Posted in Manny's Music Column, The Publications

Out with the somewhat modified, in with the newly and fully modified!

Many years ago I picked up a 1992 Made in Mexico Fender Precision bass.  That same night I put a new pick guard and pickup in that same bass (at the time tortoise style pick guard, and a Seymour Duncan QP1 pickup). Even farther along in the bass’ life I also swapped the strap buttons for the fender longing spring loaded system, and soon after a new Ronaldo Custom Neck. The bass would also get a Wilkinson bridge some years ago which changed the character of the sound greatly. Among other important changes that have occurred in the bass is swapping out the stock electronics and the QP1 for a Geezer Butler EMG set and it remained in such a state retaining the following;

Stock licensed by Shaller tuners, maple neck with rosewood board and matching headstock, Geezer butler pickup, Paisley pickguard, Wilkinson vintage style bridge.

 

This is soon changing…As of May 2019 I am going to be doing a both functional and aesthetic change to commemorate my own musical journey progression.  After having recently invested in new hardware for the bass most notably in a new Hipshot kickass bridge and Hipshot tuners!

This modification will be well documented and before and after footage will be made.

Posted in The Publications

An Orchid at the Cross Roads

People always tell us to, “lead by example”. It’s a fair way to rise above petty arguments and low-blow fighting tactics. We abandon our sense of ‘getting even’ for a chance at transcending into a greater, generative modality when we model the behaviors we want to see. At least, that’s what the therapist in us bloggers says.

The freedom fighter historians over here have a unique application of it. Since establishing our grassroots ORCHID initiative, it has been a vision of ours to lead the way in illustrating how to integrate multiple facets of the Duke Legacy into projects with creative means. For instance, mental health met horticulture when a proclamation was issued in Franklin Township for the opening of the Sisters Serenity Gardens in Doris Duke’s name just a year ago. Another such example exists at the intersection of anonymous donations and historic preservation as we assisted multiple locations in seeking historic demarcation pro bono. Perhaps the greatest instance of these intersections occurs now, as we find an ORCHID at the Cross Roads.

Just recently, the latest endeavors of ORCHID led us back home, to a literal intersection that is best known for being the cross that draws directions to Belle Mead, Blackwells Mills, Millstone, and Griggstown: it is a lesser-known cornerstone of Hillsborough. Most notably, this darling little nook of Jersey still boasts its original, preserved farmstead, former post office, Dutch residence, railroad remnants (mentioned for its involvement in the Frog War) and schoolhouse. Collectively, this historic district got its name for the very intersection I’m standing on now: The Cross Roads.

So enter the essence of the Dukes: the historic district of Pleasant View never got its designation, where Cross Roads is embodied. Thanks to the magnificent efforts of the DORIS members, it all seems possible now to work on a nomination, but stay tuned for the results of a hard day’s work!

Cheers, darlings~

 

Posted in The Publications

Recreating vintage tone with the Tech 21 RK5 v2 Flyrig

As a performing musician and songwriter there is nothing more essential in my writing and performing process than the RK5 fly rig(both the v1 and v2 are staples in my live and studio work). This inspired me to think of how I can best explore the capabilities of the new RK5 v2 and PL1 Fly Rig units.

Links to these products will be included in each piece written and photos of the settings will be taken to help any of our curious readers achieve similar results.

Some tones I am hoping to attempt to recreate with some level of success will include;

1. Sleepwalk- Santo and Johnny

2. Heart full of Soul- The Yardbirds

3. Satisfaction- The Rolling Stones

4. Round Midnight- Wes Montgomery

5. You Really Got Me- The Kinks

6. David Bowie

7. Lake Street Dive

8. Led Zeppelin

9. The Band

10. Real Love Baby- Father John Misty

 

Posted in Operation ORCHID

ORCHID Goes on Tour!

It has been a turbulent few months of silence at RRBlog, but we thank you for your patience throughout. In the last two weeks, The Duchess of South Somerville received a well-deserved makeover with a tag-team of volunteer editors and was re-released on May 5th, just this last weekend.

We are elated to announce that an entire box of merchandise was sold, connections were made to valuable other groups like Preservation NJ, NJ Historic Trust, and of course, we look forward to the final decisions for a future panel discussion at The 2019 NJ History Conference at Douglass College.

What a hoot it has been, darlings. So far, we have been graciously hosted by Morris Museum, The Van Veghten House, and Mendham Boro’s Hstorical Society.

Stay involved, use your voice, and speak up on behalf of your local history!

 

Posted in The Publications

The Timeless Quirks of Quilting

Once again, Manny Dylan breaks all records for the best and most thoughtful Christmas gifts. In doing so, he also brought to my immediate attention the underrated beauty of handmade quilts.

