Tag Archives: Berlin

Almanac – May 06

1895 – Rudolph Valentino born.  Italian actor  and  an early pop icon.

A sex symbol of the 1920s, Valentino was known as the “Latin Lover“, and  starred in several well-known silent films including The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, The Sheik, Blood and Sand, The Eagle and The Son of the Sheik.

His death at age 31 caused mass hysteria among his female fans, further propelling him into icon status.

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1915 – Orson Welles born.  American actor, director, writer and producer who worked extensively in theater, radio and film.

He is best remembered for his innovative work in all three media, most notably Caesar (1937), a groundbreaking Broadway adaption of Julius Caesar and the debut of the Mercury Theatre;

The War of the Worlds (1938), one of the most famous broadcasts in the history of radio;

and Citizen Kane (1941), which is consistently ranked as one of the all-time greatest films.

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1992 – Marlene Dietrich died.  German  actress and singer.

Dietrich remained popular throughout her long career by continually re-inventing herself, professionally and characteristically.

In the Berlin of the 1920s, she acted on the stage and in silent films. Her performance as Lola-Lola in The Blue Angel, directed by Josef von Sternberg, brought her international fame and provided her a contract with Paramount Pictures in the US.

Hollywood films such as Shanghai Express and Desire capitalised on her glamour and exotic looks, cementing her stardom and making her one of the highest-paid actresses of the era.

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Almanac – March 24

1834 – William Morris born. English textile designer, artist, writer, and libertarian socialist associated with the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood and English Arts and Crafts Movement.

He founded a design firm in partnership with the artist Edward Burne-Jones, and the poet and artist Dante Gabriel Rossetti which profoundly influenced the decoration of churches and houses into the early 20th century.

 As an author, illustrator and medievalist, he helped to establish the modern fantasy genre, and was a direct influence on postwar authors such as J. R. R. Tolkien.

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1897 – Wilhelm Reich born. Austrian psychoanalyst, a member of the second generation of psychoanalysts after Sigmund Freud, and one of the most radical figures in the history of psychiatry.

During the 1968 student uprisings in Paris and Berlin, students scrawled his name on walls and threw copies of his book The Mass Psychology of Fascism at the police.

He moved to New York in 1939, in part to escape the Nazis, and shortly after arriving there coined the term “orgone” – derived from “orgasm” and “organism” – for a cosmic energy he said he had discovered, which he said others referred to as God.

In 1940 he started building orgone accumulators, devices that his patients sat inside to harness the reputed health benefits, leading to newspaper stories about sex boxes that cured cancer.

Following two critical articles about him in The New Republic and Harper’s, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration obtained an injunction against the interstate shipment of orgone accumulators and associated literature, believing they were dealing with a “fraud of the first magnitude.”

Charged with contempt in 1956 for having violated the injunction, Reich was sentenced to two years in prison, and in June and August that year over six tons of his publications were burned by order of the court, one of the most notable examples of censorship in the history of the United States.

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1919 – Lawrence Ferlinghetti born.  American poet, painter, liberal activist, and the co-founder of City Lights Booksellers & Publishers.

Author of poetry, translations, fiction, theatre, art criticism, and film narration, he is best known for A Coney Island of the Mind (1958), a collection of poems that has been translated into nine languages, with sales of over one million copies.

Although in style and theme Ferlinghetti’s own writing is very unlike that of the original NY Beat circle, he had important associations with the Beat writers, who made City Lights Bookstore their headquarters when they were in San Francisco. He has often claimed that he was not a Beat, but a bohemian of an earlier generation.

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1935 – Carol Kaye born.  American musician, best known as one of the most prolific and widely heard bass guitarists in history, playing on an estimated 10,000 recording sessions in a 55-year career.

As a session musician, Kaye was the bassist on many Phil Spector and Brian Wilson productions in the 1960s and 1970s.

She played guitar on Ritchie ValensLa Bamba and is credited with the bass tracks on several Simon & Garfunkel hits and many film scores by Quincy Jones and Lalo Schifrin. One of the most popular albums she contributed to was the Beach Boys Pet Sounds.

She also played on this –

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1938 – Holger Czukay born. German musician, probably best known as a co-founder of the krautrock group Can.

Described as “successfully bridging the gap between pop and the avant-garde,” Czukay is also notable for creating early important examples of ambient music, for exploring “world music” well before the term was coined, and for being a pioneer of sampling.

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1958 – Elvis Presley was drafted into the U.S. Army as a private at Fort Chaffee, near Fort Smith, Arkansas. He announced that he was looking forward to his military stint, saying he did not want to be treated any differently from anyone else: “The Army can do anything it wants with me.

