Posts Tagged ‘mama cass’

Music Moment — Nicole Atkins, “Brooklyn’s on Fire!”

July 4, 2011

Portions of this post were originally published on September 26, 2009. And again on July 4, 2010. I’m phoning it in. What could be more American?

Happy Fourth of July to my fellow Americans, and, to those international friendohs from countries overseas to which our states once belonged as colonies — well, thanks for the memories. Days commemorating war always make me pray for peace. Here’s hoping that all nations can, in the words of the Beatles, come together. Also, twist and shout.

“Brooklyn’s on Fire!”, Nicole Atkins, Neptune City. I like this video here because it is made by someone in Brooklyn who likes Nicole Atkins and the 4th of july and baseball and likely all manner of things on which we could sit around and agree all day. Thank you, stranger! Your video’s view count has been dramatically affected by me since I found this last month!

Nicole Atkins is someone I stumbled over last year or maybe the year before after hearing one of her songs in a commercial and googling adtunes for days to find it. She has a really great, unique sound. She calls her music pop-noir.

She is a lion face, one of my favorite face types (all people look like an animal to me, or a blend of animals). I adore leonine women and I really love that she has a schnoz. It gives a woman character to have a big nose or a gap in her teeth, you know? It puts them that extra step past adorable into asymmetrically one of a kind, infinitely loveable. This goes for all of you. Love what you think are your flaws cause that’s probably the one part of you I seize on and fetishize most. I’m off topic. Back to this song.


Friday nights on the seventh floor
(FOURTH OF, JULY, BROOKLYN’S, ON FIRE)
Paper backs on the corner store
(FOURTH OF, JULY, BROOKLYN’S, ON FIRE)
Looking over the ledge,
the sidewalk traffic starts to spread


Summer’s begun across the Bay
And no bit of silence remains


Oh, Brooklyn’s on fire,
and fills July hearts with desire
Sleep will not come, until the morn
Cause tonight your memories are born
La dee da, la dee da


And the band’s not begun just yet
(FOURTH OF, JULY, BROOKLYN’S, ON FIRE)
Fifty names you’re bound to forget
(FOURTH OF, JULY, BROOKLYN’S, ON FIRE)
Black and blue on the lakes
Wear badges from happier days
Late in the night, in ’84
Walked in through the old out door


Oh, Brooklyn’s on fire,
and fills July hearts with desire
Sleep will not come, until the morn
Cause tonight your memories are born
La dee da, dee da, dee da


This would be my favorite movie if Cameron Diaz and Leonardo di Caprio hadn’t done their best to fuck it up. Bill the Butcher FOREVER.
(FOURTH OF, JULY, BROOKLYN’S, ON FIRE)
(FOURTH OF, JULY, BROOKLYN’S, ON FIRE)


I’m caught in the way,
of tears from much happier days
When we were young and unafraid,
of stupid mistakes that we made


Oh, Brooklyn’s on fire,
and fills July hearts with desire
Sleep will not come, until the morn
Cause tonight your memories are born
Ladeeda, la dee da, dee da, dee da, dee da

Music Moment — Nicole Atkins, “Brooklyn’s on Fire!”

July 4, 2010

Portions of this post were originally published on September 26, 2009.

Happy Fourth of July to my fellow Americans, and, to those international friendohs from countries overseas to which our states once belonged as colonies — well, thanks for the memories. Days commemorating war always make me pray for peace. Here’s hoping that all nations can, in the words of the Beatles, come together. Also, twist and shout.

“Brooklyn’s on Fire!”, Nicole Atkins, Neptune City. I like this video here because it is made by someone in Brooklyn who likes Nicole Atkins and the 4th of july and baseball and likely all manner of things on which we could sit around and agree all day. Thank you, stranger! Your video’s view count has been dramatically affected by me since I found this last month!

Nicole Atkins is someone I stumbled over last year or maybe the year before after hearing one of her songs in a commercial and googling adtunes for days to find it. She has a really great, unique sound. She calls her music pop-noir.

