Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

2010 Holiday Season

It kicked off last Saturday on Dauphin Island , Alabama. If you have never been to Dauphin Island you need to check it out. I have enjoyed it all my life, it was a regular party spot during high school.

But, I'm talking about the 2010 Mardi Gras season. It is upon us. Dauphin Island put on two parades last weekend due to a cancellation from the previous week. I didn't see either parade, but that did not matter I could feel the vibes all the way in Downtown Mobile.

The Mystic Fish held it's 18th annual Open House at their float barn. Dogs were on the grill. BBQ, Beer and Bloody Mary's were enjoyed while the production of this years Fish Float got started. A good time was had by all and good progress was made on the float.

With the Fish Parade falling on Valentines Day this years theme will surly be in tune with this "lovers" holiday. As you can see this years float will have huge lips in a permanent pucker. Ready to give and receive many kisses.

These photos will give you a good idea of how the float committee constructs a float. Enjoy and stay tuned for more progress reports.

Sunday, January 17, 2010


Last year while in New Orleans to see the Indians parade, Stacey and I spent a couple hours in the Beckham's Bookshop in the Quarter. Most trips we take include visits to bookshops. Used bookshops usually. In used bookshops you can hang out as long as you want, everyone does. In a used bookshop it's hard to tell the difference between the folks working and the folks shopping.

On this day we were enjoying our coffee in a warehouse district coffee shop, deciding what we would do that day. We knew we wanted to find a bookshop and figured there had to be some cool ones in the Quarter. It didn't take long, we walked right off Canal St. into Beckham's at 228 Decatur St.

I purchased a few books that day. Most of the local variety. I remember there was lot's to chose from and I couldn't get all I wanted. No cookbooks. I did come across a book by J.D. Salinger.

Franny and Zooey. It was written in 1955. It is novel that appeared in the New Yorker in two parts. It's a lovely little short read about a large, nutty family, focusing on the two youngest children. Franny and Zooey Glass. They are both college aged and way to smart for their own good. Most of the novel takes place in the families apartment on the upper west side of Manhattan. It's sort of a philosophical story and it's real wordy. Not so much of either that you can't enjoy. Slainger worte many stories about members of the Glass family, most taking place in NYC.

Franny and Zooey is all over for $4. That's used and that does include shipping.

Monday, January 11, 2010


So, not long after the review below was published in the NY Times Lil Lady (aka stacey) and I went to Manhattan to see this play. I remember I had read a small piece in the New Yorker on a play about Elvis at the Joesph Papps Public Theater. It was part of a program where actors who had studied their craft at the Joesph Papps Public Theater returned and did a show of their own. Kind of an actor in residence program.

We saw a play named "HIM".  Christopher Walken wrote and starred in HIM. We were lucky to see it as it played for a very short time.  I remember I read a small blurb in the New Yorker and I remember it was about a dead Elvis and I remember I wanted to see it. I called for tickets, this was 1995 and I wasn't on the internet. I called the theater and they said sorry, sold out.  The nice lady selling tickets told me that maybe they would add a show, but I had to call back. Beleive it or not one day not long after that I called back and another show had been added. I ordered two tickets, Stacey and I went and saw the show that is reviewed below.  After all these years the review sounds a lot like I remember the play was.

THEATER REVIEW: HIM; Walken Conjures Up The King


Published: January 6, 1995, Friday

The place is limbo, the time an unspecified present. At the start of "Him," Christopher Walken's woozily conceived, fantastical new play, Elvis Presley (Mr. Walken), identified as Him in the program, looks rather more trim than when he left us more than 17 years ago as a bloated wreck of a man, dependent on chemicals and disconnected from the reality of day.

He wears an understated Las Vegas jumpsuit and cape of what seems to be green velvet, cut full, though he no longer has a belly to hide. He's surprisingly healthy, and he's definitely fed up. He's furious with Bro (Rob Campbell), his runty twin brother, who was still-born all those years ago and whom he now accuses of feeding on his "oceanic public memory." It's Bro, he says, who's responsible for the trashy stories of Elvis sightings that litter the supermarket tabloids. "It's just fun," says Bro. "They want you to come back."
According to "Him," he may well be here.

As the Elvis legend calls the faithful to his Graceland shrine in Memphis, it has called Mr. Walken to write and star in this jocular contemplation of mythomania, presented in the style of the theater of the absurd. "Him," which I saw at a Tuesday preview, opened officially last night at the LuEsther Hall of the Joseph Papp Public Theater. If you want to see "Him," however, you'll have to put on your name-brand running shoes: it closes Sunday night. This is not the critics' fault. The play, which has the look and sound of a work in progress, has been in public previews since Dec. 13.

Presented without an intermission, "Him" begins with a certain amount of dizzy promise and ends, approximately 75 minutes later, with the only sequence in the play that comes close to realizing it. In between, "Him" is cluttered with murky thoughts expressed in windy speeches, illustrated by anecdotes that have no point, though the general idea seems not to be a foolish one.

When he died in 1977 or, as "Him" suggests, when he engineered his own disappearance, Elvis had become an absurd figure in an absurd world made in the image of Las Vegas. Here was someone overwhelmed by time and drugs. Though surrounded by adoration, he was isolated and alone, dogged by the fame that forced him to have his teeth cleaned at 4 A.M. Absurd, indeed, is any such god who has no other god but him.

