Tag Archives: music

Mysterious Kansas Parrot Fetish Revisited


The feet definitely look more like robin feet than parrot feet.  But the hooked beak is more parrot-like in my expert opinion.

The feet definitely look more like robin feet than parrot feet. But the hooked beak is more parrot-like in my expert opinion.

Hi readers.

The mysterious Kansas parrot fetish post left most of you on the edges of your chairs most likely in hopes I’d follow it up with clarifications, and maybe more music explaining just what the hell that parrot is doing to get itself venerated by Kansans.

I believe the purplish design on the right side of the thing is a stylized version of the parrot-head.  A sort of modern-Kansas equivalent of an ancient Egyptian Eye of Horus.  But what the hell do I know?

I believe the purplish design on the right side of the thing is a stylized version of the parrot-head. A sort of modern-Kansas equivalent of an ancient Egyptian Eye of Horus. But what the hell do I know?

I’ve seen a lot of these in a wide range of contexts since I posted the ‘mysterious Kansas Parrot fetish’ post.  I wish I could report to you with confidence it isn’t just a robin walkin’ walkin’ walkin’ to Missouri, but I can’t.

I think there’s still a strong case to be made that it’s a cryptic protest about the absurdly higher gasoline prices on the Kansas City, KS, side of the state line than on the Kansas City, MO, side of the boundary.

Fact is the whole thing was a lot nearer the public consciousness in verbal terms during the late 1940s and early 1950s than it is today.  Nowadays it’s just out there as flags and whatnot.

I wash my hands of the whole matter.

Old Jules



They still want to do the Dirty Bop – And they all want to play Hamlet

I’m trying to remember my partner in disgrace.  Might have been Patsy Bohannan, maybe.  Around that time I recall we sat on opposite ends of a seesaw in the park surrounded by other kids, her singing, “Why do fools fall in love”, had me squirming something awful.  But she was a preacher’s daughter.  Not a good candidate for the Dirty Bop.

So it might have been Linda Kiker or a girl with a really bad reputation named Nancy Koch.  Seems I ought to remember, but at the time the disgrace was so overwhelming and the likely consequences so widespread, identity got swept into the grader-ditch of history.

Anyway, it was one of those Junior High School events at the Portales Memorial Building.  I’d never heard of the Dirty Bop, presumably the female side of the equation also had never heard of it.  The only time either of us had ever danced the bop was probably sneaking around practicing behind locked doors at home.

But great minds think alike, I expect, and there’s always becoming absorbed in the event, showing off, whatever.  We danced the Dirty Bop.  A Portales First, most likely.

Got our asses kicked spang out of the Memorial Building for our trouble, got to have a long prayer meeting with Mr. Livingston.  A man in authority who had a lot of familiarity with my backside with the paddle he kept in his office.

Anyway, it all worked out for the good in the end.  I eventually became me.  Likely, whomever the girl was eventually became her.  And I don’t recall ever encountering her later in any waterfront bar or strip joint somewhere.

But I guess the Dirty Bop is still around after all these years.

High school requires signed dance contract that bans twerking


Annapolis High School in Maryland is now requiring that students and parents sign a dance contract which aims to cut down on provocative dancing at the school’s next homecoming. As reported by WMAR ABC 10 News, the contract outlines the school’s policies and expected student behavior very specifically. Junior Lexi Pline said, “The first day we get it, it’s usually just kind of funny to read it because of the way, like the way they describe everything. It’s kind of hilarious.” The contract states that “sexually explicit dancing will not be tolerated,” and defines explicit dancing as “grinding,” “making out,” and “buttocks touching a partner or in the air.” The last point apparently intended to stop twerking at school functions.

Just goes to show, as Carl Perkins or someone once said, “You can’t stop Rock and Roll“.   Or maybe it was Bill Haley and the Comets.  I heard a while back he died as a street person in Alabama or somewhere.  Still dancing.  Nobody ever explained the consequences of dancing the Dirty Bop to him.

Old Jules

Afterthought:  Actually I think it was Carl Perkins talking about that British group, the Beetles or whatever, when they first showed up on the radar,  “They aren’t Elvis, but they aren’t all that bad.”

Pickin’ Up Beer Cans on the Highway

While I’m thinking about Homer Henderson and the Dalworthian Garden Boys I think I’d better go ahead and post this before I forget.

Homer Henderson – Pickin’ Up Beer Cans on the Highway

The Song of the Sewer

Art Carney – Song of the Sewer 1955

“My father he worked in the sewer uptown.
I followed his footsteps and worked my way down.
That’s how I got into this here industry:
I just sort of fell into it. Heh! Lucky me!”

