Photo by Jim Botticelli
It sits over the bar inside the Intermission Lounge right next to the Theater District. Once a seedy stop off on the way to the Zone, the Intermission has evolved into a respectable place to top a night of theater with a cocktail and a bite. Having a Vargas over the bar adds zest to the otherwise not terribly remarkable lounge. The painting is actually framed but we cropped it a bit due to flash interference. We can't attest to its absolute originality but it is not small and it certainly appears to have been there a long while. The bartender on duty did not know when the painting arrived.
Alberto Vargas, a Peruvian by birth, studied art in Zurich and Geneva, and while there was impressed with the magazine La Vie Parisienne. In the 1940's he became known as the painter of the iconic "Vargas Girls", a series of fantasy pinups that appeared in Esquire magazine and became popular with G.I.'s overseas. Playboy founder Hugh Hefner, a previous employee of Esquire, told of how Vargas' work was challenged by the U.S. Post Office who refused to mail the magazine due to the Vargas drawings within. Hefner started Playboy soon afterward and by the 1960's Alberto Vargas was again a busy artist with shows all over the world. His wife's death in 1974 devastated him and he stopped painting. She was not only his wife, but his model and business manager as well. His autobiography came out in 1978 and he came out of his self-imposed retirement to do Dirty Old Boston a solid. He designed the cover for The Cars 1979 album Candy-O.
Thanks to the Intermission Lounge and Wikipedia for content
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Courtesy of Boston Magazine
My son is taking a 'gap' year between his graduation from high school last June and his enrollment in art school next August. As I dropped him at his job at Teavana this morning he mentioned hearing from friends already away at school who report drinking, sex, and little academic effort. He asked, "Is this the way it is Dad?" I tried to remember the kind of September when life was easy and debauchery my lifestyle, and I had to tell him that kids who want to go somewhere in life try to be well-rounded. Or some such B.S. After all, I am Dad. That conversation got me thinking about a magazine cover saved by Pia Francesca who was kind enough to send over a scan. She thought it was funny that Boston Magazine in May, 1978 cared what a teen growing up on Mission Hill, with a punk band called Daily Bodies, had to say about sex and enjoys a chuckle to this day. These days we watch Masters of Sex on Showtime, and recall the band Human Sexual Response (culled from the "work" of Masters & Johnson) and their DOB classic called "What Does Sex Mean To Me?"
Lyrics courtesy of Human Sexual Response. "What Does Sex Mean To Me"
Lyrics written by Larry Bangor
Late at night I walk through town. I eye every one I meet
I want to follow them all home, but I just follow my feet
Into the book store I see lined up "Virgins Die Horny".
Sitting next to "The Hite Report". Sitting next to "Love Story".
And I ask what does sex mean to me? And what does sex mean to society?
I put my finger to my tongue I taste va___a.
I licked Betty Ford's boots--it's true--she wore 'em all over China
People say that Chinese people don't b__l as much as we do
'Cause their cultural revolution has shown there are more important things to see to
So I ask what does sex mean to me? And what does sex mean to society?
What does sex mean to me? What does sex mean to me? What does sex mean to me?
I see another baby born. One more mouth to feed.
Sometimes I can't comprehend this urge to breed.
Travel through a crowded land where people love each other as they love the state
They love their work. Their work is love. Love's no excuse to procreate.
Their party slogan reads and I quote. "Making love is a mental disease. It wastes time and
Depletes our energies."
So I ask what does sex mean to me? And what does sex mean to society?
What does sex mean to me? What does sex mean to me? What does sex mean to me?
I see couples walking hand in hand. What does sex mean to them?
Worried women switch from pills to diaphragms. What does sex mean to them?
My parents wonder how they made me what I am. What does sex mean to them?
What does sex mean to me? What does sex mean to me
Now I wonder what you think about when you're lying there in bed.
Someday I think I'll find you out. Push my finger through your forehead.
It's just a kind of acupuncture wisdom from the east.
When my finger presses your third eye your secret life is released.
Photo courtesy of Cosmopolitan Magazine
What does sex mean to me? What does sex mean to me What does sex mean to me?
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In these heady days, DOB takes a look back at another glorious period, by providing this excerpt from Rico Petrocelli's Tales from the Impossible Dream Red Sox. This excerpt is from the Tony Conigliaro chapter of his book about the 1967 team. Rico Petrocelli starred for the Red Sox from 1965-76.
