January 30, 2013

The Andrews Sisters ~ goodbye & thanks

Maxine (left), Patty (middle), LaVerne (right) - 1947
photographer unknown
(click on any image to see larger size)
Patty Andrews died today. She was 94 and the last of the wonderful female trio that enriched our lives with joyous, funny, uplifting, sometimes sad and wistful, but always beautiful songs be they boogie-woogie or ballads.  They helped us to survive a desperate time in our history.
The news of her death brought back very old memories long dormant. Like the memory of kneeling on the floor in front of the radio with my ear as close to it as my mom would let me and listening to them swing, bop 'n croon all those fantastic tunes they dreamed up for us.

I remember going to the movie matinee on Saturday afternoons with a million kids throwing popcorn at each other while the theater showed a double bill of two way-older-than-god movies (usually westerns but once in a while you lucked out and it was "Frankenstein" or "Dracula"), an installation of a serial (if you were REAL lucky it was not Tom Mix or Gene Autry . . .

left: Tom Mix                                         right: Gene Autry
photographer unknown                                            photographer unknown

but Flash Gordon with Buster Crabbe) . . . 

 Flash Gordon                                               Buster Crabbe
movie poster                                                            as Flash Gordon
.                                                                                 photographer unknown

. . . a thousand cartoons, a hundred coming attractions, endless refreshment ads, maybe the Three Stooges . . .

The Three Stooges

. . .  the news reels such as Pathé News, The March of Time or Movietone News with their up to the date (up to the minute was still a future concept) info about what was happening in the world . . .

Movietone News news reels

(ALL for only 9¢)

. . . then all of a sudden in the middle of this hogpodge up comes a fantastic musical movie short (precursors of the modern day music video) featuring famous music personalities, and sometimes it was the Andrews Sisters giving forth their magnificent musical magic. It gave those radio personalities faces I would visualize when I heard them again on the radio. 

The Andrews Sisters were an intrinsic part of my childhood and, as good, life-long friends often do, would pop up from time to time. Sometimes there were years between appearances but when it happened, it was always with a continuity as if there had not been a minute passed since the last visit. And, of course, always with the joy of seeing/hearing them again, bringing back all those old, long-cherished feelings of pleasure mixed with nostalgia for a time and world long vanished.

The Andrews Sisters were inducted into the Vocal Group Hall of Fame in 1998.

The Andrews Sisters can be heard on YouTube.

Thanks, LaVerne, Maxene and Patty for the beauty and joy you gave me and the world. You, your incredible harmonies and your glorious songs will live on forever in history, the world and in my heart.

Styrous® ~ Wednesday, January 30, 2013


January 28, 2013

F3 Full Wolf Moon @ the Cotton Mill

                    (click on any image to see larger size)

Last Friday I went to my first F3 event at the historic Cotton Mill in the Jingletown section of Oakland.  Built in 1917, the building exterior looks exactly as in the photo from the early part of the last century. But the interior has been completely modernized with artist's lofts and it is beautiful.

 The Cotton Mill, early 1900's
photographer unknown

The F3 event showcased art which included painting, sculpture, photography, fashion, mixed media, and furniture. In addition there was a design bazaar, live performances, and refreshments.

Free BART shuttle transportation was provided to and from the Fruitvale BART station to the Cotton Mill Studios from 6:00-10:30pm. That was a great advantage as there is absolutely NO parking on the night of the events. Also, it is a nightmare getting to the location if you've never been there before.

One of the greeters at the entrance to the building was the always charming and talented jewelry designer/photographer, Susan Tuttle. Behind her are historic photographs of the old mill factory.

Susan Tuttle, right
photo by Styrous®

The artist studios were open for the event and I was able to wander through them to see some of the interesting work going on in the complex.

Alexi Ueltzen 
clothing, toys and home items
photo by Styrous®

One studio I found particularly interesting is Tinkering Monkey who produces wood objects for the home: stands for iPads, iPhones, furniture, etc. They had a laser cutting demo during the event.

 Tinkering Monkey
photo by Styrous®
 Tinkering Monkey
photo by Styrous®

I visited the studio of black and white, large format photographer, RW Hawkins, whose images are beautiful, crisp and clean.

RW Hawkins, photographer
photo by Styrous®

The Clock Tower Studio/Gallery held it's closing reception for the exhibition it had been showing since December, ALL I REALLY WANT FOR CHRISTMAHANUKWANZASOLSTICUS: Loving Community.

