Wednesday, April 16, 2014

THE CHIC SOUND OF HENRY MANCINI

Today is one of my favorite composers birthday.....the wonderful Henry Mancini!!!! Not a dinner or cocktail party go by where I don't play some of his songs. Our public station will also be playing Mancini all day intermittent. I grew up with Mancini filling the ancestral home on most evenings and when the parents had parties. I'd be in bed and could hear the swank sound twisted in with the mingling, laughter, and glasses clinking......


Mancini was probably the most successful film composer of his time. Between 1958 and 1964, Mancini so dominated the television and film music scene that everything else seemed to be either an attempt to clone his sound or a reaction against it. The secret to his success was simple, though: he wrote catchy tunes. If you set aside Mancini's hit tunes like "Peter Gunn" and "Moon River," you find music that's not dramatically different from, say, Elmer Bernstein's, Mancini was raised in the mill town of West Aliquippa, Pennsylvania. His father taught him the flute and piccolo, and after some initial resistance, gave him perhaps his biggest break ever by setting him up with lessons from Max Adkins.

 
  In 1947,Mancini married Ginny O'Connor, a singer with the Miller band, who'd previously worked with Mel Torme's vocal group, the Mello Larks, and the couple settled in Los Angeles. Mancini spent the next few years scraping by as a free-lance arranger and musician. He worked on radio shows, played in studio sessions, and took on the odd orchestration or conducting job. He even provided music for Billy Barty's vaudeville act. He hooked up with choreographer Nick Castle and provided backing arrangement for the nightclub acts of numerous Hollywood singers and actors. One such job led to his publishing the tune, "Soft Shoe Boogie" and earning his entry into ASCAP, the American Society of Composers and Performers, which would later name an annual award after him. In 1952, Mancini was hired to do fill-in work for an Abbott and Costello movie, and ended up becoming a house arranger for Universal-International films. Much of the work was routine, but it proved an excellent school, as Mancini worked on over 100 films.

The real breakthrough came, though, on Orson Welles' film noir, "Touch of Evil," in 1958. Welles wanted a gritty, realistic tone for his film and insisted on using nothing but source music for the soundtrack. A former editor at Universal, Blake Edwards, remembered Mancini's work on this film and asked him to write music for a television series he was now directing: "Peter Gunn." Since he was working on a small budget, Edwards asked Mancini to write for a jazz ensemble of 11 players. Mancini's music--particularly the pounding, menacing theme--proved almost as popular as the series.  Mancini received an Emmy nomination for the theme and won two Grammys for the album. Edwards hired him to repeat the trick for his new series, "Mr. Lucky." Although the series failed, the album sold well, and Mancini won two more Grammys. The title track featuring a distinctive organ lead played by Buddy Cole became a popular instrumental. RCA gave him a contract to record under his own name, and his first release, Blues and the Beat, also won a Grammy. With these successes, Mancini was able to operate as a freelancer. Beginning a long and very productive film partnership, Edwards hired him to do the music for his 1961 film, "Breakfast at Tiffany's". He and lyricist Johnny Mercer wrote "Moon River" for a reflective scene with Audrey Hepburn, and the song became a huge hit. Andy Williams' cover outsold the original, and "Moon River" eventually became one of the biggest sellers of the 1960s, with over 500 covers. He went on from there too many more successes.
 
Moon River, to me, the most beautiful song ever composed. If the Mistress ever has a wedding to "the one" this will be the first dance together....
 


And if your at the Casa expect this song every party........ Can't you just see me filling in for Mag Wildwood??? This is the music that courses through my veins.
 


And it just hit me, the great Henry Mancini and his Birthday marks my 2000th post. I really need a cock-a-tail........

Sunday, April 13, 2014

SOME SPRING SPLENDOR

How's the weather in your zip code lately?

 Well, It's finally here I do believe , and it was too nice outside to be indoors this weekend! Yesterday I met my friend Juliette in New Hope for a walk about, and then dinner, followed by Sherry Vine and Joey Arias's pretty entertaining show at the Rrazz Room. Course , I do believe everybody yesterday though Juliette was a cougar and I was her boy!!!!! She's a great lady, lives by herself with no family, and reminds me of Liz Taylor, only more camp with her. She is very entertaining to say the least. It was a great day to be out though, the flowers are starting to bloom~ blossoming all over the neighborhood...I'm starting to get REALLY EXCITED about spring!! I'm glad that people really know how to appreciate when it's nice out and everyone is certainly in a better mood...hope it stays! I turned off the heat last week, and this weekend my windows were open wide, day and night, the whole time. Been sleeping like a baby, and so nice to let the wind and air take over the house again. Thought I'd share a few snap, snap, snaps from around the bungalow currently, and what I've been into....
 
so nice to see buds opening on the trees instead of snow and icicles....
 
 
also nice to not have to layer....light weight chinos and short sleeve tee. And time to get my Jack Purcells back out.......
 
