In 1925, four students at Booker T. Washington High in Norfolk, Virginia – Henry Owens, Clyde Riddick, Willie “Bill” Johnson, Orlandus Wilson – founded the Gates. It is of interest to know that another group called the Golden Gate Quartet was organized in Baltimore, Maryland, in 1892. In this podcast, I would like to share a negro-spiritual called “Anyhow” by The Golden Jubilee Quartet, song in 1943. Now in the public domain. Please click download to listen to song. Or subscribe to my podcast.
By Margaret Smith
GateHouse News Service
Copyright © Sep 30, 2009
A woman sits in bejeweled finery, the perfect image of elegance and comportment. Her posture is impeccable and enviable, especially to those of us living in an age when office chairs and long hours at computers do little to keep our vertebrae in alignment. Of course, we can always use lower lumbar cushions or head out to the chiropractor or yoga class. For hundreds of years, ladies of means had another solution – the corset.
“Bound by Fashion,” on view at Worcester Art Museum, is curated by John Garton of Clark University and includes 13 European paintings of women in corsets dating between the 16th and 20th century – all rich with messages about sexuality, status, beauty and wealth. In short, corsets were excruciating to wear and virtually impossible to put on without help. But some women, it seems, wore them gladly, knowing that owning a corset signified status, wealth, and restriction of movement that meant the wearer had the luxury of doing little or no work. But corsets also had health consequences, including diminished respiratory capacity, restriction of internal organs and fainting, as depicted humorously in the film, “Pirates of the Caribbean.”
Because of these problems, it is easy to dismiss the corset as yet another illustration of ways in which women in the past were made to suffer in order to create an attractive and compliant vision for men. But, as the exhibit suggests, this is a much too simplistic view and little about women’s history is this straight forward. The corset does speak to a mostly-failed effort to suppress female sexuality (witness the number of tracts railing about how the corset promoted lewdness of thought in public and probably actions in private.) It’s hard to argue that corsets did more to limit mobility than, say, high heels — or had any more attendant medical risks than cosmetic surgeries, liposuction or injections of dubious substances to plump the lips to elasticize the skin.
Strange to tell, the corset became an unexpected partner in the economic liberation of women, when the industrial age ushered in mass-production and countless jobs, including the making of garments such as corsets. The city of Worcester became home in the 1880s to the Royal Worcester Corset Company, which employed hundreds of female employees, allowing them to support their families through the manufacturing of these undergarments. Overall, this exhibit is intriguing and sure to make the viewer take a second look at his or her own closet. That said, it’s a little hard to follow; the paintings are mixed in with others and it’s not entirely obvious at first which ones belong to the exhibit.
Additionally, the beautiful space of this museum is difficult to enjoy fully with the plethora of over-vigilant staff. This is an unfortunate a and diminishes what would otherwise be an illuminating and memorable experience of any exhibit program. If you can overlook that, go, stand straight and tall, and breathe freely – and perhaps see fashion sense and sensibility more clearly.
If you go..
‘Bound by Fashion’
Where: Worcester Art Museum, 55 Salisbury St., Worcester
When: Through Jan. 10.
Hours: Wednesday through Friday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., Saturday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. through Dec. 31.
Admission $10 adults, $8 seniors and college students with ID; free to children 17 and under and for members. Free admission Saturdays 10 a.m. to noon.
For more information Call 508-799-4406 or visit www.worcesterart.org.
Margaret Smith is Arts and Calendar editor at GateHouse Media New England’s Northwest Unit. E-mail her at email@example.com.
By Zorislav Baydyuk
Slippery Rock, Pennsylvania
Copyright © 2009 VOA
For two weeks every summer, a campground in (the U.S. state of) Pennsylvania is transformed into a medieval village where people dress and act as if they were living back in the middle ages. There are tournaments, musical performances and, perhaps most importantly, battles in nearby fields just for the honor and glory of it all.
It looks like the real thing. Knights under the command of kings battle for personal honor and the glory of their kingdoms. While the weapons are wooden and the “dead” leave the battlefield on their own feet, the passions of the warriors are real. Excitement drives them on. They train at home during the year to prepare for these events and go by names of their choosing. Many return year after year. This commander of a Roman cohort, who calls himself Dominus, is a veteran of 14 such wars. “It gives me and my friends some great stories, some great experiences, some great adventures to share, to talk about and remember together for years to come,” Dominus said.
A code of honor governs what happens. The warriors determine for themselves the seriousness of their wounds. Marshals responsible for safety and order declare timeouts to regroup. The Society for Creative Anachronisms organizes the event. “We work very, very hard at our safety,” says, Master Maceanruig, “In 40 years of the society we haven’t lost anybody in the battle yet.” A full authentic set of regalia and weapons can cost $10,000. And, in one concession to the modern age, warfare is not only for men.
