Sunday, March 19, 2017

Paul R. Williams - Master Architect

In the world of early to mid-twentieth-century architecture, the name Paul R. Williams quietly stands out. You’ve seen his work and probably didn’t know it. St. Jude's Children's Hospital. The Beverly Hills Hotel re-design. The homes of Frank Sinatra, Lucile Ball and her hubby Desi Arnaz, Lon Cheney. The list goes on. This orphan hailed from Los Angeles.reached for his dream and achieved it. He kept pushing forward, never knowing if his desire and skill were going to take him where he KNEW he belonged. After years of study, apprenticeship, and the usual, deliberate roadblocks, he accomplished his heart’s desire. Architect Beyond the Norm,, he is a touchstone for architects of all hues, but especially for black ones. His remarkable works dot the U. S., L. A. in particular, as he was the go-to guy for Hollywood stars during the 30s, 40s and 50s when they wanted a unique abode. He was barred from entering the major attractions and buildings he designed, even banned from purchasing the parcels of land the homes he built stood on, due to racism, but he got the last laugh because he is remembered today for the beauty of those structures.

The "R" stands for Revere. Is that patriotic enough for ya, America?

February 18, 1894 - January 23, 1980

Monday, March 13, 2017

Hallie Quinn Brown - Suffragette Extraordinaire!

No. She's not the unsinkable Molly Brown. She's the unsinkable Hallie Quinn Brown! Just as vocal, unstoppable and wise. Read all about her. She was inexhaustible.

Image result for hallie quinn brown quotes

Sunday, March 5, 2017

Selma Hortense Burke - Sculptor

Ms. Burke was a famed artist and that was a fact because her work was allegedly stolen by another. And  THAT'S how YOU know you've arrived. Her sculpture of Franklin D. Roosevelt was "borrowed from" by U.S. Chief Engraver John R. Sinnock for Roosevelt's image on the dime. He denied the claims that his work was not original. Oh well. What else is new?

Anyhoo, Ms. Burke went on with her life. Always the best revenge!

December 31, 1900, Mooresville, NC - August 29, 1995, New Hope, PA

Monday, February 13, 2017

Al Jarreau - Sleep well

Alwin Lopez Jarreau. Al Jarreau to you. Silky, rich, light, breezy. A voice that lifted the heart and could imitate instruments. Another gone. Sunday saw his voice quieted.

I came upon his music in my college days and was immediately swept away. His popularity rose after his theme for the TV show Moonlighting  hit big. But he'd been entertaining us for years before that. It was just that HIS time had come and he could finally make bank.

My favorite Jarreau song? Mornin' It's like being in a Mustang with the top down, cruising along. Wind in your face. Birds. Flowers. You get the picture. Take a listen and relax.

Well, Al, I know you are cruising now too. Rest in power.

Saturday, February 11, 2017

Opera diva Leontyne Price turned 90 on February 10th!

The pride of Laurel, Mississippi. My mom's shero. My mother had a beautiful mezzo-soprano voice and always looked to Ms. Price as a role model even though the diva was a lirico spirito. She was a touchstone for the possible. My mom studied voice for a year with a private tutor in New York City back in the early '50s. She wanted so badly to achieve what this woman did but was not able to. In fact, her teacher (who I sup[pose thought she was doing my mom a favor) told my mom not to "try so hard. They already got one of you in training. It's gonna be a looooong time before they let in another."

Yikes! And that, that...creature got paid for that advice.

My mom persevered for a bit longer but finally stopped and came back home. She continued to sing in the chorus with the local opera company (you know. those background scenes where there is a crowd). Just glad to be singing. But her dream was dashed. But every time she'd see a mention of Ms. Price anywhere, she'd smile and say, "She's excellent. That could have been me. I was that good."
I have to admit. Mom sang a damn good Carmen. And this lady's Aida was a masterpiece. A triumph.

Anyhoo, Ms. Price is still with us and exhibited nothing but excellence and wonderful diva behavior at her height. Drama, skill, drive.

Happy Birthday, Ms. Price! Diva Extraordinaire!

Sunday, February 5, 2017

Frank Wills - The man who made Watergate possible

Back in 1972, a young security guard made the discovery of a break-in at the Watergate complex in D. C. which led to the uncovering of the wiretapping of the Democratic Headquarters housed in the complex. A twenty-four year old guard who was simply doing his job. He found duct tape on one of the locks on a door at the complex when he was making his rounds. He alerted the cops. He did his job His log entry noting the discrepancy is in the NATIONAL ARCHIVES! The friggin' NATIONAL ARCHIVES! And it led to the resignation of President Richard Nixon because of his part in the scandal. Old Tricky Dick.

This discovery made tons of cash, and jumpstarted the careers of a slew of people (Woodward and Bernstein, G. Gordon Liddy, to name a few). Some went to jail but not enough. It made nothing for Mr. Wills. His birthday was February 4th. He died in poverty on September 27th 2000. If this ish had gone down today, he'd have a publicist, a designer duct tape line and a talk show. Shame.This guy oughta have a monument somewhere because if he had not been doing HIS JOB, the scandal would not have been known. The people who made bank from his effort should have seen to his needs.

Frank in later life

twenty-four year old Frank

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

GAMBIT wins a 2016 SFR Galaxy Award for addressing social issues!

Woot! Woot! I've been recognized for the fifth installment of the sci-fi series. GAMBIT won an SFR Galaxy Award 2016 for its social relevance! Aliens, wealthy assholes, private prisons and Nate and Tina to the rescue!

SFR Galaxy Awards