Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Repeated snow storms, but with warmish days in between. I don't miss ultra-cold temperatures. We saw a Great Blue Heron slowing down to land in the slough, which is frozen over.

Sitemeter Sez: Visitors from Greenbrae, California; Conyers, Georgia; Tokyo, Japan; Oakland, California; Houston, Ohio (Hello Tari DeVille!); Redmond, Oregon; North Arlington, New Jersey; Madrid, Spain; Washington Crossing, Pennsylvania, and Indianapolis, Indiana.

Watch for revisions at: Theater X-Net




Starring: Ida Rubinstein Belle Epoch Russian/Parisian beauty.
Ida's Places in Paris -- from my first jet-lagged day by the Seine.
Read more about Ida in Sisters of Salome by Toni Bentley




Visit: Michael's Montana Web Archive
Theater, Art, Flash Gordon, Funky Music and MORE!
NEW --Launching NOW! Outre Space Cinema -- Featuring: 1930's Rocketry, Spitfires of the Spaceways and Cellulose to Celluloid, Flash Gordon in the Saturday Matinees and Sunday Comics.





Many thanks to Jim Keefe (Visit his Website) -- the LAST Flash Gordon illustrator of the 20th Century, and Flash's FIRST illustrator of the 21st, for including my efforts on his Flash Gordon Resources Page -- along with actual creators like Alex Raymond, Al Williamson, and others!

Charity Alert: Play the FreeRice Game -- improve your vocabulary, and donate food to the United Nations. Check into Terra Sigilata blog -- donate $$$ to cancer patients just by clicking onto the site. Keep that Resolution to click on The Hunger Site every day. BTW -- AIDtoCHILDREN.com is a bit simpler than FreeRice Game.

In The Community: The Hockaday Museum of Art is getting ready for new shows. We will likely change Crown of the Continent a little, and continue Ace of Diamonds. The art run to Eastern Montana is scheduled for Friday and Saturday -- pray for me.

Concert Watch: Sylvester Stewart AKA Sly Stone December 28, 2008
(Thanks to "Drednut" in Long Beach, California)


I never go to shows all early and wait with anticipation, just P Funk and now this show. They had us waiting and waiting in line outside, then once they let people in there was a dj spinning for a long time. Finally the band came on, nobody original from the Family Stone in the band, youngish guys, don't remember any of their names, but his daughter Novena Carmel "Stone" (who has the band Baby Stone) was one of the singers, so I guess technically she is from the Stone Family;)
They played Dance to the Music without Sly, then they did this acapella beat box thing and got the audience to do it, and kept doing it for a really long time, and I thought "this shit is gonna drop into something really good, why else would they do this on the second song?" And then they just stopped! Weird.
Sly came out and cameras were everywhere! He sang If You Want Me to Stay, and it was nice, my first time seeing Sly live! He sounded real good, and was changing up some of the words.
Later they announced that it was a family affair and that Sly's sister Rose was in the house, so she came up and sang a few with them. Super sweet! The only thing is they would only play a couple minutes of each song and then Sly would stop the band! Plus, at this point it sounded very loose and unrehearsed. All the cats in the band could play their asses off, but it was still a loose show.
Part of the show that was weird was that they announced that they were going to be taking ideas from people in the audience, song ideas, hooks, and Sly would do something with it. These 3 people came out and sang a little thing on the mic, Sly talked a lot, and he messed around a little with the ideas on stage with the keyboard he was using (a small Korg keyboard, I think a microkorg with vocoder) while everyone in the audeince waited. The ideas weren't all that cool to me, so it was odd just having the audience wait and wait while he noodled around with the ideas.
Then he said he was gonna go backstage and make a song from them.
They took a break, then the band came back on stage without Sly, and they were just up there for a long ass time before they played. They did an original song of Novena's band Baby Stone, then I think a new original Sly song (without Sly). Then they said that we had some badass musicians in the house as the bassist started Thankyoufallletin me and George Johnson (Brothers Johnson) comes up! He's dressed all nice in a tie, and he gets up there and talks a whole lot, how he met Sly, someone bring me my guitar, help me with the settings on the amp, blah blah. Finally after like 5 minutes of talking they start jamming on Thankyou, but it has a distinct Brothers Johnson sound, which was cool to hear. Then they said (I forgot his name, not an original member I believe) from Graham Central Station was in the house, a brotha with grey dreads. He got up there on bass and sounded just like Larry Graham on the Jam, he was pretty bad. And George Johnson was still up there. Then Sly came back out and they were all up there together. That was cool as hell, but then he left real quick.
The guests came off stage and then Sly came back later. He had the people from the audience who gave their ideas come back and he had put together some song on a laptop and brought it on stage and played it in the house. Then these guys did their ideas and Sly kinda sang with them too. It was a long process. He also told some long-ass joke/riddle that was pretty anti-climactic.
All in all, it was cool as hell to see Sly live, and in a really small venue (probably 200-300 capacity tops) and he was on stage for a good part of the show. I was prepared for a no-show or a song or two, but got a lot more plus the guests. However, it was very loose, very unrehearsed, lots and lots of dead time and talking and confusing starts and stops, and it often seemed like I was watching a Sly and the Family Stone cover band. I'm glad I went tho!


My own reaction: It is good that Sly actually stuck through a whole gig, strange as the show sounded. I give him credit for trying out new ideas too. It is too bad he doesn't rehearse, though. His previous performance in Santa Rosa last October was a disaster for all concerned -- you can Google an eyewitness review if you want to read that sad story. Recovering from mental illness is difficult enough in private.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Extremely snowy weather has spread over both sides of the Continental Divide -- I am rescheduling the East Montana Art Run when we get clear roads. A pair of Raccoons visited us during our Monopoly game earlier tonight, eating the seeds and peanuts we put out for Magpies, Flickers, and Blue Jays.



Sitemeter Sez: Visitors from Louth, Ireland (Dammit, Chris, Rachelle, Roseanne, or is it Eavan? Leave a bloody comment!); Kosice, Slovakia; Brno, Czech Republic; Toronto, Ontario; Whitefish, Montana; Vancouver, British Columbia, and Schenectady, New York. Visiting our Spitfires were -- Madrid, Spain; Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio; Rochdale, UK; North Arlington, New Jersey; Whitchurch-Stouffville, Ontario; Blackwood, New Jersey; Mobile, Alabama; Westford, Massachusetts; Bangkok, Thailand; Dayton, Ohio; Bern, Switzerland; Riga, Latvia; London, UK; Queretaro de Arteaga, Mexico; Morristown, New Jersey, and Plain City, Ohio.

Watch for revisions at: Theater X-Net




Starring: Ida Rubinstein Belle Epoch Russian/Parisian beauty.
Ida's Places in Paris -- from my first jet-lagged day by the Seine.
Read more about Ida in Sisters of Salome by Toni Bentley




Visit: Michael's Montana Web Archive
Theater, Art, Flash Gordon, Funky Music and MORE!
NEW --Launching NOW! Outre Space Cinema -- Featuring: 1930's Rocketry, Spitfires of the Spaceways and Cellulose to Celluloid, Flash Gordon in the Saturday Matinees and Sunday Comics.





Many thanks to Jim Keefe (Visit his Website) -- the LAST Flash Gordon illustrator of the 20th Century, and Flash's FIRST illustrator of the 21st, for including my efforts on his Flash Gordon Resources Page -- along with actual creators like Alex Raymond, Al Williamson, and others!

Charity Alert: Play the FreeRice Game -- improve your vocabulary, and donate food to the United Nations. Check into Terra Sigilata blog -- donate $$$ to cancer patients just by clicking onto the site. Keep that Resolution to click on The Hunger Site every day. BTW -- AIDtoCHILDREN.com is a bit simpler than FreeRice Game.

In The Community: The Hockaday Museum of Art is getting ready for new shows. We will likely change Crown of the Continent a little, and continue Ace of Diamonds. The art run to Eastern Montana is officially SNOWED OUT -- white-out conditions on the roads to the east, high winds and winter snow storms.

