Saturday, June 13, 2009

Hello fellow students in Web 2.0

As you can see, it's been quite a while since I've posted on my blog. The work/school/fun balance can be challenging and doesn't always leave a lot of time for blogging. Hopefully, this class will inspire me to get things up and running again.

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Old time mountain music

Lately, I've been listening to a lot of old time Appalachian music: Clarence Ashley, Roscoe Holcomb, and others, and in looking for lyrics and music for old time songs to play on my nearly homemade mountain dulcimer (read: a kit that requires no woodworking skills) I found this wonderful blog of Henry Queen's about Appalachian music. In addition to lyrics and songs and historical information, it also has a lot of information about the Queen family (you might have caught the documentary about the Queens on PBS last year) and their book and CD releases. Something to check out if you like that old timey sound.

Friday, July 27, 2007

Anita O'Day at the 1958 Newport Jazz Festival

Here's an amazing performance by Anita O'Day from the documentary Jazz on a Summer's Day by Bert Stern. This is a great performance of Sweet Georgia Brown and Tea for Two by Anita O'Day and the shots of the stylish jazz fans in the audience (check out those fabulous duds!) are incredible! Could the 50s have been any cooler? I don't think so.

More clips from Jazz on a Summer's Day can be found at Youtube. The DVD can also be rented from Netflix or bought "wherever DVDs are sold."

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Summer Camp: Images of Vacations Past

While researching historical information for a project at work, I found two wonderful things. One, this photograph and, two, that there are some great photographs and postcards of the old camps and inns in the local mountains around California that have been digitized for our viewing pleasure.

Today, people go camping. They sit around in uncomfortable chairs, swill beer, sleep on rocky ground, and cook indigestible food. Occasionally, they leave their parking space sized camp site for a hike or a swim. But in the first half of the twentieth century, people Camped. They went to wonderful places like Camp Baldy and stayed in little bungalows and hiked and fished and went swimming and had campfires complete with songs sung by women like this very stylish cowgirl here. They roughed it without being macho about it. They slept in beds. They let others cook for them. They went horseback riding and probably engaged in homey handicraft activities. It was vacation, for God's sake.

Being addicted to local history and in love with the charmingly dorky vacation spots of the past, since my recent discovery I have spent too many potentially profitable hours imagining what it would be like to vacation in the local mountains at a camp with a 1940s country/western theme or the ever popular Alpine theme. Here's something I wished I'd experienced firsthand:
The Mountain Home Inn must have been something. I can almost hear yodeling and the sounds of Swiss bell ringers.

Today, if you go hiking into the local mountains you can often see what's left of the old mountain camps and inns, but they are no more. In an attempt to partly satisfy your wanderlust (regrettably, I can do nothing about the space/time continuum) you can go to Calisphere's extensive collection of photographs and postcards of all aspects of California history and life. Just type in mountain inns or mountain camps or the names of specific places or camps and the Pomona Public Library has a collection of old postcards of Southern California mountains and camps taken by local photographer Burton Frasher.

Saturday, July 7, 2007

Francoise Hardy: Tous les garcons et les filles

I just thought I would share a video for one of my favorite Francoise Hardy songs. I've seen two videos for this one, both of them wonderful, but I think the whole melancholic "girls on carnival rides in winter" thing got me. If you like this you should check out some of the other Hardy videos posted on Youtube. I would suggest: Le temps de l'amour, Mon amie la rose, All over the world, Ma jeunesse fout l'camp, La maison ou j'ai grandi as well as the other version of Tous les garcons et les filles. Enjoy!

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

I Remember Television on KVCR

If you live in the Southern California area you may be unaware that there are other PBS stations besides KCET. Obviously less monied than KCET and significantly less sophisticated as a result, San Bernardino County's KVCR has an interesting program line-up, one that seems almost curiously well suited to the media eccentric. Like all second (or even third) tier PBS stations, KVCR seems to specialize in television from the recent past, airing with charming regularity the BBC hits from ten years ago alongside current PBS staples like Charlie Rose and American Experience. Sadly, they also show all the typical musical schlock that PBS seems to specialize in as well. Recent developments in PBS musical programming seem to suggest that they have thrown over campy cappellmeister Andre Rieu for Shanghai's 12 Girls Band. The result is just as painful as ever, but I digress.

Amongst this random collection of PBS detritus is a charmingly eccentric homespun retro-focused show called I Remember Television. Hosted by "broadcast historian" Ed Rothhaar, I Remember Television features old game shows, sitcoms, and variety shows from the 1940s and 1950s, regularly showing episodes of The Dinah Shore Show and What's My Line? as well as sitcoms like My Friend Irma and specials like Four Star Playhouse. I've spent many a happy hour watching Boris Karloff dance with proto-goth-beatniks to the Chevrolet jingle "See the USA in your Chevrolet" at the closing of a special Halloween episode of Dinah Shore or Bennett Cerf breaking into the middle of an episode of What's My Line? to light up an impromptu (read heavily staged) cigarette in order to advertise Chesterfields. TV was different then and here's your chance to experience it.

Though the KVCR website has everything you ever wanted in the way of CHP traffic reports, USGS earthquake monitoring, and National Weather Service reports, they are amazingly short on scheduling information and background promotional information on their own programming. Mr. Rothhaar does maintain a single page listing his programs for the coming month, however, and I urge you to take a peek at it. A final word, beware the crazy stargazing guy who comes on immediately after the show. He worries me. I'm not sure he should be out walking around.

Sunday, June 3, 2007

Happy Birthday to the legendary Josephine Baker

Singer, dancer, and jazz age celebrity extraordinaire, Josephine Baker was a true original. Check her out in this clip of her performance of "Haiti" from the 1934 film Zou Zou courtesy of YouTube:

"I wasn't really naked. I simply didn't have any clothes on. "
- Josephine Baker