Tag Archives: Entertainment

Arlo Guthrie and Friends

Arlo Guthrie came to my town in March 2013 on a concert tour labeled “Here Comes the Kid.”  It might seem funny for a sixty-something man to call himself a kid, but Arlo of “Alice’s Restaurant” will always seem like a kid to me, despite the gray hair.  And Arlo is the son (kid) of iconic folk musician Woody Guthrie, whose music Arlo is celebrating on his tour, including Woody’s iconic song “This Land is Your Land.”  The centennial of Woody’s birth was in 2012.  Woody’s autobiography Bound for Glory received several Academy Award wins and nominations in 1977.

Arlo Guthrie

Arlo Guthrie

Arlo said that just like every historical location takes on more history the more it’s visited, every song takes on more layers whenever it’s played.  This is particularly true of Woody’s and Arlo’s music. Folk music of old, poetry and even news clippings inspired Woody’s music, which others also performed and made their own. Arlo is continuing this tradition. He  performed solo in Kansas City, but he brought with him the influences of friends, family and fellow musicians.

When I told my friend Jan that I was going to see Arlo in concert, she emailed me:  “Oh, how I’d love to hear Arlo Guthrie sing ‘City of New Orleans.’ A tonic for my soul.”

The song was a tonic for Arlo, too.  Before he sang “City of New Orleans” in the concert that night, Arlo told the audience that he first heard the song after a night of performing at a club in Chicago.  Weary, he was in no mood to listen to any song, but reluctantly he agreed to listen to Steve Goodman sing his song for the price of a beer. Arlo promised grumpily that he’d listen as long as the beer lasted.  Soon, however, Arlo forgot his fatigue as he marveled at this hymn to a train called “City of New Orleans” that traveled between Chicago and New Orleans. Arlo recorded Goodman’s “City of New Orleans” song in 1972, and it became a hit for Arlo.  Goodman won a posthumous Grammy in 1985 for the song in Best Country song, performed by Willie Nelson. The song has been performed by many others, as well. (Be sure to listen to Goodman’s funny country song at the bottom of this post.)

Arlo rode the “City of New Orleans” train in 2009 from Chicago to New Orleans raising money along the route in concerts to help musicians displaced by Hurricane Katrina. Read about  Arlo’s Train Tour.

 

This October 9, 1969, photograph shows Arlo Guthrie singing "Amazing Grace" to his new bride Jackie Hyde, at their wedding ceremony on Guthrie's farm in Washington, Massachusetts. The couple shared a chocolate wedding cake made by Alice Brock, for whom Arlo Guthrie's iconic film "Alice's Restaurant" (released in November that year) and song is named. Jackie Guthrie died on October 14, 2012, at the couple's winter home in Florida. They had recently celebrated their 43rd wedding anniversary. (AP Photo/Steve Starr, file)

This October 9, 1969, photograph shows Arlo Guthrie singing “Amazing Grace” to his new bride Jackie Hyde, at their wedding ceremony on Guthrie’s farm in Washington, Massachusetts. The couple shared a chocolate wedding cake made by Alice Brock, for whom Arlo Guthrie’s iconic film “Alice’s Restaurant” (released in November that year) and song is named. Jackie Guthrie died on October 14, 2012, at the couple’s winter home in Florida. They had recently celebrated their 43rd wedding anniversary. (AP Photo/Steve Starr, file)

Arlo dedicated his song “Coming into Los Angeles” to his wife of 43 years, Jackie. He described how he first saw fell in love with Jackie not long after he arrived in California at age eighteen.

“I saw a woman ride by on a horse at the head of a rodeo parade.  I thought she was the most beautiful woman I’d ever seen, but she didn’t even look at me,” he said.  Three years later they met and later married.  Sadly, Jackie died in October 2012, not long after Arlo, Jackie, their children and spouses and grandchildren — a group of almost 20 — had traveled across the United States and Canada on a tour celebrating Woody’s centennial birthday.  Jackie recorded every Guthrie Family show during the years and posted more than 250 clips on her “Mrs. G’s Videos” YouTube channel, which can also be viewed on the family’s company website Rising Son Records as Mrs. G’s Homegrown Videos.

Woody Guthrie’s song “This Land is Your Land,” featuring Arlo, Bono, Bruce Springsteen, Little Richard, John Mellancamp and many others.

