September 30, 2010

A dream is a wish your heart makes

I want one. Seriously. DC Comics has given permission for a company called Fiberglass Freaks to create replicas of the Batmobile used in the 1960s, Adam West-era Batman TV series. After I get one of these and that replica of Captain Kirk's bridge chair, my life will be complete; at least the life of this guy:

R.I.P. Tony Curtis


Elvis wanted to look like Tony Curtis. ELVIS.

"Hey Nineteen"

"Hey Nineteen" is a song by American jazz rock band Steely Dan, written by members Walter Becker and Donald Fagen, and released on their 1980 album Gaucho.

According to one reviewer's interpretation, the song "was about a middle-aged man's disappointment with a young lover ("Hey Nineteen, that's 'Retha Franklin / She don't remember the Queen of Soul / It's hard times befallen the sole survivors / She thinks I'm crazy but I'm just growing old")." Other reviews felt that the song struck a nerve with the aging baby boomer generation transition from the freewheeling 60's and 70's to the conservative 1980's.

Becker and Fagen

September 27, 2010

Return of the Coen Bros.

I loves me some Coen Brothers....except for perhaps Miller's Crossing, Intolerable Cruelty, or The Ladykillers, and due to my love for their films, I have to assume I just didn't get those three. Put on The Big Lebowski (an endless loop), Fargo, Raising Arizona, Burn After Reading, etc., etc., I'm a happy camper. When I heard their follow-up to A Serious Man was to be a remake of the John Wayne film, True Grit (1969), I must admit my heart sank just a bit, but it is the Coens. And I'm in the right mood for a Western, having just recently completed Red Dead Redemption, as well as being in the process of re-reading Lonesome Dove (so damn good! Gus just rescued Lorena):

September 25, 2010

Noble design

front view of k. d. lawrence house in electric lovelady land
This is a classic example of design #4 from the pattern book Cottage Souvenir #2 - Revised and Enlarged, George F. Barber, architect. This is probably the house Barber designed for K. D. Lawrence in 1899, located on Noble Street in Electric Lovelady(land), Texas. Have you ever been? Have you ever been?

September 22, 2010

Bring back Billy Beer!!

bring back billy beer!!

Between Nacogdoches and Lufkin, Highway 59 South, around Redland. No trace of the person or organization behind it anywhere on the sign itself (that's weird).

September 17, 2010

Toot, toot (continued...sickening, isn't it?)

first presbyterian church
Texas Architect magazine used my picture of the First Presbyterian Church in Galveston, Texas, in its current issue. This is extra special for me, because I was born and raised on the Island, and the "First Prez" was the church of my youth, where I was baptized, went through Communicants Class, and regularly (religiously) attended until I went away to college. The photo was taken nearly a year after Hurricane Ike devastated the church, which is just now beginning to come back to life. The church was constructed between 1873 and 1883 (this means it survived the 1900 Storm) and was designed by Nicholas J. Clayton in the Norman Romanesque style.

texas architect magazine

What with this, and now this, maybe I should start charging? Kidding. And something could possibly come from an email I received just today from a reporter at the local paper, concerning an article they are writing about renovations taking place at Diedrich Rulfs's office/workshop, here in Nacogdoches. This might lead to a review of my book about Diedrich Rulfs appearing in the paper:

We are working on a piece about his office restoration. Would like a comment from you about it and need to know if you ever got any press for your Rulfs book in the Daily Sentinel. Will Godwin.

September 15, 2010

"A Different Corner"

For an icon of my gloriously wasted youth, who has seen better days, and now perhaps wishes he'd turned a different corner...

At the time of its release in April 1986, Michael was still a member of pop duo Wham!, though he and partner Andrew Ridgeley had announced that they would split in the summer after a farewell single, album and concert. Michael had already enjoyed a solo #1 in the UK singles chart in 1984 with "Careless Whisper," and when he went back to the top with "A Different Corner," he became the first solo act in the history of the UK chart to reach #1 with his first two releases, although he was hardly an unknown or new act on either occasion. The song was also credited with being the second #1 (after "I Just Called to Say I Love You" by Stevie Wonder) which was written, sung, played, arranged and produced by the same person. The song reached #7 in the U.S. Billboard Hot 100, becoming the first single credited solely to Michael to become an American top-ten hit.

After Simon Bates first aired "A Different Corner" on Radio 1, he rated the song so highly that he immediately played it again from the beginning.

A note on the back of the sleeve proclaims, "This record is dedicated to a memory."

September 13, 2010

Houston City Hall @ W5RAN

W5RAN featured my picture of the 1939 Art Deco Houston City Hall for a while today. But on the Internet, is there a "today," I mean, really, or for that matter, a tomorrow?? Perhaps it depends on what the meaning of the word "is" is.

September 10, 2010

"Yeahhh, leave some place to go, baby"

I've done posts before about "I've Got You Under My Skin," but, my G*d, this live performance of it by Sinatra is fantastic. It's nearly perfect. Based on his hair/toupe length/color and quality of "the voice," I'd place this around 1969 or 1970, just before he retired. I must admit, I felt the electricity when he looks into the camera for the first time around :40-:43. It's Frank Sinatra!! The post title is a reference to around 1:45 in the video. Nobody could swing like Sinatra.

September 8, 2010

Horn tootin'

street view of hokus pokus liquor
I just got a picture published (I guess that's the right word) in the current print issue of The Oxford American. The Oxford American is a quarterly literary magazine that features writing and art from Southerners or about the South. Their tagline is "The Southern Magazine of Good Writing." They used my picture of the Hokus Pokus Liquor neon sign in Alexandria, Louisiana. It accompanies an article in the Race column titled "Adaption: The biology of shame," by Solon Timothy Woodward, author of Cadillac Orpheus: A Novel. They sent me two copies of the edition in which my picture was used, as well as a subscription(!).

Here is part the opening paragraph:

I had chosen to work as a public-health doctor in Alexandria (pro-nounced "ellic"). As my family and I enter the city, we drive down Jackson Street. A neon ghost sign floats alongside Hokus Pokus Liquors, one of the few businesses that seems to have survived the decades.

oxford american

September 6, 2010

George Clooney is our Cary Crant

I haven't yet seen The American, which came out on Friday. So far it is receiving decent reviews, with most critics calling it at least average. Coincidentally, it has "beaten" another new release, Machete, a film some people have said promotes racism and anti-Americanism. I thought that was an interesting outcome.

But I do like George Clooney, so I'll definitely check out The American when it arrives on DVD, if not in a theater. As an actor, Clooney seems to be able to effortlessly do both smoldering cool and awkward goofball, sometimes, mixing it up. He usually makes fun, smart movies, and chooses scripts wisely. Usually.

Anyway, the poster for The American reminded me of (as it will many people; it's probably supposed to) iconic imagery from North by Northwest, with Cary Grant running for his life from the crop duster in wide open, flat prairie land. Like Clooney, Grant was known for generally being in fun and smart movies, mixing it up with the occasional quirky or silly.

Father Goose (1964)

September 4, 2010

September of My Years

It's funny, in hindsite, that Frank Sinatra's 1965 September of My Years album was so focused conceptually on aging when he himself was relatively young! Or perhaps I have this perspective due to my own age....arg. As Will Friedwald put it on p. 348 of Sinatra! The Song Is You: A Singer's Art:

"Considering that 1965 marked a mere twenty-five years since Sinatra had left Harry James, one wonders if he would have gone through with this rather premature contemplation of his old age had he known he had not even begun the second half of his solo performing career."