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11/30/11

Judy Holliday was one of the good ones

Judy Holliday was an extremely interesting actress. She died very young, sadly, at the age of only 43, but still managed to leave a significant mark on cinematic history. In addition to possessing an incredibly high IQ and being persecuted by the communist witch hunters of the day, she also won an Oscar for her role in 'Born Yesterday,' no small feat in a year that included both Gloria Swanson's performance in 'Sunset Boulevard' AND Bette Davis' turn in 'All About Eve'. 'Born Yesterday' isn't discussed as much as those films nowadays, but it's really worth your time to seek it out. Set in Washington DC, it's an oddly prescient work of art, relevant to these corrupt and illiterate times. Here Judy plays cards with her gangster beau, who has taken her with him to Washington for a 'lobbying' trip.



More on Judy: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Judy_Holliday

11/26/11

notes on sailors valentines

Sailor's valentines are interesting! Pretty as well. There are conflicting explanations regarding their origins, but this one seems legitimate. The Shell Museum website:

"Sailors' valentines are a shell art form developed in the early nineteenth century. Octagonal boxes served as frames for symmetrical and well-balanced compositions that artists created, in pointillist-like fashion, using small shells of different colors and shapes. Contrary to myth, sailors' valentines were not made by sailors in order to pass time at sea. They were usually assembled by female residents of Barbados and other Caribbean ports of call for New England whalers to purchase and bring back to their loved ones waiting at home. The craftswomen would often include romantic phrases such as "Forget-me-not" and "Remember me". Recently this art form has undergone a revival amongst shell crafters." http://www.shellmuseum.org/Map/sailor.htm


11/16/11

Notes on the song Sukiyaki by Kyu Sakamoto

It might seem strange that in 1963 a Japanese singer could conquer the US blillboard charts, but Kyu Sakamoto did just that: "'Ue o Muite Arukō" (上を向いて歩こう?, literally "[I] shall walk looking up") is a Japanese-language song that was performed by Japanese crooner Kyu Sakamoto. . . It is best known under the alternative title "Sukiyaki" in English-speaking parts of the world. The song reached the top of the Billboard Hot 100 charts in the United States in 1963, and was the only Japanese-language song to do so. In total it sold over 13 million copies internationally. . . the lyrics tell the story of a man who looks up and whistles while he is walking so that his tears won't fall. The verses of the song describe his memories and feelings. . . The title Sukyaki, a Japanese hot pot dish, has nothing to do with the lyrics or the meaning of the song; the word served the purpose only because it was short, catchy, recognizably Japanese, and more familiar to most English speakers. A Newsweek columnist noted that the re-titling was like issuing "Moon River" in Japan under the title 'Beef Stew'."
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sukiyaki_%28song%29

Additionally interesting is the vast array of covers that followed, by Trio Esperanca, Blue Diamonds, The Ventures, The Eagles, Claude Valade, The Fabulous Echoes, Jewel Akens, Lucille Starr, Chet Atkins, A Taste of Honey, Riki Sorsa, Beanie Man, Boyz 2 Men, etc.etc.

Here are two versions: The original, and the one by the Eagles.


JIMMIE RODGERS - GHOST RIDERS IN THE SKY