"Tony Conigliaro had it all: tremendous talent, matinee idol looks, charisma, and personality. The only thing he didn’t have was luck, and in the end that killed him.
An eligible bachelor, Tony C. was easily the most popular player on the Red Sox, especially with the ladies. He certainly took pleasure in their company. But while he dated actresses and Playboy bunnies, he wasn’t a playboy like Bo Belinsky, who had achieved instant stardom by throwing a no-hitter for the Angels in his rookie year in 1962, begun dating buxom actress Mamie Van Doren, but by 30, he had left the best years of his career in bars and boudoirs and was struggling to hang on in the majors. Tony didn’t like to go to fancy nightclubs. In fact, he preferred to stay out of the public eye as much as possible.
When the Red Sox were on the road, Tony, Mike Ryan, and I liked to stay in our hotel rooms and practice singing three-part harmonies, the kind of doo-wop songs you might have heard sung on city street corners in the 1950s. Mike was usually off key. Tony would grimace, shake his head, and say: “Roomie, you gotta work on that or we’re going to fire you from the group!” And Mike would assure him: “No, no! I’ll work on it! I’ll work on it!”
Tony had been signed to a recording contract and cut a few records. He’d be a guest on TV shows when he had the chance, and when he’d come back we’d ask him what it was like to be on television with Merv Griffin, and he’d excitedly tell us all about it.
I’m sure a lot of fans thought that Tony was full of himself and probably imagined that when he was at the ballpark he’d grab a bat and use it like a microphone. Nothing could have been further from the truth.
Once Tony got to the park he’d leave all that extracurricular stuff behind him and focus on the game. He loved to hit, and the first thing he’d do was get his bat, start feeling it, and maybe bone it a little. Once he put on that Red Sox uniform, he was ready to play baseball. He had great concentration that way. Nothing distracted him.
At the age of 19 he’d jumped all the way from the lowest minor league to the majors, and at the age of 20 he’d led the American League in homers. By the time he was 22 he’d become the youngest player in AL history and second-youngest player in major-league history to hit 100 career homers.
That Tony would eventually slug 500 homers and hit his way into the Hall of Fame was a foregone conclusion, and if he had just been able to stay away from all those broken bones it would have come to pass.
But Tony was not only a chick magnet, he was a magnet for stray pitches. Five times he had bones broken by pitches, including the one that broke his shoulder blade five months earlier in spring training. He always recovered quickly, and he never showed any fear at the plate. But the pitch that hit him on the night of August 18 fractured his cheekbone, nearly blinded him, and crushed his career. He wasn’t even 23 years old yet, and, except for a miraculous comeback that degenerated into a cruel two-year tease, his baseball career was effectively over and his life would never be the same.
It was a steamy Friday night with a near-capacity crowd of 31,027 on hand to see the first game of a four-game set with the Angels, who had just swept us in Anaheim the previous weekend.
Gary Bell had retired the first 12 Angels in order when we came to bat in the bottom of the fourth against Jack Hamilton, a hard-throwing right-hander with a spitball and an acceptable reputation for coming in on hitters. Hamilton had allowed only one hit in the first three innings, a single by Conigliaro.
George Scott led off the fourth with a single but was thrown out trying to stretch it into a double. Some wise guy threw a smoke bomb from the stands into left field, and the game was delayed for about 10 minutes while we waited for the air to clear. Did that delay get Hamilton out of his rhythm? We’ll never know.
Finally Reggie Smith stepped into the box and flied to center for the second out. Tony set himself in the batter’s box, crowding the plate as always, while I knelt in the on-deck circle. I always believed there was a spot where Tony couldn’t see the inside pitch. If you threw it to the right spot, he’d hit that ball nine miles. But then there was this blind spot, a little more inside. Sometimes he moved too late to get out of the way, and sometimes he never moved at all.
I saw Hamilton’s first pitch coming in and knew it was head high. But Tony didn’t start to react until the last fraction of a second. Instinctively he threw up his hands to protect his head, but not nearly in time. The ball crashed into the side of his face with a sharp crack that I swear could have been heard clearly all over that noisy ballpark. It sounded like the ball hit his helmet, so my immediate reaction was relief that the ball had struck plastic instead of flesh. But the sound was probably his cheekbone breaking.
In his desperate scramble to get out of the way of the ball, Tony had dislodged his helmet, and the ball struck him flush in the left side of his face, just below the eye socket. Tony went down like he’d been clothes-lined by an NFL cornerback and didn’t move.
