Dixieland version of Prokofiev's "Peter and the Wolf." I rather suspect that rarely, since Conried's turn as "Dr. Terwilliker" -- the mad piano teacher who condemned "screechy violins" and "nauseating trumpets," did he -- or his listeners -- have quite so much musical fun.
Wednesday, July 31, 2013
alongside other curiosities such as a dwarf in a bear-skin, may not have in fact hailed from the Arctic seas, but many expedition dogs were publicly exhibited -- three of Dr. Elisha Kent Kane's dogs, "Etah,""Whitey,"and one known as "Myouk, the celebrated Singing Esquimaux Dog" were exhibited in the United States in the 1850's and 1860's.
Monday, July 29, 2013
Bill Dalrymple, a key early member of the Bread and Puppet Theater), and the "Zen Garden," established -- along with mysterious wooden xylophones and flutes made out of PVC piping that hung on strings -- by Dennis Murphy, music professor and wizard of these woods. You can also download this map as a .pdf here.
Sunday, July 28, 2013
silver certificate" dollars which had already, by the 1960's, grown scarce in general circulation. Dr. Clarke was a math professor at Hiram College, as well as a minister, a lecturer on astronomy, a political writer, and a bit of an adventurer (he decided to try out the Alaska Highway for a drive in 1957, just a few years after it was completed). I still keep one of these "Lucky Bucks" with me at all times!
Saturday, July 27, 2013
Mademoiselle Lenormand. Like many of my early acquisitions, it was made by B.P. Grimaud in France; the cards are oversized, on very heavy card-stock, and printed in full color. As with other Lenormand decks, cards depicting a man and a woman are used to represent the querent, but this deck has numerous correspondences: each card shows a standard paying card, a constellation, a flower, and an illustrated scene -- on this card, a man in red (a cardinal) is shown in his study next to a clock and a magnetic dip-circle.
Friday, July 26, 2013
Takoma Records, home to my guitar hero John Fahey. Alas, my demo tape was rejected -- with a letter addressed to "Dear Music Sender" no less! -- but happily, I persevered, and released two LP's on my own Black Snake Records label; you can read about them and listen to a few tracks from one LP here.
Thursday, July 25, 2013
Alaska-Yukon-Pacific exposition of 1909, to New York's Coney Island, to being the proprietor of his own film studio in Saranac Lake, NY. Among the films he produced at his facilities was 1915's "The Shooting of Dan McGrew," based on Marvin Dana's prose adaptation of the Robert W. Service poem -- you can see dozens of stills from this lost film in the GoogleBooks version of the book. In his later years, Bill worked as a consultant for RKO Pictures; he died in a tuberculosis sanatorium in Takoma, Washington on November. 2, 1933.
Wednesday, July 24, 2013
Esquimaux Village" at the 1904 St. Louis World's Fair, where Nancy and her family were appearing. Nancy had, in fact, been born at a world's fair -- the 1893 Columbian Exposition -- and would go on to be a fixture at more than twenty major fairs in the United States, France, Germany, and Spain, as well as appearing in a dozen early silent films, for one of which -- 1911's "The Way of the Eskimo"-- she wrote the scenario (the equivalent of a screenplay for a sound picture). You can read more about Nancy here, and here, and here.
Tuesday, July 23, 2013
Monday, July 22, 2013
Utopia, Earthsea, Oz (including its lesser-known neighbors Ev, Ix, and Mo), and the Hundred Acre Wood. This map, which I drew when I was 14, was, like A.A. Milne's a projection of the imagination onto an actual landscape: just sixty acres of trees, brush, and fields -- including part of an abandoned tree-farm -- that lay behind my childhood home on Brainard Road in Ohio.
