Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Up On The Roof

viewing the Coreopsis'.
from the 4th annual KV reunion on May 23, 2010

Old Timer's Punchball Game: May 23, 2010

from the 4th annual KV reunion in Tanahey Park

LES Anarchists

rina-garst-avrich from Anarchist Voices by Paul Avrich
Rina Garst is my wife's cousin. Rina's mother and aunts were also acquiantences of Triangle Fire activist Molly Steimer

Requiem For Dreamland 2

Coney Island Kevin
the complete article by Kevin Baker from the villagevoice

Requiem For Dreamland

Kevin Coney
that's Joe Sitt in image number 5 above.
from the villagevoice, an excerpt
Coney Island's Grand Past and Grim Future
Requiem for a dreamland, By Kevin Baker, published: May 25, 2010
Coney Island was the last place where you could feel the energy of 1970s New York, without the crime and decay.
They're getting very near the end now at Coney Island. They've been tearing pieces off the place for years, and soon the bulldozers will be back again, pushing over the last, weathered links to the past on Surf Avenue. Next to go this spring will be the old Bank of Coney Island, and the Shore Hotel, and the Grashorn Building, which goes all the way back to 1889. They'll take down what's left of Henderson's Music Hall, where they once put on shows the size of Broadway productions and where Harpo Marx made his stage debut.
A strip of faceless new buildings will replace the battered old ones, and the stands, with their small operators still holding on inside them, selling fast food and rides and games and T-shirts, will be replaced by . . . new stands selling fast food and rides and games and T-shirts. Then these new buildings will be torn down in turn, sometime in the next two or three or five or 10 years, and from their rubble will rise the new Coney Island, one that will be bigger and better and more exciting than it ever was before. Or so the story goes.
If it seems senseless, all this tearing up and building down, you have to understand that what's really going on at Coney is a scam as old as the place itself, one that's known in carny parlance as "a razzle." It's the same con New Yorkers have been subjected to all over the city for the past 10 years, a racket business and government run with almost breathtaking coordination against the rest of us. If it succeeds out in Coney Island, it will spell the demise, once and for all, of the city's most iconic neighborhood, and right now, things are looking as bleak as they have ever been. But then Coney has a long history of somehow evading all attempts by outsiders to make it into something it doesn't want to be.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Dear Mr. Picasso, Part 2

Picasso Missing
a follow up to a post from last year. I had missed a few of the pages from the article
from a May 18, 1962 Life Magazine article. Third graders from PS 177 visited a Picasso exhibit. I reformatted the original for easier reading and added some pics to highlight what some of the letters were describing.

Jonathan Shaw On David Letterman

Was Letterman.....?

Jonathan Shaw: Tattoo Artist and Artie Shaw's Son

from prick magazine
Jonathan Shaw

Jonathan Shaw: Artie's Son On The Lower East Side

Born in New York City on Independence Day 1953, Jonathan moved to Hollywood, CA with his mother Doris Dowling at an early age. There he was introduced to comic books, from where his love of drawing spawned. He immersed himself there until the age of fourteen, when he discovered drugs and alcohol as a form of escapism from a troubled family life with his mother Doris and stepfather, writer and producer Leonard B. Kaufman. During this time Jonathan was estranged from his biological father. In his late teen years, Jonathan began writing for the Los Angeles Free Press, one of the most widely distributed underground newspapers of the 1960s. At the LA Free Press he met Charles Bukowski, who became an influence on his writing. Around the age of 21, after much struggle and the deaths of close friends due to heavy use of heroin, Jonathan decided to leave Los Angeles and began hitch-hiking through South America. He spent time in various port towns, eventually becoming a merchant marine. In his travels he learned how to tattoo, and it became a quick way to make art and pocket change for the road. He eventually found himself in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil where he stayed until returning to Los Angeles in the mid-1970s.
Upon arrival there, Jonathan was taken under the wing of Bob Shaw, a widely respected first generation American tattoo artist. Bob Shaw trained Jonathan on the art of tattooing and they worked together on the legendary Long Beach Pike (aka “The Pike”) until Jonathan’s itch to be on the road again came back full force, along with his increasing alcoholic behavior.
Jonathan worked out of his own studio by appointment only on 1st Avenue and 1st Street for a few years until 1991, when--even though tattooing had been illegal in New York City since 1961--he took the leap and opened the first store-front, public tattoo parlor in New York City, Fun City Tattoo. Located at 94 St. Mark's Place in the East Village, Fun City became a neighborhood hangout and New York pit stop for such notables as Johnny Depp, Dee Dee Ramone, Howie Pyro, Johnny Winter, Jim Jarmusch, and the Maysles Brothers of Gimme Shelter Fame. In the early 2000’s, after much pain and loss of love for tattooing, Jonathan sold Fun City to a local operator, and moved to Rio de Janeiro, where he has spent the last several years writing novels, short stories, poetry and an extensive autobiographical memoir of his life, travels, adventures and career.
During the time Jonathan was the owner of Fun City, he founded International Tattoo Art Magazine. ITA took the common grassroots tattoo mag and pushed it up to the level of a legitimate fine art magazine, changing the way tattoos would be perceived by the public. It focused greatly on tattoo history, making sure that priceless archives, information and legend was not kept hidden away. It maintained a high standard of the industry by showcasing world class works of art.
Jonathan’s tattoo style was considered trend-setting and innovative in the field, and he tattooed (including but not limited to) The Cure, David Lee Roth, Vanilla Ice, Marilyn Manson, Johnny Depp and supermodels Naomi Campbell and Kate Moss. His neo-tribal work and original full back-pieces made a lasting stain on the tattoo world, especially of a large abstract/cubist painting that he tattooed on the back of Luke Miller, one of his employees at Fun City. Featured in tattoo magazines world wide Jonathan’s first-of-a-kind tattoos of Robert Williams and Joe Coleman paintings, were copied in loving tribute to his old friends and mentors, each tattoo looking like the painting from which it came. Jonathan’s style was mainly described as an old school approach to new school ideas. Keeping the bold, thick, heavy handed style taught to him by Bob Shaw but using an innovative roster of new art and breaking away from traditional sailor flash, including his own work, which was much of the time tattooed on large blocks of skin freehand, in the end looking like the pipes in a wall, or the inside of a clock, interwoven and detailed.
Jonathan retired definitively from the tattoo world in 2002 and moved to South America in order to pursue his career as a journalist and writer of novels and fictional as well as autobiographical prose on a full-time basis.
After leaving ITA and Fun City, Jonathan continued to devote himself to the edification of tattoo buffs and the art world by curating a number of tattoo flash exhibits, including the historical Psychedelic Solution show in New York and another well-documented event at La Luz de Jesus Gallery in Los Angeles. He has a large collection of rare antique and modern tattoo flash art by many important artists, and his own paintings can be seen in collections and shows with artists like Robert Williams and Joe Coleman. He is currently compiling works from his extensive collection of turn-of-the-century tattoo designs for a coffee table art book, soon to be released by a major US publishing house.
Jonathan began working on his first novel, Narcisa Our Lady of Ashes, in July 2007. After several edits and re-writes, a first-edition limited edition of the novel was released by Heartworm Press on July 1, 2008 . The story is a wild fictional account of a middle aged Brazilian Gypsy and his violent and tragic love-hate relationship with a teenaged prostitute and crack cocaine addict. The evolving work and characters are continued through short stories on Jonathan's blog, Scabvendor . Another heavily edited rewritten final draft of the original version of NARCISA is scheduled for publication by a major US-based publishing house, along with a sequel-in-progress.
His second published book, LOVE SONGS TO THE DEAD, was released by Heartworm Press in October, 2009. Jonathan is currently working on several other books, including an epic memoir: SCABVENDER - CONFESSIONS OF A TATTOO ARTIST. Since the release of his first published novel, Jonathan has traveled the world extensively, promoting his work as an author with several well-publicized readings and book signing events in different US cities. His books are currently undergoing translation into several languages, including Russian, Portuguese, French, Japanese and German.

