May 14th, 2012

A Dreaded Sunny Day

By Bart J Helms

We had a day off and it was beautiful outside, so our dear friend Ashley Rolling took a few photos of us.

April 2nd, 2012

Coney Dogs: You Can’t Escape Them

By Bart J Helms

Scott Atkinson, a writer for MLive, listened to “Summer Song” a few days ago.

So imagine my surprise when I’m listening the first song on this band’s album, and what do I hear? You guessed it: coney dogs. Check out the song below. At 56 seconds in, there it is.

I don’t know what’s happening here. I can’t escape the coneys. But at least I’ve got some new good tunes to listen to while I eat them.

We may have to check out his Michigan coney recommendations when we head back next month.

Read more of “Coney Dogs Everywhere“.

June 19th, 2009

The Truth about Hobos

By Bart

John Hodgman on one of our favorite subjects: Hobo Matters.

May 26th, 2009

Minnie the Moocher

By Bart

Since Lyndsy’s mom enjoyed the last video enough to go out and buy some Betty Boop merchandise, here’s another. This one also features Cab Calloway (in the form of a walrus ghost), singing his best known song, “Minnie the Moocher.”

Quite a large leap in tone and imagination from Disney’s repetitive “Skeleton Dance”, made a few years before it. And the dancing!

May 17th, 2009

Betty Boop and Saint James Infirmary

By Bart

While Betty Boop is a familiar face to all, most people haven’t actually seen the original Feischer Studios cartoons or have only seen the later ones. Before the Hays Code cleaned up Hollywood (and American animation subsequently became directed at children), Betty lived in a world filled with drugs, death, and sexuality few realize was ever animated.

In contrast to their cheif competitors (Disney), the Fleischers created an edgy world for Betty, Bimbo, and Koko, and this affected even their music choices. Where Uncle Walt played it safe in Disney’s Silly Symphonies, Betty and Bimbo cartoons included soundtracks supplied by jazz artists. I’ve been an animation fan for years now, and I recall a great deal of joy when I re-discovered these old cartoons and these cameos of jazz greats. Where Disney has a “timeless” quality that serves mostly to make it feel generic and manufactured, the old Betty cartoons reveal the excitement with which their creators approached the times and this new art of animation.

The Betty version of Snow White (1933) is one of the best. It not only includes a performance of “Saint James Infirmary” by Cab Calloway and his Orchestra, but also features a rotoscoped Calloway dancing (as a ghost) during the big musical number.

More of these posts will follow, but if you’re impatient, YouTube has a great number of these cartoons waiting for you to find them.