Friday, July 1, 2016

Gangsters, Some Moments Of Beauty & The $1.50 Lunch, My Trip To Riverside Il.

It was a beautiful summer day on Wednesday 6/28 and being a day off of work for me I decided to take a bike ride. My destination was Riverside IL. an architecturally  historic community a couple of miles south of my location in Forest Park. It was designed by landscape architect Fredrick Law Olmsted who designed NY Central Park and the landscape for Chicago's Columbia Exposition of 1893.

Besides it's historic architecture it is known for it's curving streets that before Google maps were bound to leave you lost and scratching your head. Today was no exception I got a little lost until my smart phone set me straight. Then as I was heading to my destination I came across a truck driver pulling one of those block long trailers. He was just parked in the middle of the street and clearly lost. Not even in the right town as it turned out. But we quickly got him on his way.

Anyway our first stop was the Riverside library which was built in 1930 and is right next to the Des Plaines river. I'm a library person ever since I was a kid and we lived right next to Oak Park's Maze branch. Nowadays they have so much to offer, everything is so accessible and it's free. You just know that it won't be long before those that seek to destroy public services try and shut them down.


(No I didn't take this on Wednesday)

What I wanted to film were the windows in the south side of the building which have all kinds of stained / art glass inserts. At almost eight minutes it's kind of long but there's 17 different "pictorial" inserts and other panes with little chunks of colored glass in them.




On the way out I browsed through the DVD's and found a copy of the T.A.M.I. show a great 1960's concert film that features among others; James Brown, the Rolling Stones & Diana Ross & the Supremes. Back outside I wandered over to the river and enjoyed a few meditational moments just enjoying the beauty that was all around me.


Heading back my final stop was at a house that at one time was the home of Chicago outfit higher up Claude "Screwy" Maddox a labor racketeer and planner of the St. Valentine's Day Massacre. Always on the lookout for a new entry to my series Chicago Crimes Now & Then I couldn't pass this place up.



On the way back I was feeling the pangs of hunger so I stopped at CostCo where you can eat pretty well for not much money, even if you aren't a member. For a buck and a half I got afoot long hot dog and a 20oz drink. A pretty good dog too not what you'd expect for the price.



If this post leaves you hungering for more about Riverside visit our Suburban Chicago playlist and you'll find more clips including three designs by Frank Lloyd Wright.

Thursday, June 30, 2016

Scotty Moore Tears It Up With Elvis 60 Years Ago & More 1950's Music

Our YouTube station ChiTownSoundz features mainly Chicago musicians or performances but we do put up some oldies now and again. Recently we posted a number of gems from the past.There's Elvis Presley's first appearance on the Milton Berle show doing "Blue Suede Shoes". It was broadcast in April of 1956 from the decks of an aircraft carrier and features a wicked guitar solo by the recently departed Scotty Moore.His web site has a lot of photos and info about this gig. http://scottymoore.net/USSHancock.html




Next we have "I Walk The Line" by Johnny Cash the man in black is wearing all white on Tex Ritter's "Ranch Party" 1950's TV show.



For the final clip we move the time machine up 10 years for a look at the 13th Floor Elevators playing "Your Gonna Miss Me" poolside on Dick Clark's "Where The Action Is"


All this and more can be found on ChiTownSoundz visit us now.

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Chicago Jazz, DJ Spooky & A Neon Liquor Bottle, How I Spent Summer Solstice

Last Monday night June 20 was the longest day of the year. The six month march of more daylight every day that began back in December is over and the days now shorten until December comes again and yada yada yada. It was a beautiful, if somewhat hot, day that promised to be a pleasant evening so I decided to go down to Millennium Park for a free concert. For the past several years the city has presented free music on Monday & Thursday evening at the Petrillo music shell. The offerings are usually interesting and the music can come from all over the world.

Mondays lineup was Chicago jazz underground legend Phil Cohran along with DJ Spooky who was presenting his video remix of D.W. Griffith's controversial masterpiece “Birth Of A Nation” which he calls “Re Birth....” eclectic to be sure. When I got down there at starting time of 6:30 there were plenty of seats with most people spread out on the lawn picnicking.

Phil Cohran started as a trumpet player for Jay McShan in the early 1950's then after a hitch in the navy he moved to Chicago and became part of Sun Ra's Arkestra. When Sun Ra moved from Chicago in 1961 Phil stayed behind working with a number of local musicians including future members of Earth, Wind & Fire.

In 1965 Phil was one of the founding members of AACM orAssociation for the Advancement of Creative Musicians a non for profit organization working to help jazz musicians. He also formed the Artistic Heritage Ensemble and is an educator who teaches voice and music at Northeastern Illinois University's Center for Inner City Studies. If that isn't enough he has invented invented an instrument he calls the Frankiphone or Space Harp which is an electrified mbira or kalimba.