Media Watch: Julie Taymor's production of Mozart's Magic Flute on the Metropolitan Opera broadcast. I have seen most of it on PBS, and it certainly is a thing to SEE! Wonderful masks and dancing creatures, plus the translation of the libretto is fun and easy to understand. They were hyping Taymor's DVD all through the show, and mentioning that some of the Met's recent High Definition broadcasts were available on DVD too.
Derek Jarman's stylized cinema version of The Tempest (1980) -- starring playwright/actor Heathcote Williams as Prospero, prolific actor/musician Toyah Willcox as Miranda, blue-skinned David Meyer as her Prince Ferdinand, Karl Johnson as a smouldering, anxious Ariel, and Lindsey Kemp's fellow mime/actor Jack Birkett as a damn ugly Caliban. The penultimate scene featured Elisabeth Welch singing Stormy Weather (Tempest/Storm -- get it?) with a dignity that did great honor to Ethel Waters and herself -- ten years earlier she'd starred on Broadway in Fosse's Pippen.
Some to-do has been made about gay imagery in Jarman's Tempest. Besides some frontal male nudity at the beginning, where the obviously freezing Mr. Meyer wades onto a COLD Scottish beach with his willie more prominent than I'd expect under circumstances which would normally shrivel a common male organ, there's very little else that seems to be exclusively homoerotic. Ms. Willcox displays her fullsome breasts soon afterward, with water nearby also, but she's inside by a roaring fire. Maybe the campy scene with Alonzo's sailors dancing around in crewman's whites counts, although I miss any eroticism whatsoever in that clumsy sequence -- it leads into Ms. Welch's song, after all. Compared to Jarman's homosexually-charged fantasy Sebastien, The Tempest could be made by a repressed hetero like Fellini himself. Yes, there are places where one may legitimately quibble -- Jarman's drunken castaways are certainly gay, but I think that particular image resides in Shakespeare's original text as well. The late Tudor theatre scene was as sexually ambiguous as the Royal courtiers who patronized the players. Women's roles were always played by men, and companies of boy actors were Shakespeare's strongest competitors.

Toyah Willcox is married to guitar genius Robert Fripp, and has had a long career singing, acting, and being on TV. Her characterization of Miranda was playful, dignified in her sensuality, and innocent, but she didn't get to speak lines like this:
Our revels now are ended. These our actors,
As I foretold you, were all spirits, and
Are melted into air, into thin air:
And, like the baseless fabric of this vision,
The cloud-capped towers, the gorgeous palaces,
The solemn temples, the great globe itself,
Yea, all which it inherit, shall dissolve,
And, like this insubstantial pageant faded,
Leave not a rack behind. We are such stuff
As dreams are made on; and our little life
Is rounded with a sleep.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Merry Christmas, Boxing Day, Kwanza, Chanuka, and the upcoming New Year! Blue Jays and Flickers at the bird feeders. Deer on the lit-up grounds of the Conrad Mansion.

Sitemeter Sez: Visitors from Oakland, California; Wennigsen, Germany; Chicago, Illinois (Hometown of President-Elect Barack Obama); Mississauga, Ontario; Brooklyn, New York; New Orleans, Louisiana; Madison, New Jersey; Baton Rouge, Louisiana; Greenville, South Carolina; Toronto, Ontario; Tampa, Florida; Woodbury, New York; Costa Mesa, California; Davenport, Iowa (one of the Quad Cities); Mesa, Arizona; Lisbon, Maine; Bangor, Maine; Knoxville, Tennessee (near an extreme ecological disaster); Washington, District of Columbia; Springfield, Virginia; Middlesboro, Kentucky; Saint Louis, Missouri; San Antonio, Texas (I saw a boat-parade on the River Walk on TV from there last night); West Bridgewater, Massachusetts; Everett, Washington; Garner, North Carolina; Plainfield, Illinois; Houston, Texas; Orlando, Florida; Rotterdam, Holland; Tucson, Arizona; Wales, Wisconsin; Medford, Massachusetts; Winter Park, Florida; Baltimore, Maryland; Bradenton, Florida; Via Del Mar, Valparaiso, Chile; Morris Plains, New Jersey, and San Diego, California.

Watch for revisions at: Theater X-Net




Starring: Ida Rubinstein Belle Epoch Russian/Parisian beauty.
Ida's Places in Paris -- from my first jet-lagged day by the Seine.
Read more about Ida in Sisters of Salome by Toni Bentley




Visit: Michael's Montana Web Archive
Theater, Art, Flash Gordon, Funky Music and MORE!
NEW --Launching NOW! Outre Space Cinema -- Featuring: 1930's Rocketry, Spitfires of the Spaceways and Cellulose to Celluloid, Flash Gordon in the Saturday Matinees and Sunday Comics.





Many thanks to Jim Keefe (Visit his Website) -- the LAST Flash Gordon illustrator of the 20th Century, and Flash's FIRST illustrator of the 21st, for including my efforts on his Flash Gordon Resources Page -- along with actual creators like Alex Raymond, Al Williamson, and others!

Charity Alert: Play the FreeRice Game -- improve your vocabulary, and donate food to the United Nations. Check into Terra Sigilata blog -- donate $$$ to cancer patients just by clicking onto the site. Keep that Resolution to click on The Hunger Site every day. BTW -- AIDtoCHILDREN.com is a bit simpler than FreeRice Game.

In The Community: The Hockaday Museum of Art is getting ready for new shows. We will likely change Crown of the Continent a little, and continue Ace of Diamonds. The art run to Eastern Montana is this Sunday and Monday.

Media Watch: Among my presents was a collection of Flash Gordon TV shows from the EARLY 1950's -- I hadn't even started school when they were broadcast. By pure coincidence, there was even one I remembered slightly -- Planet of Death, featuring an idol with a death-ray beaming from its eye, and Steve (Flash Gordon) Holland busting down encroaching walls with sheer strength, and stupid script-writing.
There was an unintentionally poignant sequence in another episode where Flash, Zarkov, and Dale went time-traveling back to Berlin, Germany in 1954 -- the devastation from WWII was widespead. Whole neighborhoods were piles of rubble. For comic relief, German cops chased the spacefarers in a Volkswagen, only to face paralyzer-rays when they caught up with the blonde giant at last.
The series was filmed in West Berlin to minimize costs, and the war-ravaged streets of the great city were used for unearthy settings here and there. The supporting cast was VERY sparse -- the same faces show up as villains in different episodes, hiding behind cheesy costumes and makeup. The women were dressed and made up to look downright frumpy, which is the WORST affront to the spirit of Flash Gordon possible!
The Buster Crabbe serials were on TV at the same time as Steve Holland's series, and the latter lost in every comparison. Ironically, renting the old American films cost even less than running the ultra-cheap international production.
Holland himself was a professional model, though, and became famous among Sci-Fi fans a decade later, for working with ace painter James Bama on dozens of Doc Savage paperback covers -- as The Man of Bronze (below), there was nothing quite like him until Fabio!


Crabbe's chapter-plays were exciting in their promise of outer-space thrills and adventure, but nobody has ever fulfilled those promises in motion pictures beyond what Universal's B-picture lot ingeniously, and sometimes laughably, cobbled together in the half-decade before WWII. Those threadbare 50's TV films were NOT Metropolis or Frau im Mond by any stretch of the Germanic Imagination. The partial fan-parody Flesh Gordon might have worked in the early 70's, except that the porno filmmaker who shot it was already in trouble with the L.A. Police Department, and was fortunate to complete the movie at all. (The less said about the 1990's sequel the better.) Dino DiLaurentis threw a lot of money at his Post-Star Wars version of Flash, but embers of life were only apparent when the cast was clowning around. (Kudos to Richard Riff-Raff O'Brien, and Brian Blessed.) A VERY flat two frames a second cartoon version had its advocates soon afterward, but I wasn't among their number. I wrote a little about the Sci-Fi Channel's 2007 version, but I was neither impressed, nor interested after a few episodes -- the pretty women resembled each other 'way too much, and the continuity was 'way too ridiculous.