Sunday, July 21, 2013
Book of Mazarbul, is an old and perhaps even honorable tradition. Those who turn their gifts to forgery, employing re-used parchment and ancient oak-gall ink, fall far lower, in my view, than those who invent the whole thing. The above "ancient" manuscript is of this latter sort: it's written in Edglash, a language I invented when I was seventeen, along with its own alphabetic script. It's the first page of the Teklo ge Krissor Kal, the "Book of the Children of Kal" -- part of a saga of stories I wrote along Tolkienesque lines. Amateur cryptographers may have at it; I'll post a transcription as soon as I can find one in the "ancient" manila folders in which this imaginary world is stored.
Saturday, July 20, 2013
Rankin/Bass animated version, which aired on NBC in 1977 and is readily available on DVD today. What's less well-known is that the original treatment of Bilbo was based on work by RISD grad (and later faculty member) Lester Abrams, whose illustrations of Bilbo and Gollum for an excerpt of The Hobbit published in the February 1974 issue of the Children's Digest must have caught their attention. Abrams ended up doing all the original concept art for the animated version, and was also responsible for suggesting to Rankin and Bass that they use the art of Arthur Rackham -- one of his personal favorites -- as a reference. This cover, which predates the animated version by three years, is little-known today, but quite striking in the context of how it shaped Bilbo and Gollum for the boomer generation. More details here on my Tolkien course blog.
Friday, July 19, 2013
Lilian Wyles was the very first woman to serve as a fully attested, ranking officer at Scotland Yard, having already been among the very first women to serve in the "Women's Police Force" instituted in 1914. The WP was disbanded not long after WWI, but Wyles managed to stay on as just one of three women in the MET. She came to prominence in part due to the notorious Savidge case, in which a male police inspector was accused of intimidating a female witness. After the case was settled, it was decided that women police should always take statements from women; Wyles was promoted to Inspector and later Chief Inspector, in charge of training up a large force of statement-takers. She retired in the early 1940's, and her memoir, A Woman in Scotland Yard, was published by Faber & Faber.
Thursday, July 18, 2013
27 January 1926.
Wednesday, July 17, 2013
|National Media Museum, Bradford|
Golden Ball, it hosted not only George Wasghington but also General Lafayette, John Adams, James Monroe, and even Edgar Allan Poe. In the 1790's it was even home to a Celebrated Learned Pig, who spelled out answers to audience questions with letters on cards. Alas, the sum of all its famous denizens could not save the Golden Ball from the wreckers' ball; it was demolished in 1942, not long after this photo was taken; the building at the far right still stands, and houses Geoff's sandwich shop. The photo is part of HABS, the Historic American Buildings Survey collection at the Library of Congress, all of which is in the public domain.
NELA Men's Octet, a smaller group within the larger NELA Men's Chorus. My dad is third from the right, and his lab-mate Bob Woodhouse fifth. No doubt many corporations and civic groups had a chorus back then, but NELA, with its campus-like buildings and collegiate atmosphere, seems as though it would have been especially congenial to such choral conviviality; the text suggests that concerts were held regularly. The pencil-thin ties and tapered slacks add a little extra delight to this period photo.
Tuesday, July 16, 2013
questioned). This advert goes further, suggesting that "energy" spent on digestion would reduce the value of the food, and make those who ate it lethargic and "dull" when compared to those who ate supposedly more advanced, cooked, or "pre-digested" foods. I hasten to add that this ad, which dates from c. 1904, does not reflect on the current cereal of that name or its manufacturers!
worked for 30 years in their lighting research division, I've always had a soft spot for anything to do with GE lightbulbs. This particular collectible came as an unexpected gift from a friend; dating to some point in the history of GE's "Mazda" brand (1909-1945) it came with this curious instruction: "Blow for Edison Mazda Lamps." And indeed, the little strip of paper at the top right forms a whistle, which still works! It's also interesting to note that, though the bulb shown is one of the round "tipless" variety first made in 1919, the whistle itself has a "tip" (a protruding daub atop the rounded part, where the bulb was sealed).
