Thursday, September 30, 2010

Something On William Faulkner And Christopher Isherwood

Click on the above photograph of Christopher Isherwood to enlarge it. Below is a link to the Paris Review Interview of Christopher Isherwood.
I remember reading in some biography of William Faulkner(or maybe it was in one of Faulkner's published letters)him mentioning writers sitting at his feet at parties in Los Angeles when he was out there writing screen plays in the 1940s. And he mentioned Christopher Isherwood sitting at his feet admiring him.
Here is something about another meeting between Faulkner and Christopher Isherwood that took place some time in the 1950s. Faulkner was with Jean Stein.
  This writing is by Christopher Isherwood friend Don Bachardy.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Unwanted Animals At The Shoreham Hotel In Washington, D.C.

Click to enlarge this picture of the Shoreham Hotel in Washington D.C.

When I worked at the Shoreham Hotel in Washington D.C. in 1977 and 1978 we had feral cats in the basements. I say basements plural because there are several sub basements at The Shoreham. It is like decending into the bowels of a large cruise ship. Up top everything looks pretty down below is another story.

   Years ago cats were put in the basements of the Shoreham to control and kill the rats and mice. Over the years the cats became feral. They are not domestic. They are wild animals. They will jump in your hair from the pipes in the ceilings.

   There was an assistant Steward who starting shooting them with an air rifle. This somehow was reported to the old "Ear" gossip column in the old Washington Star. Then the Humane Society arrived and put a stop to that and said they would bait and trap the wild cats with cages. It did not work. The cats were still there when I left.

I found a little kitten once deep in the basement. I took it home as a pet for our children.
But it remained wild. It would pull on the kids hair at night while they slept.
I had to get rid of it. I took it to Rock Creek Park and turned it loose. As I was driving away I saw a lady stop her car and get out and go get the cat. 

One time we had a bat in the lobby. The employees wanted nothing to do with catching and getting rid of the bat. The lobby of the Shoreham is very large and has very high ceilings. Nothing we had was long enough to get the bat which was way up high on a wall in the lobby. Finally someone came up with a solution. We got a fire extinguisher and shot the foam at the bat and it fell down. We wrapped in a towel and took it outside and released it.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Two More Hotel Stories That Were Never Printed In The Washington Post One Was A Fire At The Shoreham Hotel And The Other Concerns Chuck Brown And The Soul Searchers

Some news stories never get printed in The Washington Post or any other newspaper.
Sometime in the 1980s(I don't remember the exact date)there was a fire at The Shorham Hotel in Washington D.C. It was never reported in The Washington Post. It happened like this.

    Some Howard University students rented a suite for a Saturday night. They did not tell the hotel they were going to have what the Howard Students call a "Cabaret".
What that means is they were going to sell tickets to come to a party at the room they rented. That is not something the hotel allows so the people that rented the room just kept quiet about that.

  The party got going and the music got loud and then louder. It was after midnight and the party was still going strong. The hotel assistant manager called Security and told them to go tell the people to knock off the noise. The assistant manager lived with his family in a room nearby where this party was going on.

   The Security Officer(a friend of mine)went and told the students to be quiet. That did not work. It got later and later and the party got louder and contiued.
   So the assistant manager called again at 2am and told the Security Officer to call the police to  come and shut the party down. He could have avoided what happened by moving himself and his family to another room but he chose not to.

    The D.C. police arrived. They went up around 3am and shut the party down. They unplugged the music after arguing with the students who claimed they had rented the room and were going to continue the party.
   When the police left they found their car on fire in front of the hotel. It was a brand new police car parked under the entrance to the hotel. The fire burned the car completly up and set fire to the roof above the entrance to the hotel.

   The incident was ignored by the Washington Post. It never appeared in any newspaper as far as I know. And I never read of any students going to court over it either.

The other hotel story is about a party at The Washington Plaza in D.C.   This happened again on a weekend. Chuck Brown and The Soul Searchers were playing a dance at the hotel on a Sat. night.  A large number of young people came and I guess everybody had a good time.
There is plenty of Chuck Brown on Youtube. Just go to YouTube and type in Chuck Brown.
  Here is one. Double click on the video to go to YouTube and see many other Chuck Brown videos. One you can find there is his big hit "Bustin' Loose".

The hotel had been renovated just recently and the ballroom had brand new carpets.

   On Sunday morning when I came to work I found hundreds and hundreds of cigarette burns in the new carpet. Maybe thousands of cigarette burns in the new carpet.
 It was totally ruined. Now this has always perplexed me. Did they do it on purpose? Or did they do it just because they did not care or know any better. I suspect they just didn't care. Or maybe they had never seen carpet before.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Per Is Back And Swinging

Click and double click on the video to go to YouTube and see other videos by Per Thomas. He is a fine musician who lives in Paris and is also a painter. He always swings. And is always easy to listen to. Thanks Per for all your music videos on YouTube

The Train They Call The City Of New Orleans 1965 And The Warmth Of Other Suns A New Book About The Black Migration in the Early 20th Century

Click to enlarge the above picture.

My wife and I rode The City Of New Orleans train in March of 1965 from Chicago to New Orleans.

More about that later.
  There is a new book out about the great migration of blacks from the South in the early 1900's.
But I remember seeing many blacks riding the train South from Chicago. I know they go home to visit relatives. Some are even now moving back down South.

