Friday, July 31, 2009

Day #21,409

Walk km 2550-2559: McHardy/Taunton/Kerr/Waverley/Mckinnon/St Julien Mews/Kerr/path through bush/Marine

a path through the bush
aprox km 2555 between Marine Dr & Fraserview Golf Course

Movie #1052: Les Bas-Fonds (1936, Jean Renoir)

I got snookered into this one. I'd seen this movie before but the DVD box said that both a Renoir & a Kurasawa were here and both movies were based on the same play by Maxim Gorki. I'd seen the Renoir before but I watched it again so I could compare it to the Kurasawa. However, after watching the Renoir I realized that the Kurasawa was nowhere to be found. Well, I can't complain too much, I enjoyed this movie the first time I saw it and the second time was quite enjoyable too.

Today's Tune: And I Love Her

Zip Your Rip has done it again: unearthed another LP from the 60s that should be filed under "long lost" and "long forgotten". However, since I'm sure nobody ever bought The Boss Guitars LP back when, there is nobody to have lost or forgotten it. I played one of the tracks from the LP and checked it on Last.FM: sure enough, the total plays on Last.FM for The Boss Guitars = zero. So, even if you don't like this version of a Beatles tune you can at least say that you are now one of the few people in the world who has heard it.
A better guitar version is by Jose Feliciano although if he would have lost those sappy strings it would have been much better.

Day #21,408

Walk km 2548-2550: Robson/Georgia/Citadel Parade/Dunsmuir/(sky train)/Burrard/Georgia/Thurlow/Haro
Not much walking today as the temperature hit 34.

Movie #1049: The Strong Man(1926, Frank Capra)

Frank Capra's first film as director. As with the Harold Lloyd movie I saw a while back, it's nice to see these restored versions played at the proper speed. However, it is a silent movie so the comedy is limited to sight gags. The best scenes are of Langdon swinging over the saloon. Langdon's persona as the world's wimpiest man is also charming. But I still like those talkies better.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Day #21,407

Walk km 2543-2548: Burrard/Pender/(bus)/16th/Manitoba/2nd/Quebec/Terminal/Station/Prior

The American Hotel
aprox km2547 Station street

Movie #1048: Werckmeister Harmonies (2000, Bela Tarr)

It's quite a leap from Arthur Lubin's "Hold On" to this. Are you sure this is the same art form? A cautionary tale of how mob violence is generated and about those who have a responsibilty to oppose it. However, I don't think this movie will attract too many viewers who could get any benefit from it. A work of art in a vacuum.

Today's Tune: Where Were You When I Needed You
So you won't have to sit through the movie "Hold On!" like I had to, here's the highlight of the movie: Herman's Hermits' version of Sloan & Barri's "Where Were You When I Needed You". As an added bonus, the original Sloan/Barri version recorded under the name "The Grassroots" (before such a group existed).

Day #21,406

Walk km 2533-2543: Science World to English Bay (and return) with the Meetup walking group.

Movie #1047: Hold On! (1966, Arthur Lubin)

Poor Arthur Lubin. He directing career stetched all the way back to 1934. Only a week or so ago I'd watched his wondferful "Impact" from 1949. And here he is saddled with Herman and his bloody Hermits. This is just awful - It makes Elvis movies of the same era look like Fellini flix. The only thing of interest is the music. The movie starts with a 3 Sloan/Barri songs: "Hold On" "A Must To Avoid" and "Where Were You When I Needed You". Even after that, the music is pretty good except for the horrid "George & Dragon".

Monday, July 27, 2009

Day #21,405

Walk km 2527-2533: Robson/Cambie/Smithe/Thurlow/park/Cordova/Jervis/Hastings/Bayshore Dr/Denman

Movie #1046: Heater (1999, Terrance Odette)

There's one thing wrong with this movie: it was shot in Winnipeg. Since I used to live in Winnipeg, I spent most of the time checking the locations to see if I recognized them. And when I did (which was most of the time) I realized that the story made no sense. Kinda liked that Ben character though - nice job by Gary Farmer(pictured). The other guy mighta been good too but since he was playing a crazy guy it was hard to tell.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Day #21,404

Walk km 2520-2527: Broadway/Woodland/Dumfries/Fleming/Dumfries/54th/55th/54th

Movie #1045: It's A Bikini World (1967, Stephanie Rothman)

This one is a little sad. Here it was 1967 and California kids were into The Grateful Dead & The Jefferson Airplane but here was Hollywood giving them Tommy Kirk and Deborah Walley as if the Summer Of Love never happened. And what's with this Tommy Kirk fellow - he's terrible. I looked him up in IMDB and it turns out that he's a fugitive from the Disney studios who was gay. He may have been miscast as the wolf in a wortld of bikinis. Fake Dick Dale music from Mike Curb. Lip-syncing bands: Eric Burdon looks especially bored. And Sid Haig has hair! Like watching a train wreck: I couldn't look away.

Today's Tune: Jesus Christ Superstar
Never did like this tune (or anything else by Rice/Webber) until today when I picked up a Eurorgan version by Santi Latora. I looked through eMusic for more of the same and got a UK organ version by The James Taylor Quartet. Then a no-organ-at-all version by The Don Kelly Band (from?). A swingin' time is guaranteed for all.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Day #21,403

Walk km 2516-2520: 16th/Trutch/18th/Balaclava/16th/Trutch/7th/Highbury/9th

Chevy BelAir (not everyone can afford a new car)
aprox km 2519 Blenheim near 7th

Movie #1044:Invasion Of The Body Snatchers (1978, Philip Kaufman)

This was one of my favourites of 1978 and "The Wanderers" was a favourite of 1979. I haven't seen a Philip Kaufman film since then. I'm only 30 years behind the times. This one posits that if you had the choice to live a stress free life or one with all the usual crap added, you should pick the crap filled one. The movie's audience agrees because we're biased. Pod people would no doubt be amused by those wacky humans.

Movie #1042: The Head (1959, Victor Trivas)

This one was a bit on the creepy side. Unfortunately, I was watching a pretty washed out copy. It would be very interesting to see a good copy of this one. Kudos to director Trivas for adding plenty of visual style to a very standard storyline (head transplants gone awry).

Friday, July 24, 2009

Day #21,402

Walk km 2506-2516: Science World to Burrard Bridge and back (over Burrard & Cambie bridges) with Meetup group

truck with graffiti
aprox km 2512 west side of Burrard Bridge

Movie #1041: The Light Touch(1952, Richard Brooks)

Lightweight and breezy. Art thieves trying to swindle one another until one falls in love. Except for some nice background scenery, a total waste of time.

Day #21,401

Walk km 2496-2506: Robson/BC Place/sea walk/Terminal/National/sea walk/Davie/Nicola/Robson

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Day #21,400

Walk km 2483-2489: Todd/Euclid/Earles/45th/Vivian/Ancaster/Harrison/64th
Walk km 2489-2496: Adanac/Boundary/Lougheed/Rupert

a sunny day in Suburbia
aprox km 2486 Vivian near 57th

Today's Tune: Bad To Me
While going for today's walk, I had a tune stuck in my head that I just couldn't get rid of. Now I know how to get rid of it: I'll pass it along to you. The tune was "Bad To Me". It was written by Lennon/McCartney for fellow Liverpulian Billy J Kramer. Of course I'd need a second version so it was off to eMusic to have a look around. They had one by "Rubberband". This wouldn't be Denmark's "The Rubber Band" would it? The guys who did the fab Christmas CD "Beatmas" in 1984? Yup, it was. At least the band name is the same - it's seems there's been a lot of personnel changes in the band between 1984 and 2005 when "Bad To Me" was released.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Day #21,399

Walk km 2474-2483: Science World to Burrard Bridge(south side) and from Burrard Bridge to Science World(north side) (with Meetup group)

Karen, Sarah & Glenn (meetup group)
aprox km 2478 sea walk

Movie #1040: Undercover Man (1949, Joseph H Lewis)

Another feds vs the mob drama. Very well done here especially the street scenes. I think I would have liked this a lot more if I hadn't already seen so many movies with the same plot.