One of the vendors attending the event was Serena Toxicat who sings and collaborates with other artists under the name, Protea. She had quite a tale to tell about one of the songs on her album, Going Forth by Night. The song "Khufu" was sung in the King's Chamber of the Great Pyramid. I thought that was pretty cool. The song, and others, can be heard on ReverbNation. Her music has an ethereal feeling to it. Really quite soothing but mysterious at the same time.

Protea album, Going Forth by Night
 cover photo & design by Ayda Meisami

And Serena has great tattoos.

Serena's tattoos
photo by Styrous®

So, while I'm on the topic of music/performance, the fourth and top floor was where the performances were held. They included poetry readings by Sexxyluv, Michael Ting, Joy Sledge and Epiphany Castro. The readings were preceded by DJ Styles then followed with performances by Jukebox Nightmare and Wyatt Act. Larissa was Mistress of Ceremonies.

F3 Full Wolf Moon
performance program list
photo by Styrous®

photo by Styrous®

DJ Styles
photo by Styrous®

Aqueila M. Lewis aka Sexxyluv *1
photo by Styrous®

Epiphany Castro
waiting her turn to go on stage
photo by Styrous®

Michael Ting *2
photo by Styrous®

Joy E. Sledge *3

photo by Styrous®

Epiphany Castro *4
photo by Styrous®

 Epiphany Castro's amazing shoes
photo by Styrous®

Wyatt Act waiting their turn
photo by Styrous®

Wyatt Act
photo by Styrous®

Amrik Sandhu, drums
Jukebox Nightmare
photo by Styrous®

Amrik Sandhu, drums
Jukebox Nightmare
photo by Styrous®

Ronald Mealey, bass
Jukebox Nightmare
photo by Styrous®

left: Ronald Mealey              right: James Barrett
Jukebox Nightmare
photo by Styrous®

left: Amrik Sandhu, drums
right: James Barrett, guitar
Jukebox Nightmare
photo by Styrous®

left: James Barret, guitar
right: Brently Hicks, lead singer
Jukebox Nightmare
photo by Styrous®

 The poet performances on YouTube

 *1 Sexxyluv videos on YouTube
 *2 Michael Ting videos on YouTube
 *3 Joy E. Sledge videos on YouTube
 *4 Epiphany Castro videos on YouTube

Music videos on the net

Larissa vocals on YouTube
Protea on ReverbNation
Jukebox Nightmare on YouTube
Wyatt Act on YouTube

The F3 event is a quarterly happening. I had a great time and I'm really looking forward to the next one in April.

Styrous® ~ January 28, 2013

January 24, 2013

20,000 vinyl LPs 17: The Residents ~ Not Available

(click on any image to see larger size)

I had my dream studio in the Mission district of San Francisco for almost 30 years (29 years, 3 months and 15 days to be exact). It was heaven on earth, that's why I lived there for so long. I would probably still be there if the landlords hadn't sold the building and the new owners hadn't kicked my ass out so they could sell the building in a year or so to make a profit (I later heard about it from someone). It was at the height of the dot com explosion/fiasco in 2001.

Anyway, I loved all the many things available within walking distance from my studio; great ethnic food markets (every type of Latin, Asian, African-American, etc.), shops selling goods from all over the world, clothing and book stores and, of course, record shops. One of my favorite stores was a Greek one on Mission Street just three blocks from my studio that sold Greek food (oh, my, the kourabiedes, touloubakia and halva they sold made my mother crazy), books and music. I found terrific music there, not the usual Rembetiko or Zorba-the-Greek type bouzuki (although, they had tons of that) but unique types like Stamatis Spanoudakis whom I discovered when I was on Cyprus in 2000. Another favorite shop of mine was Dog Eared Books which was down on the corner from my studio. It sold really great music and was VERY dangerous, financially, to me. Yep, I was in heaven there in the Mission.

One of the gems in the 'hood was a terrific old movie theater, The Roxie (four and a half blocks from my studio), that showed the most incredible indi and underground films. Sometime in 1978 I went there one night and saw a private screening of footage of an uncompleted film, "Vileness Fats" (which has never been publicly released) by The Residents. It was in black and white video (color was not available at the time) and the sets were reminiscent of German Expressionism of the 1920s and 1930s á la "Cabinet of Doctor Caligari" (image samples from the Caligari film). I had never heard of them before. It was TOTALLY weird! I HAD to have their music! I searched until I finally found the album, Not Available, which had some of the music from the film. It was their fifth album, the first of many of their albums I bought. And they have MANY!