  Now this book title strikes me as somewhat odd. It must refer to the summer months. Because in no way could going to Chicago in the winter months from Mississippi be under warmer suns when they arrived in Chicago.
  Here is the real meaning of the title:
The title of this book is taken from Richard Wright's "Black Boy: A Record of Childhood and Youth": "I was taking a part of the South to transplant in alien soil, to see if it could grow differently, if it could drink of new and cool rains, bend in strange winds, respond to the warmth of other suns, and, perhaps, to bloom."

Here is the wikipedia  page on The Great Migration of blacks from the South.
In the club car of the train City Of New Orleans I overheard a black man telling a black woman as we headed south on The City Of New Orleans about Sigmund Freud. The man said "You've got your id and your ego and your super ego". He had asked her if she knew who Sigmund Freud was. She said no.

  I would say that most all of the passengers heading south on the train were black. I know that they return for reunions and that often they left their children with their grandparents and went North and would return to visit them.

Click and double click to enlarge the picture above. It was taken on our trip south in March of 1965 on the train from Chicago to New Orleans. This was the stop in Batesville, Mississippi. The train no longer goes through there. Batesville is no longer a stop. If you enlarge you will see that most of the passengers getting off or getting on going south are black.

  It is interesting to note also that Steve Goodman wrote his song City Of New Orleans about going south from Chicago to New Orleans not north from New Orleans to Chicago.
   I will say that the ride South in 1965 was exactly like he wrote in his song. Same towns, same scenes, same everything.
  I remember we left Chicago in March of 1965. There was a blizzard going on in Chicago. The winds off Lake Michigan blew men's hats off their heads and down the streets.
 I saw an ace of hearts playing card frozen in the ice on a sidewalk in Chicago and took a picture of it. Click and double click to enlarge it.

    When we got to Hammond, Louisiana it was warm and azaleas were in bloom. It felt like the best spring possible. In fact it was so warm when we got to New Orleans we had to take our coats off.
 It felt so good to be out of that snow and ice and cold wind of Chicago. New Orleans never looked better or felt better to me before or since. Walking from the train station to the French Quarter I was really glad to be back in New Orleans.

Later I worked in 1966 in the Delta as an anti poverty worker teaching blacks to read and write.
  When I  worked in Mound Bayou,Mississippi I learned they have a reunion every year around July. Mound Bayou is the only all black owned and operated town in Mississippi. I worked there in the Fall of 1966 teaching reading and writing in the STAR program of Lyndon Johnson's War On Poverty. It stood for Systematic Training And Research. The federal government was paying 35 dollars a week to people to learn to read and write.
  We tried to sign up some whites but they all refused. I went to the welfare office in Cleveland, Miss. and asked to get the names of some white people and was told there were no white  people on welfare in north  Mississippi.
 No whites would sign up for this government program no matter how much they could have used the money. This was 1966 and race tensions were high in Mississippi at that time.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Hurricane Betsy September 9th 1965 New Orleans Louisiana

Click to enlarge the picture. That is a picture of trees blown down in Jackson Square across from the Pontalba Apartment buildings.
The link below is to a very good government movie about Hurricane Betsy.

My wife and I rode out Hurricane Betsy on September 9th, 1965 in the top floor apartment at 731 Ursulines Street in the French Quarter of New Orleans.
All night long we could hear the slate from the roofs breaking loose.
In the morning I found pieces of the slate that had been blown so hard they had been embedded in brick walls.
I borrowed a Vespa Motor Scooter from a friend and rode all around the city.
 Mostly I saw downed trees. Some broken windows on Canal Street. A large radio tower broke and fell across Canal Street.

In the French Quarter there were some brick walls that collapsed.

 It was a category 3 hurricane when it got to New Orleans. Since the levees were better back then and the Mississippi River Gulf Outlet had not been finished by that time so all of the city did not flood like it did during Hurricane Katrina. Some of the lower areas did flood. These were poor parts of the city. The gossip was the city fathers flooded those areas to save the city.

I had a friend who was a reporter on The States Item Newspaper. They had sent him to Grand Isle to cover the hurricane. His editor told him "We don't think it is coming that way but we want you to go down there". The eye of Hurricane Betsy came right over Grand Isle and blew away everything on the island except the Coast Guard Station which was built to withstand 200 mile an hour winds.

    As it was coming over his editor called him to ask what was happening. My friend told him the fire station just blew past the Coast Guard Station.
  He was stuck down there.  He was a photographer as well as a reporter. The Army flew him out so he could get his pictures back to New Orleans. His pictures of the hurricane damage to Grand Isle,La. were printed in the newspaper and were nominated later for a Pulitzer Prize.

   I went back down to Grand Isle with him to get his car(a Volkswagen)but it had been confiscated by the military since it was the only car on the island that would run. It had been ruined and they promised to buy him another one. They also took his gun which was in the glove compartment.
I remember on the drive from New Orleans down to Grand Isle everything seemed to have been destroyed. Blown over by the hurricane winds and destroyed by the storm surge of the water.

Juvenile Court Probation Officer New Orleans 1965 And 1966

That may sound like a good job but it was probably the worse job I ever had. I started with 10 cases and 9 months later I had 150 cases on my desk.
  I will tell a few of the more colorful cases that I had.

