East Of Eden

"A curious mix of the relevant and reverential"


East Of Eden

Some Sunday Stuff: July 16th.


 

I love these flowers. Like a little bit of the tropics. (Photo taken by me)

 

Happy Sunday! Let's get to the links. First up, I have to strongly recommend Crash Course Film History if, like me, you're a novice on the subject but fascinated, nevertheless. Here's the preview so you can get a feel for the series:

 

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Flashback Friday: The 1977 NYC Blackout.


(Image Source)

 

Forty years ago yesterday, New York City, which supposedly never sleeps, went dark. And then, went mad. From Time:

The blackout that hit New York on... July 13, in 1977 was to many a metaphor for the gloom that had already settled on the city. An economic decline, coupled with rising crime rates and the panic-provoking (and paranoia-inducing) Son of Sam murders, had combined to make the late 1970s New York’s Dark Ages.


Then lightning struck, and the city went dark for real. By the time the power came back, 25 hours later, arsonists had set more than 1,000 fires and looters had ransacked 1,600 stores, per the New York Times.
Opportunistic thieves grabbed whatever they could get their hands on, from luxury cars to sink...

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These are a few of my favorite themes...


 

 

So, I made you all a little video. Please watch and then comment with some of your own favs, and be on the lookout for more in this series on the best theme music in TV, film and video games.

 

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Throwback Thursday: Romancing the ordinary.

Note: This post was first published on October 2, 2012, on my old blog, Far Above Rubies. Enjoy! ~Li

On Thursday, my friend Kawania stopped by to pick up a flash drive. She was just leaving her job as an elementary school teacher, and as I opened the door to let her in, I said, "Wow! Is this what the teachers are wearing these days?" Decked out in a brown, above the knee shirtdress, with leopard print, four inch, peep toe heels, she laughed and said assuredly, "Gone are the days teachers wear long flower skirts and penny loafers." I laughed, too, thinking how cool it would be to find a pair of penny loafers nowadays. But hey, these glasses aren't for show. I'm a true blue nerd. Kawania began playing with Z, and I slid back over to the...

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Some Sunday Stuff: July 9th.


(Video screen grab) 

 

Happy Sunday, All. Have you seen Jay Z's video for "The Story of O.J.?" I'm so utterly fascinated by the thing. Check it out:

 

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Flashback Friday: Princess Diana visits AIDS patients.

Princess Diana was photographed in April 1987 shaking hands, sans gloves, with an AIDS patient, demonstrating that the disease could not be transmitted via casual contact. (Getty Images/ Source)

 

Next month will mark 20 years since Princess Diana's sudden and tragic death in a Paris car crash. There have been numerous articles, magazine spreads and documentaries being released to mark the anniversary. This post, however, will go back 30 years, to Princess Diana's visit with AIDS patients, and her decision to touch them. This was huge; the story and the accompanying photographs would be published around the world. At that time, many people so feared the disease, they refused even casual contact with those infected. People with HIV...

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Throwback Thursday: Zoe 101: Lessons From My Daughter

Note from Li: This post was first published on my old blog, Far Above Rubies, on March 6, 2012. I'm republishing it today, with an update: Matt is now an awesome dad to two adorable boys. I knew he'd be a great dad. ;-) ~Li

 Last week at The Church of No People, Matt topped off his month long series on Parenting by explaining why he didn't want to have kids. At least anytime soon. I laughed out loud reading it, and not in that fake "LOL! But I only wrote that because I don't know what else to write except maybe a smiley face, but I don't want to" type way, either. Especially that part about Go-Gurt. I don't know why, but before having Zoe, seriously thinking about having kids always conjured up images of gross poopy diapers, crazy...

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Some Sunday Stuff: July 2nd.


My Z this past week.. :-)

 

Happy Fourth of July Weekend. Hope you'll find time to take in some rays at the beach, lake or park. Or maybe have a backyard barbeque full of grilled treats, yummy sweet and nice, cool beverages. Maybe you're going to just laze around the pool or sunbathe on the deck. It's all good!

If, however, you're like me, and have absolutely zero plans, and this will be just another weekend, then welcome to The Blah! It's awkwardly quiet here, but pull up a seat. I'll keep you company!

First up, this episode of The United States of Anxiety called "Music, McCarthy and the Sound of Americana". Some deets:

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The Preachers: Charles Colcock Jones, Christianizer of the Negroes.

