DCS: bee palmer

I wish that I could shimmy like my sister Kate

Chicago-born Bee Palmer was a popular dancer in the early part of the 20th century. She toured with some notable jazz musicians, always under the name “Bee Palmer’s New Orleans Rhythm Kings.” The Rhythm Kings, however, were more successful after they parted ways with Bee.

In 1910, Bee introduced a new provocative dance, shaking her shoulders to accentuate her chest. The dance, called “The Shimmy,” caused an uproar, although it did gain her fans and afforded her the nickname “The Shimmy Queen.” The Milwaukee Evening Sentinel was prompted to write “Bee can wiggle and squirm and sway with the best in the business, but she seems a trifle ashamed of herself, as, indeed, she ought to be.”

She joined the famed Ziegfeld Follies in 1918. Later she performed on the stage with W.C. Fields and Will Rogers. Bee also claimed herself as co-writer of the pop standard “Please Don’t Talk About Me When I’m Gone,” a song that was cited as using virtually the same chord sequence as the 1925 composition “Has Anybody Seen My Gal?”

In the 20s, Bee had a scandalous affair with boxer Jack Dempsey, which culminated in a lawsuit by her current husband, pianist Al Siegel.

By the early 1930s, Bee’s style of singing and dancing fell out of favor. She was more suited for vaudeville and she just faded from the public eye. She passed away in obscurity in 1967 at the age of 73.

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IF: red panda

not a panda

I have been participating — without fail — in the online illustration blog Illustration Friday since 2006. Most weeks, they present a word that is wide open to many interpretations. Except this week….

This week, the word is “red panda.” I didn’t know what a “red panda” was until I Googled it. It turns out — much to my surprise — it is not a subspecies of panda. It is also not related to raccoons, skunks or weasels. It was once believed to be a relative of the bear family, but that has since been discounted. Now, it seems, the red panda is the only living species of the genus Ailurus and the family Ailuridae. That means they are like nothing else on earth. So, of course, it is on the endangered species list.

So, what exactly is a red panda? I’m still not sure.

I took my first shot a wildlife drawing. There are so many of my contemporaries that are much more accomplished at this, I fear this will also be my last attempt at wildlife drawing.

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DCS: neil peart

the professor

Just after the conclusion of the Test for Echo tour, the nineteen-year-old daughter of Rush drummer Neil Peart was killed in a car accident. Ten months later, his common-law wife died of cancer. Distraught, Neil told his band mates to consider him retired, He set out on a long and extensive “trip to nowhere” that took him all over North and Central America on a motorcycle. He covered approximately 55,000 miles. He chronicled the trip in his 2002 memoir Ghost Rider: Travels on the Healing Road,

Neil eventually returned to performing until calling it quits again in 2015, citing non-specific health issues.

On January 10, 2020, it was announced that Neil passed away from an aggressive form of brain cancer three days earlier.

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I was never a fan of Rush. Yeah, I liked one or two of their songs, but I wouldn’t consider myself a fan. When I was in high school, I knew several hardcore Rush fans… and they loved Rush. Rush was one of those bands whose fans loved them on an obsessive and all-consuming level. I liked other so-called “progressive rock bands,” but Rush never did it for me. Though, I would never say that to any Rush fan that I knew, fearing it would spawn a vicious argument and possibly jeopardize a friendship.

Jerry Garcia, the late guitarist and front man for the Grateful Dead, once said of his band: “We’re like licorice. Not everybody likes licorice, but the people who like licorice, really like licorice.” This, surprisingly, applies to Rush as well.

 

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IF: technology

on the road again
“Technology presumes there’s just one right way to do things and there never is.”
— Robert M. Pirsig
Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance

After 126 rejections, Robert M. Pirsig finally got his 1974 fictionalized autobiographical novel Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance published. It went on to sell over five million copies worldwide, despite having very little to do with motorcycle maintenance. Pirsig’s tale had more to do with philosophy and self-reconciliation. His account was partly based on the after-effects of the electroshock therapy he received as a patient in a mental institution to treat his diagnosed schizophrenia.

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DCS: barbara hoyt

all in the family

In 1968, seventeen year-old Barbara Hoyt ran away from her Seattle home with her sights set on Los Angeles. Alone in the big city, Barbara was befriended by a man who called himself  “Karate Dave.” He took the teen to see some friends who were living at a place called Spahn Ranch, an abandoned movie set in the mountainous terrain north of Los Angeles. She was introduced to Charles Manson, the self-appointed leader of the Spahn Ranch “family.” The group was given free reign of the property by George Spahn, in exchange for doing chores and maintaining the ranch

In August 1969, Barbara was asked by “family” member Susan Atkins to get several sets of dark clothing from a stockpile. When Barbara returned, Charles Manson told her that Atkins and some other “family” members had left. Later that night, Barbara overheard Atkins tell Ruth Ann Moorehouse that that she had murdered actress Sharon Tate.

On August 16th, police raided Spahn Ranch and made a number of arrests, including Barbara Hoyt, but she was eventually released with other “family” members. A week later, Barbara was awakened by screams coming from one of the outbuildings on the ranch. Several “family” members were killing one of their own, Donald “Shorty” Shea. Under the cover of darkness, Barbara decided she had enough of the “family,” and sneaked off the compound with another girl, Sherry Cooper. Somehow, Manson caught up with the girls nearly 200 miles away. He gave them money and convinced them to return to Los Angeles… which they did.

After an investigative breakthrough in the murders at Sharon Tate’s home and a connection to the subsequent murders of Leno and Rosemary LaBianca, members of the Manson “Family” were arrested. Through word from Manson, Ruth Ann Moorehouse was authorized to offer Barbara all-expense-paid trip to Hawaii if she didn’t testify against Manson and his conspirators at the upcoming trail. Barbara agreed. However, Moorehouse was given instruction to kill Barbara in Hawaii.

Moorehouse gave Barbara a hamburger containing a large amount of LSD hoping Barbara would experience an overdose. After eating it, Barbara became disoriented, although she was determined to remain conscious, saying that she didn’t want to die as a “Jane Doe.” She was taken to a hospital and made a full recovery. Her parents were contacted and she flew with them back to Los Angeles, where she appeared as a star witness at the murder trail, providing detailed testimony implicating Manson and those who committed the murders.

After the ordeal, Barbara returned to school and pursued a career in the medical field, acquiring a nursing degree. She later married and had a daughter.

In 2017, she succumbed to kidney failure at the age of 63.

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DCS: sue lyon

purple haze all through my brain

Sue Lyon  was 14 years old when she was cast in the title role in Stanley Kubrick’s 1962 film Lolita, opposite her 53 year-old co-star James Mason. Director Kubrick described the actress as the “perfect nymphet.” Sue was slightly older than the character depicted in Vladimir Nabokov’s novel, but Kubrick had to make this change to appease the Hollywood Production Code. The film, however, still garnered controversy at the time, but is now regarded as a classic.

Seemingly typecast, director John Huston featured Sue as a seductive teenager in Night of the Iguana in 1964. She went on to appear alongside Frank Sinatra, Richard Burton, Ava Gardner, Deborah Kerr and George C. Scott. Her final role was as a newscaster in the cult horror film Alligator.

Sue was married five times, four of her marriages not making it past the three-year mark. She passed away in December 2019 at the age of 73.

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DCS: neil innes

rain on a tin roof sounds like a drum, they're marching for freedom today - hey

In 1970, The Bonzo Dog Band broke up by mutual agreement – except for saxophonist Rodney Slater, who was stunned when leader Viv Stanshall made the announcement onstage at Loughborough University. The band members went their separate ways, though they reunited briefly in 1972 to record Let’s Make Up and Be Friendly. The album, however, did not included the entire original lineup.

Post-Bonzo, multi-instrumentalist and songwriter Neil Innes recorded his first solo album, How Sweet to Be an Idiot, in 1973. Of the album, Neil said: “United Artists had been very kind to me … In my own way, I wanted to repay them – by making a bunch of silly singles at a time when the music industry still seemed to have a sense of humour.” Despite its obvious Beatles influence and pop sensibility, the album was not particularly successful and went nearly unnoticed.

Except, perhaps, by a young Noel Gallagher.

In 1994, British rock band Oasis released “Whatever” as a stand-alone single.  At six minutes and twenty-one seconds, it was the band’s longest single to date. The song received extensive radio play and became Oasis’s biggest song, entering the UK Pop Charts at Number Three. Liam Gallagher’s plaintive vocals and the extended applause at the song’s conclusion bolstered the tune’s appeal.

Neil Innes, however, thought that “Whatever” sounded very familiar. After all, he had written the melody twenty-one years earlier. Neil sued Noel Gallagher and Oasis for plagiarizing the title track from How Sweet to Be an Idiot. The case was settled and Neil Innes was awarded songwriting co-credit and royalties.