Do You Know What Time It Is Now? Tomorrow Is......Artie Shaw's 100th Birthday

Born on the lower east side on 255 E. 7th Street.

KV Greenery: May 13, 2010

Featuring an all Asian, very civilized, water balloon fight in Tanahey Park

The Great Stanton Street Trumpet Player: Manny Klein 4

from archive chazzanut
Three of his brothers were professional musicians: Dave (trumpet), Sol (violin) and Merrill (string bass). Began playing trumpet during early childhood and later studied with Max Schlossberg. During his teens he played for B.F. Keith's Boys Band, later played in the New York Junior Police Band. First professional work with Louis Katzman's Ambassador Orchestra. In December 1928 playerd in Al Goodman's Orchestra for the Broadway show "Follow Thru," for the next nine years was one of the
busiest free-lance musicians in New York: worked with Don Voorhees, Red Nichols, Fred Rich, Roger Wolfe Kahn, Benny Goodman, the Dorsey Brothers, Eddie Elkins, etc. Moved to California in November 1937. From March 1938 worked in band co-led with Frank Trumbauer. With violinist Matty Malneck's orchestra (1939), taking a role in the Bing Crosby film "East Side of Heaven." Throughout the 1940s (except for
stint in US Army) and 1950s, did regular studio work for film and recording companies -- occasionally played dates with outside bands including brief spell with Lionel Hampton in late 1940. Has played on soundtracks to countless films -- dubbed for actor Montgomery Clift in "From Here to Eternity" and for an ailing Ziggy Elman in "The Benny Goodman Story" [Is there any truth to the rumor that it was reading the
script that made Ziggy sick?] Not long after celebrating his 50th year as a musician he toured Japan with Percy Faith Orchestra (1966). Made several visits to Europe during the 1970s and was featured at the Breda Holland festival. All in all, the credentials of a solid working musician.

Friday, May 21, 2010

The Great Stanton Street Trumpet Player: Manny Klein 3

More on Manny from the all about jazz forum
Today I've chosen MANNY KLEIN, the trumpet player, who was born February 4, 1908 in New York.
Manny was a student of the great artist and trumpet guru, Max Schlossberg as was one of my sentimental favourites, Max Kaminsky.
Klein played in boy's bands and he later played in New York's Junior Police Band.
Manny was so amazingly good, so young that he was freelancing from 1928 and worked with almost every important band of the day, from Roger Wolfe Khan's to Benny Goodman's, as well as Red Nichol's.
He also co-led a superb band with Frank Trumbauer in 1938.
Manny's career mostly consisted of studio work, all his life.
But, that is not to say that his talent was workmanlike. He moved to LA in 1937 where his artistic career was mostly based. He played powerful lead and very hot chouruses, as well as classical concertos. His longtime playing collegue was Conrad Gozzo.
His appearance in Bing Crosby's "This Side Of Heaven" was marvelous and he ghosted trumpet solos for Montgomery Clift in "From Here To Eternity". On the soundtrack of "The Bennv Goodman Story" he stood in for Ziggy Elman, who had become ill and couldn't play the gig.
In the 1970's Manny suffered a series of strokes and this left him dyslexic, so that he could no longer read music. That didn't hold him down though, because he still played brilliantly.
In the 1990's he retired. Manny was honored with the nickname, "GOMOTS'' which stood for Grand Old Man Of The Trumpet Section, a tribute indeed for a superb musician. His recordings were few. In fact, they could be counted on the valves of a trumpet.
But, look for Manny Klein And His Sextet [1959 Imperial] which, although it concentrates on selections from The Sound Of Music, not my favorite is interesting because of it's rarity.
below, Manny playing the Good, the Bad and Ugly Theme
Manny Klein playing the piccolo trumpet on the Good, The Bad and the Ugly Theme

Hava Nagilah: You Don't Have To Be Jewish

from Katahdin Productions  "Hava Nagilah, What Is It?" traces the history, mystery and meaning of the ultimate Jewish standard. A ninety-minute documentary film, "Hava Nagilah, What Is It" will provide a fascinating look at one hundred years of Jewish and American history and culture, as well as the power of music to bridge cultural divides.
a h/t to former KVer and beloved PS 177 classmate Susan Miller Gold

The Great Stanton Street Trumpet Player: Manny Klein 2

 (born as Emanuel Klein on February 4, 1908; died May 31, 1994) was a jazz trumpeter most associated with swing.
He began with Paul Whiteman in 1928 and was active throughout the 1930s playing with several major bands of the era including the Dorseys and Benny Goodman. In 1937 he moved to California and worked with Frank Trumbauer's orchestra. And in early 1940, credited as Mannie Klein, he appears on Artie Shaw And His Orchestra recordings. He also did soundtracks and played trumpet for the film From Here to Eternity, but was uncredited. He also worked with musicians associated with "West Coast jazz" in the 1950s. During the early 60s he appeared on several Dean Martin recordings. He played piccolo trumpet on Hugo Montenegro's hit version of the main theme to the 1966 film, The Good, the Bad and the Ugly.
Klein was regarded as one of the most proficient trumpet players of his, or any generation. In addition to being a brilliant technician, Klein possessed an uncanny ability to mimic the styles of many other prominent trumpeters, namely Bunny Berigan and Ziggy Elman.
Klein died at the age of 85 in Los Angeles on May 31, 1994.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

The Great Stanton Street Trumpet Player: Manny Klein

The Song Is Called That's A Plenty
Featuring Benny Goodman On Clarinet, Ray Sherman On Piano, Dick Nash On Trombone, Manny Klein On Trumpet, Jimmy Wyble On Guitar, Morty Corb On Bass, Mickey Sheen On Drums.Recorded June 1961.
Along with the many gigs Manny had, he played in Artie's Shaw band in the early 1940's. He was 2 years older than Artie. Could their paths have crossed on the LES? Did Manny (living at 83 Stanton Street) go to PS 20 along with next door neighbor Jacob Javits (living at 85)? btw on May 23rd it will be Artie Shaw's 100th birthday.

Monday, May 17, 2010

The Wives Of Artie Shaw

I guess they were bewitched, bothered and bewildered. They picture, in order:
Lana Turner, Betty Kern, Ava Gardner, Kathleen Winsor, Doris Dowling and Evelyn Keyes. Not pictured are wives no. 1 and 2: Jane Cairns and Margaret Allen. Shaw's 100th birthday is May 23, 2010. He was born on the LES at 255 E. 7th Street. He had a son, Jonathan Shaw, with Doris Dowling. He also had a son, Steven, with Betty Kern. His whereabouts are unknown. Neither had any kind of relationship with their father. He was a miserable guy, but what a musician!
from an interview with Jonathan Shaw:
"SINATRA really went crazy when he broke up with Ava - Artie was married to her first. One day Ava came running into Artie's apartment to hide, and Sinatra came in with one of his henchman. Sinatra had a gun. Artie made fun of him. He said, 'What do you think, you're HUMPHREY BOGART? She's not here. And if she was, she wouldn't want to see you.' "
Mr. Shaw, who died late last month, could be charming, Mr. Stuart said, but he was not an easy man. He said Mr. Shaw was self-absorbed and brutally frank; he was estranged from his two sons.
His son STEVE KERN was the product of Mr. Shaw's 1941 marriage to ELIZABETH KERN, the daughter of JEROME KERN. His 1952 marriage to the actress DORIS DOWLING produced JONATHAN SHAW. Once, Mr. Stuart said, Steve, who had not seen his father in several years, came to see him at his office. When Mr. Shaw abruptly asked what he wanted, his son said he was a musician and wanted to play for his father. Mr. Shaw reportedly told his son he should seek another profession.
Steve Kern could not be reached. KAY PICK, a longtime friend of Mr. Shaw's, told us "no one knows where Steve is." She also said Steve and his father had not talked in years.
We were, however, able to speak with Jonathan Shaw, who is 52 and lives in Rio de Janeiro. A painter who for several years ran a tattoo parlor on St. Marks Place, and who said he was a recovering alcoholic, he has written a screenplay about his relationship with his father and has just completed the first draft of book on the same subject.
"My father was a deeply miserable human being," Jonathan Shaw said in a telephone conversation yesterday. "That's the side of him that most people who haven't been closely associated with him don't get to see. He was a genius, and he was also a very difficult man."
Where was his brother Steve?
"God only knows," Jonathan Shaw said, adding that he had written a long letter and sent a copy of his manuscript to a post office box address, but had never heard back.
"According to Artie's version," he went on, "when my brother first went to visit him, my father said, 'What do you want? You're nothing but a biological happenstance to me.' He had said the same thing to me. I just made it difficult for him to dodge me."
Jonathan Shaw was estranged from his father for most of his life, he told us. Then, about two years ago, he made contact and spent a year with him. When Jonathan Shaw started having a relationship with his own son, he said, his father cut him off.
"I got to know him very well and we had some great times together," Jonathan Shaw said, "but bottom line is that he was absolutely unable to maintain a relationship. He was abusive, condescending, mean-spirited. I felt it was to my advantage to maintain the relationship because it was in many ways cathartic, but no one with any self-respect will put up with that kind of abuse."
So he was not with his father when he died? "No," Mr. Shaw said. "He died alone and miserable, as he chose to do."

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Cisco Kid Comic And Bonus Theme

Cisco Kid opening and closing theme

The Cisco Kid

The Cisco Kid is experiencing somewhat of a revival because that's the nickname given to the young New York Yankee catcher Francisco Cervelli. Cisco was often compared to Robin Hood, but not the tea-bagger variety as portrayed in the recent Russell Crowe film. I wonder how many people remember the original Cisco Kid.
a great resource about the Cisco Kid
The Cisco Kid Episode (1950-1956) Starring Duncan Renaldo and Leo CarrilloThe Classic western series was the first to be filmed in color, even though the majority of television sets in the country were black and white. The show presented the tales of The Cisco Kid and his trusty sidekick Pancho as they traveled about the West, coming to the aid of those in need of it.
The Cisco Kid (western, with Duncan Reynaldo and Leo Carillo)
(Syndicated, from 1950)
[156 episodes produced in color by ZIV-TV between 1949-1956;
The characters of handsome Mexican folk-hero Cisco and
his portly sidekick Pancho (shades of "Sancho Panza" from
Cervantes' classic "Don Quixote") were drawn from a series
of popular western dime-novels written in the 1800's by
William Sydney Porter, who used the pen name of "O'Henry";
In the introduction to each episode, the TV series announcer
referred to the Cisco Kid as "O'Henry's famous Robin Hood
of the West..." He did seem to use the resources of more
wealthy citizens to help the less fortunate. So you might
say this idea was a blend of Don Quixote with Robin Hood.
A 1929 silent film had included the Cisco Kid character.
Loose adaptations of "Cisco Kid" stories had been dramatized
on radio as early as 1943 using a different THEME composed
by Albert Glasser and played on the organ;
Then two B-picture feature films were created by low-budget
Monogram Studios in 1945;
This was followed four years later in 1949 by five more
films produced by United Artists; Albert Glasser got the
contract to score these pictures, recording them in France.
Although the actors were made up to look younger, lead Duncan
Reynaldo who played Cisco was actually in his 50s, and Leo
Carillo who played Pancho was in his 70s when the TV series
was filmed.]
In his book "TV's Biggest Hits", Jon Burlingame mentions that
Glasser's music for the 1949 Cisco Kid films were "adapted
from traditional Mexican folk melodies." However, this THEME
is very similar to the tune, "La Spagnola (the Spanish Maiden)"
written in 1937 by the Italian composer Vincenzo di Chiara,
which was not a Mexican folk tune.]

Who's Who In Knickerbocker Village History: Blanche Reisel

Blanche passed away last December. There was a big 90th birthday celebration for her in March of 2009 at Forlinis. Photos above from her son Paul. Hunter College High School? Maybe Blanche could have been nominated for Supreme Court Justice?
From the recent newsletter of New York State Court Reporter's Association
Blanche Riesel Passed Away: Went to the World's Fair to practice Gregg Shorthand by taking down Albert Einstein's speech
Blanche Riesel, a former Head Hearing Reporter of NYS's Workers' Compensation Board, passed away on December 26, 2009 at the age of 90. She had retired from Workers' Comp., from a job she loved on December 29, 1982. She always appreciated many long term friendships from her 35 years there along with her professional and collegial relationships.Blanche was the first in her family to be born in America prior to women having the right to vote in 1919. She attended public schools including Hunter College High School for Girls and George Washington where it said in the yearbook that, “Her grades are like a fever, they run so high.” She was devastated when her immigrant family needed her income so she was unable to attend Barnard College where she had been offered a scholarship. At 17 she found a job typing which evolved into Gregg Shorthand. She took speed classes at Hunter and Columbia Colleges and had been awarded the Gregg Diamond Medal for writing 200 words per minute. She became a CSR and taught Gregg Short hand at Abbe Institute and Drake Schools. She created Gregg shortcuts which were later published. Blanche worked at the War Department during World War II and utilized her reporting skills to record conferences of steel industry executives; she requested they wear clothing pins with numbers to identify each when speaking. She later briefly joined Unemployment Insurance then transferred to Workers' Comp. as a Hearing Reporter in 1944. In 1977 she became a supervisor, Head Hearing Reporter.As a 20-year old, Blanche brought her steno book to The World's Fair to practice Gregg Shorthand by taking down Albert Einstein's speech. She was mistaken for the official stenographer who did not show up that day. She was brought to the front of the audience and dutifully recorded Einstein's speech while a New York City policeman held a chair she was standing on. After,she typed the speech and mailed it to the appropriate people.She attempted to retire for about nine weeks but realized she needed to keep busy. She returned to the workplace at an insurance company for a number of years along with working in some law offices and acted as an office manager at her son's company for many years through December 2008.She had been a member for many years of the New York State Shorthand Reporters Association and was awarded a certificate for NYU's Women's Law Class. Blanche is survived by her son and daughter-in-law Paul and Helen Levine and by her grandchildren Grant, who is a junior at Syracuse University and Anne, a freshman at Johns Hopkins University. Thanks to Blanche’s son Paul for sharing this with us. Our condolences go out to the family of this great lady.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Life On The Lower East Side, Part 3

