Calloway, Before the Cab Came

blanche calloway to follow

Blanche Calloway (1904-1978) was a Jazz singer, bandleader, and composer from Baltimore, Maryland. And she was the older sister of a guy named Cab…yep, that would be Cab Calloway. While not as many people may recognize her name the same way you do her sibling, she may have been the very first female to lead an all male orchestra. Her brother credited her for inspiring him to begin a career in show business. Blanche’s first recordings was as a sideman in Louis Armstrong sessions in 1925.
You can see the family resemblance. Just another piece of history that seems to have slipped through the cracks.

A Woman of Firsts

helen richey to follow

Helen Richey was Amelia Earhart’s copilot on one flight across the Atlantic. She also was a lot of FIRSTS: first woman hired to be a pilot by a commercial airline in the United States, first woman licensed as an aviation instructor, and the first woman to fly a scheduled mail flight. To top off her brilliant career during WWII she commanded a group of women pilots for the British Air Transport Auxiliary, flying bombs between factories and airbases. She lived a pretty exciting and groundbreaking life, and ended too soon. At the age of 38 she killed herself.

So I Met This Man…

12549092_764115517051782_2518039984335570172_n“So I met this man, who was very young, as I was. We went out for dinner in a group, with people I didn’t know. And there it was. I didn’t speak English, he didn’t speak French. I haven’t a clue how we managed. The miracle of love…
Years later at the Waldorf in New York, where I had a very nice suite, I invited Miles to dinner. The face of the maitre d’hotel when he came in was indescribable. After two hours, the food was more or less thrown in our faces. The meal was long and painful, and then he left.
At four o’clock in the morning I got a call from Miles, who was in tears. “I couldn’t come by myself,” he said. “I don’t ever want to see you again here, in a country where this kind of relationship is impossible.” I suddenly understood that I’d made a terrible mistake, from which came a strange feeling of humiliation that I’ll never forget. In America his colour was made blatantly obvious to me, whereas in Paris I didn’t even notice that he was black.
Between Miles and me there was a great love affair, the kind you’d want everybody to experience. Throughout our lives, we were never lost to each other. Whenever he could, he would leave messages for me in the places I travelled in Europe: “I was here, you weren’t.”
He came to see me at my house a few months before he died. He was sitting in the drawing room and at one point I went to the verandah to look at the garden. I heard his devilish laugh. I asked him what had provoked it. “No matter where I was,” he said, “in whatever corner of the world, looking at that back, I’d know it was you.”
– The French singer and actress, Juliette Gréco, in an essay for The Guardian on her romance with Miles Davis

Bacon Left Through the Window

Faith Bacon by Alfred Cheney Johnston

Faith Bacon by Alfred Cheney Johnston

Self-proclaimed inventor of the “Fan Dance” Faith Bacon was born in 1909. Her dancing career began with no training on whim in Paris in the 1920’s. Flowers, bubbles, and fans were used in her all nude revue shows.
Bacon returned to the Unites States and appeared on Broadway in 1928-1929. To sidestep the indecent exposure laws that prohibited dancers from moving while nude on stage, she stood still while lights played over her naked body. While clever and a lovely image it did not stop her from being arrested in 1930 for breaking the exposure law in 1930, the case was eventually thrown out.
Later, in the early 30’s Faith performed in Ziegfeld Follies. Glamming it up for three years with one of the most illustrious revue’s there was during this time. She was voted “The Most Beautiful Showgirl on Broadway”. Her new title allowed Faith to ride on the waves it created for a few years.
In 1933 upon hearing that her rival, Sally Rand, would be performing at the Worlds Fair, she created a show called “The Original Fan Dancer” to rub in it Sally’s face and make it clear to Rand that she felt that she had ripped off her act. Sally seemed to dismiss Bacon’s jibes as petty.

