Sunday, August 28, 2016

The stories we tell

I was rummaging through the storage bins in my closet this morning, just looking to see what is still packed away, when I found the thumb drive of all my (previously scanned in) photos from 2004. I know I've talked about them in past posts, but I felt inspired to peruse the drive again.

I have to admit, nothing beats the quality of a 35mm film camera (especially black and white). No matter when the photo was taken, how long it's been since you saw the finish product, or the fact it's been so long you forgot what you were thinking when it was taken. I keep finding those types of prints. Even of my trip to England (in 2009), the trip was a whirl wind event, but the color photos will last a lifetime. If only I had access to a negative scanner, I could get the photos on my computer... Grr...

Now a days, you just can't find a "good" camera anymore. Everything is used because no one has time for film anymore ("ain't no one got time for that shit", says the person snapping away on their camera phone). People are throwing out their old equipment due to upgrading to newer technology. Find me a store still developing film, and I'll put my digital camera (Canon EOS Rebel T3 DSLR) away and bring out my film camera (Canon EOS Rebel G... a camera you can barely find except on auction sites).

I did find a camera still for sale, however. According to Amazon, Holga apparently is still manufacturing a pretty cheap basic camera for under $30. It comes with some colored gels so that you can choose the kind of filter you want to add to the picture, but you do need film and batteries. Again, you need to find someone who will develop said film for you... Unless you've got the capacity to build your own darkroom.

It's a crazy world we're living in; how technology is changing so quickly, that the second you buy something, it depreciates at such a speed, six months from now, you're buying the newer model. Then you've got the "drawer full of junk" or that storage bin full of long ago goodies... what are you supposed to do with them, besides collect dust? They still work perfectly fine; it's that there's no longer a need for it. Society and culture... I swear, sometimes "it was better back then"!


Proof, or it didn't happen:

Last Exit On The Right

Extinguished Fire Extinguisher

No Parking

Funeral Services on Comm Ave

Friday, August 12, 2016

News from outer space?

And the grey hairs rock yet another version of Dame Bowie's songs.

Perusing the interwebz when I should be doing something better (yet again), I stumbled upon the Young @ Heart Youtube page. After playing a couple songs, I went further into the rabbit hole and found their tribute to David Bowie, which they performed on April 15, 2016 (according to the info provided on the video page).

I have to say, as much as His death still strikes a chord, if the group's rendition of Space Oddity and Let's Dance, doesn't make you smile (especially the latter), then you've got issues. That music director (Bob) sure knows how to pick 'em. I nearly fell off my chair when (spoiler alert) the group did their sway dance during the actual sway lines ("Let's sway, while colour lights up your face / Let's sway, sway through the crowd to an empty space", / "Let's sway, you could look into my eyes / Let's sway, under the moonlight, this serious moonlight"). I was laughing that hard... just watching them be two steps short of doing the Funky Chicken.

For those not in the know, Young @ Heart is a choral group out of Northampton, Massachusetts. The youngest person in this group is typically the music director (Bob), and he's in his early 60s. They do have some "young" band members, but the singers' ages span 70 to 100. They've traveled the world, and have sung a ton of songs. I first found out about them when their Young At Heart documentary was on the TV. They are truly a surprising group of people, as Bob's choices of music is entertaining, to say the least... especially when a few octogenarians pipe up with their dismay.

For example, in the documentary, Bob is trying to go over (crap... I'm blanking out on the song, sorry) and a few members as asking why everyone has to be involved; why must they sing this particular song? Bob's answer was pretty much short and simple - because they have to. He wants them to be able to have a range of music so they can appeal to all generations. Although, truth be told, this movie shows his affinity towards Talking Heads. If I recall correctly, it's even admitted that he doesn't stop short of trying to sneak in a few David Byrne songs. It doesn't help that according to their website, Mr. Byrne has done quite a few things with them. Must be nice! Good for them!

All in all, I think they have done quite well in covering all the songs they have (Fix You by Coldplay, One Day by Matisyahu [with Chicago Children's Choir & Hampshire Young People's Chorus] and Wish You Were Here by Pink Floyd for example). Some are a little questionable (based on why one person sang a song versus another person... it's a matter of that singer's range, not the song, IMO). However, you have to keep in mind, these people aren't 20 years old anymore, nor are they "classically trained". It started as something to do and to keep a rowdy group of seniors busy (yes, I have to remind myself that too, when I listen to them).

Here's to another 34 years...


The Video:

See also:

David Bowie Amazon page

I'm so high it makes my brain whirl...

Sunday, August 7, 2016

Want to buy some pegs, Dave?

Yes, I'm quoting League of Gentlemen's Papa Lazarou, but I'm not trying to steal your wife. I'm not even trying to join whatever messed up circus he's brought into Royston Vasey. I just wanted to post come pictures.

"...tell them the circus is coming to town."

Last week, with some time off (not for good behavior, mind you. It's "lack of work" behavior), I visited relatives in Bradenton. We ended up spending half a day in The Ringling Museum in Sarasota.

Unlike any fictional story about circus life and carnivals, travel side shows and animals, the Museum sprawls 66 acres and can take hours to view each individual building, as the history of John and Mable Ringling can be quite an ordeal... in a good way. 

After paying the necessary admissions fee(s), you're allowed to walk around the grounds and view the paintings, architecture and collectibles at your leisure. There are several scheduled tours you can hop on, to get a more in depth / verbal history of the Ringling's estate, but depending on what you're interested in, it could cost a few more dollars (member or not) and you need to keep a keen eye on the clock so you know when to meet the tour group.

The people I went with, did the 2pm tour of the Ca' d' Zan ("House of John") and learned a lot about the wintering of Mr. and Mrs. Ringling (like their chandelier is the original fixture from the Waldorf Astoria). John and Mable liked fancy things in their $1.5 million house, and it's obvious from the decor, that they were quite the entertainers when 36,000 square foot, 41 room mansion was completed. It's too bad neither of them lived long enough to enjoy the fruits of their labor, as Mrs. Ringling died within a few years of moving in, and Mr. Ringling lost most of his fortune in The Great Crash. He would succumb to his own demise shortly after that.

Pictures or it didn't happen (all pictures taken with a Canon EOS Rebel T3 Digital SLR Camera with EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS Lens):

The following photos were taken in the The Circus Museum Tibbals Learning Center, which was built to feature the "world’s largest model circus, the Howard Bros. Circus Model". It was made through out the course of "50 years by master model maker Howard Tibbals".

Some pictures of the outside of the Venetian Gothic "Ca' d' Zan":

And one inside: The original Waldorf Astoria's chandelier:

More information about the property can be viewed at the following sites: