We were quite pleased to have been asked by the local filmmaker Chelsea Spears, to return to the Zeitgeist Gallery to act as the pre-show entertainment for the screening of a wonderful film called "The Sandman," this past Sunday. We braved the Arctic winds and brought along our friend, the talented Ms. Kitty Heels and her singing saw.
The crowd was most kind and seemed to enjoy our set.
We trotted out a couple new tunes, including "Happy Days Are Here Again," "Painting the Clouds With Sunshine," the silly "Singin' in the Bathtub"
(with Ms. Heels' saw giving a great impression of bathtub singing!), and the dreamy "I'm a Dreamer (Aren't We All?)."
Lulu and Irene, despite the cold temperatures, were quite the troopers and managed to keep their strings from falling down (strings and stockings can be hard to keep up, you know!), and their new amplifiers helped round out their voices quite nicely.
All in all, a great recital!
Incriminating photographic evidence can be found on the photos page.
A great vicarious read lent to me by a friend isGold Digger: The Outrageous Life and Times of Peggy Hopkins Joyce.
She was quite a character...the first tabloid queen, the person (some say) for whom the term "gold digger" was coined, the first person to be a huge celebrity for no reason involving any discernable talent...
The Zsa Zsa Gabor of the 20s, times 10!
I'm at the start of the sensational divorce trial of her and husband number two, which spawned over four thousand headlines across the country in the early 20s. It was apparently the talk of the nation
for a while.
Already I have hated her, pitied her, wanted to
give her a high five, envied her, been annoyed by her and been amazed at her audacity. Not someone you'd want to pal around with, but an interesting character, indeed!
This is what it must feel like to grab life by the..uh...throat...making no apologies and taking no prisoners. Too bad that it seems to make one a pariah..especially in those times!
And the book gives a nice little glimpse into 20s
culture and society.
It's been hinted already that she has a rather sad
and pathetic ending...but I'll find out when I get there.
How I am longing for spring...I don't know if winter is harder on us or the poor cellos!
Irene can't seem to keep herself in tune for more than five minutes these days...
Here's a nifty bit regarding rules of the 20s nightclub, written by the famous Barney Gallant in
1925. He was the proprietor of the posh speakeasy
Club Gallant in Greenwich Village, NYC:
"Do not get too friendly with the waiter. His name is neither Charlie nor George. Remember the old adage about familiarity breeding contempt.
Do not ask to play the drums. The drum heads are not as tough as many another head. Besides, it has the tendency to disturb the rhythm.
Make no requests of the leader of the orchestra for the songs of the vintage of 1890. Crooning "Sweet Adeline" was all right for your grandad, but alas, times have changed.
Pinching the cigarette girl's cheek or asking her to dance with you is decidedly out of order. She is there for the sole purpose of dispensing cigars and cigarettes with a smile that will bring profits to the concessionaire.
Examine your bill when the waiter presents it. Remember even they are human beings and are liable to err-intentionally or otherwise.
Please do not offer to escort the cloakroom girl home. Her husband, who is an ex-prizefighter, is there for that purpose."
Rather amusing, and not too alltogether different from my own nightclubbing days. Funny how past
times seem so far gone, yet things and people really weren't much different at all in some ways.
BACK ON TRACK
The holidays and their entourage of shopping trips and parties and obligations have finally taken a hike til next year, which leaves us Sisters able to get cracking once more!
We are preparing for the Zeitgeist Gallery performance on January 25th, but are also working
on some new tunes for the future. Some of these are the boppy "Swingin' Down the Lane" (1923), the snappy "Happy Days Are Here Again" (1929), the smirking "Makin' Whoopee" (1928),the silly, saw-enhanced "Singin' In the Bathtub" (1929), and several more...stay tuned for our version of the "Charleston" (1923) as well...though don't expect us to ditch the cellos and demonstrate!
Another great tune we continue to grapple with is
the somber, sonorous "Brother Can You Spare a Dime?"
(1929), which is nearly heart-wrenching when voiced by cellos...trust me.
Supposed fact: The term "flapper" was coined because the carefree, nihilstic sort of girls would
go about with their galoshes unfastened, thus flapping. Hm. Is that anything like wearing Keds with no laces in 6th grade?
Darn. I didn't think so.
Found a great book on amazon: Deco Hair.
Though I'm afraid it's more useful for those of you with shortish hair.
I kind of have my eye on this one instead:
Victorian and Edwardian Hair.
What a difference a decade (or two) makes!
SILENCE CAN BE SCINTILLATING
Just wanted to let people know a bit more about the film that will be screened following our Jan 25th performance at Zeitgeist Gallery in Cambridge, MA.