She is a lion face, one of my favorite face types (all people look like an animal to me, or a blend of animals). I adore leonine women and I really love that she has a schnoz. It gives a woman character to have a big nose or a gap in her teeth, you know? It puts them that extra step past adorable into asymmetrically one of a kind, infinitely loveable. This goes for all of you. Love what you think are your flaws cause that’s probably the one part of you I seize on and fetishize most. I’m off topic. Back to this song.


Friday nights on the seventh floor
(FOURTH OF, JULY, BROOKLYN’S, ON FIRE)
Paper backs on the corner store
(FOURTH OF, JULY, BROOKLYN’S, ON FIRE)
Looking over the ledge,
the sidewalk traffic starts to spread


Summer’s begun across the Bay
And no bit of silence remains


Oh, Brooklyn’s on fire,
and fills July hearts with desire
Sleep will not come, until the morn
Cause tonight your memories are born
La dee da, la dee da


And the band’s not begun just yet
(FOURTH OF, JULY, BROOKLYN’S, ON FIRE)
Fifty names you’re bound to forget
(FOURTH OF, JULY, BROOKLYN’S, ON FIRE)
Black and blue on the lakes
Wear badges from happier days
Late in the night, in ’84
Walked in through the old out door


Oh, Brooklyn’s on fire,
and fills July hearts with desire
Sleep will not come, until the morn
Cause tonight your memories are born
La dee da, dee da, dee da


This would be my favorite movie if Cameron Diaz and Leonardo di Caprio hadn’t done their best to fuck it up. Bill the Butcher FOREVER.
(FOURTH OF, JULY, BROOKLYN’S, ON FIRE)
(FOURTH OF, JULY, BROOKLYN’S, ON FIRE)


I’m caught in the way,
of tears from much happier days
When we were young and unafraid,
of stupid mistakes that we made


Oh, Brooklyn’s on fire,
and fills July hearts with desire
Sleep will not come, until the morn
Cause tonight your memories are born
Ladeeda, la dee da, dee da, dee da, dee da

Valentine Vixen — Miss February 1955, Jayne Mansfield

February 28, 2010

Remember how Jayne Mansfield came up not once but twice over this month in the course of covering the Valentine Vixens, and I kept alluding to how she would appear later in her own extra-focused double-long entry later in the month? Totally keeping my promise right this second!

I have featured the lovely and talented Jayne Mansfield, actress, model and Playboy’s Miss February 1955, before as part of a “The Way They Were” feature, but here she is in her own right.


Photographed by Hal Adams.

There is so very much, true and untrue, written about Ms. Mansfield’s personal history vis-a-vis her men and her mammaries that I decided to try and stick with showing some rare pictures and lesser seen facets of the other, more real side of her personality, and try and feature some clever quotes from her.

Because, as with Pammy, I am totally effing sick of the persistence of the “dumb blonde” thing, and I feel like when people write about Ms. Mansfield, it is usually in passing reference to her body or to her fame only as a symbol of sex in cinema, and almost never dwells on what was beneath the surface of the image she spun in order to be a Hollywood “success.”

The measure of a woman, get it? Funny, yes. The pose is cute but no, that’s no way to gauge us. Here is a kernel of widsom from me to you; write it down and you will land yourself some foxy dates:

“A lady is always greater than the sum of her parts, no matter the greatness of some of those parts.” — E., Right Here, Right Now.

Take it to the bank! Don’t be intimidated. Get to know a woman, ask her about herself, remember the things she says, and you will very easily win her over. Okay? So back to Ms. Mansfield. A couple pithy quotes from the buxom blonde:

“A forty-one inch bust and a lot of perseverance will get you more than a cup of coffee—a lot more.”

and

“I like being a pin-up girl. There’s nothing wrong with it. When I’m 100 I’ll still be doing pin-ups.”

That last is a tough one since she died relatively young. Also,

“If you’re going to do something wrong, do it big, because the punishment is the same either way!”,

“Sure, I know men. Men are those creatures with two legs and eight hands.”

and, more seriously, on the subject of desegregation and Civil Rights,

“God created us equal and we’re not living up to it.”

Jayne was famously married to former Mr. Universe, wrestler and bodybuilder Mickey Hargitay, but she was not above a pageant or ten herself. Here’s some fun stuff that I cobbled together from various sources about Jayne’s own beauty contest career.

From the wiki: “While attending the University of Texas, she won several beauty contests, with titles that included Miss Photoflash, Miss Magnesium Lamp and Miss Fire Prevention Week.” During this time, she was also married to her first husband, Paul Mansfield. She studied dramatic arts in Austin, then acting at UCLA when she and Paul moved out to the West Coast.

The wiki claims that the only title she ever turned down was “Miss Roquefort Cheese,” because she believed that it “just didn’t sound right.” A biography site I found included a more complete list of her awards, and here are my hand-picked-for-how-bizarre-they-are favorites of the titles Ms. Mansfield held:

Miss Tomato, Miss Negligee, Miss Nylon Sweater, Miss Freeway, Miss Electric Switch, Miss Geiger Counter (?!?!), Miss 100% Pure Maple Syrup, Miss 4th of July, and, last but most certainly not least, Hot Dog Ambassador (hell, yeah, hot dogs!).


This is my favorite picture of Jayne Mansfield — she is so enrapt in a conversation, mid-sentence and animated, that I think it must be the closest thing to what she really looked like. Because she had such a manufactured image, I find this candid touching.

Other fact you may not know about Ms. Mansfield: the famously blonde babe also made a bombshell of a brunette! Jayne got in touch with her “roots” for the film Single Room Furnished, the picture on which she was working at the time of her death. Adapted from a play by Geraldine Sanford for Jayne by her then-husband Matt Cimber (by the time principal photography in NJ was done, Cimber and she were split and Jayne was dating Sam Brody, her attorney, who died with her), the movie was very slow to be released and was tough to find for a lot of years.


Click any to see large. Each one is unthinkably GIANT.

The imdb summarizes it as

Three stories in one: Johnie (Jayne Mansfield) is married, but her husband deserts her when she becomes pregnant. She changes her name to Mae and takes a job as a waitress. She falls in love, but her fiancé leaves her just as they’re about to get married. So Mae changes her name to Eileen and becomes a prostitute.

I’ve heard it’s actually okay, but I haven’t seen it. Anyone?

Thinking about those final years, her slow decline and her sudden death, is a real bummer, so here’s a couple shots from a much happier time:


At the Pink Palace on her wedding day to Matt Cimber, aka Thomas Vitale “Mateo” Ottaviono, September 24, 1964.

So, since the above pictures have raised the topic — Oh, my. The Pink Palace.

“I’ll have to have a palace, of course. I may not be a princess, but I am a movie queen, and every queen should have a palace.” — Jayne Mansfield

The house has become a part of the lore that surrounds Jayne’s “story,” with most people focusing on the heart-shaped tub, the pink walls, the fur carpets, the fountain of pink champagne, and so on, as evidence of what a Barbie Doll baked in a vanilla cupcake frosted with glitter she was alleged to be. But here is the real deal. Ms. Mansfield bought the Pink Palace in November of 1957 for a cool $76k after some very shrewd real estate backdoor bargaining. A 40-room mansion smack on Sunset Boulevard, the house was built in 1929 by highly regarded Los Angeles architecht G.C. McAllister and had previously been owned by singer Rudy Vallee. It could have gone for much, much more than what Ms. Mansfield wrangled as the end price. But it gets better.


Jayne in the driveway of the Pink Palace.

You need to understand that Jayne was a very specific type of famous. She did not land in big moving pictures so much as her big moving boobs landed her in printed pictures. She was not rated and weighed to be serious in the manner of someone like Audrey Hepburn or even Marilyn Monroe, but you can bet your ass that “Jayne Mansfield” was absolutely a household name. That’s because she was an accessible gal who could move her some magazines. Rags like People and Star were born in this post-war Hollywood boom — men, average men, wanted to ogle star boobies, and women, average women, wanted to read about how they did their makeup, and Jayne was willing to provide both.