 
  But with hairy arms do I really need long sleeves?
 
the Easter apothecary's are all set. I just love doing these each season......
 
 
And the bar is all stocked up.....Lets take a peak inside.....
 
 
why yes, I do believe every make of gin is there!!!!!!
 
my newest obsession.....
 
Magellan Gin....which has a incomparable crisp, balanced flavor, with a smooth taste of Iris root and flower!!!! Don't worry Hendrick, your still my favorite.
 
My vintage Henny Penny salt and pepper bowls and a vintage cake box that appears to says EAT ME!
 
 
some pink Magnolia from the yard in a bird bud vase I picked up somewhere. The dame said to much Magnolia would smell my house like a porn shop!!!
 
my colored glass collection....just love something about vases  grouped together...
 
vintage globe from the Dame, and a wrought iron airplane door stop....
 
a consignment shop find for $25! Wonder what's inside?
 
Like Hera, the eye of the peacock feather are ALWAYS present in my home......
 
Are you welcoming spring with open arms? Happy Spring Everybody.
 

A HOT CROSSED BUN ANYONE?

Today's breakfast.....
 
 
Anyone interested in trying my buns?
 
To me, Hot Cross Buns are as synonymous with Good Friday as scrambling around town to buy the perfect huge Easter wide brim, and dye for eggs!!! Since I was off Friday, I made for the first time my grandmother's recipe for the Good Friday gems. Me and tradition you know. There’s so much legend and lore behind Hot Cross Buns, which date back to the old country. English folklore said that Hot Cross Buns baked on Good Friday would never spoil throughout the following year. Some bakers believed that holding on to one Hot Cross Bun and hanging it in the kitchen meant that all yeast products in the coming year would rise successfully.( Although, I'm not in the habit of hanging my buns in the kitchen, nor have I had any issues with anything not rising). Some sailors took Hot Cross Buns on their voyages to ensure their ships wouldn’t sink. And friends who gift one another with Hot Cross Buns every year are said to remain friends for life. I have given my Hot Crossed Buns to many and I'm still friends with them, so it must be true.
 
I’m not sure if that’s due to inherent powers in the buns…or just all the yummy carbohydrate goodness. The line is kind of blurry.
Either way, Hot Cross Buns are a fun, meaningful Easter tradition.
 
 

TALKING WITH STYLE

As we know, the Mistress isn't technology savvy. And when a new electronic or phone is introduced it's downright entertaining to watch the fits. We let it go on till the smelling salts come out. Being one with style, if our Mistress could get away with this .... so would.....

 
right down to carrying the flowers! It only took our Mistress three weeks to learn the Windows phone when he got, and a month to realize that his email was on it. Iphone? Surely you jest. That was far too complicated. I don't think he's a dumb blonde, I just think it's the gin haze.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

FROM THE CANDY SHOP

Hold on to yourselves this week. I have a treat for you. Something as sweet as malban with pistachios, melt in your mouth richness like Turkish Delight, addictive as Elledi Plaisir and more fun than Elledi Party Wafers!!!!!!! I don't know I ever shared, but right behind South American candy, Lebanese is my second favorite. Friends- welcome to the Candy Shop and feast your eyes on.......
 
 


 
Ali Hammoud, a 26-year-old hunky model from Lebanon won over 37 other contestants to win the 7th Mister International title in Bangkok, Thailand, back in 2012. He grew up in Beirut the capital of Lebanon, but he’s originally from a small village in the south called Kfarmelki. He is a renowned Lebanese celebrity model, fitness trainer and business entrepreneur. Known for his good looks and figure, Ali deserves the title as an athlete that loves working out on a daily basis. He hits the gym, go for walks and at times you can find him running on the beach. Through his success, he has also shed light on the needs of orphans and helps participate in the diseases prevention campaign's around the world. Like I wasn't already in a melted pile by his beauty.Isn't he gorgeous?!?!?!
 
Those eyes alone could make me commit crimes.
 
 

Friday, April 11, 2014

SPRING HAS SPRUNG

Thanks to the Polar Vortex, this winter has been unbearable for most. But have no fear,after a long winter here in the Northeast corridor spring has finally sprung. The mountains of snow are gone, the last two weeks were nice and mild, the grass is greening, and the temps are getting nice. Today and this weekend it's slated to be in the low to mid 70's already, which means all the flowers are starting to bloom......
 
Peonys
 
Asters
 
Poppys
 
Freesia
 
Tulips
 
Pear Blossoms
 
Gladiolas  
 
Philadelphus
 
And my personal favorite,
Bird of Paradise
 
I can be so vulgar at times.
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