Phil opened the show with a piece for the solstice that was accompanied by a video. After another number he was joined by The Hypnotic Horn ensemble. They are an nontet eight of which are son's of Phil. So it was a real family event which included the very young to the very old. The clip we've posted here is the solstice number if you'd like to see more visit our ChiTownSoundzYouTube station.




Paul D. Miller A.K.A. DJ Spooky &That Subliminal Kid is a multimedia artist who began his career in the 1990's as a writer of science fiction. Since then he has worked on a variety of projects as a solo artist and in collaboration with other artists like; Ryuichi Sakamoto  ,  Iannis Xenakis ,  Dave Lombardo of Slayer and others. Rebirth of a Nation was commissioned in 2004 by the Lincoln Center Festival; Spoleto Festival USA; Wiener Festwochen; and the Festival d'Automne a Paris. Below I've posted the scenes surrounding Lincoln's assassination.



To be honest the presentation didn't do much for me. I sat through an hour and a half of it and it was nice enough but in the end not a lot of video remixing going on. Maybe I should have stayed for the second half but I got bored and wandered off.


I ended the night as the sun was setting looking for some neon signs that I haven't filmed yet. North of the river I found a number of signs to add the the Chicago Neon Tour playlist on ChiTownView. Below is the one that finished my night.


Friday, June 24, 2016

Salome Avant Garde Gay Film From 1923 & A Trip To The Moon 1st Sci Fi Film

MindsiMediaHome is our repository for public domain films that I've come across and enjoyed. Our latest uploads highlight two firsts. America's first avant garde film and the worlds first science fiction movie.

Salome is a 1923 film based on an Oscar Wilde play and illustrations in the printed version of the play by Aubrey Beardsley. The play was Wilde's 1892 retelling of the Bible story of Salome, who danced before Herod to win the death of John the Baptist. The play was considered so depraved that the High Lord Chamberlain of England refused to grant it a license for public performance. Three years later during a libel trial he iniated evidence was unearthed that caused Wilde to drop his charges and led to his own arrest and trial for gross indecency with men. After two trials he was convicted and imprisoned for two years' hard labor Wilde, who died in 1900, never saw his play publicly performed.

 The silent movie version was produced and starred Alla Nazimova who up to this time was a star of stage and screen. Directing was Charles Bryant who was Alla's husband and also a theater and movie actor. In 1918 they formed their own production company which is when he began directing. Salome was America's first "art" film and rumored to be the first with all gay or bisexual performers. It cost an, at the time, astronomical sum of $350,000 and was a financial disaster probably bigger than Heaven's Gate which was at least released. This one took years to come out and destroyed the careers of both Bryant and Nazimova.


From stories from Biblical times we go to the modern age with a 1902 film "A Trip To The Moon" the world's first science fiction film. Made by French film pioneer and magician Geroge Melies who also plays a starring role. The trip is made by a couple of scientists who are shot to the moon in a capsule propelled by a giant cannon. Once there they discover some lunar creatures and bring one back to earth. The movie  was based on a couple of Jules Verne books and was wildly popular on it's release. It was listed by the Village Voice as one of the 100 greatest films of the 20th century.



Melies also made the first supernatural film "Devil In The Convent" from 1899. We have also posted that.



Friday, June 17, 2016

Ronnie Earl Outstanding Blues Guitarist & Chicago Blues Fest Highlight

Even though I've been in and around the music business for several decades I'm still coming across great performers who have been around for a long time that that are new to me. Such is the case with blues guitarist Ronnie Earl who I stumbled across when I picked up a bunch of cd's at a garage sale a couple of years ago. One of them was copy of Ronnie Earl &The Broadcasters "Grateful Heart, Blues & Ballads". From the first listen I was hooked by the cool laid back sound of sax, organ and slinky guitar setting a great late night vibe.

Born in 1953 he was a music fan studying to be a teacher when he saw Muddy Waters in 1973. After that he bought a guitar and began to play. He graduated and taught for awhile but after traveling to Chicago, New Orleans and Austin Texas the pull of music was too strong. In 1979 he joined Roomful Of Blues a ten piece band from Rhode Island. In the early 80's he began to also record and perform as a solo act.


The Broadcasters were formed in 1988 named after the first Fender guitar which originally had been labeled The Broadcaster and was distributed in 1950. The first lineup included Darrell Nulisch (vocalist), Jerry Portnoy (harmonica), Steve Gomes (bass), and Per Hanson (drums). Since then they have released 18 studio albums as well as four recorded live.


For more on Mr. Earl pay a visit to his web site.