Fellow soldiers have attested to Presley’s wish to be seen as an able, ordinary soldier, despite his fame, and to his generosity. He donated his Army pay to charity, purchased TV sets for the base, and bought an extra set of fatigues for everyone in his outfit.

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Almanac – February 26

1564 – Christopher Marlowe born. English dramatist, poet and translator of the Elizabethan era. Marlowe was the foremost Elizabethan tragedian of his day, and greatly influenced William Shakespeare.  Marlowe’s plays are known for the use of blank verse, and their overreaching protagonists.

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1917 – The Original Dixieland Jass Band records the first jazz record – “Livery Stable Blues”  – for the Victor Talking Machine Company in New York.

 A New Orleans Dixieland jazz band, the group composed and made the first recordings of many jazz standards, the most famous being “Tiger Rag”. In late 1917 the spelling of the band’s name was changed to Original Dixieland Jazz Band.

ODJB billed itself as the Creators of Jazz, because it was the first band to record jazz commercially and to have hit recordings in the new genre. Band leader and trumpeter Nick LaRocca argued that ODJB deserved recognition as the first band to record jazz commercially and the first band to establish jazz as a musical idiom or genre.

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1920 – The first German Expressionist film , Robert Wiene‘s  The Cabinet Of Doctor Caligari premièred in Berlin.  It was one of the most influential of German Expressionist films and is often considered one of the greatest horror movies of the silent era.

The film used stylized sets, with abstract, jagged buildings painted on canvas backdrops and flats. To add to this strange style, the actors used an unrealistic technique that exhibited jerky and dancelike movements.

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1932 – Johnny Cash born. American singer-songwriter, actor, and author  who was considered one of the most influential musicians of the 20th century. Although he is primarily remembered as a country music icon, his songs and sound spanned other genres including rockabilly and rock and roll—especially early in his career—and blues, folk, and gospel.

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1946 – Finnish observers reported the first of many thousands of sightings of ghost rockets –  rocket- or missile-shaped unidentified flying objects sighted mostly in Sweden and nearby countries.

About 2,000 sightings were logged between May and December 1946, with peaks on 9 and 11 August 1946. Two hundred sightings were verified with radar returns, and authorities recovered physical fragments which were attributed to ghost rockets.

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Almanac – August 31

12 – Caligula born.

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1810 – Eliza Hancock, while gleaning in a field in the parish of Box, near Bath, was accused of stealing wheat from the sheaves, which she denied, and wished she might be struck dead if she had.

She was found dead in the field about two hours after.

The Stamford News, 1810

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1867 – Charles Baudelaire died.  French poet who produced notable work as an essayist, art critic, and pioneering translator of Edgar Allan Poe. His most famous work, Les Fleurs du mal (The Flowers of Evil), expresses the changing nature of beauty in modern, industrializing Paris during the 19th century.

Baudelaire’s highly original style of prose-poetry influenced a whole generation of poets including Paul Verlaine, Arthur Rimbaud and Stéphane Mallarmé among many others. He is credited with coining the term “modernity” (modernité) to designate the fleeting, ephemeral experience of life in an urban metropolis, and the responsibility art has to capture that experience.

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1888 – Mary Ann “Polly”  Nichols murdered. Generally considered the first victim of Jack The Ripper.

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1928 – The Threepenny Opera, by Kurt Weill and Bertolt Brecht, had its premier in Berlin.

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Almanac – June 26th

1284 – Alledgedly the day in which 130 children were led out of the town of Hamelin by the Pied Piper.

1901 – Birth of Big Bill Broonzy, American blues singer/songwriter. His birth year may also have been 1893  or 1898, and I’ve also seen 1903 given ! 1901 generally seems to be the most likely.

 

1904 –  Birth of  Peter Lorre, Hungarian actor.

1909 –  Birth of Colonel Tom Parker, Elvis Presley’s manager

1963John F. Kennedy, on a visit to West Berlin, made his famous “I am a doughnut” speech.

 

Mr. Frankenstein

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Almanac – June 22nd

1633 – The Holy Office in Rome forces Galileo Galilei to recant his view that the Sun, not the Earth, is the center of the Universe.

1948 – The SS Empire Windrush arrived in Tilbury, bringing the first Caribbean migrants to the UK following the end of WW2.

 

 

And here’s the studio version of Lord Kitchener‘s London Is The Place For Me

 

 

1978Charon, a satellite of the dwarf planet Pluto, is discovered by American astronomer James W. Christy.

 

1990Checkpoint Charlie is dismantled in Berlin.

 

Mr. Franknstein

 

 

 

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