Saturday, March 27, 2010

Extra-Extended sheet music discovery session

When last I looked into the box of sheet music I have been preserving from the ravages of time (I am the steward of a cache of classic sheet music from the early 20th century which was given to me by my grandmother, who received it from the owner, Miss Selma Jebsen, now deceased.) I overlooked some yellow envelopes.  This day, I opened them up and uncovered the best preserved of the lot, and I'm guessing the most well known songs of the collection. 
There is "Kiss Me Kate" by Cole Porter, "Some Day My Prince Will Come" from the Snow White production, and "Tumbling Tumbleweeds" by Bob Nolan.
Even more notable are the ones featuring the big headed photos of Jean Harlow, Bing Crosby and the jewel of the lot, "I'm just Wild About Harry" with a back and white photo of Harry Truman standing among the troops.  Under the picture, in big white letters is written VICTORY SMILE.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Extended session: found graphic design and bizarre images from the far past.

In the olden days, before tapes, cds, mp3, itunes, and even before the easy record was readily available, there was sheet music, and it was played by those proficient on the piano. Like, in every family there was the accomplished pianist and during Holiday time, there was the gathering by piano-side to engage in some of the newest music of the time and some old standards. It seems this way in films and books, that every family contained a child, parent, multi-talented Auntie or Uncle and the Jack-of-all-trades Grandma.  Even, I can see now, an autistic young son, who never took a lesson in his life, but can somehow read sheet music and play the balls off the living room piano. I had the good fortune of having a giant box of some of these old sheet music leaflet-books dropped into my eager arms by my Grandma to my Mom to me.  Grandma received them from an elderly woman she cared for in her old age. Her name was Selma E Jebsen and she lived her long life on Oak Street in the town of St. James, NY. This was the woman who had the blazing white hair that swept back from her forehead which would wrinkle along with her nose frequently when she spoke with you and looked upon you for the first time, which was every time, as she had Ulzheimers Disease.  We visited her not very often, but enough to have the smell memory of her home logged into my brain.  Not pleasant, but forgiveable because she was an amazing, sweet lady who cracked us up with her very endearing mannerisms, sayings and sweet, searching, innocent blue eyes.  I will come back from this now and say that it is her name printed onto ancient, crusted yellow mailing stickers on the fronts or backs of the rediculous, amazing and beautuful papers. They are falling apart now and I want to discover how to preserve them the right way, also to find out the value.  There is another huge box of them mouldering away in a basement, and if they are not rescued, at all may turn to a wet colorful molded paper block that cannot be touched by the hand of any man.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Johnson and Johnson First Aid Hand Book from 1911 is disturbing and great!

This book I found among the many bizarre treasures at my favorite antique and dusty junk shop in Brattleboro, Vermont.  It came sealed in a plastic sleeve, like a comic and the top left corner has this cool rusted, extra long staple that pulls in and out like a... little hook, so you can hang it somplace convenient. I have never seen that feature anywhere else. That is just the starting point.  As a writer and artist, I picked this up for picture reference and ideas, in particular, life in the early 20th century, but I did not expect to be utterly repulsed, quezened and made afraid by what I found inside the musty pages. The illustrations have that sickly, diseased quality that reflects the poor health and overall stinky nature of life during that time in America. The names of the ailments and treatments are very old fashioned and many of the remedies and tools used to administer medicines and techniques seem brutal.
This is a list of some of the categories within:
- Industrial Emergencies
- Mining Accidents
- Machinery and Railroad Accidents
- The Sick Room
- Disinfection by Formaldehyde Vapours
- Toilet Hints: The Daily Care of the Teeth,
A list of the scarier diseases and ailments within:
- Hysterics
-Lime in the Eye
- Burns From Gun Powder
- Croup
- Scarlet Fever
- Diptheria
- Typhoid Fever
- Consumption
- Whooping Cough
- Lumbago
- Phlegmon
- Pleursy
- Brain Trouble
- Lame Back
- Quinsy Sore Throat
First Aid Kit Supplies:
- 'Zonas' Adhesive Plaster
- 'Lister's' Tooth Soap
- Zonas Corn Leaf
- Synol Soap
- Johnson's Belladona Plaster
- Mustard Plasters
- Sputum Cup (The most disgusting)
- Camphenol
- Sulphur Fumigator
- Absorbent Lint
- Carbolized Petrolatum

Friday, January 22, 2010

Vermont treasure chest burst open

Among this haul are> Rin Tin Tin, Chickies, Big Big Picture Book, Sally's Lost Shoe, Peggy's Pokey, PussyCat Talks to Her Kittens, David and Nancy's Train Ride, Hi! Cowboy, Gene Autry and the Lost Dogie, Colors are Nice and Rusty the Pup Who Wanted Wings.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

I collect old children’s books. The older the better. There are endless yellowing and decaying nilla wafer scented tomes in the wide world, trapped in damp cellars, shitty thrift shops and antique houses that I seek out when I’m out and about. The pictures here were selected from a recent bargain buy at a joint in Brattleboro Vermont. The good folks sold me nearly 30 excellent old books, most from the 30’s, 40’s and 50’s, my choice for a golden age of illustrated kids picture books if there ever was one. This was an era of the hand painted, brilliantly colored scenes of American life in small towns and on the farm. There are a lot of images of horses, kittens, puppies, turtles, shiny shoes, pies, fences, kites, and bizarre close knit family bonding to be witnessed. I aspire to make art like this. These are artists and images that have gone unrecognized and forgotten for many a decade.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

