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Bob Mitchell 1912 - 2009

Posted by Whitmore, July 12, 2009 02:36pm | Post a Comment

Bob Mitchell


The original ballpark organist for Dodger Stadium and the last surviving working keyboard accompanist from the silent-film era, Bob Mitchell, has died. He was 96.

The native Angelino, born in Sierra Madre in 1912, died this past week from congestive heart failure at Hancock Park Rehabilitation Center in Los Angeles.
 
From the first Dodger game played at the Chavez Ravine Stadium in 1962 until 1966, Mitchell was the keyboardist on the Wurlitzer double-keyboard organ with a 25-note bass pedal board. Up until that time he was best known as founder of the Robert Mitchell Boys Choir and its director for over 60 years. They appeared in more than 100 motion pictures, starting with 1936’s That Girl from Paris. Other films included the classics Going My Way starring Bing Crosby from 1944 where they sang “Ave Maria” and 1947’s The Bishop’s Wife. The choir was also documented in the 1941 Academy Award nominated short Forty Boys and a Song. Over the years more than 600 kids between the ages of about 8 and 16 performed in the Mitchell choir. Alumni include members of the Modernaires, the Lettermen, and the Sandpipers.

In 1924 at the age of 12, Mitchell began playing organ at the old Strand Theater in Pasadena, improvising soundtracks to silent movies. But with the advent of talkies and The Jazz Singer in 1927, Mitchell's first career as a silent-film accompanist was about over by the time he was 16. 65 years later, in 1992, he once again sat at the organ accompanying films at LA’s Silent Movie Theatre on Fairfax Avenue. His last public performance was this past May when he opened the Last Remaining Seats film series at the Orpheum Theatre in downtown LA.
 
Bob Mitchell began taking piano lessons at four years of age. He attended the New York College of Music before returning to Los Angeles in 1934; eventually he graduated from what is now Cal State L.A. and Trinity College in London. During the Second World War Mitchell served in the Navy and played keyboards for the Armed Forces Radio Orchestra under the direction of Meredith Willson, who later wrote The Music Man.

SUBWAY ART PHOTOGRAPER HENRY CHALFANT INTERVIEW

Posted by Billyjam, July 11, 2009 04:45pm | Post a Comment
Subway Art
Subway Art
-- the legendary graffiti art book by Henry Chalfant and Martha Cooper -- has just recently been republished in a nice big coffee table hard cover version appropriately titled Subway Art: 25th Anniversary Edition. The book has never been out of print since its initial 1984 publication but this new anniversary edition is just jaw-droppingly amazing and a must-have for any graffiti fan.

Its much larger scale and new dimensions of 17" by 13" full-color spreads allow the crispy clear photos to fully come to life in their bright, beautiful colors and hence make them so much easier to fully appreciate.

The new edition of Subway Art also offers numerous never-before-seen photos from that late 70's / early 80's era of New York City when Cooper and Chalfant were documenting this vibrant and rampant illegal public transit art form; one that would be gone by the end of the decade in which the book was first published. But over the years Subway Art has taken on life of its own and the influential book has gone on to sell a staggering half a million copies.

I recently had the opportunity to sit down and talk with Henry Chalfant about this influential art book. A Stanford graduate who was first a sculptor, Chalfant has lived in New York City for many years and is now nearing 70. He is equally known in graffiti circles for his documentation of the art form via the book Spraycan Art which he co-authored with James Prigoff, and for Style Wars, the historic PBS documentary on New York graffiti that he co-produced with Tony Silver. Chalfant's work can be found in the collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City and the Carnegie Institute in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. A few years ago he directed the excellent Latin and hip-hop themed documentary about the South Bronx, From Mambo to Hip Hop: A South Bronx Tale, that aired on PBS stations in 2006.

