El Cine del Oro #29

Las Abandonadas (The Abandoned Women)
(Emilio Fernandez; 1944)

Collect 'Em All #21

Elisabeth Bergner
No. 6 in a series of 50 from Player's Navy Cut Tobacco.
"Born in Vienna on August 22nd, 1900 (IMDb says 1897), Elisabeth Bergner was only fourteen when she went to the Austrian Academy of Dramatic Art. Later she toured the provinces playing leading roles, and she is now recognized as the greatest Shakespearian actress on the Continent. She did not take to film-acting kindly, for after seeing her first picture, she vowed she would never make another. Dr. Paul Czinner, who has directed every film in which she has appeared and who is now her husband, persuaded her to try again and she won success. Catherine the Great and Escape Me Never are her British pictures."

A Is For Arbus #34

Mildred Dunnock, character actress of stage and screen.
(November, 1964)

Broadcasters #13
Stacks o' Wax #17

The Good Guys Sing was an LP released on the United Artists label in 1964 by the All Star air staff of New York's AM radio giant, WMCA; known in story and song as the WMCA Good Guys. From left to right: Dan Daniel, Jack Spector, Harry Harrison, Johnny Dark, B. Mitchel Reed and Joe O'Brien.

Between numbers, of course, the Good Guys do weather, traffic updates and time checks.

Seminal Image #596

Ban shun
(Late Spring)
(Yasujiro Ozu; 1949)

Woodcut Confidential! #4

Oban triptych: Hachiman Taro Yoshi-ie
(The Battle of Go-San-Nen)
(Nobukazu Yosai; 1896)

The Cool Hall of Fame #61

Chet Baker

Great War Art #5

Newspapermen #5

Walter Lippmann

Housekeeping Matter #21: A New Look

Those of you who are regular visitors to this blog may notice that its look has changed rather drastically. It's something I've been meaning to do for awhile, and now that I find myself in the throes of a hideous bout of Flu, I figured . . . why not give it a go?


I'm not, however, unmindful that in my present state what looks decent enough to me might be a chore on the eyes of others, so I'm essentially asking you folks to let us know if these alterations constitute a visual improvement . . . or a descent into ocular hell. I can always change it back to the old template, quick as a mouse-click, if there's sufficient dissatisfaction.

And now . . . back to resting my congested cranium.

UPDATE: Vox populi, baby. The peoples have spoken, and . . . as you can see . . . I've changed it back to the slightly modified look of the last few days. I'll go into my rationale in the Comments section (when I can get the keyboard to stop spinning), but for now at any rate, this is the template we'll stick with.

Thanks to all who chimed in!

When Legends Gather #203

Lucille Ball and Hedda Hopper

The Cool Hall of Fame #59

Dutch Mason (left, with trio members Ronnie Miller and Ken Clattenburg)

The name of Dutch Mason likely doesn't mean much to anyone living outside of Canada, but here at home, Norman "Dutch" Mason was our Prime Minister of the Blues (so-named by none other than B.B. King), born in Lunenburg, Nova Scotia, and a constant presence on this country's music scene from the '60s right up until just before his death on Christmas Eve.

He was a complete character; the most skilled user of profanity I've ever experienced (his influence is deeply felt on the TV series Trailer Park Boys, created by Ken Clattenburg's son Mike) and a nudist who rarely wore clothes when behind closed doors. To his detriment, he didn't care much about the music business, and experienced his share of hard times as a result, but he loved to make music and perform, and felt the blues to the bottom of his very soul.

I suppose Dutch could have tried harder to be more famous or successful. He could have got a high powered manager to break him into the European market, or hired lawyers to ensure that he wouldn't get ripped off by any number of record labels and assorted music industry lowlifes (and guarantee that the rights to his recordings would make them available today, instead of rare as hen's teeth). But to Dutch that probably just seemed like a lot of work, seeing as he didn't particularly seem to care where he was playing, as long as there were people there to see him.

Mason played from-the-gut, cigarette-burned, working class blues that people liked to get drunk to, and lived exactly the kind of hard life you'd expect from a musician that played that kind of music. But he was also generous with younger musicians, often inviting them on stage to play, sometimes even giving them some of his old gear if he took a shine to them. And bit by bit, he built a love for the blues in the Great White North.

Artists in Action #145

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Ingrid Pitt clutches her good luck charm

Seminal Image #591

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16 Years of Alcohol
(Richard Jobson; 2003)

They Were Collaborators #257

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When Legends Gather #200

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Pete Bennett of Apple Records, Phil Spector and George Harrison