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June 2012 • Vol. 1, No. 9

www.themodern.us

your life in retro

w o l l e M ellow Y ue

Iss e i p p i The H

We’re Just Mad About

Who Re-shot JR? TNT!

Donovan (quite rightly)

Contested Waters: The Heated History of Swimming Pools Dragnet ’ 67 • Don Gator • George Chakiris

In Krysten We Trust


c ntents T h e M o d e r n — Yo u r l i f e i n r e t r o In this issue:

Cover Story Donovan

Originally branded a Dylan-wanna-be, Donovan quickly transformed into “Sunshine Superman” and defined a decade.

Modern Essay: Mellow Yellow Hippies Our Harley Hall captures the love generation.

The Great Forgotten: Hippie Songs

For many of these hippie artists, their mantra could have well been “ca-ching!”

Modern Merch: Lava Lamps Light never felt so heavy.

Reconnecting

George Chakiris

From Oscar gold to sterling silver: the West Side Story star’s new line of jewelry

Here and Now

Dallas:

These dusty old boots get a TNT reboot.

Motion Picture

Drive

How Nicholas Winding Refn’s Drive touches our collective raw cultural nerve.

Girlie Action

Krysten Ritter

Life happens for the B --- in Apt. 23


Modern Sports

Bet the house on all the new gambling temptations — and how they came about. I Spy

Don Gator: Model Dennis Hirdt’s alter ego is the spy who holds a license to thrill. Read This Retro Book

Contested Waters: (Almost) everybody in the pool! Plunge into the racial prejudice and sexual tension that set water boiling. The Modern Foodie/London

Jacob Schirmer, our farmboy from Kansas, discovers the old-world charm of merry ole England. Girls Were Girls & Men Were Men

Katharine Ross: This doe-eyed beauty won the hearts of a generation. On Off-Broadway

Our Eve Golden claims Blondes has more fun. Hotel California

The Hotel Coronado: San Diego’s landmark transports us back to Somewhere in Time. Dig This DVD

Dragnet 1967: Joe Friday fights crime — and Blue Boy — in the Summer of Love. Sports Quiz

Retro Check

The New Oldies

Adventures in Modern Sound

Parting Shot: Watch Patty Duke rock a mental meltdown — or is it just schtik?


letter from the editor

I Don’t Know Where, But She Sends Me There

Tonight, our angelic babysitter goes hippie. Hippies didn’t figure much into Squaresville, where I grew up — at least not in those early hippie years of the mid-to-late Sixties. I only knew of them from my grandfather, who would rant about them after seeing them profiled on the news. However, I do have one story to share from that period of my life, when the moon was in the seventh house and I was about seven years old. The parents went out on the town one night, leaving my brother and I with Debbie, our trusty babysitter. She was a good Catholic schoolgirl, and an A student to boot. She sported long, brown hair and a miniskirt, and came highly recommended. With her, my brother and I would get cozy on the sofa and watch Dr. Shock on Channel 17. Our Philco color console was brand new, but no flick from Shocky Doc was ever filmed in color. He showed old, scary, black-and-white movies from decades past, and although I had no idea what was going on, I knew they were pushing my buttons and just pleading with me not to sleep that night. But no old scary movie could hold a torch up to Debbie’s new boyfriend, John, who came around well after Mom and Dad were well on their way to their night on the town. Unlike Debbie, John didn’t look like he was in high school at all. In fact, he had a driver’s license, and sideburns, and revved a motorcycle, which he gunned up our tiny, sleepy street. I’m not sure Debbie’s parents would have approved of this John. My parents would definitely not have approved of him, and they are very, very tolerant people. Maybe that’s why he came to our house to court Deb instead of her own house, and maybe that’s why he came to our house well after my parents left for the night. John was like The Phantom! John was also cool as shit, and he entertained us by lifting us up by our little limbs and turning us into human airplanes. My brother and I could not get enough as he spun us around the room until we were dizzy. He had really long hair, even longer than the Beatles, even longer than Katharine Ross, which was unheard of on boys in working-class neighborhoods at the time. I’m sure he heard, on more than one occasion, by the contractors and carpenters and cops who lived on our street, “Hey, are you a boy or are you a girl?” The squares aren’t buying what you’re selling, John. You’ve got to make your own kind of music. John had some even cooler friends. One babysitting night, he invited them all over, and they came, all of them, like clowns getting out of a clown car, except it was a VW van. It seemed like there were hundreds of them, and the party was only beginning. This was no

m dern the

Yo u r l i f e i n r e t r o .

C o n t a c t

Editor • Ron Sklar | Art Director • Jennifer Barlow | Copy Editor • Patty Wall Contributing Writers: Barrie Creedon • Desiree Dymond • DJ NVM Mitch Gainsburg • Eve Golden • Dennis Hirdt • Jay S. Jacobs • William Shultz Jacob Schirmer • Matt Wilkins • Art Wilson

u s :

i n f o @ t h e m o d e r n . u s


typical soiree at our house, with pin-the-tail-on-the-donkey and chocolate cake, or with my parents’ friends rocking Sergio Mendez on the hi-fi and steaks on the grill. This was something quite, quite different. All the boys’ hair were as long as the girls! And they all wore jeans and sandals. We take this for granted today, but in that year, and in that neighborhood, it was quite a sight. They made themselves right to home on Mom’s avocado wall-to-wall carpeting and slip-covered sofa (thanks be to God for slip covers). The hippies who didn’t fit on the sofa (or other’s laps) sat on the floor, crossed-legged. They ate from our frost-free Westinghouse refrigerator (they seemed especially hungry for some reason) and played records on our turntable that were not bought by my father (no Burt Bacharach or Sinatra all night). My brother and I, who were supposed to be asleep, watched the festivities from the top of the stairs (it was like having box seats to an off-offBroadway production of Hair). We giggled and giggled. Did I smell funny smoke? Honestly, I can’t remember. But you know what they say: if you can remember the Sixties, you really weren’t there. The next morning, I excitedly told Mom about Debbie and her new boyfriend and his pals. Mom’s bouffant almost deflated. And we never saw Debbie ever again. She was replaced by Theresa, who was a bit overweight and in the school band at her Catholic school, and didn’t have any boyfriends at all. Still, she was a big fan of Dr. Shock, but even Shocky Doc couldn’t shock Mom the way Debbie could. Ron Sklar Editor

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cover story: donovan

The Modern | June 2012

www.themodern.us


We’re Just Mad About

Donovan (quite rightly)! Originally branded a Dylan-wanna-be, Donovan quickly transformed into “Sunshine Superman” and defined a decade. For Donovan Leitch, his longawaited induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame calls for an inner celebration as well. “It’s a singular honor and an extraordinary thing,” he tells me when we hook up in a Fifth Avenue penthouse, where he and his wife/legendary muse, Linda, are staying as the coolest guests ever. “It’s the greatest beam or searchlight on any artist’s work on the planet. It’s like an Academy Award.” Yet knowing Donovan, the author of such Sixties superhits as “Mellow Yellow,” “Sunshine Superman” and “Hurdy Gurdy Man,” it’s not only about the party and getting high-fives from high admirers. There has to be a deeper meaning. “The induction needs a celebration of the inner journey to self awareness,” he insists. “You can’t separate the inner life of my work from the outer.” So he says, and the thought runs

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deep, even though he was originally dismissed as a Bob Dylan clone. As early as 1965, he scored Top 40 folk hits like “Catch the Wind” that sounded amazingly like Dylan but were really borrowing from Guthrie. By 1966, he was on par with The Beatles, who themselves were morphing into something new and quite different. They were brewing something alien to pop music and rock and roll radio in particular. It transcended the usual DJ patter and teen-idol blandness. Suddenly, God was in Top 40 music. And so was Donovan. It was more than just music. It was lifestyle. It was mantra. “All those years ago,” he says, “me and The Beatles were pursuing promotion of meditation as a possible peace tool for the world.” That world, as Donovan had known it from his working-class roots in Scotland and his rustic teenage years in England, was so new, it was actually old. “I see the Sixties as a renais-

R o n a l d

sance period,” he says, “like in Italy and France, where certain lost things were again found. Obviously, the world in the Sixties was in a crisis situation. Millions of people were born after the second world war and let loose on the world, and the world was very clearly televised.” True enough. They say the revolution was coming, and would indeed be televised. In living color would come a new heaven on earth, where the meek (and the high and the lovers of flowers and peace), would do the inheriting. It would be ushered in with the shake of a tambourine. He says, “Soon you started hearing, especially on my album Sunshine Superman, an alternative society appearing in the songs. The Sixties are a time when poetry is returned to popular culture; when poets return to popular culture. Poetry is a highly evolved form of language. It’s different from prose. Prose is matter of fact. Music and

S k l a r June 2012 | The Modern


cover story: donovan poetry used to be one. Then they were separated over the years. It came in again [during the Sixties], through the ballad form.” The record industry, and then even pop radio, would drift into a heady haze, and the old guard found itself floundering. By 1967, Donovan, The Beatles and Dylan were ruling the charts, and their lyrics seemed to be understood only by the most spaced out of youth. There was nothing mainstream about it, and yet there it was, in the mainstream. “Folk music would invade the

far cry from Chubby Checker and Frankie Avalon. Songs began to show some funny smoke, and refer to acts of love more serious than just holding hands. Yet, as counter-culture as Donovan was, he did not wander too far from the mainstream and the pursuit of the beloved hit record. “I wanted to relate [create hits],” he says. “It seems to me that in the folk world they were dead against popular music. But I felt that they needed all this music that was coming out of bohemia: this was peace and brotherhood.

consciousness that hasn’t been developed and can be developed and if it is accessed,” he says, “and if you look at things from a different level of consciousness, you will see the solutions arise. Why people can’t see it is because they are stuck, fixated.” Helping to get the world unstuck is Donovan and his mystical BFF, Deepak Chopra, the Indian-born spiritual advisor. They’ve been friends since the days of The Beatles and The Mahareshi, and recently they reunited in New York, to answer ques-

What this beam of light on my work does, quite simply, is it brings in an extraordinary new audience, which is why I embraced very early the use of my music in commercials, TV

and film.

popular culture,” Donovan says. “That’s how the meaningful lyric would arrive, and the ballad poet, Dylan of course, would use the ballad form. Poets would reappear in the guise of pop music.” By 1967, the Top 40 was groovy with this new/old discipline, yet station programmers — and the FCC — were nervous. It was a

Donovan Does Madison Avenue! Watch “Mellow Yellow” sell cords at The Gap. Don’t forget to cinch ‘em. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d4Hu6up9Xng

The Modern | June 2012

It was important information. Dylan signed a deal with Columbia. He didn’t sign a deal with a folk label. He saw the possibilities in appealing to a mass.” His songs, even to this day, are used in advertising to Morse Code counter culture. Donovan is OK with that. The connection to the Sixties is beyond understood. He says, “What this beam of light on my work does, quite simply, is it brings in an extraordinary new audience, which is why I embraced very early the use of my music in commercials, TV and film.” If you thought his was an act, think again. His spirituality is the real thing. “There is this higher level of

Donovan tions and question answers. “Depack and I have known each other quite well over the years,” he says. “I have joined him on stage for his presentations. But we’ve never before had a real Q and A. And we’ve experienced so many similar things during our lives — people we know and things we’ve done. It was not so much an interview as a conversation between us.” Although Donovan’s music lives on, he insists that it remains fresh as a daisy. “It hasn’t dated,” he says. “It’s fresh and it’s alive. I was surrounded by acoustic instruments, and there is something about that that will never date. It has that feeling of it’s happening now.” www.themodern.us


You’ve read about it in The Modern.