Except for umpire Bill Valentine and catcher Bob Rodgers, I was first on the scene. I didn’t like what I saw. Tony’s face was swelling up like there was somebody inside his skull blowing up a balloon. The first thing I thought was he was going to lose his left eye. Blood was pouring out of his nose. I didn’t know what else to do, so I knelt down beside him, loosened his belt a little so he could breathe easier, and whispered into his ear that everything was going to be all right.
By now the rest of the team had gathered around him, worried looks on all their faces. The crowd was hushed. Suddenly Tony’s legs kicked, as if in a belated reaction to what had just happened. He started to regain consciousness, but not all the way. It was obvious he was seriously injured.
The two trainers, Buddy LeRoux and California’s Freddy Frederico, attended to him and tried to make him comfortable, but there wasn’t much else they could do for him. After several minutes passed it became evident he wasn’t going to shake this off, so someone called for a stretcher.
Jim Lonborg, Joey Foy, and Mike Ryan—three of our biggest guys—gently lifted up Tony’s inert body and placed it onto the stretcher. He was carried into the clubhouse where Dr. Tom Tierney, the club physician, was already waiting.
Tony became fully conscious in the trainer’s room. “It hurts like hell,” he told the doc. “I heard a hissing sound, and that was all.”
“I thought I was going to die,” he said later. “Death was constantly on my mind.”
By now his bruised face was so swollen his left eye was completely shut. An ambulance arrived, and Tony was rushed across the Charles River to Sancta Maria Hospital in Cambridge, where a neurosurgeon, Dr. Joseph Dorsey, was waiting to examine him.
The diagnosis was a shattered cheekbone. Doctors would have to wait until the swelling went down to determine if there was any permanent damage to his eye. Dr. Dorsey said that if the ball had struck Tony an inch higher and to the right, he might have been killed.
When the Fenway Park crowd saw Tony being taken away on a stretcher, the fans began booing Hamilton, who had stayed on the mound with his arms folded across his chest. Later Hamilton insisted he hadn’t intentionally beaned Tony.
“I haven’t hit anyone all year,” he said, which was pretty much true. Tony was the first batter he’d hit since being traded to the Angels from the New York Mets in June. He had hit one batter while with the Mets. “I certainly wasn’t throwing at him. I was just trying to get the ball over. Tony stands right on top of the plate. He hangs over the plate as much as anyone in the league.” Which was also true.
Although our thoughts were with Tony, we had to finish the game. Throughout the remainder of the contest, whenever someone came back into the dugout he’d ask: “What’s the word on Tony? Have you heard anything about Tony?”
I was the first batter to face Hamilton after Jose Tartabull went in to run for Tony. I’m sure most fans can’t understand how it’s possible to stand at the plate after you’ve seen something as terrible as what just happened to Tony and not imagine it’s going to happen to you. One would think the batter’s box is the last place on earth you’d want to be. I won’t pretend it’s easy, but as a professional ballplayer you have to learn to beat back fear and hit. If you can’t, you’ll never make it out of the lower minor leagues. If you play long enough, every batter will get hit in the head sooner or later. You just pray the ball doesn’t do any lasting damage.
I got beaned in the head three times during my career. Twice I took pitches off the top of my helmet and nothing happened. The third one hastened the end of my career.
It happened seven years after Tony’s beaning, in September of 1974. Luis Tiant was pitching for us and getting hit hard by the Milwaukee Brewers, and he got mad and hit one of their guys. So I knew I was going down when I came to bat. I accepted that as part of the game, and I never really minded it because the ball thrown at your head is usually the easiest one to see, so you can get out of the way.
But this time it was a Sunday afternoon at Fenway, and the glare off the center-field bleachers was blinding. Jim Slaton started his wind-up, and that was the last time I saw the ball. I strode toward where I imagined the ball was going to be, and I heard the umpire yell: “Watch out!” I tried to duck out of the way, but I still had no idea where the ball was. It struck me right behind the left ear, below the helmet.
That pitch put me out for the rest of the year, and when I retired in the spring of 1977 at the age of 33 I was still feeling its effects. Slaton’s pitch caused inner-ear damage, and I had trouble focusing my eyes after that.
So it wasn’t fear I was feeling when I stepped in against Jack Hamilton; it was rage. I was so mad I wanted to hit one out of the ballpark to get back at him. I nearly did. I belted a 420-foot triple into the center-field triangle to chase home Tartabull with the first run of the game and scored myself when shortstop Jim Fregosi mishandled the relay. I walked in the sixth inning and scored on a single by Bell, putting us ahead 3-0. Bell gave up a couple of solo homers to Jimmie Hall late in the game but finished with a four-hitter, and we hung on to win 3-2.
Hamilton tried to visit Tony in the hospital the next morning but was denied admittance to his room. Few visitors were allowed, although Mr. Yawkey was one of them. The press was barred from interviewing him, but a photographer was permitted to snap a photograph. It wasn’t a pretty picture. There was a huge, ugly, shiny black bruise around his eye that was still swollen shut. The initial prognosis was that Tony would be disabled for three weeks.
He wouldn’t play again for 18 months. The fracture healed, but there was a hole in his retina that could not be repaired. Tony missed the entire 1968 season and figured his baseball career was over. But his vision suddenly got better, and he made a miraculous comeback in 1969, playing 141 games and hitting .255 with 20 homers and 82 RBIs while being named the AL’s Comeback Player of the Year.
In 1970 it appeared he was back all the way as he enjoyed the best year of his career, hitting .266 with 36 homers and 116 RBIs. But his vision began to deteriorate late in the season. The Red Sox, again concerned about his future, traded him to the Angels in October, and by the following spring Tony could barely see out of his left eye. Midway through the 1971 season, hitting a miserable .222 with only four homers and 15 RBIs in 74 games, he announced his retirement from baseball and virtually disappeared from public life.
Three years later his vision began to improve again, and Tony wanted to attempt another comeback. The Red Sox were skeptical but invited him to spring training in 1975. He was rusty and struggled. But a couple of encouraging games near the end of the exhibition season convinced the Red Sox to keep him, and he was the designated hitter on Opening Day at Fenway Park.
When Conigliaro approached the plate for his first at-bat, a leggy, well-dressed, attractive female admirer sashayed down from the grandstand into the box seats and tossed a bouquet of red roses onto the field. At the age of 30 Tony still had the looks, the charisma, and the personality. But his talent had eroded.
The Red Sox kept him until mid-June, although he was barely playing by then. We were on our way to winning our first pennant since 1967, and the club could not afford to carry him any longer after we acquired second baseman Denny Doyle in a trade with the Angels. Tony was hitting .123 with two homers and nine RBIs in 21 games when the Red Sox asked him to go back to the minor leagues to try and resurrect his career.
Tony C. declined and retired for good.
Tony moved out to San Francisco and became a sportscaster at a local television station. On January 3, 1982, he flew to Boston to interview for a job as the analyst for Red Sox games on cable television. As his brother Billy was driving him back to Logan Airport, Tony told him he was confident he was going to get the job. While he was riding in the car he suffered a massive heart attack. Billy sped to Massachusetts General, the nearest hospital, but Tony was in a coma by the time they reached the emergency room. He never fully recovered and spent the remainder of his life in a nursing home in nearby Salem.
On February 24, 1990, a year in which he might have been triumphantly
entering the Hall of Fame except for that one pitch on a hot summer
night back in 1967, Tony C. passed away. He was 45 years old."
"The best kind of voyeurism is hearing joy from your neighbors." ... Chuck Sigars
Need a quart of milk, a pack of smokes, today's paper? Run to the nearest 7-11, White Hen, Tedeschi's, or any of the chains that have replaced an American tradition. Oh, they carry the goods you need, but chances are you won't know from whom you are buying them. The store you now use has replaced the one that used to be down on the corner, out on the street, a.k.a. the Mom & Pop Store. Usually owned and run by a single family with at least three generations contributing to the work load, the Mom & Pop shop was more than a place to grab a pack of smokes. It was a place to get caught up on what was happening on the block. It was a place to know and see your neighbors. It was a place to get an advance prior to the arrival of the weekly paycheck. And if you were prompt with the payback when the check arrived it was usually interest free. Hell, you probably cashed it there! This writer knows. His own grandfather was once called The Godfather of Ball Square and was known for his elaborate loan system, generous to the quick paybacker, less so to those who dragged butt.
