Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Trajectories And Tangents

If we’re already in
Some other place

We don’t need to say


When I play that, I usually split my keyboard and play an acoustic guitar voice with my left hand and a flute voice with my right hand. Then I play the first two bars as a simple steel string guitar melody, kind of staccato, and the next two bars as flute, very legato.

I’m thinking of expanding this, and actually recording this as an extended song with real multi-tracking and all—a piano part doing chords under the two instrument voices playing interacting melodies. Really, however, I should have two vocals, as well, a man and a woman. I’m working on that. That’s harder than pressing a few buttons on a music workstation.

It’s one of the things I’ve got in progress.


Even before I ever heard the word “antiphony” (Ephemera And Antiphony) I almost always imagined arrangements of songs as two people interacting. I thought of the process simply as “story songs” or “boy-girl” songs, where two people participate in telling the same story. I’m surprised we don’t hear more of this today. In what can be called, I guess, classic pop there were some very successful boy-girl acts. Sonny & Cher, of course. And Captain & Tennille. It seems they always break up because one or another business axis wants to turn one of the pair into a super star.

Still, even without the super star aspect, the dynamic of a man and woman singing together has been very popular. I’m surprised we don’t hear more of this today. Maybe up-and-comers today don’t want to share the spotlight at all, even as beginning acts. Maybe it’s something else, something more complicated. I don’t know. It’s a very interesting question to me: Why aren’t there more boy-girl acts these days?


Look at this image from an old monster movie:

The woman leaning up against the wall is a character named “Liz” in a movie called “Attack of The Giant Leeches.” That’s her husband’s best friend standing in front of her. You can kind of tell that pretty soon they’re going to be leaning up against each other. But they don’t live happily ever after—in just a couple of scenes they’ll both get eaten by giant leeches.

Believe it or not, that movie is pretty famous among monster movie buffs. It’s a very low budget Roger Corman production, but it had a reasonably good director. And that actress who played “Liz” had a remarkable life, a remarkable career.

And she had a remarkable death.

I don’t have a great deal to say about her today, but I wanted to do this post to save a few links about her because I plan to come back to her and her life at some point.

That actress is Yvette Vickers. She was one of the very first Playboy playmates. And she did some small roles in big pictures, and a few big roles in small pictures.

She dated some famous guys, like actor Jim Hutton. (He played the brilliant computer scientist in one of my favorite movies, “The Honeymoon Machine.”)

According to one Hollywood legend I read somewhere, during the filming of her small role in Paul Newman’s big-budget film “Hud,” her umm work with Newman became so sizzling that Newman’s wife, Joanne Woodward, ordered Vickers’ part edited way down. That sizzle stuff with Newman may have been a bad career move for Yvette because it seems like after that production her work was all science fiction and monster films.

She lived to be eighty-two years old, doing low budget films now and then, doing a lot of conventions and signing memorabilia for film buffs.

She apparently died peacefully in her own Los Angeles home.

However, after she died peacefully in her home nobody actually missed her and her body remained in her home for something like a year. She became mummified. Eventually she was discovered, and achieved a final bit of fame, because lots of guys from around my generation remembered her so fondly from monster films. The press did lots of stories about the “mummified actress found in her home.”

Los Angeles is a strange city.

One of the reporters who did a story about Yvette Vickers’ death was interviewed in a blog. One of the questions and answers was this:

Listening to people of her generation talk, you really get a vivid sense of how much LA has changed. And how much it has remained the same. What’s something that has stuck with you from one of the interviews?

How much some things actually do remain the same in this town. Her neighborhood—leafy, well-off, coveted—is the kind of place young actors coming to L.A. dream about moving to. Yet it's also a place of death and violence. Besides Vickers's own sad death, there was a rape committed across the street, involving a firearm about 18 years ago. And before that, of course, the Sharon Tate murders occurred not too far away on Cielo Drive. Then, there's Vickers's rise and fall—a career trajectory that's almost as predictable as a solar arc.

from “Finding Yvette Vickers”
link below

Los Angeles is a strange city.

If I were going to write something about boy-girl songs, or a man and woman singing duo, it would inevitably be about two places, too. And one of those places would be Los Angeles.

Someday I’m going to come back to this.

I mean Yvette Vickers.

And Los Angeles.

In the meantime, here are some Yvette Vickers links I want to save:

Yvette Vickers
at Wikipedia

Mummified body of former Playboy playmate
Yvette Vickers found in her Benedict Canyon home

at Los Angeles Times

Finding Yvette Vickers
at Los Angeles Magazine

Left Behind
at Los Angeles Magazine

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