Archive for January 12th, 2010

Daily Batman: Kapow!

January 12, 2010


Still from Batman: The Movie (Leslie H. Martinson, 1966).

Robin: The Joker!
Chief O’Hara: Devilish clown prince of crime — oh, if I only had a nickle for every time he’s baffled us!

Shiver me shamrocks, Chief Darby O’Stereotype, but faith and begorrah, the little Robin is getting his pert ass beat. A little help?

Liberated Negative Space o’ the Day: “Life is beautiful” edition

January 12, 2010


Los Angeles, CA, by Mr. Brainwash.

I was bummed to learn this art on an abandoned building featuring Billie Holliday was actually an advertisement for Mr. Brainwash‘s solo show in LA, artshow2008. But I am willing to lay aside my conflict with the source and enjoy the beauty of the painting and the message. Life is beautiful, and what a great spot to prove it.

Music Moment: Les Paul and Mary Ford, “Goofus”

January 12, 2010

Les Paul & Mary Ford – Goofus

This recording of “Goofus” (King-Harold-Kahn, 1930), one of my favorite songs, is just instrumental. It’s performed by legendary husband-wife duo Les Paul and Mary Ford (so, so, so much more on them another day).

The Paul-Ford version topped out at #21 on the Billboard chart on its release in the early Fall of 1950. The ensemble Paul and Ford had gathered is plucky and fun, although I have heard recordings from the ’30’s with saws and washboards which sort of put ukes and slides in the shade, but you work with what you got, and they did a great job re-popularizing a well-loved classic.

It really gets me that there was a time in this country when there was a) a set of songs that everyone knew, and b) a time when you picked up an instrument and sat down together and played, sometimes just as a family, but often as part of a larger community group. What happened? Radio killed the vaudeville star, but, moreover, the vaudeville star took group singalongs and skit shows down with him. No more public singing.

People just don’t do that often enough anymore, I think. I remember reading, quite a few years back, Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood (I consequently did not see the movie), and, in one of the super-tolerable parts, a character aged in her mid-70’s during the 1990’s was remarking on the emptiness of the sounds one hears walking the streets in the present day. She recalled being a child and teenager in the ’20’s and ’30’s, and how you could not so much as hang the laundry without hearing someone whistling or singing a street over or while walking past the yard.


“One Last Tickle on the Ivorys,” St. Ebba’s Lunatic Asylum, by Christopher O’Donovan on the flickr.

The idea of that touched me very deeply, because it resonated. I have always liked music, and always known a little about the history of radio and the record industry, being a big vinyl guy, and I’m not saying even at all that radio itself massacred town talent shows, I think increasing materialism and isolationism happened to dovetail with that new mass media, and long story short: it should change back. We need more of that old way of doing things, especially now, when so many people have lost hope and there are young people growing up for whom there are no stories about uncles who sang Irish tenor or great-grandmothers that could play the spoons.

It’s always fun to find out what hidden talents your friends and neighbors have (unless those talents are taxidermy and soundproofing basements), and it brings communities closer together. I think I remember hearing that a song is like a prayer times two, or some such thing, and I believe it. Everything is better with music.


“I Wanna Be a Majorette,” by Eleanor Hardwick.

I used to perform in singing groups and church choirs, and even participated in competitive choral groups in High School. The older I’ve gotten, the more I have grown very shy about my singing, but why? Half of what I hear on the radio has been triple-processed and slickly produced, and who cares if someone hears me fall a little flat? What made me so happy, that urge to open my throat that I couldn’t repress, that hasn’t changed, so why do I let fear and modern ideals of social behavior fence me in?

Holy cow, I think I just found my second resolution of 2010: Make a joyful noise. Join me, y’all!

Movie Moment: Bratz (2007)

January 12, 2010

I didn’t actually see Bratz (Sean McNamara, 2007), but these stills, brought to you by the Nostalgia Party community on the lj, make me wonder if I am missing out. (Click any of them to enlarge.)

Since, like I said, I have not actually seen this movie — I just love campy eye candy when I am feeling down and as soon as I saw these pictures I gasped in genuinely uplifted joy — I have put these subtitled stills in the order that I think makes the best story. I have a feeling it is not their intended narrative chronology. But don’t correct me if you know better; let us all enjoy the illusion.

So, to wrap it up: this movie might be terrible. I do not know. The stills are great. This I know. And for heaven’s sake, Kim Morgan Greene, call a bitch, because I think I just may love your wonky over-Botoxed face ’til Kingdom Come!

Final thought: from the Bratz extras DVD feature.

Yep.