Not Available cover art by Pore-Know Graphics
photo of "Not Available" album cover by Styrous®

The back of the Not Available album has a surreal, black and white still from the Vileness Fats video.

 back cover of Not Available
 photo of "Not Available" album cover back by Styrous®

Vileness Fats liner photo by S. Lewis and R Paulsen
photo of "Not Available" liner photo & notes by Styrous®

The album was recorded in 1974, but the LP was not released until 1978 by the Cryptic Corporation's Ralph Records.

photo by Styrous®

According to Discogs, the first pressing with purple labels (5000 copies), suffered from an audible blemish on side B during "Ship's A' Going Down". Most of these records were recalled and destroyed. However, several hundred copies are still in existence. The second pressing had an orange label, the third and fourth green, the fifth yellow and the sixth white. My copy is from the first pressing.

photo by Styrous®

photo by Styrous®

I remember when I bought the album and heard the blemish I was pissed and was going to return the album but somehow never got around to it. Now, that's what I call dumb luck.

In 1984, The Residents took their old Vileness Fats 1/2" black-and-white video footage, transferred it to VHS and created a half-hour video from their original fourteen hours of footage. In addition, they created an all-new soundtrack, releasing the result as Whatever Happened To Vileness Fats?.

I saw them in concert in January of 1987 at The Warfield in San Francisco; Penn and Teller opened for them. At one point during the performance two stage hands came on with clamp lights in each hand and waved the lights over the performers in rhythm to the music, creating a cheap but effective strobe-like effect. 

I photographed The Residents in concert in 2010 at the Berkeley Art Museum. They had added an accordion, violin and cello since I'd last seen them and donned new costumes but they were as wacky as ever.

The Residents in concert at the Berkeley Art Museum, 2010
photo by Styrous®

According to NPR Music, 2012 marked the 40th anniversary of the founding of The Residents whom they credit with pioneering punk rock, art rock and techno.

Not Available info:

track listing:

1. Edweena (9:29)
2. The Making Of A Soul (9:59)
3. Ship's A'going Down (6:34)
4. Never Known Questions (7:00)
5. Epilogue (2:21)

 Just to give a sense of the tone of the album, here are the lyrics for the first song:


Coming into column nation is a gracious thing
A stirring and a whirring and a broken widow(er)'s pain;
It's causing easy ought to just leave a lust alone
But when a friend has shrunken skin where do you throw the bone?
(The matter that's been spoken to's a fragrant little thing
It's open and was known to need a token diamond ring.)

Young Girl:
Investing space without a place;
Confusing grace with outer space.
To please the breeze you freeze the seize,
Combat disease and bend the knees;
And if explicit matters naught,
Extend the grin -- but don't get caught.
Now Uncle Remus, Uncle Remus, where have you been we say
(We saw the end of Uncle mend and turn into into today).
But now they say there's room no more for such a friendly friendly whore

Uncle Remus:
Yes, Easter Island isn't my land coming home once more.

But a sentence existing inside of a rhyme
Is only just a token left spoken in time

Uncle Remus:
Can tomorrow be more than the end of today?

Young Girl:
Or do posies just bloom for the feel of a may?
Investing space without a place;
Confusing grace with outer space.

The way is a never for severing two,
(For) beginnings are endings for all but a few.

The music is even weirder than the lyrics and I love it. If you're interested, you can hear Edweena on YouTube, as well as selections from Whatever Happened To Vileness Fats?.     

What a wild, whacky and wonderful time the new wave era was. Boy, do I miss it and my dream studio.

Viewfinder links:        
The Residents       
Stamatis Spanoudakis        
YouTube links:        
Whatever Happened to Vileness Fats? (complete) (32 min., 15 sec.) 
The entire collection is for sale. Interested? Contact Styrous®
Styrous - January 24, 2013

Gray Loft Gallery ~ Winter Art Walk


7th Annual Jingletown Winter Art Walk 
at the 
Gray Loft Gallery

December 1 & 2, 11 to 6 pm

 Featuring the work of:

Susan Brady, monotypes
Eben Ostby, photography
Ginny Parsons, mixed media
Styrous, photography
Jan Watten, photography
Karyn Yandow, photography

The Gray Loft Gallery is pleased to be participating in the 
7th Annual Winter Art Walk in Jingletown.

  There will be more than 35 artists displaying their work in the weekend event throughout the neighborhood.

Gourmet food trucks Fists Full of Flour and 510 Burgers will be parked on Peterson Street in front of the 420 Gallery, a parade will wind through our 
four-block neighborhood on Sunday 
and there will be incredible fine art and crafts on display.  

Come see why Jingletown is one of the 
most vibrant art communities in the Bay Area.