Jayne Mansfield created the brand of Jayne Mansfield, made herself worth knowing about before actually having a lot of star credits to her name. In this stroke of genius, in her complete creative control of a public image that made her famous mainly for being famous, she is sort of the fairy godmother of a Hilton or a Kardashian; hell, she wore a transparent wedding dress when she got hitched to Mickey Hargitay, and she was manufacturing wardrobe malfunctions and nip slips when Janet Jackson was still a twinkle in her mother’s eye. At the apex of her career, Jayne actually sold her used bath water by the bottle for $10.00 a pop. Walter Winchell said of her that she was making a career simply “of being a girl,” which the same can be said for a lot of D-listers these days. But I do feel the need to add that I believe Jayne was not as empty-headed and low-class as the current crop of celebutard and I think she had more tinfoil and hardboiled brains in her elegant hot pink pinky nail than Paris Hilton has in her whole spray-tanned size 00 body.


Jayne “crashes” the party.

One really famous instance of Jayne’s cleverness with public relations was at a party thrown for Sophia Loren in 1957. Jayne stole the show by showing up braless in a very low-cut dress. Oops! Some of her decolletage spilled out, and suddenly the event swung from being about the lovely new Italian broad on the block to be focused solely on the Jayne Mansfield brand (available at a newsstand near you!). Above is a famous picture of Sophia grimly bird-dogging the shit out of Jayne, although I think she also looks faintly amused. The arch of her brows is almost a tip of the hat to Ms. Mansfield, as if to say, “Cheap. But well played.” I love it. It’s a pretty famous picture. The picture reminds me of when she went on The Tonight Show and Jack Paar, the forerunner of Johnny Carson, introduced her by saying, “Here they are: Jayne Mansfield!”

“Fucking-a!, how does this boobs-and-the-media history lesson relate to the Pink Palace?” you are asking, and I am saying, “Hall and Oates!, have some patience — it relates directly, and can you please clean up that language?” Okay, so. Parlaying this common-folks’ notoriety and fame in to lucrative wheeling-dealings, Jayne made phone calls and dangled phantom photoshoot promises to area interior decorators, asking for samples to use in her new famous residence. Tantalized by the possibility of a potential publicity relations juggernaut, decorators delivered by the truckload. Thanks to her fame and their greed, the clever Ms. Mansfield managed to decorate the entire mansion with over $150,000 worth of free stuff.

Most of it was in pink, the signature color of her public persona. However, privately she once wrote, “I’ve been identified with pink throughout my career, but I’m not as crazy about it as I’ve led people to believe. My favorite colors are actually neutrals — black and white — but then who thinks of a movie queen in black and white? Everything has to be in living color.” You see what I mean about complete awareness of the image, the public face, and her creative control over it? So much more to her than met the eye. The pink thing must not have been created completely out of whole cloth, though; Mariska Hargitay, star of Law & Order: SVU and Jayne’s daughter from her second marriage to body-builder Mickey Hargitay, remembered well enough her mother’s association with pink and her time with her in the Pink Palace that, in honor of her mother, she wore a pale pink wedding gown and a pink-gold heart-shaped locket when she walked down the aisle in 2004 with her husband, actor Peter Summer. (Whoa, there is dust in here again…so ridiculous, all this dust.)

Since Jayne’s tragic not-decapitating death, the Pink Palace has been owned by Ringo Starr, patron saint Mama Cass Elliot, and Englebert Humperdinck. It was demolished November 9, 2002.

This is Jayne’s actual headstone, at the Fairview Cemetery at Pen Argyl, Pennsylvania, where she was interred following her death June 29, 1967 (exactly thirty-five years before the death of my cousin Thomas which changed my life forever). There is a memorial cinotaph in the Hollywood Forever cemetery, but it has the incorrect date on it. This error is not the Jayne Mansfield Fan Club’s fault; true to loveable character, Ms. Mansfield had given out for many years the incorrect year of her birth in order to appear younger.


