Friday, May 29, 2015

ffb: JOY IN OUR CAUSE: Short Stories by Carol Emshwiller (Harper & Row, 1974)

Carol Emshwiller has been a sophisticated prose artist from, at latest, not long after first publication in 1954, and this fact became impossible to miss by the appearance of her first stories to gain widespread attention, such as "Hunting Machine" (1957), "Pelt" (1958). and "Day at the Beach" (1959); one might correctly gather she's had a keen interest in analyzing the expression of cruelty from the first two titles. This volume, from 1974, was her first collection, and with about half the contents published here for the first time, the book is among a number of other things partially autobiographical fiction (at times verging on essay) and not solely in those aspects a rumination on love, marriage, and the lives of women who are both artists and domestically wives and mothers. Emshwiller had begun publishing fiction with a short story in a regional general-interest magazine, then published nearly all of her next dozen or so stories in the crime fiction and science fiction magazines edited by the adventurous Robert Lowndes, to whom her husband had been steadily selling his illustrations (Emshwiller and Edward Hoch can be said to be Lowndes's chief writer discoveries in those years). By the mid/late 1960s, Emshwiller had begun placing notable stories with the likes of avant-garde anthology series New Directions and the little magazines such as TriQuarterly and Epoch, and so she would continue in these modes, though adding more fantasy and dropping crime fiction per se, and eventually writing highly unusual western novels in the 1990s, beginning with Ledoyt. This volume has only seen the Harper hardcover first edition; ridiculously, no paperback nor foreign editions...rather too much like another excellent collection I've reviewed here before, Wilma Shore's Women Should Be Allowed.

The contents of this book are also included in (the previously cited here) The Collected Stories, Volume 1, but they are arranged here for desired effect rather than by date of publication in the later volume, and this furthers the effect of the often linked nature of the stories in Joy

from the Contento/Locus indices, with a few added citations:
For more of today's books, please see Patti Abbott's blog.

Thursday, May 28, 2015

May's Underappreciated Music: the links

The monthly assembly of undervalued and often nearly "lost" music, or simply music the blogger in question wants to remind you reader/listeners of...

Patti Abbott: Bessie Smith

Jayme Lynn Blaschke: Friday Night Videos

Sean Coleman: Genesis: Selling England by the Pound

Bill Crider: Forgotten Music; Song of the Day; Forgotten Hits: Local Charts 

Jeff Gemmill: The Staves: If I Was; Top 5s

Jerry House: The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band; Daily Music+; Hymn Time

Randy Johnson: Because I Like Them: Atomic Bitchwax

George Kelley: Mariah Carey: #1 to Infinity

Kate Laity: Rymäkkä:  "Bear Feast Polska"

Todd Mason: Free jazz vocalists: Patty Waters, her influences? and successors; the recently departed; Jimi Hendrix covers; some country music

Patrick Murtha; Louis Durey of Les Six; Eric Burdon (of The Animals and War)

Lawrence Person: Shoegazer Sunday

Charlie Ricci: Kent State & the Protest Song; Mark Knopfler; Brandi Carlile: The Firewatcher's Daughter; The Tremeloes: "Here Comes My Baby"; The Black Keys: Turn Blue

A. J. Wright: "Alabama Song" and its history

My mother, Camilla Mason, cofounded a Friends of the Band at Londonderry (NH) Jr High School in 1977, while I attended (and played trombone badly), that has continued over the years (after they added a choir as it became Jr/Senior High School, the org became Friends of Music)...which helped the LHS Marching Band make its way into the Rose Bowl Parades several years running, under the direction of my old music teacher, still at it thirty-plus years later, Andrew Soucy...the below pretty good for a high school band (both a promise and a warning):

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Tuesday's Overlooked Films and/or Other A/V: new links

This week's selections  (reviews and citations at the links below) of undeservedly (and a few deservedly) underappreciated audio/visual always, thanks to all the contributors and you readers. 

A. J. Wright: The Lawless Breed

Allan Fish: Ghatashraddha

Anne Billson: Nymphomaniac V. 1

Bill Crider: Girls Town [trailer]

Brian Arnold: Super

BV Lawson: Media Murder; "Towards a Digital Atlas of European Crime Fiction?"

Comedy Film Nerds: Allan Havey; Kristen Carney

Dan Stumpf: The Man with Two Faces

Elizabeth Foxwell: "Espionage Target: You"; A. Conan Doyle on spiritualism and Holmes

Evan Lewis: The Shadow: A Trip to Eternity

George Kelley: Kinky Boots (stage)

How Did This Get Made?: Rhinestone

Iba Dawson: Anne V. Coates

Ivan G. Shreve, Jr.: The Abbott and Costello Show

Jack Seabrook: The Abominable Dr. Phibes
Science Fiction Theater (w/Vincent Price)

Jackie Kashian: Mary Kennedy on Kennedys, reality tv, gossip magazines, politics, etc.

Jacqueline T. Lynch: Red Canyon

Jake Hinkson: Quais Du Polar​

James Reasoner: "No Matter What Shape..."

