March 31, 2010

Head in the clouds

henderson water tower and old service station
W5RAN featured my picture of the water tower in Henderson yesterday for a few hours on their front page. It is one of the first pictures I took as I renewed my interest in photography about five years ago, using a point and click camera (as opposed to a SLR). That day in Henderson, the clouds were really cooperating, so it was almost impossible to take a bad shot.

March 30, 2010

"Fast Times"

Talk about too little, too late! Did you realize there was a television "spin-off" to Fast Times at Ridgemont High? Neither did I, and I was alive back in 1986 when it premiered. In 1982, I was among the target audience for the movie, being 15 (going on 16) that August, as summer was ending, and my awkward sophomore year in high school was about to begin.

Gratuitous Phoebe Cates shot

I can pretty much pinpoint the exact moment my adolescence began (not kidding here) as being during the classic pool scene with Phoebe Cates. I doubt I'm alone. My point is though, if I wasn't aware there was a TV version, there was a problem. The producers at CBS somehow failed.

Maybe part of the problem was Fast Times (the television show) came out four years after the movie, when the target audience (i.e., me and my pimple-faced friends) were entering their twenties and moving on from such fare to more mature stuff like, uh...Weird Science. Or maybe it was just a stupid idea and a stupid show. I don't know, I never saw it! Here's the Wikipedia blurb:

The movie inspired a short-lived (seven episodes) 1986 television series called Fast Times.

Moon Unit Zappa provided "teenage consultation" for this TV series. She was hired in order to research slang terms and mannerisms of teenagers, as she had just graduated from high school at the time and had a much better grasp of then-current high school behavior than the writers.

An actress named Claudia Wells was cast in the Phoebe Cates part. You might recognize her as Marty McFly's girlfriend from Back to the Future. She would of course be replaced in the two sequels by Elisabeth Shue. I guess she was too busy acting in Fast Times to sign on for those two sequels, with all the exposure and fame she would have earned by doing so. Actually, according to her IMDb:

Was unable to reprise the role of Jennifer Parker, Marty McFly's girlfriend in the sequels to Back to the Future (1985) because her mother had been diagnosed with cancer.

So never mind, she's most certainly excused from her fateful (and costly) career decisions!

Fulfilling the 1980's teen exploitation flick requirement that a blond babe with a hyphenated last name appear at some point was Courtney Thorne-Smith. Or was it that Courtney Thorne-Smith was just a very busy actress (Lucas, Revenge of the Nerds II, Summer School, etc.) during that decade?

James Nardini was no Judge Reinhold, but as it would turn out, neither was Judge Reinhold.

Vincent Schiavelli reprised his role as Mr. Vargas. Man, was he creepy in The Hills Have Eyes (and later in Weird Science)!

Ray Walston also returned to play Mr. Hand. I remember clearly how hilarious (and delightfully strange) I though the name "Mr. Hand" was. And to show what a sci-fi/pop culture nerd I was even back when I was 15, I couldn't see Ray Walston and not think about My Favorite Martian.

In addition to requiring the appearance of Courtney Thorne-Smith (or her clones/amazing facsimiles), most teen exploitation created during the '80s (Meatballs III: Summer Job, In the Mood, Can't Buy Me Love, Some Girls, Loverboy, etc., etc.) required Patrick Dempsey, or his type. His role in Grey's Anatomy must be one of the greatest examples of a second act within a Hollywood acting career.

Finally, there was the poor schlub who had to fill in for Sean Penn, and try to come close to replicating Penn's groundbreaking, career-making performance as Spicoli. Dean Cameron would go on to star in such films as Summer School (with Courtney Thorne-Smith!), Ski School (1991), and Ski School 2 (1994).

But, I digress. As you could see by the title of this post, the point is to enjoy Oingo Boingo's fairly awesome (dude!) theme song, "Fast Times." They had, of course, also done the soundtrack for Fast Times at Ridgemont High (Danny Elfman's first major motion picture score).

March 29, 2010

Early takes of "Hey Jude"

From the video description:

...from a documentary entitled 'Music!', made by Britain's National Music Council to examine the country's burgeoning music scene. The filmmakers were undoubtedly thrilled to be allowed access to a Beatles session in Abbey Road's Studio 2, as the group ran through early takes of "Hey Jude." The date is 30 July 1968 and we find Paul, John and Ringo on piano, acoustic guitar and drums respectively. George spends most of the session in the control room with producer George Martin and engineer Ken Scott.