I’ll be honest. I’m a duvet person. I haven’t had a traditional quilt in years and since shifting from a quilt to its fluffy counterpart, I never went back. Then I discovered the snuggy joy of queen-sized fleece blankets for twin-sized beds to become a full-fledged burrito. With the gifting of an absolute work of art, a Quilt by Jennifer (see link: https://www.quiltingbyjennifer.com/ ), I have been revitalized and spooned by the thermal cuddles of a quilt.

Quilting as a craft has long been a staple of traditionally-women’s hobbies, dating wayyyy farther back than Colonial America. It is a simple way to take scrap fabrics or specially-picked out fabrics (or both artfully patterned together) and create something new, unique, and cozy as all hell! Quilting also is a form of paying it forward in modern times, often with their patchwork practices resulting in charitable acts, honorary arts, and other homages to meaningful causes and organizations.

These incredibly handmade staples deserve a review and resurgence into the spotlight as the crafting trends continue to grow (both by necessity of today’s economy- in America and abroad- and by desire of more individuals to learn new practices). Now typically it would take about a single column for us at RRBlog to discuss origins and what makes the topic of our discussion so timeless, but the techniques associated with quilting are so ancient that historians can’t trace a single isolated incident where quilting began. From the earliest civilizations that prepared textiles for clothing, the use of fabrics sewn or formed together was often done out of necessity before it emerged as an art form.

Quilts as we know them today were used on beds as far back as 14th Century Italy, where they depicted scenes from myths and sometimes religious references. Their intention remains the same: stay covered and cozy. For a full history of quilts, we did manage to find this rather comprehensive reference from Emporia University: https://www.emporia.edu/cgps/tales/quilte~1.html

So let’s fast forward to Christmas 2018. Manny Dylan strikes a perfect pastiche of Harpie’s favorite things- one being at the forefront of our minds in wintertime- including my blanket burrito-ing habits to stay warm. (Author’s Note: Harpie Lyn is always cold in winter.)

The significance of preparing a quilt as a gift is also rather timeless because of the aforementioned value of the handmade, the thoughtful, the sentimental, and the elaborate methodologies used to build a quilt that is uniquely representative of the recipient. Now, I’ve been blessed for 6 years to be the nerdy bestie of this strapping young sir, and I can attest that he’s outdone himself with this particular gift, especially as the Northeastern Corridor gets slammed with ice and snow this week.

Quilting by Jennifer, I want to extend my gratitude to you for the upkeep of a melleniae-long tradition of art and craft as well as for the loveliest, most custom-made gift I’ve ever received. We guarantee that your quilts will stand the test of time and surely, like quilts from our ancestors, this one is sure to  make excellent conversations as the years go by.

Stay curious & warm!

Posted in Operation ORCHID

On the Passing of Marion ‘Oatsie’ Charles

Anyone who knows much about Newport, Rhode Island society knows the name Marion Oatsie Charles. Raised in Southern wealth and poised in the art of vivacious advocacy, Oatsie was a close colleague and friend of our late neighbor, Doris Duke. The notification of her passing reached us as it was published, and we at ORCHID wanted to spread thoughts and prayers as well as solidarity to a woman known in her legacy for historic preservation- a legacy that far surpassed her Newport social life.

It will prove to be an exceptional inspiration to visitors of the Newport Restoration Society to have the name Marion Oatsie Charles immortalized in their work. Of course, as Rough Point is one of three locations designated under the umbrella of the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, we at the RRBlog find it increasingly interesting to see how the DDCF will honor such a powerful ally’s legacy in their own ways.

Our hearts go out to Oatsie’s family and friends, as well as the entirety of Newport for this profound loss, especially so close to the holidays.

Additionally, we look forward to seeing how the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation operates under its new status as a nonprofit in the year 2019. We expect nothing short of honorably walking in the footsteps of the Dukes and their amazing allies like the magnificent and poised Marion Oatsie Charles.

Posted in The Publications

Baby it’s PC Outside

I had been only very recently informed of the recent banning of the song “Baby, It’s cold outside” from radio airplay. I have an interesting history with this song in that it has many chord changes in it which makes it very difficult to play without some preparation, and also attempting a gender-flipped version of the tune in the early 2010’s. I have always found the tune to be ever so slightly “date-rape-y” and the song has some concerning implications without context.

The song originated as a song intended to be sung by the songwriter and his wife at parties, and there are phrases and language nuances associated to a different time where “What’s in this drink?” meant that the drink someone was enjoying was being felt and could be leading to some level of being tipsy. This is not a perfect portrayal of romantic interactions alone between two parties, but considering that I have never looked into the history of the song before this controversy I consider it something learned.