It’s never been easier to be impulsive! Give into temptation today!

Mellow Yellow

Theme From Shaft

Mp3 download CHEAP!

Mp3 download CHEAP!

Contested Waters — Jeff Wiltse Great retro book – Cheap!

Lava Lamp Classic – Cheap!

Dragnet ‘67 DVD CHEAP!

Inner City – Big Fun Mp3 – Cheap!


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June 2012 | The Modern


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Hippie songs For many of these hippie artists, their mantra could have well been “ca-ching!” B

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Turn on. Tune in. Drop out. So goes the mantra of Dr. Timothy Leary, who defined the hippie movement. In the mid-Sixties, the counter-culture took root in American culture. The hair went long and the students went wild in the Haight-Ashbury section of San Fran. The good vibes spread to the world — just like peace and love. Here are some of the best (and one or two of the worst) songs about and defining the movement. The Modern | June 2012

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the great forgotten “San Francisco” – Scott McKenzie

Arguably the definitive anthem of the “Summer of Love,” this song was written by The Mamas and the Papas’ leader John Phillips and recorded by his childhood friend Scott McKenzie. A tribute to the hippie Mecca of the title, the song was actually written to promote the legendary Monterey Pop rock festival. www.youtube.com/embed/g_HhwinPw-M

“Ohio” – Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young “For What It’s Worth” – The Buffalo Springfield

News reports from the front lines of the protest nation. “Ohio” is literally the news; Neil Young wrote the song upon reading of the killings of protestors at Kent State University. His band got together and had the song recorded and rush-released within a few weeks of the murders. Young and CSNY bandmate Steven Stills were also the central masterminds of the Buffalo Springfield, and the earlier song “For What It’s Worth” was Stills’ take on another protest — the Sunset Strip riots. At the time, the Springfield was the house band at the Whiskey-aGo-Go in Hollywood. The riots stemmed from clashes that broke out with the police during a protest — which included future counter-culture icons like Jack Nicholson and Peter Fonda — of a newly mandated curfew for the neighborhood. www.youtube.com/embed/YnOoNM0U6oc www.youtube.com/embed/gp5JCrSXkJY

“Born to Be Wild” – Steppenwolf

The anthem celebrating the wanderlust of the generation, “Born to Be Wild” was the theme song to the iconic counterculture film Easy Rider. www.youtube.com/embed/5UWRypqz5-o

“Let’s Go to San Francisco” – The Flowerpot Men

This is how British studio musicians saw the Haight-Ashbury scene, so it is no real shock that it became a much bigger hit in England than here. The Flowerpot Men was actually a group of British music vets —they had toured with the Beatles as the Ivy League and years later had a hit with “Beach Baby” as First Class. The title was kind of instructive — they wanted to see the mecca of hippie peace and free love, but never quite made it across the pond. In fact, years later lead singer Tony Burrows told me, “The longest time I’ve spent in San Francisco was about three hours, between flights.” www.youtube.com/embed/YZmJhTa9nKk www.themodern.us

“Stay Awhile” – The Bells “Early in the Morning” – The Cuff Links

Proof that hippies can write sappy love ballads too, but, damn, these are good ones. “Stay Awhile” is actually a stunningly intimate love duet which only uses its hippie origins as lyrical seasoning, like when the girl of this duet sings “Into my dreams he peeps/With his hair all long and hanging down.” The more obscure “Early in the Morning” — which was also recorded by Gene Pitney and others — is even more subtle, but it has a guy crushing on a gorgeous barefoot girl picking flowers in the meadow. The songs are only vaguely about hippies, other than some little details these two songs could be from any time and place where love abounds. www.youtube.com/embed/SAroPEI7Y30 www.youtube.com/embed/KwXeLytGhEE

“Signs” – The Five Man Electrical Band

Musical proof that The Man is trying to keep us down. “Signs” is about just what it says — the little placards that tell us what to do, where to go and who to be. The final stanza may be the hippie-dippiest lyrical coda in the history of music; it is both charming and just a little galling in its naïve all-inclusiveness. www.youtube.com/embed/Z1Q7cP3ij5g

“Woodstock” – Matthews’ Southern Comfort

The musical tribute to the ultimate hippie peace and love festival, written by a mostly unknown young songwriter named Joni Mitchell while she watched stories about the festival on the evening news. “Woodstock” was recorded many times in the late Sixties/early Seventies – by Mitchell, Crosby, Stills & Nash and others. My favorite version has always been this one, recorded by Irish folk singer Ian Matthews, I can’t say for sure why. However, any version gets the hippie vibe down in a groovy way. www.youtube.com/embed/pyTUF5gP2KE

“I’d Like to Teach the World to Sing” – The Hillside Singers

Because when you think hippies, you think corporate advertisement. However, in fairness, the Coca-Cola company nailed the youth movement in this particular ad in a way that rarely has been done before or since. This song was part of an iconic advertisement in which dozens of hippies gather on a mountaintop to hold hands, share good vibes, sing and drink a Coke. (Okay, probably a case of it.) Many of those hippies June 2012 | The Modern


the great forgotten were real, but some were actually some of the biggest studio singers of the time, including Tony Burrows (the Edison Lighthouse), Ron Dante (the Archies) and members of the New Seekers. Later, the song was turned from a jingle into a hit single when it was recorded by the one-hit wonder Hillside Singers, with all the Coke references edited out. www.youtube.com/embed/ib-Qiyklq-Q

“Hair” – The Cowsills, “Age of Aquarius/Let the Sunshine In” – The Fifth Dimension “Good Morning, Starshine” – Oliver It would be impossible to discuss hippie songs and not include the iconic rock musical Hair — from which these three huge hits sprung into the popular culture (as well as Three Dog Night’s “Easy to Be Hard.”) Any of these songs are worthy of individual inclusion in this list, but I could not bring myself to leave any of them out, so we have this group listing. My personal favorite is the least remembered of the three, Oliver’s gorgeous and dreamy take on “Good Morning, Starshine,” but all three songs are hippie classics. www.youtube.com/embed/h8ZBX6bVO3s www.youtube.com/embed/06X5HYynP5E www.youtube.com/embed/QAOTxAGJUug

“Uneasy Rider” – The Charlie Daniels Band

Before his politics turned just to the right of Joseph McCarthy, legendary country fiddler Charlie Daniels wrote this hysterical first-person account of a hippie trying desperately to fit in when he gets a flat tire in a small southern redneck town. www.youtube.com/embed/JoVL1Zs6WTw

“(Listen to) The Flower People” – Spinal Tap

Okay, it’s a parody of hippie songs, but it’s also a damned good one. In the 1983 faux-documentary This is Spinal Tap — a comic history of the world’s loudest rock band, the group went through many different periods of music, from skiffle to prog. This was their psychedelic hippie trip, and it would have fit right in on the top of the pops in the summer of love. This stems from the fact that the comedians of Spinal Tap were also consummate musicians — in fact lead singer Michael McKean was a member of one of the later incarnations of sixties band the Left Banke (of “Walk Away, Renee” fame). www.youtube.com/embed/UfD-E9hKCWM The Modern | June 2012

“(Nothing But) Flowers” – Talking Heads

The popular 80s art-rockers had their final single with this ironic post-modern goof on the hippie ideals. The tune relates a fantasy world in which human beings finally returned the Earth to a pristine state — only to realize that paradise can get really boring and in Eden you can’t find a good burrito. www.youtube.com/embed/068AFYvd58E

“Hippychick” – Soho

For some reason in the 90s, hippie chicks made a brief return to the charts, however, in general it revolved around how naïve they were and what sluts they were. You wouldn’t expect Soho, an duo of androgynously shorthaired black British R&B chicks, to be all that concerned with hippies, but thanks to the old movement, Soho became one-hitwonders. It was a call to arms for a new generation of revolution, telling oppressors not to expect flowers for your guns or sex to get out of trouble. Take that, peaceful demonstration and free love! www.youtube.com/embed/ILaTgQBKRbE

“New Age Girl” – Deadeye Dick

Continuing the smirking 90s “hippie chicks are sluts” mindset was this surprisingly popular indie rock hit. The girl here is never officially named a hippie, but the signs all point to her being a Deadheadera wannabe — her name is Mary Moon, she’s into crystals, she’s an environmentalist and she’s a vegetarian. This last trait leads to the song’s honestly kinda creepy payoff line, “She won’t eat meat, but she sure likes the bone,” the lead singer spits out lasciviously. And then he barks. Uh, yeah. Okay. www.youtube.com/embed/sEDw9xgSmSc

“Get Together” – The Youngbloods

Perhaps the ultimate expression of the “peace on earth, true love amongst all men (and womenfolk)” dynamic of the hippie nation, the song was actually written well before the Youngblood’s version became a top 10 hit in 1969. It was written by Chet Powell in 1964 and originally recorded by folk troupe the Kingston Trio that year. It was later recorded or performed live by Judy Collins, the We Five, Joni Mitchell, the Dave Clark Five, Hamilton Camp and LoveCraft. This band, led by folk singer Jesse Colin Young, had originally recorded and released the song in 1967, but it didn’t become a big hit until it was re-released two years later. www.youtube.com/embed/ySvYx7XyBws www.themodern.us


