Sunday, January 24, 2010

(link:) 'I Love Ethel' - A trove of scrapbook photos, memorabilia and other treasures from the estate of Vivian Vance

Follow link to read an article that ran last week in SF Gate:

"I Love Ethel - A Vivian Vance Archive Uncovered"

The photos posted here are taken from the large online gallery linked to the article.

Writer Bob Bragman's column, The Collective Mind is a regular feature geared to
Bay Area antique hunters and anyone who enjoys a good find.

In this installment, Bragman tells an interesting and circuitous tale of an antique dealer friend's connection to
New York publisher John Dodds, the husband of actress Vivian Vance, and of various items from the Vance/Dodds estate that were passed along after Dodds' death in 1986.

Furniture, artwork, and a scrapbook filled with clippings and personal photographs taken from various points in Vance's life and career - - all steeped in showbiz history.

Also included (and excerpted) is the manuscript for Viv's unpublished autobiography, including tales of troubled portions of her life and rumors about the nature of her relationship with co-star Lucille Ball.

Fascinating and well worth a look. Check it out!

(Big thanks to Joe Sixpack for the link)

Reasons To Be Cheerful: A triumphant return for The Castro Theatre's NOIR CITY Film Festival

As I write this it's after midnight in the wee hours of Sunday morning, and I'm still buzzing from the superb double-feature I caught earlier this evening in the City at the historic Castro Theatre on the second night of NOIR CITY, The 8th Annual
San Francisco Film Noir Festival

I'm hoping to get back over once or twice this next week to catch more of the festival before it's gone for another year...

Kicking off tonight's program was the impressive short embedded below, which intercuts clips from a few dozen classic Noir films, synched perfectly with Massive Attack's 'Angel' used as background score.

It was a huge crowd-pleaser for the packed house of Film Noir fanatics at The Castro...

'The Endless Night: a Valentine to Film Noir' was assembled by Serena Bramble, a 20-year-old studying psychology at Santa Rose Junior College.

Click here to read more about Ms. Bramble, the festival and its highlights.

Follow the video to its posting at YouTube, for notations listing all the films used as source material.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Plagiarism is The Sincerest Form of Bloggery - -

- - or some such nonsense (and I should know).

Tee-hee, I'm honored...

Thursday, January 7, 2010

'My Body': Buddhist wisdom meets gross-out novelty song, circa 1980

I've just received word that the topic for next week's installment of The Contrast Podcast will be a return to songs pertaining to
Parts of The Body.

So far I've managed to take part in the previous 'body part' episodes, focusing on
The Eyes, The Skin, The Arms, The Lips, The Feet, The Stomach & Guts and The Heart, so I'd hate to miss out on doing The Hands next week.

When struck by the thought, "Eventually we'll run out of body parts and will have exhausted that topic", I got to thinking about songs on the topic of leaving the body behind.

I thought of 1968's 'Absolutely Free' by Frank Zappa & The Mothers, and then remembered this odd little novelty song, recorded by a Buddhist nun around 1980.

The LP, 'Awakening: Ancient Wisdom For Modern Ears' was an independent pressing originating from The City of Ten Thousand Buddhas, a large Buddhist community and monastery near Ukiah, California.

"...Based On The Teachings Of Shakyamuni Buddha And The Venerable Teachings Of Master Hua", the album attempted to make some concepts and dogma more palatable to Western ears.

Carrying a folky / new age-y vibe overall, the music takes a couple of detours into other genres, including this peppy and charming number, with whimsical lyrics regarding the decay of the human body after the spirit departs.

From the LP
'Awakening: Ancient Wisdom For Modern Ears'
(Wondrous Sounds Records, circa 1980),
Listen to: Bhikshuni Heng Yin - My Body
(click for audio)

The singer, former bhikshuni (now Dharma Master) Heng Yin studied under Hsuan Hua and spent many years translating Buddhist texts.

- To hear more songs from the 'Awakening' album, click here.
I can recommend the selection 'Gotta Do Something/Might As Well Cultivate', which sounds slightly reminiscent of early releases of Timbuk 3 from the last half of the '80s.

Freshly-stirred links