#Nixon50 #OTD 7/26/1970 President Nixon Nixon threw out baseballs to Angel catcher Joe Azcue and Senator catcher Jim French before the start of the Washington Senators v. California Angels game at Anaheim Stadium. (Image: WHPO-4019-08)
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Manhattan Project Security Billboards
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Someone should call the FDA
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July 22, 1940
When Lucille Ball registered to vote in 1936 and 1938, she listed her party affiliation as Communist.
To sponsor the Communist Party’s 1936 candidate for the California State Assembly’s 57th District, Ball signed a certificate stating, “I am registered as affiliated with the Communist Party.” The same year, she was appointed to the State Central Committee of the Communist Party of California, according to records of the California Secretary of State. In 1937, Hollywood writer Rena Vale, a self-identified former Communist, attended a Communist Party new members’ class at Ball’s home, according to Vale’s testimony before the United States House of Representatives’ Special House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC), on July 22, 1940. Two years later, Vale affirmed this testimony in a sworn deposition:
“Within a few days after my third application to join the Communist Party was made, I received a notice to attend a meeting on North Ogden Drive, Hollywood; although it was a typed, unsigned note, merely requesting my presence at the address at 8 o'clock in the evening on a given day, I knew it was the long-awaited notice to attend Communist Party new members classes … on arrival at this address I found several others present; an elderly man informed us that we were the guests of the screen actress, Lucille Ball, and showed us various pictures, books, and other objects to establish that fact, and stated she was glad to loan her home for a Communist Party new members class.” ~ Rena Vale
On September 4, 1953, Ball met privately with HUAC investigator William A. Wheeler in Hollywood and gave him sealed testimony. She stated that she had registered to vote as a Communist “or intended to vote the Communist Party ticket” in 1936 at her socialist grandfather’s [Fred Hunt] insistence. She stated she “at no time intended to vote as a Communist”.
Ball stated she has never been a member of the Communist Party “to her knowledge” … [She] did not know whether or not any meetings were ever held at her home at 1344 North Ogden Drive; stated… [that if she had been appointed] as a delegate to the State Central Committee of the Communist Party of California in 1936 it was done without her knowledge or consent; [and stated that she] did not recall signing the document sponsoring Emil Freed for the Communist Party nomination to the office of member of the assembly for the 57th District.
Immediately before the September 11, 1953, filming of “The Girls Go Into Business”, Desi Arnaz, instead of his usual audience warm-up, told the audience about Lucy and her grandfather. Reusing the line he had first given to Hedda Hopper in an interview, he quipped:
“Lucy has always had a clear conscience about this. She has never been a Communist, and what’s more, she hates every Communist in Hollywood. The only thing red about Lucy is her hair, and even that is not legitimate.”
The moment was recreated in the TV bio-film Lucy (2003) starring Rachel York as Lucy and Danny Pino (above) as Desi.
The studio audience gave Lucy a rousing round of applause, and in December of that year the “I Love Lucy” cast was invited to perform at the White House, President Dwight Eisenhower thereby confirming her innocence.
The day after the filming, the Arnazes held a press conference at their Chatsworth Ranch. When asked about the damage to her career, Lucille Ball answered, “I have more faith in the American people than that. I think any time you give the American people the truth they’re with you.”
TV Guide columnist Dan Jenkins stood up and said “Well, I think we all owe Lucy a vote of thanks, and I think a lot of us owe her an apology.” Lucy and Desi walked over to where Jenkins was standing and gave him a huge hug. Jenkins later said, “From that time on, we were very good friends.”
FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover said in a 1956 interview that Lucy and Desi were among his favorite stars. He was twice mentioned on “I Love Lucy.”
One of Hoover’s fans took offense, and that letter is in the FBI file on Ball. “I’m wondering if there is not a mistake or misquote of some kind since it lists Lucy and Desi among your favorite entertainers who you think set a good example for the youth of America.”
Fast forward to Lucille Ball’s sudden passing on April 26, 1989. One of the New York City television stations sent a reporter to the street in front of the Alvin Theatre (where Lucy had done Wildcat in 1960) to deliver the sad news to the metropolitan area. By this time, the Alvin’s name had been changed to the Neil Simon Theatre. The marquee, prominently visible to TV news watchers, was for a new musical called Senator Joe, which had closed in previews six weeks earlier. Its producer was accused of financial misconduct and landed in jail.
The one-act musical by Hair director Tom O’Horgan included Lucille Ball in its comic opera treatment of Senator ‘Joe’ McCarthy. Coincidentally, the theatre later hosted Cher the Musical, in which Lucille Ball was a supporting character.
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‘Long Kesh Letter’, East London Anti-Internment League, London, [early 1970s].
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Better Off Dead…, 1985 (dir. Savage Steve Holland)
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One Crazy Summer (1986)
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Molly Ringwald, Susanna Hoffs (The Bangles), and Belinda Carlisle (The Go-Go’s) together for the Trouble in Paradise benefit concert to help the homeless. March 10, 1985
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Stranger Than Paradise (1984 Film) by Jim Jarmusch
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the crazy family (1984) dir. gakuryū ishii
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The candlestick, the rope, the lead pipe, the wrench, the gun, and the dagger.
CLUE (1985) dir. Jonathan Lynn
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Killing Joke - Eighties
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The television screen is the retina of the mind’s eye.
– Videodrome (1983) dir. David Cronenberg
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Paul’s Boutique (Released on July 25th, 1989)
“Nobody gave a shit. They all moved on. It was like we were a haircut they got in the seventh grade they thought was cool, but now they were embarrassed by it and just wanted to pretend like it never happened.”