I intended that to end the last post, but WordPress ain’t letting me edit my posts these days.

Old Jules

Speaking of KENM, 1450 on your radio dial circa 1955

This is Monet George talking to you from KENM, Portales, New Mexico.  The peanut  basin of the nation.  And we’ve got a little song here for you today.

The theme song for the station was “My Adobe Hacienda.”

Lord how I hated that song.  They played it at every opportunity.

But they also loved, “Dear Hearts and Gentle People,” which didn’t exactly describe the local population except in fantasy.

Helped them feel better about themselves than they had any business doing.

“Doing What Comes Naturally” actually fit them better and, believe it or not, they liked that one, too.

I suppose “Buttons and Bows” would have resonated with any but the most stalwart souls in Portales, New Mexico, circa 1950-60, and it sure as hell got plenty of play.

Those were the days of “Knock knock” jokes, and the favorite joke around there was, “Knockknock.”  “Who’s there?”  “Kilroy”  “Kilroy who?”  “Kill Roy Rogers!  I’m Gene Autry’s fan!”

KENM was a Gene Autry Fan.

WWII vintage folks ruled the world then.  If it hadn’t been for “Tennessee Waltz”, Bonaparte’s Retreat” and “Fraulein” I expect KENM would have had long silences trying to figure out what to play.

Old Jules

You could jitterbug to it! A weird footnote in music history

This song really pissed a lot of people off in 1958.  The local station, KENM, Portales, New Mexico  [1450 on your radio dial] refused to play it for a while. 

But KENM went off the air at 9PM and most of us first heard it on KOMA, Oklahoma City, same as all the other kids from Texas to North Dakota.  You could pick it up once the local stations shut down.  The leading edge to what was happening.  The 1958 facsimile of the Internet for youth in the Central and Southwestern US.

Rock and Roll was still trying to define itself, trying to separate itself from Rhythm and Blues, and Bop.  Adults were fairly certain it was the work of the devil, same a the Bop.  [I've written here somewhere how much trouble I got into doing the 'Dirty Bop' without even knowing I was doing it.]  It wasn’t even clear yet that Rock and Roll would be the name that stuck to it. 

So when Pat Boone mixed Rock and Roll with religion he was stepping on a lot of sober, somber toes.

But thanks to KOMA, we heard it anyway.  A kid name Chito Smith stood up on a bench in the locker room after PE class and started singing it, all of us with towels wrapped around us jumping around, snapping our fingers, defying authority, singing, “Wellawellawellawella, everybody’s gonna get religion and glory.”

KENM eventually bent enough to play it.  They were already playing such songs as “Wings of a Dove,” by Hawkshaw Hawkins, and “Sinner Man,” by Brook Benton, anyway, and I suppose they figured those might neutralize the devilish side of every body having a wonderful time up there.

Old Jules

Hot Diggety Damn – Join Me for One of These Next Year! Let’s Party!


Co-Commissioned and Co-Produced by The Santa Fe Opera and Opera Company of Philadelphia.
Featuring David Daniels in the title role.

Featuring Joyce DiDonato in the title role.

First performances since 1979. New Production.
Featuring Susan Graham in the title role. 

Mozart, The Marriage of Figaro from 2008. 
Verdi, La Traviata from 2009.
In honor of the 200th anniversary of the composer’s birth.


Venue to be Announced
In honor of the 200th anniversary of the birth of Richard Wagner
and the 100th anniversary of the birth of Benjamin Britten.
Richard Wagner, Wesendonck Lieder
Original version for voice and piano
Benjamin Britten, Cabaret Songs
Christine Brewer, Soprano
Frédéric Chaslin, Piano
Liszt, Wagner Transcriptions
Frédéric Chaslin, Piano

SUNDAY, AUGUST 18, 2013, 4:00 PM
Basilica Cathedral of Saint Francis of Assisi
Stravinsky: Mass
Monteverdi: Vespers (selections)
A recreation of the concert Igor Stravinsky himself conducted on this date fifty years ago in his last appearance in Santa Fe.   That historic concert will be recreated by members of The Santa Fe Opera Apprentice Program and the Santa Fe Opera Orchestra led by Chief Conductor Frédéric Chaslin. 

Jacques Offenbach
Last performed by The Santa Fe Opera in 1979.  New Production.
Sung in French
With English Dialogue
June 28, July 3, 6, 12, 19, 30, August 7, 15, 21, 24


CONDUCTOR   Frédéric Chaslin
DIRECTOR     Lee Blakeley
COSTUME DESIGNER    *Jo van Schuppen
CHOREOGRAPHER       Peggy Hickey
GRAND DUCHESS   Susan Graham
WANDA +*Anya Matanovič
FRITZ *Paul Appleby
BARON PUCK +Aaron Pegram
PRINCE PAUL  +Jonathan Michie
GENERAL BOUM  Kevin Burdette


Santa Fe Opera audiences in the 1970s loved this grande opera bouffe, and it was presented no less than four times in a decade.  Mr. MacKay decided it was time to bring it back.  The Grand Duchess, a young woman raised by tutors, is a tyrant, and the opera revolves around the complications of her love life.  Susan Graham, one of the world’s leading dramatic mezzo-sopranos, has a virtuoso comic side which will be remembered from the 2003 performance of another Offenbach gem, La Belle Hélène.  The object of her affections is a young officer, Fritz, sung by Paul Appleby in his debut.  Mr. Appleby was a national winner of the 2009 Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions, a career grantee from the Richard Tucker Foundation in 2011, and recently, the recipient of the 2012 Martin E. Segal Award. He performs extensively with pianist Steven Blier and the New York Festival of Song.  The object of Fritz’s affection, Wanda, is sung by Anya Matanovič, also making her debut. The cast also includes Kevin Burdette, remembered as Kitty’s father in the 2011 production of The Last Savage.  Making their debuts are scenic designer Adrian Linford and costume designer Jo van Schuppen.  Both have worked with director Lee Blakely, who is returning to Santa Fe for the 2012 production of The Pearl Fishers.  Chief Conductor Frédéric Chaslin will conduct.


Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Sung in Italian
Last performed by The Santa Fe Opera in 2008.  Revival.
June 29, July 5, 10, August 3, 8, 13, 20, 23


CONDUCTOR      John Nelson
DIRECTOR   Bruce Donnell
PRODUCTION Jonathan Kent
SUSANNA   *Lisette Oropesa
CHERUBINO       *+Emily Fons
MARCELLINA   Susanne Mentzer
BASILIO      +Keith Jameson
COUNT ALMAVIVA      Daniel Okulitch


The American soprano Lisette Oropesa will make her company debut as Susanna.  Ms. Oropesa, a former member of the Lindemann Young Artist Development Program at the Metropolitan Opera, has appeared in a number of operas there including Das Rheingold and Siegfried.  Most recently she appeared in the Met’s production of The Enchanted Island.  The Countess and Count will be sung by Susanna Phillips and Daniel Okulitch, who was last seen in 2011 as the Last Savage in the opera of the same name.  Ms. Phillips has been singing leading roles both in this country and abroad, including the Metropolitan Opera.  Emily Fons, an apprentice in 2008 and 2009, is Cherubino.  The distinguished conductor John Nelson, who has appeared with orchestras and ensembles in this country and in Europe, led the Company’s 1997 production of Semele.  Director Bruce Donnell will recreate the original production by Jonathan Kent.  He has directed extensively at the Metropolitan Opera including a tour to Japan, and with opera companies in Europe, Canada and South America.  He has directed a number of productions for The Santa Fe Opera, most recently Salome in 2006.

Gioachino Rossini
First performances by The Santa Fe Opera.  New Production.
Sung in Italian
July 13, 17, 26, August 1, 6, 14


CONDUCTOR   Stephen Lord
DIRECTOR   Paul Curran
ELENA  +Joyce DiDonato
MALCOLM GROEME     *Daniela Barcellona
UBERTO   *Lawrence Brownlee
RODRIGO DI DHU   *René Barbera
DOUGLAS D’ANGUS   Wayne Tigges

Rossini’s opera of 1819 is based on The Lady of the Lake by Sir Walter Scott in which a young woman, Elena, is pledged to marry one man, but loves another.  Joyce DiDonato, in the title role, performed the opera in 2010 at the Paris Opera and in 2011 at La Scala.  In La Donna del Lago, her true love, Malcolm, will be sung by mezzo- soprano Daniela Barcellona.  Born in Trieste, Ms. Barcellona is recognized as a superb interpreter of Rossini whose works she has sung throughout Europe.  She appeared with Ms. DiDonato in the Paris and La Scala productions.  The brilliant American tenor Lawrence Brownlee is Uberto, the disguised King James who also loves Elena.  He studied at Indiana University, making his Metropolitan Opera debut in 2000. Tenor René Barbera, a native of San Antonio, is Rodrigo.  In 2011 he received the top three prizes in Plácido Domingo’s Operalia Competition, the first singer to do so.   All three are making their company debuts in this new production.  Stephen Lord returns to conduct.  He led The Tales of Hoffmann in 2010.  Director Paul Curran and scenic and costume designer Kevin Knight most recently created Albert Herring in 2010.