Flash on the comics page:

Flash Gordon's original creator, Alex Raymond, was replaced by his assistant Austin Briggs, but the public at large did not embrace Briggs' style. Mac Rayboy took over the Sunday page, and did beautiful work to begin with (below -- circa 1948), but unfortunately, his art got gradually sloppier over time until his death in 1968.

Dan Barry led a team of comics professionals writing and drawing the long-running Flash Gordon daily strip. Bob Fujitani eventually got credit for his solid craftmanship after the same working group took over the Sunday pages too. Last of all, my cyber-pal Jim Keefe infused Flash's adventures with vitality and joy, going into the young 21st Century, and King Features is reprinting his strips today -- in newspapers and online.

A comic-book version of Flash Gordon tantalized fans in the late 60's as Raymond's disciple Al Williamson drew a few new stories, as did the magnificent ink artist Reed Crandall, in a series that barely made it to a dozen numbers, and expired in less-talented hands. This is the cover image of the second issue, published in 1966 -- a wonderfully stylized pencil and ink study by Eli Katz (Gil Kane), one of the leading comic book artists of the time, who was working his way out of his long tenure at Green Lantern and The Atom by freelancing for every company that existed. Williamson drew one more comic-book version of DiLaurentis' Flash movie fifteen years later.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Cruel, miserable winter weather -- we are supposed to see relief from sub-zero (F!) temperatures before Christmas. What are those Rough Legged Hawks finding to eat along Highway 93?

Sitemeter Sez: Visitors from Seattle, Washington; Mount Juliet, Tennessee; Poughkeepsie, New York; Montreal, Quebec; Riyadh, Saudi Arabia; Teterboro, New Jersey; Cambridge, Massachusetts; Roskilde, Denmark; Greenville, South Carolina; Svendborg, Finland; Louth, Ireland (Roseanne? Rachelle? Chris?); Montreal, Quebec; Middleburg, Florida; Indianola, Iowa; Dusseldorf, Germany; Spokane, Washington; West Linn, Oregon; New Port Richey, Florida; Skopje, in Non-Greek Macedonia; Jackson Center, Ohio; Jacksonville, Florida; Farmingdale, New Jersey; Nice, on the Azure Coast of France (Near Ida Rubinstein's final home and gravesite); Burbank, California; Barneveld, Holland; El Cajon, California (again); Devon, Pennsylvania; Portland, Oregon; Gouda, Holland (Pronounced more like "howdy," actually -- was somebody looking for cheesy pictures?); Rotterdam, Holland; Tampa, Florida; Amstelveen, Holland; Tuusula, Finland, and Barendrecht, Holland.

watch for revisions at: Theater X-Net




Starring: Ida Rubinstein Belle Epoch Russian/Parisian beauty.
Ida's Places in Paris -- from my first jet-lagged day by the Seine.
Read more about Ida in Sisters of Salome by Toni Bentley




Visit: Michael's Montana Web Archive
Theater, Art, Flash Gordon, Funky Music and MORE!
NEW --Launching NOW! Outre Space Cinema -- Featuring: 1930's Rocketry, Spitfires of the Spaceways and Cellulose to Celluloid, Flash Gordon in the Saturday Matinees and Sunday Comics.





Many thanks to Jim Keefe (Visit his Website) -- the LAST Flash Gordon illustrator of the 20th Century, and Flash's FIRST illustrator of the 21st, for including my efforts on his Flash Gordon Resources Page -- along with actual creators like Alex Raymond, Al Williamson, and others!

Charity Alert: Play the FreeRice Game -- improve your vocabulary, and donate food to the United Nations. Check into Terra Sigilata blog -- donate $$$ to cancer patients just by clicking onto the site. Keep that Resolution to click on The Hunger Site every day. BTW -- AIDtoCHILDREN.com is a bit simpler than FreeRice Game.

In The Community: The Hockaday Museum of Art's Autumn Salon finishes up THIS WEEK. We will likely change Crown of the Continent a little, and continue Ace of Diamonds. The art run to Eastern Montana in December is finally set -- I was originally scheduled to go on the days when the state had its first major blizzard, and a literally fatal cold snap!

Media Watch: The Paul Winter Consort's Solstice Concert -- featuring the late Jim Pepper's arrangement of the Witchi Tai Toh chant/song. I not only bought the album Everything is Everything, featuring the original hit single, but also Pepper's Pow Wow a couple of years later for my (shared) art studio at the University of Utah -- he was a clean-playing, nuanced jazz saxophonist, similar to Mr. Winter, and was in the early Jazz/Rock Fusion band Free Spirits with Larry Coryell.

Bollywood on the Thames: Naina (2005) starring the beautiful Urmila Matondkar, who manages to look like a teenager through much of the film. It's another horror movie, which isn't a bad thing in itself, but the darn thing doesn't quite make it over the top. The main character is stricken with a combination of Shyamalan's Sixth Sense and Cassandra's Curse, due to an eye operation. Her final salvation is an elaborate disaster in the London "Tube," where she goes blind again. Most of the story is set in London, although everyone speaks Hindi. There was enough mystery to hold my interest for most of the movie, but there was just too much stoopid for me to recommend it to anyone else.

Oh say, can you see?

Click to view a larger image.
A digital watercolor, made from one of Urmila Matondkar's famous beach photos. Bollywood sets high standards of beauty and talent for their stars. As a fan, I wish that those standards would apply to storytellers too. (Substitute "H" and "B" for an identical criticism.)

Saturday, December 20, 2008

The snow stopped, the temperature dropped -- I went out a little as possible.

Sitemeter Sez: Visitors from Hong Kong, China; Chattanooga, Tennessee; Larkollen, Norway; Lystrup, Denmark; Edmonton, Alberta; Baltimore, Maryland; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; Haaksbergen, Holland; Landen, Belgium; Grand Prairie, Texas; Elk Grove Village, Illinois; Madrid, Spain; Houston, Texas; Onondaga, Michigan; Woodstock, New York (That you, Clip?); Vienna, Austria; Oldeboorn, Holland; Sierra Vista, Arizona; Swifterbant, Holland; Carpenedolo, Italy; Delft, Holland; Mill Valley, California; Brussels, Belgium; Heesch, Holland; Brooklyn, New York; Downers Grove, Illinois; Longboat Key, Florida; Neeroeteren, Belgium; Spartanburg, South Carolina; Antwerp, Belgium; Chula Vista, California (San Diego); Sebastian, Florida; Toronto, Ontario and Warsaw, Poland.

New revisions at: Theater X-Net




Starring: Ida Rubinstein Belle Epoch Russian/Parisian beauty.
Ida's Places in Paris -- from my first jet-lagged day by the Seine.
Read more about Ida in Sisters of Salome by Toni Bentley




Visit: Michael's Montana Web Archive
Theater, Art, Flash Gordon, Funky Music and MORE!
NEW --Launching NOW! Outre Space Cinema -- Featuring: 1930's Rocketry, Spitfires of the Spaceways and Cellulose to Celluloid, Flash Gordon in the Saturday Matinees and Sunday Comics.





Many thanks to Jim Keefe (Visit his Website) -- the LAST Flash Gordon illustrator of the 20th Century, and Flash's FIRST illustrator of the 21st, for including my efforts on his Flash Gordon Resources Page -- along with actual creators like Alex Raymond, Al Williamson, and others!

Charity Alert: Play the FreeRice Game -- improve your vocabulary, and donate food to the United Nations. Check into Terra Sigilata blog -- donate $$$ to cancer patients just by clicking onto the site. Keep that Resolution to click on The Hunger Site every day. BTW -- AIDtoCHILDREN.com is a bit simpler than FreeRice Game.

In The Community: The Hockaday Museum of Art's Autumn Salon finishes up THIS WEEK. We will likely change Crown of the Continent a little, and continue Ace of Diamonds. The art run to Eastern Montana in December is finally set -- I was originally scheduled to go on the days when the state had its first winter blizzard, and a literally fatal cold snap!