Jay S. Jacobs

retro merch

Lava Lamps Light never felt so heavy. By Jay S. Jacobs If you get technical, lava lamps are not made with lava, nor are they really lamps. What they are is a necessary accessory for teen rooms for almost 50 years now. The novelty furnishing items are known for their hypnotic (especially if you’re stoned) shifting of shapes and sizes. Big globs of wax are stuck into cylindrical (usually tapered) glass tubes and float through a gelatinous liquid. A light at the bottom of the cylinder changes the temperature of the wax as well as the liquid, causing the globs to move up and down and mutate into wild shapes. Whoa! Heavy. It’s a science experiment gussied up for the head shop. A swinging scientist and former World War II flying ace named Edward Craven Walker created the lava lamp in swinging England in 1963 — the very same year that the Beatles broke. (Coincidence? I don’t think so!) The original idea came from a homemade lamp the guy noticed while downing a few pints in a pub in Dorset. The wacky inventor applied for a US patent in 1965 — giving his contraption the wild and catchy name “Display Device.” Then, realizing that name would not lend itself to jingles, he changed the name to the much snazzier “Astro.” (No confirmation or denial was available on the interwebs as to whether it was named after the Jetsons’ pet dog.) Craven Walker started fooling with sizes and shapes — soon to become standard for the product — offering variations like the “Astro Mini” and “Astro Coach.” He even grew perhaps a touch too fond of his contraption, once stating that the wax in the lamp “starts from nothing, grows possibly a little bit feminine, then a little bit masculine, then breaks up and has children. It’s a sexy thing.” Oh, yeah, I forgot to mention that Craven Walker was also a famous nawww.themodern.us

turist, who owned one of England’s largest nudist camps and had directed such early nudism films as Light (1959), Sunswept (1961) and Eves on Skis (1963) under the pseudonym Michael Keatering. The Astro lamp was noticed by an American entrenpreneur named Adolph Wertheimer at a trade show in Brussels, Belgium in 1965. Wertheimer and his partner, William M. Rubinstein, bought the American rights. They noted that it was somewhat reminiscent to a volcano, so they called it the “Lava Lite.” Then Wertheimer walked away, selling his rights to Chicago businessman Hy Spector, who was responsible for making and marketing the Lava Lite from his warehouse. Rubinstein stayed on board as a vice president. It rolled out in the late Sixties and quickly became a favorite of the psychedelic crowd. The wild colors and shapes made it a preference of the hippies and recreational drug users. Their popularity continued to flourish through the Seventies. Eventually the popularity wained somewhat and they were pushed into the back room of Spencer Gifts with the black light posters. Lava lamps started to morph out of world consciousness. However, they have stayed on the market pretty steadily throughout the years, getting a new bump of attention in the Nineties and still showing up often in dorm rooms. The rights have been sold and transferred in the US and even in England, where Edward Craven Walker continued to make his lamps until his death in 2000. To this day, the British lamps are made in the same factory in Dorset, England where it all started. Jay S. Jacobs is the author of the books Wild Years: The Music and Myth of Tom Waits and Pretty Good Years: A Biography of Tori Amos. He is also senior editor and founder of the pop culture web magazine www.popentertainment.com. June 2012 | The Modern


reconnecting: george chakiris

There’s a Place for George

Jewelry Maker

As a

Oscar gold to sterling silver: George Chakiris on new his line of jewelry B y

B a r r i e

You may remember George Chakiris as one of the tuxedoed gents flocking around Marilyn Monroe in her famed “Diamonds Are a Girl’s Best Friend” number. Or maybe you remember him as Bernardo in West Side Story, for which he won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor. And maybe you, like me, wished that Bernardo was the male lead, considering that he was hot and hunky and interesting, and had it all over that moon calf Tony. No offense to the great Richard Beymer, but the way his character was written, well, you’d think he’d been abducted from a nineteenth-century road company of Lilac Time. Mr. Chakiris has also appeared in other films, most notably with Catherine Deneuve and her sister Francoise Dorleac in 1968’s The Young Girls of Rochefort, as well as The Modern | June 2012

C r e e d o n on stage, television and vinyl, recording a number of albums in the 1960s. George Chakiris Sings George Gershwin, from 1963, is a classic. Added to his list of accomplishments is the fact that he’s also just about the most gracious person you could ever hope to talk to. How did you get into making jewelry? About eleven years ago, I had just finished doing a play in London, and I had a little dog named Sammy — an Italian greyhound — and I just loved the little guy. The kids in the neighborhood called him Bambi, because he looked like a little fawn. I remember looking at Sammy and thinking eight months, nine months is a lot of time out of his life, so I wanted to take time off just to be with him. During that time I started taking www.themodern.us


silver smithing lessons here in LA, and little by little I fell in love with the process — the idea of making something, and having a piece to show that you could actually hold in your hand. It’s very gratifying in the same way as performing in the theatre, or anything that’s creative. If you love it, and you’re into it, it’s very fulfilling. Without intending to, I ended up with a collection of about twenty pieces, just doing it for myself — not intending to get it out there in any way, shape or form. Then a manufacturer I had worked with when I needed help found out what I had, and put me together with a Japanese distributor who made a considerable purchase, and he’s now my distributor in Japan. He sells in a fantastic Japanese department store called Mitsukoshi. It’s Neimans and Barneys and Saks all rolled into one. So, without meaning to, I went down a different road, so to speak. Where else is your jewelry available? Through the website. I also have connections with a couple of shops here, and there’s an art gallery that’s been selling my jewelry as their only jewelry. I’m certainly open to making connections with the larger retailers. How do you come up with your designs? The scarab line is especially impressive. The scarab design is the first thing I made. It came to mind because in the King Tut exhibition that came to the US around 1980, www.themodern.us

June 2012 | The Modern


reconnecting: george chakiris one of my sisters had gone and got the souvenir book. That book has pictures of the treasures they found in his tomb — they’re just beyond imagination — and one of them is

a scarab cuff bracelet. It’s gold, carnelian and lapis, and the insect on top has everything: antennas, legs. So I made a more simple, cleaner line using the same idea. I was really happy with how it came out.

internalize this

How did you come up with the Take 5 design? I was working just to create some different shapes, and I ended up with that five-sided shape. So many people were using circles and links to create necklaces, and that shape was a departure from the circular. It had an angular look to it. I just like that shape, so I’ve used it in necklaces and bracelets and rings. There’s so much you can do with a single idea. Do you have thoughts about starting a new line? There are new lines coming, absolutely. Right now I’m working on leather wristbands. In West Side Story, the Sharks wore archers’ leather bands on our right wrists. One of the Sharks, Andre Tayir (who played Chile) came up with the idea, and we wore them during rehearsals. We all thought “My God, that’s fantastic!” so we all got them as a sort of one-upmanship in the game-playing between the Sharks and the Jets. Irene Sharaff, who did the costumes for West Side Story, loved the wristbands so much that we kept them in the movie. I’m making them in different lengths, and I’m thinking of using the GC logo as a clasp, but two of

them, because the wristbands in the movie had two buckles. I love the idea of what you can do with leather. There’s so much you can do with it, so many different colors of leather. If this wristband works, there’s so much you can do with it. Which is the most popular of your lines so far? I think that the scarab is the most popular so far, and trailing that is the Take 5 design, and then the GC line. GC is my logo, but it doesn’t scream “GC.” It has a Greek key feel. And I thought incorporating that logo, that I could bring it in to different pieces, again not screaming “GC” [chuckles]. I want it for subtlety. That has done well, but so far the best is the scarab. I have a scarab belt, and I love it; I call it the ‘artifact belt.’ Rita Moreno [his co-star in West Side Story] LOVES that belt, and I have to get one to her, sooner rather than later. Even the girls downtown at the manufacturer sometimes borrow the belt for the evening. It’s such flattery that they like it so much. That’s the thing that’s really a turn-on, so to speak. It feels so good when somebody likes something well enough to wear it.

http://georgechakiris.com

Take It From Merm Soft hands never felt so loud and brassy! Take it from Merm, and we do. From the “bigger-is-better” school of advertising, here comes The Merm pimping Vel dishwashing liquid in a very big way — almost as big as her hairdo! But, like Tina Turner, The Merm never, ever does nothin’ nice…and easy. Pay attention to the way she says “gangbusters.” It’s more like “gangbustis.” If you are to ever use the word in a sentence, be sure you take it from Merm and say “gangbustis.” And be sure to obsess on this joint — as we do — today! www.youtube.com/watch?v=J2UVVxe04pI&feature=player_embedded

The Modern | June 2012

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http://georgechakiris.com/


motion picture

Holding Out for a Hero How Nicolas Winding Refn’s Drive touches our collective raw cultural nerve. By Matt Wilkins Once upon a time, our bedtime stories consisted of fairy tales, where the mythological hero rescues the dainty damsel in distress and everyone lived happily ever after. Our mind was at peace as we dozed off

into a perpetual dream filled with butterflies, flowers, and rainbows. Unfortunately, we awoke every morning to stone-cold reality. As our mind, body and soul compiles wisdom, the hope for a real hero grows stronger, yet the belief in heroics dies a little more every day. As an adult, we escape our routine, docile existence by indulging into more vulgar fairy tales, such as Nicolas Winding Refn's Drive. The movie is real, raw, and ramped with repulsive violence. The director jumped onto the Hollywood scene after this venture, but is far from a dilettante. He had already completed a highly successful cult trilogy and was notarized as a burgeoning storyteller after the infamous British villain film, Bronson. He has deserved this sign hanging outside his editing room: Beware of brilliance to come. Art is predicated on past perfections evolving into modern masterpieces. Ernest Hemingway once said "It is because we have had such great writers in the www.themodern.us

past that a writer is driven out past where he can go, out to where no one can help him." Winding Refn grew up idolizing the Eighties. That fact is smeared all over the film, from the pink noir font to Ryan Gosling's white satin jacket and back to our modern fairytale (but with one hell of a violent twist). Gosling's character protects the innocent against evil, and exercises his own inner demons for love and purity. This comes to a climax during the most visually enticing first-kiss scene ever caught on film. Gosling has summed up the film as "Pretty in Pink with a head stomp." Winding Refn notes that art is an act of violence. "Violence is like fucking; it is all about the build-up to the execution. Violence itself has no meaning if there is not an interest in it." He surely isn't the first director to interest us with violence on film, as many have paved the way. The brilliance is in the execution and nobody does it better, albeit for Martin Scorsese and Quentin Tarantino. He has found a special formula mixing variables of script, sound, silence, lighting, and slow-motion to make something so unbelievably grotesque and breathtakingly beautiful. Childhood fairytales always contained opportunity for violent mishaps. Maybe it takes some real life living and learning to unleash the beast into our society's culmination of art. Matthew Wilkins lives happily in love in Manhattan. June 2012 | The Modern


here and now: dallas

Dallas: Return to Southfork These old, dusty boots get a TNT reboot. And it’s ready to kick ass. Everything old is new again. Therefore, it should come as no real surprise that thirty years after the world was rapt with speculation about “who shot J.R.?” that Dallas is coming back. That’s right, TNT is returning to Southfork Ranch to bring us the new adventures of those high-living and back-stabbing Ewings. Dallas was the ultimate TV representation of the “greed is good” decade: a glitzy world of powerful men, beautiful women, big business, big aspirations, big emotions, big double-crosses, big hats, big hair and big shoulder pads. In case you spent the decade in a sensory deprivation tank, Dallas was the story of the Ewing Brothers, J.R. (Larry Hagman) and Bobby (Patrick Duffy) who tussled over their family business and their family homestead. Accompanied by their beauty queen wives Sue Ellen (Linda Gray) and Pam (Victoria Principal), the Ewing boys rode herd on the Texas business world and broke quite a few laws and commandments in doing so. The new Dallas has many of the original cast members — Hagman, Duffy and Gray are all series regulars and other original series cast members like Charlene Tilton, Ken Kercheval and Steve Kanaly pop in periodically for cameos. (Of the living major stars, only Prin-

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cipal is not coming back, and that is probably because her character was essentially killed off in the later years of the original series.) However, the war for Southfork has been passed down to the new generation of Ewings, John Ross (Josh Henderson) and Christopher (Jesse Metcalfe). With their gorgeous significant others (Jordana Brewster and Julie Gonzalo) the cousins take up the tussle for family, romantic and business supremacy. We recently were lucky enough to speak on the phone with four stars of the new Dallas — old hands Patrick Duffy (Bobby Ewing) and Linda Gray (Sue Ellen) as well as the young bucks Jesse Metcalfe (Christopher) and Josh Henderson (John Ross). We even were treated to a cameo appearance by old J.R. himself, Larry Hagman, who stated “I’ve been thrown out of better places than this,” when Gray shooed him away from the phone for interrupting the interview. We asked them how the show had changed over the years and in what ways it had stayed the same in the new series. Linda Gray: It took a diamond and polished it. What can I say? It’s magic. It was magic in 1978 and it’s got a little 2012 fairy dust sprinkled on it. It’s just wonderful.