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Vintage mall interiors.
(This is a follow-up to THIS post.)
My parents were used to the old-fashioned familiarity of neighborhood shops. Local clusters of friendly retail and service establishments, where every shopkeeper knew your name. To them, malls were ominous abominations. Dark terrestrial city-caves of the future. My mother would say something like, “Welcome to Depression Valley” whenever we stepped inside the large new mall that had sprung up a few miles from where we lived. I heard her say it, but I didn’t feel it. Malls, like airports, felt like home to me. I had fantasies of living inside a mall.
(Heaven, to me, is a huge labyrinthine mall designed by Piranesi.)
I feel this is going to be a long post. Whenever I mentally transport myself inside that mall, I just don’t want to leave anymore. I’m not going to edit anything, it will all come out the way it comes out, tangents and all.
I was browsing a bookstore when I picked up a copy of Bridge of Terabithia. I had never heard of it, just something about the cover drew my attention. Suddenly this woman who seemed to have been following me around said, “That’s a really good book. My kids love it.” She didn’t look at me, just sort of glanced in my direction. There were no kids with her.
The blond elf-like girl who fascinated me so much. A sighting of her always was the biggest reward of the day. I didn’t know her name, nor did I know where she lived. But I knew where to find her. Not just her hair was blond, her skin was too; head to toe, she seemed to have been sculpted out of pure blond sandstone. One late afternoon, most people had gone home, she was sitting on one of the stone benches that ran alongside the sunken sitting area, alone. A filtered sunlight came in through the skylight above her, lighting up the thin fuzz on her bare legs. She was like a white vision in the dark space of the mall. A fleeting creature made out of thin phantom light. As I walked past her she smiled at me. It lasted less than a second, but I’ll never forget it. It wasn’t personal: she would have smiled at anyone walking past. But right now she smiled at me. I nodded, maybe I smiled back, like an alien trying to mimic human behaviour. Our paths crossed and then they diverged again.
(Years later I did learn her name. It was an ugly name: a crooked combination of harsh sounds that didn’t befit this shimmering being.)
My cousin was a nerd. The real thing, not the ironic kind. I was feminine, strangely angelic, and considered pretty with my long eyelashes and bright blue eyes. I was always kind of embarrassed to be seen with my cousin. I was underweight, tall, he was overweight, small, and there wasn’t a second I wasn’t aware of the comical difference between us. We were like the reflections of two funhouse mirrors that had come to life. But then I was always overly, ridiculously aware of myself and of everyone and everything around me anyway. I couldn’t take one step without seeing myself taking that step. We went to INDIANA JONES AND THE LAST CRUSADE at the mall, and the opening, young Indy with his heavy friend, reminded me of me and my cousin: there we were on the screen, having adventures. My cousin went to visit the comic book store afterwards, I tagged along. I loved going there, but not with him. He kind of lumbered through the store, buying comics, apparently against his will. Everything he did seemed to be against his will. He was alive against his will. He didn’t lumber just through the store, he lumbered through life. Back home, he didn’t seem to be happy with the comics he bought. He stored them somewhere and went on to play a computer game, against his will.
Evening at the mall. The weak twilight, the empty cars in the parking lot, gloomily reflecting the street lights, the people with their nondescript faces, everything seemed hollow to me. Like a shadow world that never sees daylight. We went to see BACK TO THE FUTURE PART II: me, my brother, and his friend Marcus. Marcus, who was black, was a movie buff. He was always going on about Spike Lee. He told me once that the Emperor from Star Wars was a clone, he said it like everyone knew that except me. He pronounced “Jedi” like “Jay-dee” for some reason. He could be outrageously funny, but whenever you tried to remember afterwards what exactly had been so funny, you could never really pinpoint it. Marcus’s humor didn’t manifest as specific jokes or quotable oneliners, rather he provided a general air of hilarity, where everything around you suddenly seemed like the absurd products of pathetic human endeavour. He saw right through hypocrisy. He was one of those people who could have become anything they wanted: surgeon, rockstar, landscape architect, comic book artist.
BACK TO THE FUTURE II. We were waiting for the movie to begin. In the row behind us, there were three girls. Who knows how those things start exactly, but suddenly Marcus and my brother were turned around in their seats and talking to the girls, teasing them, flirting maybe. One of the girls said “smartass” to my brother, he grinned. I hadn’t said a word, but as the friendly confrontation wound down, and Marcus and my brother turned to face the screen again, I felt a tap at the back of my head. It was the girl who sat in the middle. She had tapped me with the point of her boot. She looked like she might be a somebody at her school, not because of her looks, which were robust, but because of her confident attitude and her two wingmen. She looked at me and said, “Hey. You.” It sounded like a challenge. Or like she couldn’t really figure me out. I didn’t reply, and she left it there. Her friends laughed now and then during the movie, but she herself remained silent throughout.
All of this took place in the year of Our Lord 1989. These stories don’t go anywhere, they don’t conclude with a funny punchline or a weary sigh and words of wisdom. They are merely fragments of the Cubist jaggedness of life, where things just happen, or not. We all carry a mental library of such images and scenes, some random, some significant, and when we die, they die with us. These however, these 30-year-old glimpses, have now been saved from sure extinction, as, like everything we do online, they will be digitally stored forever—they will outlive all of us, and it amuses me to think that someone in the year 2137 might come across this post and read these very words with a kind of puzzled interest.
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