Faith Bacon and her 'Fan Dance'

Faith Bacon and her ‘Fan Dance’

Due to her reputation for being difficult and a bit of a diva, Faith Bacons career began to decline after her World Fair performance. She spent the next several years filing lawsuits, the biggest one against Rand for stealing her “Fan Dance”, but there were several others against various people that she worked for. Until eventually, she could not get a job.
In 1950, she was recognized by a former fellow dancer in an alley way behind a theater in Seattle, Washington, the woman thought she was homeless until she realized who it was.
On September 16th, 1956 a woman leapt from her second story apartment in Chicago. Her roommate had tried to grab her skirt to hold her back, but all she was left with was torn piece of cloth. Faith Bacon, the once beautiful and imaginative dancer, killed herself, pining for the spotlight that eluded her in the end. With on one to claim her body the American Guild of Variety Artists stepped up and arranged for her burial. She was only 46 years old.

Faith Bacon 1930's

Faith Bacon 1930’s

Exchanging a Hot Bitch for a Cool One or Happy Autumn Equinox

1c0d5f8f414c0247c538b29f2340bf6f

Today is Autumn Equinox, it makes me sad because I am not quite ready to hit Summer in the ass as she exits. I usually am ready to kiss that hot bitch goodbye but this year she seemed a little quick to leave me….but goodbyes are always emotional for me. Autumn is my favorite time of year, Oregon Octobers are amazing. The tree’s run riot with their vampy colors….sometimes so vivid that I truly think that it would be cartoonish if it weren’t so goddamned beautiful. And the smell….it gets so stagnant and downright stale smelling here by the end of August in the heat…it is like smelling old bread that not even the birds find appetizing…so when the sky is still clear blue and air starts turning cooler the fragrance is so sweet. Like something that is shiny and new. It is amazing….the month before we get 8 months of dumpy gray, muddy, rain clogged, sodden months of damp. So I always remember to appreciate October….but mostly because it is almost glorious Halloween and I can pepper your news feeds with as much freaky stuff as my heart desires and it is all in the spirit of celebration! So you will have to enjoy it or look like misers that have lost their love of good fun~~ Xoxo…..Anyhoooooooooo Happy Autumn Equinox!

The Million Dollar Legs Ran Down the Funny Man

 

 

 

Susan Fleming

Susan Fleming

Susan Fleming was beautiful she started off as a Ziegfeld Girl, which launched her into a film career that took off like a shooting star (pun totally intended). She was known as “Girl with the Million Dollar Legs” long before Betty Grable was on the scene, due to a movie where she played W.C. Fields daughter with the title “Million Dollar Legs,” 1932. The studio even insured her legs as a publicity stunt

Susan Fleming during her Ziegfeld days

Susan Fleming during her Ziegfeld days

for the million to drum up interest for the film. But, surprisingly she hated being an actress, she found it horribly monotonous.
The unhappy actress was seated next to Harpo Marx at a dinner party, and she was captivated from the start. She pursued him relentlessly; she was not going to let him get away, proposing to him numerous times over four years until he finally said yes. Poor guy had nowhere to hide! The exquisite Fleming happily gave up acting to raise the couples four adoptive children, act as Marx’s valet, pursue the Harp and other musical instruments, make frames for her husband’s paintings and painting her works of art. They were a couple that did everything as a team.
When asked by George Burns in 1948 how many children he planned to adopt Harpo answered: “I’d like to adopt as many children as I have windows in my house. So when I leave for work, I want a kid in every window, waving goodbye.” They were a close family of 6.
After the last Marx movie was filmed they moved to Palm Springs, California. Where they both pursued their

Harpo Marx and Susan Fleming

Harpo Marx and Susan Fleming

interests and became civically involved. On their 28th wedding anniversary, September 28th, 1964 Harpo Marx left his beautiful bride and died at the age of 75.
Susan outlived her husband by 40 years, living as an activist and artist until her death in 2002 at the age of 92.

Our Spark Went Out

Robin Williams

The world lost another Icon today. Robin Williams was someone I think we all felt a little intimate about, he was human. He showed you that he had demons that he fought through the last 30 years and every triumph was almost a personal win. He made us laugh as much as he made us cry. That was power. To rip out hearts out through our mouths just as quickly as he could make us laugh from way down deep. He was a hairy, hairy man with twinkling blue eyes, that held sadness that made him just that much more able to make us laugh, and to make us relate to him. We lost our friend today.

“You’re only given a little spark of madness. You mustn’t lose it.”
― Robin Williams

Previous Older Entries

%d bloggers like this: