While Tiptoe-ing Through the Internet Tulips
I am up early on a Monday. Monday in New York City initiates the noise again, the clatter, the cacophony, the jittery situation of never knowing where the next disturbance is coming from whether it be from the idiot hammering on his stupid window sill or a huge Caterpillar building demolisher firing up for its seven-hour day of destruction and the explosive and intrusive sounds that go along with such major demolition. Of course, de-struction leads to con-struction and then the construction noises begin and progress is so F-ing noisy that sometimes I wonder why we don't take, say, ten years off and enjoy what we have until it simply wears out.
I love the way in Vegas they build billion-dollar hotels (they're all cheap-ass built structurally with plyboard and plaster geegaw interiors) one year and ten years later they demolish them and then in their place build another more monstrous and precariously built hotel and casino than the last one, maybe even a replica Babylon (or old Baghdad). It amazes me how many billions dumb-ass Amuricans are willing giveaway to the Mafia-backed casino owners and schills in Vegas and Atlantic City every year, the billions and billions of their hard-earned bucks and then also now to the Mafia-backed Native-American casinos--and if you don't think the Mafia has its hand up the asses of the Native-American casino owners ask old dumbo ex-Vegas strip star Wayne Newton--remember him? He's part Native-American and he invested a hell of a lot of his Vegas star money in Native-American gambling casinos--poor ole Wayne; he's now an out-of-work has-been and a 13-million buck loser.
I'm listening to American neglected composer George Walker's Piano Sonata #2 written in 1956. George himself is performing it on this CD I have: CRI CD #719, entitled: The Music of George Walker. Walker was born in D.C. in 1922. He studied piano with Rudy Serkin at the Curtis Institute and chamber music with William Primrose and Gragor Piatagorsky. In 1945, he became the first black graduate of the Curtis Institute--now ain't that sumthin'? Took 'em 150 years to find a talented black musician in Philadelphia! Ah, white folks, how supraintelligent we are--so supraintelligent we're stupid as jello when it comes to our logic and legends. But, hey, George went on to win the Pulitzer Prize in 1996, at 74. He may still be with us; I'm afraid to check the blogs of death to find out. He lives in my life and in my ears as I type this, now I'm listening to his very complicated Sonata #1 for Violin and Piano performed by him and his son Gregory.
Kids today, those who determine our culture, have turned their fat backs on so-called "classical" music.
Isn't it amazing how we give most of our money away to our desires to strike it rich quick and to our children; plus we give away the culture we spawn and learn to perform in our very special ways, all of us, red and yellow, black and white, yellow, speckled, ultrapolytonally noncolored, the exceptional arts we have created from great music, to great poetry, to great acting...which brings me to Lulu Glaser.
On one of my out-buying-junk trips, I bought an envelope of what we in the collectibles trade call pinbacks. These are pins, exactly like politcal campaign buttons we still pin to our lapels and shirts and shit to show our support for certain candidates, like, you know, "Know the Pain of Perpetual War, Elect John McCain for King."
These pinbacks really became popular in the late 19th century, especially with the McKinley campaign, though there are political campaign buttons going way back to Lincoln's time--elaborate ones called badges in those days.
This bag of pinbacks I bought was full of pinbacks from the New Jersey firm of Whitehead & Hoag, a company anyone who collects pinbacks, medals, or tokens knows. W&H made literally millions of these metal pinbacks (meaning they have a straight pin welded on their backs that you "pin" on your lapel or shirtfront or whevever the hell you wanna pin it on). All of this to tell you that one of the pinbacks in that bag of pinbacks I bought was a Caporel cigarette pinback from like 1900 celebrating the then famous Broadway comedic opera star, Lulu Glaser.
Lulu Glaser was an American phenom; a beauty of a girl from Allegheny City, Pennsylvania, who when she was a little kid decided she wanted to be a Broadway singing star. She took vocal lessons galore and when she was 17, she hit New York City and, son of a bitch, she quickly landed a chorus role on the Great White Way; from there she got to be the understudy in the same play, The Lion Tamer, and soon she took over the starring role. It was 1891 then and then by 1899, Lulu was a big star, so big and with such funds, she formed her own opera company, the Lulu Glaser Opera Company, and she toured with her company very successfully with an opera called Dolly Vardon; and Lulu became the Dolly Vardon girl; and this lasted until 1911 when after two bad flops, Lulu decided to throw it all in and retire to a life of seclusion for the rest of her life on her chicken farm in Connecticut, dying there, in Norwalk, in utter obscurity in 1958 at 84. Her papers and personal possessions are now on display at Princeton U.
That's the problem in America: you gotta know when to retire. Get out while you're on top. I'm too nonconformist to go along with that. My brother kept writing his weekly newspaper column right up until the minute he died. The morning of the day he died, he messengered a month's worth of columns to his editor. His column ran on another month after he was in the ground returning to dust out in the middle of a dust-blown West Texas nowhere, just where he always said he wanted to be buried, in contradiction to the song that supposedly was written on a ranch outside our hometown, "Don't bury me, on the lone prairie...." My brother dearly loved and identified with the lone prairie.
That's Lulu Glaser in 1899. She married 4 times; one time to DeWitt Hopper the actor.
quickly for The Daily Growler