(Image Source: Wikipedia)

It's time for another entry in the ongoing series "The Preachers", in which I look at some of the United States' most influential spiritual/religious leaders. All of the previous entries are of people who had their biggest impact in the 20th Century, even if they were born in the 19th. This post, however, will take us back to the Antebellum Period, when the Industrial Revolution was just taking off in the North and cotton was king in the South. Oh, and there were thousands and thousands and thousands of Black slaves. 

The slaves, coming from various countries (mostly in west Africa), originally spoke different languages and followed different religions. From Kimberly Sambol-Tosco at PBS:

At the beginning of...

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Flashback Friday: Merle Oberon, Hollywood (Secret Indian) Star.


(Image Source)

 

Merle Oberon was stunningly beautiful, and one of Hollywood's first genuinely glamorous stars. She was also mixed-race, born in India, and acutely aware of existing racism and prejudice that could've easily derailed her acting career before it even had a chance to develop. So the beautiful actress became Tasmanian with a faux studio-promoted bio, and lived for decades with a lie that even had her mom acting as a live-in maid. Sigh. From The Daily Mail:

She was one of the great stars of Hollywood’s golden age and shared a kiss with Laurence Olivier in Wuthering Heights.


But mystery has always surrounded Merle Oberon’s early life, not least because of the version of events given by the actress herself.

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Some Sunday Stuff: June 25th


From left to right: Greg, Nate, Joe, Justin, Jenny and the judge.

 

It's been a looooong time since I did a "Some... Stuff" post, but here goes. On Friday, my brother Joe and his wife, Jenny, officially adopted our nephew Justin (our sister Joscelyne's son... she passed away in 2012). It was a long, arduous process, but thank you Lord, it's done. Congratulations, guys!

Chanell, after receiving her diploma.

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So maybe Indians are kinda, sorta Black?


Bonda girl in Orissa. Image by: CC BY-NC-SA 2.0/Flickr/Otabi kitahachi (via HuffPo)

 

Well, at least some Indians are... a few weeks ago, I confessed up to thinking as a kid that Indians were Black. And a few of my Indian/Bangladeshi friends gave me e-props for it (what up?!). One of them, Wafi, passed on this HuffPo article by Rita Banerji from 2015 that goes into fascinating detail about how there is indeed a strong genetic link between Indians and Africa:

 

 Growing up in India, I never met or heard about Indians with African lineages. Then in 2005 I watched a dance performance by the Sidi Goma, a group of musicians from the African Indian community, the Siddi, and I was astonished and mesmerised. Since then I've...

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Flashback Friday: Lena Horne on the Blacklist.


Lena Horne (Image Source)

Lena Horne- singer, actress, glamour queen of the 1940's- found herself blacklisted in Hollywood, labeled a Communist betrayer of democracy in the early 1950's. It was a particularly spectacular fall, and Horne was determined to not have her career tarnished by smears of Red.

First, some backstory on Horne from PBS' "American Masters: Lena Horne" page:

Born in Brooklyn in 1917, Lena Horne became one of the most popular African American performers of the 1940s and 1950s. At the age of sixteen she was hired as a dancer in the chorus of Harlem’s famous Cotton Club. There she was introduced to the growing community of jazz performers, including Billie Holiday, Cab Calloway, and Duke Ellington. She also met Harold...

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Flashback Friday: When Sammy Davis Jr. got devilish.

(Image Source: Vice)

 

Last week in the Anton La Vey post, I mentioned how Sammy Davis Jr. became a member of The Church of Satan for a while. This struck me as... well, pretty weird. I could see why the publicity-loving Jayne Mansfield would sign up to be Team Lucifer, but Sammy "Member of Sinatra's Rat Pack" Davis Jr.? He was so... laid-back and... cool. And Jewish. He most definitely had converted to Judaism. So what the what? Let's go to Helen O' Hara at The Telegraph for more:

 

Sammy Davis Jr, the singer, actor and Rat Pack member whose own philosophy of life drove him to try just about everything that presented itself - women, men, religion, drugs - became involved in 1968. He had noticed a gang of lively young...

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Flashback Friday: When Buddy Holly Broke the Color Line- at the Apollo.