1. A young man was arrested for impersonating a doctor. He was 16 years old. He had bought some doctor equipment and clothes and wandered around a hospital pretending to be a doctor. He met a young woman and they were going to be married. Her mother spent 8000 dollars planning the wedding. Then they found out he was not a doctor and only 16 years old. He was just a great con man.
  If I remember right some months later I came out of our building at 731 Ursulines Street in the French Quarter and saw this young man standing up against a wall. I stopped to talk to him. I asked him what he was doing. He said he was watching that car as he pointed at some car. He said he had a job repossessing cars. I never saw him again.
  2. I had to go to Charity Hospital to see a kid who was on the psych ward. He had been stealing cars. He was only 16 years old. He denied all the charges and told me I had to get him out of that hospital that it was full of crazy people. And indeed it was.

 The event took place on the day before hurricane Betsy hit New Orleans in 1965. After left Charity hospital the skies were getting dark and menacing. I had just bought an automobile that day. A really old Studebaker. I think it was a 1955. It was built like a tank.

 I tried to get the psychiatrist to let the kid out but he refused. Instead he told me to read a book called THE MASK OF SANITY by Hervy Cleckly. It is the best book about sociopaths and psychopaths and how cunning and convincing they can be.

   I had to interview this kid's mother. She told me that voices from her radio were telling her what to do. And that if I didn't leave her son alone she would, "Scratch your eyes out".

3. I got a case for a young boy around 10 who had stolen a car. I think they called it unauthorized moving of a vehicle. That was the police language.

4. Another case involving a young boy of around 12 or 13 who along with some of his buddies were breaking in pinball machines in and around Tulane University. He came from a good and wealthy family.  I had to interview him. Shortly afterwards a young high powered Harvard educated attorney came into my office. He demanded to see the police report. I told him wait a minute. I had never had that happen before. I went and asked my boss and he said it was OK. Let him see it.

5.  We had many cases of black juveniles that had gotten in trouble. One case was an auto theft case involving three or four juveniles. When the case came before the Juvenile Court judge I had to sit in since I had written the family case history.
This particular judge had worked for Huey Long. In fact he was with Huey Long when he was shot at the capitol in Baton Rouge. He was hard on all cases.
 In fact it was almost routine that anyone who came before him went straight to "state school". That was the juvenile detention facility in Alexandria, Louisiana. There was a facility there for female juvenile offenders as well. I accompanied a female juvenile detention office once with a female offender there once via train from New Orleans to Alexandria,La.

Click to enlarge the picture.
   So the judge asked the arresting policce officer what the charge was on the young man. The police officer said " Car theft". The judge said "State School". Case closed. No further comment. However this case was not quite closed. The young black man hollered "You don't let nobody speak". He started to get out of his chair. The old white haired judge said "Ok, what have you got to say". The young man said "I didn't steal the car I was just riding in it". The judge said, "State school.".  They led the young man out of the courtroom. After they were gone the judge said to me, "I wish he had tried to come over this desk I would have broken his neck".

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Jack Palance On The Mall In Washington, D.C. At The Dedication Of The World War Two Memorial

The picture above was not taken on The Mall. But I think it is a nice picture of Jack Palance so I am leading with it.
Click on the photos to enlarge them.

When the World War 2 memorial was first opened on The Mall in Washington, D.C. there was a big ceremony where they invited back all the veterans from that war.

Tents were set up on The Mall and they had interesting people come to speak like the Code Talkers and a man who was one of the interrogators at the Nurenberg Trials. He got to interrogate the top Nazis. And he said they did it without torture.

  Enrest Borgnine and Jack Palance were advertised as coming to speak of their WW2 experiences. Borgnine did not appear(no reason given)but Jack Palance did show up. I made it a point to go and hear what he had to say. So did another 2 or 3 hundred people. It is hard to say just how many people were in the big tent he was speaking in but it was completely full.

I learned that Palance had flown a plane during the war up and down the West Coast as a patrol plane. He was in a firey crash that scarred his face and that gave him his menacing look.

Before the war he told us he had played football on scholarship at the University of North Carolina for a year.  He said he used to hitch hike through Washington, D.C. during the time he was at the University of North Carolina. Then he transferred to Stanford.

   He was funny and entertaining and answered many questions from the audience.
He also got up and performed his famous one arm pushups.
  The WW2 Memorial opened in May of 2004. Jack Palance died November 10th in 2006.

  Now I like all of his movies but the one I like best is PANIC IN THE STREETS. It was his first big role. He is billed as Walter Jack Palance. It is set in New Orleans and is directed by Elia Kazan.

   After he finished speaking they said he would sign autographs and for people to line up. As they were lining up(it looked to be over a hundred people in the line)and he was just sitting down at a table I went up to him and told him how much I liked PANIC IN THE STREETS and  in particular how much I liked the ending. He smiled and agreed. I could tell he liked that picture.
In the link above click on (Panic in the Streets film) to get to the full page.

   At the end of the picture he is a man with the plague running from the police. There is a big shootout in the  coffee and banana warehouses along the New Orleans wharfs.  He is trying to make it on a freighter but as he is climbing the rope which runs from the dock to the ship he encounters a large metal disc. It is there to keep rats from coming on the ship. Or getting off. What a great ending. You can see the trailer for the movie at the link below including a shot of Palance climbing that rope. You can also watch the entire movie via this link below. It is free and in the public domain.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Nina Osnos And Nina Felshin 1969 Corcoran Gallery Of Art

That is Nina Felshin in the photo above. Felshin is her maiden name.
She was Nina Osnos at one time. Click on these pictures to enlarge them.