Media Watch: The Metropolitan Opera broadcast was only FOUR hours instead of five this week -- Thaïs by Frenchman Jules Massenet (1885) starring champion soprano Renée Fleming and Spokane's handsome baritone Thomas Hampson. There were a lot of vocal acrobatics in this one, but I was MOST impressed by the way Massenet utilized his beautiful melody Meditation in and out of the drama. I understand that it was something of a multi-media event at the time -- the elite of Paris supposedly showed up to the opera "fashionably late" in time to see dancers perform, and then remained to watch the principals die at the end. (What do you expect from Opera, a happy ending?)

Live Theater: Bob Fosse's near-flop Chicago (1975) slowly found it's dancing legs over two decades, thanks in part to community theater companies like the one at my college.
Michelle Keener, the actress who played Velma Kelly, had a wonderful voice, moved well, and played her part to perfection. Jillian Vashro, who played Roxie Hart is one of our graduates, and continues to help guide younger actors. I was glad to see her in a leading role again -- knocking them dead, so to speak. The singing was generally excellent -- Billy Flynn had an amazing voice. The women all wore lingerie, while the men wore pants and shirts (sometimes tank tops), so it was abstractly Brecht-like, and somewhat surreal -- which is how this play works best in my humble opinion.

(L to R) Chita Rivera and Gwen Verdon as Velma and Roxie in 1975.
(Digital relief & color by ME, from a B&W photo by Martha Swope.)
Besides Bob Fosse, Chicago was written by Fred Ebb, with music by Ebb and John Kander. It was likely too sensual and satirical for Broadway theatergoers of the time. Gwen Verdon LOOKED 'way younger that she should have, and Chita Rivera was in the full bloom of her youth. Jerry (Billy Flynn) Ohrbach was Broadway's best actor, but his audiences were still pretty cold towards this play the first time around. Fosse put out a revue called Dancing, backed by popular recordings, to avoid bankruptcy. When he suffered a heart attack, he made his cinematic masterpiece All That Jazz from the experience.

Friday, December 19, 2008

It has snowed almost constantly this week -- once for about 36 hours straight. I was greeted by a Deer at the Conrad Mansion last night, watching the Christmas lights.

Sitemeter Sez: Visitors from Las Vegas, Nevada (snowing there as well); Tacoma, Washington; Northwich, UK; Carle Place, New York; Saylorsburg, Pennsylvania; Waelder, Texas; Charlotte, North Carolina; Rome, Italy; Clarksville, Tennessee; Chicago, Illinois (NO! I have nothing to do with that governor); Englewood, Colorado; Marietta, Georgia; Littleton, Colorado; Damascus, Syria; Tucson, Arizona; Houston, Texas; La Mirada, California; Farmington, Michigan; Huntingtown, Maryland; Baltimore, Maryland; Jacksonville, Florida (That you George or Stephanie Clinton?); Kansas City, Missouri; Charlotte, North Carolina; Bogota, Colombia; New York, New York; Brooklyn, New York; Phoenix, Arizona and Virginia Beach, Virginia. Many many searches for Lisa Rinna, since her cosmetic surgery seems to be a media item (shudder) -- I have an exaggerated caricature of that hard-working lady posted online from awhile back.

New revisions at: Theater X-Net




Starring: Ida Rubinstein Belle Epoch Russian/Parisian beauty.
Ida's Places in Paris -- from my first jet-lagged day by the Seine.
Read more about Ida in Sisters of Salome by Toni Bentley




Visit: Michael's Montana Web Archive
Theater, Art, Flash Gordon, Funky Music and MORE!
NEW --Launching NOW! Outre Space Cinema -- Featuring: 1930's Rocketry, Spitfires of the Spaceways and Cellulose to Celluloid, Flash Gordon in the Saturday Matinees and Sunday Comics.





Many thanks to Jim Keefe (Visit his Website) -- the LAST Flash Gordon illustrator of the 20th Century, and Flash's FIRST illustrator of the 21st, for including my efforts on his Flash Gordon Resources Page -- along with actual creators like Alex Raymond, Al Williamson, and others!

Charity Alert: Play the FreeRice Game -- improve your vocabulary, and donate food to the United Nations. Check into Terra Sigilata blog -- donate $$$ to cancer patients just by clicking onto the site. Keep that Resolution to click on The Hunger Site every day. BTW -- AIDtoCHILDREN.com is a bit simpler than FreeRice Game.

In The Community: The Hockaday Museum of Art's Autumn Salon finishes up THIS WEEK. We will likely change Crown of the Continent a little, and continue Ace of Diamonds. The art run to Eastern Montana in December is finally set -- I was originally scheduled to go on days when the state had its first winter blizzard, and a literally fatal cold snap!

Media Watch: Parineeta (2005) by director Pradeep Sarkar, starring the ever-charismatic Sanjay Dutt in a fairly restrained role, Saif Ali Khan as a total nerd who EARNS his share of acute emotional distress, and beautiful Vidya Balan as the severely put-upon good-hearted ingenue. It is set in Calcutta for a change, and there is also an odd nightclub scene featuring a retro-Pop tune sung by the famous entertainer Rekha (Bhanurekha).

Nightclub Rekha, in a digitally-altered clip from Parineeta. She also played the ghost of the murdered woman who took over Urmilla's body to wreak her vengeance in Bhoot -- there's a couple of Bollywood bhooties for you!

Monday, December 15, 2008

Zero degrees (F!) Lots of F'ing this and F'ing that with this ultra-cold weather. Strangely enough, the Flathead Valley had the HIGHEST temperatures in the state of Montana today.

Sitemeter Sez: Visitors from Cuiab, Brazil; Tucson, Arizona; Welwyn Garden City, UK; Sutton, UK; Rotterdam, Holland; Sao Paulo, Brazil; Stoney Creek, Ontario; Toronto, Ontario; Marseille, France; Spokane, Washington; Green Bay, Wisconsin; Duluth, Minnesota; Littleton, Colorado; San Leandro, California; Worthington Springs, Florida; Atlanta, Georgia; Brooklyn, New York (Reading about Olympia Dukakis -- could have been her, or her family); Aguascalientes, Mexico (In Caliente); Las Vegas, Nevada; Lublin, Poland; Caldas Da Rainha, and Lisbon Portugal; Caracas, Venezuela; Plainfield, New Jersey (Original home of Parliament/Funkadelic); Fremont, California; Bronx, New York; Salt Lake City, Utah (Original home of ME -- someone was searching for Wooley Waldron, the 60's/70's DJ); Scottsdale, Arizona, and Gresham, Oregon

New revisions at: Theater X-Net




Starring: Ida Rubinstein Belle Epoch Russian/Parisian beauty.
Ida's Places in Paris -- from my first jet-lagged day by the Seine.
Read more about Ida in Sisters of Salome by Toni Bentley




Visit: Michael's Montana Web Archive
Theater, Art, Flash Gordon, Funky Music and MORE!
NEW --Launching NOW! Outre Space Cinema -- Featuring: 1930's Rocketry, Spitfires of the Spaceways and Cellulose to Celluloid, Flash Gordon in the Saturday Matinees and Sunday Comics.





Many thanks to Jim Keefe (Visit his Website) -- the LAST Flash Gordon illustrator of the 20th Century, and Flash's FIRST illustrator of the 21st, for including my efforts on his Flash Gordon Resources Page -- along with actual creators like Alex Raymond, Al Williamson, and others!

Charity Alert: Play the FreeRice Game -- improve your vocabulary, and donate food to the United Nations. Check into Terra Sigilata blog -- donate $$$ to cancer patients just by clicking onto the site. Keep that Resolution to click on The Hunger Site every day. BTW -- AIDtoCHILDREN.com is a bit simpler than FreeRice Game.

In The Community: The Hockaday Museum of Art's Autumn Salon has one more week to run. We will likely change Crown of the Continent a little, and continue Ace of Diamonds. The art run to Eastern Montana in December is finally set.

Media Watch: The late, great Leonard Bernstein (August 25, 1918 – October 14, 1990) performing a Concert for Berlin with musicians from all over Germany, Europe, and America -- featuring a superb rendition of Bethoven's 9th Symphony, including Ode to Joy with four soloists, a full conventional choir, and a young womens choir from Dresden.
From Wikipedia -- On Christmas Day, December 25, 1989, Bernstein conducted the Beethoven Symphony No. 9 in East Berlin's Schauspielhaus (Playhouse) as part of a celebration of the fall of the Berlin Wall. The concert was broadcast live in more than twenty countries to an estimated audience of 100 million people. For the occasion, Bernstein reworded Friedrich Schiller's text of the Ode to Joy, substituting the word Freiheit (freedom) for Freude (joy). Bernstein, in the introduction to the program, said that they had "taken the liberty" of doing this because of a "most likely phony" story, apparently believed in some quarters, that Schiller wrote an "Ode to Freedom" that is now presumed lost. Bernstein's comment was, 'I'm sure that Beethoven would have given us his blessing."
(Oh, I don't know about THAT, Lenny!)
Ludwig first presented his ninth, and final, symphonic masterpiece in 1824 -- the same year he met Franz Liszt and declared him his own successor. (Liszt actually earned Beethoven's blessing over the years.)
Bernstein conducted his final performance August 19, 1990, and died of pneumonia about two months later, not quite a year after the Concert for Berlin.

Sing along with Lenny!
(Substitute Freiheit for Freude if you wish, or dare.)

An die Freude (To Joy)
by Johann Christoph Friedrich Schiller (1785)

Freude, schoener Goetterfunken, Tochter aus Elysium, wir betreten feuertrunken, Himmlische, dein Heiligtum. Deine zauber binden wieder was der Mode Schwert geteilt bettler werden Fuerstenbrueder wo dein sanfter Fluegel weilt.

Joy, beautiful spark of Gods, daughter of Elysium, we enter -- fire-imbibed -- heavenly, thy sanctuary.
Thy magic powers re-unite what custom's sword has divided -- beggars become princes' brothers, where thy gentle wing abides.


Seid umschlungen, Millionen! Diesen Kuss der ganzen Welt! Brueder - ueber'm Sternenzelt muss ein lieber Vater wohnen. Wem der grosse Wurf gelungen, eines Freundes Freund zu sein, wer ein holdes Weib errungen, mische seinen Jubel ein! Ja - wer auch nur eine Seele sein nennt auf dem Erdenrund! Und wer's nie gekonnt, der stehle weinend sich aus diesem Bund.

Be embraced, millions! This kiss to the entire world! Brothers - above the starry canopy a loving father must dwell. Whoever has had the great fortune, to be a friend's friend, whoever has won the love of a devoted wife, add his to our jubilation! Yes - whoever can call even one soul his own on this earth! And whoever is unable, must creep, tearfully away from this circle.

Was den grossen Ring bewohnet, Huldige der Sympathie! Zu den Sternen leitet sie, wo der Unbekannte thronet. Freude trinken alle Wesen an den Bruesten der Natur, Alle Guten, alle Boesen, folgen ihrer Rosenspur. Kuesse gab sie uns, und Reben, Einen Freund, geprueft im Tod, wollust ward dem Wurm gegeben, und der Cherub steht vor Gott.

Those who dwell in the great circle, pay homage to sympathy! It leads to the stars, where the Unknown reigns. Joy all creatures drink at Nature's bosoms; All, just and unjust, follow her rose-pedaled path. Kisses she gave us, and wine, a friend, proven in death, pleasure was given, even to the worm, and the Cherub stands before God.


Ihr stuerzt nieder, Millionen? Ahndest du den Schoepfer, Welt? Such ihn ueberm Sternenzelt. Ueber Sternen muss er wohnen. Freude heisst die starke Feder In der ewigen Natur. Freude, Freude, treibt die Raeder in der grossen Weltenuhr. Blumen lockt sie aus den Keimen, Sonnen aus dem Firmament, Sphaeren rollt sie in den Raeumen, die des Sehers Rohr nicht kennt.

You bow down, millions? Can you sense the Creator, world? Seek him above the starry canopy.
Above the stars he must dwell. Joy is called the strong motivation in eternal nature. Joy, Joy moves the wheels in the universal machine of time. Flowers it calls forth from their buds, suns from the Firmament, spheres it moves far out in Space, where our telescopes cannot reach.


Froh, wie seine Sonnen fliegen durch des Himmels praecht'gen Plan Laufet, Brueder, eure Bahn, Freudig wie ein Held zum Siegen. Aus der Wahrheit Feuerspiegel laechelt sie den Forscher an. Zu der Tugend steilem Huegel leitet sie des Dulders Bahn. Auf des Glaubens Sonnenberge Sieht man ihre Fahnen wehn, durch den Riss gesprengter Saerge sie im Chor der Engel stehn.

Joyful, as his suns are flying, across the Firmament's splendid design. Run, brothers, run your race, joyful, as a hero going to conquest. As truth's fiery reflection, it smiles at the scientist. To virtue's steep hill it leads the sufferer on. Atop faith's lofty summit one sees its flags in the wind, through the cracks of burst-open coffins, one sees it stand in the angels' chorus.

Duldet mutig, Millionen! Duldet fuer die bess're Welt! Droben ueber'm Sternenzelt Wird ein grosser Gott belohnen. Goettern kann man nicht vergelten, Schoen ist's, ihnen gleich zu sein.
Gram und Armut soll sich melden, Mit den Frohen sich erfreun. Groll und Rache sei vergessen, Unserm Todfeind sei verziehn, Keine Traene soll ihn pressen, Keine Reue nage ihn.

Endure courageously, millions! Endure for the better world! Above the starry canopy, a great God will reward you. Gods one cannot ever repay, it is beautiful, though, to be like them. Sorrow and Poverty, come forth and rejoice with the Joyful ones. Anger and revenge be forgotten, our deadly enemy be forgiven, not one tear shall he shed anymore, no feeling of remorse shall pain him.

Unser Schuldbuch sei vernichtet! Ausgesoehnt die ganze Welt! Brueder, ueber'm Sternenzelt richtet Gott, wie wir gerichtet. Freude sprudelt in Pokalen, in der Traube goldnem Blut trinken Sanftmut Kannibalen, die Verzweiflung Heldenmut -- Brueder, fliegt von euren Sitzen, wenn der volle Roemer kreist, lasst den Schaum zum Himmel sptruetzen: Dieses Glas dem guten Geist!

The account of our misdeeds be destroyed! Reconciled the entire world! Brothers, above the starry canopy, God judges as we judged. Joy is bubbling in the glasses, through the grapes' golden blood. Cannibals drink gentleness, and despair drinks courage -- Brothers, fly from your seats, when the full drinking cup goes around. Let the foam gush up to heaven: This glass to the good spirit!

Den der Sterne Wirbel loben den des Seraphs Hymne preist, dieses Glas dem guten Geist Ueber'm. Sternenzelt dort oben! Festen Mut in schwerem Leiden, huelfe, wo die Unschuld weint, Ewigkeit geschwornen Eiden, Wahrheit gegen Freund und Feind, Maennerstolz vor Koenigsthronen -- Brueder, gaelt es Gut und Blut. Dem Verdienste seine Kronen, Untergang der Luegenbrut!

He whom star-clusters adore, he whom the Seraphs' hymns praise, this glass to him, the good spirit.
Above the starry canopy! Resolve and courage for great suffering, help there, where innocence weeps,
Eternally may last all sworn Oaths, truth towards friend and enemy, men's pride before Kings' thrones -- Brothers, even it if meant our Life and blood. Give the deserving crowns, defeat the lying pretenders!


Schliesst den heilgen Zirkel dichter, schwoert bei diesem goldnen Wein: Dem Geluebde treu zu sein, schwoert es bei dem Sternenrichter! Rettung von Tyrannenketten, grossmut auch dem Boesewicht, hoffnung auf den Sterbebetten, gnade auf dem Hochgericht! Auch die Toten sollen leben! Brueder, trinkt und stimmet ein, allen Suendern soll vergeben, Und die Hoelle nicht mehr sein.