Bespectacled Buddy. (Image Source)

 

Before his shocking death at only 22 in 1959, Buddy Holly managed to make major moves. A native of Lubbock, Texas, Holly began playing the guitar as a kid, and counted a number of Country Music singers as influences. As a teen he began listening to Rhythm & Blues over the radio late at night, and it wasn't long before he combined Country and R&B and began playing the hot new sound of the 1950s: Rock & Roll.

Amazingly, Holly's professional career really only took off when he signed with Decca Records in 1956, meaning he hit the top of the charts, toured the country (and even internationally), and packed theatres in 3 short years (along with his band The Crickets for part of that...

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Come Clean: I thought Indians were Black, too.

(Master of None, Netflix Screen Grab)

 

There's a throwback scene at the very top of Master of None's Season 2' episode, "Thanksgiving", during which little Denise, BFF of little Dev, over for the holiday, mentions that she thinks he's Black... like her. Denise's mom gets the convo started by asking Dev if celebrating Thanksgiving is a thing done in the Indian Community (Dev's answer: They eat lunch together and his dad falls asleep watching "The Godfather".)

Denise is confused; what is this "Indian Community" of which her mom speaks? "Dev is Indian," Denise's Momma, played by the ever-youthful Angela Bassett, explains.

"I thought Dev was Black," says a confused Denise.

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The Preachers: Anton La Vey & The Church of Satan.


Anton La Vey and snake. (Image Source)

 

So far in this series, I covered Jim Jones who believed himself better than God (if there was, in fact, a supreme deity); Father Divine, who claimed to be God incarnate; and Aimee Semple McPherson, who despite being a twice divorced female pastor, held to the usual standards of historic, orthodox Christianity, i.e., The Trinity, Virgin Birth, Crucifixion and Resurrection of Christ, and salvation through the grace of God and faith in Jesus as Lord and Savior.

But for this entry, I'm going to step away from Christians (or those who started off that way... fun fact, Jones, Divine and McPherson all had early roots in the Methodist church), and over to the other side: Anton La Vey, who founded The...

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Flashback Friday: Sam Cooke's Crossover Pop Success and How It Made Change Come.


Sam Cooke (Image Source)

 

Earlier this spring, when rapper Kendrick Lamar dropped his critically praised album, "DAMN", it shot up to the top of the Billboard charts. Thing is, it wasn't just a hit in Hip Hop; it was a certified success in the realm of Pop, too. Slate boasted, "Kendrick Lamar’s New No. 1 Proves He’s Not Just Our Greatest Rapper. He’s One of Our Biggest Pop Stars."

Rappers can be Pop Stars, yes. Twenty years ago (!), the recently deceased Notorious B.I.G.'s "Hypnotize" spent most of May '97 atop the Hot 100 Charts until being bumped by Hanson's "Mmmbop" (!!). But it wasn't long before Biggie's producer/ B.F.F./ kind-of-a-rapper... kind-of... Bad Boy Records founder- buddy Puff Daddy knocked the blond brothers from...

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Flashback Friday: Marlon Brando's Eulogy for a Black Panther.


Black Panther Bobby Seale with actor Marlon Brando. (Image Source: San Francisco Bay View)

 

In a San Francisco Bay View film review for the 2015 documentary "Listen to Me Marlon", the story of Marlon Brando's press-making eulogy for slain Black Panther Bobby Hutton is retold:

In the late ‘60s, Marlon Brando and Jane Fonda are credited with helping to bring the Black Panther Party and their politics to a mainstream white audience. In 1967, Brando gave a speech at the funeral of 17-year-old Black Panther Bobby Hutton who was unjustifiably murdered by Oakland police.

 

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The Preachers: Aimee Semple McPherson, America's first female celeb evangelist.


 

Aimee Semple McPherson, the Pentecostal Preacher who could've been a Silent Screen Star. (Image: Foursquare Church)

 Aimee Semple McPherson was... so much. A Canadian missionary to China as a young newlywed; a widow with a sickly infant daughter a few years later; an acutely depressed and miserable mom of two and housewife in New England in marriage number two; and a traveling evangelist headlining packed tent revivals for Whites and Blacks, even in the segregated U.S. South. Oh yes, and that was all before she was 27 years old.

Thing is, when Aimee is remembered today (actually, if), she is reduced to the scandal that irrevocably altered her perception in the eyes of the public. She suddenly disappeared from a public beach in...

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