Archive for the ‘Music’ Category

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Dillinger Days in Tucson

February 15, 2014

Recently, we celebrated the 80th anniversary of the capture of John Dillinger and his gang here in Tucson, in January of 1934. The Hotel Congress is at the center of this extravaganza (since that’s where his gang was recognized), with a re-enactment and a mini-museum. The weather was absolutely gorgeous that weekend (January 25th) — I’m not trying to brag, but  —  yeah, as a matter of fact, I am.

John Dillinger's Tommy Gun

John Dillinger’s Tommy Gun

The piece in the forefront was Dillinger’s actual tommy gun — yowza! There was an armed policeman guarding this exhibit.

Antique cars (from Dillinger’s era) lined the street in front and along side of the Hotel Congress — the majority in an awesome state of restoration.

Cars Along Congress Street

Cars Along Congress Street

Another view of the Hotel Congress — this from the rooftop patio of the bar Playground. Note the scrumptious bloody Marys.

My sweetie.

My sweetie.

Local characters dressed up in 1930’s drag, too, just for the fun of it.

A Man and His Gun

A Man and His Gun

The Purple Mobster

The Purple Mobster

The re-enactment was outside, behind the hotel (where they have patio seating for the Cup Cafe). It was funny and noisy and crowded — all ingredients for fun.  We met visitors from other states (like Wisconsin and Michigan), and sat next to a couple from British Columbia.

Two DillingersTwo Dillingers

Everybody's Packin' Heat in Tucson

Everybody’s Packin’ Heat in Tucson

Scenes from the Show

Scenes from the Show

Another Scene from the Show

Another Scene from the Show

Another cool thing about Dillinger Days — so many restaurants, bars, stores and galleries open up for all the event-goers. We wandered into the Sacred Machine (gallery for the artworks of Daniel Martin Diaz) and fell into a world of Gothic wonder. We conversed with the artist and his partner, and bought their CD, “Music for Unmade Movies.” As recording artists, they are known as Blind Divine. We also stopped in Elliott’s for a snack, and later on at Proper for a light dinner.

So glad downtown Tucson is in the midst of a renaissance. It’s no mystery why I dig this town.

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Ghost Signs

January 15, 2012

There are some intriguing, faded, hand-painted signs around here — “ghost signs,” they’re called, as they’re only a thin version of their former, brightly-painted selves. There’s something melancholy and mysterious about them — who painted them, how long were they in business, who frequented those businesses, what happened to all of them since? And guess what: there’s a beautifully sad Zach Selwyn song pertaining to ghost signs. It’s what got me interested in the concept in the first place.

Dolly’s Market.

Storage — of what and for whom?

Hotel Lewis — where did all your visitors go?

A modern ghost / sign of the times.

Here’s the link to Mr. Selwyn’s gorgeous, doleful song, from his album of the same name. It’s about California, but if you’re in the right mood, it can be about anywhere.  Ghost Signs

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The Waters of Sabino Canyon

January 8, 2012

Spent part of  New Year’s weekend hiking Sabino Canyon Dam with my son — great way to start off the New Year. Warm weather, cool water, glorious day. Had Zach Selwyn’s song, “Tucson Afternoon,” going round in my head ever since (“I smell the breeze/through the palo verde trees . . .”).

 Cool white water from snowmelt.

Tannin + minerals + sunlight = beautiful golden cast to shallow water.

Even shallow spots are beautiful.

The young man ponders the wide open sky.

And now, “Tucson Afternoon” —

Happy New Year, Ya’ll.

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Music for Halloween, Classic and Otherwise

October 24, 2011

Here are are my top thirteen Halloween music faves. Okay, they’re not all Halloween-specific, but they fit the mood of the holiday. If you expected a “classic” song that’s not there, keep in mind just because it’s old doesn’t mean it’s a classic — or even that good  (sorry, “Monster Mash,” “Purple People Eater,” and theme songs from both The Munsters and Addams Family — all good and fine, if you’re seven years old).

In alphabetical order:

Ballad for Dead Friends (Dashboard Prophets)
Blue (Angie Hart)
Burn the Pain (Trip Cyclone, Shivers 2: Harvest of Souls)
Cry Little Sister (G Tom Mac; True Blood version)
Desperado (Alice Cooper)
Halloween (Dream Syndicate)
Idiot Prayer (Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds)
Pet Sematary (The Ramones)
Rest in Peace (Spike, Once More with Feeling OST)
The Wrong Side (Abney Park)
Time Warp (Rocky Horror Picture Show OST)
Transylvanian Concubine (Rasputina)
Tubular Bells (Mike Oldfeld)

Six songs that scared me as a child (that I’ve since grown to love):

D.O.A.* (Bloodrock)
House of the Rising Sun (The Animals)
I Am the Walrus (The Beatles)
Sick Things (Alice Cooper)
White Rabbit (Jefferson Airplane)
White Room (Cream)

Zombies + Beatles = I Wanna Eat Your Brain

Surprisingly, “Sympathy for the Devil” (Rolling Stones) didn’t bother me. Go figure. Maybe even as a kid, I didn’t buy their “ooh we’re dabbling with demonic stuff here” schtick.

*Except for this song. Who the hell thought it was a good idea to release this for radio play (circa 1971)?  Frightened me more than anything I’ve ever heard.  Ever.  Still creeps me out. Do not look this song up; it will give you nightmares.

Six old-school faves*:

Danse macabre (Camille Saint-Saens)
Funeral March of a Marionette (Charles-Francois Gounod)
Hungarian Rhapsodies, No. 2 in D minor (Franz Liszt)
In the Hall of the Mountain King (Edvard Grieg)
Teddy Bear’s Picnic (Henry Hall)
Toccata and Fugue in D minor (Johann Sebastian Bach)

*Gee, waddya know, the majority of these I first heard in old Warner Brothers cartoons. And then there’s Raymond Scott’s “Powerhouse” — which isn’t spooky, but is industrial-assemby-line-unstoppable-machine awesome.

Hope you find something above you will enjoy. Happy Haunting!