from the Tenement Museum description of an event on May 13, 2010
The Lower East Side became by the 1930s a vibrant multiethnic community full of families and friends. The residents congregated on stoops, street corners, sidewalks, fire escapes, and rooftops of the neighborhood tenements and shared the unique languages, food, and festivals of their various cultures.
Rebecca Lepkoff, herself a child of immigrant parents, grew up in this community. The faces of the Lower East Side became her muse and through the lens of her camera she captured the lives of a spirited neighborhood - women hanging laundry out their windows, children playing stickball in the street, men chatting at the barbershop. This book, the first monograph of Lepkoff's work, highlights the area between the Brooklyn and Manhattan bridges from the Bowery to the East River.
Over 170 reproduced photographs and essays by Peter E. Dans and Suzanne Wasserman uncover a forgotten time and place and reveal how the Lower East Side remains both unaltered and forever changed.

Suzanne Wasserman: Life On The Lower East Side, Part 2

from the Tenement Museum description of an event on May 13, 2010
The Lower East Side became by the 1930s a vibrant multiethnic community full of families and friends. The residents congregated on stoops, street corners, sidewalks, fire escapes, and rooftops of the neighborhood tenements and shared the unique languages, food, and festivals of their various cultures.
Rebecca Lepkoff, herself a child of immigrant parents, grew up in this community. The faces of the Lower East Side became her muse and through the lens of her camera she captured the lives of a spirited neighborhood - women hanging laundry out their windows, children playing stickball in the street, men chatting at the barbershop. This book, the first monograph of Lepkoff's work, highlights the area between the Brooklyn and Manhattan bridges from the Bowery to the East River.
Over 170 reproduced photographs and essays by Peter E. Dans and Suzanne Wasserman uncover a forgotten time and place and reveal how the Lower East Side remains both unaltered and forever changed.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Elena Kagan Playing For LMRC?

Good hitter, but not quite a "beauty in there." Elena's father, Robert, grew up at 2935 Ocean Parkway, not far from where many ex-lmrc'ers migrated to in the mid 1960's.

Immigrant Number One: Part 2

Annie Moore
a follow up to the previous post on Annie Moore

A Lower East Side History Show, In The First Person

Lepkoff Tenement
from the nytimes cityroom blog
Thursday night at the Lower East Side Tenement Museum, there will be a show of Rebecca Lepkoff’s gorgeously gritty photographs of daily life in the neighborhood in the 1930s and ’40s. The occasion is the publication of the paperback edition of Ms. Lepkoff’s 2006 book “Life on the Lower East Side.”

Brooklyn Banks Video

from the legendary Mike Vallely

Brooklyn Banks: The Fourth Ward Skateboard Park

an excerpt from the nytimes
To Fix Bridge, Skateboard Mecca May Be Lost
To most people, the area under the Manhattan end of the Brooklyn Bridge, in the shadows of the off ramps and against the hulking stone structure of the famous East River crossing, is not a place to stop. It is a place to leave.
It is a long, sloping plaza covered in smooth red brick, with a few trees stretching for rare beams of sunlight. Those who amble into this area generally are children passing to and from a nearby school, or misplaced tourists looking for the bridge’s pedestrian walkway to Brooklyn.
But for generations of skateboarders, and an increasing number of BMX bikers, the place carries an iconic name and a sacred meaning. It is the Brooklyn Banks. It is the place to go, to be, and to be seen.
“It’s the best skate park in the world, because it wasn’t supposed to be a skate park,” the professional skateboarder Mike Vallely said near the end of a popular YouTube video posted earlier this year to pay homage to the threatened Brooklyn Banks.
It is about to become little more than a construction zone during a four-year renovation of the Brooklyn Bridge. Any day now, a new fence will slice the Brooklyn Banks roughly in half, giving construction crews a staging area for trucks and equipment until 2014. Sometime this summer, the entire area will be closed off for about six months while an overhead ramp is painted, the city said.
Skateboarders are used to being displaced from public spaces. But the Brooklyn Banks has a decades-long history and a cultivated status as a sort of skating mecca. Besides, it was already saved once, with help from the city, only five years ago.
That was the last time Steve Rodriguez rode to the rescue. He has spent the past few months trying to do it again, making headway, thanks to city officials who see value in the Brooklyn Banks for skaters and bikers, but he is running out of time to keep them whole.
“I’m fine to close the Banks for six months to paint the overpass,” Rodriguez said. “But four years for staging? Come on.”
The plaza, officially unnamed (the transportation department, which oversees the area because of its proximity to the bridge, called it Red Brick Park in its latest news release), dates to about 1970, city officials said. It runs about the length of three city blocks along the northern flank of the bridge’s massive support, between Pearl Street and past Gold Street. On a map, the location falls under what looks like curly spaghetti: the swirl of ramps to and from the bridge.
By luck or serendipity, the plaza, built before the first wave of skateboarding’s craze arrived, came equipped with everything a street rider could want from a supersize playground: perfectly smooth, wave-shaped embankments (the banks) rising along the length of one side; walls, benches, stairways and granite tree boxes to perform tricks; pillars to climb against; and long stair rails to descend.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

A Room With A View: KV In The 50's

from Rebecca's son Jesse's web site. I recognized that signature KV parquet floor pattern.

Rebecca Lepkoff: Life On The Lower East Side, Part 4

An excerpt of Rebecca's portion of a book talk at the Tenement Museum on May 13, 2010
The Lower East Side became by the 1930s a vibrant multiethnic community full of families and friends. The residents congregated on stoops, street corners, sidewalks, fire escapes, and rooftops of the neighborhood tenements and shared the unique languages, food, and festivals of their various cultures.
Rebecca Lepkoff, herself a child of immigrant parents, grew up in this community. The faces of the Lower East Side became her muse and through the lens of her camera she captured the lives of a spirited neighborhood - women hanging laundry out their windows, children playing stickball in the street, men chatting at the barbershop. This book, the first monograph of Lepkoff's work, highlights the area between the Brooklyn and Manhattan bridges from the Bowery to the East River.
Over 170 reproduced photographs and essays by Peter E. Dans and Suzanne Wasserman uncover a forgotten time and place and reveal how the Lower East Side remains both unaltered and forever changed.

Peter Dans: Life On The Lower East Side, Part 1

from the Tenement Museum description of an event on May 13, 2010
The Lower East Side became by the 1930s a vibrant multiethnic community full of families and friends. The residents congregated on stoops, street corners, sidewalks, fire escapes, and rooftops of the neighborhood tenements and shared the unique languages, food, and festivals of their various cultures.
Rebecca Lepkoff, herself a child of immigrant parents, grew up in this community. The faces of the Lower East Side became her muse and through the lens of her camera she captured the lives of a spirited neighborhood - women hanging laundry out their windows, children playing stickball in the street, men chatting at the barbershop. This book, the first monograph of Lepkoff's work, highlights the area between the Brooklyn and Manhattan bridges from the Bowery to the East River.
Over 170 reproduced photographs and essays by Peter E. Dans and Suzanne Wasserman uncover a forgotten time and place and reveal how the Lower East Side remains both unaltered and forever changed.