Pictures published in the mag from the set of this movie, Promises, got Hef and Playboy slapped with an indecency lawsuit and nearly shut them down — hot story for next time. Oooh, anticipation!

Besides her work on the screen and in print, a lasting legacy of Jayne’s tragic death in an automobile-tractor-trailer crash is the so-called Mansfield bar, a safety feature now standard on all tractor trailers.

The NHTSA began requiring an underride guard, a strong bar made of steel tubing, to be installed on all tractor-trailers. This bar is also known as a Mansfield bar, and on occasions as a DOT bar. (the wiki)

Over the course of her career, the lovely and talented (and, I hope I have convinced you, underratedly clever) Jayne Mansfield appeared in Playboy magazine over 30 times. You may visit Jayne’s star on the Walk of Fame at 6328 Hollywood Boulevard. As her gravestone says, “We live to love you more each day.” R.I.P., Ms. Mansfield.

Music Moment: “I’d like to sing this song especially for my little daughter.” Mama Cass — “Lady Love”

November 5, 2009

I truly love Cass Elliot and I have boatloads to say about her, another day. Right now I need to dash this off, hustle her through her morning routine and take my sweet little kidlet to kindergarten, and come home and tend to some chores around the house, so I’m scheduling this entry to appear much later today in case I decide on reflection that it needs editing.

Mama Cass Elliot – Lady Love

This song was written by Delaney Bramlett and was the B-side of the extremely successful 7″ single Make Your Own Kind of Music, featuring the eponymous A-side track “Make Your Own Kind of Music,” one of Mama Cass’s earliest solo efforts. (At this point she has hella outsold the Mamas and the Papas, besides being the whole reason they were popular to begin with. In your face, John, you monster … I’ll save that sauce for another day.)

The daughter she refers to at the beginning is Owen Vanessa Elliot, born in 1967, to whom Cass was a single mother until her early death.

Owen was only seven years old when her mother passed away, and Cass did not have the opportunity during her lifetime to reveal to her the identity of her father, which she’d also kept secret from most of her family and friends. I think it’s safe to assume she was waiting until her daughter was curious and emotionally mature enough to ask and receive the answer, and be okay and stable enough to handle whatever came next (like, you can’t lay such heavy stuff on a little kid from day one, don’t people see that??) but she unfortunately died before that time came. I don’t understand why everyone, even sympathetic biographers, gets up in her grill about that. Leave a bitch alone, people. Babymama drama is seriously some really heavy shit. I personally have weighed my options and always played it Cass’s way, and I don’t really care about anyone else’s opinion of the matter. It’s now between me and the kidlet and God, thank you very much, and thank you to my friends who know about it and understand.

Custody of Owen went to Cass’s sister Leah and Leah’s husband, drummer Russ Kunkel, after Cass’s death of a heart attack at 32 –which had nothing to do with choking nor a ham sandwich, and was a total tragedy for the entertainment world– and it ended up being, unexpectedly, Cass’s old bandmate Michelle Phillips who helped Owen track down her biological father in the mid-1980’s.

At some point in the mid-80s, when Owen Elliot was in her late teens, she called Michelle and said, “You have to help me find my father!” Michelle spent a year running down leads through musician friends.


Cass and Mitchie share a giggle on a plane during some of the tough years


Once she had pried loose the name Cass had kept so close to her vest, she placed an ad in a musicians’ publication, urging the man to call an “accountant” (hers), implying a royalty windfall. Like clockwork, Cass’s long-ago secret lover took the bait. When Michelle phoned him, she recalls, “he wasn’t all that shocked,” and, the next day, Owen says, “Michelle gave me a plane ticket and said, ‘Go meet him.’ ” (Owen and Michelle will not reveal the name. Owen says only, “I had envisioned this Norwegian prince.”)

