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Almanac – March 21

1656 – James Ussher died.  Church of Ireland Archbishop of Armagh and Primate of All Ireland between 1625 and 1656.

He was a prolific scholar, who most famously published a chronology that purported to establish the time and date of the creation as the night preceding Sunday, 23 October 4004 BC, according to the proleptic Julian calendar.

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1902 – Son House born.  American blues singer and guitarist, noted for his highly emotional style of singing and slide guitar playing.

After years of hostility to secular music, as a preacher, and for a few years also as a church pastor, he turned to blues performance at the age of 25.

He quickly developed a unique style by applying the rhythmic drive, vocal power and emotional intensity of his preaching to the newly learned idiom. He was a formative influence on Robert Johnson and Muddy Waters.

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1922 – Russ Meyer born.  U.S. motion picture director, producer, screenwriter, cinematographer, editor, actor and photographer,  known primarily for writing and directing a series of successful low-budget sexploitation films that featured campy humor, sly satire and large-breasted women – Faster Pussycat ! Kill ! Kill !, Beyond The Valley Of The Dolls, Supervixens, etc.

Film historian Jimmy McDonough posits that  Meyer’s usage of physically and sexually overwhelming female characters places him in his own separate genre.

He argues that despite portraying women as sex objects, Meyer nonetheless depicts them as more powerful than men and is therefore an inadvertent feminist filmmaker. I dont think anyone who’s seen the amazing  Tura Satana in Faster Pussycat ! Kill ! Kill !  would argue with that.

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1925 – The Butler Act prohibited  Tennessee  public school teachers from denying the Biblical account of man’s origin. It also prevented the teaching of the evolution of man from what it referred to as lower orders of animals in place of the Biblical account.

Any teacher straying from the Creationist line would be guilty of a misdemeanor and be fined between $100 and $500 for each offense.

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1943 – Vivian Stanshall born.  English singer-songwriter, painter, musician, author, poet and wit, best known for his work with the Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band, for his surreal exploration of the British upper classes in Sir Henry at Rawlinson End, and for narrating Mike Oldfield‘s Tubular Bells.

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1952 – Alan Freed presented the Moondog Coronation Ball, generally accepted as the first major rock and roll concert, in Cleveland, Ohio.

At the time, its most remarkable feature was its mix of black and white musical performers, in a revue intended for a racially mixed audience, at a time when almost all performances, radio stations and record labels were de facto segregated by race.

 More tickets were printed than the arena’s actual capacity, in part due to counterfeiting, and a printing error (tickets for a follow-up ball were sold with the same date printed after the first had sold out).

With an estimated 20,000 individuals trying to crowd into an arena that held slightly more than half that — and worries that a riot might break out as people tried to crowd in — the fire authorities shut down the concert after the first song by opening act Paul “Hucklebuck” Williams ended.

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1974 – Candy Darling died. American actress, best known as a Warhol Superstar.

A male-to-female transsexual, she starred in Andy Warhol‘s films Flesh (1968) and Women in Revolt (1971), and was a muse of  The Velvet Underground – the subject of their song Candy Says, and is  one of several Warhol associates memorialized in Lou Reed‘s  solo Walk on the Wild Side.

Darling died of lymphoma  aged 29,

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Almanac – November 24

1859 – Charles Darwin published On the Origin of Species.

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1868 – Scott Joplin born. American composer and pianist. Joplin achieved fame for his ragtime compositions, and was later dubbed “The King of Ragtime”. During his brief career, he wrote 44 original ragtime pieces, one ragtime ballet, and two operas. One of his first pieces, the “Maple Leaf Rag”, became ragtime’s first and most influential hit, and has been recognized as the archetypal rag.

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1941 – Donald “Duck” Dunn born.  American bass guitarist, session musician, record producer, and songwriter. Dunn was notable for his 1960s recordings with Booker T. & the M.G.’s and as a session bassist for Stax Records, playing on thousands of records including hits by Otis Redding, Sam & Dave, Rufus Thomas, Carla Thomas, William Bell, Eddie Floyd, Johnnie Taylor, Albert King, and many others.

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1944 – Candy Darling born. American actress, best known as a Warhol Superstar.  A male-to-female transsexual, she starred in Andy Warhol’s films Flesh (1968) and Women in Revolt (1971), and was also immortalized in the Velvet Underground‘s  ‘Candy Says’, Lou Reed‘s ‘Walk On the Wild Side’, the Rolling Stones song ‘Citadel’, and some claim she was the inspiration for  The Kinks ‘Lola’.

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1947 – For refusing to co-operate with the House Un-American Activities Committee, the US Congress cited 10 Hollywood Writers, directors and producers – the Hollywood 10 – for contempt.

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1963 – Lee Harvey Oswald, accused of assassinating John F. Kennedy, was himself murdered by Jack Ruby.

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1985 – Big Joe Turner died.  American blues shouter from Kansas City, Missouri. According to the songwriter Doc Pomus, “Rock and roll would have never happened without him.”  Although  his greatest fame came  in the 1950s with his pioneering rock and roll recordings, particularly “Shake, Rattle and Roll”, Turner’s career as a performer stretched from the 1920s into the 1980s

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Almanac – October 16

1384 – Although a woman, Jadwiga is crowned King of Poland. She is venerated by the Roman Catholic Church as Saint Hedwig, where she is the patron saint of – ironically enough – queens.

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1793 – Marie Antoinette, wife of Louis XVI, is guillotined at the height of the French Revolution.

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1854 – Oscar Wilde born. Irish writer and poet. After writing in different forms throughout the 1880s, he became one of London’s most popular playwrights in the early 1890s. Today he is remembered for his epigrams and plays, and the circumstances of his imprisonment which was followed by his early death.

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1869 – The Cardiff Giant , one of the most famous hoaxes in United States history made its appearance. It was a 10-foot (3.0 m) tall purported “petrified man” uncovered on October 16, 1869 by workers digging a well behind the barn of William C. “Stub” Newell in Cardiff, New York.

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1938 – Nico born. German singer, lyricist, composer, musician, fashion model, and actress, who initially rose to fame as a Warhol Superstar in the 1960s. She is known for both her vocal collaboration on The Velvet Underground‘s debut album, The Velvet Underground & Nico (1967), and her work as a solo artist from the late 1960s through the early 1980s. She also had roles in several films, including a cameo in Federico Fellini‘s La Dolce Vita (1960) and Andy Warhol‘s Chelsea Girls (1966), as herself.

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