Ella Fitzgerald, 100 Years
by Elliot Thorpe
Jazz is a music form that has, arguably, untold variations. Its back catalogue of artistes and hits is as endless as a hot summer’s day and as equally as evocative.
Once such artist was born a century ago, on April 25, 1917. From humble beginnings to an astonishingly talent-drenched career, Ella Jane Fitzgerald was determined to make the best of what she had, against challenging odds.
Her father disappeared when she was a baby. Her mother, Tempie, and stepfather, Joe, did all they could for Ella and her sister, Frances, until tragedy struck. Tempie died from injuries sustained in a car accident. Joe died some time later of a heart attack. After a few run-ins with the police, young Ella was sent to a reformatory, enduring endless beatings by the staff. Escape was the only option and proved to be the founding drive in her life forever after. She entered an amateur talent show in….continue reading in the Winter 2017 magazine.
Punk Drunk Love: A Detroit Story
by Michele Roger
With the expansion of the terminals at the Detroit Metro Airport (DTW), lots of people traveling from west coast to east coast are discovering a new layover. Flights with overnight layovers are vastly cheaper and built into some of the new flight and travel apps. Detroit has been out to shed its bad boy reputation, and I thought I would see what all the travel talk was about.
There is a huge artist scene in Detroit. Photographers, like my friend Erik Bucholz, suggested I check out the newly emerging music scene. UFO Factory (2110 Trumbull St), a venue located in Hamtramack, (the Polish sector of the city) is both a bar and a social club. Detroit has seen a reinvention of punk music. Whether it’s music or food, Detroit has been taking the great elements of the world and making its own versions for years. Punk music is no exception.
Photo by Eric Bucholz
One rising star, Mikal Bartee of The Idiot Kids, agreed to an interview to talk about his band and his city. Lead singer and song writer of the band, Mikal, describes the band, as punk with a story to tell. He, drummer Ryan Chlebek, and bassist, Nicholas Zambeck grew up together and were friends who just started playing music. Punk music was more befitting the energy level they had for the music they composed. Over time, they’ve developed their unique sound and say it’s “glam punk with theatrical aspects.” They attribute some of that sound’s influences to David Bowie and…continue reading.
5 Great Books to Read this Winter
by Valarie Kinney
You’ve been working all week and finally have some time to yourself. It’s cold outside, fat white snowflakes are drifting down from the sky, and you’ve got a cup of hot cocoa that is calling your name. What could be a better use of that perfect winter evening than to curl up with a thick fleece blanket and a good book? Winter nights and reading go together like peanut butter and jelly. With so many options available, how do you choose which books to read? Check out this list of great, winter-themed books of various genres.
1.The Christmas Shoes by Donna VanLiere.
Robert is the proverbial workaholic who has lost touch with his family. Nathan is a little boy clinging to the mother he is about to lose. When they cross paths on Christmas Eve, Robert must make a decision that will impact the rest of Nathan’s life.
Plainly put, this is a beautiful story that…continue reading.
Retro Cool: Vinyl Shopping and Gift Giving
by Kristin Battestella
Get ready to go knee deep in vinyl—and I’m not talking about cheap boots. Long play records are popular once again. Whether it be the quest for a special volume, unique gift giving, or a beloved holiday record, this snap, crackle, and pop of old adds extra warmth to the chilly seasons. Getting dirty in thrift shops for vinyl is a niche hobby. However, the pursuit of music from yesteryear can be an affordable and fun quest—if you know what sellers, pricing, shopping, and equipment work best for completing your collection or finding that perfect, sentimental holiday gift. Why not drag all the family members along to sift through the often unorganized, messy, perilous piles for more fun?
If you’re looking to add to an existing vinyl collection or are a newer enthusiast, here are a few tips when going hunting.
In thrift stores, records often sell for around $3 or less, significantly cheaper than Ebay bids, shipping fees, and potential in transit damages ruining a rare vinyl gift. At any second hand or thrift store you can examine a record for imperfections, smell it, even ask to test it—if there is also a working record player. Always check that the right record is in the right sleeve or a sleeve isn’t empty. Be sure to wear clothes you don’t mind getting dusty and keep wipes handy. Searching through piles and piles of vinyl can be a little dirty. Most corner thrift shops think of vinyl as an afterthought and generally don’t sort inventory, increasing one’s chances for finding a gem. If a run of the mill junk shop is charging higher prices for records, then they should not be moldy, coverless, and disorganized. Some sly places will mark up old records or all material by a particular artist just because…continue reading.
The Great Sammy Davis, Jr.
by Elliot Thorpe
Born Samuel George Davis, Jr. on December 8th, 1925 in Harlem, New York City, and from a family with a vaudeville background, it was inevitable that little Sammy would end up in show business.
