Girls & Gramophones

Yikes – where did October go? In between minding my ice cream parlor and attending to the costuming demands for Halloween antlers, I’ve had no spare time to chronicle my silly interests. Right now I am losing miserably on eBay auctions at some 78s of Annette  Hanshaw records.  I must have Tiptoe Through the Tulips! At once! Also, unrelated, but kind of: have you seen this phonograph print dress?

Do yourself a favor and click over to this page while you scroll through this post. Listen to the Annette Hanshaw and Joe Venutti song “I Like” for a little background music.

August 20, 1924. Washington, D.C., or vicinity. “National American Ballet.” via Shorpy
I love these outfits! They remind me of a Midsummer’s Night Dream – I wonder what they are singing? The gal in the middle is playing a cigar box ukulele. You can click and make this picture enormous to take in all of the details.

Flappers on the beach (via flickr). As our Austin summer draws to a close (goodness, it’s been long enough, hasn’t it? It’s still 85F!) I find myself very sad that I only went swimming once this summer. Isn’t that pitiful? I’m looking at some flappery beach pictures and kicking myself that I didn’t bring the windup suitcase player out to Barton Springs like I did last summer. Shucks!

Flappers on the beach circa mid 1920s. Maybe next summer I can convince Angeliska to do some fitness records with me at the springs! In all of my record hunting, I’ve not found many exercise records. Plenty of tap dance training and records on the subject of teaching one’s parakeet to talk, however.

Morning exercises to a portable phonograph on the deck might just be the solution instead of a gym membership. I’m sure the neighbors would enjoy it.

Dancing lessons at home. I can’t tell for sure, but I think this is a portable player set on top of furniture.

Listening at home. This looks like a fun rainy day activity.

New York circa 1921. A lady and her phonograph. The name looks like Farnum or Farmer. 5×7 glass negative, George Grantham Bain Collection. Via Shorpy.

With the windup home model – via.

Unknown woman, outside with suitcase phonograph.

Movie star Gloria Swanson as Sadie Thompson and phonograph

Halloweens, 2004-2011

2004 – I was still living in Arkansas. I dressed as Marilyn Monroe from “Gentlemen Prefer Blondes,” and I was a blonde! Coincidently I met up at a party where I met Jackie-O and a very bloody JFK (My friends Chris and Su-Lauren).
2005 – I had just moved to Eugene, Oregon for graduate school and dressed as a little sailor girl in this vintage sailor dress. I didn’t know anyone in the city, save for the 13 people I lived with in my co-op house. We went to a party at another co-op and taught our Chinese roommate American slang.

2006 – I could find no record of dressing up for this year. I think I was too swamped in graduate school work to dress up!
2007 – I lived in Portland at this time. I worked part time in a vintage store downtown, and I acted as a living mannequin outside of the shop with a candy dish in my hand. I found that I was quite good at standing still – and I scared quite a few passers by. My actual Halloween that year was quite strange. I didn’t have many (any) friends in Portland, and I ended up meeting up with a group of folks who were all dressed as Nintendo characters, and we played video games at Ground Kontrol Arcade.
2008 – “Silent film star who is actually silent and only communicates through title cards.” I spent two weeks watching silent movies and photographing the title cards, and I shuffled them around to talk – an exersize in Dada if there ever was one. A year or two before this, Julia had concocted this same costume, and I freely admit that I appropriated it from her 🙂 This year, I waited in line for hours to get into Gadjo Disko! and never got in – settled on eating cupcakes and drinking whiskey instead.
2009 – Belleweather and I dressed as Siamese twins Violet and Daisy Hilton from Freaks. When we went out, we tied a ribbon around ourselves to stay together in crowds. This was the first year that I saw the White Ghost Shivers for Halloween.
2010 – “Deer de los Muertos” costume, with skull makeup, antler headband, rotting 1920s lace as a scarf, and lots of roses. I went to the East Side Show room to see the White Ghost Shivers play a secret Sinking-of-the-Titanic themed show.
2011 – Windup Doll. What in the world was this costume?! It was a mashup of Egyptian, Steampunk, and living Dolly. I painstakingly refashioned a Tim Bird as a necklace, and he actually flapped! The hoop skirt was constructed out of goodies from the hardware aisle, including threaded bolts, irrigation tubing, and lots of spray paint. I did also see White Ghost Shivers again for Halloween proper, but I had a much more subdued outfit on – one that could move in a crowd.

Vintage Halloween – Black Cats

Meow! Meow! I’ve been considering donning some ears and whiskers for a simple Halloween costume. Nothing’s quite as seasonal as an arched black cat.

“Sittin’ on a Backyard Fence” from Footlight Parade (1933) featuring Ruby Keeler as a bushy tailed pussy cat. This was one of the first 30s musicals I rented as a young girl on VHS from the public library. I do love that cooing!
If there ever really were a true time machine, I’d like to use it to travel back to different parties that I find invitations for. Imagine dancing the night away with an Old Fashioned in hand, listening to Russell Rutledge and his Orchestra, and only paying 35 cents! Adjusted for inflation, that’s only $5.75 in 2012 dollars – still a bargain.If I were to take my time machine, I’d like also to have this hilarious pumpkin on the right, with black cats for eyes and a bat for a mouth. Oh, and I like the dapper gent in the middle with the black cat sweater vest. Who is that behind him? A haystack?
Hello red dress hottie with an owl head hat. That kitties gonna scratch your stockings!
Never underestimate the power of papermache, hula skirts, and card stock.This costume is only to be worn below the Mason Dixon line. The rest of you will need to wear a coat as part of your costume.
Black cat decor. Now, don’t all of you run out and get tattoos of these all at once.
During October, I have to keep myself away from Uncommon Objects, lest I buy up all of their Halloween ephemera. Then I will be one of those people… the ones who have Halloween decor up as proper decor. I am only one of those people who has St. Valentine’s day up as everyday decor.