Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Kate Fagan

I don't have any information on Kate Fagan other than that she was a member of Heavy Manners- an early 80s ska act from Chicago.

I found this in the .99 cent bin at Reckless years ago...overjoyed that I actually found it after repeated listens to "I Don't Wanna Be Too Cool" taped off the radio. "I Don't Wanna Be Too Cool" is definitely the stand-out track while "Waiting For The Crisis" is a quirky nod to Devo with clunky lyrics. Listen to that Mid-Western Accent!

Kate Fagan - I Don't Wanna Be Too Cool
Kate Fagan - Waiting For The Crisis

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Elisabeth Chojnacka

Polish harpsichordist Elisabeth Chojnacka first made her name when she emigrated to France and performed award winning interpretations of classical harpsichord music. She soon immersed herself in rigorous 20th-century classical music, performing compositions by Ligeti, Xenakis and Penderecki, among many others. Many compositions have been written specifically for her.

Chojnacka has been performing with percussionist Sylvio Gualda since 1981 and is often a featured soloist in the Xenakis Ensemble.

Iannis Xenakis - Naama
Performed and dedicated to Elisabeth Chojnacka in 1984

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Mae Questel

From Wikipedia:
Mae Questel (September 13, 1908 - January 4, 1998) was an American actress and voice artist.
Born Mae Kwestel in New York City, Questel won a talent contest at the age of 17, and began performing in vaudeville. She was seen by animator Max Fleischer, who was looking for an
actress to provide the voice for his Betty Boop character. From 1930 until 1939 Questel provided the voice of Betty Boop in more than 150 animated shorts. During the 1930s she released a recording of "On The Good Ship Lollypop" which sold more than 2 million copies.

From the mid 1930s Questel also provided the voice for Olive Oyl in the Popeye animated shorts. She based Olive's nasal vocal style on that of the legendary actress ZaSu Pitts, and ultimately played the role for more than twenty years.

Questel made her first on-screen appearance in the 1960s and was widely seen as one of Fanny Brice's mother's card-playing friends at the start of Funny Girl (1968). She appeared in Zelig (1983) and memorably (as a celestial apparition) in New York Stories (1989) (making her the only actress to ever play Woody Allen's mother on-screen).

Her final film appearance was in National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation (1989). She also provided the voice for her old character Betty Boop in a cameo appearance in Who Framed Roger Rabbit (1988). She achieved perhaps her greatest visibility in television commercials for various household products, most notably as "Aunt Bluebell", pitching Scott Towels.

Mae Questel died from complications related to Alzheimer's Disease at the age of 89 in New York City in 1998.

Mae Questel - The Skipping Record (mp3)

Monday, May 08, 2006

Don't Tell Me! Richard Simmons!

From the queen of irritating comes this ridiculous little song that chastises the fatties. Mr. Simmons will not be accepting their pathetic excuses.

Richard Simmons - Don't Tell Me (mp3)

I was briefly a member of the "space-fag god rock"/high concept band Strawberry and we covered this song. I am very proud that I had to learn this goddamn song, sing the "YOU CAN DO IT! I KNOW YOU CAN DO IT!" parts and do a little hip-thrusting dance to accompany it. Oh, it was my favorite number.

For a period of time, when playing live, Strawberry would pristinely pre-record all of the tracks and pretend like they were playing them on stage. Everyone involved were master musicians and performers who knew how to play the songs inside and out and they convincingly pulled off the stunt. I was the only exception- I was a keyboard player whose miming could be extremely generalized and hidden by racks of cheap synthesizers. In order to confuse and confound even more, the guitar player would sometimes play his parts live. One of my favorite stunts was when a member would be seen in the background mouthing the words of the songs into a headset microphone in an attempt to throw off reality even more- who really was singing? who is actually playing? ...usually no one! It may all seem a bit gimmicky, but everything was pulled off with extreme seriousness.

As they put it: "...sounds like a collision between Missing Persons, Gary Numan, Depeche Mode, and Mötley Crüe. Now throw in Iannis Xenakis, Cole Porter and the Andrews Sisters and you've got it!"