Today's Tune: Sea Of Heartbreak
I kinda think I've done this one before. But, nevermind, it's worth a second listen. Orginally recorded by Don Gibson in the early 60s. Given the mersey beat treatment in the 60s by The Searchers and included on one of Johnny Cash's last CDs. Handsome Ned supplies the Canadian content.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Day #21,398

Walk km 2463-2472: Vine/Oliver/Brakenridge/Eddington/Yew/Nanton/28th/Nigel/Dinmont/Talisman/27th/(bus)/Robson/Howe/Smithe
Walk km 2472-2474: Bute/Davie/Burrard

a tree
aprox km 2470 28th Ave

Movie #1039: Unknown World(1951, Terry Morse)

Brainless 50s shlock about starting a new civilization inside the earth because atomic power will destroy life on the surface. This is the kind of movie that gives garbage a bad name. Both dull & stupid.

Today's Tune: Baby Don't Cry
Lightweight "mersey beat" song - it ain't The Beatles but still goes down fine on a hot summer day like today

The Puppets (Preston, UK)

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Day #21,397

Today's Walk km 2454-2463: Burrard/Davie/Hornby/Drake/Howe/Granville Bridge/Granville Island to Jericho Beach (with meetup group)/Point Grey/Highbury/4th

Movie #1038: Night Of The Blood Beast(1958, Bernard L Kowalski)

A couple of days ago I visited the local HMV to buy a few videos. One was season one of TV's "The Rockford Files" and the other a 20 movie pack of shlock thrillers. I did watch the Bernard L Kowalski directed 2-part Rockford Files episode before deciding to watch "Night Of The Blood Beast" - and there he was again: Bernard L Kowalski.
This is a thinking man's 50s shlock monster movie. The monster came from outer space and the first impulse is to kill it. However, one character (who has been impregnated with space alien foetuses!) thinks that they should talk to him first in case he means no harm. Then when they do talk to him they can't figure out what to do. The monster wants to combine his species with humans in order to prevent humans from destroying themselves. It seems that the aliens were almost destroyed when they discovered atomic power. The humans aren't sure what to do with the monster but it's the guy with the foetuses that realizes that it's all a trick. He's in the clutches of the alien but he commits suicide so that the others will be free to kill the alien without harming him. OK, it's not exactly Shakespeare but for a 50s monster movie it's pretty darn good.
And as the posters at IMDB mention, watching Georgianna Carter in her jump suit is an added bonus (for half the audience anyway).

Today's Tune: Swing Brother Swing
Today's tune had its beginnings in 1930s Harlem but our two versions here were recorded by a Texan in Paris during the 30s(Willie Lewis) and by a Canadian in the 90s (Ray Condo).

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Day #21,396

Walk km 2450-2454: Broadway/Granville/7th

aftermath of accident
aprox km 2452 Broadway @ Granville

Today's Tune: Saturday Night Fish Fry
Well, here it is Saturday and some of you might be thinking of havin' one of those saturday night fish frys this evening. Before you do, listen to Louis....

Friday, July 17, 2009

Day #21,395

Walk km 2440-2450: Science World to (and over) the Burrard Bridge to Science World(south side) with Meetup Walking group.

Beverley & Karen (meetup group)
aprox km 2447 Island Park Walk

Movie #1037: The Case Against Brooklyn (Paul Wendkos, 1958)

Well done expose of the mob and crooked cops being investigated by police recruits fresh from basic training (the only ones that could be trusted to be honest). Interesting that at the climax the main crooked cop has to turn against the mob because he'll take money to look the other way for gambling but not murder. Looks like someone got to Columbia Pictures to add that in.
Director Wendkos went right down hill from here. First, directing the Gidget movies and after that, nothing but TV.

Movie #1036: Gamera Vs Barugon (Shigeo Tanaka, 1966)

Really really bad of course. However, I've always been puzzled by these Japanese movies where mutants caused by atomic bombs try to destroy Japan. Why did the Japanese find this entertaining? In this one we have an added insult to the Japanese. Some loot hidden away by the Japanese army during the last days of WWII is recovered and brought back to Japan. But instead of it being a giant jewel, it's actually an egg. An egg of......a giant monster that hatches and immediately trys to destroy Japan! So in this one it's their participation in the war that comes back to destroy Japan. The exciting(?) conclusion to this one is that Gamera (an atomic bomb monster)comes back to defeat the WWII monster and thus saves Japan. All very confusing. I guess a person has to be Japanese to understand what all this means?

Today's Tune: My Son Calls Another Man Daddy

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Day #21,394

Walk km 2433-2436:Robson/Hamilton/Dunsmuir/Howe/Georgia/Thurlow
Walk km 2436-2440:Highbury/6th/McDonald/7th

Book #251: Just How Stupid Are We(Rick Shenkman, 2008)

The "feel good" book of the year. Yes, people sure are stupid.......but not us, not the readers of this book!
The author argues that people are stupid but nobody ever admits it. Not true, almost everybody thinks that "other people" are stupid. And organizations think people are stupid but obviously they cannot say this. Would you vote for or buy a product from someone who called you stupid? Of course not. But I think the author is on firm footing here. The subset of the masses that reads non-fiction is so small that we know he must be talking about "other people".
And his solution to the problem? Schools should teach students more about what is happening in the world. That of course, is no answer because if it was, it would already have been done. People in power don't really mind that people are stupid. They are much easier to control that way. Well, that's my theory anyway.....but it's probably wrong because I'm pretty stupid too!

Today's Tune: Beat It
Every blog has to have an MJ tribute

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Day #21,393

Walk km 2418-2422: Robson/Georgia/(bus)/Cambie/31st/Heather/14th
Walk km 2422-2433: Science World to Kitsilano Beach (and return) with Meetup Walking group

painting on tennis court fence
aprox km 2430 Granville Island

Today's Tune: Thunderball

This one is still available on "Hearing Double" but I've added versions featuring the guitar (Davie Allan), the saxophone(Johnny Pearson) and the organ(Ingfried Hoffmann).

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Day #21,392

Today's Walk km 2413-2418: 4th/Balaclava/19th/Valley/Eddington/Yew/Valley/33rd/Arbutus

yet more flowers
aprox km2418 Arbutus near Valley

Movie Re-Watch: The Stuff(Larry Cohen, 1985)

After last night's taste of trash, I had to go with the real thing. This is Larry Cohen's masterpiece about the best tasting junk food ever. In fact, it tastes so good that it actually takes over your mind and body once eaten. Michael Moriarity is sent to save the world from death by junk food. Neat. Amazingly, this movie is rated only 56% by IMDB.

Today's Tune: Red Top
There's a bit of confusion about the origins of this song. It was recorded twice in 1947 and some say Gene Ammons covered Lionel Hampton and others contest that Hampton covered Ammons. Whatever. Those were instrumentals and it became a hit in a vocal version by Betty Carter in 1952. Our two versions are by The Teen Queens (of "Eddie My Love" fame) and the ubiquitous (at least around here) David Carroll.
On the video, no soul required to sing this one!

Monday, July 13, 2009

Day #21,391

Walk km 2407-2413: 30th/Trafalgar/41st/Elm/42nd/McDonald/45th/Oak

more flowers
aprox km 2413 46th @ Oak

Movie #1035: Frozen Alive(Bernard Knowles, 1964)

Sometimes a person just feels like scrapping all that high-brow stuff and indulging in a bit of utter trash. This one fits the bill fairly well although the Americans generally can do this sort of thing much better (worse?) than this England/Germany co-production. Amazingly enough, just 3 years later, Bernie was hired by non other than The Beatles to direct their "Magical Mystery Tour" stinker.

Whereas Bernie went on to make Magical Mystery Tour, his leading lady in this picture (Marianne Koch) has an even more interesting itinerary. She had just completed an obscure (at the time) Italian western called "A Fistful Of Dollars" and then went on to make "Die Holle Von Manitoba", which is a movie I want to see.

