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.

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." 

Monday, May 30, 2016

Street Art In Chicago, Wabash Art Corridor's Big Walls Project

This spring ChiTownView has been exploring some of Chicago's public art offerings with the focus has been on three areas. Cemetery art in particular historic Gracelandcemetery and gangster heaven Mt. Carmel in suburban Hillside. The Driehaus Museum of Stained Glass which is a beautiful collection of Comfort Tiffany art glass at Navy Pier. The latest and most extensive exploration has been Columbia College's Wabash Art Corridor and it's Big Walls project. This has transformed the blank walls of Chicago's south loop into an outdoor gallery of street art.

So far I've posted six videos featuring more than a dozen different murals scattered from the heart of downtown to Roosevelt Rd. The largest and most impressive work is located in the heart of the loop. It is Brazilian street artist Eduardo Kobra's eight story high mural of blues giant Muddy Waters. You'll find it by standing at the corner of State and Washington and looking south.

Chicago's El trains rumble down Wabash before turning left and heading down Van Buren thus marking the “official” start of the south loop. At this corner you will find two more murals by “Almost Full” by Italian street artist Never2501 and “Penny For Your Thoughts” by Morley who is based in L.A. 

Continue south down Wabash you pass the Magnificent Auditorium Theater cross Congress Parkway and a block south you will find yourself almost surrounded by a cluster of five murals. Their are two works that have been worked into a multi-story parking garage.
“Drowning In The City” faces south and is by Chicagoan Ruben AguirreThe west wall of the garage has a collaboration (I think) by Lady Lucx & Sarah Stewart.

On the other side of Wabash we find three more murals around a parking lot. Banksy collaborator Ben Eine "Harmony". "Moose Bubblegum Bubble" by Jacob Watts"The Provocateurs" by Retna

That's half the clips for more visit the ChiTownView playlist that covers the area south of the loop.

I've also created a google map that locates the murals along with other places in the south loop I've explored.

Friday, May 27, 2016

Rufus Jones For President w/ Sammy Davis Jr. 1933, Stranger Than Trump

This years presidential race has been offered us the surrealistic experience of the Donald Trump campaign.  From the moment he came gliding down the escalator with Neil Young's "Rockin In The Free World" blasting in the background I thought this will be entertaining. I haven't been disappointed. I was lucky enough to be at his Chicago rally that he chickened out of when he discovered most of the audience was there to jeer not cheer.

It took some looking but I've found a Presidential campaign that's even more bizarre. Of course it's fictional what I'm talking about is a short film from 1933 entitled "Rufus Jones For President". It tells the story of a seven year old Rufus who is played by a very young Sammy Davis Jr. (in his first film) who becomes President.

It all takes place in a daydream that his "mammy" played by blues singer Ethel Waters is having. It is a musical fantasy played for laughs with LOTS of racial stereotyping but is still worth watching. There are a number of songs including; Underneath The Harlem Moon, I'll Be Glad When Your Dead You Rascal You and The Great Day's Come. It's great entertainment once you get past the racism. Kind of like the Trump campaign.

Directed by Roy Mack who was a prolific director of shorts with more than 200 titles credited to him.
Written By A. Dorian Otvas & Cyrus Ward
Starring Ethel Waters & Sammy Davis Jr. with The Will Vodery Girls as the dancing ensemble, Russell Wooding as the Leader of vocal ensemble and The Russell Wooding's Jubilee Singers appearing as the vocal ensemble
Music by Cliff Hess
Cinematography by Edwin B. DuPar

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.

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Crime Scene A New Collection Of Vintage Crime Movies & TV Shows

On our web portal we have just added a new page called Crime Scene. It gathers together some classic b&w crime/noir films and TV shows. Visit Crime Scene and you can watch great vintage movies like these below.

"5 Minutes To Live" aka "Door To Door Maniacs" A 1961 hardboiled film that stars Johnny Cash as a crazed criminal and also features Merle Travis.


"The Big Combo" Ultra violent crime flick that includes a scene where a man is tortured by listening to drummer Shelly Manne.

The Lawless Years was a late 50's early 60's TV series that focused on New York City during the roaring 20's. The photo above is from the "Nick Joseph Story" which starred Vick Morrow.

Peter Gunn was a groundbreaking TV series that was directed by Blake Edwards with the main theme by Henry Mancini.

"My Gun Is Quick" is a 1950's adaptation of one of Mickey Spillane's  best selling Mike Hammer detective novels.