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.