Saturday, December 29, 2012

Out of This World, Finding Life On Other Planets

Maybe it's all the mass shootings that have been taking place recently. Or maybe it's listening to all the theremin music over the past couple of days. But I've finding myself thinking about life on other planets and hoping that somewhere in the universe evolution has produced a more advanced society than this one. As it turns out the hunt for earth like planets is a hot one that is close to bearing fruit. In fact according to a item in Huffington Post a number of researchers in the field think that 2013 might be the year.

First 'Alien Earth' Exoplanet Could Be Discovered In 2013 By Kepler Telescope, Astronomer Predicts

By: Mike Wall Published: 12/27/2012 12:08 PM EST on

"The first truly Earth-like alien planet is likely to be spotted next year, an epic discovery that would cause humanity to reassess its place in the universe.

While astronomers have found a number of exoplanets over the last few years that share one or two key traits with our own world — such as size or inferred surface temperature — they have yet to bag a bona fide "alien Earth." But that should change in 2013, scientists say.

"I'm very positive that the first Earth twin will be discovered next year," said Abel Mendez, who runs the Planetary Habitability Laboratory at the University of Puerto Rico at Arecibo."

To read the entire post click here.

And once we discover a planet that has the same conditions as earth how will we know that there is advanced life there? The answer may be in part by looking for hairspray (?). This video from the Blue Marble Space Institute of Science explains the thinking.

Experimental Musical Instruments, Generators of Odd Yet Beautiful Music

The journey began when I watched some theremin videos that one of my subscribers had recommended. It was an instrument that has always intrigued me so I did a little research and put together a playlist. While putting the list together I began to come across videos of other odd musical devices.

I then remembered this cd/book that I had called "Gravikords, Whirlies & Pyrophones" which was an overview of experimental musical instruments.  So we have expanded the original concept and called the collection "Theremin, & Other Generators of Odd Yet Beautiful Music" Earlier this week we posted about the theremin one of the world's first electronic instruments. Now we are entering the world of other odd musical instruments and the at times hauntingly beautiful music that is made on them. Below are some examples.

Friday, December 28, 2012

Ballad Of A Thin Man Dylan & Band Live 1967

Following up on an earlier post about a Canadian TV appearance by Bob Dylan we have come across another vintage Dylan video gem. This one has a live performance w/ the Band that is indentified as being from Copenhagen March of '67. There is also a brief interview at the beginning where he is being questioned about the identity of Mr. Jones.

The Theremin From Lenin To The Beach Boys.

The theremin was one of the worlds first electronic instruments and is most know for it's appearance in countless sci fi films. It was invented by a Russian engineer by the name of Lev Sergeyevich Termen or the Americanized Leon Theremin. He was working on an early version of sonar when he came up with a musical instrument. Vladimir Lenin was said to have adorned the device and sent it's inventor on a world tour. Theremin ended up in the US where he signed a contract with RCA who produced 500 of what they called the Thereminvox. These are highly prized items within the theremin world.

Theremin continued inventing in the 1930's opening up his own lab and working on other electronic music devices and an early version of the burglar alarm. Then in 1938 he disappeared as it turned out he was kidnapped by the KGB and returned to Russia where he was thrown in prison for years. He was released in the 1950's and went to work for the KBG working on a variety of espionage devices. Later on he became a music professor where he was “discovered” by an American writer.

His device was a commercial flop and languished in obscurity until it began turning up in film soundtracks and then later it was used in popular music most notably by The Beach Boys in “Good Vibrations”. The in 1993, filmmaker Steven M. Martin made the documentary “Theremin: An Electronic Odyssey”. The movie shows footage from the scientist’s career in New York and has live performances by both Theremin and Clara Rockmore, his most accomplished pupil. The end of the film shows a reunion between the professor and Rockmore after fifty years of being separated. It also features interviews with Theremin, Clara Rockmore, and Robert Moog. It is Mr. Moog who is a major force behind today’s theremin revival. And why not he has been building them for almost 60 years.

A couple of days ago I watched some theremin video on the recommendation of one of my viewers. This led me to assemble, on our MindsiMedia You Tube station, a playlist of theremin videos and some other odd musical instruments I came across in my research. I came across some interesting performance & performers and would now like to share them with you. Here is a video featuring one of todays more interesting theremin performers Pamelia Kurstin.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

A Shirtless Elvis Presley From 1957 & The Graceland Gates

Published by MindsiMedia on Dec 27, 2012
A couple of snippets of super 8 home movies taken at Graceland shortly after Elvis moved in. In the first scene a shirtless Elvis is riding a tractor that gets stuck in the mud. In the second segment we are in front of the gates of Graceland as Col. Tom Parker pulls up in his Caddy.