The meeting “answered a lot of questions,” says Owen, who is now married to record producer Jack Kugell and has two children. Since then, she says, “there have been times when I’ve been devastatingly upset about things in my personal life, and I’ve really leaned on Michelle.

“She’s ironically been a mother to me in a way that would make my mom definitely chuckle.” — December 2007, Vanity Fair, “California Dreamgirl,” by Sheila Weller.

Anyways, I can’t believe that I have to type these lyrics up myself, that is a total trip to me, they are NOWHERE online. Maybe I’m just crappy at looking cause it’s so early in the morning. I’m happy to do it really quickly though. I’ll come back and fix typos later.

(spoken) I’d like to sing this song especially for my little daughter.

I don’t require a lot to make it
times are hard but I can take it
as long as I got my little someone to hold on to

I’ve been down but I don’t mind it
what I’ve lost I’m sure I’ll find it
as long as I’ve got my little someone to hold on to

A little sugar to sweeten my tea
A little girl just for me
Hard times I can rise above
With a little help from Lady Love

I’ve heard it said if you’re strong
you can make it all alone
but I’ve got to have my little someone to hold on to

A little sugar to sweeten my tea
A little girl to set me free
Hard times I will rise above
With a little help from Lady Love, Lady Love


She came along just in time
Time to ease my worried mind
and now I’ve got my little someone to hold on to

Well, time to go make sure my lady love has been getting dressed and brushing her teeth and hair all this time. Then we will sit and have breakfast and she’ll fill me in on the dramz with this boy she likes and her best friend (who has already stolen one guy: typical). Catch you on the flip side!

Music Moment: Nicole Atkins

September 26, 2009

Nicole Atkins is someone I stumbled over last year or maybe the year before after hearing one of her songs in a commercial and googling adtunes for days to find it. She has a really great, unique sound. She calls her music pop-noir. She can find the creepy in anything, but then she has these deeply layered compositions topped by her sparkly vocals that can be really wracked and tortured and low or soaring and pure, depending on the mood of the moment… she’s wonderfully trained and talented, it’s really good stuff. Plus she’s pretty!

Look at that prettiness! She is a lion face, one of my favorite face types (all people look like an animal to me, or a blend of animals). I adore leonine women and I really love that she has a schnoz. It gives a woman character to have a big nose or a gap in her teeth, you know? It puts them that extra step past adorable into asymmetrically one of a kind, infinitely loveable. This goes for all of you. Love what you think are your flaws cause that’s probably the one part of you I seize on and fetishize most. Christy Anne, the bump in your nose and your monkey hands, I have rhapsodized about this to you at length before. Miss D, your little dark-auburn colored freckles across the bridge of your nose and under your eyes so when you smile your cheeks lift them up, Sarah-fina’s crazy long fingers and peanut toes, the wicked arch that Panda Eraser’s magnificent eyebrows take on right before she’s about to say something wonderfully filthy, the way the LBC snorts and her collarbones seize up for a second and are more prominent above her breasts right before she bursts into laughter… so endearing. I love you all! I’m off topic. Back to Nicole Atkins.

I like this video here because it is made by someone in Brooklyn who likes Nicole Atkins and the 4th of july and baseball and likely all manner of things on which we could sit around and agree all day. Thank you, stranger! Your video’s view count has been dramatically affected by me since I found this last month!

Oh, Brooklyn’s on fire!,
and fills July hearts with desire
Sleep will not come until the morn
Cause tonight your memories are born
–“Brooklyn’s on Fire!”, Nicole Atkins, Neptune City.

Nicole Atkins is compared to a lot of musicians who are associated with the so-called “Brill Building Sound”, a sound that includes a lot of my favorite artists of the 50s, 60s, and 70s, but —

I realized these Music Moment posts tend to run really long because I like music way too much, and can’t bear to only give you half the story on someone I think is really special, so click here to keep reading about Nicole Atkins and watch her video for “Neptune City.” More videos, songs, and pictures of Nicole Atkins after the jump, including some truly unmissable hot and creative stuff!