The above is a card Nina Osnos gave me back in 1969. She was working for Walter Hopps and The Corcoran Gallery Of Art at that time. She is mentioned in my posts below. She was working for Walter at the Corcoran Gallery Dupont Center in 1969. She asked me, "Do you know how to drive a truck?" I replied,"Yes". That was not exactly true but since it turned out to be a 12 foot UHaul Truck I could manage that. She is the person who along with Walter Hopps gave me the job to go to Chattanooga and pick up an art show and drive it cross country to Los Angeles and return it to the artist. I write about this in my post below about Tiger Joe Marsh and Bruce Nauman and Noah Purifoy.
Hello Nina wherever you are. Joe B.
Here are links to what she has done recently.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Portrait Of The Artist In A Petting Zoo Mobile Alabama 1971

Click to enlarge this picture.
Portrait of the Artist in a Petting Zoo. Mobile, Alabama 1971.
Photograph by Bhob Stewart

Untitled Drawing From Around 1968

The one above was the way it was originally drawn. But I thought I would turn it upside down and sideways here for other ways to view the picture.
Click on the above pictures to enlarge them.
I did this drawing on cardboard in the back of a notebook sometime around 1968.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Corcoran Gallery Of Art Walter Hopps And Washington D.C. Art People From 1970

The Corcoran Gallery Of Art Washington D.C. Click on the photo to enlarge.

The above is from The Washington Daily News May 1,1970. Walter tells of his plans for the Corcoran. Click and double click if necessary to read it.

The above picture is of Washington D.C. Art People from 1970. Unfortunately I do not have a list of their names. Those who know can pick out themselves.
Click on these pictures to enlarge them.

Walter Hopps as he looked when he was Director of The Corcoran Gallery Of Art
in 1970 and 1971.

Bruce Nauman 1969 to 2009

Click on the video to enlarge it and go to youtube where you can see it full screen.
Note: Bruce Nauman is the guy in blue jeans. This is one of the very few videos on youtube where you can see the artist himself. Note also he does not even speak here even when given a chance. I really like artists that let their work speak for them.

In the post below I wrote a little bit about meeting Bruce Nauman in July of 1969. He was living in Walter Hopps' house in Pasadena at that time.
Bruce was kind enough to offer me a glass of Jack Daniels Black label whiskey.
I remember being very exhausted after driving a truck all the way across the country to Los Angeles to return an art exhibit for Walter Hopps who was the Director of The Corcoran Gallery Dupont Center at that time. His Assistant Nina Osnos had given me the job.

There are many videos on youtube about the works of Bruce Nauman. Here is a link to a page of them.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Tiger Joe Marsh July 8th and 9th 1969 Hollywood California Plus Something on Noah Purifoy And Also Bruce Nauman

Tiger Joe Marsh is the bald guy in the video shown above. Click to enlarge and go to Youtube to view full screen. As you can see from this video from Lost in Space Tiger Joe was a big tough guy. Not someone you would want to argue with.

Click on the pictures above to enlarge. Both of the pictures are of Tiger Joe Marsh. Here is more information about him from International Movie Database.

Tiger Joe was a wrestling champion and then he had a movie career. In July of 1969 my friend Jeff Barr was living in Tiger Joe's house in Hollywood,California.
I had been hired to drive an art show to LA by Walter Hopps who was Director of the Washington Gallery Of Modern Art at that time. I and another fellow took a train to Chattanooga,Tenn. to pick up the art show at the art museum there and then rented a truck to drive it across country to LA and return it to the artist.

It was called Junk Art. It had been made from the remains of the junk from the Watts riots.
Here is a good article about this art and the artist Noah Purifoy. If you read through this you will find he mentions that the show returned to LA in 1969 in a truck.
In another article on Noah Purifoy I read that this Junk Art finally went back to the junk yard. The Junk Art returned to just junk.
The link below is to an obituary for Noah Purifoy. It contains excellent bio information on Noah Purifoy.

The story of our cross country trip is another story so I will skip that and go right to LA where after we returned the art to the artist(we had spent the night before that in Pasadena,Ca. at a house Walter Hopps owned. See below for more on that and who was living in Walter's house at that time) we headed to look for my friend Jeff Barr. Jeff and I had roomed together in college.

We found the address in Hollywood but no one was home. It was early in the afternoon. So we waited.
When Tiger Joe got home he wanted to know who we were.
My partner said "We are friends of Jeff Barr and we are going to stay here tonight".
Tiger Joe said, "No, you are not".
Tiger Joe was not going to let two strangers sleep in his house.

Tiger Joe's dining room table was piled high with signed 8" by 10" glossies of Hollywood stars. Right on top of the pile was an 8" by 10" glossy photograph of Marilyn Monroe signed, "To Tiger Joe, Marilyn Monroe".

That was on July 8th 1969. We ended up sleeping in the back of the 12 foot U Haul truck. At least we had some of those blankets that U-Haul provides to wrap furniture in.
The next morning I woke up in the back of the truck. It was July 9th 1969. It was my birthday. I was 29 years old.