Vintage Neon On The First McDonalds, Des Plaines Il.

Published by ChiTownView on Dec 26, 2012
In the Chicago northwestern suburb of Des Plaines is the location of the first Mc Donalds opened by Ray Kroc. This followed his buying out of the Mc Donald brothers who opened the original restaurant in 1940 in San Bernadino Ca.

This one is located at 400 Lee St. and was opened in April of 1955 then torn down in 1984. This replica was built from the original blueprints and contains all original equipment. It doesn't serve food and is only open to visitors during the summer. But this neon sign is pretty sweet and the look inside at the small menu w/ the 1950's prices shows us how much things have changed over the years.

We have lots of other neon for your viewing enjoyment our Chicago neon tour can be found here.

This and other neon playlists found on MindsiMedia's YouTube station

We have some neon photos galleries on our web site.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Bob Dylan Playing In A Northwoods Lodge From 1964 ?

No although it looks like it in one of Dylan's odder television appearances. This was produced in CBC studios in Toronto on 2/1/1964 and broadcast on 3/10. It was part of the Quest series and entitled "The Times They Are A-Changin'". It was produced by Daryl Duke

Set list:
The Times They Are A-Changin'
Talking World War III Blues
The Lonesome Death Of Hattie Carroll
Girl From The North Country
A Hard Rain's A-Gonna Fall
Restless Farewell

The information on this session comes from a Dylan blog called "Still On The Road". And if you need info on a Dylan session that is the place to go.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Elvis Presley Sings The Beatles "Something" 1973

Published on MindsiMedia Dec 24, 2012
Elvis onstage from 1973 sings the Beatles hit "Something" written by George Harrison
Creative Commons license: Public Domain Mark 1.0

For more Elvis clips check out our playlist.

Monday, December 24, 2012

R.I.P. Jack Klugman, An "Odd Couple" Christmas Carol

Known to most of the world as Oscar Madison on the television version of The Odd Couple and as the trailblazing Quincy ME. Jack Klugman was also a WW 1 veteran who after a long acting career became a horse breeder. He died today at the age of 90. In his memory and considering the day we present the Odd Couple version of Dickens "Christmas Carol".

Christmas Carol 2012, The Holiday Blues & A Cartoon

A Christmas Carol 2012
w/ a Merry Christmas To The Ghost of Charles Dickens

Chapter 1

To begin with, he had disappeared. There is no doubt about that at all he had ceased to exist. Ask his friends, family & wife they will tell you he was gone. Even though he hadn't moved out of town or anything like that. He even knew it himself and what kind of a man is man that knows he has disappeared. He was like that character in the Cohen Bros movie “The Man Who Wasn't There”.

It wasn't like there was just a puff of smoke and poof he was gone. No you would remember such a sudden change. It was more like he just sort of faded the way over the years. Like someone you used to see all the time and then just slowly it's been a couple of years and there just gone. So where once he had a job, a family, a home and a life he was now down to the last. Now as the train doors opened and he got on he wondered how much longer he would have that.

As he found his seat a disembodied voice said “watch the closing doors” then wished everyone a “happy holidays” as the train lurched off towards the city. He leaned back in his seat and looked out the window and tried to forget the growing pain in his stomach. Tried not to think about it being late on Christmas eve and he had no other place to be than riding this nearly empty train around the city until morning came.

And he must stay alert because there was always the danger of something going wrong quickly so he knew he must not sleep. He was hungry and cold but must stay alert. There was a time when he would have occupied himself by thinking about how he was going to get out of his mess. Speculating on how soon his fortunes would turn around. He had long ago given up on that hope because no matter how hard he tried things only got worse.

So now he passed the time by keeping a wary eye on his fellow passengers and wondering where their journeys were taking them. Wishing he had a final destination himself. We were approaching the station and the car was slowing down he sat up and looked towards the doors so he could evaluate the people as they got on.

Only one person got on it was a disheveled bum and Mike groaned inwardly as he came shambling up the aisle towards him. Sure enough he plopped down two seats away and the ripe stench of his body was further amplified when he turned towards Mike and opened his mouth to speak. In a very proper English accent.

“Scuse me gov'ner could you spare some cutter then.”

For a moment Mike just sat a stared at him like it was all some kind of illusion. “Is this really happening to me” he wondered. When Mike didn't respond he asked again.

“Well how bout it then?” Mike finally just shook his head no but kept staring waiting for him to vanish. But he didn't instead he called Mike a rude name and as he rose to try the next car he added. In an accent that was now pure west side.

“Quit staring at me bud this is gonna be you in six months. And if you don't get your head out your ass and stay sharp you won't even make it that long. Now don't say you weren't warned.”

And spat on him as he yanked the door open and went into the next car.

Luckily most of the spit landed on the seat next to him so he found an old newspaper and laid it on top. Then leaned back again, the car was empty, it was a long time til the next stop It was almost midnight and he felt himself drifting off. Despite his best efforts he fell asleep.

Chapter 2

And once he fell asleep he drifted off into a world of dreams as the church bells tolled the midnight hour. At least they would have if the church bells still rung. Anyway the dreams were most pleasant because for the first time in months there was a smile upon his face. It's a shame he was asleep and couldn't enjoy it.

There wasn't just one dream but three dreams one after the other. Or perhaps a dream in three parts is more accurate. In the first he was a child again. Or rather he was able to watch himself as a child as his fading memories of these days flickered to life once more.

There he was sitting in the darkened room lit only by the colored lights on the tree. There were only a few presents under the tree because truth being told they didn't have a lot of money on spend on gifts. But they did have each other and they did have love and that usually seemed to be enough. No matter how unpleasant the outside world might be there was always home waiting for you. They were old memories but they were strong and held through the years. He could feel them again as the years passed and his life became a blur as the dream drifted and was replaced by a new one.

And when the blur sharpened and the haze lifted he was in the middle of another part of his life. Here he is as a man now with his own wife and children and once again it is a scene filled with warmth & love. There is the tree it is bigger and there are more presents under the tree and we all have each other. Life is good these are memories we don't want to leave behind because they are the ones that make life worth living. But you can't stop a dream and even the best of memories fade and before we want one dream ends and the next fades into view.

Once again as the images take shape and the past comes to life it is Christmas and we are in the same home. Time has passed though the children are older and where before we were all huddled around the tree next to each other we are now scattered across the room isolated from one another surrounded by our gifts. There are still smiles but they look forced and when I am not looking at her my wife is clearly glaring at me. The glare freezes the scene to ice then the ice cracks and falls apart and the dream suddenly shifts and we are somewhere else.

It is still Christmas but we have left the home from the last two scenes and are now clearly in an apartment. We are seated around the dining room table and all are once again older myself, my kids, no wife the only others my elderly mother and older sister. There is not much conversation. Only the sounds of eating and the occasional remark. The kids are fidgeting. My mother gets ill and my sister takes her to the hospital. The kids disappear shortly after that. Then I am sitting there all alone and it is dark. I am sitting there staring off into space when I feel a cold hand on my shoulder.

I look up and it is the bum from the train who had gifted me with his spittle before I entered into this dream world. I didn't small him because he was obviously dead a corpse is what now confronted me. He was all black, white and gray the only color at all were his glowing blood red eyes. They were staring straight ahead not even looking at me his hand rested on my shoulder it's cold chilling me to the bone. My eyes riveted on this specter in horror and I tried to speak but all I could choke out was “What.....DO....You.....Want....”

The specter didn't answer but raised his other hand and pointed over by the doorway and as I turned my gaze I could hear.

Chapter 3

“Watch The Closing Doors”

And all of a sudden the dream was over I am back on the train. I don't know how long I've been asleep but I am wide awake now and find myself in a world of trouble. The train has stopped and I am no longer alone. Three predators have boarded the train and they are slowly walking down the aisle towards me. Smiling and laughing all the way.

If you spend enough time riding the rails you get to know how to judge people and realize that 99% of the time you don't have anything to worry about. This was not one of those times these were people who radiated bad intent. Dark coats zipped all the way hoods pulled up and there wearing sunglasses in the middle of the night. All he could see were the smiles all he could hear was the chuckling as they advanced. The train was leaving the station so it was too late to get off.

He had no weapon to defend himself. He had nothing to offer them and he had no cell phone to call for help. There was an emergency button but they had already passed that and were no almost upon him. For a moment he thought maybe this was all just one big dream and he was going to very soon wake up and he was going to be back in his bed in his home next to his wife with is kids.