This past Sunday evening 6/12/16 Ronnie was one of the three main acts playing at the Petrillo bandshell for the final night of Chicago Blues Fest 2016. I've uploaded two other videos, besides the one posted here,  to my ChiTownSoundz YouTube station. 








Some vintage Ronnie Earl.



And here's a really smoking workout with Ana Popovic who can bend some strings too!

Monday, June 13, 2016

Chicago Blues Fest 2016 My Favorite Moments

I've lived in the Chicago area for more than sixty years but until six years ago had never gone to Blues Fest down in Grant Park. No reason in particular I like music and everything but I just never made the fest. Once I started going I was hooked and now try and make it every year.

I like to go early and avoid the big crowds that come when the big acts perform in the evening. It's nice to wander around between the four or five stages and see a variety of acts and there's always someone playing. It's really a very pleasant way to spend an early summer afternoon or three. One time saving tip if your going to get tickets for food & drinks avoid the ticket booths locates as you first come in off Jackson. There's always eight million people waiting in line so walk into the fest area to one of the other booths where you won't find long lines, usually.

Anyway this year for the first time I went on all three days and had a great time. Even though it was scroching hot on Friday and Saturday there was a nice breeze so if you found some shade it was most comfortable. Like last year the folks from Red Baron pizza were giving away samples and this year there was a rib place giving out a free rib. Ya gotta love the free eats.

So here is my thumbnail sketch of this years blues fest. I've choosen one band from each day to feature. If you want to see all the videos I've uploaded check out ChiTownSoundz and take a look at ChiTownView as we have a few posted here.

There was a young guitarist Jamiah & The Red Machine who was kicking things off Friday morning at 11:00 that I wanted to see. So after getting off work at ten and meeting up with my good friend Tom we hightailed to the Blue Line and headed into the city. We missed the first couple tunes but good to see most of what was a pretty impressive set of blues rock from 21 year old Jamiah and his two younger cousins. He was quite the showman playing on one leg, behind his back and with his teeth at one point or another. I've included the final song of their set a blistering version of The Beatles "Come Together".

We have two more songs Jamiah and more from this years blues fest on ChiTownSoundz. There's also one more video posted on ChiTownView

Saturday was even hotter than Friday and before my pick to click of the day, Southern Komfort Brass Band, performed I had to sit through a marathon sound check. When you've got nine musicians there's a lot of sound to balance. But once they got the sound down the band delivered the goods. Here they are doing some Rick James.


Sunday was about twenty degrees cooler and some folks were even wearing sweaters but the music was still hot. Here we present veteran bluesman Donald Kinsey & The Kinsey Report doing Bob Marley's "Were Jammin'". Donald was for a time in the 70's a guitarist for both Marley & Peter Tosh. Both pit stops on a musical journey that started in the late 1960's. 




Hmm three days of highlights all non blues songs. Just goes to show you that blues music has roots that spread way beyond it's origins. See you next year.

Monday, June 6, 2016

Daughter Of Horror & Bluegrass From The Kentucky Mountains New Old Films On MindsiMedia

We have two recent additions to the MindsiMedia library of films that are at opposite ends of the entertainment spectrum. Although both were made around the same time.

First the latest addition to Crime Scene our collection of vintage crime movies & TV shows is an oddball film called "Daughter Of Horror". Despite the title this is more of a film noir than horror story. Originally produced as Dementia it's an early 1950's experimental film that is told without dialouge just music and sound effects. The film had trouble with the censors in New York so some cuts were made and narration added (by Ed MacMahon). That's also when the name was changed to Daughter Of Horror. 




It was directed & written by John Parker, produced by Parker along with Ben Roseman & Bruno VeSota. The film stars; Adrienne Barrett, Bruno VeSota, Ben Roseman and Angelo Rossitto. The sountrack is by noted avant-garde composer George Antheil and vocalized by Marni Nixon. Jazz musician Shorty Rogers and his band, the Giants, can be seen and heard performing in a night club scene.

No one associated with this film appears to have had much of a Hollywood carrer beyond the occasional bit parts, except for the musicians and Ed McMahon. Director, writer and producer John Parker made one other short feature that's even more obscure than this one. That one was entitled "En femme de l'horreur" and all that apparently survives is a trailer. It looks like it uses parts from "Daughter".


From the darkened streets of a nightmarish city we travel to the high mountains and blue grass of rural Kentucky for "The High Lonesome Sound". It's a 1963 film from the National Archives and here's their description: "Documentary: Explores the lives of Appalachian mountain people in a depressed area of Kentucky through spiritual and folk music. Presents songs by revivalist church congregations, coal miners, an unemployed worker, and members of a miner's family. Bill Monroe and the Bluegrass Boys, and the Shepherd Family perform. Explains that these poverty-stricken people maintain their traditions and dignity through their music."