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here and now: dallas

Jesse Metcalfe: I’d say it’s a more contemporary version of the original show. I don’t think we’ve changed what made the original series great. The show still centers around these major themes of family dynamics, greed, loyalty, love and betrayal. We’ve just updated it. We made it modern and definitely socially relevant to the times. In addition to that, we added some new characters. Obviously, Christopher and John Ross were established in the original series, but you get to see the type of men that these two children have grown up to be. We also introduced the character of Elena Ramos, who is one side of the love triangle between me, Josh Henderson and Jordana [Brewster]. She’s the daughter of the

Ewing housekeeper. She definitely wasn’t a part of the original series. Then we also have my fiancée, Rebecca Sutter, played by Julie Gonzalo. It’s a great marriage of the original show and the original cast and some new cast members. Patrick Duffy: The difference also is — just technologically speaking — television is done so differently now that if we tried to duplicate the old-school Dallas, I think it would be slow in appearance and in substance for a modern audience. So with the technology that we have with high-def cameras and the new way of directing television, [it] is so dynamic and so intense in terms of the pacing. The scripts reflect that also. They’re much more condensed. We get maybe four or five episodes of an old Dallas in one episode of the new Dallas. All of these things contemporize the old show, but we maintain the honor that [new series showrunners] Cynthia The Modern | June 2012

Cidre and Mike Robin feel towards the show. That hasn’t changed. I think that’s what will impress old viewers as they look at the new Dallas. It’s so similar to what they were used to, but it’s done for a contemporary audience. We think we got the best of both worlds, and we’re hoping that everybody out there is going to agree with us. Josh Henderson: It’s everything that made the original so great and so magnetizing that people had to run back to the TV every week. They really did well transcending that into the new generation of Dallas. For me and the cast, our main goal is to satisfy the original fans of the show, give them what they want, give them what they’ve been missing for 21 years. Hopefully some of the younger generation can bring in the younger people. I think as long as they give us a shot, they’ll truly, really enjoy the show. What’s great about this one is that you don’t even have to have ever seen the original to really be able to hop on board with these storylines. That’s how good the show is. My little sister is 21 in college. She knew of Dallas, but obviously she was too young to have seen the original. She’s seen the first couple of episodes and she is just blown away and in love with it. I think that we can really span generations. We just want the fans to be satisfied. We really want them to be happy. Linda Gray: I think that when it first began, there were a lot of people that didn’t know quite what it was. Was it a nighttime soap opera? What was it? I think that it was all about timing. I always go back to that. In television historically, there’s always been shows that were perfectly timed. I Love Lucy was at a perfect time. There were a lot of doctor shows, now there’s a lot of reality shows. I think that in 1978 it was a perfect time for something bigger than life. People wanted to see something big, like oil — like the movie Giant. They wanted to see people with money, they wanted oil and big shoulder pads and cars and all that stuff. They wanted to see family dynamics. The original fans were connected to what happens when you have all that money and you have all these problems. It’s dysfunction at its finest, so I think people were initially drawn to all of that. They saw the business dealings of J.R. Ewing, which attracted a lot of the men to the show, so they thought, “Wow, look at this guy. He’s a bad guy and we like him,” right? There was a groundswell that happened and it just built and built and built so that it was just a magnet so it attracted everybody. This is just a continuation of all the people that had all of those things fulfilled. Again, to me it’s all about timing. It’s another perfect time. www.themodern.us


m dern is smokin’! the

The Modern is targeted toward 65 million baby boomers and their babies. For advertising info,

email us at info@themodern.us Your life in retro. The past is very now.


girlie action

Krysten Ritter Life Happens for the B– – – – in Apt. 23

By Jay S. Jacobs Krysten Ritter’s buzzworthy new sit-com, Don’t Trust the B---- in Apt. 23, recently premiered on ABC. Concurrently, her first starring film Life Happens — which she also co-wrotes — opened in New York, LA and other selected cities. An impressive time for any actress — but not a huge surprise for anyone who has been following her career. She’s been stealing scenes in supporting roles for years, popping up on shows like All My Children, Veronica Mars, Gilmore Girls and an acclaimed arc on Breaking Bad. In the meantime, she has played a series of gorgeous snarky best friends in romantic comedies like She’s Out of Your League, What Happens in Vegas, Confessions of a Shopaholic and 27 Dresses. Obviously, it was time for her to take the lead in a film. However, Ritter didn’t trust just anyone The Modern | June 2012

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to launch her career. Therefore, she and her friend, Kat Coiro, wrote a screenplay called BFF and Baby — which eventually became Life Happens. Ritter plays Kim, an LA party girl who has a wild life with her two besties (played by Kate Bosworth and Rachel Bilson) until she gets pregnant and she has to deal with the shock of being a single mom and how it changes her personal and professional life. Then as she and Coiro (who directed the film) were finishing Life Happens, Ritter was cast for Don’t Trust the B---- in Apt. 23. She gets to play the hysterically anti-PC Chloe, a New Yorker who cons women by having them move in with her, then scares them away to keep their rent and security deposit. She finally meets her match with June (Dreama Walker) who won’t frighten so easily. The series is turning out to be one of the most hotly anticipated shows of the spring. If all that wasn’t enough, Ritter also has the lead in the upcoming Amy (Clueless) Heckerling comedy Vamps, co-starring Alicia Silverstone, Richard Lewis and Malcolm McDowell. About a week before her two debuts, Ritter gave us a call to discuss both new projects. I don’t believe you have children. What was it that inspired the film for you? Kat and I are long time friends — my co-writer and she also directed it. We always wanted to do the female Swingers. We loved Wedding Crashers and felt like there was definitely a void of female-driven content. We ran into a lot of double-standards, where the girls come off slutty or stupid or ditzy. Kat went and had a baby in real life. One day we were driving around, eating some burritos. Some cute boys pull up next to us. And the baby cried. We literally looked at each other with chills. We were like, “Oh, my God, that’s the movie.” So that’s how it came about. That’s how it was born, the whole thing. (laughs) Do you ever get the feeling that you have to calm down the wild life and be a bit more responsible — as your character decided in the film? There are a lot of temptations in the Hollywood scene. Me in my personal life? No. God, no. I’m a grown www.themodern.us

woman and I’m a homebody. I work hard, so there’s not really time to mess around. But, that’s just not something I’ve ever… I’ve never even been to a Hollywood club. I know nothing about it. You have a new series getting great buzz called Don’t Trust the B---- in Apt 23. I know, it’s so exciting! What can we expect from the show? Well, I play the B----. I play this New York party girl. Well, what does the B---- stand for? Well, I play the bitch. Don’t Trust the Bitch in Apt. 23. You know, which was the original title. But, I play this New York party girl with the morals of a pirate, who may or may not be a sociopath. I con young girls into moving in with me. I scare them off and keep their first, last [months rent] and security [deposit]. It’s really fun. It’s the best character ever. I’m having such a great time playing her, dressing up like her, cracking dirty jokes. It’s such a great experience for me as an actress. I love the character. Is it fun to play such an evil role? It’s really funny, because every once in a while, it’s like an excuse, you know? I think I said something recently and my boyfriend said, “Huh, that sounds like something the bitch would say.” (laughs) It’s definitely fun. But we’re on hiatus, we’ll see if we get a second series. We’re finished, so who knows. It was good timing, because I definitely found myself getting a little dirtier than necessary. I was reading online that you were discovered in the Wyoming Valley Mall, which believe it or not, I believe I have been in. That’s outside of Wilkes-Barre (PA), right? Yes. That’s freaky, you’ve been there? Yeah, I had a friend who went to college not far away. Thank God for that mall! Now, how does one get discovered in a mall? And how did you get into acting? You know, this is when I was sixteen. I was scouted. Model management, that’s what they do. They go to small towns and find girls and bring them to New York. I started modeling when I was sixteen — going June 2012 | The Modern


girlie action to New York for test shoots. Every once in a while, they would call with a job. Then during the summers I would travel. I went to Tokyo when I was sixteen. Basically I was modeling until I was nineteen years old — full time for about a year. My agent, I switched to Wilhelmina and they had an acting division. I was always sort of obnoxious and outgoing and bubbly. They said, “Oh, maybe we should send you on this commercial audition.” They did and I got it, and that’s what happened. This was in 1999. That was one my first acting job. So, I’ve been acting since 1999, which is so crazy. The first time I remember seeing you was in Gilmore Girls. How did you get involved in that and what was it like to be a part of such a classic series? You know, it’s so funny, I had never watched Gilmore Girls. It was such a weird thing. After it came out, people in airports would be like (shrieks) “Oh, my God! You’re in Gilmore Girls!” I was like, wow, this is weird. I was recurring on Veronica Mars at the time. I lived in New York, so I was flying to San Diego to shoot. Then if I had a day off or two, I’d go up to LA to go to a lot of meeting or auditions. I auditioned for Gilmore Girls and I got it. It was really exciting, but also really not exciting, because I lived in New York and they hired me in LA. They wouldn’t fly me out. (laughs) At the end of the day — I kid you not — I was paying to be on that show. It was so crazy. But it was really nice, it got me started. I’ve been working consistently since 2004. That was just part of my journey. But I’d never seen Gilmore Girls and I paid to be on the show, so it’s weird for me. (laughs again) Recently, you’ve been mostly doing supporting roles in stuff like She’s Out of Your League, Confessions of a Shopaholic and 27 Dresses. How cool is it graduating to starring roles? Of course, you made at least one of them… It’s fun. It’s all a progression. Baby steps. Every job prepares you for the next one. Obviously, this The Modern | June 2012

is my first time being the lead of a sitcom on ABC. That hasn’t happened before, so it definitely feels different. And bigger. More people involved. I approach it the same way, but yeah, it’s very exciting. For me it’s all about variety and I’ve been lucky to have gotten such a variety of characters to play. I hear you’re also a singer and musician. With your busy acting career, do you have enough time to fuel that passion as well? What are you doing with that? Yeah. You know, not as much as I would like, but I am putting out a record which will come out this summer on WT Records, which is really small. We just shot a music video. So, it’s something that is very personal and I’m not

trying to have some big pop star career, trust me, but it’s another extension of what I do. For me it’s all the creative process. It all feels like the same job. Jay S. Jacobs is the author of the books Wild Years: The Music and Myth of Tom Waits and Pretty Good Years: A Biography of Tori Amos. He is also senior editor and founder of the pop culture web magazine www.popentertainment.com. www.themodern.us


retro sports

The Winner Takes It All Bet the house on all the new gambling temptations — and how they came about. By Mitch Gainsburg I’m sitting here picking my NCAA Tournament brackets with my thirteen-year-old daughter. She is picking one as well. It occurs to me that I did the same thing with my father back in the mid-to-late Seventies. Only then, they were these little white slips that were called “football pools.” I couldn’t wait until Wednesday came around and my father gave me a pool to play. One dollar, pick 4 teams and if they all won you earned $10.00. Wow. Back then, sports gambling was street bookies and these football pools. If you were lucky enough to get to Las Vegas and bet on a game, that was the only other legal way to do it. One could pick up the phone on any given day and call the bookie and place a bet. Simple enough. The books had it made. Information back then was sparse, hard to come by and slow at best. All we had was the morning paper and the pre-game shows as information outlets. Then came cable TV and the need for more programming. So the sports world jumped on the idea of having a panel of four loud, overweight and probably-never-played-the-game guys who tell us who is going to win and why. They supposedly had all the information and wanted to be paid for it. ”Forgetaboutit.” Frauds and liars, that’s all. Well, today we have the Internet and all the info you need at a click or a tap. Need an injury report? Google it. Need a weather report? Google it. Want info on a player? Google it. See what I’m saying? Good information leads to better odds to win and takes the edge away from the bookies. To make it worse for the gambler, you now have access to websites 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. You can bet on anything and everything that has odds, from the presidential race to the closing of the Dow Jones. Like a pony in Chicago? Bet it from Philadelphia. You think Denver wins the Super Bowl and it’s only June? Relax. Vegas will come to you so that you can bet it now. Gambling on sports, needing action and trying to make a living at it will only prolong the losing. Now they have made it so easy to lose your money that you forget why you bet it in the first place. Listen, sports gambling is fun and, like anything else, if you have too www.themodern.us

June 2012 | The Modern

much fun you never want to stop. Unfortunately, this type of fun could cost you everything and everyone. Like so-called mobster Arnold Rothstein said back in the 1920s, “Marshall your resource; only make a bet if there is a bet to make.” Simple enough, maybe for some people. Mitch Gainsburg is owner of thesportsgoombahs.com and show host of Sports Goombahs Radio and webcast, heard every Sunday @ 7pm on 1490 wbcb Levittown, PA and all over the world @ www.wbcb1490.com

retro quiz

Horse Racing, Sport of Kings Saddle up for this challenging test of your racing knowledge. By William Shultz 1. Name the races and their locations that make up the Triple Crown of horse racing. 2. What horse was the last one to win the Triple Crown and what year? 3. How many Triple Crown winners have there been and when was the first one? 4. The term Triple Crown originated in what country? 5. What year did that happen (the first time any Triple Crown was won)?

1. Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Kentucky; Preakness Stakes at Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore, Maryland; Belmont Stakes at Belmont Park in Elmont, New York. 2. Affirmed in 1978. 3. 11, 1919 4. England 5. 1853


i spy

r o t a G n o D f o l l u F A World r e g n a D d n a e Intrigu


Model Dennis Hirdt’s alter ego is the spy who holds a license to thrill. I was a college athlete and musician until nature narrowed my choices with a shoulder injury that finished off my pitching career. It’s an old story. Don’t feel sorry for me. I had my music and the love of my life, a Brazilian beauty that the sun rose and set on, a girl who made me feel like I knew what I was doing with my life. I have a dim memory of dropping her off at the train station one morning, and shortly after that my world went dark: she was killed in an attack that ended the lives of many other innocents. In my darkest hours I was approached only by a man named Agent Z, an off-label, sack-suit on the outside; tae kwon do and jiu jitsu champion on the inside, fluent in seven languages. Z had a simple question for me: Would I be interested in seeking revenge? I didn’t think long before I decided to go with him. The training almost killed me. I was the top recruit out of ten, but that’s because seven men didn’t make the cut, and an eighth got up in the middle of the night, drifted into the dunes, and was never heard from again.

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Z smuggled in fifty pounds of blow from Colombia, and arranged for me to be arrested trying to sell it. I was sentenced to 15 years in an Arizona hellhole, and I was riding the rap when Z’s people broke me out. An explosion outside my cell set me free, and in my place they dropped the body of a charred John Doe. As far as the world knew, I was dead. In reality, I was alone in the desert with a 9 mm Beretta. It was an impossibly short journey from all-star jock to locked-up drug dealer to dead afterthought of a prison riot. In the meantime, Z and his team had created its most lethal asset, Agent Don Gator. I foolishly asked Z who was funding this operation. The answer was, “Nobody.” There wasn’t a government on earth who would claim responsibility for the missions we were charged with.

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At legitimate intelligence organizations such as the CIA, MI6, and Mossad, acknowledging that Z’s band existed was akin to believing in ghosts. In spite of that, the top dogs at those agencies wanted to crush us. They couldn’t have credit taken away from them by the rumor of a team that did not officially exist. The only thing that Z cared about was zeroing out bad guys. I shared that priority. MI6 dispatched an agent to gather intelligence on me. I turned her into my top recruit, but along the way, I managed to fuck up an operation that involved swapping classic art for fissile material that originated in a Karachi nuclear lab. Critically wounded in an explosion at the Louvre, I sucked up what little strength I had left, and with morphine-fueled music throbbing though my brain, I scribbled this lyric: “I don’t have the time for the same old dance/so I made a plan/I’m not gonna sit back here and leave it all to chance/somebody take my hand.” The chorus stuck in my head as I slumped out of the Parisian hospital.


i spy

& s i a v u a M t c i d e Ben , o b o L Lady Harder Try a Little

Recovering in the hills of Menorca, Z brought me the bad news in person. The one other recruit who had completed the training had gone rogue. This traitor, whose name was Benedict, took a suitcase stuffed with cash from a Russian Red Head and was now a free agent, pedaling information to the highest bidder. It was essential that Benedict not know that I was on to him. I needed to determine what had been divulged, and if the clandestine identities of Z’s band were blown. Enter Lady Lobo, a sweet girl who made me long for my lost Brazilian love, but who had collapsed into the foul thrall of Benedict and his money. The ballad of Don and Lobo was “Try a Little Harder,” a song about a love triangle I sang to her one night while I sat at the piano. Lobo, I was able to ascertain, was Brazilian Intelligence. I wished I could have loved her, and I think she wanted to love me back, but there were some things she was just never going to get over, and I’d have to say the same for myself. I took some cold comfort in neutralizing Benedict. I put him in a box and I bought a ticket for Barcelona. The Modern | June 2012

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m u l S a n o l e Barc Madrid was hit hard, but I knew Barcelona was next. I set up shop as a pimp-with-a-limp, a cocaine & cava shred of human waste in Las Ramblas, in Barcelona. I directed an asset named Morena to bug a late-night romp, and the recording gave up intel that helped me bust up an anthrax attack on the Barcelona Metro. If the truth be told, I was sick about Morena. I begged her to leave the life, and meet me in the Mallorcan seas. “Undercover/show ’em what you’re made of/have faith in what you can’t see down the barrel of a gun/can you love her?/with all that we’ve become?/See through the lies into the eyes of the Barcelona Slum…”


i spy

n r u B / n e v a He When I dropped Morena off at the pier, I didn’t know it would be the last time I saw her. I headed back to the Barcelona Slum, and the following afternoon I heard on the radio about the abandoned boat whose interior was saturated in blood. I thought about fate. I wanted to believe in Heaven and Hell. I wanted to believe that bad people and good people ultimately got what they deserved. But I knew Z’s band had been blown. I made the decision to go 100% rogue, and I didn’t tell anybody, not Z, nobody. I burned myself, fading into an American southwest Nowheresville, but I got tipped that they were coming for me. The news didn’t surprise me. I had been waiting for the call. I drove through the desert with the lights off and my night vision goggles on, screaming through the indigo night, past the white sands of New Mexico, past Las Vegas and Carson City …I’ll wait outside, run in an empty house, a Bible’s on a desk, the passports wait inside, you’ll find them in a hollowed out book of Genesis, the beginning isn’t written…

The Modern | June 2012

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read this retro book

Contested Waters (Almost) everybody in the pool! Plunge into the racial prejudice and sexual tension that set water boiling in America’s public pools. By Ronald Sklar Americans’ long and sweaty love affair with municipal swimming pools is on the wane, but it’s left behind a sort of sordid legacy. Jeff Wiltse, a professor of US history at The University of Montana, has made a splash with his dive into the history of pools, Contested Waters (The University of North Carolina Press). In a recent interview, he tells us how these swimming holes evolved into a hotbed of controversy.

Swimming in the nineteenth century A lot of people are somewhat horrified to learn that bathing — washing the body — was not commonplace in the United States in the early nineteenth century. Also, there were not many people who swam. Most people were afraid of the water and associated it with death and drowning.

least in part accounts for the rising popularity of pools. Pools became sexually charged public spaces. In all other public venues, you would interact with anonymous others but be fully clothed. Also, during the 1920s and 1930s, swimming suits shrunk in size. Women and men began to show more and more of their bodies. The attempt to segregate public pools. In the northern states, pools became racially desegregated in the late 1940s and continuing into the mid1950s. There was violence. There were many instances when a public swimming pool became desegregated that whites gathered and literally beat blacks who tried to enter that pool. But the more common outcome was that whites abandoned municipal pools that blacks had access to. As soon as blacks gained access to a municipal pool, whites stopped swimming at that pool. They either went to other municipal pools that blacks did not have access to, or they joined private club pools. The rise of private swim clubs In the early-to-mid-1950s, the tremendous growth of private club pools, particularly in the suburbs, was in a large part a reaction to the court-ordered racial desegregation of public pools. At that point, private clubs were legally able to discriminate against others: whites only. It became a strong incentive in many suburban communities to fund private club pools rather than to fund public pools. That’s because public pools at that time made it clear that they had to be open to all races.

How pools became unisex By the 1920s, pools generally became gender integrated but racially segregated. Pools were perceived to be intimate spaces, both physically and visually. Racial prejudices at the time made it an anathema for white women to swim with black men.

The advent of backyard swimming pools Backyard swimming pools in the late 1950s and early 1960s were enabled by growing prosperity, but I attribute it more to a general desire for privacy. Even a private club pool is not very private. People in some ways wanted to get away from the community and get away from society. The backyard of a suburban home provided that refuge.

How pools became sexual hotspots Pools became immensely popular because they were sites of exhibitionism and voyeurism. This at

The state of the municipal swimming pool today Since the 1960s, municipal pools have been in decline. Cities have chosen to close many existing pools.

