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Sunday, August 21, 2011

Reminiscing

I had a vivid dream this morning.
It was set in the Hughes Market shopping center on Balboa and Devonshire in what's called North Hills, not sure what it was called back then. It's between Northridge and Granada Hills and whatever they called East of Balboa and South of Devonshire.
Three of us were walking up the back parking lot parallel to Balboa. We were going to a church service- revival that a friend of ours was throwing. The friend was a combination of Lonnie Spector and Fred Khoury.
My companions were Dennis Wilkinson and a kind of Gary Mathern, I think. As we were walking to this event there was a line of half dressed young women and girls going into the Savon drugstore. I was told that they were auditioning for a Playboy photo shoot. They were in different states of undress and were wearing skirts or pants and no top. They got younger towards the back of the line. There seemed to be a lot of turquoise and light yellow on their clothing.
We were headed to a hall or auditorium near the men's store on the East leg of the shopping center. We entered through the back through a door next to the stage. We went right over to greet Fred- Lonnie who was sitting- standing along the East wall. His hair was short and had bangs in front and he was wearing a jump suit. I said; "Do you remember me? I'm Ron Wilkinson." He gave me a hug for a greeting.
The service- or entertainment on a stage that was too high to see. I went to the back of the hall to see the action on stage. It was a bunch of women dancing in colorful costumes that looked like what a Hindu Deity would wear.
The auditorium had sloped seating going down towards the stage. There were chairs along the walls interrupted by wood boxes. The seating was in two sections, an upper and lower section with an aisle between.
As I moved across the hall there was a small platform sitting on the center aisle right on an angle- 20 or 30 degrees facing the back. There was some miniature furniture on it and a little podium. From the back of the platform a homunculus male kid walked to the podium, he could see over the top. He gave his sermon anyhow.
Then I was attracted to a girl singing on a pedestal to my left in the same aisle. She was very attractive and singing country gospel. So I went to check her out and caught her eye. I was trying to cover and ignore her as she checked me out. She started to morph into a chunky looking round faced hillbilly girl with curly red hair that was shaved up her neck and an inch above her ears.
Then the "Hindu" costumed dancers were coming down from the stage and into the audience and people were filing out the door we came in. I had lost track of Dennis and Gary and I panicked because I thought they would leave me.
I had not told Rene (my wife) that I was going to this thing and it was 10 pm at night. She was going to be pissed.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

More 1924 Los Angeles Plague Pictures

Cal Ground Squirrels

Dog ratting at the San Pedro Hog Farm

Back of a business

Mexican neighborhood. Tear down?

The 1924 Los Angeles Black Plague!

The forces were mobilized! Crews wandered around spraying different disinfectants, killing rats with bates and traps. Even hiring guys with guns and terriers flushing and shooting California ground squirrels! Crews were tearing down stables, hog farms, granaries, houses, businesses! They tore down a lot of the poorer parts of LA, like the "negro shacks"!
There were neighborhoods where the back yards were full of stored junk, lumber, trash; all rat breeding grounds.

It was a full on disaster. People were dieing of pneumonic and bubonic plague.
Scientists were locating "foci's" of plague. Norwegian and black rats plus the CA ground squirrels were the vectors.They found rat holes under restaurants, groceries, shoe and leather businesses.
This whole episode was photographed and documented. The photos are archived at UC Berkeley. It's a total treasure of Los Angeles street scenes in 1924!
My Father was 2 years old living in Echo Park. His older brother Harry had died in the 1918 flu epidemic. My Grandmother had a nervous breakdown. Her doctor, a Doctor Pahl, told her to have another child.He felt if she lost my uncle Bill, born 1917,  she would go off the deep end.
They named my father Donald Pahl.
This piece of history is stunning to me. What if my Father or Uncle were taken away by this Plague? What if my Grandfather or Grandmother came down with it?
Live was tenuous then. Penicillin was not discovered till 1928!!
My Father was asthmatic, the doctor prescribed porter beer (prohibition time here) and they burned some incense crap when he had attacks. Pneumonic plague would of killed him.
The leather business had rats under the floor!!!