Artie Shaw: Someone To Watch Over Me

One of Shaw's last recordings and a song played at the end of his funeral.  It was written by the Gershwins, former lower east siders. The version used at his funeral was sung by Lee Wiley, his favorite singer and one of his former girl friends. Images of David Stone Martin's album and magazine covers are mostly from the jump with joey blog. Did I mention before that May 23rd is the 100th birthday of the LES born Artie Shaw?
About David Stone Martin. That's him in the first image from the slide show above.
David Stone Martin (1913–1992), born David Livingstone Martin, was an influential American artist best known for his illustrations on jazz record albums.
He attended the Art Institute of Chicago and was greatly influenced by the line art of Ben Shahn. By 1950, Martin had produced more than 100 covers for Mercury, Disc and Dial record albums. Many assignments came from his long time friend, record producer Norman Granz.
For various companies, Martin eventually created illustrations for more than 400 record albums. Many of these were simply line art combined with a single color. Martin's favorite tool was a crow quill pen which enabled him to do delicate line work. CBS-TV art director William Golden gave Martin many print ad assignments during the 1950s, and Martin soon expanded into illustration for Seventeen, The Saturday Evening Post and other slick magazines of the 1950s and 1960s.
His studio was located in Roosevelt, New Jersey.[2] He is represented in the Museum of Modern Art, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Art Institute of Chicago and the Smithsonian Institution.

Immigrant Number One: Annie Moore Of The Fourth Ward

 above, the arrow points to 32 Monroe Street, where Annie Moore lived.
a previous 2008 post about Annie Moore

an excerpt from new york magazine
Immigrant Number One
In 1892, she was the first foreigner to arrive at Ellis Island. By 1893, she was an American mystery.
Annie surely knew to expect that other immigrant, the tall one from France. Not yet six years in the harbor, the Statue of Liberty was already famous, even as far away as Cork, for her inscription welcoming the wretched refuse if not for her cold, suspicious face.
What Annie wouldn’t have expected was Ellis Island. When her parents had come from Ireland four years earlier, they’d been brought to Castle Garden, which was neither a castle nor a garden but a scandal-ridden immigrant station at the tip of Manhattan. Maybe as Annie and her two younger brothers waited out their last frigid night on the S.S. Nevada—they had arrived in the harbor on the evening of December 31, 1891—someone explained to them that things had changed. They and the 145 other steerage passengers would be among the first immigrants sent to a new facility whose opening was planned for New Year’s Day.
How could Annie have cared about that? She and Anthony and Phillip had not left Ireland unchaperoned—had not endured the twelve dark and airless below decks days of the crossing, including Christmas!—to be the first of anything. They just wanted to see their parents and their older brother and sister, who by now were young adults of New York. To that end, the less attention the better. There were tales about immigrants being rejected for any reason, from a limp to a lie, and all three Moores, probably to save their father money on the passage, had understated their ages.
If Annie wanted to make as little of the big day as possible, the press had the opposite idea. Perhaps it was for the papers’ benefit that the two other ships whose passengers might have had the honor of inaugurating Ellis Island—the City of Paris and the Victoria—were overlooked in favor of the Nevada. It sounded so American. And perhaps it was on the press’s behalf, too, that a “rosy-cheeked” Irish lass headed the line to get off the barge as it moseyed into its slip, amid foghorns, bells, and shrieking whistles. How perfect that it also happened to be her 15th birthday! (Too perfect: She’d turned 17 the previous spring.) But this was not the only detail the press seems to have invented. “As soon as the gangplank was run ashore,” the Times reported the next day, “Annie tripped across it.”
Maybe. Or maybe, as other versions have it, she was so visibly upset by the emotions of the day that the Italian gentleman who was actually first in line insisted she take his place. Or was it a German man, who was shunted aside in favor of the English-speaking youngster? Surely she would make a better ceremonial subject for the Treasury Department dignitary who’d come from Washington to welcome Ellis Island’s first immigrant. Nor was that the end of the pomp: A Catholic chaplain blessed Annie, and the island’s commissioner handed her a gold Liberty coin.
It seems doubtful that Annie said, as the Times also reported, that she would never part with the $10 piece, but would “always keep it as a pleasant memento of the occasion.” Is it more believable that, as family lore maintains, she barely kept it five minutes? Supposedly, her father, a longshoreman, took it for safekeeping—it was a week’s salary, a month’s rent!—and that night, to celebrate the reunion of his family, drank it away in the saloons of the dismal Fourth Ward, in the shadow of the Brooklyn Bridge.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Jewish Neighbors Of Deceased Catholic Janitor Save Him From Potter's Field, 1928

You can see currently that 141 Ludlow Street had a unique structure that would suggest a former funeral home.

Woodstock Kindergarten: 96 Rivington Street, 1896

Located at 96 Rivington Street now is Babeland. Now that's funny.

Artie Shaw: Where Or When

Monday, May 10, 2010

Greece's Marinella

above an old clip of hers
from wikipedia
Marinella (Greek: Μαρινέλλα) (born May 20, 1938) is one of the most popular Greek singers whose career has spanned several decades. She has sang professionally since 1957. Since the beginning of her career, she has released 66 personal albums and has been featured in albums of other musicians.
She was born Kyriaki Papadopoulou, in the city of Thessaloniki in northern Greece. Her parents came from Constantinople. She is the fourth and newest member of the family. She released her first song in 1957, "Nitsa, Elenitsa (Little Helen)". Her early career was marked by her collaboration with singer Stelios Kazantzidis.
Marinella was the first Greek singer to participate in the Eurovision Song Contest of 1974, placing eleventh with the song "Krasi, thalassa kai t' agori mou (Wine, sea and my boyfriend)". She also performed in several Greek musicals, both as singer and actress. Her popularity rose in the late 60's, 70's and 80's, with a string of successful albums and live shows. She developed a new standard for shows in the Greek night clubs, introducing costumes, dancing, and special lighting effects. Many of today's popular Greek singers have modelled their shows on Marinella's shows of the 80's.
In 1998, Marinella performed in the Megaron Music Hall of Athens, performing her older hits to great acclaim. Her concert at the small Olympic stadium of Athens in 1999 was a great success with more than 25.000 people.
In 2003, she collaborated with George Dalaras. They gave concerts in Athens and Thessaloniki as well as abroad. The tour was titled "Mazi (Together)" and the released CD from these performances reached platinum status. On April 10, 2003, the New York Times wrote about Marinella "Her voice was earthy and strong, and she had the presence of an actress as she danced a few teasing steps or brought dignity to longing" (by Jon Pareles).
In 2004, she released a brand new album with new songs by Nikos Antypas and Lina Nikolakopoulou, entitled "Ammos itane (It was sand)". In the same year she performed at the closing ceremony of the 2004 Summer Olympics.
In 2005, Marinella released a new album titled "Tipota den ginete tyhea (Nothing is random)", composed by famous Greek composer and lyricist Giorgos Theofanous. The album reached gold status and includes duets with famous Greek singers, such as Antonis Remos, Glykeria and Kostas Makedonas.
In 2006, two new compilations of Marinella were officially released, the first titled "Sti skini (On stage)" and containing older live recordings and the second one titled "Ta logia ine peritta - 50 Chronia tragoudi (Words are pointless - 50 Years of song)", which is a complete 8 CDs boxset with Marinella's greatest hits from the beginning of her career till her collaboration with Kostas Hatzis at "Resital".
Marinella returned again to nightlife, by performing live with Giannis Parios in the winter season 2008 - 2009 at Diogenis Studio in Athens. Marinella is currently recording brand new songs in the studio with composer Giorgos Theofanous. The CD is expected to be released sometime in 2010.
Even though Marinella is often considered a singer of folk songs, her range is quite broad and has included a variety of musical styles including traditional, laika, pop, blues, and jazz. Marinella is characterised as "The Great Lady of Song" in Greece, where she is regarded with great respect. She rarely makes public appearances, and her concerts are few.

Artie Shaw: Marinella

One of my uncle's favorite songs (at least of the non-Greek variety) was a little known Artie Shaw number called Marinella. My father and uncle were childhood friends as well as sons of immigrants from Janina, Greece. They belonged to a social club on East Broadway in December 1941. I think it might have been named the Allbros (short for Allen and Broome Street, the vicinity from where many of the Greek Jews lived. Marinella was near the top of the charts on December 7th. When news of Pearl Harbor reached home the club members knew things would change and that they would all eventually be drafted. They played Marinella, with it's strange haunting melody, over and over that day. Here's Marinella

Artie Shaw: Things Are Looking Up

by former lower east siders' George and Ira Gershwin. Could their paths have crossed as children? The Gershwin's were around ten years older.
If I should suddenly start to sing,
Or stand on my head, or anything,
Don't think that I've lost my senses,
It's just that my happiness finally commences!
The long, long ages of dull despair
Are turning into thin air,
And it seems that suddenly I've
Become the happiest man alive.
Things are looking up.
I've been looking the landscape over,
And it's covered with four-leaf clovers.
Oh, things are looking up
Since love looked up at me.
Bitter was my cup,
But no more will I be the mourner,
For I've certainly turned the corner.
Oh, things are looking up,
Since love looked up at me
See the sunbeams?
Every one beams
Just because of you.
Love's in session
And my depression
Is unmistakably through
Things are looking up,
It's a great little world we live in.
Oh, I'm as happy as a pup
Since love looked up at me

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Robin Hood Comics And The TV Show

Robin Hood 1
The show was on channel 2 on Monday, from crazy about tv
Nearly every show that appeared in the U.S. in the mid 1950s had to have a sponsor that would support the entire show! The Adventures of Robin Hood's sponsor was the "Wild Root Hair Oil Company". The Adventures of Robin Hood had a pretty decent time slot when it premiered in 1955. It began CBS's Monday Night schedule at 7:30PM and was followed by "The George Burns and Gracie Allen Show" at 8:00, "Arthur Godfrey's Talent Scouts" at 8:30, "I Love Lucy" at 9:00, "December Bride" at 9:30, and "Studio One" at 10:00! At the time that this series appeared in the U.S., a Congressional committee was investigating suspected Communists in the entertainment industry. The writers responsible for most of the first season's scripts on the Adventures of Robin Hood TV show were Ring Lardner Jr. and Ian McLellan Hunter. They had already been "blacklisted" by that committee and weren't allowed to participate in any project that would air in the U.S. The series' producers were well aware of that fact but refused to participate in the firing of anyone based on their political views. Lardner and McLellan did have to resort to using different pseudonyms every few episodes so that the series would be allowed to air in the U.S.

Robin Hood Comics

Robin Hood Small

Robin And The 7 Hoods And The Real Robin Hood

The cbs morning show forgot 1964 above portrayal of Robin Hood
The Real Robin Hood
What the Legends Tell Us About the Fabled Thief of Sherwood Forest - and About the Magic of Legend Itself
(CBS) Who was the leader of the Merry Men of Sherwood Forest? Mark Phillips separates fact from fiction:
If only the trees here could talk, in these ancient woods of Sherwood Forest. They could tell us who the real Robin was.
Whether he was Douglas Fairbanks . . . or Errol Flynn . . . or Sean Connery . . . or Kevin Costner . . . or Richard Greene, who flew into our homes every week for years in the TV series "The Adventures of Robin Hood."
Or whether it's the latest to assume the mantle of the most famous crook of all time, Russell Crowe.
Frankly, there isn't much of the old 'hood left.
Aide Andrews, who is something called a "Heritage Ranger" of Sherwood Forest, and who plays Robin for a living, should know.
"Sherwood Forest used to stretch from 30 miles north to south, 10 miles east to west. All that remains today is 1.25 square miles," he said.
It's a big legend to be contained in such a small space, a legend that has grown and changed over the past 1,800 years . . .
A legend that began in the ancient ballads that first spread news of a bandit who came to be known as Robin.
But were the stories based on anything real? Was there a Robin Hood?
"Well, there wasn't one Robin Hood, there was many Robin Hoods," said Andrews "and Robin Hood became a term for the outlaws who were living in the forest outside of the law.
"And of course, before 1300, scholars reckon there was about 8 historic candidates who could have been the real Robin Hood."
For centuries, the poems were all there were. It was at least two hundred years before the old tales were written down. Or was it?
Meet the appropriately named Dr. David Crook, who specialized for more than thirty years in medieval documents at Britain's National Archives.
He said he thinks there was a real Robin, and believes he know who it was.
Crook has recently discovered an old document recording payment by the King for the capture and execution of a troublesome thief at just the right time and at more or less the right place.
"He was either a man called Robert Hood who fled from the king's justice in Yorkshire in 1225, and there was also at the same time a Robert of Wetherby who was an outlaw, an evildoer of our land, as the royal letter says, who was hunted down by a posse of men," said Dr. Crook.
And was the main theme of the legend - stealing from the rich, to give to the poor - in any way historically valid?
"No," said Dr. Crook. "The first reference to him being 'a good man' occurs in a 15th century document, it's a sort of little, 2-line poem. The idea of him actually robbing the rich to give to the poor doesn't come in 'til the 16th or 17th century."
Like the movies have shown over the years, amid all the swash and the buckle, a story this old leaves lots of room for interpretation.
The 1922 Douglas Fairbanks Robin set the standard for pageantry, and for over-acting.
Errol Flynn's 1938 remake added color and sound, and became the template for all that followed.
There were plenty of variations on the theme. Sean Connery's 1976 version, "Robin and Marion," was a long-in-the-tooth Robin forced to come out of retirement.
And Kevin Costner's 1991 Robin seemed to come from America.
And if anyone thought Costner's "Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves" tip-toed close to satire . . . It still left plenty of room for Mel Brooks' 1993 "Men in Tights," after which Robin and his Merry Men would never be the same.
The new version, directed by Ridley Scott ("Blade Runner," "Alien") is a kind of "Robin Hood" meets "Gladiator" meets "Saving Private Ryan." And it makes some claim to being, if not historically accurate, at least set in a proper historic context.
"You know, Robin isn't a super hero," said Crowe. "He doesn't have a cape and he isn't a cartoon. What we tried to do is find out who the real person was, and sift through history and see which ground was fertile for a rebel leader like Robin Hood."
And so here is an evil King John, squeezing his subjects for more taxes . . . and Robin, not as a thief, but as a revolutionary figure trying to limit the king's power. Robin meets Che.
"You build a country like you build a cathedral, from the ground up," said Crowe/Hood.
This Robin joins the fight to get the king to sign the Magna Carta, the first document establishing the rule of law . . . the document on which modern democracies are based.
"And when we spread history in front of us on a table, we found that the very first time the Magna Carta was signed, and the Magna Carta is obviously directly related to the Declaration of Independence and it seeks to redress the balance of rights of privilege," said Crowe. "We started thinking, well, you count back from when that was signed and why did this particular monarch, why was he brought to the table, and it may well have been because he had someone like a Robin Hood breathing down his neck."
It's a preposterous idea, of course, but preposterous in a good way, thinks our modern Robin of today's Sherwood Forest, Ade Andrews.

