Archive for February, 2010

Yonder Mountain at the Pageant

The Yonder Mountain String Band played a two night engagement in Saint Louis at the Pageant. H and I caught the first show. I was surprised by not recognizing anybody else there. I know many people playing bluegrass locally, and I did not see any of them. Their fans seem drawn more from the jam band follows. The crowd was huge, about as big as I have seen at the venue.

They played for a long time and put on a good show. They are excellent musicians although the solos got too long for me. The best classic they played was Jimmy Martin‘s “Hold Whatcha Got.” The other gap with YMSB is that they are missing the high lonesome. They are a connected group, though. Banjoist Tony Furtado joined them for a few numbers. Unbeknownst to me, he had played Off Broadway earlier Friday night. Maybe all the bluegrassers I know had been over there. I wish I had been free the night after for favorite Big Smith at Off Broadway.

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Michael M. on February 21st 2010 in General, Live, Music

Up in the Air

For Christmas movie day, I saw Up in the Air with H at the St. Louis Cinemas Moolah. It is no longer news at this point, but I did enjoy it. For scenes of people getting fired, the filmmakers had open calls for recently fired employees to act out what they said or what they wish they had said. They were excellent. The scenes of Saint Louis were the other best element. Lambert Airport looks terrific. It is a shame that it is underused enough to support the filming without much interruption of normal activity. Other treats were the Cheshire Lodge and Maplewood United Methodist Church. I drive past the church often, and I remember when the lawn was covered in white sheets for filming a winter scene. I should look for other movies filmed here.

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Michael M. on February 20th 2010 in General, Movies

Beatles Now and Then

The wonderful Beatles have been the subject of some funny fantasies lately. Beatles 3000 imagines archeologists and historians explaining the Beatles in the year 3000. Of course, George and Ringo get the shaft. Scenes From An Alternate Universe Where The Beatles Accepted Lorne Michaels’ Generous Offer imagines an alternative reality in which the Beatles endured past the 1960s. This time, Ringo is a hero. Two of Us is another fantasy movie about John and Paul making peace. I have not made my way through all of it. Enter the Magical Mystery Chambers, a mashup of the Beatles and the WuTang Clan is on my list, but I have not tracked it down to listen yet. The New York Times had this coverage. Waxy Links is, predictably, to thank for its pointers. The Beatles’ cultural force continues.

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Michael M. on February 20th 2010 in General, Music

Cowboy throat singing

On Facebook, one friend posted Arthur Miles“Lonely Cowboy Part 2” (mp3) to another. In short order, I found “Lonely Cowboy Part 1” (mp3) on, a site dedicated to throat singing. In this video on YouTube, a fellow replicates it very nicely. I blogged twice about Genghis Blues, a movie about throat singing. I had no idea that an American had recorded similar music in the 1920s in cowboy music.

Information about Arthur Miles is hard to find, but I scraped together what I could. Roots of the Otis Brothers, an episode of blogged Down Home Radio, includes a short segment (mp3) with blogged Pat Conte discussing Miles’ throat singing. Mudcat had this thread about Miles. Mademoiselle Montana’s Yodel Heaven, a blog dedicated to yodeling, has this post Do they yodel in the USA ? Arthur Miles (with some excursions in throat singing) about him. Blog Alterdestiny had Arthur Miles–Throat Singer Extrordinaire. That post mentions Genghis Blues. Metafilter had Overtone Cowboy. All of them have the same minimal information arranged slightly differently.

Conte’s WFMU radio show Secret Museum of the Air broadcast Diaphonic Singing twice. One (RealAudio) discusses some American throat singing starting at about 31:30 with RichardDickBurnett, another pre-war great who seems to be the first to record bloggedMan of Constant Sorrow.” At 40:48, he gets to Arthur Miles. The other one (RealAudio) seems to be a previous broadcast of the same program.

I do not know how to find more about Miles. We need one of Miles’ great-grandchildren to hear that their ancestor recorded a handful of records in the 1920s before going back to whatever he did in the rest of his life and grow curious enough to start searching.

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Michael M. on February 2nd 2010 in General, Music, Recorded

Mass mathematics

From Fish to Infinity” by twice blogged Steven Strogatz in Opinionator Blog in The New York Times is the opening of an attempt to bring mathematics to a wide audience. H sent it to me. So often, the goal of popularization is to bring a subject to the public without delving into the mathematics. Now this series plans to bring the mathematics to the public. I will follow future installments.

Along those lines, H and I went to the latest Science on Tap at the Schlafly Bottleworks. WashU Art History professor William Wallace presented Michelangelo: Artist, Aristocrat and Engineer, later to show up here. There was not enough science for my taste, but I think I just stumbled into one with less science. Previous installments appear to have had more. I wish I had not missed all of them until now.

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Michael M. on February 1st 2010 in General

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 United States.