Sunday, August 28, 2011

SleeveFace

Hurricane Irene came and went like a Whitney Houston comeback, a lot of hype that didn't amount to much.  But we still did as we were asked and prepared go-bags (mine had my external hard drive, ipod, phone charger, change of clothes, about 400 dollars cash, and 2 bottles of water) and stocked up on food we'll never eat (Top Ramon and Soup) and of course hit the liquor store hard.  We are lucky to have some of our dearest friends living right near us and so we had them over for some pre-storm drinking and general merriment.
(From back to front Dan, Anne, Tirtzah, Josh, Me)
It was Anne who turned us onto this blog called Sleeveface.com   What a cool fucking idea!!  They sum it up best "one or more persons obscuring or augmenting any part of their body or bodies with record sleeve(s) causing an illusion"  It took us collectively 8 seconds to decide we were gonna get wasted and play Sleeveface till the storm took our power.  We all took off to different area's and began digging through our album collection.  It took us a couple shots to get the hang of it, here are our first 2.
Me as Carol Burnett
Josh as Phyllis Diller
Now you know you are in a room full of theater people when everyone looks at the first 2 pictures and starts saying things like "what we need to do is stage the pictures" "put people in clothes that kind of match the album art" and the next thing you know we are doing full costumes.  Josh found a couple classics right away and it was fairly easy to style his shoot, just a leather jacket and his hands...
 
Josh as the Fonz
Josh as Bowie
Now we knew we needed to not only dress up but we also had to pose in a way that the person on the cover might have been posing.  We decided to try our first duo cover...
Dan and Josh Ann and Nancy Wilson
After one final tweak we really started to take the whole thing overboard.  We hang sheets between rooms to trap the air conditioning in and one of them is white....we found our background and really hit our stride. 
Me as Vince Guaraldi
I mean....COME ON!  This is amazing, but it took the work of five people to get this shot, and probably took 20 minutes standing totally still and holding that album in place to stage it so everything was matching up as best we could get it.  But the final product is flawless!!!
Tirtzah as Merman
Dan as Peggy Lee
Anne as Eydie Gorme
It was at this point that the news media had scared us all to go back to their respective homes in Astoria at the early hour of 8:00pm.  What a night we had doing what we all do best drinking, and being amazingly creative.  Don't forget to check out Sleeveface.com they are the people who made Hurricane Irene so goddamn much fun.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Come on Irene

Just a quicky post today as we have to prepare for the category 1 super storm of the century Miss Hurricane Irene (wild applause).  Seriously though how am i ever going to eat all this soup?  At least the peanut butter and jelly will go to good use.  Anyways let's talk about a different Irene.  Miss Irene Cara (wild applause).
She will always be Coco the girl who cries in Fame when she has to take her top off in a sleazy video, its a classic moment.  But she is also the singer responsible for many of our favorite 80's hits.  But today lets listen to some of her lesser known tracks like Keep On from her What a Feeling album.








So best of luck to all of you in the path of old Irene, hunker down, drink your selves silly, and be safe.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

The First Nudie Musical

I have had a fascination with this movie since I was a kid perusing the aisles of American Family Video in Salem, Or.  I would spend minutes staring at the covering trying to unlock the secrets that lay within, trying to envision what a nudie musical would be like?  I was already a fan of the genre but this had promise to take it to another level!


(Overture - Rene Hall conducting The First Nudie Orchestra)

I finally saw The First Nudie Musical in high school (no doubt with Pecial Mo and Julie D.) and it delivered like only a Nudie Musical can deliver.  With songs about dancing dildo's, lesbian's, and orgasm's what red blooded teenager wouldn't love it?  Throw in Cindy William's and a small cameo by Ron Howard (neither of which appeared nude thank GOD!!) and I was hooked.

The music is totally passable, if not actually good, or even great depending on your taste level.  My taste level being bottom feeder low I think it's a toe tapping, silly, well written, musical camp extravaganza by Bruce Kimmel (also known as Guy Haines) who also stars in the movie and directed it along with Mark Haggard.  Kimmel/Haines is maybe best know as a record producer and founder of Kritzerland Records.  But I will always remember the Thanksgiving that Patrick Herwood and I got wasted on box wine and listened to this all day (this and Exanaplanatooch, that dreadful song cut from Hair.)  But that's day we put 2 and 2 together and figured out that Haines/Kimmel where the same guy!  It's also the day I learned the importance of a properly thawed out turkey.
I found this album years ago when I was working backstage at Naked Boys Singing (I am sensing a theme here.)  In between shows on Sundays I would hit all the local record stores, this came from Bleeker Street Records I think I paid 6 bucks.  Well worth every cent!  I adore that cover art!

The classic song Lesbian, Butch, Dyke sung by Debbie Shapiro (later know and Debbie Shapiro Gravitte or Debbie Gravitte) a fabulous belter of The Great White Way . I wish she had more to sing, a voice like hers deserves more than 44 seconds.  The plot is easy, Harry Schechter, heir to a Hollywood studio forced to make a musical comedy porno in order to stave off bankruptcy. The movie features a series of farcical lewd musical numbers in the style of classical Hollywood musical comedies.  The movie has low-budget feel, with a "musical-within-a-movie" theme ala Singing in the Rain.  I would have paid even more good money to see Debbie Reynolds sing Lesbian, Butch, Dyke to Jean Hagan!