The Modern | June 2012

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There have been comparatively few new pools being built. Pools have fallen into dilapidation. This is especially true in cities like Pittsburgh, Detroit, St. Louis, Youngstown, Ohio — the older industrial cities are where this is most prevalent. In an economic downturn, when budgets become strained, city pools are among the first to go. They’re only good for four or five months out of the year and relatively expensive. Americans today have much less access to public swimming facilities than previous generations of Americans. This is especially true in inner cities. The

number of swimming pools in the suburbs has continued to increase. Now, more than before, access to swimming pools is divided between class lines. Poor and working-class people have very limited access to swimming pools. Another trend has been to not build traditional swimming pools. When communities do fund water recreation facilities, they are increasingly choosing to construct water playgrounds. They have, for instance, lily pads that sprout water and spray guns and buckets that fill up, but not the traditional pool. There is not actual swimming going on. The children using them aren’t learning how to swim. Swimming pools were a uniquely sociable and interactive public space. www.themodern.us

June 2012 | The Modern

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retro foodie/london

Jacob Schimer

The Old English Gentleman Our farmboy from Kansas discovers the old-world charm of merry ole England. By Jacob Schimer I recently had the opportunity to travel across the pond to England and explore various pubs and restaurants. I drank and ate my way across the country from London Town to Cambridge to a little market town by the name of Saffron Walden and was able to find a few old-school gems that definitely made my trip worthwhile. One particular pub stood out among the rest and was surprisingly quite nostalgic. Even

though I was three thousand miles away from New York I felt right at home. The Old English Gentleman is nestled on Gold Street in the heart of Saffron Walden, a district of Essex. As I walked up to the OEG I first noticed their well-lit rustic signage and an old English chap in a top hat hanging above. It was love at first sight and I didn’t care who knew. I was staying with a few friends not too far from the 19th century establishment and they were bound to show me the way around as well as their unique drinking customs. They pulled me inside and we headed straight for the gigantic bar in the middle of The Modern | June 2012

the pub. The OEG had several bitters, which, in their neck of the woods, means beer or a pale ale. My pals ordered a round of Adnams Southwold Bitter. We parked our arses at an old wooden table near a wall lined with ancient tobacco pipes. The bitter we were served was room temperature, which was quite different from what I was used to from back home (ice cold brews). It was quite tasty, very smooth and full-bodied, but with a light finish at the end. As I was enjoying the flavor of my bitter and trying to pick up different notes and flavors, I looked over and saw that my friend, who plays rugby, was already done with his drink. He gave me a quick glance of disapproval so I bent my elbow and knocked back my Adnams in one quick gulp. I realized this wasn’t going to be a night of savoring and enjoying beer but a long night of inhaling it. In true form, we were back at the bar ordering another round with a Jager Bomb on the side. I had a sense of deja vu and was transported back to my fraternity days at The University of Kansas, where my brothers and I would pound Jager Bomb after Jager Bomb until the night was a blur. I thought this particular drink had died when I graduated, but clearly it had not and was staring me in the face once again. We downed the bomb and chased it with half of our new sudsy pints. This seemed to quench their thirst for a minute so I made a move to explore the OEG and locate the loo. Belly full and feeling a little buzz, I attempted to absorb my surrounding and get a sense of who the OEG really was. The wooden walls and benches were worn smooth with a polished finish. They definitely had seen a lot of action through the years and had stories to tell. Pints and pictures hung about the walls like family photos and gave the OEG a sense of roots and belonging. I felt like I was in my grandma and grandpa’s old farmhouse in Kansas. I had a sense that they had maybe been here before on their travels to England. Just then I could hear Etta James’ “A Sunday Kind of Love” softly playing to the local patrons. I couldn’t believe they were playing jazzy blues music at the OEG. This warmed my heart right up. Though I wasn’t from England, some of my family had been and I felt a sort of connection, like they had left establishments like this www.themodern.us


behind for me to one day find. What nostalgia this little pub in this little town in England had to offer. Before I got too caught up in my moment, I decided to head back to my friends, where they were waiting patiently with new shots and a round of freshly-pumped bitters. They called the new shots Strawpeedos, which is a Smirnoff Ice with a straw in it that allows one to shotgun 12 ounces of pure sugar and alcohol. This made me a little nervous but they encouraged me with their rugby style hoots and hollers, so down the hatch the Strawpeedo went. It was quite cold and very sweet but made for great laughs and funny faces. We continued to listen to old-school music and drink the night away while listening to one another’s stories from childhood. After eating and drinking with many of the locals throughout my trip I realized that England and America are very different places, but that they are also very much the same. Yes, the people talk funny and they drive on the wrong side of the car and the road, but they too have a sense of what home and history mean to them. And though I am from the middle of America and now reside and work in New York, I managed to

travel thousands of miles away and find a connection with the food, drink and people of England. I found it in a pub. Cheers to the OEG! Jacob Schirmer is a foodie from Kansas with an appetite for life. New York City satisfies his every craving.

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girls were girls & men were men

Katharine Ross This doe-eyed beauty won the hearts of a generation. By Jay S. Jacobs In the early Sixties, Katharine Ross was a military brat living in San Francisco when she discovered acting. That is not a big deal; there are lots of people who think it would be fun to be an actress. However, Ross, beyond being very talented, was also extraordinarily pretty. The camera loved her girl-next-door beauty, her long straight hair and her sweet and inquisitive face. It was a mixture of that striking beauty, raw talent and a bit of luck that won her roles in two of the definitive films of the Sixties before her 30th birthday. Here are some of Ross’ most intriguing roles. The Graduate – Elaine Robinson It’s not easy when your first truly-noticed role turns out to be part of a generation-defining statement. The Graduate skyrocketed Katharine Ross to the stratosphere of Hollywood fame (and gained Ross her only Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actress), but also proved to be nearly impossible to live up to. Ross played Elaine, the beautiful daughter of lecherous Mrs. Robinson and the object of obsession for Benjamin Braddock, Dustin Hoffman’s Sixties disillusioned everyman. The kicker is one of the least romantic “happy ever after” endings in Hollywood history, in which Ben and Elaine, finally having rebelled from their middle-class parents’ values and running off together, quickly realize they have nothing in common and not a thing to say to each other. Ross admitted later that she had no idea that the movie would be a cultural touchstone, nor that her co-star Hoffman would become a huge star. “He looked about three-feet tall, so dead serious, so humorless, so unkempt,” Ross said. “[I thought] this is going to be a disaster.” www.youtube.com/embed/ahFARm2j38c Butch Cassidy & the Sundance Kid – Etta Place In Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, Ross held her own with two of the iconic talents of Hollywood: The Modern | June 2012

Paul Newman and Robert Redford. The movie is arguably the last of the true old-fashioned westerns at the same time that it changed all the rules. “It obviously wasn’t a traditional western,” Ross said years later. “It had a lot of the elements of a traditional western, but it also had modern humor, so it was a nice mix.” Butch and Sundance were — up until the movie — fairly obscure Western outlaws whose legend had pretty much been forgotten. Screenwriter William Goldman found them fascinating because, against the western code, they actually ran away from a super-posse in Utah and became even more successful bandits in Bolivia. Ross played Etta Place, the beautiful schoolteacher who was in the middle of an odd love triangle with both bandits — her relationship with Butch was more romantic, while Sundance was more physical. This may have been shown best by the famous musical interlude (back in the days when musical interludes just didn’t happen) in which Butch wakes Etta from Sundance’s bed and fools around on a newfangled bicycle with her while B.J. Thomas’ “Raindrops Keep Fallin’ On My Head” played in the background. Etta promised she would follow the guys anywhere, but she refused to watch them die. She was good as her word, leaving Bolivia right before the last stand. Ross later revisited the character in a 1976 TV movie called Wanted: The Sundance Woman. Recently, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid was one of the films selected for registry at the Library of Congress for being “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant.” www.youtube.com/embed/S2OdPDEG6aQ The Stepford Wives – Joanna Eberhart The Stepford Wives has reached a very odd place in the pop culture zeitgeist. It captured a moment and unique idea so brilliantly that everyone knows about it. It even created its own slang; if you mention the term “Stepford wife” to someone www.themodern.us


they will most likely know what you are talking about. “The fact that it triggered that and became a definition for something is a testimony to what the movie made people feel,” Ross recalled years later. And yet, I’d be willing to bet that the great majority of people out there have never seen the original film. This is a shame, because it was actually one of the smartest and scariest black comedies of the Seventies. Ross played Joanna Eberhart, a liberated New York photographer who moved with her family to the lush Connecticut suburb of Stepford. She quickly notices that all the other wives around were only interested in housekeeping and making their husbands happy. The more Joanna looks into it, the more she is sure that there is something sinister going on in the sleepy suburb. The film is definitely worth searching out on video, however, whatever you do, don’t see the awful, misguided 2004 remake with Nicole Kidman. Ira Levin’s amazing original novel, which inspired the film, is also well worth finding. www.youtube.com/embed/D8HERyQwMO4 The Betsy – Sally Hardeman This film was based on a potboiler by popular Seventies trash novelist Harold Robbins. However, the movie didn’t exactly bring the trash, as the New York Times said in their 1978 review: “It’s a backhanded criticism, but there’s something too classy about this version of the Harold Robbins novel. It’s too tame. And too solemn.” The Betsy took a look at an automobile dynasty (any similarities to Henry Ford and family were not so coincidental.) Interestingly, before its time, The Betsy revolved around the attempt to create an efficient, practical automobile, but running into roadblocks trying to get Detroit to change. Three generations of the Hardeman family were obsessed with cars, money, sex and power. Ross had to do some just slightly-creepy love scenes with her character’s father-in-law, played by a much older, slumming Laurence Olivier. The movie was a failure critically and in box-office terms, but hey, Robbins felt that it was the best film version of his work. www.youtube.com/embed/cIpZ4LgHfi8 The Swarm – Helena

