December 23, 2009

C'mon everybody... to Santa Claus's party!

This last week before Christmas is typically real crayzee for most of us, trying to finish up our gift shopping, wrapping, cooking, baking, cleaning, decorating, etc. And I'm sure that some people probably have Holiday To-Do lists that are even longer! Of course, the stress level only increases for those of us who must find a way to complete those lists while also working full-time jobs...

But I'm happy to say that, at this point in the game, my gift shopping is done! The only chore left is the wrapping. I refer to it as a "chore" mainly because I'm retarded-ly slow at it. Seriously, if you could watch me wrap a present you would likely think I was somehow mentally disabled! I know how to gift-wrap, it just takes me forever to do it. Being a perfectionist doesn't help matters, either. So, evidently, I still have a bit of work to do. However, before I go grabbing the scissors and Scotch tape, I thought it would be fun sharing some of my favorite old Santa Claus images with you.

It'll be like a Santa Claus picture party!

Same as the ones in my Halloween post, these are also from a book of collected vintage holiday images put together by Editor/Art Director Jim Heimann, and published by Taschen. There's one in the bunch that isn't from the book, and it should be fairly obvious which one because it looks as though it could've been taken right out of a murder case file. I had to include it since I've never seen anything quite so scary! What's that? "This is Christmas, not Halloween!", you say? Well, you can just go tell Psycho Santa that, yourself... But please, remove the baby first!

I get the feeling that these boys are up to
something a bit sexually deviant...
If you'll notice, all the other children are happily
playing or just completely focused on Santa.
Meanwhile, Red & Blondie are both much too
busy making themselves some sort of
bondage chair with their
multi-colored string and clothes pins. I wonder
who they're planning to tie-down on it, the
girl with her new dolly... or Santa?

Man, this cop sure is a jerk, huh?!
What could Santa possibly have done
to get a ticket?! I don't see his sleigh
anywhere, but perhaps he parked it
in a No Parking Zone?

Exhibit A:
Murder suspect, Bebe Keeler
(Notice the dainty little ladies watch
on her gloved, left hand. And it is that
very hand with which she is so tightly
clutching onto her next meal.)

"Bye, for now, everyone!
Remember to be good boys & girls
if you don't want to find coal in your
stockings... But if you must insist on
being bad, well then, you can just go
to my room!"

I wish everyone and their families a very happy holiday! I also hope that my loyal readers, or Captivated Spectators, will continue enjoying my circus throughout the New Year to come...


Pop Circus Ringmaster

~All images, except for Bebe Keeler's case file photo, were taken from Jim Heimann's book, 'Christmas: Vintage Holiday Graphics', published by Taschen. 'Exhibit A' photo via

December 12, 2009

Goldfrapp - Odd name, great music!

I discovered Goldfrapp years ago, just after they had released their first album, 'Felt Mountain'. I can even remember when I bought the CD because I was immediately drawn to it on the store shelf by its unique cover image. Well, that and the odd name. Both factors combined to ensure my sampling of it at a nearby listening station, and once I'd heard the music along with Alison's beautiful voice, I was hooked!

The band is Alison Goldfrapp (that's where the funny name comes from) and Will Gregory. Their sound is hard to pin down because it has varied over the last 4 albums, but I guess you could say that it's basically electronic pop at the core. 'Felt Mountain', which came out back in 2000, had a very cinematic sound with elements of cabaret, folk, ambient and electronica. Alison's voice range is so insane that, on this album in particular, it's operatic at times!

Here's a music video from 'Felt Mountain' for the song, 'Utopia'...

Gorgeously shot video, wouldn't you say? Even though it is a little creepy toward the end, with all of that blue goop being sucked up through Alison's nose and into her brain. And that's assuming that who we're seeing is the real Alison because it also appears as though some sort of cloning has occurred. That was my interpretation of it, anyway. Maybe, you saw a different story?