Close the holy circle tighter, swear by this golden wine: To remain true to the Oath, swear it by the Judge above the stars! Delivery from tyrants' chains, generosity also towards the villain, hope on the deathbeds, mercy from the final judge! Also the dead shall live! Brothers, drink and chime in -- All sinners shall be forgiven, and Hell shall be no more.

Eine heitre Abschiedsstunde! Suessen Schlaf im Leichentuch! Brueder--einen sanften Spruch aus des Totenrichters Mund.

A serene hour of farewell! Sweet rest in the shroud! Brothers--a gentle sentence from the mouth of the final judge!

Neo-Hellenistic images of Joy/Freedom, digitally personified as demigoddesses in gold. Elysium was a mythical neverland that was neither Paradise nor Hades, and I'm not sure what being a daughter of that realm really meant! Schiller and Mozart utilized images found in Freemasonry, attempting to transcend the conventional religious scope of their times. Beethoven was a social iconoclast, and deeply sympathetic to the ideals of Schiller's Pan-Classical Enlightenment, despite betrayal by Republican France, and the reactionary aristocracy of his own Germanic homeland.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

First real winter snow yesterday -- about four or five inches, and a precipitous drop in temperature to zero degrees (F!)

Sitemeter Sez: Visitors from Inver Grove Heights, Minnesota; Roseland, Virginia; Orange, Connecticut; Brentford, UK (London); Milton, Ontario; Irapuato, Mexico; New Rochelle, New York; Bet Dagan, Isreal; Birmingham, Alabama; Manchester, UK; Milwaukee, Wisconsin; Ottawa, Ontario; Edmonton, Alberta; Houston, Texas, Lpez Mateos, Mexico; Brooklyn, New York; Cleveland, Ohio; Pueblo, Colorado; Buenos Aires, Argentina; Bussigny, Switzerland; Ljubljana, Slovenia; Toronto, Ontario; Austin, Texas; Zagreb, Croatia; Barnard, Vermont; Tacoma, Washington; Saint Paul, Minnesota; Lynn, North Carolina (I once knew a North Carolinian named Lynn); Charlotte, North Carolina; Oakland, California, and Las Vegas, Nevada.

New revisions at: Theater X-Net




Starring: Ida Rubinstein Belle Epoch Russian/Parisian beauty.
Ida's Places in Paris -- from my first jet-lagged day by the Seine.
Read more about Ida in Sisters of Salome by Toni Bentley




Visit: Michael's Montana Web Archive
Theater, Art, Flash Gordon, Funky Music and MORE!
NEW --Launching NOW! Outre Space Cinema -- Featuring: 1930's Rocketry, Spitfires of the Spaceways and Cellulose to Celluloid, Flash Gordon in the Saturday Matinees and Sunday Comics.





Many thanks to Jim Keefe (Visit his Website) -- the LAST Flash Gordon illustrator of the 20th Century, and Flash's FIRST illustrator of the 21st, for including my efforts on his Flash Gordon Resources Page -- along with actual creators like Alex Raymond, Al Williamson, and others!

Charity Alert: Play the FreeRice Game -- improve your vocabulary, and donate food to the United Nations. Check into Terra Sigilata blog -- donate $$$ to cancer patients just by clicking onto the site. Keep that Resolution to click on The Hunger Site every day. BTW -- AIDtoCHILDREN.com is a bit simpler than FreeRice Game.

In The Community: The Hockaday Museum of Art's Autumn Salon has one more week to run. We will likely change Crown of the Continent a little, and continue Ace of Diamonds. The art run to Eastern Montana in December is finally set.

Ch-Ch-Changes: Talented model Bettie Page succumbed to pneumonia and heart failure at the age of 85. She was a prolific worker in the 1950's, and her clothed, semi-clothed, fetishistic, and nude images captured the imagination of millions in a pinup industry that literally flirted with illegality, as I've mentioned before.
Some of her work was destroyed in order to settle legal judgements, but the sheer volume of her prolific career survived in stacks of yellowing "men's magazines" that were rediscovered by her original fans' children.
Her sheer, raw talent created a sensation in the Post Punk era, and an informal underground appreciation society developed during the 80's -- exemplified for a start by artist Dave (Rocketeer) Stevens and extraordinary model/actor/entrepreneur Brinke Stevens. Page finally stepped up and acknowledged her work during the 1990's, making a career of signing commissioned art based on her remarkable photo sessions for the rest of her life.
There was a lot more in her personal history, both good and difficult, but she was a true artistic icon -- RIP.

Neon Betty -- a digital collage of several photos from the 50's, by ME, with implied tributes to various figurative artists like Andy Warhol, Pat Nagel, and Helmut Newton.
(Click to see a slightly larger image.)

Thursday, December 11, 2008

It is a day of "white shadows" it is cold and frosty this morning -- where there are cast-shadows, the white frost makes a sharp-edged image on the ground.

Sitemeter Sez: Visitors from Middletown, Ohio; Richmond, Virginia; Buffalo, New York; Sana, Yemen; Addison, Illinois; Bronx, New York; Grand Rapids, Michigan; Newark, New Jersey; Brooklyn, New York; Tucson, Arizona; Holyoke, Massachusetts; Mexico City, Mexico; San Jose, Costa Rica; Meacham, Saskatchewan; Edmonton, Alberta; Dearborn Heights, Michigan; Sterling, Virginia; Toronto, Ontario; Kokomo, Indiana; Forestville, California; Ashburn, Virginia; Delmar, New York; Louth, Ireland; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Las Vegas, Nevada; Boca Raton, Florida; Tulsa, Oklahoma and Valencia, Spain.

New revisions at: Theater X-Net




Starring: Ida Rubinstein Belle Epoch Russian/Parisian beauty.
Ida's Places in Paris -- from my first jet-lagged day by the Seine.
Read more about Ida in Sisters of Salome by Toni Bentley




Visit: Michael's Montana Web Archive
Theater, Art, Flash Gordon, Funky Music and MORE!
NEW --Launching NOW! Outre Space Cinema -- Featuring: 1930's Rocketry, Spitfires of the Spaceways and Cellulose to Celluloid, Flash Gordon in the Saturday Matinees and Sunday Comics.





Many thanks to Jim Keefe (Visit his Website) -- the LAST Flash Gordon illustrator of the 20th Century, and Flash's FIRST illustrator of the 21st, for including my efforts on his Flash Gordon Resources Page -- along with actual creators like Alex Raymond, Al Williamson, and others!

Charity Alert: Play the FreeRice Game -- improve your vocabulary, and donate food to the United Nations. Check into Terra Sigilata blog -- donate $$$ to cancer patients just by clicking onto the site. Keep that Resolution to click on The Hunger Site every day. BTW -- AIDtoCHILDREN.com is a bit simpler than FreeRice Game.

In The Community: The Hockaday Museum of Art's Autumn Salon has two more weeks to run. We will likely change Crown of the Continent a little, and continue Ace of Diamonds. The art run to Eastern Montana in December is finally set.
My lecture this week on Black Music in the U.S.A. is been cut to less than an hour, so I'll concentrate on FUNK, since it brings the elements of Gospel, Blues, Jazz, Rock, and Hip Hop together.

Media Watch: "The Chess Players," AKA Shatranj Ke Khilari (1977) by Lifetime Achievement Oscar winner Sanjit Ray. It is a sumptuous costume drama set in Lucknow, India where the British East India Company deposed their puppet king Wajid Ali Shah in 1856. The two chess-playing protagonists let the foundations of their lives slide away from their control while indulging in their pleasures, just like the hapless king. There isn't much real plot, and the historical events surrounding the situation are rather didactically explained in English-language segments starring Richard Attenborough as a Scottish imperialist doing Lord Dalhousie's dirty work. The movie gets most of its power from the photography, costumes, sets, settings, and the main actors' slow realizations of unwanted changes in their lives.

Poet, Songwriter, and Patron of the Arts Wajid Ali Khan.
(Indian Muslims had no taboos against portraying people.)


