January 31, 2006

A perfect three minute pop song?

Here is a 1965 promotional film (what they used to call music videos) the Beatles made for one of their best pre-Sgt. Pepper singles, "Ticket to Ride". I love how poorly (sometimes intentionally) they lip-synch. Only disingenuous performers could take lip-synching seriously, and the Beatles were usually all about being honest and cutting through the bull. I think Lennon looks particularly cool in this one. The camera frames his face in close-up a couple of times.

Within a year John Lennon would be writing lyrics such as Lay down all thought, surrender to the void ("Tomorrow Never Knows" off of Revolver)and "Always, no sometimes, think it's me, but you know I know when it's a dream" (from "Strawberry Fields Forever").

  • "Ticket to Ride" was on the Help! soundtrack.

  • John Lennon believed "Ticket to Ride" was one of the earliest heavy-metal records (droning bassline, repeating drums, and loaded guitar lines).

  • It's a Lennon song, but Paul McCartney came up with the lopsided drum pattern.

  • The guitar solo was played by Paul, the first time the bassist played lead guitar on a Beatles record.

  • It's among a trio of songs from this period in which the guitar lick was the primary focus (the others being "I Feel Fine" and "Day Tripper").

  • This was the first Beatles song that was over 3 minutes long.

  • The Carpenters covered this in 1969. It was their first single.
  • January 30, 2006

    Lady in Cement finale

    The case of the lady in cement brings Tony Rome to bohemia and a visit with artist/hack Arnie Sherwin.

    Arnie Sherwin is portrayed by Richard Deacon, better known as Melvin "Mel" Cooley from The Dick Van Dyke Show. I'm guessing he hoped this part would allow him to break out of the "Mel" roles for which he was forever typecast.

    This lovely thing is going for the whole Jayne Mansfield/Marilyn Monroe look about a decade too late. Her lines for Lady in Cement are comprised of:

    "Arnie--can I go to the john?" and "Arnie, I gotta go to the john!" (Arnie bellows a terse "No!" after the second request).

    Rome finds a link between Sherwin and the lady in cement.

    Why this is important, I really couldn't tell you. The plot of this one is as convoluted and twisting as any detective novel, and I'd lost interest in it (the plot) by this point.

    Lady in Cement has a car chase that must have seemed pathetically tame in light of Bullit, which was released just the month before, in October 1968. The car chase footage does retain a historical value, in that there are nice, extended shots of Miami Beach.

    The chase ends up on foot, with Rome being pursued through the grounds of the 60s retro hotel, The Fountainbleau. Tony Rome also featured it.

    The chase cuts right through and disrupts what appears to be a ballroom dancing lesson....

    ...or is it??

    WTF? Do you suppose the director told those two gentlemen to remove their shirts? And it is two different guys. Could it have been that hot on the day of this particular shoot? Could it be because the status quo was turned in on itself and placed on its head during the insanity of 1968? That's my version.

    Rome eludes his pursuers by ducking into an unattended cabana. The TV display explains why sometimes Lady in Cement is listed among Fess Parker's movie roles.

    This case has lead Tony Rome to seedy bars, strip clubs, X-Rated movie theaters, and a mortuary, so why not(?), a massage parlor:

    It's a cameo by Joe E. Lewis, a comedian Sinatra portrayed in 1957's The Jocker's Wild. Joe E. Lewis was known for his foul-mouth and rough living. Sinatra loved him.

    There's a happy ending in the works.

    Rome solves the case, and gets the girl, even if she was repulsed by him in real life.

    Is that a



    January 28, 2006

    Sinatra down under

    This is a news reel from January 1955, showing The Voice arriving at an airport in Australia where he was scheduled to perform. Accompanying him is his teenage daughter, Nancy (with the laughing face).

    Here is the March 31, 1959 perfomance of "I Get a Kick Out of You" (if you listen carefully at the beginning, you can hear glasses clinking) from Frank Sinatra and Red Norvo Quintet, Live in Australia, 1959. His performances on March 31 and April 1 are supposed to have been excellent. He was of good voice and high spirits, and the Red Norvo Quintet was smokin'. This is the closest to jazz (including his work with Count Basie) Sinatra ever got. Sinatra's ebullience was most likely due to the addition of former wife/on again, off again flame, Ava Gardner, to the tour group. Gardner was in Australia filming On the Beach. Good times.

    post update

    The Come Blow Your Horn recap has been updated, the full version of the musical number now included.

    January 27, 2006

    Olivo Barbieri's model world

    Did you see Boing Boing's link (UPDATE: they now also have a link to a Japanese webpage with astonishing examples of this "modeling" technique) to a site with work by a photogropher named Olivo Barbieri? His pictures "look uncannily like hyperdetailed models, absent the imperfections of reality. Streets are strangely clean, trees look plastic. He achieves the distinctive look by photographing from a helicopter using a tilt-shift lens".

    The results are real scenes that look like miniature sets.

    The Queen Mary, Long Beach, California

    Walt Disney Concert Hall, Los Angeles

    A neon graveyard, Las Vegas

    The Coliseum, Rome

    It's Fingerbang Friday!

    Ladies and gentlemen, Fingerbang:

    Girl, so you can sing along, girl:

    Fingerbang bang bang Fingerbang bang bang bang bang
    I'm gonna Fingerbang-bang you into my life
    Girl, you like to Fingerbang and it's all right.
    'Cuz I'm the King of Fingerbang, let's not fight
    I'm gonna Fingerbang-bang you every night.

