the evolution of Rhythm & Blues from the 40’s-60’s. Click Here To Listen.
Sunday, December 21, 2008
Saturday, December 20, 2008
Some years ago I had the pleasure of participating in an all star tribute CD to Jack Kerouac entitled Kicks, Joy, Darkness for the Rykodisc label. Matt Dillon brought me into the studio, where we recorded Mexican Loneliness, (plus one or two other Kerouac pieces that were included as bonus tracks for the special Japanese issue).
The other participants on the project reads like a who’s who of pop & underground culture- Jeff Buckley, Patti Smith, Johnny Depp, Lydia Lunch, Lawrence Ferlinghetti ,Hunter S. Thompson, Steven Tyler, Michael Stipe, Eddie Vedder, et. al. Click Here To Link To Order.