Today's Tune: MacArthur Park
I've got a little free time on my hands here because the PokerNews website has crashed. Somebody has just posted another batch of Ronnie Aldrich easy listening duo piano MP3s. Love that 60s right channel/left channel stereo seperation. Also, since Ronnie can't sing we don't have to hear those profound lyrics about somebody leaving the cake out in the rain. But watch out for that climactic ending, is that Ronnie at the piano or is that Jerry Lee?!?
For our second version, I'm adding the Motown rendition as sung by Levi Stubbs and his Four Tops. The Temptations usually got the weird stuff to sing so it's nice that Levi gets a shot to sing about that cake in the rain and about it's such a tragedy because he'll never have that recipe again. Dang.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Day #21,390

Walk km 2402-2407: Broadway/MacKenzie/16th/Trafalgar/(bus)/Thurlow/sea walk/Denman

construction site
aprox km 2404 Thurlow @ Hastings

Movie Re-watch: Mickey One(Arthur Penn, 1965)

The studios must have watched all those people heading to the art theatres. Paying good money to see films that nobody understood. All brooding black & white from Sweden or France. Soundtracks with discordant jazz. Hey, we can do that too. Just watch us!

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Day #21,389

Walk km 2393-2402: McDonald/17th/MacKenzie/24th/Puget/King Edward/Balaclava/Celtic/Greenway Trail/Celtic/Carnarvon/53rd/McDonald/49th

horses on the road
aprox km 2397 Balaclava @ 55th

aprox km 2399 Greenway Trail

Friday, July 10, 2009

Day #21,388

Walk km 2385-2393: north sea walk from Science World, over Granville Bridge, south sea walk to Main Street Sky Train station (with Walking Meetup group)

Rosa Han & Glenn (Walking Meetup group)
aprox km 2386 George Wainborn Park

Today's Tune: I'll Be True
While listening to a new batch of MP3s, I recognized "I'll Be True" by Gary Dale as the old Faye Adams hit from 1954. The only trouble was that it was a woman singing so it was hard to believe that the singer's name was Gary. Turning to trusty Google, I quickly tracked down the correct vocalist. It turns out that the actual singer was Sharon Myers! Yup, the very same Sharon Myers who later recorded under the name Jackie DeShannon (although this recording was done under the name "Jacke Dee").

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Day #21,387

Walk km 2379-2385: Smithe/Cambie/Broadway/(bus)/McDonald/8th/Stephens/4th/Trafalgar/Point Grey

blue flowers
aprox km 2384 6th near Stephens

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Day #21,386

Walk km 2370-2379: Science World to English Bay (and return) with the Walking Meetup group

Today's Tune: Moonlight In Vermont
A person's taste in music has very little to do with music itself. It's based on combining music with some external influence. For most folks, it's music plus childhood memories. What they like now is (or is influenced by) what they heard when they were growing up. None of that damn rap music for them! I believe I was influenced by watching the movie "Carnival Of Souls" where a musician (organist) is happily breezing along through life when it begins to dawn on her that she's actually dead. In fact, she's been dead for quite some time! I never gave organ music much thought but now...... it all sounds spooky to me. Take these two versions of "Moonlight In Vermont": one is supposed to be "easy listening" and the other is "jazz". That may be, but to me they're just plain "spooky".

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Day #21,385

Walk km 2364-2370: Robson/Georgia/Beatty/(sky train)/29th/Nanaimo/Brock/Wenonah/29th/Sidney/Kingsway/Beatrice/Stainsbury/Commercial/Findlay/15th/Commercial/(sky train)/Georgia/Burrard
carved owl on gate post
aprox km 2366 29th Ave

Movie #1034: The Cobweb(1955, Vincente Minnelli)

Utter trash. When I went to the movies as a kid, this is the kind of stuff I saw. Actually, it was this stuff if it was a drama but it was that Doris Day/Rock Hudson kinda thing if it was a comedy. Utter trash.......and I liked it. Still do!

Monday, July 6, 2009

Day #21,384

Today's Walk km 2358-2364: Robson/Georgia/Main/Keefer/Gore/Powell/Abbott/Cordova/Richards/Hastings/Granville/Georgia/Hornby/Robson/Burrard

dead birds in display window
aprox km 2361 Gore near Keefer

Today's Movie: Across 110th Street (Barry Shear, 1972)

Blaxploitation deluxe. It has that 1970s TV cop show look. A check over at IMDB shows that Shear headed straight for TV after this with credits that included Ironside, Starsky & Hutch, Streets Of San Francisco etc.
One more thing I've gotta check on IMDB: why did the mob shoot Anthony Quinn at the end of the movie. Quinn was quite happy to take the mob's money by Kotto refused. Why not shoot Kotto?
Update: guy at IMDB says the mob guy killed Quinn for personal reasons not connected to the mob: Quinn made him lose face by beating him in front of his boss. OK.

Today's Tune: Black Skin Blue Eyed Boys
It's nice when someone else does all the legwork. I spotted this over at Funky16Corners. If you read through their comments section you'll find as much info as you'll ever need about ST-4.
Now, who's gonna volunteeer to track down info on this Tony Morgan fellow?

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Day #21,383

Walk km 2353-2358: Granville/26th/Alexandra/Hosmer/Maple/King Edward/Arbutus/Nanton/McBain/Trafalgar/16th

tree lined street
aprox km 2355 Pine Crescent

Movie #1032: I Shot Jesse James (1949, Sam Fuller)

I'm on a good run of movies here. This was Sam Fuller's first attempt at directing and although it isn't nearly as unique in structure as Impact or The Well, there are enough Sam Fuller touches to elevate it well above the standard B movie western.

Book #250: Maximum Bob(1991, Elmore Leonard)

I had to re-check the cover. This was Elmore Leonard right? For a minute there I thought I was reading Charles Willeford. This must be Mr Leonard's tribute to Willeford. Lotsa weird south Florida types up to no good and includes that finger breaking technique used in "Miami Blues". All in all, not as weird as Willeford (but a nice try) but more of a page turner (as Leonard's usually are).

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Day #21,382

Walk km 2349-2353: King Edward/Arbutus/22nd/(bus)/Helmcken/Seymour/Robson/Georgia

Movie #1031: The Well (Russell Rouse & Leo Popkin)

These Popkins are poppin up all over. Yesterday's movie (Impact) was produced by Leo & Harry Popkin so when I spotted this movie in the library I grabbed it. This one was a Harry & Leo Popkin production as well with Leo also co-directing. And it's even better than Impact. This is the story of a girl who falls down an abandoned well. At first, they can't find her so everyone starts accusing one another. And since it was a black girl who was last seen talking to a white man, we're talking race riot. Then they find her and everyone stops their fighting and pulls together to get her out of the well. The moral of the story: people are stupid.
Another smash up job by the Popkins. It's very low budget with a huge cast of townfolk so there's some very bad acting here but it doesn't really matter. If you ever get a chance to see this one, don't let it pass you by.
An interesting bit of info from checking IMDB is that this was the last movie that Leo Popkin made. He was just 37 when he made this one and he's still living but he hasn't had anything to do with the movies for the last 58 years. I wonder why.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Day #21,381

Walk km 2342-2349: Burrard/Georgia/Stanley Park(Lost Lagoon -> 3rd Beach -> English Bay)/Davie/Denman

Tatlow Trail
aprox km2345 Stanley Park

Movie #1030: Impact(Arthur Lubin, 1949)

Hey, I liked this one! This is one of those $2 movies I bought at the Army & Navy store. I was just watching this one to pass the time. It starts out as a superior crime drama before changing gears into a paean to the simple joys of small town America. Then it throws in a giant plot hole which allows us to enjoy the big murder trial climax. Anna May Wong. Lots of outdoor scenes of San Francisco. Ella Raines in a mechanic's uniform. It's got it all! Well, not really, but when your expectations are so low, it makes for a swell 90 minutes.

Today's Tune: Fresh Garbage

Didn't really think I'd find a cover of this one. "Fresh Garbage" was track 1 of side 1 on Spirit's first LP from 1968. The cover by The Evolution is from Spain and was recorded in 1970. Thanks to the TwilightZone for the Evolution cover.