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Monthly Archives: February 2006

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Queen of the House

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I just spent a couple of hours today digging through the website of the stylish Brini Maxwell. Brini, in case you don’t know, hosts a fabulous retro themed how-to show currently in its second season on the Style network. She also happens to be a man dressed as a woman — although her “act” is a refreshing contrast to the stereotypically campy, over the top image one usually associates with drag performers. She’s actually very subtle in her efforts to channel Donna Reed circa 1962, and therein lies my fascination with her show. Not only is Brini herself a hoot, I’ve gotten some great tips from the few episodes I’ve seen. Too bad it’s on a network that nobody gets. Guess I’ll have to break down and buy the DVDs instead.

p.s. Those without the Style Network (that is, about 99% of America give or take a %) can get a dose of Brini through her new weekly podcasts. Instructions on how to get them are on her site’s news page. Despite their brevity, I just love her tastes in swanky background music (the theme from Mannix — yeah!).

Astro Sounds from Before the Year 1970

Pop Matters delves into a short history of Exotica/Lounge with special emphasis on 101 Strings’ goofy Astro Sounds from beyond the Year 2000 album (via the Sound Scavengers list). Although it was reissued briefly on CD in the mid ’90s, I’d love to see Astro Sounds back in print along with the equally groovy 101 Strings LP Sounds of Today (which is much easier to find in thrift store bins).

Torino No Go

Maybe it’s just me, but don’t the Torino Olympic medals look like reconstituted CDs? I keep expecting a winner to put one in their stereo and have the Spice Girls or something come out. A Speak Up post reveals that the design symbolizes an Italian piazza (mmm, okay) and the hole represents the heart, filled by the athlete who wears it. Actually, the picture they linked to makes the medals look much classier than they appear on TV. Having the ribbon thread through the medal is another elegant touch.

Where Disney Grilled Cheese

The O.C. Register offers an interactive peek at Walt Disney’s apartment in Disneyland (thanks to Julie!). Located off Main Street’s town square, the apartment is preserved the way Disney had it in the ’60s — right down to the grilled cheese sandwich maker. Neat. Speaking of vintage D-land, I just picked up this item at a postcard show last weekend:

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I was jazzed at finding an old Rocket to the Moon item which I’d never seen before, so I snapped it up. Unfortunately, another, nicer copy of the same card was found in the very next booth — at half the price. At least my card had an interesting greeting on the back. Whenever they don’t bog down in “wish you were here” trivialities, these messages convey as much about the times they were written in as the images on the front. In this case, a man begins a sweet note to his wife and kids in Newark, New Jersey: “The plane I was on didn’t go as far as Disneyland, but stopped in Indianapolis, Indiana.” He then describes the wonders of flying from Jersey to Indiana in the snow and closes with “Be good! Love, Daddy”. TWA must have stocked an assortment of these postcards at each of their airport terminals. Not a proper Disneyland souvenir, I suppose, but it’s still a nice addition to my collection.

Squishy People

Something I didn’t know ’til today — Ren & Stimpy creator John Kricfalusi now has his own weblog. Judging from the volume of comments each entry receives, it’s a muy popular one at that.

Gruesome Twosome: I Want My MPB Edition

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Johnny Alf: “Canto Prá Pai Corvo”
LP: Ele E Johnny Alf, 1971 | BUY

Marcos Valle: “Casamento, Filhos E Convenções”
LP: Marcos Valle, 1974 | BUY

We’re going Brazilian today — specifically, Musica Popular Brasileira (or MPB). MPB is a catch-all term for the wide variety of ’70s Brazilian music styles that evolved from the Bossa Nova and Tropicalia movements. As these two songs prove, even veteran performers like Johnny Alf and Marcos Valle weren’t immune from the need to change with the times and incorporate elements of pop music in their work. Alf’s cut is a breezy bit of Bacharachy sunniness, while the legendary singer-songwriter Valle channels an engaging soul/funk vibe on this mid-’70s cut. I just love this stuff. More on Alf and Valle can be found at the invaluable slipcue.com site.