Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Spock's Hair

Spock Leonard Nimoy hair randommusings.filminspector.com
Ears in place - almost ready!
Just a couple of Spock pictures. He's sitting in the chair, getting his makeup, just chillin'.

Never mind Spock's brain - it's Spock's hair!

Spock Leonard Nimoy hair randommusings.filminspector.com
This must have been the start of the process - no ears!
And below - ta-da! - the hair in action!

Spock Leonard Nimoy hair randommusings.filminspector.com
Jonathan Harris and some of his young fans, with Leonard Nimoy.

Spock Leonard Nimoy hair randommusings.filminspector.com

Spock Leonard Nimoy hair randommusings.filminspector.com


2019

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Harbin 2015 Ice Sculpture Festival

Harbin Ice Sculpture Festival randommusings.filminspector.com
Yes, that is an ice sculpture.
I'm not sure how it happened, but I've become a big fan of the Harbin International Ice and Snow Sculpture Festival.

I've never been to Harbin, which is practically in Siberia as I understand it. In fact, I've never been to China at all. The closest I've ever been was either Bangkok or Kuala Lumpur, whichever is closer. Which means, I've only admired these sculptures from afar.

Harbin Ice Sculpture Festival randommusings.filminspector.com

However, the pictures I've seen of their ice sculptures are really extraordinary. Before learning about the festival, my only experience with ice sculptures constituted seeing guys standing at hotel entrance ways chipping away to create dolphins and such. Very nice, very artistic, and very small.

Harbin Ice Sculpture Festival randommusings.filminspector.com
Opening ceremonies, January 2015.
Well, Harbin changed all that for me. There is something about the sheer audacity of people who would even think to create something as massive as their sculptures - and all along knowing that they are doomed to melt away by summertime. It's quite imaginative.

Harbin Ice Sculpture Festival randommusings.filminspector.com

Anyway, the 31st Harbin International Ice and Snow Sculpture Festival opened with a theme "Ice Snow Harbin, Charming China Dream" on January 5 in 2015. There was a grand opening ceremony, a fireworks display and a series of theatrical performances, ice snow activities in Sun Island, Ice and Snow Amusement World, Zhaolin Park and more venues around the ice city Harbin.

Harbin Ice Sculpture Festival randommusings.filminspector.com

There seems to be some competition for the snow sculpture crown these days, with some other Chinese cities getting into the act as well. However, the Harbin International Ice and Snow Sculpture Festival definitely became the largest of the kind.

Harbin Ice Sculpture Festival randommusings.filminspector.com

Apparently, the Festival began in 1963, when it started life as a traditional lantern and garden party before transforming into the extravagant event we see today. Now, it is composed of mountain-sized representations of figures out of Chinese mythology and even entire, life-sized buildings.

Harbin Ice Sculpture Festival randommusings.filminspector.com

In general, the sculptures - at least the smaller ones - are carved from giant blocks of ice taken directly from the frozen surface of the Songhua River. However, for some of the larger, more elaborate sculptures, the builders cheat a bit by using steel frames and molds and spraying water on them, which of course freezes immediately in the frigid temperatures. The builders still, though, have to get up on the sculptures and smooth all the rough edges and do other fine-tuning. There also are elaborate swimming pools and other outdoor facilities that some of the more adventurous citizens and tourist can use if they can brave the cold.

Harbin Ice Sculpture Festival randommusings.filminspector.com
The temperature and weather outlook in Harbin as I type this. That temperature is Fahrenheit, all the Celsius temperatures are way negative. So, bring warm clothes if you ever visit Harbin!
I'll almost certainly never make it to the actual festival - but it would be awfully cool to try someday. I'd like to try for the Iditarod someday, too. If only it didn't look so cold!