But it wasn't all a dream, he should have followed the bums advice and never fallen asleep. Because these three had nothing but hate in there heart and tonight he was who they came across. In less than five minutes they dragged him out of his seat and stomped him to death. They kept after it until the next station came up. Then they propped his bloody body up in the seat and ran off the train laughing and shouting “

Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night”
Not your usual feel good holiday story but here's the back story. Believe me I know it's Christmas and no one wants to hear this shit but that's part of the problem. But depression has been on my mind a lot lately and here are some my thoughts and why I'm sharing them.

All across the country there are millions of Americans who have lost everything over the past four years. A life time of hard work gone ideals about loyalty rendered meaningless we have been tossed to the curb unwanted by everyone. We are invisible because we are everyone from old white men to young ghetto kids crushed by an economy that favors the few and punishes the average person. It is a nightmare that a lot of people will never wake from.

Dealing with depressed and or mentally ill people can be tough. Nobody wants to be around them. Truth be told they don't want to be around themselves. That's a large part of the problem.

We are taught from the very beginning;

“Keep it to yourself”
“Nobody wants to hear your sad story”
“Everyone has problems”
“Others have it a lot worse”

These helpful bromides are what passes for caring for a lot of people. And the biggest advance in the past few decades has been medication. A staggering amount of people take various forms of anti-depressants. When you add to that number those that self medicate with a wide variety of illegal and “over the counter” drugs like booze. This is our response to the mental health crisis. And to a degree it works but just because the drug route can treat some of the manifestations of mental illness you still don't get to the driving factors of the illness.

If you want to really help fight mental illness find someone who needs help and help them. We all know at least one person who we try to avoid because they are a drag or a downer and not much fun to be around. They are the front line and need help. Try reaching out see if they need someone to talk to.

This is my therapy self expression just talking about it in this way is a tremendous help. When the world is closing in you've got to push back. If you want to help me deal with my own depression take a look at what I'm building here online it's a sprawling work in progress that goes off in a number of directions. So I'm looking for your help, advice and support.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Footage From The New Gladiators An Elvis Martial Arts Documentary

Published by MindsiMedia on Dec 23, 2012
For today's tribute to Elvis's upcoming 88th birthday we have an obscure clip from a movie Elvis backed in his later years. Here's the story right from the DVD's site.

"In 1974 the producer George Waite had an idea to make a film on martial arts in which Elvis Presley would play a leading role and introduce the real martial arts to the world. His role was to be narrator and demonstrator.

When Waite presented his idea to his Kenpo Karate instructor Ed Parker, who was also Elvis' karate instructor, within minutes he found himself sitting at Elvis' dining room table. "The KING" had on his karate uniform and a bath robe. Parker had called Elvis and set up the meeting right on the spot!

Elvis who liked the idea in theory was leaving within minutes for Las Vegas to do one of his shows, so he said he would think about it and get back to him.

Well the next morning Waite was awakened by Elvis' phone call and before he knew it Elvis had sent his airplane back from Las Vegas to pick up Waite and his wife to come to the show that night in Las Vegas."
To finish the story follow the link.

We have a nice collection of Elvis clips & concerts here.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Busting Santa Claus Deep In The Heart of Texas

So this is what it comes down to we are not only arresting people for drawing with chalk on the sidewalk we are arresting Santa for doing it the week before Christmas!!!! I understand what's going on but is this really what kind of society we've become? People who aren't harming anyone they are just trying in their own way to make the world a better place and we need to lock them up for using chalk? Merry Christmas indeed.

Historic (?) Oak Park, 644 Madison, E. E. Roberts Designed Auto Dealership

I was getting gas on Madison Ave. and while pumping my eyes wandered across the street. There I saw some little faces tucked along the roofline so I went across the street to get a closer look at what must have been an auto dealership. Here is that look at those details that were set in stone so long ago.

My original local station was called OakParkVideo and we will soon be closing it and are now uploading it's videos here. This is one of them since I originally posted it I have since discovered the building is the work of E.E. Roberts and for the past few years local preservationists have been working to save the facade.

There were plans to have an Aldi store move and they would preserve it but it would appear as though those plans have fallen through. It was originally a Packard dealership and served as an auto place for most of it's life. A lot of us that grew up in Oak Park will remember this spot as the home of Meeting House Display.