An early staple of Cinemax, it has become a cult classic since its initial release and was released on DVD in 2001. It was one of several farcical musical-comedy collaborations between Kimmel (who also co-starred in the movie) and Williams, along with The Creature Wasn't Nice in 1981. Originally distributed by Paramount Pictures in 1976, it was picked up by World-Northal in 1977 and re-released to great acclaim, first in New York, where it opened the same week as New York, New York and got much better reviews, played for three months exclusively at the 68th Street Playhouse, and then went into wider distribution - the week it went wide it was the fourth highest grossing picture in the United States.

(The Lights and the Smiles - Annette O'Toole)
Digging this album out and blogging about it has renewed my interest in the material so I decided I'd pop on amazon and buy it.  Sadly it's currently out of print and the cheapest copy is 49 bucks!!!   Way too much for anything like this.

 (Perversion - Juanita)
I always find when I break down and pay 50 bucks for something like a record or a DVD I always end up feeling like it wasn't worth the price.  Which is the reason I didn't buy it last time it was released on DVD.  It was $29.99 and to me this is definitely $14.99 or less movie. It is set to come out on Blue Ray later this year!!

(The First Nudie Musical)
Cindy Williams


(Dancing Dildos - Mary LaRue and her Dildos)
Stephen Nathan, Cindy Williams, Bruce Kimmel


(Where is a Man - Vallerie Gillett)
A Whore sitting on Stephen Nathan

(Let em' Eat Cake - Harry, Rosie, Chorus)
a lyric sheet with my album, how considerate!

(I Don't Have to Hide Anymore - Bruce Kimmel)

Love it, hate it, or learning about it for the first time The First Nudie Musical is worth exploring.  Now I just wish I could watch it!


Saturday, August 20, 2011

Breaker Good Buddy

When I was in middle school my friend Jackie Miles was really into CB's so much so that for my birthday I received a CB radio from her.  Presumably so we could chat (though I preferred a good old fashioned phone call.)  Mainly because the hill between our 2 house prevented us from getting reception but really because who wants to carry on a gossipy conversation about musical theater where everyone can hear you and add their stupid opinion??  But we did used to have fun chatting with the local weirdo's some of which were cool most of which were douche bags but what can you expect from someone who was chatting with their neighbors in Salem, Oregon on a CB?
Dictionary of CB terms
This Gem (from Good Records 99 cent bin) would have been such a help for us young kids just starting out in the CB world.  Look at this bitch who is presumably CBing her husband no doubt to tell him to pick up some scotch and lemons for the key party they are throwing later that night.  Lets use the dictionary of terms from the back cover to simulate a CB conversation.

Breaker, Breaker, sweet daddy grab a brown bottle, watch out for any bears taking pictures, don't buy an orchard on the double duce, over.

Translation: Hello Husband grab some liquor, watch out for police using radar, don't get in an accident on route 22, later.

I did wanna include one track from this album just to give you a hint of what its like.  I chose track 7. Where are the Smokey's and the Beavers??  (Translation using the dictionary abover Where are all the Police and the Ladies??)   I love that ladies are called beavers in the CB world.

Over and Out.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Are You a Harvey Girl?

It's Judy Garland month at the newly renovated Lincoln Center and thanks to the efforts of the radiant Anne Rodemann we were there for a big screen viewing of the Garland classic The Harvey Girls.  What is a Harvey Girl you may ask?  Well Fred Harvey was an entrepreneur who recognized the need for eating houses at railroad stops across the newly forming United States. He struck up a deal with the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway Company and created the countries first chain restaurant.
Harvey and his company also became leaders in promoting tourism in the American Southwest in the late 19th century. The company and its employees, including the famous waitresses who came to be known as "Harvey Girls", successfully brought new higher standards of both civility and dining to a region widely regarded in the era as "the Wild West". 
They are Totally Harvey Girls
In 1883, unhappy with his predominantly black service staff (who often carried firearms to intimidate customers), and the employees' deplorable behavior toward his customers and the business it cost him, Harvey implemented a policy of employing a female white only serving staff. He sought out single, well-mannered, and educated American ladies, and placed ads in newspapers throughout the east coast and midwest for "white, young women, 18 to 30 years of age, of good character, attractive and intelligent". The girls were paid $17.50 a month plus room, board, and tips to start, a generous income by the standards of the time.
The Dance Hall Ladies (totally not Harvey Girls)
The women were subjected to a strict 10:00 p.m. curfew, administered by a senior Harvey Girl who assumed the role and responsibilities of house mother. The official starched black and white uniform (which was designed to diminish the female physique) consisted of a skirt that hung no more than eight inches off the floor, "Elsie" collars, opaque black stockings, and black shoes. The hair was restrained in a net and tied with a regulation white ribbon. Makeup of any sort was absolutely prohibited, as was chewing gum while on duty. Harvey Girls (as they soon came to be known) were required into a one-year employment contract, and forfeit half their base pay should they fail to complete the term of service. Marriage was the most common reason for a girl to terminate her employment.
Now that I have covered the history of the Harvey Girl lets talk about the movie.  It was our first time to the newly renovated Lincoln Center and after watching the PBS special Treasures of New York: Lincoln Center hosted by Patti LuPone (a total Harvey Girl) we couldn't wait to see what a billion dollar renovation looked like.  It was also our first time going to the Walter Reade Theater.  The audience was almost exclusively in their late 80's or gay and biographer John Fricke gave an insightful introduction ala' what you might see on TCM.  He forewarned us that the movie didn't make a lot of sense partially because there had been 7 writers on the film.  But no one was there to watch a good story, we were all there for Garland.
 