There are subtexts too -- India's first war of independence started a year later, which the primary audience for Ray's movie would know about in detail -- including the story of Wajid Ali Khan's wife Begum Hazrat Mahal (one of many) leading a take-back of Lucknow, and declaring their 14 year old son Birjis Qadr the legitimate king for the duration of the so-called Sepoy Mutiny.
The resultant British annexation of the whole sub-continent as "The Raj" was just about the most bizarre episodes of the whole Imperial Era in the scale of its arrogance. The Indian National Congress formed a generation later in 1885 -- it may have taken awhile, and it wasn't very pretty, but the people finally took their country back by 1947 under the leadership of Mahatma Mohandas Gandhi, and other nationalists.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Clouding over and trying to snow in the Flathead Valley -- there was enough to make the morning commute dangerous yesterday, but it all melted by noon. A well-meaning young man dumped his bicycle right behind me on the slippery road yesterday in the early AM. Luckily he was uninjured and got right back up before anybody slid into him. I have new tires, but still felt unsteady making that same turn -- I know I fishtailed a little.

Sitemeter Sez: Visitors from Spanish Town, Jamaica; Bordeaux, France; Noisy-le-Grand on the Ile-de-France (Paris is big); Montreal, Quebec; Lurkers from Daily Kos; Duluth, Georgia; Vancouver, British Columbia; Frederick, Maryland; Emporia, Kansas; Albuquerque, New Mexico (see below); Copiap, Chile; Chesterland, Ohio; Palatine, Illinois and Morehead City, North Carolina.

New revisions at: Theater X-Net




Starring: Ida Rubinstein Belle Epoch Russian/Parisian beauty.
Ida's Places in Paris -- from my first jet-lagged day by the Seine.
Read more about Ida in Sisters of Salome by Toni Bentley




Visit: Michael's Montana Web Archive
Theater, Art, Flash Gordon, Funky Music and MORE!
NEW --Launching NOW! Outre Space Cinema -- Featuring: 1930's Rocketry, Spitfires of the Spaceways and Cellulose to Celluloid, Flash Gordon in the Saturday Matinees and Sunday Comics.





Many thanks to Jim Keefe (Visit his Website) -- the LAST Flash Gordon illustrator of the 20th Century, and Flash's FIRST illustrator of the 21st, for including my efforts on his Flash Gordon Resources Page -- along with actual creators like Alex Raymond, Al Williamson, and others!

Charity Alert: Play the FreeRice Game -- improve your vocabulary, and donate food to the United Nations. Check into Terra Sigilata blog -- donate $$$ to cancer patients just by clicking onto the site. Keep that Resolution to click on The Hunger Site every day. BTW -- AIDtoCHILDREN.com is a bit simpler than FreeRice Game.

In The Community: The Hockaday Museum of Art's Autumn Salon has two more weeks to run. We will likely change Crown of the Continent a little, and continue Ace of Diamonds. The art run to Eastern Montana in December was revised again.
I'm finalizing my lecture this week on Black Music in the U.S.A. -- a half hour of basics, and an hour of FUNK!

Media Watch: Keith Jarrett playing Shostakovich piano pieces on Montana Public Radio -- absolutely brilliant! I've always liked Jarrett's compositions more than the old Soviet weasel's anyway, and he found the beauty within them, buried under the Stalinist safeness. I enjoy Prokofiev very much, so I have nothing against Soviet artists per se. If you wanted to get the late Frank Zappa's goat, all you had to do was compare him to Shostakovich.
Out of the blue, I got an email asking for permission to reprint my memory-piece about The Beatles White Album from Paul Ingles in Albuquerque, New Mexico. I said yes, and listened to the third installment of his White Album Listening Party last night. The program featured a very entertaining digital mashup combining BOTH versions of Revolution.
Later, I took a look at the Listening Party Web Site, and my words were transcribed there that very evening -- Paul made a slight revision though, and arranged my words to fit the order of the album. It was a good change and made my post more clear. I'm going to stick with my old version on this blog, though, because that was the way the DJ played the record in 1968.
The voice of the 19-year-old me, sitting in that parked car outside of the U of U football stadium, comes through over the gulf of time, possibly because I wrote it so fast. I was looking for fun and funny from The Beatles, plus musical innovations, and the White Album delivered those things to me in a double helping.
I see the voice of contemporary me creeping-in with words of anxiety about John Lennon. At that time I thought he was just sardonic -- I had no real awareness about the serious challenges he faced in his life then.
Personally, my favorite musician at the time was the mercurial Michael Bloomfield, and my favorite groups were Quicksilver Messenger Service and the Grateful Dead -- guitar gods from the San Francisco Bay. Eric Clapton/Cream and Jimi Hendryx were just starting to claim the popularity they had earned over the previous year and a half, and Jeff Beck was asserting himself at last. Sly & the Family Stone created an wave of Funk that encircled the whole world, which the Temptations in turn sailed to the top of the charts. This was a period where neither the Rolling Stones or Beatles really led the way in Rock, but my young self didn't quite notice, or care, when there was so much music from other sources to hear and enjoy.

This basic composition of album art, advertising the University of Utah's campus-only radio station, inexplicably stayed up on the main kiosk in the Student Union Building for almost two years between 1968 and 1970, on the same floor with the bowling alley, barber shop, pool hall/card room (ahem), art gallery, movie theater, and the fast-food "Huddle" -- an epicenter of alternative culture and politics that rivaled the Cosmic Aeroplane. We planned more than a few anti-war rallies and demonstrations in sight of these same pictures, set up some outrageous art shows, and rediscovered Bride of Frankenstein and Busby Berkeley for ourselves. The elegantly nude cover of Paul Mauriat's Love Is Blue album imitated Wanda Embry's famous body-paint poster. These four portraits of the Beatles were all that came with the White Album, besides minimal liner notes.

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Pearl Harbor Day is followed by the anniversary of John Lennon's murder nowadays. World War Two was the defining event of my parent's generation. Viet Nam and Korea were important, but not near as definitive, since they shared the world with their children then. I'd like to think that Music was a significant component of my own generation's definition. It may sound shallow -- except that it was a major cultural indicator in the long fight for social and racial justice which actually made gains overall, despite bitter reversals. Lennon's assassination was just a sick, stupid crime when compared to the impact of King's and the Kennedys' murders, but it diminished us nevertheless.
I have noted before how Pearl Harbor was the opening salvo in a concerted attack by the Japanese Empire on the Ameican/European imperial powers in Asia that was hideously successful on land and sea until it stumbled in the inconclusive Battle of the Coral Sea, retiring in good order to fight again. Without the unlooked-for luck the U.S. experienced at Midway, where four irreplaceable Japanese carriers went to the bottom, I dread the thought of what might have happened.
After their defeat, Japan became a major economic partner of the U.S -- I grew up in a world where a certain percentage of my local population went to Japan due to the draft, and came back with SOMETHING. Our popular culture also benefitted from inexpensive electronics (see my musings on music above), and even silly-assed monster movies, not to mention the cinematic masterpieces of Kurosawa. I chose to study Japanese Art History as a minor when I went to college, and got a great education in the process. I collected and advocated Manga from the late 60's onward, and I'm happy they are an international success. I've even driven Toyotas for twenty-five years, after driving Volkwagens for twenty years before that -- which leads to:
World War Two was a catastrophe that also involved Nazi Germany, and alliances between the United States, China, and the Soviet Union which shifted, changed, and set the political shape of the planet for the rest of the 20th Century. Pearl Harbor meant that the US also went to war across the Atlantic too. Without the huge forces of the U.S.S.R. brought to bear against the Third Reich, I also dread what might have happened there -- my father's friends and peers had their hands full fighting their own portions of Hitler's Wehrmacht. When he served in Germany after V-E Day, he was in the Military Police, who maintained order, and tried to keep the population from starving to death.
I became an internationalist of a sort, despite growing up in the white-bread suburbs of Post War America -- I had company in the generation I grew up with, who inherited contacts abroad due to World War Two.

Click to enlarge
Artist Kano Tanyu decorated the interior of the ultra-fancy Nikko Toshu-Gu with sober near-monochrome ink paintings to honor the memory of Shogun Tokugawa Ieasu, who founded a dynasty that ruled Japan in relative peace for 250 years. In return, the country sacrificed most foriegn trade, and contact with the world beyond its borders, though. Emperor Meiji moved the imperial capitol to Tokyo (Edo) from Kyoto in 1860 when the Tokugawa samurai gave up their hereditary power in order to form a modern government. By the end of World War One, Japan owned an international empire which was destroyed by their own aggression during World War Two.