P.S. I should mention that on the night of July 7th 1969 we had stayed in Pasadena,California at the home Walter Hopps owned there. He had told me we could stay there. That was the first place we went when we got to LA.
Living in Walter Hopps' home at that time was the artist Bruce Nauman. So I got to meet Bruce Nauman. I even showed him our truck with the junk art in it. He didn't seem impressed.

Bruce Nauman was already famous by 1969 but a few years later he became a super famous and criticially acclaimed artist.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Helping Out A Merchant Seaman Get Through The Bankhead Tunnel In Mobile Alabama Fall 1964

The picture above is of Admiral Semmes. Click to enlarge. You can read about him down below. His statue is in Mobile right above Bankhead Tunnel.

Click to enlarge these photos of the Bankhead Tunnel in Mobile,Alabama.

In the picture above you can see the statue of Admiral Semmes in the background.
The picture above shows the tunnel heading east out onto the causeway.
The picture below is coming from the east heading west.

Click on the picture above to enlarge the old postcard.
Here is information on the Bankhead Tunnel.

I was driving a taxi cab in Mobile Alabama in the Fall of 1964 while waiting to go in the Peace Corps. I was 24 years old.

One night a merchant seaman approached me and asked me if I would take him back to his ship. He said he had no money but would pay me when we got to his ship. Several other taxi drivers had turned him down. He told me I could hold his watch as security.

I was nearby the Bankhead Tunnel and we would have to go through the tunnel to get to the pier where his ship was docked. I said OK.
Once we got through the tunnel he directed me to where his merchant ship was docked. I parked the cab. He told me to follow him onto the ship to so he could get the taxi fare for me.

It was dark and we made out way onto the ship and down to the galley. There were several seamen sitting around a table playing cards.
The seaman got some money from one of them and paid me the taxi fare. I gave him back his watch.

He then offered me something to eat and drink. So we sat down and watched the men play cards. One of them explained to me that the only reason he shipped out on a merchant ship was so he could play cards and gamble.

After some period of time I decided to go on back to the cab.
When I got back to the cab(it had been maybe an hour since I got out of the cab to go on the ship) I could hear the radio calling me.
The dispatcher asked me where I had been. I told him the story.
He said "You are not supposed to leave the cab". I had not told him where I was going.
I drove on back into Mobile through the Bankhead Tunnel coming out on Government Street. It had been a nice little adventure in a boring evening.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Suicide At The International Inn Washington D.C. More True Hotel Detective Stories

Click(and double click if necessary) on the picture above to enlarge it.

This is another of my true Hotel Detective stories. Scroll down to look for more I have posted in the last month.

We had one suicide that I know of while I was working at the International Inn in Washington D.C. as a Hotel Detective. I am not sure of the exact date or even the exact year but it was sometime in the 1980s when deaths by AIDS were rising steadily in the U.S.A. and Washington D.C.

I remember it happened on a weekend. Sunday afternoon I believe. The body was discovered with a bible on the man's chest and a bullet hole through the bible. The man had AIDS. He had checked into the hotel on Sunday and had committed suicide by placing the bible over his chest and then shooting himself through the bible.

I was told about it when I came to work on Monday morning.

Where There Is Smoke There Is A Fire

And here is a short one about a call for a fire in one of the hotel rooms. I went up to the room with the Director of Security. There we found a woman who told us her little boy had set fire to the bed in the hotel room. He had gotten some matches and crawled under the bed and set it on fire.

We started to make out a report form. We asked what their address was. She responded, "We don't have a house he burned it down".

At that point the Director of Security told her "We can't have that. You have to check out of the hotel right away".

End of story. Case closed.
Click on the label Hotel Detective  below to read more true Hotel Detective stories from Washington D.C.

FRANTIC and PRICELESS Two Good Movies About Hotels....And The Music From Those Movies

The video above is the trailer for the movie PRICELESS. It is one of the best movies about hotels I have ever seen. It is also a comedy and fantasy about what could happen to an ordinary hotel worker.
Click and double click on these videos to enlarge and go to Youtube. There you can watch full screen.

Double click to enlarge and go to youtube.
This is a wonderful movie. I had to really think to remember where I had heard this song. SORT ME OUT.

FRANTIC is one of the best movies I have ever seen about how hotels really operate.

One of the best(if not the best)movie about hotels is the movie GRAND HOTEL.
I think I got the idea of wanting to work in a hotel from watching the movie GRAND HOTEL and also from watching the movie HOTEL which was based on the book HOTEL by Arthur Hailey.
An interesting fact is the the hotel that Hailey's book was based on was the old Fairmont Hotel in New Orleans. Hailey lived there and did some of his research there.
The Fairmont in New Orleans has the same architecture as The Mayflower Hotel in Washington D.C. You can enter the lobby from one street and walk all the way through the lobby and come out on another street.

Hotels have a lot to hide someone once said. The lobby and meeting rooms and restaurants and guest rooms are what the public sees but backstage in the kitchens and the basements is another world. It is very much like a large cruise ship or ocean liner. Read Eugene O'Niell's THE HAIRY APE play for a good look at a large ocean liner and how it is in the boiler room and in the engine rooms far below first class.

