Sunday, December 12, 2010

Pantomime's Progress

One from our Catclaw Theatre Company official blog:

It's beginning to look a lot like Catclaw. As snow piles up outside my window, I've been encamped at home putting together the first draft of Son of Grimaldi, which is finally taking shape through the misty muse of Duvel.

As I predicted earlier, the story bears about as much resemblance to historical fact as Toulouse-inations did to the life of Toulouse-Lautrec. Using as its starting point the tension between the elder Grimaldi and his son (who is expected to carry on his father's craft), we veer into such tangential matters as British secret societies, clairvoyance, guardian angels, nudity, quantum physics (no, really!) and Santa Claus.

- Jeffrey Scott Holland, Catclaw Theatre Company artistic director, 12/11/2010.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Transylvania Colony

For better or for worse, YouTube seems to be taking over the universe. Both this blog and the Creeps Records blog have relied heavily on its treasure trove of obscure goodness, while the Catclaw Theatre Company has had its own channel for quite awhile now (though it's sorely neglected). And now, our pals at the uber-stupid Moist Doorknob Comics have their own channel, and the Old Order of Transylvania Gentlemen now have their very YouTube channel entitled Transylvania Colony, chock full of that good pre-war public-domain grist that stays crunchy even in milk.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Bettie Page's Harem Dance

Dancer/stripper/model Bettie Page dons a belly-dancer's outfit for this "harem dance" set against a musical backdrop of faux-Arabian music pillaged from somewhere between "Streets of Cairo" and Juan Tizol's "Caravan".

View: Bettie Page's Harem Dance

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Kipling's "Mark of the Beast"

Live from the Blue Room in Chico, CA, it's Dylan Hillerman's deliciously Grand Guignol-inspired production of Rudyard Kipling's "Mark of the Beast", which is an oft-overlooked classic in the genre of werewolf fiction.

View: Le Grand Guignol: Mark of the Beast by Rudyard Kipling (1997)

Monday, June 7, 2010

The Kentucky Singers

Here's an oddball clip found on YouTube, of Russian bandleader Lud Gluskin performing "Dinah" with the Kentucky Singers. Of these Kentucky Singers we know precious little, but they may be a spin-off of the original Kentucky Jubilee Singers and/or Forbes Randolph's Kentucky Jubilee Choir.

And then there's this from the British Pathe archives.

We don't even know if the Kentucky Singers were really Kentuckians, and the odds are actually against it, since it was apparently the fashion at the time to adopt a faux-Kentuckian image - witness Henny Hendrickson's Louisville Serenaders, a bunch of Jersey guys who probably never set foot in Louisville in their lives. And Johnny Hamp's Kentucky Serenaders, based out of Pennsylvania.

Listen: Lud Gluskin and the Kentucky Singers

Monday, May 31, 2010

Whirl, Twirl and a Girl

In this rare television clip filmed in 1950, we see the rollerskating Vaudeville act "Whirl, Twirl and a Girl" (aka Jerry Berke, Art Wall and Eva Hasty) skating in circles while performing stunts and tricks.

View: Whirl, Twirl and a Girl (1950)

Monday, March 22, 2010

The Cherry Sisters Revisited

The Cherry Sisters, a favorite vaudeville act of ours, have been immortalized in a play by Dan O'Brien, The Cherry Sisters Revisited, now playing at Actors Theatre Louisville as part of the Humana Festival of New American Plays.

Read Jeffrey Scott Holland's review of it on Louisville Mojo by clicking here.

Oscar Hammerstein, desperate for something new to rile the rubes in his jaded Broadway audiences, deliberately booked the Cherry Sisters - who were already infamous for their inept lack of (consensus) talent. He knew the spectacle of their failure would make for some good - if cruel - entertainment at the expense of the women's dignity. In other words, Hammerstein was doing a sort of Cabaret of the Nameless routine even before the Germans.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Friday, February 12, 2010

The Rialto

At one time, there were a great many theaters in Louisville, and of course, entropy being what it is, most of these beautiful places have been destroyed by some not-so-beautiful humans.

Case in point: the Rialto, which did a splendid business at 616 S. Fourth Street from 1921 to 1968. It was demolished in 1969 and turned into a parking lot, just like in the song. With its imported European crystal chandeliers, dazzling white marble staircase, walls covered in Rookwood tiles, enormous Pilcher organ, and breathtaking facade in the Italian Renaissance style, it was something truly marvelous to behold.

Reportedly, the last film to play the Rialto was Doctor Dolittle.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Madam Satan

According to Wikipedia, Madam Satan (1930) "has been called one of the oddest films DeMille made and certainly one of the oddest MGM made during its golden age." When Angela (Kay Johnson) discovers that her cheating husband Bob (Reginald Denny) is secretly planning to attend a costume ball on board a zeppelin with his lover Trixie (Lillian Roth), Angela joins the party in disguise in order to spy on the pair. Lots of exotic dances, outlandish costumes, and surreal musical numbers ensue, until a thunderstorm causes the dirigible to break apart.

View: Clip #1 from Madam Satan

View: Clip #2 from Madam Satan

Thursday, January 14, 2010


Here's a video clip of one of our favorite cellists, Erica "Unwoman" Mulkey, doing a idiosyncratic little number called "Haunted", live at the Red Vic, June 13, 2009. In addition to a dazzling solo career, Unwoman has also performed with Rasputina and the super-spooky Steamwave outfit Vernian Process.

View: Unwoman - "Haunted"