Such a simple melody, such a quiet song to open a movie, but Judy casts her spell over the music and you can't help but be lulled and sucked into what ever she is singing about.  That's what Judy did to any song.  The most popular number from the film is the Academy Award winning Johnny Mercer Number The Atchison Topeka and the Santa Fe.  A song which was originally only 2 and a half minutes long.  But Music arranger Kay Thompson got ahold of it and changed it into what it was in the film, a glorious 8 minute MGM style musical number.  If you are familiar with Thompson's work this song reeks of her talent.

Notice Garland's entrance like Dolly Levi coming back to the Harmonia Gardens. She was truly a star.  My favorite number from the film is easily the trio sung by Judy, Cyd Charisse, and Virginia O'Brien.  It's a ridiculous song with some of the silliest choreography I have ever seen but I loved every effing second.  Are they serious??  Are they in the joke??  It's hard to tell.  This is It's a Great Big World.

BRILLIANT! There are so many classic performers in this film including character actress extraordinaire Marjorie Main. Garland's Wizard of OZ co-star Ray Bolger makes an apperance in an almost silent role playing the towns new blacksmith and a 21 year old Angela Lansbury in a fabulous role Em the Dance Hall Hostess (though her singing is dubbed BAH!).

Watching the film you can almost see where one writer took over and the last one left off. There are scraps of things that were obviously major plot points left in the final film but because subsiquent scenes/plots lines had been cut they make little sense.  Obviously we are supposed to belive the three girls from the song above have formed a deep friendship, however you never see any kind of development in the movie.  They are just suddenly singing and song together and are obviously best friends.  It's easy to forgive though cause who can take this seriously??  It's a Judy Garland western!

I love the end of this number with Judy perched in front of a huge fire like Joan of Arc belting her guts out! After we saw the movie I was sure I remembered the album cover and low and behold there it was already tucked away in out collection. Sadly missing Marjorie Main's big number (which i also can't find on youtube) The Train Must be Fed.

Here are some clips with Director George Sidney's comentary.

Even if you live no where near Lincoln Center and the Judy Garland film series don't let that stop you from exploring some of her lesser known work.  On tuesday we are heading back for 2 of Judy's biggest films Meet me in St. Louis and A Star is Born which I can't wait to see on the big screen.  So check out this film you'll have a great time and you might even discover the Harvey Girl inside of you.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

She Wore a Visor

Though I have never really watched Battlestar Galactica I swear to start watching it while I'm at the gym.  I love anything sci-fi so it stands to reason I will enjoy this (although then it would also stand to reason that I should have liked the ABC re-make of V and that was certainly not the case.)  Plus this woman is the poster girl for Dan's hit single She Wore a Visor.  And a hell of a visor it is. Plus I love my sluts the color of butter.

I used to watch the original Battlestar series on sick days.  So i associate this, Remington Steele and The Love Boat exclusively with strep throat.
I totally remember the opening theme from the original it brings back such memories.  I can see myself now, lying on the couch in the living room with my mom's little 13inch Sears brand color TV, a sprite, and a 10, 000 pillows and that bubble gum flavored antibiotic liquid.  Sick as a dog, not understanding anything that going on on any of these shows (accept of course The Price is Right) and asking my mom as she comes in to check on me "Mommy whats a cylon?"

Side 2 is simply called Evolution.  I don't think it has anything to do with Battlestar Galactica but it sure is groovy. 

Monday, August 1, 2011

Kismet

I am a confirmed show queen, but I will have to admit that I don't know Kismet at all.  I do know this artwork makes the prices of oil in my loins rise.   And good old Percy Faith never let's you down.  I peaked at the Wikipedia page and did recognize a few songs from the show.  Namely Baubles, Bangles, and Beads and Stranger in Paradise.  But I plan on sitting down this week and listening to the Kismet score so as to educate my silly ass.  .

Here is Percy Faith's Baubles, Bangles, and Beads and though I love it I am partial to Peggy Lee's version.

Another selection from the album is Percy Faith's version of Stranger in Paradise. Pay special attention the awesome photo's picked out for Lydia who from the looks of the pictures used in the background, is an animal lover. For another take on this classic I have included Tony Bennett.