Harbin Ice Sculpture Festival randommusings.filminspector.com

Harbin Ice Sculpture Festival randommusings.filminspector.com
Harbin Ice Sculpture Festival randommusings.filminspector.com
Harbin Ice Sculpture Festival randommusings.filminspector.com
Harbin Ice Sculpture Festival randommusings.filminspector.com
Harbin Ice Sculpture Festival randommusings.filminspector.com
Harbin Ice Sculpture Festival randommusings.filminspector.com
Harbin Ice Sculpture Festival randommusings.filminspector.com
Harbin Ice Sculpture Festival randommusings.filminspector.com

2019

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

How to Dance - Hang On Sloopy

Wicked Dance Moves by Liz Brewer/Liz Derringer

Liz Brewer Derringer Hang on Sloopy The McCoys randommusings.filminspector.com
Liz Brewer dancing to "Hang On Sloopy" by the McCoys.
There are some different versions of this epic dance performance by Liz Brewer floating about, and they are all well worth watching. We'll get a little bit into who Liz Brewer is below.

Liz Brewer Derringer Hang on Sloopy The McCoys randommusings.filminspector.com

First, below is what appears to be the original promo video, which naturally focuses on the singer as well as the dancer.


There also is a version that focuses solely on the dancer and that appears to have had some processing done to it to make it more vivid and closer to how it must have looked originally. Anyway, I've included several different versions here for your delectation.


In any event, there are other versions/copies down below if you're interested. The video is from 1976, not from 1965 when the song originally came out. If you thought music videos began in 1976, well, they didn't.

Liz Brewer Derringer Hang on Sloopy The McCoys randommusings.filminspector.com
"Hang On Sloopy" just makes you want to dance!
"Hang On Sloopy" is just a fun song that makes everyone want to dance!

Liz Brewer Derringer Hang on Sloopy The McCoys randommusings.filminspector.com

Some folks think that everything is done better today than in the past.

Liz Brewer Derringer Hang on Sloopy The McCoys randommusings.filminspector.com

Not so. And this video is a prime example.

Liz Brewer Derringer Hang on Sloopy The McCoys randommusings.filminspector.com

All right, now some background details below for those interested.

Liz Brewer Derringer Hang on Sloopy The McCoys randommusings.filminspector.com

This is a promotional video for 'Hang on Sloopy,' a mid-'60s hit for The McCoys. Hang On Sloopy was written by Bert Berns and Wes Farrell (Rick Derringer claims it was written by "a high school kid in St. Louis" who just sold it to Berns and Farrell, but those two guys wrote a lot of hits on their own, so who knows). The first group to record "Hang On Sloopy" was the R&B group The Vibrations as ‘My Girl Sloopy’ in 1964. The song was kicking around for a while, and even The Rolling Stones played it. The name Sloopy may derive from Dorothy Sloop, a jazz singer and pianist in the ‘30s and ‘40s who just went by the name Sloopy. An Ohio waitress also has claimed credit for the name. The credited writers claimed the name originated from a Cuban waitress they met on vacation.

Liz Brewer Derringer Hang on Sloopy The McCoys randommusings.filminspector.com
Rick Derringer, Todd Rundgren, Bebe Buell, Liz Derringer.
Anyway, the record company liked the song and decided that it just needed a better act to sell it with a more compact, radio-friendly arrangement. Thus, "Hang On Sloopy" by the McCoys came about. This was a time when music executives just put bands together, like The Monkees, who were just a bunch of random actors and unknown musician wannabes who looked good together. The McCoys were an actual group from Fort Recovery, Ohio ("Hang On Sloopy" is now the state song of Ohio), but they weren't called that before this record.

Liz Brewer Derringer Hang on Sloopy The McCoys randommusings.filminspector.com

They changed the band name for the record because music executives didn't like the band's most recent names, The Rick Z Combo and later Rick and the Raiders - but the band had been called the McCoys years earlier. The record company didn't want to use anything to do with "Raiders" because "Paul Revere and the Raiders" was hot at that time, so they went back through the band's history and found that original name of The McCoys. So, it wasn't that difficult a change to make for them, they just reverted to their original name.