"So now in the 21st century Robin Hood is being re-interpreted, and that's the beauty of folklore, isn't it?" Andrews said. "That's the magic of folklore."
"That it's still alive today," said Phillips.
"Very much so. It's a living, breathing tradition, and that's where the magic is. That's what's important about Robin Hood."
The forest has changed. Nottingham has changed. Presumably the sheriff now works here...
And if Robin Hood is still a living legend here, he's also an industry.
Every time a new Robin shows up on the screen, people show up here. And what's wrong with that?
"The legends are all about escape into the wildwood, isn't it?' said Andrews. "They're all about freedom, you know, away from this modern world as such, so we too can escape from those stories into the ancient wildwood. And that's gotta be good, isn't it?"

Robin Hood And The Blacklist

 Robin Hood theme: Words and music by Carl Sigman, sung by Dick James
Robin Hood, Robin Hood,
Riding through the glen,
Robin Hood, Robin Hood,
With his band of men,
Feared by the bad, loved by the good,
Robin Hood! Robin Hood! Robin Hood!
He called the greatest archers
To a tavern on the green,
They vowed to help the people of the king,
They handled all the trouble
On the English country scene,
And still found plenty of time to sing.
Robin Hood, Robin Hood,
Riding through the glen,
Robin Hood, Robin Hood,
With his band of men,
Feared by the bad, loved by the good,
Robin Hood! Robin Hood! Robin Hood!
from wikipedia
Robin Hood is a popular British television series comprising 143 half-hour, black and white episodes. It starred Richard Greene as the outlaw Robin Hood and Alan Wheatley as his nemesis, the Sheriff of Nottingham. The show aired between 1955 and 1960 on ITV in the UK, and between 1955 and 1959 on CBS in the US. The show followed the legendary character Robin Hood and his band of merry men in Sherwood Forest and the surrounding vicinity. While some episodes dramatised the traditional Robin Hood tales, most episodes were original dramas created by the show's writers and producers.
The program was produced by Sapphire Films Ltd for ITC Entertainment, was filmed at Nettlefold Studios with some location work, and was the first of many big-budget shows commissioned by Lew Grade, who hoped to make large profits by selling programs to the lucrative American market.[citation needed] The series was shot on 35mm film to provide the best possible picture quality, and had fade-outs where US commercials were intended to slot in. Episodes may be viewed in television reruns and are available on DVD. Some episodes include the commercials for an early sponsor, Wildroot Creme Oil (men's hair cream), with a cartoon archer whose messy hair gets tamed.
Richard Greene stars as Robin Hood, a nobleman forced into the life of an outlaw, dwelling in Sherwood Forest with a band of men who right the wrongs committed by the rich and powerful against the poor and defenseless.
Archie Duncan, Bernadette O'Farrell, Richard Greene, and Richard Coleman
Robin Hood's enemy in the series is the Sheriff of Nottingham (Alan Wheatley) who, with his cohorts, schemes to capture the outlaw by any means possible. Maid Marian, a young noblewoman and Robin Hood's lover, keeps him informed of the Sheriff of Nottingham's whereabouts and intentions. Episodes are punctuated with manly deeds of derring-do, tense escapes and pursuits, princely tournaments, the thundering hoofbeats of powerful steeds, the clattering of flashing swords, and the whizzing of fatally-placed arrows.
One strong point of the show was the seamless history lessons. The producers hired English historians as consultants, which was a great help in plotting. For example, in "A Year and A Day", a refugee peasant explains that, under English law, a peasant who escapes serfdom and lives in a city for "a year and a day" is a free man, given the man lives openly, not in hiding. When Robin Hood helps the peasant move about the city, the Sheriff invokes "the law of hue and cry", explaining that any man within hearing must drop his chores and help apprehend the felon. In "A Christmas Goose", a boy's goose nips a lord's horse so the lord is thrown. The lord condemns the goose to death - for his Christmas dinner. But Robin Hood counters that under English common law, an accused animal is entitled to a fair trial, the same as a human. While Robin Hood drags out the trial, Friar Tuck gets the cook drunk and switches geese. When the deception is revealed, the lord relents and pardons the goose.
Another strong point were the supporting characters, who were clever and likable. In "The Goldmaker's Return", Robin Hood is away in France on a mission. Maid Marian, Friar Tuck, Little John and other Merry Men carry the day without the star of the show ever showing his face.
At least one episode "The Knight who came to Dinner" had two different versions. The basic plotline (Sir Richard of the Lea's castle being subject to forfeit due to a debt; remains the same, however in the Alpha video version the bondholder is a corrupt knight, while in the Mill Creek version of the episode the bondholder is a corrupt Abbot. The shots not directly involving the Abbot or the Knight are identical. The only other difference being that in the Mill creek version Sir Richard refers to Maid Marian by a different surname suggesting that it might have been a pilot. It is noteworthy that both versions have identical credits reflecting the Abbot and not the knight in the cast. The Fact that the Knight is played by a regular member of the troop of actors who appear in the series also suggests it was made later, perhaps for American audiences.
The Adventures of Robin Hood was produced by Hannah Weinstein, who had left-wing political views. Weinstein hired many blacklisted American writers to script episodes of the series: these included Ring Lardner Jr., Waldo Salt, Robert Lees and Adrian Scott. Howard Koch, who was also blacklisted, served for a while as the series' script editor. The blacklisted writers were credited under pseudonyms, to avoid the notice of the House Un-American Activities Committee.
After the blacklist collapsed, Lardner said that the series' format allowed him "plenty of opportunities to comment on issues and institutions in Eisenhower-era America". In addition to the redistributive themes of a hero who robs from the rich and gives to the poor, many episodes in the programme's first two seasons included the threat that Robin and his band would be betrayed to the authorities by friends or loved ones, much as the blacklisted writers had been.