The controversy surrounding the song is based in the current politically correct culture which has valid points in some arguments from my perspective and at other times can be perhaps too concerned with something not pleasant but potentially interesting to discuss. I consider having points of controversy around to be interesting to discuss and also can lead to learning about history and how language in itself evolves. This song can even lead potentially into a conversation where learning about how date rape can occur is a potential good resulting from having something historically relevant and controversial to modern social movements.

It is important to share that rape is not in any circumstance okay, and no indeed always means no. When controversial art exists it should be discussed, contextualized and can be discussed. How does this issue make you, our lovely readers feel?

Posted in The Publications

The Ceramic Christmas Tree Craze

You all knew it was inevitable. This Christmas season has made people across the nation (and beyond) watch eagerly at the windows of favorite stores while decorations and red-green merchandise glitter for us. What seems to be the most significant and widespread craze of this year is none other than the crowning achievement of a ‘kitschy’ Christmas: The ceramic lit trees. These tabletop gems are a necessity for the season as a reminder of tradition and family and what timeless values the holiday stands for.

Although the Kitch ceramics have been making a comeback for several years, this year has made tree-lovers and kitch-lovers rejoice more than ever. Unlike the previous years, this Christmas offers the elusive replacement plastic bulbs for all those empty slots in both new and old ceramic trees. As a proud recipient of my family’s originals, I can attest to the fact that these bulbs were impossible to find unless  (1) amazon was good to you this year, (2) you found them deep in the catacombs of your grandpa’s attic, or (3) you interrogated every antique store for them within a 50 mile radius of your home. To make matters more difficult, prior to the revival of these precious pieces, bulbs all differed in diameter and type. Some looked like pins with baubles, others were birds, and then there was the classic shape too. Now it seems like every major retailer has found the joys of these little light-ups.

Apparently this love of Christmas found its intersection in the 60s and through the 70s as more and more individuals (primarily women) sought after their artsy side and pursued ceramic-painting classes. These classes were so popular in fact, that these ceramic creations spilled over from strictly holiday items through just about everything. The more a lady loved her ceramic classes, the more frequently families like mine would end up with dozens of keepsakes that were painted especially by Nana.

The trees, however, are one of her crowning achievements. Glazed and illuminated, these trees became a great reason to sign up for a class or two to keep up with the latest homemade, hand-crafted trends. Much like we see a resurgence of knitting today, tree-painting was a fad back then!

So now the trees are making a comeback as a well-deserved and sought-after (if not sold out) tabletop classic. Except of course, there have been additions made- these trees come in new forms too! Nightlights, tabletoppers, and battery-operated darlings all grace the stage for this season’s nostalgic must-haves. Have you got an original or a new age tree? Tell us about your retro Christmas! We would love to hear from you.

Posted in The Publications

Aesthetics and Racism: Revivalists Only Reuse the Good Stuff

The title of this post is one that I hope sticks with every reader. Over the course of a year of successful blogging, I think it is important now to write up a disclaimer of sorts. So many people talk about the “olden days” as being overly-romanticized, biased, and viewed through a stereotypical and stigmatized lens. In order for anyone to truly appreciate the past, it is so valuable to be aware. At a time in the US when coming together and giving thanks is just a staple of this season, it is more important than ever to emphasize this pillar of our revival antics.

The sad realities of the past are the same ones that plague us today. Previous to the hippie/beatnik movement, racism was rampant and it seemed like the Caucasian population was having all the fun. Today, we are fighting racism and bias tooth-and-nail in hopes that someday equality will be true to its word. I’m stressing this because sometimes people will address me or my colleague Manny Dylan with concerns that those who advocate for the past find these traits of yesteryear to be acceptable. Darlings, I promise you all, that this will never be the case. Revivalism focuses its energy on giving a second life to the best bits of decades past, not the regrettable bits.

We try not to use the term ‘cherry-picking’, only because it suggests we amend material to be in our favor. However, that is the idea. It is so important to pick apart revivalist ideas and lifestyles because if we take too much modern or too much vintage, we end up on the extreme sides of the spectrum. With too much modernism, we wouldn’t have something to write about, social media would become a dependency issue, and the top priority would be economic value. Too much retro would translate to a paper newsletter, no mass media, and no blog. 😦 In order to truly understand revivalism and living a retro lifestyle, we need to talk about moderation. It’s been a theme since the very beginning, but no post has centralized around it.

In the wake of recent hate crimes in the greater New York area and the political climate that wrongly pits parties against one another and tosses out offensive names like ‘snowflakes’ and ‘extremists’… this is more important than ever. Loving thy neighbor may not have been the theme of the heavily=gentrified 50s, but we are in 2018 now. Now is the time where ‘letting the good times roll’ shouldn’t be specific or unequal to any population.