“You get a real challenge when you go out there,” Caecilia Decurion explains, “because when you’re wearing a helmet not many people realize you’re a girl. You kind of get like a fair fight and that’s cool.” But most of the 12,000 people here do not participate in the fighting. They choose less violent pleasures. They go to the bazaar and sample goods that would be available to a person who lived between the sixth and sixteenth century. They learn crafts that were popular in a slower and less complicated age.
“Pennsic – as a whole, is an experience where I can get away from the hustle-bustle of everyday life,” Issac Rothstein says, “and get to know the meaning of community with my friends.” There is even a daily newspaper, which publishes news of village life, including news of who is winning the tournaments, which dedicated to honoring women. “Today our theme is definitely the pleasure of the ladies. In fact, the ladies have directed these gentlemen, who are currently fighting at a barrier, to fight for their pleasure,” Mistress Marcele De Montsegur states.
The winner of the war this year was the Eastern Kingdom, comprised of warriors from the eastern parts of Canada and the United States. And as their reward? They had the right to claim the city of Pittsburgh, a claim they understand probably won’t be honored by any of the city’s modern-day politicians. As for the losers, their pride may have been injured, but they know that they can come back again next year.
Weegee’s photos from the 1930s and ’40s defined Manhattan as a film noir nightscape of gansters, bums, slumming swells and tenement dwellers.
By Greg Flakus
Copyright © 2009 VOA
In his book, Brinkley focuses on Theodore Roosevelt’s lifelong commitment to preserving nature by reserving large areas as national parks and protected zones. “Although my book, ‘The Wilderness Warrior,’ is about history, it is about Theodore Roosevelt’s life from 1858 to 1919. It resonates today because all over the country people are looking to save land, to rehabilitate endangered species, to clean up rivers and lakes and create a sustainable environment for us to live,” he said.
Roosevelt was a Republican, but his appeal crosses modern party lines and Brinkley thinks Republicans of today are beginning to reconnect with the conservationist policies he triumphed. “There are many Republican conservationists who are saying what the modern Republican Party has lost is T.R.’s vision of the environment. In fact, Newt Gingrich, of all people, is saying that the modern Republican Party should be the leader on environmentalism,” he said.
At the same time, Brinkley says some of the people who call themselves environmentalists today need to look at Roosevelt’s practical side and his promotion of economic development. “There are people who are stopping building over a snail darter. That is taking the endangered species act in a kind of anti-development extreme,” he said. In addition to the books he has written about such historic persons as Theodore Roosevelt, Brinkley has written about contemporary figures like writer Hunter S. Thompson, newsman Walter Cronkite and rock singer and poet Bob Dylan, all of whom he met personally.
“There are huge boons and advantages because you actually get to know the human being, you are not just writing out of the cardboard boxes of letters,” he said. But in the end, he says, whether the subject is from a century ago or today’s world his task is to share what he learns about them. “When you are a historian you feel a bit of an obligation to communicate your findings to the public at large and hopefully get them interested. I am an enthusiast for history, so part of my job is to get people excited about it,” he said. Brinkley shares many of his insights on a regular basis on television news programs, where he is a frequent guest. But he says his own celebrity is sometimes a burden, taking him away from what he really loves, which is researching and writing.
This well done TV Movie, starring Richard Pryor, Rosie Greer, Billy Dee Williams, and Stephen Boyd, depicts racist attitudes toward black soldiers in World War Two. Richard Pryor gives a fine performance as does the rest of the cast. This movie is now in the public domain. To watch film, subscribe to my itunes feed, or right click on the download link below and choose save as.
American Telephone & Telegraph Co. (AT&T). A sponsored infomercial by AT&T about the process of telecommunications. This is in the public domain. To view movie, subscribe to my itunes podcast or click the download link below.
By Katherine Cole
© 2009 VOA
Mary Travers, the glamorous blond who sang into the middle microphone with folk trio Peter, Paul and Mary, died September 16 at 72 after a long battle with leukemia. Born in 1936, Mary Travers was two years old when her parents moved the family from Kentucky to Greenwich Village in New York City. By the time she was a teenager, Mary was a full-fledged member of the 1950s Village folk scene, though, at the time, she said music was just a hobby, and she had no plans to sing professionally.
That changed in 1961, when Mary met Bob Dylan’s manager, Albert Grossman. Grossman had decided to put together a folk supergroup to rival the chart-topping Kingston Trio. He introduced Travers to Peter Yarrow and Paul Stookey. The story of how the group was formed caused many fellow folk singers to brand Peter, Paul and Mary as “too commercial,” and not “authentic”, but Mary Travers always defended the group’s sound and founding, saying they made the music accessible to everyone. There is no dispute that the trio made folk music popular. Their first album, “Peter, Paul and Mary,” reached Number One shortly after its March 1962 release, and remained at the top of the charts for seven weeks. The album contained two hit singles: “If I Had A Hammer”; and “Lemon Tree.”