Giuseppe Verdi
Sung in Italian
Last Performed by The Santa Fe Opera in 2009.  Revival.
July 20, 24, 29, August 2, 5, 10, 16, 22


CONDUCTOR      Frédéric Chaslin
DIRECTOR   Laurent Pelly
VIOLETTA  *Brenda Rae
ALFREDO    +*Michael Fabiano
GERMONT     *Roland Wood (American debut)
GASTONE    +Keith Jameson
DOUPHOL +* Jonathan Michie
DR. GRENVIL  Dale Travis

French director Laurent Pelly returns to Santa Fe to recreate his striking production of La Traviata with scenic designer Chantal Thomas.  Making her debut as Violetta is Brenda Rae.  The American soprano has been a member of the ensemble at Frankfurt Opera where she has sung major roles.  Her appearances in Europe include performances at National Opera of Bordeaux, Glyndebourne Festival, Bayerische Staatsoper, and Arena di Verona.  Alfredo will be sung by Michael Fabiano, a former apprentice who has been winning acclaim in this country and in Europe.  He was a grand prize winner at the 2007 Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions and was featured in The Audition, the documentary about the competition.  He has made debuts at English National Opera, San Francisco Opera, Dresden Semperoper, Opera Cologne, Deutsche Oper Berlin, and others.  Baritone Roland Wood is a British native, having received his music education at Royal Northern College of Music and at the National Opera Studio and English National Opera where he has also performed.  He has sung with opera companies throughout Scotland, England and in Europe.  All three are making their first appearances in Santa Fe.  These performances also mark Mr. Wood’s American debut.

Theodore Morrison
Libretto by Theodore Morrison and John Cox
World Premiere
Commissioned and Produced by
The Santa Fe Opera and Opera Company of Philadelphia
Sung in English
July 27, 31, August 9, 12, 17


CONDUCTOR  Evan Rogister
DIRECTOR   Kevin Newbury
OSCAR WILDE   David Daniels
ADA LEVERSON  Heidi Stober
FRANK HARRIS  +William Burden
WALT WHITMAN  Dwayne Croft


David Daniels is one of music’s leading countertenors whose career spans music of the Baroque era to the contemporary.  He appeared in the Company’s 2011 production of Vivaldi’s Griselda and recently in the title role of Handel’s Rinaldo at the Lyric Opera of Chicago.  He was the leading countertenor in the Metropolitan Opera’s Baroque pastiche, Enchanted Island, seen worldwide in theaters in HD.  Heidi Stober was Musetta in the 2011 revival of La Bohéme and prior, as Tigrane in Radamisto with Mr. Daniels in 2008.  She is singing the role of Zdenka in the 2012 production of Arabella.  Mr. Burden will be remembered for his sympathetic performance of Captain Vere in the 2008 production of Billy Budd.  He is appearing as the mysterious Shepherd in the 2012 production of King Roger.  Kevin Newbury last directed Life Is a Dream by Lewis Spratlan in 2010.  He will continue his collaboration with scenic designer David Korins. Evan Rogister, who has made his career primarily in Europe, is now in demand with opera companies in the U.S and returns to conduct King Roger in 2012.


A Matter of Aesthetic Perspectives

In town the other day I stopped into the Autozone store for a roll of electrical tape, nosed around a bit and found some titanium drill bits I think might be an improvement over the simulated drill bits I have around here.

Paid my money and went out the front door into the heat.  Sitting beside Little Red was a shiny 20 year old sedan with tinted windows rolled up, engine running, making the damnedest racket I’ve ever heard an automobile make.  The noise could have been heard across the street and the car almost seemed to be shaking with each new sound.  I stared at it a moment trying to figure out what could be wrong with it, what was happening to it.

That car’s got a MAJOR problem,” thinks I.  “I’ll bet the owner’s going to love coming back out here and finding a pile of auto parts instead of what he rode in on.”

I perused the distance between it and Little Red to consider whether I dared go back inside to warn someone, or needed to get further from it.  Decided to take the chance and stepped back inside.

A line of people were at the cash register waiting to pay and the clerk was ringing someone up.  I interrupted him and he looked up.  That car out there sounds like it’s about to explode!”  I gestured behind me, still looking at him.

Three people backward in line a guy who looked as though he just got out of prison, muscle shirt with a lot of muscles to go with it scowled at me and took half-a-step out of line.  “No.  That’s my music.”  Questioning, tentative look, brink-of-threatening, deciding, considering.

“Oh.  Okay.”

I did an about face and moved outside sharply.  Stared and listened to the car again, trying to squeeze the concept of music into the equation.  I couldn’t pull it off.  Shook my head and got in Little Red feeling slightly foolish.