About the song City of New Orleans.

Jackie and Arlo Guthrie's weddingThe Official Arlo Guthrie Website.
Jackie Guthrie Obit.
Jackie Guthrie.
Steve Goodman.

About Arlo Guthrie and Family Tour to Celebrate Woody Guthrie’s Centennial.

What Jackie Guthrie wrote about Mrs. G’s Family Archives in 2011. (Jackie’s user name is JGuth3)

“Mother and grandmother of a bunch of folk singers! I married that wandering folk singer, Arlo Guthrie, 42 years ago.

I love shooting and editing videos. Especially when The Guthrie Family Rides Again tours, when most all of our kids and grand kids play together.”

From the concert program in March 2013: Throughout his own career, Arlo Guthrie has honored his father in song as well as in life. With the centennial of Woody’s birthday in 1912, Arlo embarked on a new solo tour, ‘Here Comes the Kid,’ continuing the celebration of Woody Guthrie’s immeasurable contributions to the landscape of American folk music.

Since childhood, Arlo was amazed by the creative genius of his father and his friends who would drop  y: Leadbelly, Brownee McGee and Cisco Houston, to name a few. Not surprising, Arlo drew from those experiences and he in turn became a delineative figure for a new generation. Arlo has long paid homage to his dad with his own renditions of Woody’s songs, but of equal importance – Woody’s legacy is well defined in Arlo’s own works: in his humor, his political and social activism, and his undeniable gift for storytelling…”

In a video below, Goodman sings a comical “country” song, “You Never Even Call Me By My Name,” he wrote with John Prine, which includes all of the essential elements. 

You Never Even Call Me By My Name

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Historic Theaters

The Rialto Theatre, South Pasadena, California, photographed in September 2009. Opened in 1925, this theater is now closed.

The Rialto Theatre, South Pasadena, California, photographed in September 2009. Opened in 1925, this theater is now closed.

It was love at first sight when I saw The Rialto Theatre.  I was introduced to this old beauty when I visited my friend Jan in South Pasadena, California, in the 1990’s. I’ve taken many photographs of “The Rialto” since then, but may not get the chance much longer if it isn’t saved.  This venerable theater opened in 1925 but it is now closed and in danger of demolition, as are many old theaters.  A scene in Robert Altman’s movie film “The Player” was filmed in The Rialto’s back alley.  “Scream 2″ also featured The Rialto.

The Rialto is beautiful even in its decay.   Like so many old theaters, it was decorated grandly.  It has a fanciful Moorish, Egyptian and baroque motif. When I wrote an article for the Kansas City Star’s magazine about Orval Hixon, who photographed vaudeville stars from 1914 to 1930, I saw photographs of many glamorous theaters that have now fallen into ruin or are gone.

In the background is The Rialto Theatre, South Pasadena, California.

In the background is The Rialto Theatre, South Pasadena, California.

In the “old days,” an evening spent in the theater was a beautiful experience beyond what was being performed on the stage or shown on the screen. Some of the first movies I saw as a child was in The Orpheum, a gorgeously decorated old theater in Wichita, Kansas, which was originally built for vaudeville shows. Like many entertainment legends, these old theaters needs more than face lifts to keep them alive.  Sometimes only the marquee sign is all that’s saved from an old theater.

Some of the theaters, such as the ones in Hawaii that I photographed, might not be grand, but they have their own charm. Farm workers and U.S. servicemen were among their clientale.

It’s bittersweet seeing these old cinema relics, whether they are grand cinema palaces or more humble screens. I’m grateful many of these historic theaters are still standing, but who knows for how long? People watch films on their computers and even on their phones these days.  When people do go to the theater they want a great sound system, recliner seats, cup holders and even 3-D screens.

Jan and I and our husbands planned to see a movie at The Rialto in the early 2000s, when the theater was still open, but when we got to the box office we were told that the projector was broken.  So we walked across the street to a video store and rented a VHS movie to watch at home. Sadly, I never saw a movie at The Rialto before it closed.

Here’s a slide show of theaters I’ve photographed in California, Colorado, Hawaii, Michigan and Missouri.  There is information about each theater when you click on the photo.  CLICK ON ANY THUMBNAIL PHOTO TO BEGIN THE SLIDESHOW AND SEE THE PHOTOS FULL SIZED.