When his parents split, he was just three years old, and his father took custody of him which meant the young boy followed Sammy Davis, Sr. onto the stage. Taught to dance by his father, Sammy Jr. joined him and entertainer Will Mastin, forming the Will Mastin Trio. It was a team that would see great longevity, interrupted initially by World War II and Sammy Jr.’s drafting. It resurfaced throughout Sammy’s high-profile solo career, and he made sure his father and Mastin received billing wherever he performed.
In the trio’s heyday, critics were singling Sammy out, taking note of his outstanding singing, dancing, and vocal impressions. He was signed in 1955 with Decca Records for his first vinyl LP “Starring Sammy Jr…read more in the Fall issue of SEARCH Magazine.
In the Summer Issue of SEARCH Magazine,
Music Snapshot in Time: San Francisco, 1959
by Elliot Thorpe
“Standing on the Embarcadero, the breeze coursing down from San Pablo Bay is warm, tugging at your hair, caressing your cheeks and the backs of your hands. You’ve finished work and exhausted. Ready to hit the sack, but it’s a Friday evening. There’s too much going on in town to miss it all by staying home, but where to go?
Back in your apartment, you stand under the hot shower, the force of water washing away the grime of the day. From beyond the open shutters of the wide and tall casement window, you hear the gentle strains of a sax. A muted trumpet joins its wind cousin in a smooth-blown medley of vibes.
It’s summer, 1959, and you live alone on Broadway, in a tiny but cosy room above a haberdashery. The landlady, whose husband owns the shop, is not to be messed with. She insists the rent is paid in full, in cash, and in advance, and you always comply. It’s better that way, and she leaves you alone…” to read the full article, check out the free eCopy here.
In the Spring Issue of SEARCH Magazine,
author Elliot Thorpe talks about the Covers and Soundtracks.
“In today’s world, we are saturated with music, perhaps more than ever. We can download to our iPhones, tablets, wherever. We can watch endless shows on television that give people like us the chance to get up and belt out a tune like on America’s Got Talent or (huge in the UK) The X-Factor. MTV revolutionized the marketing of music itself, by allowing directors to create mini-movies to promote songs to hit status. Throughout all of it, almost from the very beginnings of commercial music itself, we’ve had the obligatory cover versions.
In lots of cases, the cover version was a way for record companies to cash in on popular hits of the time by hiring and recording, shall we say, less expensive singers who could—if we were lucky—be a sound-a-like for the real deal. It made the records cheaper to press and cheaper to buy, therefore making access to great music easier…” to read the full article, check out the free eCopy here.
by Elliot Thorpe
“There’s something wonderful that, in the middle of a baking hot day, Dean Martin could dream of a, “White Christmas, just like the ones he used to know.”
That always stood out for me as a child when I used to sit down with my family and watch Dean Martin’s Christmas in California on NBC. And the fact that I mention it now nearly 40 years later shows those images of Dino celebrating the holiday season on his ranch has stuck with me ever since.
Of course, I am biased when it comes to Dino. His music was always a staple in our house at Christmas while Mom was in the kitchen and Dad was making sure the log fire didn’t go out. Yes, we did the Christmassy things, too—open fires, proteins roasting in the oven, my big sister and me trying our hardest not to prod and poke at the presents under the tree. If we were lucky, Dino would even phone my dad to wish him the season’s greetings, and we’d get all more excited as a result...” to read the full article, download the free eCopy of SEARCH Magazine‘s Winter Issue.
Packed with features to inspire and enrich your life, our publication includes:
- Finding Your Zen During the Holidays
- Discovering Family Connections
- Holiday Music
- 5 Books to Read this Holiday
- Geek Out for the Holidays
- A Seattle Progressive Dinner
- Recipe: Forgotten Cookies
- How NOT to Make Fruitcake
- Dunsmuir-Hellman Historic Estate
- 5 Holiday Tips for Parents with Autistic Kids
- Fighting Holiday Stress One Bath at a Time
- How to: Make Fuse-bead Snowflake Ornaments
- City Spotlight: San Francisco
- Bay Area attractions: Charles Dickens Christmas Fair
- Lighter side: Santa, Seniors, and a Goat
- And much more…
Subscribe to this blog to be kept up to date with our future issues.
Celebrating Sinatra’s Centenary
By Elliot Thorpe
“May you live to be 100, and may the last voice you hear be mine.” With this statement intended to be tongue in cheek, there was something prophetic in its delivery. Perhaps the man who said it, one Francis Albert Sinatra, couldn’t even imagine it would ever be possible.
Incredibly, 2015 sees Sinatra’s centenary, his 100th birthday.
He was a man of many parts and one steeped in rumours from his political interactions, his Mafia connections, his family, and his alleged promiscuity. It was once said of him that he was who every man wanted to be and who every woman wanted to be with. Yet who was Frank Sinatra really? Some may attest to knowing, but the one we see is the one up there on stage, singing, dropping a few one liners and generally being the straight man to the Rat Pack.” to read the full article, download the free eCopy of SEARCH Magazine‘s Fall Issue.