More music from FRANTIC. This is Grace Jones singing. In the movie Michelle has a Grace Jones poster on the wall in her apartment.
This is the dance scene in the club called Touch Of Class.
Roman Polanski directed FRANTIC and the female lead actress is his wife in real life.

And here if you have the time you can watch the full movie of PRICELESS via YouTube. This is part one. All the rest of it with English subtitles in also on Youtube. Click to enlarge and go to Youtube to find the other parts.

I have just found all of FRANTIC on YouTube.
Click on the video below and double click to go to YouTube where you will find all of FRANTIC, This is part one.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Zombie Nation Sport Chant Stadium Remix Kicks In At 1:57

I having been hearing this music at sports stadiums to pump up the crowd. I tracked it down and found out it is by Zombie Nation and is called Kernkraft 400.

More about Kernkraft 400:

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Chet Baker Deep In A Dream And Chet Baker Autograph 1954

Click and double click on the photo above to enlarge it.

Here is a link to information about the book shown above.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Alabama Misspells Mississippi On Football Tickets

Click on the link below to read about how Alabama misspelled Mississippi on football tickets.

One thing you learn growing up in Mississippi is how to spell the word Mississippi.
This way: Miss iss i ppi.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Record Collecting As Time Travel 1995 Back To 1955

Click on the above picture to enlarge it.

This is another story in my record collecting career. Every year St. Margaret's Church in D.C. has a large rummage sale. I have been going to it for years. It is one of the largest and one of the best but it is very crowded so it is important to get there an hour or more early and get in line up front right by the door.

One year I got there about 2 hours early and sat and looked across the street at the Universal Building and was remembering the record store that used to be in that building years and years ago. It was called The Disc Shop. Quite often when finding old jazz records I would find a small sticker on the back of the LP that said THE DISC SHOP and gave the address of the shop.

Here is a good article from The Washington Post about the history of the DISC SHOP and its owner.

So I sat on the church steps and thought how nice it would be if I could go back to 1955 and walk across the street into that record store and buy all the original first pressing jazz albums they had back then.

The Japanese jazz record collectors want the original first pressings of the jazz LPS from that era in near mint or mint condition. The records have to be clean with no scratches and the covers in Near Mint condition also.

So finally the doors to the church opened and the sale began. They put all the records and books in the chapel laid out on the pews. I found this out the first year I went by going the wrong way and going all through the church and the many rooms of items before I located the books and records.
But the year I am writing about I knew where to go. I was the first record guy in the room. I wasn't expecting anything.

I ran down front and there were long rows of old Jazz 10" LPS from the 1950s. I found 40 choice items. On the back of all of them were stickers from THE DISC SHOP right across the street from the church. 50 years had passed and somehow the records has crossed the street and found their way into the sale. Someone from that neighborhood had most likely donated them. It could have been the wife of a man that had passed away. Sometimes the wives will keep the records for years and years before selling them or donating them to their church or charity.

As I was finishing going through the records and putting them in 2 boxes two other record dealers showed up. Only about 5 minutes or less had passed since the doors opened. They had been way back in the line which stretched all the way down the block and more. They were too late.

One of them asked me if those records(meaning the ones I had in the 2 boxes)were original 10" Jazz LP's and I said they were.
The other young man offered to help me carry them to my car. They were both record guys I knew and was friendly with.
I went to the cashier and paid for the LPS. One dollar each. It was a great find. All the 10" LPS were in nice clean condition.
I was amazed to find such old records in such nice condition and the DISC SHOP stickers on the back made me feel I had stepped back into the 1950s where the records were from. Listening to the music when I got home even added to the feeling of time travel.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Collecting Jazz Records For Fun And Profit

Click on the above photo to enlarge it.

Click on the link below to read about that price guide and read some reviews.

My first lucky break was surely beginner's luck. I looked in the classified section of The Washington Post around 1980 and saw an ad for an estate sale listing a large jazz collection.
It was scheduled for the coming Sat. I was off from work on Friday and it was at an address not far from my house so I went over and knocked on the door early in the morning.

Two ladies were inside. They had just driven up from Shenandoah,Va. One of them told me the records were in the basement. I went down to take a look.
There was one other man walking around the house but he was not interested in the records.
The two sisters were cleaning out their brother's house. The had already sold all the furniture and they told me they had found socks filled with silver dollars stuffed down in the sofa.

The man had been a photographer. He lived with his mother. After she died he lived alone.
There were about 400 jazz albums in the basement as well as about 1200 jazz 78s. The 78s were 25 cents a piece but I was not interested in them. They break easily and take up too much room to store and most 78s have no real value.
So I just bought the best of the jazz LPS. There were plenty of original Blue Notes and Prestige albums there. I called my friend and he came over and bought the rest.

The albums had stickers from the record store in Washington D.C. where they had been bought back in the 1950s. It was located in D.C. around 13th and G Streets N.W. It had been a small store specializing in modern jazz.
My friend and I went back the next day and all the 78s were gone. The lady told me that two old men had been fighting over them.

The only reason I got the records on Friday was that the ad had been in the paper all week and many other collectors and dealers had been there knocking on the door but the two ladies were down in Shenandoah,Va. all week and no one was home until they arrived on Friday morning just before I got there.

Those who had come too early missed out just like those who had come too late.