Though the play's running time is short, "Him" often seems longer than both parts of "Angels in America." As directed by Jim Simpson on Kyle Chepulis's handsomely spare platform set, it's a succession of takes on fame, innocence and emotional befuddlement, written and staged as burlesque sketches. When Elvis recalls the day of his death from what was officially listed as cardiac arrhythmia, he listens appalled as the doctors make the decision to pull the plug on him. Says the nurse: "We're dealing with someone who's brain-damaged to some extent." Says Elvis: "I could live with that," but the plug is pulled anyway.

There's an utterly mysterious sequence as four actors in their underwear stand by his grave and mourn. There's also a variation on the gravedigger scene from "Hamlet." A reporter from Vanity Fair arrives to interview Elvis and accuse him of song theft. His taxman reports that he's making more money dead than alive. A disappointed fan describes one of Elvis's grotesque final appearances in Las Vegas. At one point, a fat, larger-than-life-size, sponge-rubber likeness of the late-period Elvis is tossed around the stage. Through it all, Elvis himself offers lengthy and opaque commentaries, with incidental music supplied by Organ Donor, a four-member rock combo seated in a small pit to the back and left of the playing platform.

Never has any fully clothed actor looked as naked on the stage as Mr. Walken does in "Him." He appears to be enjoying himself immensely, but the performance also seems uncharacteristically edgy, full of awkward movements and transitions, sometimes almost embarrassing. There's none of Elvis's own intuitive grace, nor of Mr. Walken's. He both plays the role and stands outside it, speaking in a Southern drawl that recalls Tennessee Williams's while every now and then sending up the accent by saying "thang" for "thing." Though it's clear that he's made the decision not to do an Elvis impersonation, it's not easy to identify what he is doing, possibly because the lines he's written for himself are so full of wooly generalizations. Sample: "Chaos is the mamma and poppa of all things."

As Mr. Walken briefly sings in his own -- not Elvis's -- manner, the music, composed as well as played by Organ Donor, evokes a sound that, while it has its roots in 1950's rock-and-roll, is completely contemporary. A wise decision.

Mr. Walken's most cheering and refreshingly absurd invention: Elvis did not die on that 1977 August afternoon in a Memphis hospital. Instead, he plotted his disappearance and transportation to a clinic in Morocco. There he underwent hormone treatments as the first steps toward his rebirth as a woman. All this is introduced by Mel (Barton Heyman), a garrulous old truckdriver who first noticed the resemblance between a diner waitress and the late King of Rock.

Though Elvis's transformation was not surgically complete, Mel reports that he first felt sympathy for the former star, then the stirrings of carnal desire. In burlesque drag as Her, Mr. Walken is a hoot, especially when he thinks about the old days, missing his daughter, Lisa Marie, and her new husband, Michael. He's tempted to reveal himself to the world, but he's concerned by how his "fans would react to the drastic changes I've undergone." He says, "From now on, I want to be plain old me."

Friday, January 8, 2010


Can't really bitch, but I will. It's wicked cold here in Atlanta. I know, I know nothing like Minnesota or some other stupid place. I know we only get about a month of this kind of weather at the most. But, still I will bitch.  Makes me warm.

It also makes me stay in doors and really cut's down on production. I have managed to get a few jobs finished up lately. One is a painting for a friend. You can guess where he might be from and what NFL team he pulls for. The Buffalo is a plywood cut out. Once I paint it I distress it, mainly the edges. I distress the painting and the frame to match the old metal the Buffalo is mounted on. The metal is old roofing from the slave quarters of the Oak Grove Plantation. It is just south of the city and is now being used as a bed and breakfast. The frame wood was salvaged from a Mardi Gras float from Mobile.

The 2nd photo is of a pair of end cabinets for a customer. Antique pine from the bedroom I am renovating in my house. These match a headboard I built for her a couple of years ago.

Thursday, January 7, 2010


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In 1952 Harry Smith released the original Anthology of American Folk Music. This was a collection of music recorded between 1927 through 1932. The content of the Anthology came from Smiths personal record collection. This may have been the start of the "bootleg" craze, as Smith had acquired the rights to only a few of these songs. But, hey it was 1952 and I guess one could get away with that back then.

 Hal Willner filmed 3 live shows of various artist  preforming  songs from this 1952 compilation.  The shows took place in London, Brooklyn and L.A. between 1999 and 2001.  Beck, Nick Cave, Elvis Costello, Steve Earle, Beth Orton, Lou Reed, Sonic Youth, Richard Thompson and Wilco were just some of the artist that Willner captured on film.  These three shows were released in 2006 as  The Harry Smith Project: Anthology of American Folk Music Revisited.  Two Cd's of music and two Dvd's from the three live shows.

I was gifted this 4 Cd box set a couple years ago and honestly, at first I didn't think I would enjoy it. I had no idea what I was in for, but a closer look set me straight.  Once I listened to the first song on the first disc I was hooked. David Johansen starts it all off with Old Dog Blue. I don't know who matched musician with song, but whoever it was did a great job.Nick Cave gives up a beautiful version of John The Revelator. Elvis Costello provides the only original song for this package. First he preforms Omie Wise Part 1 & 2 with the McGarrigle Sisters, then alone he sings What Lewis Did Last, his answer to Part 1 & 2.

This box set comes with a booklet of information going into much detail. It gives a great history of Harry Smith. Lot's of good photos. Considered one of the most important figures of the folk movement of the 1950's and 60's Smith influenced the likes of Bob Dylan and Joan Baez. So important was this collection it is refered to as the Bible of folk music.

And I think it's fitting that Harry Smith died, in 1991 in room 328 at the Chelsea Hotel, the same place he recorded Alan Ginsberg's album New York Blues: Rags, Ballads and Harmonium Songs.

You can find the Anthology of American Folk Music at Amazon for around $40.

Friday, January 1, 2010