Elvis Presely Early Live TV "Blue Suede Shoes"

Here is an ancient clip of Elvis Presley performing his hit "Blue Suede Shoes" on the Milton Berle show 4/3/1956.

If you've spent any time looking around on our MindsiMedia YouTube station you've seen that we pay our respects to the cultural icon that is Elvis Presley. Although not a huge fan of his music growing up I always respected him for his contributions. Then in the 1980's I took an unused bathroom in a record store I worked in and turned it into an Elvis shrine. It quickly taught me the power of his myth as reporters and tv crews soon beat a path to our doors. Along with new customers that helped us make what was then the rough transition from records to cds.
On MindsiMedia we have uploaded a handful of Elvis related videos, including a look at our Elvis shrine. You can find them at our Elvis playlist along with a host of other videos of or about "the King". Now in honor of his upcoming 88th birthday 1/8/35 we have scoured and our presenting some of my favorite videos from there.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Fetishistic Outtakes From Ed Wood's Glen Or Glenda

Published on the Sinema Dec 19, 2012
Glen or Glenda is Ed Woods famous film made for the tidy sum of $60,000 dollars in 1953. It is a movie that was supposed to be about sex change sensation Chistine Jourgenson. That's what producer George Weiss was paying for but the film got hijacked by director Wood.  Who turned it into a semi autobiographical story about cross dressing.

This footage was shot by director W. Merle Connell for a different film but never made it to the final cut of Glen or Glenda. . It contains scenes of clothed women engaging in sexually provocative behavior including mild lesbian bondage. This is intercut with reaction shots from malesfrom Glen or Glenda including the star Bela Lugosi.

Here is a link to the whole movie:

And a link to Ed Wood the story behind the making of Glen & Glenda as told by Tim Burton & Johnny Depp:

Saturday, December 15, 2012

An Afternoon With Jimi Hendrix, Live Performances, 1st Interview & More

Jimi Hendrix had he lived would have turned 70 a couple of weeks ago and to coincide with his birthday there was news of a lp containing some previously unissued material that hints at the musical direction he might have taken had he lived. "People, Hell and Angels" is due to come out in early March and reportedly moves in a more Earth Wind & Fire direction.

Here is an early interview with Jimi from The Detroit Free Press from 1967. It is from a story written by Loraine Alterman  in the,

"No exaggeration: the Jimi Hendrix Experience is the most exciting act I have yet seen in pop music.
A small, musically hip group of kids turned out to see Jimi at the Fifth Dimension in Ann Arbor recently. Jimi, his bassist Noel Redding and drummer Mitch Mitchell are creating a sensation in England and Europe – but the word hasn't spread here yet.
On stage, Jimi, with hair a la Dylan, puts on a show with his brilliant guitar playing and electric stage presence. While performing, Jimi swings the guitar in back of him and plays it resting on his back. He also zings it with his teeth or falls to the floor to play it. Sometimes (but not at the Fifth Dimension), he burns it at the end of his set. In Ann Arbor, when his amplifier blew, he flung the amp to the floor at the end of his last set and jumped up and down on top of it.
Paradoxically, he never blows his cool. While he's frantic, he's casual. As he's hurling the instrument around, a gleam of humour comes through. He's hip without being a hippie – that is, he's without the pretentiousness and pomposity which afflicts too many hippies."

To finish this post click here.

MindsiMedia also has a Hendrix playlist with more than eight hours of live shows, biographical material & more. Here is a clip from Stockholm of a 1969 performance of "Voodoo Chile"

For More Visit Our Hendrix Playlist

"Loop Tatoo" Mural, Soon To Be Hidden Downtown Art Work

Published by ChiTownView on Dec 14, 2012
If your standing near Michigan Ave. & Lake in downtown Chicago and look west there is a huge mural painted on the side of the MDA aptartments building at 63 E. Lake. It measures 135′ x 45′ is the work of artist Johanna Poethig and has been there since 2006. If you want to see best do it quick because right next door another building is going up that will shortly obscure this work.

Holiday Music On The Flute by Miquel Hidalgo "Flute Magic"

Published by ChiTownView on Dec 13, 2012
I was strolling on Chicago's north Michigan Ave. this week when i heard some very pleasant holiday music being played on flute. I quickly discovered it was being played by a gentleman by the name of Miquel Hidalgo who goes by the name "Flute Magic". I hope you enjoy his renditions of We Wish You A Merry Christmas & Auld Lang Syne as much as I did.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

The Attack on Gay Rights, The Defenders & A Psychedelic Delight(?)

There is no change without desire. At some point while driving around yesterday I caught the very end of an interview on public radio with someone who was talking about cultural evolution being a choice that humans make. Then this morning I got caught up in a string of stories centered around this weeks expected Supreme Court decision on gay marriage.

In a country founded on the equality of all people we must ask why this is even a case. Because doesn't equality for all people mean just that, not just equality among those people we think are OK? Haven't we been fighting this concept since the time that only wealthy, white, male, landowners could vote? Isn't that what we call progress? It would seem not according to those who seek to prevent gays from marrying. They don't see the expansion of rights to all people and seek to have the right to take rights away from people. In a free society has the right, duty and obligation to punish those that violate the rights of others but does that give them the right to take away their vote after they've paid their debt to society.

 So here we are at this moment of decision and I thought I would share some of what I find people saying. First and most ominously Supreme Court judge Antonin Scalia sums up the position of those who will oppose the right of gay people to marry. It like the other posts cited here came from Huffington Post.

 Antonin Scalia Defends Legal Writings Some View As Offensive, Anti-Gay Speaking at Princeton University, 

"Scalia was asked by a gay student why he equates laws banning sodomy with those barring bestiality and murder. "I don't think it's necessary, but I think it's effective," Scalia said, adding that legislative bodies can ban what they believe to be immoral........"If we cannot have moral feelings against homosexuality, can we have it against murder? Can we have it against other things?" Scalia said he is not equating sodomy with murder but drawing a parallel between the bans on both.” 

 To finish the post click here.

As with most of these issues it all comes down to which is greater the rights of us as individuals to do what we want as long as we aren't hurting someone else or the right of your neighbors to tell you how to live. It's interesting he makes a parallel between murder and homosexuality and says he's not equating the two behaviors. But isn't he just giving the state the right to equate the two behaviors by engaging in those behaviors. So anyway from their I moved on to a story about American pop stars getting in legal trouble in Russia for speaking out in support of gay rights.

My mistake this ones from the Guardian.

 Lady Gaga upsets Russian conservatives with gay support message

 “Vitaly Milonov, a conservative MP who authored a controversial law banning "homosexual propaganda" in Russia's cultural capital, said he would ask prosecutors to investigate Lady Gaga for breaking the law. "We will contact prosecutors and the law enforcement agencies to carry out a thorough investigation of the situation," Milonov told Life News, a Kremlin-friendly tabloid........Russia put Madonna on trial in absentia last month after a group of conservative and Russian Orthodox activists sued the pop star for $10.7m, claiming distress at her violation of the anti-homosexual propaganda law during a summer concert in St Petersburg. “

 To finish the post click here.

So I had a pretty good fix on the anti position and it is consistent with a mind that finds corporations have the same rights as people but gay people don't have the same rights as everyone else. So anyway while I don't really need anyone to explain the pro gay marriage side I still came across a great story about a former “tough guy” pro hockey star who is now a strong advocate for gay rights and thought it stood as a great contrast to the rest of this nonsense.

Sean Avery, Former New York Ranger, On Being Gay Rights Advocate

 “"Maybe it’s because when I was such a bully when I had my uniform on, that when I took it off I felt the need to stand up against the bully," That's how Sean Avery describes his decision to speak out in defense of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) rights in recent years.

 The former New York Rangers star, known for his agitating playing style as well as controversial behavior off the ice, discusses his LGBT advocacy stance at length in a Dec. 8 interview with the New York Daily News. 
To finish the post click here.

So for those of you that don't believe in things like progress, evolution and equal rights for all the constitution gives you the right to have your beliefs but doesn't make them right. Society has benefited tremendously by expanding equal rights to women and minorities. It also has benefited by the expansion to gay men and women that has taken place over the past forty years. We usually like to have a video clip and today I'm presenting a song that's stuck in my head. The Chambers Bros “The Time Has Come Today” and not just any version but the rare extended live version. It is a psychedelic freak out!!!!!!!

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Val's Halla, A Record Store With An Elvis Shrine, In Trouble?

I came across some sad news the other day on Facebook. Val's Hall a legendary Chicago area record store was in trouble and had an uncertain future. It's a place that I spent many long years as a customer and part of the staff. It's the kind of place that the world needs more of so I thought I would share some memories of Val's and Oak Park record store shopping in the early 1970's.