I sold them all and made my first large profit. I was hooked. All it takes is one big score and the novice becomes an addicted collector,trader,buyer,seller. Vinyl addiction is much like drug addiction. The customer buys more in order to sell to buy more. It doesnt take long for the customer to become a dealer. And if they work hard and are lucky a wheeler dealer.

The link below is to a good jazz record collector web site.
If you scroll down you can read some of his and others collecting stories.
I like the one about him buying records in a lot on Ebay. He took a chance and won.Most collectors would never bid the way he did. It is not a good thing to do. He just got lucky. You can then go to his homepage to read more. He is a real pro.

Over the years I sold all my valuable jazz records to Japanese buyers and record store owners.
In the beginning this record mania was like the 1849 gold rush to California. Those that got there first made out. Those that came late did not.
We used to joke that the ones really making money are those that write and sell these price guides.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Still Down In The Groove Record Collecting LP's Still A Vinyl Junkie

Click and double click on the above in order to enlarge and read it.
By the way I did not buy those records someone else did. There was not much interest in those records since they were library records and some if not all had significant wear on the vinyl. But there were some interesting spoken word LPs among them. That was about all of value there. The other music was common and commerically not of value.

I just happened to be in the library when the Washington Post sent a photographer over to photograph them and they asked if I would pose for the picture. The other guy is someone who worked in the library back then. This article and photograph appeared in the Washington Post on April 7th,1999.

Record Collecting is a great hobby and a great way to learn all about the history of recorded music. And the joy of finding rare LP's in out of the way places. I have been doing this since 1979.

I will tell some record collecting stories from time to time. Some great finds stand out as good memories.

I had a friend who I had bought records from in the past. He collected vintage glassware but he would call me if he found some records. He called me to say he had some records for me and to meet him on Sat. morning at an estate sale out in Fairfax,Va. I said O.K. Sat. is the busiest day of the week for yard sales and estate sales so I told him I would meet him early at the address he gave me.

When I got out there it was around 6am and it was still dark. I went up on the porch and there was no light. I saw a pad of white paper on the door. I thought great these are the "numbers". Numbers are given out to try and create order and avoid a mob scene at sales.

I took the piece of white paper out into the street under the street light. It was blank. Obviously not numbers. I found out later the guy who lived in that house(he was deceased) used that pad for his friends to write notes on when he wasn't home. A real old fashioned message system to say the least.

Finally my friend showed up. The records he had to show me were not what I was looking for but I decided to stick around for the sale since I was already there.
The owner of the house had died of pancreatic cancer. He willed all the contents of his house(and maybe the house also)to his church and they were running the estate sale. That is very uncommon.

His house looked to be in such bad condition that it was ready to be condemned.
When the sale started we were among the first inside. I went into what was some kind of greenhouse just off the living room. Inside were many plants and quite a few 45 rpm records. I started looking through those. Not many buyers had showed up at this point. This sale had been poorly advertised. They did hang some signs outside as I recall.

After a few minutes my friend came into the greenhouse and told me that I had better come in the living room that there were a lot of records there in a cabinet.
I went in there in a hurry. No other record collectors or dealers had shown up at this point.

Over in a cabinet in a corner was a large collection of LPS. I started at the top in the cabinet. It was a real fine collection of rock and roll from A to Z. But as I pulled each one out to examine it for condition I found that all the records were badly scratched. The owner had drunk himself to death I found out later. Obviously he was drunk when he played his records and he scratched them all. None were in condition good enough to buy but I kept looking. Finally I got to the bottom shelf.
There I found the jazz records. It was a really good collection of modern jazz and they were NOT scratched. None of them had any marks on them. He had died before he got down that far. I bought several hundred and headed home.

Before I left I looked at the rest of what was in the house. He had collected American Indian artifacts and prints and pictures and feathers and such. The back yard was some kind of interesting garden gone to rack and ruin and seed.

When I got to my car the fellow in the car parked next to me was calling someone to get their opinion on what he had seen inside.
He was smart because it was not clear whether the pictures inside were merely copies and not worth much if anything at all.

The rule of thumb in going to these sales is stick with what you know.

More Hotel Detective Stories From Washington D.C. Help Security! There Are Two Gays Kissing In The Hotel Swimming Pool At The Shoreham Hotel

In 1977 I was working as a Hotel Detective at The Shoreham Hotel in Washington D.C. I have more posts about this and you can find them by scrolling down below.
The Shoreham has a very nice swimming pool. That is the Shoreham swimming pool in the photo shown above.

One morning very early around daybreak I saw a duck swimming in the hotel pool. It had dropped down for a quick dip. The Shoreham Hotel backs up to Rock Creek Park which is a large urban park that runs through D.C.
Lots of geese and ducks fly over from time to time. This was a mallard duck that had dropped in. I watched it for some time but did not bother it.

Another time I was called to get a dog out of the pool. It had fallen in and could not get out. It was swimming around barking for help. I helped it get out. It was stray dog that had somehow found its way into the pool area.

But this story is about another incident.
I was working with a guy named Harry. Harry was an alcoholic or ex alcoholic. He was also a retired D.C. Homicide Detective. He was a large beefy Irishman who had hands that shook all the time. He had the tremors.
We got a call from the lady Asst. Manager and she said there were two gay men kissing in the pool and she didn't know what to do.