Sitemeter Sez: Visitors from Vancouver, British Columbia; Langley, British Columbia; Unna, Germany; Bellingham, Washington; Minneapolis, Minnesota; Aston, Pennsylvania; Plainfield, New Jersey; Brentwood, New York; El Paso, Texas; Aston, Pennsylvania; Sorrento, Maine; Fayetteville, Arkansas; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania (looking for Wanda Day); Santa Cruz, California (looking for Crimson Rose); Cape Neddick, Maine; Lancaster, Pennsylvania; Cedar Falls, Iowa; Gteborg, Sweden, and Columbia, Missouri.

New revisions at: Theater X-Net




Starring: Ida Rubinstein Belle Epoch Russian/Parisian beauty.
Ida's Places in Paris -- from my first jet-lagged day by the Seine.
Read more about Ida in Sisters of Salome by Toni Bentley




Visit: Michael's Montana Web Archive
Theater, Art, Flash Gordon, Funky Music and MORE!
NEW --Launching NOW! Outre Space Cinema -- Featuring: 1930's Rocketry, Spitfires of the Spaceways and Cellulose to Celluloid, Flash Gordon in the Saturday Matinees and Sunday Comics.





Many thanks to Jim Keefe (Visit his Website) -- the LAST Flash Gordon illustrator of the 20th Century, and Flash's FIRST illustrator of the 21st, for including my efforts on his Flash Gordon Resources Page -- along with actual creators like Alex Raymond, Al Williamson, and others!

Charity Alert: Play the FreeRice Game -- improve your vocabulary, and donate food to the United Nations. Check into Terra Sigilata blog -- donate $$$ to cancer patients just by clicking onto the site. Keep that Resolution to click on The Hunger Site every day. BTW -- AIDtoCHILDREN.com is a bit simpler than FreeRice Game.

In The Community: The Hockaday Museum of Art's Autumn Salon, with 116 pieces on display. We also have Crown of the Continent and Ace of Diamonds gracing our walls. Looks like the art run to Eastern Montana in December was revised again.
I'm still gathering CDs together for my lecture next week on Black Music in the U.S.A. -- a half hour of basics, and an hour of FUNK!, mixing all the elements together.

Media Watch: Tristan und Isolde by Richard Wagner live from The Met on Montana Public Radio for about five hours. Wagner's long, lush melodies are always pleasant, but this story of fatal adulterous love is as over-the-top as anything can be from the so-called Age of Chivalry -- some versions even include King Arthur, or his horny old man Uther Pendragon. Who knows? The long-lost seed of the original tale might be at the root for ALL the others. Supposedly, Wagner wrote much of this music for his mistress. Oh well, the lovers are still doomed and hopeless because of those dastarly magical potions -- Brunhilde lost Siegfried to one of those brews in another Wagner opera, and she made EVERYBODY pay. I remember seeing a Jean Cocteau movie retelling Tristan & Isolde too. Footsbarn Theatre toured Cornwall itself with their own version before I worked with them. It may seem declasse, but I always think of the Doo-Wop classic Love Potion Number Nine when this tale comes up.

Happy Birthday, Sagittarius!

Click to enlarge
A tribute of my own to Japanese Art and the Kano style -- digital ink with selected color, featuring my Sagittarian friend Ruth on one of our many walks in the western woods.

Friday, December 05, 2008

Being sick is harder at work, when you have to function. I managed, but it sure wasn't fun. I cheered up considerably when I heard from my friend Clara McBride in Paris -- she works with an improvisational group called The Improfessionals, among her many projects. She's also been making films.

Sitemeter Sez: Visitors from Abingdon, Maryland; Preston, UK; Boulder, Colorado; Clifton, New Jersey; Brooklyn, New York; Ottawa, Ontario; Riihimki, Southern Finland; Stockport, UK; Sacramento, California; Zanesville, Ohio; Paris, Ile-de-France (That you, Clara?); Budapest, Hungary; Reno, Nevada; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Chatham, UK, and Baltimore, Maryland.

New revisions at: Theater X-Net




Starring: Ida Rubinstein Belle Epoch Russian/Parisian beauty.
Ida's Places in Paris -- from my first jet-lagged day by the Seine.
Read more about Ida in Sisters of Salome by Toni Bentley




Visit: Michael's Montana Web Archive
Theater, Art, Flash Gordon, Funky Music and MORE!
NEW --Launching NOW! Outre Space Cinema -- Featuring: 1930's Rocketry, Spitfires of the Spaceways and Cellulose to Celluloid, Flash Gordon in the Saturday Matinees and Sunday Comics.





Many thanks to Jim Keefe (Visit his Website) -- the LAST Flash Gordon illustrator of the 20th Century, and Flash's FIRST illustrator of the 21st, for including my efforts on his Flash Gordon Resources Page -- along with actual creators like Alex Raymond, Al Williamson, and others!


Charity Alert: Play the FreeRice Game -- improve your vocabulary, and donate food to the United Nations. Check into Terra Sigilata blog -- donate $$$ to cancer patients just by clicking onto the site. Keep that Resolution to click on The Hunger Site every day. BTW -- AIDtoCHILDREN.com is a bit simpler than FreeRice Game.

In The Community: The Hockaday Museum of Art's Autumn Salon, with 116 pieces on display. We also have Crown of the Continent and Ace of Diamonds gracing our walls. Looks like the art run to Eastern Montana in December was revised again.
I'm gathering some CDs together for my lecture next week on Black Music in the U.S.A.
It's Art Walk tonight, but I'm not risking my recovery by going anywhere, or spreading this damn cold.

Media Watch: Montana Public Radio was celebrating the life and music of John Lennon tonight. He was my favorite Beatle in general, and my favorite solo artist from the group -- yes, he could be self-indulgent, like the rest of them, but his high points acheived great heights indeed.

Iceland's Peace Tower commemorates John Lennon with light,as it holds Wagner's Waulkuries at bay in the darkness. Thank you, Yoko!


Ch-ch-changes: The great 1950's model Bettie Page has suffered a heart attack, and her odds of making it aren't very good at her age. There are many reasons to buy her products at www.bettiepage.com NOW, especially helping her out when she needs it.

First-rate model Bettie Page did all her great work for an industry that literally flited with illegality. Although she worked for legitimate publishers and photographers, some of her employment resulted in a congressional supoeana, and official destructon of many of her films and pictures. It turns out that most everything survived one way or another, and if you are THAT obsessed, you can get your own copy of even the most distasteful products which featured this talented lady. In her later years, when she acknowledged her career, she only signed the things she did that had merit, though.


Speaking of the 50's, Forrest J. Ackerman passed away recently at 92. He built bridges between Science Fiction/Fantasy publishers, movie makers, writers, illustrators, and their fans, especially by editing the magazine Famous Monsters of Filmland. I still have copies of his less-successful venture Spacemen, with lots of Buster Crabbe photos. Less well-known was his involvement in the first (abortive) attempt to make an animated film out of Lord of the Rings -- he's mentioned by name in The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien. His greatest contribution to modern society was probably the early patronage of young, struggling Ray Bradbury. His editorial tastes often tended towards the shallow and vulgar, but fans like me had a lot of fun because of his efforts to make a buck off his beloved Sci-Fi field. The publishers of Famous Monsters later did magazine-sized comic strip anthologies by first-rate artists, like Creepy, Eerie, Vampirella, and even reprinted The Spirit by Will Eisner.

I have this very magazine, and several of its brothers. The romance of space travel and its hard cold practicality were always an awkward fit -- Flash Gordon was featured in several issues, but not THIS one. Ask me if I care (I don't) -- Jean Rogers as hypnotized Dale Arden, Larry "Buster Crabbe as Larry "Flash" Gordon, and Priscilla Lawson as the overly passionate Princess Aura.