The following is from a press release for the film event:The Sandman
, a new silent film, expands upon a story in Tales of Hoffmann
, which ballet fans may also know as the basis for the ballet Coppiela
. Set in New York City at the turn of the 20th century, this film explores the mind of Nicholas, a man beset with nightmares who falls in love with Olympia, a living doll.
Filmmaker David Teague is best known for his work as a music video director at Nonesuch Records
, and as the curator of Flicker NYC
, an organization dedicated to screening small-gauge movies. He has directed several shorts prior to making The Sandman
, including The Miracle of Flight
, as well as a play. Currently he is in postproduction for his second all-Super-8 feature. For his work on The Sandman
, David Teague received the award for Best Director at the New York Independent Film Festival. Tales of Hoffmann
. Playing at 2pm on 24 January at the Honan-Allston Public Library, 300 North Street, Boston. Admission is FREE and open to the public. For more information call 617/787-6313. The Sandman
. Playing at 7pm on 25 January at the Zeitgeist Gallery, 1353 Cambridge Street in Cambridge, preceded by a live music set by the Sob Sisters. Suggested donation: $7. For more information call 617/876-6060.
Any of you, dear readers, who find yourselves in the Boston area over a weekend, would do well to check this out: Le Grand David and His Own Spectacular Magic Company!
It's been going on in my town, Beverly (which is a 30 minute hop north of the city),for somewhere in the neighborhood of 30 years.
It's quite a local institution, as evidenced by the throngs of families who have packed the gorgeous, ex-vaudeville theater both the times we have gone.
Nonetheless, it leaves you reeling, and feeling as if you have been sent back to the 1910s in a time capsule. The sets, the costumes, the illusions, ah!
How I wish I could never come back!
Many scenes have quite an elaborate, Gorey-esque, "Mikado" feel, and it's all simply quite dazzling and breathtaking. There are giant masks and stiltwalkers and a gargantuan dragon...description does not do it justice! You can barely take it all in.
Of course, dearest to my handlebar-obsessed heart is the large group of arm-gartered barbershop singers belting out several early 1900s tunes...after which come the tapdancing cows, complete with off-sync halves.
It all makes for a truly stimulating, purely old-fashioned experience.
Even if you happen to be seated just in front of a crabby child prone to loudly declaring, "I HATE
rubber chickens!" at key moments.
From Film Fun magazine, July 1931
A funny line from "Horsefeathers", starring the Marx brothers...Romeo:
"Doesn't a kiss like that make you crave another?"Blonde:
"Yes, but there's nothing I can do about it. He's out of town!"
Karen and I want to wish everyone a safe and happy
New Year, and remind you to keep away from bootleg hooch...cheers!
Keep your eyes peeled here on the site for details about the January Zeitgeist event, at which we will
be playing a few songs... some with the accompaniment of the lovely Ms. Kitty Heels and her wonderful, warbling saw.
If you find yourself with the desire to hear some great early 20th century music, and have some time on your hands (because you won't be able to tear yourself away!), check out Dismuke's Virtual Talking Machine.
It's all selections from someone's 78 collection, in streaming Real Audio.
One more cheeky tidbit from Parisian Paragraphs, 1928
"There's a big difference, girls, between a ride in a Ford and one in a Rolls Royce, but the walk back is just the same!"
FOR US LUCKY NEW ENGLANDERS...
I first heard vague murmurings about this somewhere in the ether, months ago...but, it's true, it's happening, and here's the scoop:
Newport in the Jazz Age!
Having loitered in a daze, senses overwhelmed, around a few of the mansions in their normal, Victorian presentation, I can say that this should be one stunning affair! Or, series of affairs, rather.
The timing could not be better, as I know I, for one, am in need of something dazzling to tide me over til the already-longed-for arrival of spring.
Jazz Age dresses and accoutrements should fit the bill!
DAMSELS IN DISTRESS NEED HELP!
If any passing person just happens to have the piano
sheet music for any of these three tunes, "Eadie Was a Lady", "Remember My Forgotten Man", or "Cigarettes, Cigars" (all from the 30s, so could be included in a 30s anthology music book), and would be willing to photocopy it/them for us, we would be most grateful.
I'm beset with consternation, being unable to find these titles. I would even mail you my tears of gratitude in a small, glass vial, should you wish it...unless, I hope, a liner note name drop would serve as well!
Please email us if you can come to our rescue.
These are great songs that I would love us to be able to play.
In the meantime, a bit of humor... Mother
: "Willie, I want you to go in and get acquainted with your new nurse, and kiss her nice."Little Willie
: "Yes, and get my face slapped like Papa did!"from "Parisian Paragraphs," circa 1928
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