The first thing you need to know about Val's Halla is that it's not a record store. I mean that's what is sold there but Val's is a music store. Because that's what owner Val Camelletti is all about. The music.

Growing up in Oak Park I was more of a movie, TV, being outside playing kind of kid. Music was there but more in the background. So it wasn't until I was in my late teens and discovered music might be a good way to meet girls that I took an serious interest.

In the early 70's when I first started shopping for records there were at least five different places selling records near downtown Oak Park that I can remember. Near Harlem Ave. there was Sound Source which was your standard 70's operation. It was where Five Guys is now or near it. Then a little further east there was a hip clothes place that had pinball and records on the second floor. On the north side of the street was Woolworth s that had “cutout” records.

Further east on Lake st just past Oak Park Ave. was Lyttles. They had these listening booths so the place must have been there for awhile. As I remember they also carried a lot of 45's. Then south on Oak Park across from the “L” station was Val's Halla.

I remembered it as being next to a place that had been a train store with a layout in the window. During the fifties and at leat early 60's. I first went in there when it was all just in the narrow little section the door opened into. It was a couple of years before they would expand into the area that housed the used records. I was looking for a soundtrack to The Man From UNCLE which I had been a huge fan of. And just an aside here but why with every other film & TV series being remade has that show never been updated? Anyway I came away from Val's highly impressed because I found More Music From The Man From UNCLE which I didn't even know existed.

The the next time I was looking for a record by a group I'd read about in Creem magazine called The Dictators. Alan Olson who worked there at the time didn't have it to sell but did have a promo copy that they'd gotten and he GAVE it to me. And from that point on I sold on the place. I mean no one had ever just given me what I was looking for when I went in a store.

And that's because it was more than just a record store it was a place where people who liked music went. And that's because as I was quickly to learn the place was dominated by the personality of Val herself. Who has a great love for music and a healthy suspicion of the trends. For her being in business wasn't about being in business as much as it was about affording her a chance to do something she loves. Buying and selling records for sure but having the opportunity to expose people to all kinds of music and to communicate her passion for it is what sets her apart. It was the kind of place where you would see musicians like John Prine shopping or Clifton Chenier dropping by.

After being a customer for a few years I eneded up getting a job there and stayed for almost fifteen years. It was a lot of fun and Val is a great person to know and work for. And here it is forty years later and she is still living her dream sharing her love of music to the world. But times have changed, so has the music business and the small mom and pop place that survived the transition from records to cds and having to move from a location she'd been in for decades to a place on the other side of town may not survive much longer.

So for those of you in the Chicago area if you want to support local businesses , help fight corporate domination and find some Christmas presents for a music lover this should be a destination for you. Check it out.

Come visit Val’s Halla at 239 W. Harrison St. Oak Park 60304. They are open Monday thru Friday 11 to 7, and Saturday 11 to 5. 708-524-1004

There is also a larger effort ongoing to support Val's and here is a link to another story on that has more information on that.

And here is Val's appearance on public TV's Wild Chicago.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Vintage Vinyl Lps From MikesDiggs

In addition to our presentation of music related videos and our Pandora radio stations MindsiMedia also sells high quality vintage vinyl records from time to time. Our records can be found on eBay under the name MikesDiggs which we previously used from 1995-2005 while selling records and usual items. Anyway this week we are selling some classic 1950 & 60's jazz and sealed classical lps. Below are a couple of examples if you would like to see all our listings click here.

I came across a video of Callas & Gobbi doing a scene from this opera click here.

If you want to hear a track from this lp click here.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Louis Sullivan & Frank lloyd Wright The Charnley House In Chicago's

Published on Dec 1, 2012 by
Just off of Lake Shore Drive on Chicago's north side at 1365 N. Astor is the Charnley House an 1892 design by Louis Sullivan and a young man by the name of Frank Lloyd Wright who would soon leave the Sullivan firm and make a name for himself.

Today it houses The Society of Architectural Historians.


Santa Speedo Run, Hundreds of Half Naked People In The Streets of Chicago

Published on Dec 1, 2012 by
It's rare that it's as warm as it was in Chicago this December 1st so I was out strolling through Chicago's near north side not far from Rush St. All of a sudden I heard some shouts and general commotion. I looked up to see hordes of half naked mostly men but some women running right towards me. It turns out to be the annual Santa Speedo Shuffle an annual event to raise money to fight diabetes.