Friday, October 31, 2008


Thursday, October 30, 2008

The Tragic Truth
The Smell that Must Not Speak Its Name

This is not a story for smug complacent wives! It's for you who cherish happiness... and seek to keep it!

People were talking...about how young Mrs. Smith had changed! In fact, how the Smith marriage had changed!

Those two had been the town's gayest, most devoted young couple. But now you seldom saw them together -- and she went about with smiling lips but tragic eyes.

The truth was that lovely young Mrs. Smith was losing her husband's love... the tragic part was she didn't know why! Click on ad below for the answer.

If this was so tragic, why didn't Douglas Sirk make a movie about it with Lana Turner or Lauren Bacall?

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

My Dad Could Skate Rings Around You...

This is one of my favorite films of my father. This is probably 1955 judging by my father's glasses and the newly constructed Kinzie grade school in the background. My father loved to skate and still has them hanging up in the garage. Several years ago he and his brothers Harold, George, Art would get together once a week and go to the suburban skating rink and go around and around for hours together. My mother really resented these outings my father did with his brothers. (She never liked my Uncle Art since 1966 when he got drunk and threw their anniversary cake down the basement stairs.) If I called and he wasn't there she would snort, "Your father isn't here. He's off acting like some kid for the afternoon with his brothers. I was glad they had this quality time together, because soon after he lost all of his brothers from some form of cancer.

Anyway, this was taken in Wentworth Park in Chicago. Do they still flood parks to make them ice skating rinks?

Recently I watched these home movies with my parents. My father commented on this film when we watched it how cold it was that day and how my mother froze her hands taking these movies.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

I love Despair Inc. Their posters mock those sappy inspirational posters that you see while waiting for a job interview or going to see your doctor. I thought this one was appropriate. "Never Before Have So Many People With So Little To Say Said So Much To So Few."

Their calendars make great gifts... Christmas is coming...

h/t Dave White

Sunday, October 26, 2008

House Party -
Home Movies

I suppose that there is nothing more horrifying than to be asked , "Do you want to watch some home movies?" Badly shot scenes of people smiling blankly into the camera, wandering around, wide slow pans of scenery. It's like watching French cinema!

I'm going ask you to indulge me in joining me as I post some of my family's 8mm home movies. Unlike most things home movies just get better with age. My parents filmed everything during this period of their life; fishing trips, birthdays, Thanksgiving dinners, vacation trips. My only regret is that I'm not in many of our home movies. Out of the five hours of home movies I'm only about a half hour.

My mother was a very good photographer. I remember we had all those "How to Make Home Movie" books around the house. And she followed them to the letter. Smooth pans. Good cuts. I can always tell when someone else has the camera in their hands. What she captured on film is an amazing document of the times and the history of my family. I'm so glad that I have it. And glad that I transferred it to tape several years ago. I asked my father recently where the films were, because I could do a better job these days with a digital camera. He said, "I've no idea. I might have thrown them out!" So much for family history.

I'm not sure what the circumstances were for this particular party; I watched this with my father recently and he laughed to see the amount of liqour bottles piled by the couch. My father is the dark haired man pretending to drink the two bottles of whiskey. My mother is the woman who almost gets knocked in the jaw by the pool cue. The other guys are my uncles Harold and Art. The man in the t-shirt is Bill, my parent's best friend. The woman he's kissing at the beginning isn't his wife, she's the blond drinking shots down the way...

I asked my father, "Who is Bill kissing..." "That's his wife's cousin..." Man! Scandalous.

I've hours of this stuff. So expect more to come... Sorry, I'll supply the chips and beer while you watch...

Go Vote...

Eight Years Later

Saturday, October 25, 2008

The Winter is Cold... It's Cold!
Finally, I'm getting around to transferring some video, as if I don't have enough to transfer. Anyone who has any good links to video transferring info sites, please pass them on to me. I'm having sound syching problems.

This video is from 2002. Bric-a-Brac was asked to perform on the long running cable access show Chic-a-Go-Go. It's actually quite an honor to be on this show. Wicker Park hipsters and their kids dance around to rock and rap songs, and then a band is brought in to lip sync to one of their songs.
The Winter is Cold is always a fun song to perform; I never screw up the words. I found it on a album by a 1960's sisters group called Wendy and Bonnie. Got to love the sister groups. This is the 2002 band line up, with Seamus Harmey on violin, and Evelyn Weston on musical saw. Only Mike, Larry and myself are left from the original members. If you like this, you can buy our album on CD Baby.

We are planning on working on a new album, but it's been difficult getting everyone back together.

Oh, the video reminded me about a couple things. First my hair. I had long hair for about five years by this point. After I saw myself on this show I cut it. It was looking a little too thin on the top. But I still miss it. Perhaps I should start wearing wigs.

And the coat is made out of beaver fur. Randy gave it to me when some girlfriend of his gave it to him. He didn't like it; thought it was too 'gay' It actually reverses so that the outside is beaver leather. I'm sure it's really expensive. I'm not exactly anti-fur, but I'd never buy one for myself and I have felt conspicuous when I've worn it. I only drag it out when the temperature falls below zero. At that point, the anti-fur advocates be damned...I'm cold; It's the world's warmest coat.