About the name

Mountain Walk.
This is the name I have used for music projects in the past and now I think it is time to let it out for some exercise and to culture up. Free up. This is, after all, a name, a moniker and like all good names, logos, epigrams, signs, diagrams, it will and has taken on a life of its own. By putting a word, group of words, phrase or symbol out into the world of media, people, traffic, information and magik, one should expect it to have some "Power", or "Influence". Whatever that created wording is associated with, calls up into memory and current thinking, is linked with historically and means as an official definition...all of that will have some impact on the success of the wording as it is intended to be used.
I was in school at City College in the Masters/Certification program in Art Education and for my thesis poject, I created comics based on mythology and folklore from diverse cultures. The Japanese one was concerned with Yamabushi Monks. Literally: "One who lies/hides in the mountains". These were people, who during the Nanboku-cho period, took to venturing into the high, mist shrouded mountains and walking steep, lonely paths up there for years and years, allegedly picking up the magik of the spirit world, the Kami and the Tengu demons while they lived among the stony peaks. When they came back down, they were revered as powerful magicians and exorcists who were appointed to high spiritual positions in the court hierarchy.
Mountain Walk came from these things I've mentioned. Now I use it as a moniker for art, writing and music projects.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Planning for a sustainable future

Planning for an energized, intelligent and sustainable future
A new and vital project by FRA > Field Recording Activists

As we have seen in the recent debate regarding Health Care in America, it is nearly impossible to make a smooth transition from old, inefficient models of civic and social structures to intelligent, comprehensive
models no matter how obvious the potential advantages are. In the end, money, power and the ruling classes make up our minds for us.
Health care is only a tiny piece of the giant riddle we must find solutions to in the coming years in America and the world beyond. As I see it, we cannot hope to build a sustainable society if we are planning to rebuild it on a rotten foundation which is our land, environments, farming communities, water resources and wildlife, most notably now fish. I propose a simple action. Bring together representatives from as many social groups and political parties as there are in our country and exhaustively discuss and plan out the best methods for dealing with every major problem the world is facing now, then discussing which solution is the most viable and finally instituting the plans. We must put out the challenge to every country and person on Earth and allow everyone to understand it is our one and only chance for reordering and strengthening the planet. I like to view it as a kind of exploded Global New Deal that takes into account the opinions of everyone.

How would this work? How could this be afforded?
The simple answer is…DEMAND IT. Offer up the alternatives. There is nothing more important and
A good way to begin this effort is to start small, intelligent and precise. A good grassroots movement is ideal. To make this happen, WE MUST NOT ALLOW MONEY TO STAND IN THE WAY ANYMORE. Instead of buying the next pair of shoes or second I pod, please consider how it could be better spent. Type and print and distribute. Make a poster or a flyer that expresses your ideas. (we have to also think about the most efficient way to do these things without using up a ton of paper, ink and gasoline while getting out the message. Probably the most efficient way is to just go out and yell into a bullhorn.)
everyone must know it.

I would like to hear your opinions on any of or all of the points listed below.
Any quick statement will do, as long as we can understand your concerns about the problem as it is now and ANY potential solutions you may have been thinking about.
Please send anything you come up with back to me where I will be starting a well organized file of entries and ideas. Any thoughts about good methods for organizing data like this would be appreciated.
Please add to the list of topics if you feel they are missing and important.
Also, anyone who would like to become part of this project, please contact me.
Jason Estrin >Field Recording Activists FRA>>631-574-7380
When replying, you may want to just add/insert your comments directly alongside the topic areas you are interested in below. Do not worry about neatness or adhering to a method, just get the ideas down.

Most Important areas of Consideration:

• Population, birth
• Family issues
• Violence culture
• Counterculture, youth culture
• Leadership, icons, social figures
• Education
• Media/ entertainment, news, film, advertisement, internet
• Water use, management, waste
• Global Warming
• Changing weather
• Food Production
• Food Consumption
• Housing
• Product Production
• Product Consumption
• Waste management
• Energy Resources
• Transportation
• Urban planning/Community planning
• Home, Business, Urban energy
• Natural Resource Sustainability
• The Ocean, fishing, reefs, erosion
• Forests, Trees, timber, logging
• Rainforests
• Wetlands
• Mountains, glaciers
• Natural Parks
• Wildlife
• Habitats
• Migratory Paths
• Land Use
• Pollution/ Air, water, land
• Medicine, Health
• Political, Government Action
• Laws, Treaties, Protocols, fines, regulation
• Famine, Drought
• Disease, epidemics
• Catastrophe planning
• War and Peace

• Educate the masses about population problems/overpopulation and all the negative aspects concerned,
Sex education, birth control, child care.
• Consider the efforts other countries have made to deal with population problems; example: China, Japan efforts to convince people to limit families to one child. CheckFact
• Institute systems which monitor the waste, energy consumption, food consumption, product and services consumption and use or every family. This will provide a way for people to view and acknowledge their lifestyles and the impact they have on the environment and the system they live in.