This is the story of an immigrant named Russell Dikmak (behind the counter above) who emigrated to this country through Ellis Island from Damascus, Syria at the age of 13 and joined several of his brothers here in the South End/Roxbury area in the early part of the 1900s. In those days they resided in what was a Syrian Neighborhood in the South End near Shawmut Ave, where there may still be a small Syrian goods store to this day. Dikmak himself then moved to Roxbury, started raising a family, and opened and ran the Sunrise to Midnight Market with several of his brothers. They continued to grow the business throughout the Depression and always had access to rare items like butter and sugar and other things that were short in supply during that era. His family never went without and ate well, but he would share these items with others in the community during the shortages. He was a hunter, avid gardener, and a gourmet cook embracing American foods and recipes. You could find him on his days off entertaining and making great dishes for family and friends. He lived back then as many do now, in a sustainable way, picking fresh ingredients and herbs right from his garden, jarring pickles, canning tomatoes and other produce at the end of each season.
Russell Dikmak's store grew within the community, and he not only sold the classic S.S. Pierce products, but produce, game and other meats, Drakes Cakes and sundries. Dikmak also had a Soda Fountain and lunch counter. Try finding that in a 7-11. He and his brothers, family and friends worked there for years, until the era of strip malls and larger grocery stores prompted their decision to retire from the business and sell the store.
Russell Dikmak, to this day is the mentor in his family for great foods, cooking, gardening and enjoying the pure ingredients the family always had access to. He was someone who always gave back to the community. He is the personification of a Bostonian and urban disappearing America. Gimme a slice of apple pie and a coffee regular in a cup and saucer.
Photo from Boston's Past & Present
This blog contains fact, fiction, opinion, sometimes even humor. It is NOT news.
Information courtesy of Wikipedia
"Do not disturb signs should be written in the language of the hotel maids." ... Tim Bedore
The Copley Square Hotel was built and opened in 1891 at the corner of Huntington & Exeter. As the second oldest of the city's hotels, it had the distinction at the time of being one of the finest first-class hotels in the city. Its location was at the edge of the most aristocratic part of Back Bay, making it one of the most desirable places at which to stop. The hotel was convenient for the railroad stations, trading centers, places of amusement and the electric car service. The hotel (or house as it was called at the time) originally had 300 elegantly furnished rooms, single and suite, with private parlors and baths. The original proprietors were F.S. Risteen & Co. and the total cost to open the hotel was $300,000.
The hotel served as election headquarters for President William McKinley and hosted celebrities and sports legends like Babe Ruth, Ella Fitzgerald, Billie Holiday and Duke Ellington. Most recently, in its lower lobby, the former Cafe Budapest, it was host for the filming of scenes in the 1992 comedy movie "HouseSitter" starring Goldie Hawn and Steve Martin.
On January 24, 2008, the Copley Square Hotel closed for a multi-million dollar property-wide renovation, emerging in January 2009 as a contemporary, luxury boutique hotel. The extensive project included thorough remodeling of all accommodations, as well as the lobby, restaurant, and Mini-Bar, formerly Domani and the Original Sports Saloon. A one night stay costs $329 according to Expedia.com
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This is a blog featuring opinion, fact, and assorted esoterica. We are not claiming the journalism mantle. Whatever that still is! . Enjoy..
"I'm astounded by people who want to know the universe, when it's hard enough to find your way around Chinatown." ... Woody Allen
A Summerthing moment was captured by Nick DeWolf, a photographer worth knowing, whose work will appear in our book, Dirty Old Boston along with so many other Bostonians' work who captured moments that have made history. This is an August Moon dance festival, 1975, in Chinatown, reportedly sponsored by Summerthing, a city program providing entertainment for Bostonians. Photo taken below in1975 and furnished by Vinnie Capone.
A little history, or is it herstory, is in order. Quoting from www.TheCrimson.com, on June 29, 1970, "Rock music will resound in Harvard Stadium this summer, but the sound may not please all ears in Cambridge." (Ed. Pleasing all ears in Cambridge is a loser's mission)
The City of Boston's "Summer thing" arts festival and the Shaeffer Brewing Company are jointly sponsoring a series of 18 concerts at the Stadium. Those appearing in concert included The Grateful Dead, Janis Joplin, and the Supremes.
Though there have been other concerts in
Harvard Stadium in years past, this is the first summer the University
had lent the stadium for a full-fledged concert series. (Ed note: With tax exempt status that is the least they could do).
went smoothly at the first concert, some members of the crowd rushed into Harvard Square, snatching
purses, and roughing up passers-by. (Ed. note. The class warfare should have been forseen, but when the sponsoring institution has Bucks DeLuxe, WTF do they think? Except in hindsight as exemplified by their poor planning!) .... Harvard may be brilliant, but streetwise? You tell it kid!