Liz Brewer Derringer Hang on Sloopy The McCoys randommusings.filminspector.com

Naturally, since the song is known to derive from 1964-65, everyone thinks that everything related to it dates from that era, including this video. At first glance, you might think so about this promotional film for the song, too. It does have a  '60s vibe to it, probably intentionally. After all, the band is dressed in the foppish artist style of the 1960s, and everything is made to appear timeless - no cars to identify the time, etc. So, the video was intended to be timeless, and it succeeds largely because Liz Brewer brings to it her timeless beauty.

Liz Brewer Derringer Hang on Sloopy The McCoys randommusings.filminspector.com

However, as noted, this early video actually is from a decade later. I say the video is "early" because despite being long after the song's original popularity, the video was filmed years before MTV launched in 1981. They weren't making videos like this in 1965 (though the Beatles were just about to originate the modern music video not long after).

Liz Brewer Derringer Hang on Sloopy The McCoys randommusings.filminspector.com

Even in 1976, promotional films for songs were rare and produced only for top acts and for special purposes (television special appearances and so forth). It did happen, but not just for average bands and songs. Not that The McCoys were average, but the song was over a decade old at the time.

Hang on Sloopy The McCoys randommusings.filminspector.com

Rick Derringer has an interesting story. The lead singer, Rick Derringer was the founder, lead singer, etc., for The McCoys. Years after recording "Hang On Sloopy," he eventually went solo and had another hit, "Rock and Roll, Hoochie Koo," in 1973. That was off of his first solo record, '"All American Boy." The follow-up to that initial, successful solo project was the album "Spring Fever" in 1975. They had high hopes for "Spring Fever" and needed a splashy way to promote it.
 Liz Brewer Derringer Hang on Sloopy The McCoys randommusings.filminspector.com

"Spring Fever" included a remake of "Hang on Sloopy," still Derringer's signature tune at the time. The remake was in a different musical style from the original. There was no way the remake could be as recognizable, of course, because the original had hit No. 1 during a period when just about every record being made was a classic. Anyway, to promote that album and the remake of the McCoy's hit, they made this promo video in the song's original '60s style.

Liz Brewer Derringer Hang on Sloopy The McCoys randommusings.filminspector.com

The music of 1975 was fine, but it was the beginning of the disco era and, well, a lot of those hit tunes were not, shall we say, as timeless as the '60s classics. "Kung Fu Fighting" ring a bell? Or "The Streak"? How about Rick Dees' "Disco Duck"? Of course, there were lots of classics released then, too, and many consider the '70s the epitome of rock-and-roll. So, "Hang On Sloopy" was a nice throwback that reminded everyone of how good '60s music was. The remake actually made the Billboard chart in the mid-1970s, topping out at No. 94.

Liz Brewer Derringer Hang on Sloopy The McCoys randommusings.filminspector.com

Rick Derringer was working with Steely Dan and on other projects at the time, so he was well-known in the industry. However, his public image was still kind of low-profile. Not too many people knew his name from The McCoys - heck, they probably thought that he was named McCoy. It was an era of one-hit wonders, so his more recent hit "Rock and Roll, Hoochie Koo" hadn't really established him in the public mind, either. You know, good song, who was that singer again?

Liz Brewer Derringer Hang on Sloopy The McCoys randommusings.filminspector.com

So, Derringer's record company decided to promote the new record by hearkening back to the original, classic version of "Hang on Sloopy" that everybody knew (and that people still know today, in fact, long after any remakes were forgotten and "Rock and Roll, Hoochie Koo" got lost in the '70s).

Liz Brewer Derringer Hang on Sloopy The McCoys randommusings.filminspector.com

None of the original McCoys, which had disbanded in the '60s, appear in this mid-'70s video except, of course, for Derringer himself. The guys in the background are probably just session musicians or, more likely, actors (if you look closely, they don't appear to be playing or singing). But then, musicians didn't actually play live for these videos anyway. Rick's brother Randy who was later known as Randy Z, played drums on the original recording, and Dennis Kelly played bass guitar. Kelly left the band for college, so the Zehringers were joined by bassist Randy Jo Hobbs, saxophonist Sean Michaels, and keyboardist Ronnie Brandon. They recorded the hit "Hang On Sloopy."

Liz Brewer Derringer Hang on Sloopy The McCoys randommusings.filminspector.com

But we don't really care about them. Rick Derringer is a Rock God who produced the first six albums of "Weird Al Yankovic" and also albums by Cyndi Lauper and did a lot of other great things. However, great as Rick is, we are concerned here with the identity of the beautiful blonde dancer. That has been the subject of much debate and confusion for many years. It now is clear that it was Rick Derringer's first wife, Elizabeth Brewer aka Liz Brewer aka Liz Derringer.

Liz Brewer Derringer Hang on Sloopy The McCoys randommusings.filminspector.com
Rick Derringer and wife Liz Derringer (Photo by The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images).
Incidentally, Rick Derringer's real last name wasn't Derringer, it was Zehringer. Derringer was just a stage name. Rick changed it to Derringer legally in 2007, long after he did "Hang on Sloopy" and his other hits. But, we won't dwell on that here. Let's focus on Liz Brewer, who has her own dramatic story.

Liz Brewer Derringer Hang on Sloopy The McCoys randommusings.filminspector.com
When a crazed stalker shot Andy Warhol in the 1960s, they grabbed an old file photo of Andy sitting with a woman. She just so happens to be ... Liz Brewer. That is her on the right. A lot of people probably thought that Liz was the shooter from this picture.
Liz lived in Greenwich Village and was born ca. 1947 (so, she is roughly the same age as Olivia Newton-John). She ran away from home at around age 20. Liz Brewer knew everybody then - Andy Warhol was a close friend, but she knew Mick Jagger and all the other top names. Liz hung out at Warhol's The Factory and was, well, basically a groupie.

Liz Brewer Derringer Hang on Sloopy The McCoys randommusings.filminspector.com

A groupie who hung with many rock legends like Jimi Hendrix and the Rolling Stones. She actually had a lot in common with another top groupie of the era, Linda Eastman who became Linda McCartney, but Linda had the whole photography thing going for her. Liz was just there because she was gorgeous. Oh, she styled herself a "music journalist and publicist." Anyway, Liz hung around the scene for years and was a player. She was the one that introduced her friend Bebe Buell to Steven Tyler, with whom Liz had gone to school in Yonkers. Steven and Bebe begat the actress Liv Tyler, who you may have heard of. In fact, Liz Brewer is Liv Tyler's godmother - I bet you didn't know that. Liz Derringer is still very much around. Oh, and so is Rick, though they are long since divorced ca 1990. However, I highly doubt most of you came to see Rick Derringer, the fine musician and songwriter that he is, but instead are more interested in the fascinating Liz Brewer.

Liz Brewer Derringer Hang on Sloopy The McCoys randommusings.filminspector.com

Let's dispel a myth right now. According to many sources, Liz Brewer was an unknown dancer who simply was hired for this video. However, being Rick's wife certainly helped her get the gig, wouldn't you agree? You know what they say - make the most of your opportunities. Since her performance is now legendary, Rick hiring his own wife turned into a fabulous decision. Probably saved him some money, too. There is still a lot of confusion about this, and some believe that Liz Brewer and Liz Derringer are different people entirely. Entire messages boards debate her identity to this day.

