Thursday, October 6, 2016

The Great Chicago Fire 145th Anniversary

October 8th is the 145th anniversary of the Great Chicago Fire. We've posted about this event a couple of times and recently we've uploaded a couple of new fire related videos on ChiTownView. It's been a while since we've had a new post so it seemed like a good event to start writing again.

In January of 2014 we offered a look at what Chicago looked like before the great fire. It includes an interactive map where locations are linked to a photo of what that spot looked like. Pretty neat you can check it out here.

A year before in January of 2013 we had one of our more poplar posts which was also fire related. In it there was a map showing the extent of the fire and then an exploration of the theory that the Chicago fire was part of a larger series of blazes across the midwest touched off by a meteor shower. You can read that post by clicking here.

Now on to more current business. Earlier this year while wandering around Chicago's Old Town neighborhood I came across one of the fire relief cottages. These were meant to be temporary structures to house the tens of thousands of homeless that the fire produced. For a hundred bucks you got some land as well as the plans and materials to build these small cottages. Kind of a 19th century version of the Katrina mobile homes. At any rate this little pace is one of last ones left.

Then while looking at photos on the National Archive I found a bunch of post fire photos showing the devastation the fire caused. So I whipped up the video/slideshow, that even has a poem written about this conflagration, you see below.

Finally there is this odd little Chicago Fire related video. The fire (or it's recreation) was an attraction at Freedom Land a defuct New York amusement park. Visitors could help put out the blaze. I kid you not. The part with the fire in it starts at around 1:10

So that's our roundup of this great event in Chicago history.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Sex, Trains & Surrealism

Our most recent uploads to MindsiMediaHome casts a wide net and comes up with three winners. There's a spicy Cuban dish by the name of Amalia Aguila with a wicked dance...

... and a gorgeous movie  about trains called "This Is My Railroad". They were both made in the late 1940's by legendary exploitation film maker Russ Meyer.

Our third upload "Dreams That Money Can Buy" features an army of surrealist legends in this 1947 experimental film by Hans Richter. Collaborators included Max Ernst, Marcel Duchamp, Man Ray, Alexander Calder, Darius Milhaud and Fernand L├ęger. The film won the Award for the Best Original Contribution to the Progress of Cinematography at the 1947 Venice Film Festival.For much more on this one of a kind film check out the rest of the Wikipedia entry.

Friday, July 15, 2016

Topless At The 1939 World's Fair & Bridgete Bardots Debut

At you will find, among other things, the Sinema our collection of vintage risque videos that are too hot for YouTube. It grew out a YouTube station we had called SilkSpot that was closed by YT because of one too many nipple slips. A lot of the clips have been had the audio updated with our own original soundscapes or music we've come across that fit the mood if you will.

We've had two recent uploads. The first probes into some of the fairly shocking exhibits at the 1939 New York World's Fair. I mean there were half naked women all over the place not like the fairly tame offerings that the more modern fairs offered. And while were on the topic what ever happened to world fair's? Are there no more visions of the future.

Anyway my favorite was Salvador Dail's"Dream Of Venus"  presentation, think about THAT for a minute. There were topless bathing beauties and his paramour Gala out in front acting as barker. Check out all the action at our "The 1939 New York World'Sin Fair" page at The Sinema.


To See Much More Click Here

Our latest offering is a late 1940's French strip tease clip that features (supposedly) the first film role for French sex bomb Bridgette Bardot. The clip is about ten minutes long and has a half dozen scenes of ladies disrobing that are a little more imaginative than your standard stripper film. My favorite is one I call "Whip Tease".

The other night I watched the final and I do mean final, since it's been canceled, episode of HBO's Vinyl and all I can say is perfect. Probably the best TV series or film about rock and roll and it ended just where it needed to. Because the best rock and roll doesn't have a long shelf life. Elvis made most of his best music before he went in the army. Jimi Hendrix and the Doors and the Beatles are revered because they weren't around long enough to make really shitty albums and go on yet another nostalgia trip tour. The Rolling Stones have been around for fifty years but all their best stuff came out in the first ten. Hell I think Vinyl is the best thing Mick Jagger's been associated with since “Exile On Main Street. The Sex Pistols made one album and that was all that was really needed. I could go on and on but rock and roll ain't fine wine it don't get better with age.

YouTube or whoever won't let me post any actual videos from Vinyl here so I'm just going with some music from the period featured in the show.

It should follow then that a tv series about rock and roll shouldn't turn into a soap opera that goes on and on and on. Sure it's about the music business but at it's core it's about rock and roll. It starts with the New York Dolls and ends with the MC5 and in between there's plenty of sex, drugs and other bad behavior that goes with rock and roll. Vinyl isn't perfect because rock isn't about perfection it's about being in your face. I started out loving it then would kind of go back and forth depending on how far they got away from the music but the last episode summed it all up brilliantly I thought.

Thirty hell forty years ago I was out livin the life on a Saturday night now I'm sitting at home watching the remake on TV.

Monday, July 4, 2016

Steve Mc Queen & Peter Lorre In Two Film Noir's Added to Crime Scene

The latest page on the MindsiMedia web site is Crime Scene where you'll find B&W movies & TV shows featuring well the title kind of gives it away. Our two newest uploads feature a couple of Hollywood icons and personal favorites of mine.

"TheChase" is a 1946 film based on the Cornell Woolrich novel The Black Path of Fear. In it a down on his luck vet Chuck Scott (Bob Cummings) finds a wallet full of money and returns it to it's owner. Who is a hood by the name of Eddie Roman (Steve Cochran) and his muscle is Gino played by Peter Lorre. Roman likes the cut of Scott's jib and hires him to be a chauffeur. We learn early on that Roman is a sadistic bully he slaps his manicurist around for not being quick enough. Then feeds a fellow business man to the dogs literally, ouch.

Mr Roman is also married of course to an unhappy woman. Who would be happy being married to a sadistic bully? So you kind of get the idea where this is all going. There's more to it but that's why you watch the movie.

Our second film "The Great St. Louis Bank Robbery" is an early role for Steve McQueen. This is a film noir that is as dark and gritty as your likely to find. It's a based on fact story about four guys who rob a bank in St. Louis. There are no other stars or even any likeable characters. Just flawed humans stumbling over their own shortcomings. It's great as long as like dark and would you be on this page if you didn't?
Extra kudos for being shot on the streets of St. Louis and using the real cops, bank employees and residents from the real heist.

So if you like these classic crime movies like I do then get over to Crime Scene make some popcorn and get ready for action.

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.

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.