Monday, January 10, 2011

Freddy Cory (Khoury)

Fred is a friend from 40 years ago. Last time I was in touch with him I found him at the Rainbow Room next to the Whiskey a Go Go on Sunset. He invited us (I think my wife to be, Danny Noonan, and  Cheryl were with me) up to his place in the Hollywood Hills and I supposed we reminisced a little, and that was that.
A few years before that I carried some equipment for his band for two gigs in my Datsun pickup. One was at the Beach House Bar at the foot of Lick(?) Pier, where the famous Avalon Ballroom (Lawrence Welk's joint) was. I parked close to the doors of the Ballroom on the pier itself.
Fred's band was playing the first set before Black Oak Arkansas. This was before BOA was a band of renowned. It was a fun gig for me, I was under age and they served me pitchers of beer and I danced to the music. Shortly after BOA came on we smelled smoke and then someone shouted FIRE from the stairwell. I ran outside to get my pickup and the flames were coming from underneath the pier next to my pick up. When I pulled up equipment was flying down the stairs. We packed up the pickup and went across the street and watched the pier burn. That's how I remember it 40 years back.
They played at the Whiskey one night and I remember trying to nail the bass drum down to the stage because the drummer was kicking it away from him. We invited some "groupies" to the band apartment after the gig, it wasn't really exciting or gratifying, as least for me.
That was that, I didn't see Fred or stay in touch aside from the Rainbow run in.
So now I find friends on Faceplant along with Danny Chapman, the singer- harmonica player of the Vanilla Rain, the band that Fred , Dennis, Larry, Dave and Danny were in that they started in Jr High. VR was a very good band for a High School Garage Band and I was a fan boy and then a friend.  We had a good time and had the usual teener adventures living in the SFV.
I hung out with most of them as individuals and I was close to Fred for a short time and we talked about ourselves and the state of our existence like young guys do at that age. We were pretty full of ourselves.I had other close friends from the band but I'm talking about Freddy here.
Danny sent me a video and a "7inch" CD with five compositions recorded by Fred back in the 70s. I was almost afraid to listen out of being disappointed or something. It turned out a lot better than I expected.  I was surprised by his vocals, I had never really heard him sing. He wasn't really singing up front when I knew him, he played guitar, lead guitar- his voice was his guitar. I remember his father telling him BB King was great but BB needed to get rid of his guitar.
So this CD features his songs sung by him and his voice is good!!   He plays some "refrains," breaks on his guitar but it's part of the piece. He does not go off like a "Guitar God." The songs are complete compositions and the vocals and lyric are up front. The lyrics are personal and poetic. Sounds corny but I hear some of the Fred I remember when we had discussions and debates though that might be more than it really was. We were blowing off our anger and frustrations as kids growing into men. So the songs are sorting out experiences he had which is what most songs- poetry is about. These songs are of a further evolved Fred sometime after we hung out.
The music is influenced by the Beatles, maybe Bowie, Freddy Mercury, there's a cabaret sounding tune as a last cut. My favorite after the initial listening is the first one; "Open Up."
Fred is a definite Tenor, and has decent range. I'm not really a musician so take all this with a grain of salt. His guitar got better more assured, it has become more vocal, it has good expression.
I don't think the band on the recording is the old band that I hauled around.  
The video is black and white film that was transferred to video, not great quality, but it shows Fred singing and playing guitar. The music is dubbed over the video. Fred's styling in an Edwardian suit. He had all the moves down. It's fun to watch, takes you back to the glam rock days. 
I'm not sure what happened to his music career. Danny said something about it and he, Fred, just let it go for some time. I've done the same thing with painting and making art. I have the feeling if he hung in there he might have had a career or a living from music. I think he expected greater things and playing as a session musician or clubs was not what he wanted. I'm just guessing though.
So I like the music and I will listen to it some more, get into it a bit more.
Thanks Danny.
Danny's a great musician himself and has some stuff I will listen to Their old band mate Dennis does music and composes too. It's really stunning to hear this stuff! It will take time to take it all in.


Sunday, January 9, 2011

Next Post For This Last New Year

1951 Norton 500 Single
Coolest bike of the New Year
photo is from this past weeks Las Vegas bike auction

More New Year Stuff

Ray El Rey
"Take This"

New Years Stuff

Last Year's Last Ride
on Dennison Grade in Ojai
12/31/2010