“Peter, Paul and Mary everyone loved,” said singer-songwriter Gretchen Peters. “And it’s not that it was ‘watered down’ at all. That’s not why it worked. I’m not exactly sure why it worked, except that Mary’s voice was just a thing of beauty. It was a classically-beautiful voice.” Peters took up the guitar at age 7, and Peter, Paul and Mary songs were the first she learned to play. But it wasn’t just Mary Traver’s voice that attracted Gretchen. The harmony singing was equally important.
“That was a great education, just picking apart who sang what on the albums,” she said. “Because sometimes she actually sang lower than one of the guys, she would sometimes sing lower than Peter. And you’d have to kind of weed out who’s singing what in the harmonies. It was not simple, simple stuff, but it was beautiful.” While the group’s music proved commercially successful, the group did not play it safe when it came to politics. Like Peter Yarrow and Paul Stookey, Mary Travers was quite outspoken in her support of civil rights and the anti-Vietnam war movement. Peter, Paul and Mary performed at the historic 1963 March on Washington, and also took part in the 1965 voting rights marches from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama.
After the group disbanded in 1970, Mary Travers continued to perform at political events around the world. The trio reunited in 1978, intending to perform just one show at a benefit to oppose nuclear power. It was such a success that they continued to perform as a trio until Mary Travers retired in May of this year. It’s no exaggeration to say that Mary Travers and the trio of Peter, Paul and Mary took folk music from the coffeehouse to the mainstream, and helped spread a message of peace and harmony around the world. Their recordings also proved that folk music could be commercially successful. Peter, Paul and Mary’s music won five Grammy Awards and scored six Top Ten hits, eight gold and five platinum albums. They also introduced millions to the music of Bob Dylan, and turned “Blowin’ In The Wind” into an anthem of the 1960s’ protest movement.
How Britain developed her civil airlines since the war. commercial jet-aircraft. De Havilland Comet. Bristol Brabazon. air travel. To see video, subscribe to my itunes podcast, or click the download link below.
Copyright © 2009
Mary Travers, one third of the famous 1960s folk music trio Peter, Paul and Mary has died of cancer. She was 72. A publicist for the group says Travers died Wednesday at a Danbury, Connecticut hospital where she was being treated for leukemia. The publicist said she had been battling the disease for a number of years.
Travers and her band mates, Peter Yarrow and Noel Paul Stookey made up one of the most popular American music groups of the 1960s. Peter, Paul and Mary mixed folk music with political activism, promoting civil rights and protesting the U.S. war in Vietnam with such songs “Blowin’ in the Wind,” “If I Had a Hammer” and “Where Have All the Flowers Gone?.”
The group also scored major hits with “Leaving on a Jet Plane,” “Lemon Tree,” and “Puff (The Magic Dragon).” Some information for this report was provided by AFP and AP.
Jones had his acting career beginnings at the Ramsdell Theatre in Manistee, Michigan. In 1953 he was a stage carpenter. During the 1955 – 1957 seasons he was an actor and stage manager. He performed his first portrayal of Shakespeare’s Othello in this theater in 1955.
His first film role was as a young and trim Lt. Lothar Zogg, the B-52 bombardier in Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb in 1964, which was more famous for the work of Peter Sellers and Slim Pickens. His first big role came with his portrayal of boxer Jack Jefferson in the film version of the Broadway play The Great White Hope, which was based on the life of boxer Jack Johnson. For his role, Jones was nominated Best Actor by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, making him the second African-American male performer (following Sidney Poitier) to receive a nomination.
In 1969, Jones participated in making test films for a proposed children’s television series called Sesame Street; these shorts, combined with animated segments, were shown to groups of children to gauge the effectiveness of the then-groundbreaking Sesame Street format. As cited by production notes included in the DVD release Sesame Street: Old School 1969-1974, the short that had the greatest impact with test audiences was one showing bald-headed Jones counting slowly to ten. This and other segments featuring Jones were eventually aired as part of the Sesame Street series itself when it debuted later in 1969 and Jones is often cited as the first celebrity guest on that series, although a segment with Carol Burnett was the first to actually be broadcast.
In the early 1970s, James appeared with Diahann Carroll in a film called Claudine, the story of a woman who raises her six children alone after two failed marriages and one “almost” marriage. Ruppert, played by Jones, is a garbage man who has deep problems of his own. The couple somehow overcomes each other’s pride and stubbornness and gets married.
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