Liz Brewer Derringer Hang on Sloopy The McCoys randommusings.filminspector.com
Rick had classic youthful looks in the 1970s. That hair was a touch long, though.
Liz Brewer and Rick were married for 22 years. Rick once said:
Liz and I were always on the scene. We were the consummate partiers.
Well, I can't think of many ladies better to party with than Liz Brewer. And that's how it goes down in the big town. In fact, Liz is such a good partier that since then she has made it into her business. Liz wrote books about her experiences called "Liz Brewer's Ultimate Guide to Party Planning and Etiquette" and "Liz Brewer's Partying Bible." She describes herself now as:
A world-renowned events organiser and expert on social behaviour and etiquette.
Yes, with the British spellings and all. And Liz Brewer is not doing kids' parties down at the local VA hall - she has worked for the Trumps. She has been called the "Queen of Cafe Society." And, perhaps we can all agree that Liz Brewer is an expert on partying from way back. As to whether the current party planner Liz Brewer is the Liz Brewer from the video, there's a definite resemblance even after more than four decades. That beautiful nose is unmistakable.

Liz Brewer Derringer Hang on Sloopy The McCoys randommusings.filminspector.com

So, to sum up, there are some who want to romanticize this and claim that Liz just "showed up" for the shoot, you know, at random or something, and started dancing because the song was so good. Friends, that would be wonderful if it ever happened, but goddesses do not just "show up" when you happen to be filming a video on a backlot. Rick had his wife do the dancing, simple as that, and she did a hell of a job.

Liz Brewer Derringer Hang on Sloopy The McCoys randommusings.filminspector.com

All young ladies who want to know how to dance should study this video.





Here are the lyrics to "Hang On Sloopy."

Hang on, Sloopy
Sloopy, hang on
Hang on, Sloopy
Sloopy, hang on
Sloopy lives in a very bad part of town (Ooh, ooh, ooh, ooh)
And everybody, yeah, tries to put my Sloopy down (Ooh, ooh, ooh, ooh)
Sloopy, I don’t care what your daddy do (Ooh, ooh, ooh, ooh)
‘Cause you know, Sloopy, girl, I’m in love with you (Ooh, ooh, ooh, ooh)
And so I sing out
Hang on, Sloopy
Sloopy, hang on
Hang on, Sloopy
Sloopy, hang on
Sloopy wears a red dress, yeah, as old as the hills (Ooh, ooh, ooh, ooh)
But when Sloopy wears that red dress, yeah, you know, it gives me the chills, oh, oh (Ooh, ooh, ooh, ooh)
Sloopy, when I see you walking, walking down the street (Ooh, ooh, ooh, ooh)
I say, “Don’t worry, Sloopy, girl, you belong to me” (Ooh, ooh, ooh, ooh)
And so I sing out
Hang on, Sloopy
Sloopy, hang on Hang on, Sloopy
Sloopy, hang on Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah
Give it to ‘em right now
Sloopy, let your hair down, girl
Let it hang down on me (Ooh, ooh, ooh, ooh)
Sloopy, let your hair down, girl
Let it hang down on me, yeah, yeah (Ooh, ooh, ooh, ooh)
Come on, Sloopy (Come on, come on)
Well, come on, Sloopy (Come on, come on)
Well, come on, Sloopy (Come on, come on)
Well, come on, Sloopy (Come on, come on)
Well, it feels so good (Come on, come on)
You know, it feels so good (Come on, come on)
Well, shake it, shake it, shake it,
Sloopy (Come on, come on)
Well, shake it, shake it, shake it, yeah (Come on, come on)
Oh
Hang on, Sloopy
Sloopy, hang on
Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah
Hang on, Sloopy
Sloopy, hang on
Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah
Hang on, Sloopy
Sloopy, hang on

Hang on Sloopy The McCoys randommusings.filminspector.com


2019

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Frozen New York City

Does it get cold in New York City? You Betcha!

Winter in Manhattan randommusings.filminspector.com
Frozen New York.
Wintertime. Brrrrrrrrrr!  You can really see New Jersey pretty well in this shot.

Maybe you think that photo is some kind of apocalyptic "imagining" of what might happen to New York City after the sun dims or something. No, that is how New York City looks now on a really cold day.

Another facet of New York City. I have lots of summertime shots of it, but not enough winter scenes. I'll have to work on that.

2019