Their second album, 'Black Cherry', went waaay off in a different direction! Released in 2003, it was a dance/glam rock inspired powerhouse and I LOVED IT! Not only was the music really hot and sexy, Alison completely transformed her image from a sophisticated Marlene Dietrich look into that of a New Wave diva. And it works on her, let me tell you!

Take a look for yourself. This is the music video for 'Strict Machine', the second single off of 'Black Cherry' which reached #1 on the dance charts...

Now, was that HOT, or what?! Alison has got it goin' ON! Cool hair, too, huh?! I've always liked her awesome blonde, curly locks. If I were a lady, that's the hair I'd want. Fo' sho!

With the third album, 'Supernature', Alison & Will decided to stick with the electro dance vibe. And because of that, I was a very happy, bouncing 35-year-old boy! Although released in 2005, 'Supernature' received 2 Grammy nominations in 2007. One for "Best Electronic/Dance Album" and another for "Best Dance Recording" which was specifically for the first single, 'Ooh La La'. That was all really cool, but I don't get how the timing worked out for those? Album released in 2005... Grammy nominations 2 years later in 2007... Huh? Whatever.

The song, 'Number 1', was the second single off of 'Supernature', and also my favorite track on that album. Here's the music video for your viewing and listening pleasure...

Great song, beautiful lady, cute dogs and a fun sense of humor... What more could you want?! I guess that the dogs with the human bodies are a bit disturbing, but I think that's sorta the point.

In 2008, Goldfrapp released their fourth album, 'Seventh Tree'. And with it, they shifted gears once again to replace their electronic dance groove with more ambient and down tempo music. One of the main things they did was incorporate acoustic guitars in order to create a "warmer" sound.

The first single off of 'Seventh Tree', and a fine example of the warmer, down tempo sound was, 'A & E'. Go ahead, take a look & a listen...

I like how Alison seems to be communing with nature. The dancing leaves and dancing tree people are wonderful. Did you happen to see the fox run by? He was very quick! There was also a beautiful brief shot of an owl. Did you see him?

This excellent duo just finished recording their fifth album, 'Head First', and it's scheduled for release in late March, 2010. An excerpt from the band's official website describes the new album as, "Goldfrapp's most powerful trip to date, a speedy rush of synth optimism, euphoria, fantasy and romance." Also, the first single will be, 'Rocket'. I cannot wait! I just know that I'm gonna love it! Alison could probably sing the phone book and I'd be perfectly happy...

So that's my nutshell bio on Goldfrapp. There's actually a lot more interesting stuff about them, and more videos, too. I guess you could say this was just an appetizer! If you'd like to know more about them, go check out their website. Plus, Alison has been doing a little blog of her own, although posting entries somewhat sporadically.

Now, I wonder where that 'Rocket' is going? Not that it makes any difference, because I'll be on it no matter where it's headed!

~Photo via Google Images~

December 10, 2009

'Tis the season to be tacky...

Just when I thought I had seen everything in the way of cheap and tasteless outdoor Christmas decorations, I passed by this not-so-little gem on my return trip home from work last evening...

I thought that I had imagined it at first because, I mean... Come on!
It was a huge inflatable nativity scene?! Really?!

I've never liked any of those outdoor inflatable-type decorations. They just look cheaply made and totally crappy to me! And they all seem exactly the same, no matter what the character or theme is. It's all very generic. Makes me want to take a BB gun and do some target practice!

But this nativity scene is a new low, people. I'm not at all religious, yet even I cringed when I saw the blow-up Jesus prominently displayed out on Joe Schmo's lawn! It somehow rings disrespectful (toward God, in a way) to see such a cheap and tacky thing used as a visual declaration of one's Christian beliefs for all the neighborhood to see. Know what I mean?

Some people are just clueless, I guess!
Hey, you wanna grab your BB gun and join me for some rootin' tootin' tacky decoration shootin'?