One night it was a horribly cold. I'd gone to see Johnny Mathis at the Chicago Theatre. Where else could I wear a beaver skin fur coat without it being out of place? Afterwards, a friend of mine was having a birthday party at a bar called The Eagle. The Eagle is a hard core leather bar where they have a strict "leather only" dress code. I didn't want to go, but Vic told me that they'd let me in the front bar, I just couldn't go in the back. However, the doorman took one look at me in my beaver leather skin, fur lined, coat and conservative suit and he wouldn't let me in. I said, I was only going to come in for a drink in the front bar which was empty except for about five people who were there for the birthday drinks. But he got stern and said that only people in leather could come into the bar. "Well" I said, "it's your loss, 'cause I'm a big drunk!"

Original Wendy and Bonnie Version.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Jonesing for Some Joans

I love this ad I found. Click on photo for large version. Joan will personally sign your check. I'm hoping that somewhere a rabid fan decided not to cash in her $10 and it is now a beloved family memento. And what a contest: Just tell Joan what you think of her personality and ways to improve her screen work. I'm sure many a scream was heard in the Hollywood Hills the night Joan and her staff read the responses. The biggest Joan fan I know is David Cerda. He's written many a nice thing about me on his Hell in a Handbag blog; so I thought I'd gush about him for a while. I've known David for only a couple years, but we've had mutual friends for a long time. But it wasn't until I started this blog that we found out we had so many common interests.

David is the artistic director for Hell in Handbag Productions. Handbag and their troupe are a fabulous and fantastic group of people who have put on some of the best satirical comedies I've ever seen. I was introduced to them for the first time when I went to see their production of Poseidon: The Musical. Years ago, I dabbled in writing a musical parody production of Psycho (videos coming soon); After seeing Poseidon I remarked that it was exactly what I was striving to achieve with my musical and failed. Great songs, amazing cast, and at the heart of it a feeling that they really loved the original material. It was a tribute and not a cardboard cut out.

Over the years I've been amazed again and again. Never more so when I saw their production of The Birds. On top of it being very funny, it was also a thoughtful insight into Tippi Hedren's experience making the film. The night I saw it Tippi was there and did a short cameo where she talks to her on-stage persona. Other troupes might have exploited the moment; but this was touching as the real Tippi told her younger self that things would get better. David is, as Joan might have said herself, "One hell of a writer".

But where David really shines is on stage and recently along with running the company he is currently starring in Haywire. A homage to Joan's later horror classics Straight Jacket and Berserk. It runs through November 15th. Go see it! I've not seen it yet, so I can't gush about it.

And if that isn't enough Joan to put in your shopping basket, David is also the front man (woman) for a Joan Crawford Rock and Roll band called The Joans. Originally started as a one shot band thing for Gary's Flesh Hungry Dog Show; It was such a big hit that every since they have been performing all over Chicago. They were recently asked to play at the Folsom Fair in San Francisco! (Favorite blogger Aaron is their drummer and blogs about their trip HERE.) Their songs of course are all about Joan Crawford.

I don't know how David has the energy to do all this. I swear I can barely clean my bathroom when people come over for movie night. But I'm glad he does. He's truly one of the people in Chicago who makes it worth being here. However, I'm sure that David would like you to tell him frankly in your own language just what you think of his personality suggesting if you wish ways he may improve his work. I'm sure he'll even send you a personal check if he likes your answer.

The Joans

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Drive Time Voice Mail

Randy has left the small town radio station that he won the award for best personality in Wisconsin small market radio. I wrote about it in this April Post. HERE. So in place of doing his show I've been getting voice mails like this comment about one of my posts.


A conversation with Graeme about squirrels brought to mind this bit of forgotten ephemera that I've had in my personal stash for some time. In 1996, I visited Atlanta with my then boyfriend. He was friends with the creator of Baby Sue comix. He had a quirky sense of humor and would go around Atlanta and put up these fake Lost/Found signs. Another one had a photo of a snarling poodle with the caption in broken English: Have you seen Ling Ling's Head? Someone Come in yard and take her head.

Anyway, this was on my refrigerator for years and it always made me laugh.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

As Things Weren't Bad Enough...
'who put this dick on my back...'

RIP Edie Adams

Last week we lost another pop icon Edie Adams. Edie fits into that niche of actress that seems to have gone the way to the dodo bird. The beautiful sexy woman who was funny, could sing, act and I'm assuming could fix her own sink if she had to.

Known in the 50's as Ernie Kovak's wife and straight woman, she had to rebuild her life out of nothing when she found herself alone with a child and in debt. Probably known best to people of a certain age as the Muriel Cigars girl, but I remember her best as Sid Caesar's wife in It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World. About five years ago, I was lucky enough to be treated by my pal Dan to see a 40th anniversary screening at the Cinerama Torchlight Theatre on that gigantic screen. (Lanie Kazan and Michelle Lee were sitting a few rows behind me - now that's how a movie is meant to be seen!) We arrived breathlessly almost late because of the horrible L.A. traffic (there was a transit strike on so it was worse than usual). We ran in and Dan almost stepped right into Edie. There she was glass cane in hand all dolled up to watch that movie probably for the nine thousandth time. What a great evening!