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At the tail end of the disaster movie craze, über-producer Irwin Allen (The Poseidon Adventure, The Towering Inferno) took

on the then-fresh threat of African killer bees. As was traditional for Allen’s films, the producer rounded up about a couple dozen big stars and figured out imaginative ways to kill them off, whether it be by fire, tidal wave, volcano or in this case hundreds of thousands of angry little stingers. Ross played Helena, a brilliant entomologist (hmmm… typecasting) who helped Michael Caine warn a small Texas town full of has-been actors that they had better close down their annual honey festival because the relentless little critters were on the rampage. www.youtube.com/embed/smTOgJN8WOs Tell Them Willie Boy Was Here – Lola Ross reunited with Sundance Kid co-star Robert Redford a mere month after that film’s release, though she worked mostly with a pre-Baretta (and premurder) Robert Blake in this true story about an Indian outlaw on the run in the early 1900s. Ross plays Willie Boy’s squaw, a beautiful Indian lass who takes it on the lam with her man when he inadvertently kills her dad. The posse following them is led by Redford (reversing his Sundance Kid role) who leads Willie Boy and Lola to a deadly last stand. The film was a critical darling, but never made much of a ripple in the box office. www.youtube.com/embed/4Z2J5Rr1EVw The Legacy – Margaret Walsh The Legacy was a cheesy Seventies horror flick that is most memorable for introducing Ross to her fifth (and current) husband, he-man actor Sam Elliott. An uncomfortable blend of the Agatha Christie parlor mysteries and a more with-it supernatural chiller (such as the then-recent The Omen), The Legacy uses the hoary old fright plot of a small group of people drawn into a mysterious mansion, where they start to mysteriously die one by one. (Oddly, one of those strangers is played by the Who singer Roger Daltrey.) Ross plays an architect who is invited into the British country manor seemingly by chance after a fender-bender with the head of the estate, only to find that she seems to have been expected all along. The audience, meanwhile, expected a better, more coherent story. www.youtube.com/embed/eXLfdFecwmI June 2012 | The Modern


on off-broadway

Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, and so does Encores! Our Eve Golden claims Blondes has more fun. By Eve Golden Encores! had really been falling asleep at the switch lately, with their disappointing revivals of Merrily We Roll Along and Pipe Dream. So I am delighted to report that their revival of the 1949 Gentlemen Prefer Blondes (May 9–13) was a rhinestonebedecked winner. I’ll admit, I was disappointed when I heard Megan Hilty was going to play Lorelei Lee —I had my heart set on Kristin Chenoweth. The Cheno is, I am convinced, the unholy offspring of Carol Channing and Yosemite Sam, and could really bring a wild-eyed, gleeful craziness to the part. But it’s not Hilty’s fault that she is not The Cheno, and as she quite sensibly told the New York Times, “I’m not going to please everybody. People are going to walk through these doors and they’re going to have a lot of expectations, and some of them I’ll meet, and some of them I really won’t. But at the end of the day I can’t waste my energy worrying about that.” Hilty’s had a spotty Broadway career, but has some success as a cabaret chanteuse — mostly, her fame comes from that endearingly awful, can’t-look-away car wreck Smash on NBC. So my hopes were not high. But damned if she didn’t pull off a real star turn! Hilty’s Lorelei Lee has no hint of Carol Channing’s goggle-eyed sociopathic Muppet, or Marilyn Monroe’s amoral marshmallow Peep. I tried to think who her brassy, tough Lorelei reminded me of: preCode Harlow? Polly Walters? Judy Holliday? Then I realized she did not remind me of anyone else, which is, of course, the best kind of performance. With her mile-wide smile and bouncy marionette walk, Hilty can turn any line into a laugh line, and The Modern | June 2012

her singing voice is clear and loud and in character. Which makes one feel terrible for everyone else onstage. Lorelei’s sidekick Dorothy is a thankless role (who remembers Carol Channing’s Dorothy, Yvonne Adair?). Rachel York (who, according to her résumé, has been in every Broadway show since The Black Crook) did a nice job, and enjoyably belted out such songs as “Keeping Cool with Coolidge” and “I Love What I’m Doing” (that last number, by the way, is the beefcake chorus-boy number that became the movie version’s “Ain’t There Anyone Here for Love?” and delighted the dowagers and gay men who make up the Encores! audience). Of the men onstage, the standout was Stephen R. Buntrock, as a Teddy Roosevelt/ Bernarr McFadden-type health nut; his song “I’m a-Tingle, “I’m a-Glow” was a high point of the evening. I must also single out Brennan Brown, who played not one but two comic Frenchmen, a ship’s steward and a lawyer, with a broad burlesque panache. As for the songs (by Jule Styne and Leo Robin) they are wonderfully corny, pure 1949 Broadway. The movie version cut a lot of the Broadway numbers — some of them wisely. “It’s Delightful Down in Chile,” “Sunshine,” “You Say You Care,” are not particularly memorable. “Button Up with Esmond” is adorable, and features some great joke costumes by David C. Woolard. The history-nerd in me was in heaven with “Homesick,” whose lyrics referenced Marilyn Miller, Nora Bayes and Sophie Tucker (though that same history-nerd blanched when a character boop-a-dooped: “This is 1924, and Helen Kane didn’t boop her first doop till 1928,” I mentally scolded). Megan Hilty killed with an hilarious “I’m Just a www.themodern.us


Need To

Little Girl from Little Rock” (unlike the movie version, it’s a solo, sans Dorothy). Which brings me to my one quibble — for “Diamonds Are a Girl’s Best Friend,” Hilty dropped her Lorelei character and belted it out as Megan Hilty. Which was enjoyable, of course — how could it not be? — but was an odd choice and a little bit of a let-down.

The gossip along the Great White Way this season is, will Blondes be transplanted to Broadway now? It is not a good enough show to survive without a real star turn, and both Hilty and Chenoweth are tied up to TV contracts. Neither Sutton Foster nor Kelli O’Hara would be quite right as Lorelei, and heaven protect us from their casting some Glee/American Idol girlie. I have no doubt that Carol Channing, at 91, would be happy to reprise her old role. My tip for this month is to grab the original, Anita Loos’ hilarious Gentlemen Prefer Blondes: The Intimate Diary of A Professional Lady (1926) and its equally funny sequel, But Gentlemen Marry Brunettes (1928), preferably an edition with the original Ralph Barton illustrations. And then never read anything else by Anita Loos, who was apparently hit on the head by a suicidal Wall Streeter in 1929 and lost all of her talent. Eve Golden, who wrote The Bottom Shelf for Movieline in its 1990s heyday, has written seven books on film and theater history. Her biography of John Gilbert will be published next year. www.themodern.us

June 2012 | The Modern

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hotel california

The Hotel Del Coronado San Diego’s landmark transports us back to Somewhere in Time. By Desiree Dymond In the early fall of last year, I visited the city of San Diego. Upon returning to the airport to catch my ride back east, I was informed that I’d missed my flight. The next available plane was not until the follow-

As we pulled up to the hotel, a bellboy walked up and opened the door of the car for me. Another opened the door to the lobby. I walked into in immense hallway leading into the main lobby, pretending like I belonged there. ing evening. Alone, I walked myself to a restaurant down the long hallways of the airport to contemplate my next move. I kept asking myself how something like this could have happened, since I’d never before missed a flight in my life. Fate must have had another plan for me. I booked myself a room at the W hotel for the night, in a high room with a view. As I watched the sun setting from the alcove window, I realized that one landmark I’d always wanted to see had almost slipped through my fingers once again — The Hotel Del Coronado. Then I knew why I had missed my flight; I may never make it out to this city again, and I could miss visiting the landmark for good. I could almost see the The Modern | June 2012

mythical hotel over the buildings and beyond the bay in front of me as I came to this realization. My obsession with the movie Somewhere in Time started my fascination of someday visiting the hotel. In the original book version by Richard Matheson, the main character travels back in time to find a woman from 1912, with whom he falls in love. Her picture hung on a wall of the Hotel del Coronado. For budget reasons, the movie version ended up being shot at The Grand Hotel on Michigan’s Mackinaw Island. I was marveling at how close I’d come to the hotel by being in San Diego again, and how close I’d come to forgetting about this life quest to see for myself the inspiration on which Matheson had based his book. I’d always wanted to walk through the corridors of the hotel and imagine Matheson thinking up this beautiful love story in his mind all backlit by wooden Victorian-era pastels. I wanted to look at the same things he saw while writing his book, and see what kind of effect it would have on me, especially while already being influenced by Somewhere in Time. The next morning I got a cab and was soon driving over the Coronado Bridge. The driver pointed out the hotel coming into view from the right side of the bridge. The view from the bridge was overwhelming, but I couldn’t take my eyes off the hotel. As we pulled up to the hotel, a bellboy walked up and opened the door of the car for me. Another opened the door to the lobby. I walked into in immense hallway leading into the main lobby. Pretending like I belonged there, I walked towards the lobby as confidently as I could, not that anyone noticed me. People were just going about their business as they usually do in hotels. I marveled at the huge chandelier in the middle of the lobby. I could imagine that I had www.themodern.us


gone back in time, standing there with the all-wooden walls and carpeting from another era. If I looked in a place where there were no people, I could easily convince myself I was back in time. This was easy since the hotel was built in 1887 and still retained its original splendor. I quickly understood what Matheson must have been thinking while writing Somewhere in Time. This scene fit perfectly with what I’d imagined it to be. In one scene in the book, the main character (from 1980) is convincing himself that he is in the year 1912. He succeeds. I contemplated sneaking off into a quiet Hotel Del Coronado hallway to take my shot at it. I made my way downstairs to a coffee shop, followed by a beautifully retro Victorian restaurant. Beyond that was a 1950s-looking outdoor dining area, followed by a spectacular pool, with outdoor concession stands and umbrella-covered tables facing the ocean. I stayed a while, marveling at the Rockwellian scene of happy families around the pool. I wanted to walk out to the ocean, but my boots and black minidress-with-leggings combo made it too hot to stay in the sun. I made my way back inside to the air-conditioned hotel hall of history. Behind the glass enclosures was a museum-like display of artifacts from the hotel’s birth and on. This must have been where Matheson was inspired to have the main character of his book fall in love with the picture of a woman from the past. I spent over an hour learning about the hotel’s journey to the present day. At the end of the display was a staircase with a sign that read “hotel guests only.” I couldn’t resist. Two flights of stairs later I found myself in a quiet, deserted hallway. Walking up and down, I imagined what I would write about it. I came upon a mirror, and the ghostly reflection of myself startled me. I took out my phone and photographed myself. The background was eerie, almost like the movie The Shining instead of Somewhere in Time. I continued to stroll the hallways until I felt satisfied that I’d taken it all in. Stopping by the hotel gift shop, I found a book titled Beautiful Stranger: The Ghost of Kate Morgan and the Hotel del Coronado. It tells the story of Kate Morgan, who committed suicide at the hotel and still haunts it to this day. I sat down outside the gift shop and read half the book. What better place to read of a haunting than in the haunted establishment itself? I wanted to experience the restaurant before I left. Book in hand, I got a table for one in the back, so I could see all of the activity going on in the restaurant. A jazzed-up snooty waiter took my order for clam chowder and iced tea. I continued to pretend I was reading the book, but I was really focusing on the behavior of the other people in the restaurant. What kind of people would these have been back in 1912? I www.themodern.us

June 2012 | The Modern

could imagine them dressed in period-piece clothing. It made sense. Even the soda fountain glass my iced tea was served in made sense. It was like watching a live play on a stage. I could have almost applauded at the beautifully antique perfection of what I’d imagined coming to life right before my eyes. Desiree Dymond is a model, singer/ songwriter and blogger residing in New York City.

retro check

w

Talkin’‘bout Shaft We’ll shut our mouth while you tick off the questions below.You’ll be damn right if you answer “this cat Shaft” for each one, and we can dig it.

   

Who is the black private dick that’s a sex machine to all the chicks? Who is the man who will risk his neck for his brother man? Who’s the cat that won’t cop out, when there’s danger all about? Who is a complicated man, but no one understands him but his woman? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ehg2EaYhoJs


retro tech

Adventures in Modern Sound By Art Wilson As a child in the 1950s, some of my family’s artistic bohemian lifestyle was naturally appealing to me. But graduating college in the late 1960s, I was straight-laced and in ROTC, ready to enter the Army as an officer. Alternative lifestyles were a curiosity, but not foremost in my mind. But the times, they were “a-changin’.”

