Street Games

Street busking is an ancient trade, going back at least to medieval and Renaissance times, with actors and entertainers displaced by enclosure and plague making their living on the streets, dependent on their spectators for their livelihood. Their descendants are still among us today, and modern-day busker Todd Various is one of the best I have ever seen. The cups and balls is the bread and butter of the traveling magician, illustrated in Renaissance woodcuts, but Todd’s execution of it is so sublime, and his manner with an audience is so thoroughly engaging and cunningly crafted, that one wants to reach into the video and put a couple of dollars into his hat.

More at todd various

Yoshimi Battles The Pink Robots, Pts 1 and 2

Josh Turner with his wife Kelly Oden travelled across the country this summer stopping at several points along the way to reconnect with old friends and make music. Here they are in Denver with Bob Barrick, Valley Lopez, Stu Garney, and Sam Dorrance covering the Flaming Lips and fighting off the evil-natured pink robots.

More at Josh Turner Guitar

How To Get A Seat

There’s no one quite like Todd Robbins, a trained Shakespearean actor who went wrong somewhere and made a career as a magician and carny sideshow performer. Here Todd helpfully illustrates how to guarantee a seat on the subway.

Thanks to YouTuber travsd

The Company Way

One more lesson in obsequiousness from How to Succeed In Business Without Really Trying. The late Robert Morse rings every bit of humor from the song. The clever lyrics and music are by Frank Loesser.

Thanks to YouTuber Movieclips

Dust In The Wind

From Wikipedia: “Kerry Livgren [ of the band, Kansas] devised what would be the guitar line for “Dust in the Wind” as a finger exercise for learning fingerpicking. His wife, Vicci, heard what he was doing, remarked that the melody was nice, and encouraged him to write lyrics for it. Livgren was unsure whether his fellow band members would like it, since it was a departure from their signature style. After Kansas had rehearsed all the songs intended for the band’s recording sessions of June and July 1976, Livgren played “Dust in the Wind” for his bandmates, who after a moment’s “stunned silence” asked: “Kerry, where has this been? …That’s our next single.”

More at KANSAS

Laurel And Hardy: Tit For Tat

As a youngster I didn’t much like Laurel and Hardy, but viewing this short recently, I couldn’t help laugh at their absolutely perfect timing. I’m assuming that part of the way it comes across on this film is due to the director, Charles Rogers.

Thanks to YouTuber Culture & Education

The Frim Fram Sauce

Monday morning have breakfast with Nat King Cole calling out his order:

I don't want French-fried potatoes
Red ripe tomatoes
I'm never satisfied
I want the frim fram sauce with the Ausen fay
With chafafa on the side

I don't want porkchops and bacon
That won't awaken
My appetite inside
I want the frim fram sauce with the Ausen fay
With chafafa on the side

A fella really got to eat
And a fella should eat right
Five will get you ten
I'm gonna feed myself right tonight

I don't want fish cakes and rye bread
You heard what I said
Waiter, please serve mine fried
I want the frim fram sauce with the Ausen fay
With chafafa on the side

A fella really got to eat
And a fella should eat right
Five will get you ten
I'm gonna feed myself right tonight

I don't want fish cakes and rye bread
You heard what I said
Waiter, please serve mine fried
I want the frim fram sauce with the Ausen fay
With chafafa on the side

Thanks to YouTuber TheNewFormat

April’s Artists

April issue here

** Veteran Danish Director Bille August discusses his new film, The Pact, and Ingmar Bergman

**An Arts Express exclusive excerpt from the re-release of the Ballad of An American: the Autobiography of Earl Robinson, the composer of “Joe Hill,” “The House I Live In,” and “Ballad for Americans”

**Our April Fools “Dear Ethicist”–advice for the morally confused

**The Freebie Zone: The best of the free ‘net

and more!

Listen to Arts Express Radio Saturdays 6AM ET on WBAI.org and WBAI 99.5 FM NYC

**Arts Express, Always Fresh —

Never A Repeat Show**

Ballad Of An American: The Autobiography of Earl Robinson

Earl Robinson may not be so well known nowadays as he once was, but in the 1930s, 40s and 50s, a huge number of Americans knew his music. He was the composer of “The House I Live In,” “Joe Hill,” “Ballad for Americans,” and many others. Singers of his works included Paul Robeson, Bing Crosby, Frank Sinatra, Joan Baez, and Three Dog Night. His music crossed the boundaries of folk, Broadway musical, classical, and even rock. Throughout his life he was driven by a need to improve working people’s lives, and he was a longtime member of the Communist Party, which resulted in his being called before the House UnAmerican Activities Committee. His autobiography, Ballad of an American, written in collaboration with author Eric Gordon, was released in 1998, and has been out of print. Now it is being re-released, and we are happy to bring you, through the permission of Eric Gordon, this extract from the book, where we enact, in Earl’s words, his tangle with the House UnAmerican Activities Committee.

Click on the triangle above to hear the reading as broadcast today on the Arts Express radio program on WBAI-FM NYC and Pacifica affiliates across the country.

Somewhere Over The Rainbow

Monday morning, Allison Young singing at least as well as anybody else is ever going to sing that E.Y. Harburg-Harold Arlen classic that was almost cut out of the movie.

More at Allison Young

My Future Just Passed

Sung by the exquisite Carmen McRae. The don’t-make-em-like-that-anymore music and lyrics are by Richard Whiting and George Marion Jr.

Richard Whiting was the father of singer Margaret Whiting and also the composer of “Hooray for Holywood” and “She’s Funny That Way.”

Thanks to WBAI’s Reggie Johnson for a great two hour radio special on Carmen McRae where I first heard these songs.

More at Carmen McRae – Topic