send me the bill
the stray birds
amazingly life-like
the blame
sporting hill ramblers
joe ellis
woggi noggi
kenny gross
tascam porta-two repair
kurzweil key fix
robert bobby
eagles n' flags
squire amp buzz fix

A Phony Online Magazine

I think this would be an interesting project. Here's a real phony online magazine-

Wall Street International Magazine

Great name, isn't it? I might call mine-

The Saturday Evening Times Magazine.

Here's as much information as I could learn in like 15 whole minutes of searching the web:

Wall Street International Magazine is one of the most educational web magazine among others focused on culture, and of its kind, the first one written in six different languages: English, French, German, Italian, Spanish, and Portuguese. With a strong team of international writers, photographers, and artists that have consolidated their experience in the traditional publishing, WSI Magazine is a multimedia instrument completely dedicated to satisfy the needs of those people who find their Domus through culture. Wall Street International Magazine is an instrument of collection, development, and news release useful and necessary to cultured people, whom maintains the characteristics of a paper magazine of high level, but at the same time presents itself as an innovative showcase through which it is possible to observe the world and its endless spaces. Through a careful analysis of cultural trends and a methodical research to identify international events, the magazine offers the readers specific areas with numerous headings that allow them to select topics of interest and to constantly monitor their main events.

OK, so English isn't their native language. Maybe I could offer to clean that up for them? But I kind of like it the way it is. It gives you straight up the fact that all they are going to do is scoop up press releases that fit into their "specific areas with numerous headings" and repost them.

On closer examination, it seems that there are people given bylines and photos at the ends of these "articles". I wonder if they are real? In fact, while searching for information, I found many posts online with a sort of breathless "Whoa! We've been featured in the Wall Street International Magazine!" flavor to them which seem like obvious fakes. But maybe not- some people might think this really is an online magazine. In fact, it may actually BE an online magazine, for all I know.

All I know is that I would love to make a version of this myself. Maybe I am?

Another Vivien


One of these women is actress Vivien Leigh, who most famously played Scarlett in Gone With the Wind (and Blanche DuBois in A Streetcar Named Desire). The other is the actress/inventor Hedy Lamarr, possibly best known for the use of her name in Blazing Saddles (Hedley! Not Hedy!).

I recently watched Hedy in I Take This Woman, a kinda sappy movie from 1940 with Spencer Tracy as an idealistic doctor and Hedy as his suicidal socialite wife. I mistook her for Vivien (not too hard to do. Hedy is the one on the left).

Other than Hedy being pleasant to look at, the monumental thing about I Take This Woman is the closing scene, wherein a disillusioned Dr. Tracy is about to hop a boat to China when all his old friends and neighbors drop in at the clinic and convince him to stay and reconcile with Mrs Dr. Tracy. If there had been an accordion and baskets full of money it would have been exactly like the concluding scene in It's a Wonderful Life, the whole thing set up by his wife, cute kids, everyone singing Auld Lang Syne, and I thought, "well, that's a cheap attempt to steal an upbeat ending from a hit"- or I thought so, until I found out that I Take This Woman had been released six years prior.

If (as seems likely) Frank Capra and his screenwriters had seen the earlier film and "borrowed", at least they improved on it. My interest isn't in the storylines or even the acting so much as in the construction of the movies- the "how did they do that?" sort of stuff. Neither of these was a hit when released (although It's a Wonderful Life did win an award for best fake snow) but as we know Life is now considered a classic, and Woman? Watch it for the beautiful Lamarr, and for the ending which may have inspired Capra.

Stop and say hello to some old friends- ball, tire, and the rest of the Amazingly Life-Like gang!

Following on from last month, a contemporary of Valerie and Vivienne, Marion Harris is said to have been the first white woman to sing the blues on record, from around about 1917.

Here she is as I saw her in a clip from 1930 called Gems from M-G-M. I was asleep on the sofa when her voice awakened me. Without my glasses, peering blearily at the screen, she was hard to make out- well, the picture wasn't too clear, either.

funny that way

funny that way

funny that way

funny that way

funny that way

funny that way

funny that way

She first made a hit of I Ain't Got Nobody, but by 1920 she had left her record company and moved to another because she hadn't been allowed to record St. Louis Blues there. I suppose this was because the suggestive lyrics of blues and "jass" songs weren't considered proper. For some, jass and blues were too hot.

But it wasn't only sex. Lots of improprieties were turning up in lyrics- murder, drug use, alcoholism, misogyny- and even popular subjects of parlor music, such as unrequited love and loneliness, were being addressed more directly than before. Emotions ran strong and deep in this music.

When asked why she chose to sing the blues, Marion reportedly said that she felt it was more sincere. Over time she altered her delivery from belter to crooner as improvements in recording technology made it possible to sing more intimately. By the time this clip was made she had developed a performance style suited for the close-up. After years on theatre stages, this displays terrific insight into the nature of the media. Here's a link to the clip on YouTube.

I wouldn't dare call this corny. It's all about the things she doesn't do here, rather than the soulful looks and the hands clasped upon her breast. She had been billed as a comedianne in vaudeville. She could have been playing those gestures for laughs, but I think there was more than that- she's using them to put across a complicated story.

The song was originally called She's Funny That Way, and it was written for a man to sing about a woman who loves him despite his failings. But here we're looking from the other side. It is up to the woman to say what she feels, as coward at best, she is even prepared to follow him West. Her being "funny that way" now has several meanings, not least of which is her being amused at herself. So much going on here!

Her delicate voice drew me from sleep, but what sold it were those low, gutteral notes, the almost spoken words she skillfully drops in at places that express the blues in her. I'm thankful that this performance has been preserved- it was never released as a record.

And yet... there's more to her story. Mary Ellen Harrison revealed little of herself to the public. Everything from her birthplace and date to the number of times she married is unclear today. Unlike outsider artists Vivian Maier and Henry Darger, she had been a popular entertainer, with a career spanning decades, yet like them, no one knew who she was. She met her end in a fire which she accidentally set herself, and took her secrets, her motivations, and her deepest feelings with her.

There are more than a hundred of her recordings available at the Internet Archive. You can hear her style evolve from I Ain't Got Nobody Much through several versions of The St. Louis Blues up to My Canary Has Circles Under His Eyes.