March 27, 2010

Gulf Coast Deco X & 1/4

Not quite enough this time to warrant a full numerical designation...Scraps and redos, really.

peden co. building
Last time I tried to get the 1929 Peden Co. Building, I wasn't too happy with the results. This one is a little bit better.

tower community center
Barely visible in the background of another picture, this the Tower Community Center c.1937, architect: Joseph Finger

tower community center

It may not seem like much now, but here it is back in 1938:
Houston Metropolitan Research Center, Houston Public Library

pilgrim's cleaners
This Pilgrim's Cleaners on Westheimer (in Houston) looks like Deco to me, but I'm not sure about that. It's pretty neat though.

pilgrim's cleaners

A different cleaners, a frickin' cool vintage neon sign:
warren's laundry & cleaners neon sign

Complete episodes:
  • Gulf Coast Deco
  • Gulf Coast Deco II
  • Gulf Coast Deco III
  • Gulf Coast Deco IV
  • Gulf Coast Deco V
  • Gulf Coast Deco VI
  • Gulf Coast Deco VII
  • Gulf Coast Deco VIII
  • Gulf Coast Deco IX
  • Gulf Coast Deco X
  • March 26, 2010

    Bryan revisited

    view of historic downtown bryan
    A previous post about Bryan was one of my first small town photography-themed posts, back in 2006. I recently passed through again and snapped a couple of pics in the historic downtown area.

    bryan city barber shop and union lodge

    queen theater
    queen theater
    The Queen Theater - opened in around 1924 and remodeled in 1939.

    March 25, 2010

    Culture Club reunion?

    I'm by no means a fan of Culture Club, but I like this kind of thing (I just wish The Beatles could have done it for real!). Boy George has recently been quoted as saying the group may reunite (again, again) next year to mark the three decades since their founding.

    It may easy to discount them today, especially in light of Boy George's troubled recent years. But back in the day, Culture Club was taken fairly seriously by rock critics. Growing up in the '80s, I wanted to be a rock critic along the lines of Lester Bangs, Robert Christgau, Dave Marsh, and even my childhood hero, Pete Townshend, so I paid attention to such things. I remember there being almost unanimous critical praise for the band's first single, "Do You Really Want to Hurt Me", and perhaps less so, but some serious, positive appraisals of something like:

    March 24, 2010

    EBiN fanpage @ facebook

    My goodness, someone has created an Exquisitely Bored in Nacogdoches fanpage at facebook. As of this posting, there are five six (danke, Diedrich!) fans (not just the page's creator and me)! What an honor! I'm so touched. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

    March 19, 2010

    Seeing signs in Austin

    austin motel signage
    The Austin Motel

    don-mar motor court neon sign
    The old Don-Mar Motor Court was torn down back in 2005, and condos are set to fill the empty space. Maybe they will leave the sign up? I was very pleased and surprised to find it still stood.

    don-mar motor court neon sign

    bel air motel
    bel air motel

    the frisco shop neon sign

    sandy's frozen custard and root beer neon sign
    Sandy's Hamburgers

    the continental club neon sign
    The Continental Club, c. 1957

    nau's enfield drug
    Nau's Enfield Drug has been around since 1951.

    nau's enfield drug neon sign

    anthony's laundry & dry cleaning neon sign
    Anthony's Laundry & Dry Cleaning, since 1951, with my new favorite:

    anthony's laundry & dry cleaning neon sign

    March 17, 2010

    Coppola directs Twilight movie?

    It'll never happen, but the people behind the Twilight movie franchise want Sofia Coppola to direct the third movie in the trilogy, Breaking Dawn.

    The bigscreen adaption of Stephenie Meyer's final book in the Twilight "saga" (ha) is said to end up as two separate films. I've never seen, nor have I ever read a Twilight film or book. But I might be interested in seeing one done if it was done by Coppola. She directed one of my favorites, Lost in Translation, and I really liked parts of Marie Antoinette. That movie was sort of like a remake of Barry Lyndon.

    The creators of the Twilight saga have also offered Breaking Dawn to Gus Van Sant and Bill Condon. I'd say Condon is the most likely of the three to accept. Wouldn't a Van Sant film be interesting?!