Went to a neighborhood bar tonight. There didn't used to be any; now there are many. A street once shabby and sad has been upgraded for a ten-block stretch, and now the old streetcar nodes and low commercial buildings have coffee shops, antique stores, and by-God ordinary watering holes with pool and skee-ball and long wooden bars with brass rails. It's relatively new, but feels like an old seasoned dive. It was the Giant Swede's birthday, so the Crazy Uke and myself convened to hoist glasses and pay honor. Everyone was good. I've known these guys since the Carter era and everyone's still good. Buffeted and shin-kicked now and then, but still standing.
An apt ending to a mild week, in which I did not do two things I had intended to do because I cannot muster the enthusiasm. I am low-enthusiasm these days. Sad! I feel as if I'm on an airport people-mover, moving without walking. It's a strange mood; it is unnervingly passive; it has no guarantee of ending, and I don't like it.
Need some dynamite.
Need some beginnings. Had another Ending today - the end of the 15-year-run doing the 6:40 PM Thursday appearance on Hugh Hewitt's show. He's moving to early early morn, and I'm not a 6:40 AM kind of guy. This kills me, and I will have to find some way to do the show in the new slot. It's not that hard - just wake up early and pound some coffee - but even if I do the new slot, the old tradition of yammering on the radio on the week's penultimate day is over, as is listening to the show as it happens. It's odd to listen to a show whose host is your friend and whose producer is your friend; they've been part of the early-evening landscape since 9/11, and then: snip. Cord cut.
More and more I feel like the away team on the Defiant, looking at things that appear solid, but your gloved hand goes right through them. Damned interphasic rift.
But! When you're bored or grousy, get up. Go somewhere. At work while waiting for my column to clear I went walking for Construction pictures, but there wasn't much that seemed necessary. Even by the low standards I have set for the feature. I hadn't been through City Center in a while, and was delighted to see they've plastered a wall with huge blow-ups of old downtown photos, many of which were new to me. I could identify the locations right away, but that's a given if you know downtown, and believe it's important to know what was there before. These scenes fascinate me endlessly - when you have one big building on one block, it's a monoculture. They had 20 to a block, each with its own personality and story.
That's 7th street; the Donaldson's tower is in the background. The street ends in trees, because from then on it's residential.
This was a surprise. I've cropped out the buildings that gave away the location. I had forgotten that the building where the Coke sign was hung had all but the ground floor knocked down. It was skid row when I came to town, and this reminds you that it was skid row a long time before that.
Now it's the Mayo sports clinic facility, a rehab of a misguided, failed entertainment complex.
The building on the far left is still around; the big structure to its right, the West Hotel, went down in the 40s. Man, it must have been noisy.
Seventh is over-represented in the collection, perhaps because the building's on 7th. A 1946 shot:
From its site: "Originally the Miles, then the Garrick; it was gutted in '29 and reopened as the Century, then spent the Depression opening and closing with grim regularity.
"It had a reputation as a 'woman's theater,' since it was so close to the department stores on Nicollet."
There's a theater in the building now called the New Century, with a similar marquee.
Finally, this tiny detail from the corner of a huge picture of the Forum Cafeteria.
That's all we know of this person, and all we can ever know. And it's still more than most.
A little bit of everything today. First it's back to music cues for "The Little Things in Life," Peg Lynch's last continuously running sitcom. The cues run from substandard 60s cues to cringingly 70s.
Off-key because it's FUNNY OKAY
This sounds like it would be good for a diet drink, or cigarettes:
Since this is Lum & Abner Month for No Good Reason, let's take a look at three ads that occured inside the show. This was fairly standard for the era: the pitchman walks in and acts like he's part of the show.
Starts scratchy but improves. Think of it: two and a half minutes of an ad, tied into the plot, using the characters.
I can't imagine audiences really liked it, but at least it wasn't a total break from the show. And it let the characters actually push back against the pitchman, and his unflagging cheer.
This week's Bob & Ray sketch takes on, again, the grinding banality of . . .
One Fella's Family
He's always trimming the rose bushes too much.
"Feyer remembered as a young boy hating his piano practice so much that his mother, a piano teacher, had to tie his legs to the piano stool."
The way this ends is rather cruel. Sorry. But it's one contiguous piece.
From his bio: "He studied at the Franz Liszt Academy of Music in Budapest [alongside conductor Sir Georg Solti], and at the Budapest Conservatory of Music. Among his teachers were Ernő Dohnányi, Zoltán Kodály and Béla Bartók. By this time he was developing an interest in light music and was playing in the evenings in many of the boîtes around Budapest, such as the Cafe Dunacorso where he accompanied Zsuzsa Darvas, a popular diseuse."
A) that's quite a list of peers and teachers, and B) diseuse? Yes. "A female entertainer who performs monologues." Every day we learn something.
Thanks for showing up this week; have a fine weekend, and may April be warm and delightful.