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12 inch die cuts

Posted by Mr. Chadwick, July 11, 2009 12:35pm | Post a Comment
megatone records 12" sleevedance & music records disco special 12" sleeve
The art of the 12" company sleeve can really be quite entertaining. The middle sleeve above is not a Big Beat sleeve-- does anyone out there know what company made these? The Alicia Bridges and Travolta sleeves below are not company sleeves, but are good examples of the disco die cut promotional sleeve popular in the early years of the 12". Experiments with the 12" single format began in 1974 and by 1975 a decent amount of promo 12"s had been released. Within a couple of years the 12" single would become the format of choice for promoting dance oriented tunes. By the 80's, 12" records were pressed for most every mainstream hit, dance oriented or not. Springsteen w/  "dub version" b-sides, etc.
stiff records 12" hotbiscuit sleeveemi manhattan records 12" sleevealicia bridges i love the nightlife 12" sleeve
macola record co. 12" sleevewestbound records 12" sleevejohn travolta a girl like you disco single sleeve
midsong records 12" sleevemercury records 12" sleevedebbie gibson shake your love sticker atlantic records 12" sleeve
wea blanco y negro records 12" sleevemca records disco 12" sleeve
avi records 12" sleevek-tel flash back greats cover
Above we have a couple of die cut sleeves used to market LPs, not 12"s. Below there's a Russian example. This sleeve may have been used for either LPs or 12"s, but this particular release is a disco-ish LP.
platinum chess records disco 12" sleeve sylvia automatic lover atlantic records hits from 12" series cover

Italian Grindhouse @ Egyptian Theatre

Posted by Mr. Chadwick, July 10, 2009 07:15pm | Post a Comment
The Egyptian is hosting a short Italian Grindhouse festival these next 7 days! Yesterday featured the legendary Cemetary Man as well as Argento's Opera. Fortunately for those that missed this double, both are available at Amoeba. Tonight the Cinematheque is showing a Carroll Baker double with Paranoia (Orgasmo) & A Quiet Place to Kill (A Drug Called Helen). Over the next week they'll cover sword and sandal territory, spaghetti westerns, psychedellic giallo & italo-crime. Films featuring Edwige Fenech, John Cassavetes, Klaus Kinski, Steve Reeves, Christopher Lee & many more favorites. Many not on DVD!

Compete Calendar here.

Egyptian Theatre
6712 Hollywood Blvd. (@ Las Palmas)







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AMOEBA MUSIC HIP-HOP WEEKLY ROUND UP (VIDEO VERSION): 07:10:09

Posted by Billyjam, July 10, 2009 10:50am | Post a Comment

Amoeba Music San Fra
Cagencisco Hip-Hop Top Five: 07:10:09 (by Luis, hip-hop buyer)

1) Cage Depart From Me (Def Jux)

2) Alchemist Chemical Warfare (KOCH)

3) J-Dilla Dillanthology 2: Dilla's Remixes for Various Artists Remixes (Rapster)

4) Chali 2na Fish Outta Water (Decon)

5) Notes To Self A Shot In The Dark (BBE)

Single of the week: 

Kid Cudi
"Make Her Say" (Universal/Motown)

Thanks to Luis (as seen in YouTube clip above), the hip-hop buyer at Amoeba Music, San Francisco, for this week's top five best selling new hip-hop CDs, plus the single of the week. Cage, this week's number one, even surpasses his last innovative outing Hell's Winter from four years ago. This new Def Jux album is bound to break the gifted New York progressive rap artist onto the mainstream. Just check out the video below for the new Cage album track "I Never Knew You." The song and accompanying video (directed by Shia Labeouf) have the same power and engaging urgency that Nirvana's breakout single/video "Smells Like Teen Spirit" did back in the early nineties. Coincidentally, Cage's notoriously troubled past, including mental health problems and drug abuse, draw some parallels to Kurt Cobain. Although thankfully it seems that Cage has gotten his shit chali 2na fish outta watertogether as far as the hard drugs are concerned, so hopefully he can stay mentally healthy & focused on his art and continue to make great albums like Depart From Me.

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