Amoeblog

Billie Maxwell - The Cow Girl Singer

Posted by Eric Brightwell, March 5, 2009 09:00pm | Post a Comment

The 1920s and ‘30s were full of cowgirl singers like the Girls of the Golden West (Millie and Dolly Good), Patsy Montana and Texas Ruby, most of whom were just as inauthentic as their better known male counterparts like Gene Autry and the Sons of the Pioneers. However, one western performer was the real deal: Billie Maxwell.

                      Springerville Arizona
One of the two known photos of Billie Maxwell (left), Springerville, Arizona in the 1920s (right).

Billie Maxwell was born in 1906 and raised near Springerville, Arizona, same place where Ike Clanton, one of the Missourian players in the Gunfight at the OK Corral, was shot dead by a detective not 20 years earlier. Her father, E. Curtis Maxwell, was locally renowned as a fiddler who'd amassed a massive repertoire of songs learnt from his father, William Beatty Maxwell, an Illinoisan who’d moved first to Nevada and then Arizona in the 1800s. Curtis Maxwell formed a string band called the White Mountain Orchestra who toured (on horseback) the ranches in the area, playing dances. Not only did Maxwell know many traditional songs, but he composed his own work too, including “Escudilla Waltz” and “Frolic of the Mice.” In her teenage years, Billie joined her father’s band, where she played guitar alongside her brother, Marion, who played mandolin. Eventually she occasionally struck out on her own, performing solo shows in the backcountry.


In 1929, at the age of 23, she married a local schoolteacher, Alvin Chester Warner, and settled down to raise a family. A few months later, in June, her uncle Frank Maxwell (a lawman over in Silver City) noticed a classified in the local paper advertising an upcoming field recording session for Victor over in El Paso. At an audition, the White Mountain Orchestra were deemed worthy and two weeks later Chester Warner drove his wife, Marion, Curtis and Frank to a recording session where they met Ralph Peer.

Alice Guy-Blache - first female of film direction

Posted by Eric Brightwell, March 3, 2009 08:33pm | Post a Comment
 

Early Years

Alice Guy was born on July 1, 1873. Her French parents were working in Chile, where they owned a chain of bookstores. When Alice's mother got pregnant, the couple returned to Paris where Alice was born. Soon after, her parents returned to South America and left her to be raised by her grandmother in Switzerland. After eventually moving to Chile to rejoin her parents, the family returned to France and enrolled Alice in school. Once again, her parents returned to Chile. Shortly afterward, her father and brother died.


Career
In 1894, Alice was hired by Léon Gaumont as his secretary and still photographer. Whilst working for him, she began experimenting with filmmaking. A couple years later, Gaumont started his own company, Gaumont Film Company and Alice was head of production from 1896 to 1906. In the late 1890s (c. 1898), she directed her first film, La Fee aux Choux (The Cabbage Fairy). In doing so, Alice Guy became the first female film director. In addition to directing at least 324 films, she contributed as a producer, writer or in some other aspect on many more. Though she made slapstick, fantasy, sci-fi, western and action films as well as many other genres, many of her filmes were intended for female audiences and bore a deliberate and outspoken feminist sensibility.

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Happy Texas Independence Day!

Posted by Eric Brightwell, March 2, 2009 11:21am | Post a Comment

After Mexico gained its independence from Spain, the newly independent country organized itself into several states. In the northern Coahuila y Tejas, there were many Native peoples like the Alabama, Apache, Aranama, Atakapa, Caddo, Comanche, Coahuiltecan, Cherokee, Choctaw, Coushatta, Hasinai, Jumano, Karankawa, Kickapoo, Kiowa and Wichita that the nearly bankrupt Mexican government had little resources to subjugate. So they invited immigrants from the US, called Texians, to help keep down the aborigines.

Soon the immigrants outnumbered the Mexicans and Natives put together. These Texian immigrants made little to no effort to assimilate into their adopted country -- they they self-segregated, carried guns everywhere, didn't learn "the language" (Spanish) and wrote signs in English. Even though slavery was illegal in Mexico, the Texians (who numbered about 30,000) simply ignored Mexican law and brought 5,000 slaves. Before long, Mexican president Bustamante sought to restrict futher American immigration to Mexico, recognizing they were up to no good. Before long, the Texians took up arms and ultimately gained independence from Mexico.

Joel McCrea
Joel McCrea, not Texian, but played one on the radio

By 1850, Texians started referring to themselves most commonly as Texans. The Texas Almanac of 1857 waxed purple about the mere dropping of the letter "i," continuing the Texan tradition of making something out of nothing, moaning [in Chris Elliot's fancy lad voice] "Texian...has more euphony, and is better adapted to the conscience of poets who shall hereafter celebrate our deeds in sonorous strains than the harsh, abrupt, ungainly, appellation Texan -- impossible to rhyme with anything but the merest doggerel."

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Happy Pig Day -- celebrate with pig-related dvds, vhs

Posted by Eric Brightwell, March 1, 2009 02:17pm | Post a Comment
Miss Piggy in wardrobe malfunctionPooh and Piglet Walt Disney's Three Little Pigs



Animal Farm Animal Farm Babe


Babe Pig in the City The Black Cauldron Charlotte's Web

Patricia Picinini's The Young Family

Deliverance Gordy My Brother the Pig

Andy Lau frees Chow Yun-Fat

Posted by Eric Brightwell, February 27, 2009 05:27pm | Post a Comment
Andy Lau bailing out Chow Yun-Fat
"Your plan worked, Lau. With Trapjaw rusted, he can't even move or call for help! To the Talon Fighter!"

Chow Yun-Fat
is a renowned actor whose career spans several decades, but who is best known to American audiences for his roles in John Woo’s heroic bloodshed films and a couple of wuxia films that were released in the oughts. Andy Lau, whilst less well known in America at large, has an enormous following both among film fans, especially well known for his work with Johnny To, and his career as a Cantopop star. Throughout both of their careers, Chow and Lau have appeared in several films and a television program:

1982 - Sou hat yi
1986 - 楊家將 aka Yang ka cheung aka The Yangs’ saga
1987 - 江湖情 aka Goo woo ching aka Drifter love aka Jian hu qing aka Rich and famous
-and - 英雄好漢 aka Ying hung ho hon aka Hero aka Heroic hero aka Rich and famous II aka Tragic
            Hero
aka Ying xiong  hao ban
1988 - 精裝追女仔 aka Jin zhuong zhui nu zi zhi er aka Romancing star II
1989 - 賭神 aka Du shen aka Dao san aka God of gamblers
1991 - 賭神2 aka  Dou hap aka Du xia aka God of gambers II aka Knight of gamblers
 
Although their careers haven’t intersected in a long time, that didn’t apparently stop Andy Lau from bailing out his old friend who seems to have been imprisoned underneath Snake Mountain, judging by the eerie green light and the ancient magenta bricks. How did Lau and Woo find themselves on Eternia? Who painted this amazing picture? [Insert Orco saying something silly.] I found this ad in a Vietnamese rag whilst hanging out with the ever astonishing Ngoc cung.

Skeletor and Snake Mountain
"Curses Lau! You win this time but I'll be back! Meh heh ha ha hanh!

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