Click on Cinema Treasures for a guide to more than 30,000 movie theaters from around the world, including theaters that are now closed.

Click on I’m Not Ready For My Close Up to read about my brief appearance on the Big Screen in the movie “fling.”

Here’s a blog that documents grand old theaters, many sadly in advanced decay.  After the Final Curtain

About the theaters featured in slide show:

The Rialto, South Pasadena, California

Friends of The Rialto

Friends of The Rialto Facebook Page.

Sebastiani Theatre, Sonoma, California.

Michigan Theatre, Escanaba, Michigan

Gem Theatre, Kansas City, Missouri

Aloha Theatre, Kainaliu, Big Island, Hawaii

Honoka’a People’s Theater, Honoka’a, Big Island, Hawaii

Honomu Theater, Honomu, Big Island, Hawaii

Na’alehu Theatre, Na’alehu, Big Island, Hawaii

Park Theatre, Estes Park, Colorado

Screenland Crossroads Sign from old Isis Theatre, Kansas City, Missouri.

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Eighty-Four Years of Best Picture Oscar Winners

Nelson Carvajal, a video essayist and digital filmmaker, has assembled brief scenes from the last 84 Best Picture Oscar winners in this video in preparation for the 85th Academy Award show on Sunday, February 24, 2013.

I’ve seen four of the nine films nominated for Best Picture. “Argo,” “Beasts of the Southern Wild,” “Life of Pi” and “Lincoln” in this year’s crop of Best Picture nominees.

How many did you know?  Click here for the answers. How many have you seen?

Here’s the list of all of this year’s nominations: 2013 Oscar Nominations

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100 Years of the Kansas State Fair

Gourds form the heads of these prize-winning scarecrows at the Kansas State Fair, September 2012. The scarecrows are modeled after artist Grant Wood’s famous painting, “American Gothic.”

I’ve lived in Kansas most of my life, but this is the first year I’ve visited the Kansas State Fair, which happened to be the 100th fair. My daughter-in-law has visited with her family every year since she was a small child, and she and her family always find new things to see and do. I barely scratched the surface. As the fair motto goes: The Fair “Never Gets Old.”

Here’s fair fare — a carrot cake funnel cake on the top and a corn dog on the bottom — at the Kansas State Fair, September 2012.

According to the website, the fair’s mission is “to promote and showcase Kansas agriculture, industry and culture, to create opportunity for commercial activity, and to provide an educational and entertaining experience that is the pride of all Kansans.”

More than 350,000 people from all 105 Kansas counties and several other states visit the fair each year, which begins the Friday following Labor Day and lasts for 10 days at the Kansas State Fairgrounds in Hutchinson. Many thousands of those visitors seemed to be there the day we visited, the first Saturday. It was busy! There are more than a thousand commercial vendors, including those wonderful funnel cake and corn dog stands. There are about 30,000 entries in various competitions. There are lots of musical acts from local to national, including “Boston” and “Heart.” I didn’t see any concerts, unfortunately, but I did try some carrot cake funnel cake. Delicious!

I’ll let my photographs do the talking. The Kansas State Fair website.

Sculptor Sharon BuMann is creating a train and cars from 450 pounds of butter. The cars carry the Kansas icons of Dorothy wearing her red shoes and her dog Toto.

Check out the movie “Butter,” starring Jennifer Garner, Hugh Jackman, Alicia Silverstone and Olivia Wilde. Two women battle in their town’s annual butter carving competition. "Butter" movie.

A girl, who has already enjoyed a face painting session, plays with the grains in the wheat fountain. A volunteer warned me that my photograph might be “grainy.”

A little girl meets a dog available for adoption at the Hutchinson Animal Shelter booth at the Kansas State Fair, September 2012.

A family watches chicks at the Kansas State Fair, 2012.

Judges examine pumpkins at the Kansas state Fair, September 2012.

Holstein Cows, Kansas State Fair, September 2012.

Scarecrows, Kansas State Fair, September 2012.

The sunflower is the Kansas State Flower, so it’s only fitting that sunflower seed heads have a special category at the Kansas state Fair.

Judges measure the longest gourd at the Kansas State Fair, September 2012.

What a sunny face!

No visit to the Kansas State Fair is complete without a trip on the train.

Prize-winning needlework, Kansas State Fair, September 2012.

Fruits and Vegetables, Kansas State Fair, September 2012.