Dan has also shown me some amazing clips from her specials. I hope they'll be rediscovered someday so this incredible performer can get the kudos she deserved.

Here is one of my favorites from Dan's collection of her commercials.

and Click HERE for a touching tribute to her by of all people Tommy Chong.
Here is a lovely song by her on the final episode of I Love Lucy. This is class.

See below for the Edie Adams Jukebox.


Sunday, October 12, 2008

Men Behaving Badly

It's been a while since I've posted something with women being put down for not having basic housewife skills. I think this fills my quota for a while. These Folger commercials are unusual because they are Mrs. Olson free.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Hey Everyone I'm Gay!
Today is National Coming Out Day!

There I've said it! Whew...

I came out in the late 80's after I'd finally moved away from my parents at the ripe age of 24. I knew I was, but never really acted on it out of fear and self-denial. Then I met Jason who was a long haired, blond free spirit, and I was completely smitten. Of course, he could have cared less about about me and I was broken hearted for a long time; but the gay cat had been let out of the bag and it couldn't stuff it back in. I think Gloria was the first person that I told and her response was "Oh everyone knows that. They were just waiting for you to admit it..." Years later I ran into Jason in a bar. It was around the time that the Ellen show was dealing was her coming out. The storyline was that Ellen was in love with Laura Dern and her feelings for Dern make her realize that she's been denying these feelings all her life. I told Jason that I was thankful to him because he was my Laura Dern. If it weren't for him who knows when I would have run across a long haired pretty blond guy I would have fallen for...

or I would have had to have waited until I watched this commercial.

Monday, October 06, 2008

The Digital Conversion.

It's been years since I've watched regular TV, so I feel blessed that I won't have to go through this digital conversion process. The paranoid, Dr. Strangelove in me knows this is just a way for the government to monitor my activities and probably there is an underground bunker where groups of men and women in matching jumpsuits would be watching me watch The Simpsons in my underwear.

At work, because I'm the 'computer guy', I'm already getting people coming up to me with questions about this box. People tend to think that if it plugs into a wall I'm an expert on it. So this video made me laugh. And the elderly actress in it is absolutely adorable.

h/t Land-O-Links

Saturday, October 04, 2008


Last week, Graeme saw this lovely handmade wallet on He had thought of giving it to Doris whom he's gotten to know since he moved into my building a few months ago. Doris is known as the squirrel lady in the neighborhood; always making sure that they have little tuna tins of water under the trees, giving them sugar cookies, and generally making them do her bidding whenever she wants. There is a small park across the street where she is the high mistress of her squirrel kingdom, where she rules over her minions of Ralphies. (Oh did I forget to mention she has named them all Ralphie.) It's eerie, you can feel dozens of eyes staring at you when you pass through the park. If you stand too long they come out and demand that you give them some food. Doris has created a park full of spoil brat wild creatures.

Needless to say, he thought this wallet would be a perfect gift. Especially because along with the squirrel on the front of the bill fold there is a special "No Hunting" notice carved on the back. He won the bid and it arrived a couple days ago. The wallet was all that was promised with its leather hand tooled drawing of what looks like a squirrel choking on something. But what was surprising was that he found in the bill fold a crumbling, badly typed letter from the original owner that recounts a crime and the strange circumstances in which he was given the wallet.THE LETTER:

When I was Marshal in Jameston, on a night of Nov 4-64 this happened, Amos Holt, London Ky, and brother Ray both now living in Boone Co, Ind. and a friend that worked with them was drinking in Lebanon and were thrown out of a Club there. Then the brother's wanted to go hunting, Oliver Borton, their friend said we would go hunting down by Jamestown. They went to Harry Hoovermales farm south of Jamestown. Ray started to release a female dog and Amos objected, said not to she would get lost, Ray said he would turn her loose if he wanted to, she was his, the brothers got into a fight. Amos drew a knife and cut his a 5 in gash over the right kidney on his back. Borton drove into town. I was contacted, went to where the car was parked, Amos in the back seat holding his brother stated a stranger cut his brother while in the woods. Borton standing beside the car whispered that is not so, Amos cut his brother and shown me the knife laying on the back fender where he lay it. I called sheriff, also my deputies and the three were taken to Lebanon, Amos to jail. Ray to hospital, doctors stated he could see Ray's kidney when sowing him up.

Amos very mean, may have some mental trouble, must be watched all the time when in custody.

Nov 5, the father and sister contacted me, I think they had come up from Ky. We talked about the trouble and the father gave me this bill fold, stated his daughter made them. To my knowledge both brothers still live in Boone Co.

Graeme is keeping the wallet. (And thanks Graeme for letting me share this weird thrift find.)

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

The Way We Were...

My friend Andy is cleaning out his parent's attic and has been finding a lot of photos of me from the early 90s. Here his old girlfriend Pat O'Donnell made me up from some performance as a cat...