Dan & Tabitha’s Wedding

Last year, when I launched the kickstarter for Austin Phonograph Company, one of the first couples who backed the project were Dan and Tabitha. They got married last weekend in Austin in a lovely 1920s style ceremony, complete with Paper Moon photo booth, flapper dress, and my pals in The White Ghost Shivers performed after the cake was cut! Here are some of their engagement photos taken at my favorite bar, East Side Show Room. Photos by Julie Cope:

148508_10101063010505517_1777757854_nThe wedding day at Women’s Federation Hall:


Here is what my phonograph set up looked like:

Daily Outfit

  • Curry knit hat from Urban Outfitters a few years ago
  • 1930s dress with stiff ruffles and pearly buttons – from Uncommon Objects
  • 1950s navy fabric belt – thrifted from Goodwill
  • Black knee socks
  • Black and brown T-strap shoes – from Target a few years ago

Today I took Austin Phonograph Company to a wedding at Mercury Hall in South Austin. I was a little apprehensive, because it was my first Jewish wedding to play, and I didn’t know what I should wear. I’d been to my cousin’s Bar Mitzvah at Temple about ten years ago, but I didn’t know if there was a special dress code for a wedding. I read on a few websites that ladies are supposed to cover the neck and upper arms, as well as the head. To be safe, I chose a dress that is modest but properly festive for a post-Thanksgiving party.

The event had a more traditional ceremony, but there was also an all-girl Mariachi band playing called Las Coronelas (watch this video, it is UHmazing), a man rolling custom cigars for guests, and plenty of attendees with neck and elbows exposed.

Here is my little corner of phonographs next to the wedding cake, chocolate tamales, coconut cookies, and key lime pie shooters.

I hope your Thanksgiving was fun and restful – I held a baby rooster and spent time with friends.

Jazz Babies Island

This weekend we celebrated the last beautiful summer weather of Austin on the Commodore Riverboat with A Jazz Babies Island Excursion – Hot Jazz on a boat! Aunt Ruby’s Sweet Jazz Babies played, and I phonographed during their set breaks under the guise of Austin Phonograph Company.
What a perfect day for a boat ride! It had to be still in the 80s – I didn’t wear a sweater at all. We rode along the river for three hours and docked around sunset. I only got a tiny bit seasick, and nursed myself with a bag of popcorn and a fizzy water with lots of lime juice.
Lee with her fabulous lace dress:Tracy and Lauryn with the raffle tickets:

Farewell warm weather! The last day and a half have been chilly and brisk. I spent all day yesterday bundled up, sleeping off the pain of a new tattoo.

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

Uncouth Documents

Is it uncouth to blog with Instagram images? The motor on my digital camera was on the fritz all summer, so I documented exclusively with my phone.
For the month of August, I had a phonograph DJ residency at the East Side Show Room. My Western Swing records and Hot Jazz standards complimented the craft cocktails and 1920s atmosphere quite nicely.
A mysterious sticker and stencil I see all over Austin. Who are you, man with a bat? And why are you arguing with that phonograph?
Angeliska and I took a trip to Round Top, Texas this week for the enormous antique show that happens twice a year. Imagine eight football fields filled to the brim with giraffe taxidermy, rusted letters, embroidery, glass bottles, masks, lace scraps, Deco furniture, and all matter of ephemerata. Amidst all of the treasures, Angeliska and I kept lamenting our gift of good taste and our curse of poverty.

I had connected with Deep South Phonographs in advance of attending the show. It’s run by a very sweet husband & wife team from Baton Rouge who specialize in restoration of antique record players. Their selection was fantastic! I splurged on some new equipment for Austin Phonograph Company, and now I have some machines that not only look AMAZING but sound incredible.

Phonograph Portraits, or, how I climbed into a bell

This summer, sat for a tin type photo session with Heather Curiel. I brought my Victor Monarch phonograph from 1901 to the shoot, and sat with it for the first photo. When I went to school for photography in Oregon, I was always drawn to tin types and wet plate methods: they are laborious, fickle and very reverential medium. There is a lot of room for error – dust specks in the collodian, defects in the plate, and problems with development. Also, this is what makes the photograph so special.
For the second portrait, I wore a phonograph horn as an Elizabethan ruff. This was an idea that I’ve been working on for about a year, in fact, you can see a picture of me hacking through the metal on my first post of Old Fashioned Way in August of 2011. A few years ago, I bought a cheap reproduction phonograph from ebay for about $100 bucks. The machine was so terrible, but it was my foray into the world of phonograph collecting. After the spring broke in the machine, it sat, collecting dust on my armoire. Essentially, the only function it had was to house my iPhone, which I would turn on and stick into the bell to amplify music.
I had this idea that just wouldn’t leave. What if a siren lived inside of the phonograph, and the bell encircled her head like a crown? What if her slender fingers could be the reproducer, the pointed nail the needle? I began doodling the image everywhere. This chalk drawing was up at the cafe where I invented my vegan ice cream recipe.
In 2010, I was lucky enough to land an appointment with Nick Baxter, who is probably the most amazing tattoo artist on the planet. It took a lot of explaining on my part as to exactly how my tattoo should look. He had never seen a phonograph up close, so I printed him off sheets and sheets of reference material that I found on ebay. The result was an enormous tattoo that covers my ribcage and most of my hip. I love his details: the wood grain, the spinal column Art Nouveau flowers, the rusty spots on the metal.

Last week, this obsession with climbing into the phonograph has come full circle. I sat for Darla Teagarden, a photographer known for creating paintings come to life. I brought my phonograph ruff, my Victor Monarch, and a freshly painted set of nails. She strapped me into the ruff, I turned the crank, and looked into the spotlight.

April 24th, Daily Outfit

  • German Glass earrings and bracelet – made by me
  • Pink patterned slip, thrifted in Paris
  • 1950s floral circle skirt from Charm School Vintage
  • Green Belt, Decades Vintage, PDX
  • Green Shoes, Remix Vintage Shoes
    I wore this skirt for a photoshoot for Femme et Velo back in the fall, and now it’s mine!

I’ve been feeding the hens yogurt mixed in with their crumbles, and now they are getting to be formidable chickens with very strong egg shells.

Action shot!
Reese and I have been working on a new project – Austin Phonograph Company, where we bring our phonographs out to DJ events such as weddings, art openings, and gatherings. We have a kickstarter up now to buy a new machine – you can use it to prebook events with us this summer!