Children play on the giant sunflower fountain at the Kansas State Fair, September 2012.

Clothing Display, Kansas State Fair, September 2012.

What is this bird? It’s in the 4-H Poultry Exhibition at the Kansas State Fair, September 2012.

Kansas fish are displayed in the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism aquarium at the Kansas State Fair, September 2012. You can see the Sky Ride gondolas passing overhead.

Sorghum, Kansas State Fair, September 2012.

Mini Donkey Show, Kansas State Fair, September 2012.

The Tin Man and Scarecrow from the Wizard of Oz greet visitors to the Kansas State Fair, September 2012.

Quilts, Kansas State Fair, September 2012.

Note the sign of the Peterson Farm Bros, who are Kansas farmers. Check out their very popular video at the bottom, “I’m Farming and I Grow It.”

That engine is hot! A Ford pick-up truck is now a barbecue pit, Kansas State Fair, September 2012.

Ferris Wheel, Kansas State Fair, September 2012.

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In Praise of Praise


Sally Field’s “You like me!” Academy Award Acceptance Speech for “Places in the Heart.”


Tonight is the 84th annual Academy Award  (Oscar) show. I’ve only seen one of the main movies up for an award, so I don’t know how interested I’ll be in watching, but the Oscar show brought to mind Sally Field’s acceptance speech when she said, “You like me.”  I watched the broadcast when Sally Field made this acceptance speech, and I did see the movie, “Places in the Heart,” which brings me to the point of this post, which is not about the movies but about being acknowledged.  Most of us want to be liked or approved of in some way.   Strangely, many people also seem to be very stingy with praise, even when it’s warranted.  Millions of words have been written about how easily we toss around compliments so much that the praise is almost worthless.    I don’t agree.  The more praise the better, I say!

Anyway, I like WordPress’ “like” function, because it’s an easy way (Okay, I’m lazy) to give a little deserved praise even if I’m at a loss for words in a comment.  Sometimes random strangers click “like” on a post, and I discover someone new to read.  And I’m always happy to hear from friends.  We bloggers love our friends (and the stats that show “You like me!”)

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Procrastination and Perseverence

In January of this year, I declared on this blog that I’d complete a book by the end of this year. I’d like to report that I’m making great progress — in my mind. Few words have made it onto my virtual pages, alas.

We read so many grim books in my book club that we were delighted to read this hilarious, perceptive, heart-felt book in which we actually cared about the characters.

I was inspired recently to get back to work when I went to a fund-raiser for a local hospital.  (Thanks to my great friend Joy for inviting me!)  One of the speakers was Helen Simonson, an author whose first book I’d read and really enjoyed. “Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand” was a delightful, touching and very funny book. I could easily picture this well-drawn English village and its characters, so different from my own neighborhood in many ways, but very similar in others. My book club read the book, and it’s been one of the few that we all liked. It’s a tough crowd.

From Simonson’s website:
When Major Pettigrew, a retired British army major in a small English village, embarks on an unexpected friendship with the widowed Mrs. Ali, who runs the local shop, trouble erupts to disturb the bucolic serenity of the village and of the Major’s carefully regimented life.

Helen Simonson.

The title of Simonson’s speech was “Perseverence. ” Simonson said that it took her five years to write the book, “The first four and a half I didn’t do very much.” I’ve got the procrastination part of the equation pretty much taken care of.

Simonson was in a graduate program, and her novel was her thesis. As the deadline neared, she really got into gear. I hope I don’t wait until November to get moving. Is there anyone out there who needs an online writing partner? We can grant each other master’s degrees when we finish!  I’ll just be happy to finish. Simonson got a book deal through an agent within a week of finishing her book!

After the luncheon, I got a chance to meet Simonson, but I didn’t tell her that I was a wanna-be novelist. We’re a dime a dozen, I’m sure.

Helen Simonson’s Website.  You can find Simonson on Facebook, too.

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OK Go “White Knuckles”

The adorable dogs performing in this video are all rescue dogs. Thanks to Wayside Waifs for posting on Facebook.

My daughter’s wedding is now a happy memory, so now I’m almost back to my regularly scheduled activities, including photographing cats available for adoption at Wayside Waifs. Today will be the first time I see the newly completed cat palace!

Click on the link to Wayside Waifs to learn more about this wonderful no-kill animal rescue shelter in Kansas City, Missouri.

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