Thursday, May 26, 2016

Vintage Las Vegas Neon Signs At Night, Polaroid Photos & Video

As someone with a deep passion for neon signs Las Vegas is like Mecca for me.One of my three trips took place in the mid 1980's. While there I took some Polaroid photos with my SX-70 and as part of an over all house cleaning have now put them up for sale. They will be on eBay until the early June then the once the auctions are done remaining photos will go on my Facebook store. Those wishing to explore more of the bygone look of Las Vegas should check out the site InOldLasVegas.

The neon elements of this Circus Circus sign still survives.
 The Dunes closed in 1993 it was located where New York New York and Monte Carlo now stand.
 The Flamingo sign is another survivor.
 It just wouldn't be Vegas without this iconic Glitter Gulch Cowgirl sign.
 Another survivor but Binion's Horseshoe is just  Binion's now.
 The Riviera was at one time owned by Chicago crime boss Tony Accardo and was one of the more storied casinos. It closed in 2015 though this sign has been gone since the 1990's
The Silver Slipper is R.I.P. since 2008
And here is some home movie footage shot during the early 1960's. I've added some music from Partners In Rhyme which is a great site for royalty free music.


I've also done a previous post that has video footage neon signs at night from the 1930's and some from Reno in the 1950's.

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Chicago's Great Outdoor Sculpture Park, Graceland Cemetery

I recently paid a couple of visits to Graceland Cemetery on Chicago's north side not far from Wrigley Field. It opened in 1860 a time that this area was was the far northern limits of the city. Graceland is a beautiful sculpture garden that is the final resting place for many of the cities most iconic names like;

Potter Palmer

George Pullman

Marshall Field

And many others. I've been out there a couple of times this spring and shot a lot of pictures and video. Among the odder memorials I've come across are a pyramid final resting place of Peter Schoenhofen.

There's William Hulbert the man who created the Chicago Cubs first dynasty when they were called the White Stockings. Click here to learn more about this fascinating man.

And what cemetery doesn't have a few supernatural legends? This clip tells the story of Gracelands "ghosts".

The centerpiece of the graveyard is a small lake that is surrounded with many of the more notable tombs. In the middle of the lake is a small island that is the final resting place of architect Daniel Burnham and his family.

If you'd like to see more of this historic graveyard visit ChiTownView and scroll through our recent videos we have many more for your viewing enjoyment.

Friday, April 15, 2016

Song Of The Day "Paid In Full" Eric B & Rakim Long and Short Version

"Paid In Full" is today's song it's an early hip hop classic from 1987 by  Eric B & Rakim. Ironically enough  in 2003, Eric B. alleged the duo had not been fully paid for their work, and filed a lawsuit against Island Def Jam Music Group,the label that released the lp that included “Paid In Full”, guess not. Here's the short and long versions.

The short version is live from MTV's Yo Raps

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Song Of The Day "Harlem Nocturne' by The Viscounts & Others

So okey today's song isn't really a song but the instrumental classic "Harlem Nocturne" a one hit wonder cover for the Viscounts. Or a twice hit wonder since the band released it twice as a single charting high on Billboard Hot 100 each time. First in 1959, when it peaked at #53, and again in 1966, peaking at #39. The tune was written in 1939 by Earle Hagen and Dick Rogers. Earl went on to a prolific career composing TV themes among his scores were The Andy Griffith Show, Dick Van Dyke, That Girl & The Mod Squad.

I used to work for Val's Halla a record store institution in Oak Park IL. and for a year or so this would be the final song of the day as we closed. There have been over 500 covers of this venerable classic making it one of the most covered tunes in modern history. Here we present a couple of versions to start out we have the 8+ minute lp version by the Viscounts.

And a nifty cover by the New York Ska-Jazz Ensemble. A group I never knew existed and will have to explore further.

And if you still hunger for more Nocturne here is a post from the WFMU blog that has 42 versions. Click here and wail on daddyO.

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Song Of The Day "Steppin Stone" by The Monkees

I was up yesterday prowling around the Internet when I came across a picture of an ugly statue someone had posted on Facebook. For some reason I thought of "Billericay Dickie" an old song by Ian Dury. It contains this gem of advice "Never hold a candle if you don't know where it's been" Ian was a lovely English chap who had a brief bit of fame during the punk years during the late 1970's and earl 80's, he died in 2000.

Anyway I spent a good part of the day humming bits  of the song to myself. That got me thinking about other old songs I hadn't thought about in awhile. Then the idea came about a song of the day blog posting. Which brings us to this point. Welcome to the first entry of what we will try and make a daily posting.

Today's song is "(I'm Not Your) Stepping Stone" by the Monkees. A song by written by Boyce & Hart and first recorded by Paul Revere & The Raiders. It was the B side of the "I'm A Believer" single and reached number #20 on the Billboard charts. Here's The Monkees version.

And this is Paul Revere & The Raiders take on it.

Over the years a lot of folk have covered the tune my favorite is by The Sex Pistols.

Oh and here's that Ian Dury song that started the ball rolling. See you tomorrow.

Friday, April 1, 2016

Gangsters, Bishops, Artillery Pieces & A Ghost Story My Trip To Mt. Carmel Cemetery

Over the past couple of years I have walked through many of the Chicago areas cemeteries. It started as a favor for one of my viewers who had left Chicago for Florida and wanted to take a walk down memory lane by seeing a video of St. Boniface on Chicago's north side. I was never a big cemetery person but I found the experience very peaceful, enjoyable and it was filled with great art. So over the course of the next couple of years I've been to a half dozen other boneyards.

Recently I made a bike trip of three or four miles to Mt. Carmel in Hillside.The cemetery is the oldest Roman Catholic cemetery in the area. It is bounded by the Eisenhower expressway, I-294, Roosevelt Rd and Wolf Rd. There are bigger and more beautiful burial grounds in the area but this one has the oddest assortment of memorials.

It has the Bishops Mausoleum a structure is the final resting place for 18 of the areas bishops & archbishops.

As strange as it may seem it also houses the area's largest collection of gangster gravesites. You'll find famous hoodlums like Al Capone, Sam Giancana, Dion O'Banion and Frank Nitti as well as a slew of lesser thugs and killers.

There is a war memorial that includes four pieces of field artillery.

And there is the strange case of the Italian Bride, a body that wouldn't decompose.

Monday, March 14, 2016

Inside The Belly Of The Beast, Chicago Donald Trump Rally

The only reason I went to the Trump rally at UIC's Pavilion was my son had a ticket and wanted me to go. I'm a Sanders supporter but how could I pass up a spectacle. And I wasn't disappointed.. By the end of the evening I was cured, spit at and called a racist walking through a gauntlet of protesters.

It started out as a peaceful day and when the doors opened at three and people began to enter there weren't many protesters. Of course that was three  hours before it was supposed to start. For the first couple of hours things were kind of dull. Everybody sitting around talking Trump. As the back part of the Pavilion began to fill it became the focal point of activity.

Once the rally was canceled the place went up for grabs and it became evident that as many as a third of the people in the building were protesters. There were a several dozen male protesters that were waiting at the back end of where the Trump supporters were standing. Had the rally gone off they would have been in a prime spot for disruption. Toward the back end the Trump supporters confronted the protesters and they nonviolently shouted at one another five or ten minutes.

Outside the Trump supporters were greeted by thousands more demonstrators. They had completely taken over Racine Ave. a four lane street. There were blacks, white, browns, men and women all gathered together. Liberals overjoyed at having taken away someones right to speak. Ironically a lot of people claiming to be Bernie Sanders supporters.