The title “Aesthetics and Racism” is to display the very contrasting morales we can observe in decades past. Aesthetics, such as the craftsmanship of artifacts from each era or the overall ‘flavor’ of the past are the attributes that revivalists encourage. Racism (perhaps one of the most severe juxtapositions to the beauty of the ages), on the other hand, is extremely discouraged for obvious reasons. Going forward, it is vital to our culture not to bring back all these traits, because some of them are just plain wrong. Those bits and pieces that are morally justified are the ones that are worth pursuing. On a small scale, how many of our readers remember Randy from ‘A Christmas Story’? This sweetheart probably shouldn’t bestow the same frosty immobility of his snowsuit onesie to his own children. However, a hand-knit sentiment like a scarf or mittens to keep warm is a classic alternative to not being able to put your arms down.

On a macro-level, all people should be treated equally and respectfully. Welcome hard work and cherish the time you spend impacting the lives of others, even through the little things. So for any further clarification, the vintage/retro ideals (the real deal ideals), do not participate or approve of the past’s erroneous tidbits. We at the Retro Revival want to thank those who posed questions about morality, because without these complete answers, we wouldn’t be representing revivalism at its best. Until next time, stay curious!

Posted in The Publications

The tradition of woodwork and wizardry.

Throughout the late 20th century and into the new millennium, new classics were born. This couldn’t be more true of the works of J.K. Rowling and her masterful work on the infamous Harry Potter series. Since the original 7 HP books were published, Rowling has continued to inspire generations of readers to develop and grow an empire of wizard culture. Whether you’re sorted into your Hogwarts or Ilvermorny houses or have just began your wizarding world journey, you’re sure to find similar company. Within the vast fantasy world of HP, we stumbled upon Alivan’s, which is a real-life woodworking group that produces replica and custom magic wands for its customers.

We know what you’re thinking. How the hell is this vintage? Bear with us- the woodworking itself and craftsmanship, as well as the intersection of literature are the draws from the retro perspective. You see, preparing a wand requires a steady hand, lathe techniques, and other tools of the trade. We are sadly in an era that is only just now re-allocating value in intricate crafts and vocations. In Alivan’s case, they capitalized on a high-demand media market that targeted the gigantic fan base of Harry Potter. Using an age-old technique with a new spin (lathe pun intended) is just another brilliant way to mesh the old with the new. In many ways, the literature foundation for this entire fan base is just another call back to the classics. HP could have easily been exclusively movies or online comics, so to have this fantastical world all spawning from books is humbling to us at RRBlog.

Alivan’s in particular is a small group out of Florida that models itself from Ollivander’s wandmakers (featured in books and in movies) that embodies the do-it-yourself spirit of the American dream and the essence of a thriving small business here in the States. The art of woodwork is something dating back far into yesteryear

I am glad to share a few pieces from Alivan’s and you can see the vast range of care and craft dedicated to this style of wood work.

This is a Finnias’s choice wand from the recent Fall grab bag they have offered, the design and notches as well as in the wood grain itself!

Next step is a beautiful limited addition piece from their collection utilizing wood from trees from the actual film set where the Hogwarts castle was set! With a stunning combination of But I believe to be maple for the shaft, and burled oak got the handle, Very much a more detailed piece in comparison to others, but the attention to detail shows very much why it is important to maintain define craft of woodworking and in a greater context as far as my own experience the art of building instruments by hand, be they magical or musical or both.

Next up is a very very special piece, the custom re-creation of my own pottermore designated wand, If you are yet to start yourself into your house or have your wine Sarah Moni done I highly recommend it as it is very entertaining and can serve as a pseudo-personality quiz without necessarily being scientific in anyway. Some interesting trivia regarding the potter more designs themselves is that there is roughly 4 different handle shapes, you can see the attention to detail in the crafting of a round hilt for the handle and lines in the handle itself, You can see the character and ways that these designs can play into the known universe of the novels and films.

And celebration Of the film released today, we are also very glad to present the ash wand, which is the Alivan’s version of the Newt Scamander wand. While not picture-perfect to the noble collection offering this is something that like the others has a great sense of craft involved in the more my new details, the different ridges and curvature is in the wood itself and the paint job, even featuring some silver paint where there’s oyster imitation material in the noble collection one.

 

Check them out at https://alivans.com/ and check out their great offerings! We highly recommend the fall grab bag as well at https://alivans.com/product/alivans-fall-grab-bag/ and don’t forget to say who brought you there 😉

 

Stay curious ❤