Neil Innes worked with Monty Python’s Eric Idle on The Beatles send-up The Rutles. He also appeared in several Python films. Neil passed away unexpectedly on December 29, 2019 at the age of 75. His biggest success was from a song that someone stole.

 

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DCS: sid haig

hooray for captain spaulding

Sid Haig made a career out of playing slimy henchmen, seedy heavies and unsavory criminals. Dissatisfied with the path his career was taking, he decided to retire from acting in 1992, opting to become a certified hypnotherapist. During his hiatus, he received a script for an upcoming film. He would play a mysterious gangster who presided over a crime syndicate. Sid passed on the role, expecting the low budget of the project to be more of what made him leave show business in the first place. The role, “Marcellus Wallace,”  went to actor Ving Rhames and the film, Pulp Fiction, went on to be a huge hit.

Soon, he was convinced by rock musician-turned-director Rob Zombie to appear in his upcoming gorefest House of 1000 Corpses. Sid took the role of demented clown “Captain Spaulding.” It revived Sid’s career and paved the way for his status as horror film icon. He reprised the role in the sequel The Devil’s Rejects.

I met Sid at a horror film convention and found him to be the polar opposite of his on-screen persona. He was kind, gentle, soft-spoken and articulate.

In September 2019, Sid suffered a fall at his home. During his hospital recuperation, he developed a lung infection and passed away at the age of 80. He had just completed filming the second sequel to House of 1000 Corpses and was working on Hanukkah, a comedic-toned slasher film that would prove to be his last.

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DCS: imogen hassall

Countess of Cleavage

Imogen Hassall was born into a creative family. Her grandfather, mother and aunt were all illustrators. Her father was a poet and lyricist. She claimed, at various times, that her godfather was prominent Welsh composer  Ivor Novello. Other times, she said it was British composer Sir William Walton, with whom her father often collaborated. These claims were disputed by the families of both men.

Imogen enrolled in ballet school and then in drama classes. After a small role on the British stage, she landed parts in popular television series in the 1960s, including The Saint and The Avengers. In 1967, she was cast in the adventure film The Long Duel with Yul Brynner. In 1970, she landed the role for which she gained the most attention. She played a strong-willed cave girl in When Dinosaurs Ruled the Earth. 

Imogen became a fixture in the British tabloids. Although her screen roles diminished, she became one of the first people who became famous for “being famous” (like Zsa Zsa Gabor and The Kardashians). The press often ran photos of Imogen in bikinis and other revealing fashions, earning her the nickname “The Countess of Cleavage.”

She married twice. She gave birth to a daughter who sadly passed away four days after birth. In her second marriage, she suffered a traumatic miscarriage.

In late November 1970, Imogen was scheduled to join a friend for a vacation in Mombasa. When she failed to show up, her friend became concerned. Imogen was found dead in her Wimbledon home. She had overdosed on the barbiturate Tuinal. She was 38.

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It’s that time again… whether you like it or not.

My annual Christmas music compilation is available as a FREE DOWNLOAD at ge.tt for a limited time.

This year, it’s 72 minutes of pure Christmas wonderment that’ll have you wondering why you downloaded it in the first place. But, as long as you did, why not share it with your family and friends. It’s guaranteed to make sure they don’t overstay their welcome. (Sure, it’s ten minutes shorter than last year, but it’s every bit as horrible.)

You get twenty-three eclectic Christmas selections featuring a hand-picked mix (from my hands) of songs from artists you love, artists you never heard of and artists you hope you’ll never hear from again. These holiday tunes run the gamut from weird to really weird plus a custom full-color cover with track listings – all for you and all for FREE! (That’s right! FREE!)

(Please contact me if you have trouble with the download.)

we wish you a happy something or other

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IF: family

leave the cannoli

Don’t ever take sides with anyone against the family.

* * * * * * *

It’s that time again… whether you like it or not.

My annual Christmas music compilation is available as a FREE DOWNLOAD at ge.tt for a limited time.

This year, it’s 72 minutes of pure Christmas wonderment that’ll have you wondering why you downloaded it in the first place. But, as long as you did, why not share it with your family and friends. It’s guaranteed to make sure they don’t overstay their welcome. (Sure, it’s ten minutes shorter than last year, but it’s every bit as horrible.)

You get twenty-three eclectic Christmas selections featuring a hand-picked mix (from my hands) of songs from artists you love, artists you never heard of and artists you hope you’ll never hear from again. These holiday tunes run the gamut from weird to really weird plus a custom full-color cover with track listings – all for you and all for FREE! (That’s right! FREE!)

(Please contact me if you have trouble with the download.)

we wish you a happy something or other

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