It’s what I get for poking my nose into someone else’s business, I reckons.

Old Jules

They Ought to Add ‘Barbara Allen’ to the Controlled Substance List

Good morning readers. Thanks for coming by for a read this morning.

I’m really glad I don’t have free will.  If I’d had free will I’d almost certainly have screwed things up something awful.  I can’t see any way a person making a lifetime of deliberate, conscious choices could have made the necessary ones to allow me to eventually become me.  If I’d had to find my way through that maze all by myself there’s no guessing what I’d have become, what would have become of me.

I’m a firm believer the Universe gave us scorpions, black widow spiders, brown recluse spiders and similar poisonous orthropods to train a man to shake out his trousers and boots before he puts them on.  But he no sooner learns it than he begins to forget slowly, and eventually he’s pulling on his britches or boots same as if the Universe hadn’t blessed us with Brother Scorpion.

But if the timing is good, if the Universe is feeling generous, and if the asteroid Pallas is 85 days since a conjunction with Old Sol and 293 days since an opposition, sometimes the Universe will cut us a break.  A man can slip on his britches, pull up his galluses, feel something crawling up his leg under the cloth, dance around slapping his pants, and shake out a regular big bug carcass instead of the various alternatives.

But I’ve digressed. 

Yesterday I borrowed Little Red and headed to town feeling good, but worn down to a small frazzle from cutting big cedars with my expensively repaired chainsaw, dragging them over piece-by-piece to construct a tasteful aspiring beaver dam.  Made all the feedstore, thrift store, grocery store and dollar store stops grinning like a possum, joking with the store clerks.  Bought a can of Chinese boot wax and asked the clerk whether he could tell it from Shinola, which brought a blank look.

Even bought two packages of this for a buck each at Dollar Tree.  I’ve never seen the stuff before, but my thigh was itching something fierce from that non-black widow earlier.  I was feeling a strong urge to find a restroom and drop my pants for a looksee.

As a backup, in case whatever was going on down there was as full of drama as it felt, I picked up a tube of this, too, at a buck.

But I’ve digressed again.

On the way out of Dodge I swung by the Boys Ranch Thrift Store, second to the last stop.  Not much of interest there except a shopping cart full of hardback books with a sign, “Free Books”.  I nosed around, popped open an anthology, A Treasure of the Familiar.  It opened to “Barbara Allen“, which I haven’t thought of in half-a-century.  Walked out singing to myself, trying to remember the words to “Barbara Allen“, putting the first few stanza together.  Sang it a mile down the road to the dog-catcher thrift store, debating with myself whether to go inside, or just head home.

In the parking lot a joyful sight grabbed me.

The finest off-road vehicle I’ve ever owned was a 1986 Montero.  Thousands of giddy miles up and down mountains, desert and canyons in my old Montero.  That truck would squeeze between any two trees the Universe could invent, climb anything, go through hip-deep water.  But when you got it stuck, it was for-sure, lead-pipe cinch, STUCK.

So I left that place singing “Barbara Allen” at the top of my lungs, pretending Little Red was my old Montero, remembering and flying low to the ground.

Stopped in to drop off a few bags of feed at Gale’s, needing to lift something to bring myself down, but even after unloading a few hundred pounds of sacks, still singing, still flying.

Middling good day, it was.

Old Jules

Jeb Stuarts, Jeb Stuart MacGruders and the Fallen

Good morning readers.  Thanks for coming by for a read this morning.

I’m five years older than old Bob Lee was when he had his little problem at Gettysburg.  I’ve fingered a lot earlier than when I was 65 that I could have avoided what happened to him if it had been me, instead of him dealing with a particular horse soldier.  Jeb Stuart, or Jeb Stuart MacGruder, I think it was.

Bobby Lee should have had the good sense to follow the advice of Longstreet and not become an invader, I always figured.  Should have stayed the hell down in Virginia, fought in defense of his home soil.

Lee was plenty old enough to know the great majority of the leadership on both sides was composed of the spiritual kinfolk of Stuart, Lincoln, Custer, Fetterman, Hooker, and other dandies too absorbed in what the newspapers were saying about them to keep their eyes on the ball.

Bobby Lee didn’t think that way, but he got the smell of blood in his nose anyway.  The men following his orders and getting shot to hell would have been just as happy defending Vicksburg, but they trusted his wisdom, they had the smell of blood in their noses, too. 

Same as these today.

But while I was thinking about that last night the damn tree fell on the storage building, so I don’t know where I was going with it.

Old Jules

Today on Ask Old Jules:  Escape from Reality?

Old Jules, why is escaping reality ultimately harmful?