~Photo via Google Images~

December 8, 2009

Happy Music: 'The Golden Age' by The Asteroids Galaxy Tour

This unique Danish pop duo originated in Copenhagen, Denmark, during the Summer of 2007. It was then that composer/producer/bassist, Lars Iversen (right), met up with a former band mate and singer, Mette Lindberg (left), to play her some demos. She went home with his demo CD and returned the next day with some ideas of her own...

The pair immediately went to work, spending the rest of the Summer practically living, recording, eating, composing and sleeping in Lars' self-built studio in his one room flat in Copenhagen. Every night after a long day's work, they would end up drinking on Lars' balcony until morning. They were on a constant high, but at the same time slowly building a repertoire and a signature sound all their own. Once ready for the world, Lars and Mette decided to call themselves, 'The Asteroids Galaxy Tour'.

Obviously, the two of them are the main core of the band, but when they play live, the band grows into a six-piece that includes a full fledged horn section of trumpet and sax players, along with a drummer and guitarist.

You may actually have heard them in an iPod Touch commercial, back in September of 2008, when Apple featured their single, 'Around the Bend', in the background. As a result, that has been the band's biggest single to date.

I'm really diggin' their groove! This track, 'The Golden Age', I find especially infectious. It brings both a smile to my face, and a bounce to my knee. Then there's Mette's voice which is just totally unique.

Hope you enjoy watching the video as much as I did (I think you will). It's a bit of a trip! So sit back, relax and enjoy the short journey through their galaxy...

~Photo via Google Images~

December 3, 2009

Looking a little bit farther down the rabbit hole...

I'm so curious about 'Alice in Wonderland', I think I could BURST! Yes, we've all seen the trailer (You have seen it, right?), but that's just a teaser... Like only peeping through a keyhole. I'm more than ready to fall down that rabbit hole with Alice to explore all the wondrous things our delightfully twisted Tim Burton has dreamed into cinematic reality! But, sadly, we must continue waiting for that "very important date": 3/5/10. And when it does finally get here, you can bet I won't be late!

In the mean time, I want to share a few more Alice-related goodies that I've come across lately. The first three images are new movie posters that were recently released. The images that follow those are from a photo shoot that was featured in Vanity Fair magazine, back in August of this year. So you might have already seen the magazine shots, but maybe not.

Please, enjoy...


This is so very pleasing!

It's total eye-candy! Notice, if you
will, the Mad Hatter sitting at the
head of his table, waaaay in the
background (left).

Why, here comes Hatter, now!

Such a dapper fellow, that one...
Love the giant mushrooms, too!
Did you happen to notice Caterpillar
sitting on one (upper right), having
a smoke on his hookah?

Cheshire Cat, Red Queen, White

Queen and the Tweedle's. Don't
even ask which one is Dum or Dee
'cuz I have no clue!
I'm liking Carter's huge-headed
Red Queen. What do you think?


Photograph by Mary Ellen Mark

Mia Wasikowska, in character as a
teen-aged 'Alice'.

Photograph by Mary Ellen Mark

Johnny Depp, in character as the
very colorful 'Mad Hatter'.

Photograph by Mary Ellen Mark

Anne Hathaway, in character as the
beautiful 'White Queen'.

Photograph by Mary Ellen Mark

Helena Bonham Carter, in character
as the short-tempered and somewhat
clownish 'Red Queen'.

That's about all I can see for now. The rabbit hole is pretty deep, and very dark... Of course, I would willingly jump right in if it weren't for the invisible barrier keeping out riffraff like us from the real world! I just hope that the next 3 months go by quickly, and I'll bet Mr. Burton feels just as anxious. He probably can't wait to grant us access into his Wonderland, so we may all see the fantastic, mind-bending vision he has conjured from Lewis Carroll's original story.

Until then, I'll just keep peering over the edge trying to see whatever I can. Maybe, if I got a really BIG searchlight and aimed it at just the right angle... Hmm.

*All 'Alice in Wonderland' movie images, other than Vanity Fair photos, are Copyright Walt Disney Pictures.
**Photographs of Wasikowska, Depp, Hathaway and Carter taken by Mary Ellen Mark for Vanity Fair magazine.

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