Monday, July 15, 2013
|Image courtesy Ad*Access/John Hartman Center for Sales, Advertising, and Marketing history, Duke University. Used by Permission.|
new language being spoken in northern Australia made me think at once of Slim Gaillard, the hip jazz guitarist and songwriter who employed his invented language "Vout" in many of his hits ("Yep-Roc-Heresay," "Arabian Boogie"). In the tradition of Cab Calloway's Hepster's Dictionary and Lavada Durst's Jives of Dr. Hepcat, he even issued his own "Vout-o-Reenee Dictionary." Curiously, although most of the entries, e.g. "chicken feed" for corn or "the track" for a dance floor, are similar to other sources such as Calloway's, "Vout" in Gaillard's actual practice meant a mish-mash of Arabic, Yiddish, brand-names and nonce-words created by putting "Mac" at the beginning of a word and "Vouty" or "o-reeny-mo" at the end. He was once introduced by an MC as a man who "speaks seven languages -- Arabian, Hindu, Greek, Egyptian, Spanish, Hebrew and Vout ... and what's more, Slim is now studying an eighth language -- Slim, what is this eighth language you're studying?" Without missing a beat, Slim replied, "English."
Sunday, July 14, 2013
Tasmanian Archives are a wonderful -- and free -- resource, and I was fairly quickly able to locate his official conduct record. After the particulars of the voyage, the ledger gives his name and crime -- housebreaking and larceny, 10 years. He admitted to taking a pair of Trousers and handkerchiefs, however, yet curiously declared "he was never in the House of Correction," although his report from there stated his conduct was good. His physical appearance was given -- "Slightly freckled. man flag. anchor mermaid. on rt arm ring on middle finger rt hand H.B. hearts and darts M x S flower pot on left Arm." Like many convicts, he'd had his initials tattooed on his arm, in case he were to be be lost or drowned -- but happily for him (and me) he survived both the voyage and hard labor, and was discharged 17 June, 1851.
Saturday, July 13, 2013
|Hall Papers, Smithsonian Institution|
key to the divisions. Alas, since the MEPO switched to the "borough policing model" in 1999, these lettered divisions are no longer in existence.
Friday, July 12, 2013
Dennis Murphy. Dennis was my teacher at Goddard College, where he worked with me on a set of guitar solo versions of Irish fiddle tunes, many of which ended up on my 1980 LP, "Neither Here Nor There." But he was also much much more than that -- trained as an ethnomusicologist, he built the first full Javanese Gamelan in the United States, using old oil drums, tin cans, and scrap wood; he invented his own god (THOOM) and his own language (THOOMESE); he also wrote and directed original Javanese shadow plays, a series of "theatre of the absurd" plays such as "The Goat Painter," and a song cycle (which he called an "operina"), "A Perfect Day," based on the different animals who represented stages in human life. Dennis -- or "Das" as we often called him, was a professor of music at Goddard -- but he was also, more than that, a wiz of a wiz. Here you see him in his garb as a priest of THOOM, on the stage of the Haybarn Theatre at Goddard.
Thursday, July 11, 2013
NELA Park in East Cleveland, Ohio, from 1952 until his retirement in the late 1980's. This photo was taken in 1962, about ten years into his time there; the photographer had the clever idea of posing everyone in a building stairwell. Great idea, though the camera's depth of field was not quite up to the task, and those at the bottom seem to me to be a little out of focus. I think everyone here was part of the Lighting Research division, and from there was organized by having the executives at the top, the research scientists next (grouped by lab), and the engineers and support staff further down. My dad, Dr. Ralph M. Potter, is the third from the left of the stairwell corner in the second tier -- nearby is his longtime boss, John Blank, and lab-mates Dick Hansler, Bob Woodhouse, and Manuel Aven. I don't recognize many of the others -- this was taken when I was only two years old -- but I love the "Mad Men" era clothes, heavy dark-rimmed glasses, and clean-cut lines of this group; it feels like a time capsule from an era when science and technology mattered, and the people with the test tubes held the world in their hands.