Wednesday, February 28, 2007

IF, only...

During my tenure at Zayre. we still carried actual records. At one point we got in about 3 boxes of the Telly Savalas album "Hair Today, Gone Tomorrow, where the song featured in this clip is from. The albums were priced at .49 cents and I believe that we sold 2 or 3. Which was probably more than we sold of the Chad Everett album, "Chad" Which we had about five boxes. (Note: I just checked and someone is selling "Chad" for $99 on ebay. Telly is going for from .99 - $24.00. I guess I should have snatched up the Chads.)
The song If was #1 in Europe for ten weeks, and I recall it was on the play list of WLAK (the sixth great lake) for a while.
Warning: This video is not NOW approved...

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Crumbling Beauty

Years ago I found this scrap book at an estate sale. It's wonderful. It's circa 1929-32; And is a look into what a movie fan cut out and pasted into a book. The photos and the people are so beautiful and fragile. Every time I take it out it crumbles just a little bit. I'm proud that from the mists of time I can share these little bits of Hollywood past through the eyes of a scrapbooker. (click on photos for bigger views)

This person was a big "Joan Crawford" fan....

Happy Oscar Weekend...

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Finally! I'm no longer a Podcast virgin!

I finally worked out all the issues and I've created my first Podcast.

Thanks to David Cereda for pointing me to Peter Mavrik of Windy City Queer Cast , and Bill Phair of Judy Cast who where dolls to get me on the podcasting road.

Go here to pick up the first ephosode.

It was a lot of work, much more than just typing down thoughts. And I think I sound super NPR gay... but I guess all those years of working at This American Life rubbed off on me...

Egads... now for a glass of wine and to bed...

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Willow's Song or the post of the blatant plug.

As I must have mentioned before for several years I was part of a band called Bric-a-Brac. I started it in 1997 with Mike Armstrong. The whole premise of the band was to play songs that were little known. Sort of like a good mix tape of odd songs that you'd make for a friend. The video I've posted is our version of "Willow's Song". The song itself is hundreds of years old, but it was re adapted for the original "Wickerman" movie, and famously sung naked by Britt Eckland. I've not seen the re-make, but I can't imagine it out doing the out and out strangeness of the original: Part mystery, part musical, part horror movie.

Heard on this cut besides my vocals, are Mike Armstrong, guitar, Larry Blustain, piano, Erik Johnson, bass, Seamus Harmey, violin, and Evelyn Westin on musical saw. The video was a mishmash of video clips Mike and Erik did on my porch one summer night using my 70's fiber-optic sparkle light, and a macrame clown that we named Clowny.
Clowny was made by some distant family member and for some reason my mother gave it me. Most of his nose has been pulled out over the years, but he still retains most of his inert creepiness.

If you like this song and you are interested in buying a copy of the bric-a-brac album "16 Luxury Units" we've just put it up for sale on

Monday, February 19, 2007

What the well-dressed dandy wore, circa 1938
or Mrs. Bunny Wall's quest to effete the American male.

Mrs. Bunny Wall's spring/summer fashions were featured in Life Magazine. I think she was designing for either Noel Coward and/or his boyfriends. Here our model wearing his "tropical panties" ponders the letter he will write his long suffering wife in New England.

In the next frame you can see he is being eyed by the local rough trade in their "Play suits", while he re-reads "Giovanni's Room" in his all-day shoe sandals.
This photo sort of surprised me. I hadn't thought men in tight latex trucks would be in a popular magazine until the 80s. Or maybe in "After Dark Magazine" in the 70s.
I have to ask, was Tennessee Williams a photographer for Life Magazine in 1939? These photos have Suddenly Last Summer written all over them. And Bayard Dillingham has to be my favorite new name.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Some craft items to take your mind of of not having sex this Valentine's Day -- Via "Woman's Household" First -- Nothing says 'help me' more than Decoupage

Don't you know someone more depressed than you who would love an old oatmeal box pasted with construction paper hearts...?
Or how about an Andy Warhol candy conversation hearts holder.
Hang this mobile valentine centerpiece while you read your sweetie a lovely poem about your tools. Watch the sparks fly...
Written in lower right corner:
Of all the workroom tools I know
Mine are the dandiest
Of all the tinkering fools I know
I'm the unhandiest
I'd give my all to use an awl
But I'm a dope with it
In fact, you never saw a man
Less ambidextrous
I hope to heck a carpenter
Moves in right nextr-ous

and finally, a Valentine's Day scooper - for all your scoopin' needs.
Happy Valentine's Day...

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Scrap booking Circa 1977

I've been working on my other blog, where I'm transferring my diary from 1977. In it I mention working on my scrapbook. Having not thought about this book for years, when I was at my parents last week I rummaged through the musty corner of the basement where I've been storing some long forgotten items. My scrapbook, like my diary is a peak into my 13 year old mind; Cluttered, badly laid out, and loosely taped to cheap paper, it's a collection of whatever was immediately taking my attention. Case in point, the clipping above, Donnie and Marie, a Richard Boone dinosaur movie, Farrah, Shirley MacClaine, Burt and Ernie and Harold Gould all find a place.

My scrapbook started because I had started to tack, glue photos around my room and bedroom mirror. It drove my mother nuts, so she made me take everything down and put them in this scrapbook. I guess I should be grateful, because there's some fun ephemera on these crumbling photos.

The above bumper stickers were from a campaign to vote to whether the Trix rabbit could finally eat Trix. According to the Topher Breakfast Cereal Guide, he'd won his campaign and was able to eat the cereal. At the time this vote was very important to me; at least more important than the Ford/Carter vote. Why the rabbit could not eat the Trix was frustrating for me for years; finally the nation had spoken, "Let the rabbit eat the sugar coated wheat!"

Dinah! Was an afternoon staple for years. Like Mike Douglas it was colorful and quiet; with Dinah asking the most non-offensive questions in the most pleasant way possible. I miss TV like that...

When Things Were Rotten was Mel Brooks first TV series since Get Smart. The critics that year all touted this as the new hit for the year. However, they put it opposite Little House on the Prairie and Tony Orlando and Dawn, it only lasted 12 weeks. I recall it being extremely funny, but then again I was 13.

There was a time when you couldn't turn on NBC without seeing McLean Stevenson on something. After he left MASH he tried to come back with the flop The McLean Stevenson Show... The closest we have to him today would be Jennifer Aniston.

Poor Shields and Yarnell; it was as if because mimes had gotten their own variety show was one of the signs of the Apocalypse. They were universally hated. I think I must have loved their show because I have two full pages dedicated to photos of them; Their show was a poor man's Donnie and Marie. I vaguely recall finding Robert Shields attractive in a manly bushy hair'd way. Note: Robert Shields is now the owner of a jewelry design company in Arizona, they got divorced in 1986. According to they are going to tour again; Lord help us all.

"Sorting It Out" was a light-news magazine that ran on the NBC affiliate Channel 5 on Saturday's at 6:30. Shelley Long, started out in Chicago as the Homemaker's Furniture Girl. From the popularity of the commercials she got this show with the Sportscaster Bob (King of the Comb-Over) Smith. They would do things like go to the Tootsie Roll Factory or meet someone with a strange hobby. Then Shelley would make Bob laugh; my mother and sister always speculated that Bob was in love with Shelley.

The Montefuscos was another butt of many a Johnny Carson joke. For some reason because of the success of the Godfather movies NBC thought that a Italian family comedy was just what the nation was clamoring for. Again, I think it lasted 6 weeks.

I included these two photos as an addendum to my post about Mary Hartman. Debralee Scott just pass away recently; According to her bio she just went to sleep and then didn't wake up. Her fiance had died in the World Trade Center. Bruce Solomon was a typical 70's heart throb, big head, big nose, hairy chest, and very sexy eyes. I always thought he'd become a big star.

I'll continue to scan more of these treasures in over the next few weeks, if only because now that I've take the scrapbook out of it's plastic the pages are turning to dust!


Tuesday, February 06, 2007

RIP Frankie Laine

Sorry if this is getting like the celebrity death corner, but I could not let the passing of another 50s crooner go unmentioned. I've never been the biggest Frankie Laine fan; like all those Columbia Records artists under the direction of Mitch Miller, his songs were all a bit too novelty for my tastes. My favorite from this period is a song he did as a duet with Doris Day called How Lovely Cooks the Meat. My pals Heather McAdams and Chris Ligon did a lip sync of it for one of my shows. Click here to hear the Day/Laine version.

When ever I think of Frankie Laine story I recall that once I while driving to work WJJD, the Music Of Your Life station deejay made an announcement. He said that a family was gathered around the bed of their father in the hospital. The old man was dying and he had one last request to hear "That Lucky Old Sun". I just lost it once the song began to play.

So for that I'll always remember Frankie Laine.

RIP Mr. Laine.


Hearing of Barbara McNair passing this week brought back a bunch of UHF memories. She was the first African-American woman to host her own variety show. I don't think I can ever think of her without thinking of constantly trying to adjust the big O antenna to get rid of the ghost images that would haunt our black and white television set.

It's fabulous to see this color... and it's a terrific medley.

Courtesy of MusicOnTV

Sunday, February 04, 2007

My Favorite Aunt

My favorite aunt passed away this week at the age of 90. Aunt Cecila was always fun to be around; she had a soft purr of a voice, not unlike Peggy Lee. During the 60s, our families would rent cabins in Wisconsin; While everyone was on the boats fishing Aunt Cecila and I would sneak back into the cabin to watch Liberace. Her husband (my mother's brother) Tony was a loud, obstinate, hard drinking Polish man who hated that she wanted to spend her time watching movies. I remember him crashing into the cabin once and slapping off the television telling her not to watch that 'fairy' and to go do the dishes. I think that was the same summer she accidentally dyed her hair bright green.

(Uncle Tony - Seen here smashed at one of my parent's New Years Eve parties)

I hadn't seen her since Tony's funeral about 20 years ago. But my memories of her are always of an extremely kind and full of life woman. I have a great 8mm film of her crazily dancing around like a flapper in one of those Wisconsin cabins. I think that's how I'll remember her...
RIP Aunt Cecila.