Jeff Flugel: horror and adjacent films: from The Leopard Man to Tucker & Dale vs. Evil

Jerry House: Science Fiction Theater: "Operation Flypaper"; Death Valley Days: "Sam Bass"; Ray Bradbury in 2001

A Question of Adultery
John Grant: A Private Scandal; A Question of Adultery

Jonathan Lewis: The Mongols; Arizona Raiders

Kate Laity: Valhalla Rising

Kliph Nesteroff: Maynard Sloate, booker for Vegas casinos and clubs in the '50s and '60s

Laura: The Public Defender; Stand By for Action

Martin Edwards: Magic (1978 film)

Marty McKee: The Outfit

Patrick Murtha: A Perfect Couple

Patti Abbott: Los Angeles Plays Itself

Prashant Trikkanad: Passenger 57

Randy Johnson: Rio Bravo; Island of Lost Women

Rick: The Saint (tv)

Rod Lott: Girlhouse; Lost Soul: The Doomed Journey of Richard Stanley’s Island of Dr. Moreau; Camp

Sergio Angelini: Marlowe (1969 film)

Stacia Jones: Black Patch

Stephen Bowie: Anthony Heald

Steve Lewis: Death Flies East

Todd Mason: the NTA Film Network (defunct US television network)

Walter Albert: Two-Fisted

Yvette Banek: To Be or Not To Be (the first film)
To Be or Not To Be

Monday, May 25, 2015

overlooked US television networks: NTA Film Network (flourished 1956-61)

Old VHF Channel 13 in New York City has been the or an anchor station for no fewer than three national television networks in the US so 1962, it was among the later startups for public television in larger cities when, as WNDT (then, later, WNET), it became one of the key stations in the National Educational Television (NET) network, and, when PBS was initiated in 1970 (in part so that the Nixon Administration could "tame" NET), became a key station for that similarly decentralized network. But before the sale of the station in late 1961 to a public broadcasting nonprofit corporation, it had for some years served as WNTA, the launching point for a small national network, the NTA (National Telefilm Associates) Film Network. Some online references, at least, rather sloppily credit the NTA programs to NET or even PBS, others somewhat more understandably cited them as syndicated (the NTA network at its height had 128 affiliates, apparently, and most were primary affiliates of one of the three bigger commercial networks...the DuMont Network and the Paramount Television Network both having just ceased most operations earlier in 1956). However, the Wikipedia article on the network is pretty impressive.

As was some of the programming, most memorably The Play of the Week (1959-1961); John Houseman was among the regular participants behind the cameras. From their production of The Iceman Cometh (1960, starring Jason Robards and featuring Robert Redford): 

From the pilot episode, "Medea" with Judith Anderson (1959)
 Many episodes of this series are available on home video...some in the same package as NET Playhouse episodes produced later for NET and, briefly after, PBS, perhaps furthering confusion for the easily confused between WNTA and its network and its public successor and its networks.

Not every series was as notable, but the network got some licks in, even given that the most durable series associated with it were network co-owner David Susskind's talk show Open End (soon retitled The David Susskind Show, as the WNTA original would simply run on Sunday nights into Monday morning till Susskind and his guests tired of the conversation they were having, and the show and WNTA would sign off) and the Los Angeles affiliate KTTV's first contribution to the network, the first version of Divorce Court (which would continue in syndication till 1969).

As would the Fox/FBC network and the WB much later, NTA tried an initial national in-pattern primetime slate on one night only, on Fridays in 1958:

7:30pm ET/PT: Man Without a Gun
8pm This is Alice
8:30p How to Marry a Millionaire
9-11p Premiere Performance (first-run. if pre-1949, films from 20th Century Fox, who was a partner in the network)
to see as well how the other commercial networks programmed Fridays in '58-'59, click here.

Man Without a Gun opening

This is Alice opening (Desilu production)

How to Marry a Millionaire (first of three parts of a full episode)

Another NTA series, this one in partnership with the BBC (another tradition carried on by NET and PBS): The Third Man (a full episode)--a reasonably clever one written by (Ms.) Hagar Wilde, directed by Arthur Hiller, and featuring Suzanne Pleshette along with series star Michael Rennie as Harry Lime; "Listen for the Sound of a Witch":

From a David Susskind Show episode from not too long after the network's end, with Jerry Lewis blathering about his variety/talkshow failure:

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Saturday Music Club: influence detective edition: on free jazz singer Patty Waters, and those who cite her...

Patty Waters. latter 1960s
Patty Waters has had one of the more enigmatic careers among jazz vocalists, having been "discovered" singing in a supper club by avant-garde jazz saxophonist Albert Ayler and recommended to Ayler's primary label at the time, ESP-Disk Records. She recorded two albums for the indy label in 1965 and '66, then, after a bit of a European sojourn, retired from performance for decades. But the two LPs, and a rarities collection, helped her have some important influence on Patti Smith, Lydia Lunch and Diamanda Galás, by their own account (and through the first two, punk rock among other modes). Here, below, a slight query into some of those who might've influenced Waters, or at least got her to consider opening up her approach in the direction she took for her early write "gave her permission" is too much, I suspect...Waters apparently hadn't heard the Lincoln performance till after recording her own.

Sheila Jordan with the George Russell Sextet: "You Are My Sunshine"

Nina Simone: "Feeling Good"

Jeanne Lee and Ran Blake: "Laura"

Abbey Lincoln with the Max Roach band: "Triptych (Prayer, Protest, Peace)" from Freedom Now Suite

Patty Waters: "It Never Entered My Mind"

Patty Waters: "Song of Clifford"

for her recording of "Black is the Color of My True Love's Hair"

Joan La Barbara: "Twelvesong"

Patti Smith Group: "Ain't It Strange"