The last leg of the trip was San Francisco, and one of the sights to see was the Haight/Ashbury district, the most iconic place of that famous summer. Hippies roamed the streets and nearby Golden Gate Park, while visitors gawked at them from tour buses and as pedestrians.

Between graduation and entering the Army, I took a vacation with a friend, to California. It happened to be in a historical moment in time: 1967, “The Summer of Love.” We were very much tourists, spending time in the areas of Los Angeles, San Diego, and Las Vegas. But the last leg of the trip was San Francisco, and one of the sights to see was the Haight/Ashbury district, the most iconic place of that famous summer. Hippies roamed the streets and nearby Golden Gate Park, while visitors gawked at them from tour buses and as pedestrians. During this vacation, I learned via a phone call from my parents that my military orders had come. In August I would be doing my officer’s training in Virginia, but then spending the next eight months back in California, at Fort Ord, in the Monterey Peninsula area. I arrived there in October. My job was Training Officer in the basic training center. Because officers’ quarters were scarce, I was required to live offpost. The Modern | June 2012

I rented a small rustic house in the fairy tale town of Carmel. It was a few hours south of San Francisco, but the new culture had made its way down. In the “head shop” on Cannery Row in Monterey, I bought posters and black light fluorescent fixtures. With the lights down and my fireplace burning, my living room became a glowing den. I put up beaded curtains in the doorways, and my place was cool. Musicians gathered in the local park, playing Lovin’ Spoonful songs, and interesting bands performed in the small clubs, a new and very appealing sound. I couldn’t believe my ears in the record shop when I heard tracks from Richie Havens and by Steve www.themodern.us


The New Oldies DJ NVM What’s new in old? DJ NVM calls them out.

Miller, and had to buy their al-

Rhythim Is Rhythim | Strings of Life (Original Mix)

bums. I became friends with civilian local people. They raved about, and had hung out with, some artists appearing at the recent local summer’s concert, The Monterey Pop Festival. I had not heard of it. There were fantastic performances by the top bands, and a show-stopping new artist named Janis Joplin! This pioneering concert became legendary years later when it was released as a film. On the fringe of San Francisco’s radio signal, I was able to pick up KMPX-FM, the first commercial station with an “underground” format. It was started by pioneer Tom Donahue, whom we had known years before as a Top 40 deejay on WIBG radio in Philadelphia. The training cycle of our basic trainees was eight weeks, and they would sometimes perform an original show at the end. In one of these performances they sang, “One, two, three. What are we fightin’ for? Don’t ask me. I don’t give a damn. Next stop is Vietnam. Oh it’s one, two, three. Open up those pearly gates. Ain’t no time to wonder why. Whoopee! We’re all gonna die.” I thought this was a brave and very creative original song, but didn’t realize until much later that it was Country Joe McDonald’s “Feel Like I’m Fixin’ to Die Blues,” an anthem at Woodstock. I spent my last year in the Army in Vietnam, still straight-laced, but influenced by the times. I saw in the news the very disturbing happenings at the 1968 Chicago Democrat Convention. A friend sent me a letter (which I found in recent years), disturbed and deeply saddened by the violent backlash on the protesters at that event. After the Army I became more freewheeling in lifestyle, attitude, and appearance, and I can thank the counterculture for that.

Learn more about DJ NVM here:

Art Wilson is a Philadelphia-based musician, teacher, software specialist and retired chemist.

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www.themodern.us

June 2012 | The Modern

An 80s soulful house classic that I throw into my set from time to time. This track represents what started it all in house music; a melodic mix of piano keys sets an upbeat tone. Inner City | Big Fun (Original) (Extended) The title says it all and the upbeat lyrics connect with anyone with a pulse. One of the first house singles to cross over to mainstream in the 80s. Reality | Yolanda (Club Mix) An anthem that sounds as good today as it did when it hit the clubs in the 90s. There is never a bad time to hear or play this track. Nightcrawlers | Push the Feeling On (Original Mix) This classic sets the room on fire no matter what type of a crowd you play for. The most commercial house song on the list and perhaps the one that had the most influence on my musical taste when I was younger. Schwab | DJs In a Row A great rock track that makes you want to move. I used to drink … I used to smoke … and then I'd dance.


dig this dvd

Dragnet ’67

Season 1 (1967-1968) (Universal, 2005) Joe Friday fights crime — and Blue Boy — in the Summer of Love. By Ronald Sklar It’s easy to be hard on Dragnet 1967, with its obvious squareness, its sexlessness, its lack of (intentional) humor and its blatant modesty. However, the only real weak link in its chain is its obsessive need

to deliver an easy, uninspiring payoff. Each cop-ncriminal tale is a success story — no cold cases here. There are never any surprises, which is — unsurprisingly — exactly what its ultra-conservative audience demands. The dawning of the Age of Aquarius seemed like The Modern | June 2012

the right time to dust off and shine up this tough old gem. The original series (first on radio and then on early TV) was hard-hitting and rather shocking for its time, dealing with such out-there-for-the-Fifties topics as child molestation, drug addiction and mass murder. Its unwavering respect for the golden rule and its always-sober vibe seemed to strike a chord with the public — an unusual offering from a medium which went out of its way to avoid offending anyone except for its constant dependence on hysterics, buffoons and loudmouths. The earnestness of the series quietly dug its own groove. It worked so well that it almost never veered from its tried-and-true formula. It was proud of the fact that “the story you are about to see is true. The names have been changed to protect the innocent.” The tales, pulled from police files and airbrushed for television, were as rigid and as tightly wound as a nagging nerve; nobody, not even the criminals, was allowed to melt down too far from their controlled center. A stab of trumpets, always cued up on time, seemed to serve as a replacement for an adrenaline rush. The chaotic, seamy side of Los Angeles is contrasted with the heavy-gravity persona of the unflappable detective named Joe Friday (Jack Webb). Here was a rock with no life; exceedingly polite yet blunt to a fault. He always got his man, and was an employer’s dream: no outside interests, no desire for a raise or a promotion, and seemingly no appetite for sex or food. He was conservatism incarnate. In Dragnet 1967, Webb brings his grim film-noir character into the Los Angeles of the hippies and the nervous rich. This is just as the city is becoming LA-a-go-go; we watch helplessly as LA forgets to prepare for its unwelcome of the Manson family. It’s a place where, according to the statistics in Joe Friday’s reliable head, “for every crime that’s committed, there are three million suspects to choose from.” It’s a place where bank employees actually wear suits www.themodern.us


and when a Japanese woman is murdered, we hear (what else?) Japanese music. As in his former series, Joe Friday never seems to run out of ways to describe his home town, from the intriguing (“a lot of people earn a living here”) to the downright charming (“some come here to see stars or to become one; others come here to die.”). The series is much less menacing in color, and the City of Angels is still as timelessly ugly and as boring to look at as ever. Yet now we have periodic visits to the Sunset Strip, what Friday hiply observes as the “in” place to go. This area serves as a hotbed for the bottomless obsession with Youth, and how, according to the right-wing thought behind this show, Youth equals Criminal. Youth is an obvious challenge to order. “What kind of kick are you on, son?” Friday asks the infamous Blue Boy, a trippy teenager who paints his face blue and freaks out on acid (an outrageous premise on 1967 prime time, which usually never got higher than The Flying Nun). Blue Boy is one of the few unpredictable villains on the series, so interest in him has grown over the years. Upon his arrest, when Friday commands him to “stay put in that chair,” Blue Boy answers, “I AM the chair.” Of course, Blue Boy means no harm. His only real crime is that — as well as his stint as a chair — he thinks he’s a tree. The worst crime any youth can commit here is not murder or rape, but to “fink” on his friends. Even the Boy’s own mother, in typical, wellrehearsed TV dialogue denial, scoffs at the Youth who are “letting their hair grow long or dressing up like those English singers.” However, Friday informs Mom (and Joe Hardhat, who is watching in the millions) that what her son is “on” is “a Freak Out. The Trip. The Ticket.” If you were listening and not watching, you would think Joe Friday is Timothy Leary. These “juvenile experimenters,” as Friday calls them, have been “dropping that acid we’ve been hearing about.” And another hippie’s mother (in denial, of course) registers a protest of her own as www.themodern.us

she disapproves of the latest fashions from swinging London: “no son of mine is gonna dress up like a circus clown.” Miranda rights, relatively new at the time, are recited so often that if you had a dollar for every time they were read, you would be able to afford a nice lunch. However, Friday reads them with feeling. He means every word of it. As he recites, he even puts his hands in his pockets, laid-back-LA style. And, of course, when rights are read to Youth, The Kids respond with “I dig.” The series wants badly to be “everyday.” Even the cop car, a gold Ford Galaxie, is humdrum. And Friday jump-starts one story with these thrilling words: “We were on our way to lunch when the sergeant stopped us in the hallway.” And speaking of lunch, Friday is joined by his new partner, the sandwich-lovin’ Bill Gannon (Henry Morgan, of future M*A*S*H fame), who serves lamely as a source of comic relief (his love of food seems to break what little tension the show builds). At one point, big-help Gannon offers his partner some healthy advice: “smoke a cigarette and go home.” And the only glimpse we get into Friday’s sweaty inner-self is when he hints approvingly to Gannon, “Ya know, if you could cook, I’d marry ya.” After Blue Boy, everything else seems like a letdown — even the neo-Nazis. However, you’ll never get tired of watching old traffic, and you may learn a thing or two as Friday and Gannon infiltrate subcultures (like the furrier business, for instance, when terrific character-actor Henry Corden says yiddishly, “help from me you can do without.”). It’s a police procedural drama without cell phones or walkie-talkies or a whisper of whimsy, a series that is itching to show you that TV crime fighting can be as dull as the real thing. And somehow it pays off. However, in 1967, not only the names, but also the hairdos have been changed to protect the innocent. June 2012 | The Modern


parting

sh t

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WcUYBKDADLE “The best words I’ve ever learned,” an out-of-her-skull Patty Duke says, “is ‘hello’ and ‘enthusiasm.’” One other word she should have learned is “rehab.” In this classic cringe-clip from the 1970 Emmy Awards, Ms. Duke is either totally baked or totally faked. Although it was surely au courant in 1970 to be stoned out of your mind (or to pretend to be), Patty skyrockets it to the next level. She doesn’t acknowledge her presenters, but gives a gracious nod to her current boytoy, Desi Arnaz, Jr., then begins her descent into madness among long pregnant pauses. She thoughtfully concludes with one more word she’s learned: “thank you,” which is actually two words. No, Patty, thank you! Ronald Sklar

Profile for Jennifer Barlow

TheModernJune2012V1N9  

The June 2012 issue of The Modern features interviews with the cast of the new TNT Dallas reboot, as well as Krystin Ritter from ABC’s Don’t...

TheModernJune2012V1N9  

The June 2012 issue of The Modern features interviews with the cast of the new TNT Dallas reboot, as well as Krystin Ritter from ABC’s Don’t...

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