Jingletown: Art on the Edge of Oakland
: : :
More events at the gallery
2nd Friday at the Gray Loft Gallery
The gallery will be open on Friday, December 14 
for our monthly 2nd Friday reception.
Join us from 6 to 9 pm for holiday cheer.
On display will be handblown glass by Pizzichillo & Gordon Studios, photography by Karyn Yandow, Styrous and Jan Watten, jewelry by Melanie Ross plus more to be announced!

Support the arts along the Oakland/Alameda Estuary. 
Join us for 2nd Fridays art receptions.

Visit our blog for photos of past exhibits, events and directions to the gallery.

Gray Loft Gallery
2889 Ford Street, third floor
Oakland, CA 94601

Email us for more information about the gallery, or to submit work for consideration for future shows. 
Low res images only, please.

About the gallery:  The newly-opened Gray Loft Gallery is a unique venue located on the 3rd floor in one of the oldest legal artist live/work warehouse lofts in the area.

The gallery has been designed as an alternative to traditional gallery spaces and celebrates the phenomenal achievements of emerging and established artists, with an emphasis on those who live and work in the Bay Area.

This unconventional art venue is located in the heart of Jingletown, an historic and thriving artist district Oakland.

sculpture by Susan Parish

Content copyright 2012. grayloftgallery.com. All rights reserved.


January 17, 2013

101 Reel-To-Reel Tapes 2: Yes ~ Tales from Topographic Oceans

Well, here I go, posting another entry about a reel-to-reel tape (see: 101 Reel-to-Reel Tapes 1: The Beatles ~ Revolver).  The Yes, reel-to-reel tape was sold on eBay (see link below for others). Interested? Contact me by email but please, not through a comment.

~ ~ ~ 

Ok, it was early in 1974 and I was still recovering from a disastrous love affair from the year before (see: 20,000 Vinyl LPs 15: The Family Dogg & Sixto Rodriguez). I was at a party and was quickly on my way to my fourth and penultimate trip. At that time I was VERY into progressive rock (still am but not nearly as much as then). Almost everyone was into it back then; you got loaded and tripped out on prog rock. Great fun, most of the time.

(click on any image to see larger size)

Tales from Topographic Oceans
album cover design and illustration by Roger Dean
photo of reel-to-reel tape box by Styrous®

Someone plopped a record on and I sailed away onto Topographic Oceans. It was the Yes album, Tales from Topographic Oceans. I'll never forget that experience. It was quite something. Naturally, I eventually bought the album but it was the reel-to-reel tape version. I later bought the record album just so I could have the full-size graphics.

Some background info on the album: 

In March of 1973, while in Japan to promote, Close to the Edge, Jon Anderson discovered, "Autobiography of a Yogi" by Paramahansa Yogananda which describes four Shastric scriptures (Shruti, Smriti, Puranas and Tantras) that cover religion, art, social life, medicine, music and architecture. Anderson was introduced to Yogananda's work that month at the wedding reception of former Yes drummer Bill Bruford by Jamie Muir, then the percussionist for King Crimson.

Anderson was originally going to name the album "Tales From Tobographic Oceans", claiming he had invented the word "tobographic" that was based on one of Fred Hoyle's theories of space. 

photo by Styrous®

Jon Anderson - lead vocals, timpani, harp, tambourine
Steve Howe - guitars, timpani, vocals
Chris Squire - bass guitar, timpani, vocals
Rick Wakeman - Minimoog synthesiser, Mellotron, Hammond organ, pipe organ, RMI Electra Piano, grand piano
Alan White - drums, percussion

All lyrics written by Jon Anderson & Steve Howe, all music composed by Anderson/Howe/Squire/Wakeman/White.

photo by Styrous®

Tracks on the tape:
Tape Side 1
Track 1: "The Revealing Science of God (Dance of the Dawn)"       20:25
Track 2: "The Remembering (High the Memory)"       20:38
Tape Side 2
Track 1: "The Ancient (Giants Under the Sun)"       18:35
Track 2: "Ritual (Nous Sommes Du Soleil)"       21:37

Tracks on the LP:
LP 1
Side 1: "The Revealing Science of God (Dance of the Dawn)"       20:25
Side 2: "The Remembering (High the Memory)"       20:38
LP 2
Side 1: "The Ancient (Giants Under the Sun)"       18:35
Side 2: "Ritual (Nous Sommes Du Soleil)"       21:37

photo by Styrous®

photo by Styrous®

photo by Styrous®

photo by Styrous®

photo by Styrous®

photo by Styrous®

 photo by Styrous®

 What a great time in music history it was.

Yes ~ Tales from Topographic Oceans, reel-to-reel tape on eBay

other reel-to-reel tapes on eBay

Styrous® ~ January 17, 2013