Now Harry seized hold of the situation and said "We will take care of it. I know what to do." And he took off at a rapid pace toward the pool. I thought this should be very interesting since I had no idea what to do about 2 gay men kissing in the pool. I followed him anxious to see what he was going to say and do.
The Shoreham is a large hotel. It took us some time to get there. By the time we got there they were gone. I never got to find out what he was going to do.

I told the story to my friend named Bill who was the Chief Engineer at the hotel and he told me he would have told them they had to get out of the pool because there was a short in one of the lights and they could be electrocuted.

The link below is about the history of laws in the District of Columbia concerning this sort of thing. Far down in the article a man named Blick is mentioned. He was a legend still being talked about in the 1970s and 1980s. He had files on all sorts of people in D.C. Maybe more than Hoover. When he died what became of his files became an important matter. I can't remember who got them or what happened to them.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Marlin Died And Is Being Buried Today

I searched around on Google and found Marlin's Youtube channel. There are seven videos on it. Double click on the video above to go to his YouTube channel and see all 7 of his videos.

This is the photo that ran with his obituary in the York,Pa. newpaper. This is how Marlin looked in his younger days.

Marlin died a week ago and is being buried today. He was 76 years old. He had been dying slowly over the last 8 months.
I got used to seeing him every day for the last ten years or more at the coffee shop I go to in the morning. He would read 4 or 5 newspapers every day. He would sit and read every word sometimes tearing out a story to take home. He would sit at the same table and read for 4 or 5 hours never talking to anyone.
There are many seniors that come to this coffee shop every day. Most of them know each other and socialize. Marlin kept to himself. He did not want to be bothered but he would be friendly if spoken to.
One guy I know called him Professor Marlin.

In the summer he would take off his tennis shoes and sit with his bare feet under the table. No one bothered him. He would bring a muffin from 7-11 where he stopped to buy his newspapers. Then he would get his senior coffee and settle down in the handicap booth to pour over his newspapers. He really didn't want to be disturbed.

He rode a bike to the coffee shop every day around 6:30 a.m. He did tell me once that he had sold his car ten years ago. And he had stopped using it long before that.
When he traveled he traveled by plane or bus or the subway. He liked to go into DC and go the exhibits at the National Geographic Building.

He had retired long ago. His obituary is at the bottom of this page.
He had worked for the MITRE corporation.
This is a good link to the wikipedia page explaining what the MITRE corporation is.

Here is a link to the MITRE website.

He had traveled all over the world in his life.

Several months ago he had a seizure and fell out of his booth at the coffee shop. They called the ambulance which took him to the hospital. Someone stole his bike from in front of the coffee shop while he was in the hospital.

He did have one or two people from the coffee shop that tried to look after him. They would take him food and drink at home when he was ill. He stopped eating at one point.
He had to go back in the hospital when one of the guys found him on the floor by the door at his house.

His family came down from Pa. to visit him in the hospital.
Finally he got so sick they put him in a nursing home. He lasted about 2 months there and then he passed on.

He did have one final trip to Mexico last Christmas to see a friend of his in Mexico City. He was down there all of Jan. because his passport expired while he was there and he had to wait to get that cleared up before he could return to the U.S.A.

Marlin was an intellectual. A smart man who had once been a pilot. He once owned his own plane. He was a no nonsense man. Very blunt and to the point. But very hard to get to know. He kept to himself

He knew he was dying. He lost weight. He stopped eating.
He told us, "I am dying". He was in a great deal of pain. He had cancer all over his body. They gave him pain medication.

He rode his bike right up to the last weeks. Even when he could hardly walk he could ride his bike.
He told some of us of his trip to Mexico when he came back last Feb.

I really did not know much of Marlin or his life but I found him to be an interesting man. Most of us really don't know much about each other. We just think we do.

Marlin's Obituary in the York Pa. newspaper
Marlin L. Leiphart |
ARLINGTON, VA Marlin Leo Leiphart, 76, formerly of Red Lion, entered into rest at 7:45 a.m. Tuesday, August 24, 2010, at at Manor Care in Arlington, Va. He was born in Brogue-ville, on December 15, 1933, and was the son of the late Earl and Rachel (Altland) Leiphart. Mr. Leiphart was a satellite communications engineer at Mitre, where he worked until his retirement. He was an avid worldwide traveler, a private pilot who enjoyed flying his airplanes, a special government clearance officer, and a member of the Smithsonian Institute. Surviving are two daughters, Dr. Victoria Leiphart and Lisa Smith, both of California; two grandchildren, Peter and Christy; three brothers, Charles Leiphart and wife, Doris of Red Lion, Samuel Leiphart and wife, Beverly of York, and Donald Leiphart and wife, Mary Jane of Red Lion; two sisters, Janet Heist of York and Geraldine Snyder of Red Lion; a half brother, Wayne Barshinger and wife, Mary of Red Lion; two half sisters, Elaine Sixtos and husband, Fernando of York, and Sharon Leiphart of Erie; and numerous nieces and nephews. There will be a viewing from 9 to 10 a.m. Wednesday, September 1, 2010, at Burg Funeral Home, Inc., 134 W. Broadway, Red Lion. The service will begin at 10 a.m. Wednesday at the funeral home. Burial will be at Bethel U.M. Cemetery. Contributions may be offered to Grace Fellowship, 1405 Seven Valleys Road, York, PA 17408.
Published in York Daily Record & York Dispatch on August 27, 2010