Robin Hood

Season one, episode 4.
from robin hood tree
Robin Hood 1950's TV series, Richard Greene.
Possibly the best versions of the Robin Hood legend are those made for the small screen, partly due to the way its episodic presentation can simulate the sequential verses of the original old English ballads. This television series which started in 1955 remains to this day one of the most engrossing versions of Robin Hood that we are ever likely to see. Mindful that every 1950's schoolboy would be an expert on these classic tales, each programme is produced with great care and attention to detail; the encounter with Little John on the bridge; the carrying of Robin Hood by Friar Tuck across the river; the archery contest; all are here.
Richard Green simply is Robin Hood. He combines the swashbuckling impertinence of Errol Flynn with the nobility of an educated English noble. But whereas Flynn may as well have been swinging through the rigging of Captain Blood's galleon, Richard Greene runs gallantly through a genuine looking English Sherwood Forest. Yet even his performance must take second place to Alan Wheatley's Sheriff of Nottingham. Wheatley exhibits a full understanding of what is expected of him as the dastardly villian, and no-one has ever come close to displacing him in the minds of the public as being THE Sheriff of Nottingham. His interpretation remains unique; evil, scheming, totally lacking in scruples, as camp as a row of tents, and totally cool. Wheatley's performance is matched by the lovably cantankerous Alexander Gauge as Friar Tuck. Whilst there are certainly traces of previous Friar's in his performance, he sets a standard that others will always be measured against. Veteran Archie Duncan is Robin Hood's most loyal and trusty side kick Little John, and is indeed the only other outlaw of legend who can be relied upon for regular appearances in the series.
Bernadette O' Farrell, the original Maid Marian of the series, perhaps lacks the warmth and affection one might expect of the role, ironically sounding rather too much like a well educated 1950's children's television presenter at times. But the real shortcoming is the lack of Robin Hood's Merry Men. Characters like Alan A'Dale and Will Scarlet make only fleeting appearances over the years in which the series dominated the ratings. For example, at the start of the series, Robin takes over as leader from a dying Will Scatlock, played by Bruce Seton. But Will Scarlet will not appear for another year, turning up as a womanising "dandy" rather than an angry aggrieved Saxon. However, anonymous outlaws there are a plenty, seemingly one in every tree, shooting lots of arrows into lots of the Sheriff of Nottingham's men.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Artie Shaw: They Can't Take That Away From Me

The way you wear your hat,
The way you sip your tea,
The mem'ry of all that --
No, no! They can't take that away from me!
The way your smile just beams,
The way you sing off key,
The way you haunt my dreams --
No, no! They can't take that away from me!
We can never, never meet again
On the bumpy road to love,
Still I'll always, always keep
The mem'ry of --
The way you hold your knife,
The way we danced 'til three.
The way you changed my life --
No, no! They can't take that away from me!
No! They can't take that away from me!

LES Beats' Breakfast?

From the rarefind
Shows Kerouac with a group of close friends at an undisclosed New York diner. The group features Allen Ginsberg, far right; Greg Corso, who is only represented via the back of his head; David Amram, who has his mouth open (Amram is a musician who frequently collaborated w. Kerouac and who was involved in the film project Pull My Daisy); and - most interestingly - New York School painter and poet, Larry Rivers, seen in profile, wearing a suit (as the only one present)...
This photo, and several others from the same day (in connection with the shooting of the film Pull My Daisy) was taken by John Cohen
Rivers' uncle was Joe Grossberg who married my great aunt Ida. That and a token....
about Rivers from wikipedia
August 17, 1923 - August 14, 2002) was a Jewish American artist, musician, filmmaker and occasional actor. Rivers resided and maintained studios in New York City, Southampton, New York on (Long Island) and Zihuatanejo, Mexico.
Larry Rivers was born in the Bronx, New York as Yitzhok Loiza Grossberg. He changed his name to Larry Rivers in 1940, after being introduced as "Larry Rivers and the Mudcats" at a local New York City pub. From 1940-45 he worked as a jazz saxophonist in New York City, and he studied at the Juilliard School of Music in 1945-46, along with Miles Davis, with whom he remained friends until Davis's death in 1991.
Rivers is considered by many scholars to be the "Godfather" and "Grand Father" of Pop art, because he was one of the first artists to really merge non-objective, non-narrative art with narrative and objective abstraction.
Rivers took up painting in 1945 and studied at the Hans Hofmann School from 1947-48, and then at New York University. He was a pop artist of the New York School, reproducing everyday objects of American popular culture as art.
During the early 1960s Rivers lived in the Hotel Chelsea notable for its artistic residents like Bob Dylan, Janis Joplin, Leonard Cohen, Arthur C. Clarke, Dylan Thomas, Sid Vicious and multiple people associated with Andy Warhol's Factory. In 1965 he had his first comprehensive retrospective in five important American museums. His final work for the exhibition was The History of the Russian Revolution, which was later on extended permanent display at the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden in Washington, DC. During 1967 he was in London collaborating with the American painter Howard Kanovitz.
In 1968, Rivers traveled to Africa for a second time with Pierre Dominique Gaisseau to finish their documentary, Africa and I, they narrowly escaped execution as suspected mercenaries.
During the 1970s he worked closely with Diana Molinari and Michel Auder on many video tape projects, including the infamous Tits, and also worked in neon.
Established as one of America's most important postwar artists, Rivers continued, until his death on 14 August 2002, to exhibit regularly both in the United States and abroad and to create work that combined realistically rendered images within a loosely brushed, quasi-abstract background. His primary gallery being the Marlborough Gallery in New York City. In 2002 a major retrospective of Rivers' work was held at the Corcoran Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C.

Friday, May 7, 2010

More 239 E. 7th Street

from pseudo-intellectualism back in 2005
I couldn't resist seeing what 239 7th Street looks like in person today. It's a beautiful block with lots of renovation going on. What's striking about many of the blocks that are between Avenues C and D is that there are many that were originally built as one family homes in the 1800's rather than tenements. The size and the finer architectural elements of these houses give a clue. You will see nothing but tenements as you go further inland. The collage I put together should be self-explanatory with labeling that is viewable when enlarged. I would have thought that the synagogue that was but a shell in the 1981 picture might have been demolished. Instead it looks like it is being restored as condominium apartments.

239 7th Street

from pseudo-intellectualism back in 2005
In her article Katharine Greider envisioned her 239 "ancestors" having encounters with Garfein's on Avenue A, Papa Burger's Hungarian foods on Avenue C and egg creams on Avenue D. I had to research what Garfein's was......lo and behold it was Mercury Lounge! from their web site: "The Mercury Lounge is located at 217 East Houston Street, between Ludlow and Essex streets, where the Lower East Side meets the East Village. It's on the first floor of a building that once housed the servants to the Astor Mansion, connected to it by an underground labyrinth of tunnels. Garfein's Restaurant occupied the space in the early part of the twentieth century, and from 1933 to 1993, the storefront housed a seller of tombstones. Vestiges of the monument store include the large, foot-square, wooden beams, on which the monuments sat and were displayed, used in the construction of the Mercury Lounge's storefront window. And there is a tombstone embedded in an end of the bar's countertop." Now I have to figure out where there was an Astor Mansion? It's probably where some realtor is building a fancy hotel/health club on Allen Street. We'll discuss egg creams at a later date. It's part of the Kisseloff thread. The Bromley 1891 map can let us imagine some other things. Perhaps the children from 239 attended PS36 (still standing as a Henry Street day care site) on 9th Street or PS 71 which was on 7th street closer to Avenue B. There were many schools around, because the neighborhood was packed with children. Use the map yourselves and come up with some possibilities. BTW the blue lines on the map show the original boundaries of the Dutch farm owners. The picture of an abandoned 7th Street synagogue (1981) in the top left corner comes from a terrific now and then LES photo site

7th Street Synchronicity

The talk of Artie Shaw on 7th Street reminded me of these blog entries from pseudo-intellectualism back in 2005
A wonderful article in the Times' city section about the history of a 7th street building entitled "House Interrupted." The author, Katharine Greider, (who I suspect may be the daughter of the respected journalist, William Greider) does what we had been discussing previously-she imagines the lives of all the people who had lived in her house. She makes excellent use of primary documents in doing so. Here's a link to a pdf version of the article. Above is an image of another section (click on it to enlarge) of that wonderful 1851 Driggs map that brings to life many of the elements that Katherine discusses.