    And, girl you know that you're the only girl for me,girl.
    Girl, you're the girl of my fantasies, you're my girl,
    You're my girl, my girl.

    Fingerbang, bang, bang, bang, bang...

    Fingerbang bang bang bang bang
    I'm gonna Fingerbang-bang you into my life
    Girl, you like to Fingerbang and it's all right.
    'Cuz I'm the King of Fingerbang, let's not fight
    I'm gonna Fingerbang-bang you every night.

    South Park Studios
    Comedy Central

    January 26, 2006

    Not Uranus

    Who knows if this is based in any kind of reality, at all, but I think it's neat.
    Blog in Space sent this email to me today. Somehow, my blog is hurtling towards Pluto aboard New Horizons, the unmanned Pluto-Kuiper Belt probe study. Hopefully, Plutonians like Frank Sinatra.

    Dear Humanoid:

    Move over Neil Armstrong, Chris Adams has gone into space blogging history. Ten years from now your blogs will be reaching the undiscovered, unchartered, never-before-touched-by-human-hands planet of Pluto! The 6th transmission for Blog in Space trailed "New Horizons" at north latitude of 28* 31' 27'', west longitude of 80* 35' 53'', and with a frequency of 6105.0 MHz! (Hmm...maybe your blog will in fact BEAT NASA to the punch and discover Pluto first! ) You will forever go down in history as the first bloggers to venture into the planet unknown!

    What will Pluto hold for us bloggers? Could it be filled with Oprah look-a-likes with a sea of hair foaming over the sides of the planet? Or maybe they are creatures with an infinite passion for American Idol, holding their own auditions, and awarding the title of Pluto Alien Idol to the "thing" with gnarly vocals? Whatever they find, if there's no Starbucks or wireless Internet, is their really a point to travel there?!

    Now don't be alarmed if you think you missed out on this mission, we have the ability to keep direct contact with this craft during the extended trip to Pluto way into July 2015. We will be utilizing the 83-inch antenna dish along with the radioisotope thermoelectric generator (RTG) because solar power is not enough and batteries don't keep going and going THAT long. Pluto is the only remaining planet that has never been visited by a spacecraft, so we have a feeling these alien species in particular are going to be itching with excitement to read your blog.

    When Telling the World Simply Isn't Enough.

    -The BlogInSpace Team

    Image from Astronomy Picture of the Day

    January 25, 2006

    Lady in Cement, part III

    When last we left Tony Rome, he was chasing down a trail of clues in a case involving a lady (with spectacular breasts) in cement. After leaving a testy interview with two of the most offensive stereotypes in cinema history (don't quote me on that), a duo of mean gay men/tough homosexuals (more on that later), Rome ends up at the home of wealthy and lovely Kit Forrest (Raquel Welch).

    Rome visits another mansion straight out of Grand Theft Auto: Vice City.

    Evidence of Rome's gambling debts.

    Welch's first appearance in the film, and her character says:

    "Well, should I scream rape now or phone in a complaint?"

    I guess that was supposed to be funny back in 1968, but it just seems strange today. The emphasis on "in" is hers. It was as if the public would just take it for granted that Sinatra was a lecherous dog, or something, and no female was completely safe in his presence.

    Rome drinks in her beauty. Undoubtedly, he's thinking seriously about raping her (what else could he, or any man, possibly do in this situation?).

    She invites him inside (her house) where Rome reveals his appreciation for art. The camera pans down, but why?

    Ah yes, the great Arnie Sherwin. He's like a poor man's Leroy Neiman.

    Rome takes what he learns from Welch's character and seeks out an undercover cop who might know what to make of her information. The cop is undercover as a call girl, unfortunately. I guess police departments once had men pose as women, undercover, but based on this, it probably wasn't too effective.

    Highlights of the awkwardness:

    The guy who was washing his hands at the beginning of that clip is Jilly Rizzo, Sinatra's best friend until he (Jilly) died.

    Speaking of Jilly, Rome returns to the ficticious Jilly's South, transformed for the movie into a sleazy Boschian den of sin.

    Rome must confront the shocking gay stereotypes from the previous post. Again, my words and screen captures just don't do it any better than the actual thing, so:

    "I wanna hear him bounce!"

    That just seems very odd to me--the fact stuff like that was included in major studio releases, but again, the year was 1968.

    The second half of that occurs when Rome takes the Raquel Welch character to a mortuary for some inexplicable reason. I also don't know why they're shooting dice. Could be because this was made in 1968? Possibly.

    After the mortuary visit, Welch's character takes Rome to a "family pool hall" (they actually exist?) she is bankrolling. The Cuban immigrant owner complains to her about the artwork a particular artist named Arnie Sherwin has painted.

    What's the prob? The guy obviously doesn't recognize great art when he's seen it. Lighten up, baby! It's 1968. Let your freak flag fly!!

    After their exciting evening of mortuary hopping, Rome and Kit Forrest end up at Rome's houseboat. You can tell there is ZERO chemistry between Sinatra and Welch. I'm sure it looked very "hot" on paper, but it just doesn't work. She clearly despises him, and bristles in his presence, unlike his costar in Tony Rome. And I don't think it's just part of the method she applied to the role.

    Pull my finger?
    Here, Rome tells her he "used to know a broad who collected bullfighters". That's a dig at the gal who got away, Ava Gardner.

    If you're still with me on this one, here's what coming up in the last act:

    Whiney Jayne Mansfield-wannabe, artist models

    Shots of Sinatra's best costar in this one, Miami Miami Beach.

    and more!!!!