The next concert stirred criticism from City officials. Oh sheesh! Those sponsoring the concerts had agreed to provide their own security; no police were stationed in the stadium during the concert. Still, there were other enjoyable moments of perfomance all over town from Summerthing. This blog invite's memories posted as comments. If pictures are avilable that would be a major bonus! Please post to Dirty Old Boston
Photo courtesy of Bill Wayland
This is a blog and combines fact, opinion, and other stuff. It's NOT news! Enjoy.
"Fish is the only food that is considered spoiled once it smells like what it is." ... P.J. O'Rourke
When Jimmy Doulos first opened his restaurant in 1924, he probably wasn't thinking of the area as a gravel pit filled with parking lots for the next several decades. Most likely he was thinking that having a seafood restaurant on the South Boston waterfront, the first of its kind, was a good idea and in so many ways he was right. After all, they were open for business for 70 years and everyone knew about it. But this is Boston and politics and conflict trump practicality and Jimmy was a lone wolf in a sea of land use controversy that has only recently seen some resolution. Venturing over the Northern Av Bridge back in the day was an adventure you only took on to get some food, not for a night on the town. If I hadn't broken my souvenir Jimmy's drink glass with his logo last week, this blog might not have come about.
When Jimmy's first opened it was called The Liberty Cafe (photo, courtesy of the Cresset Group) and was eventually renamed after the owner. It had little competition until 1963 when Anthony's Pier 4 was opened by Anthony Athanas and, perhaps due to its proximity to the bridge, quickly became the restaurant of choice in that part of town over Jimmy's. In fact at one point it became the highest grossing restaurant in the country. Local emotion, however, seems to teeter in Jimmy's favor. It may just be the name itself. Certainly the Southie of old had more Jimmy's than Anthonys, although both were Greek businessmen. Or that Anthony's stayed past its shelf life and Jimmy knew when to call it a day. At any rate, much of the South Boston waterfront property was owned by the Pritzker family from Chicago, and many DOB types remember the wrangling that went back and forth over the years while arguments ran their course over how best to develop the area and, of course, nothing actually got done. Until the last several years. After the Moakely Courthouse opened, the ICA soon followed and the old adage "if you build it, they will come" got a toe-hold on an area that could have been God's country for the last 100 years. Jimmy's closed in 2005 and Legal Seafoods, once a tiny one-off that reawakened Inman Square in Cambridge in the early 70's, opened yet another spot in its place. As Ruby & The Romantics once sang, "Our Day Will Come". If we just wait awhile.
Boston 'News' War History: The Phoenix vs The Real Paper
DOB is a blog with opinion, fact, and creative input. Please enjoy at that level.
The Phoenix was founded in 1965 by Joe Hanlon, a former editor a MIT's student newspaper, The Tech. Since many Boston area college newspapers were printed at the same printing firm, Hanlon wanted to do a four-page single-sheet insert with arts coverage and ads. Boston After Dark began March 2, 1966, and theater buff Larry Stark began contributing theater reviews with the second issue. When the insert idea did not pan out, the trio continued Boston After Dark as a weekly free paper. A year after the launch, Hanlon sold off his half to Lewis. For three years, Boston After Dark kept the four-page format, with Lewis as publisher, Jane Steidemann as editor, Stephen M. Mindich as ad salesman and Stark as full-time theater critic and copy editor, plus film reviews by Deac Rossell, who later went on to become head of programming at London's National Film Theatre. Mindich acquired half interest and Stark quit in 1972, reviewing for the rival Cambridge Phoenix, born on John Lennon's birthday, October 9, 1969. The first managing editor, April Smith, would go on to become a writer-producer for Cagney and Lacy, referred to by our local pals as Gag Me and Mace Me. But that's Mad Magazine humor which many of us continue to live by despite society having passed it by! After a two week writers' strike in August 1972, the Cambridge Phoenix was sold to Boston After Dark, and became The Boston Phoenix, with Boston After Dark as the Arts and Entertainment (and Adult Sex Ads) section.
Conflict ensued and ousted writers started The Real Paper in August, 1972. By the early- to mid-1970s, The Real Paper served as a springboard for a number of journalists, including music critic Jon Landau and film critic David Ansen, who left to write for Newsweek, known in DOB circles as Newspeak. Time columnist and TV commentator Joe Klein reported on Cambridge politics during the 1970s. Now he is a frequent Talking Head on Network News Channels. It's amazing how much Boston alternative media has given to the world. Now, if we can only believe it!
How real was it? And was it called 'Real' due to labor disuptes and not for journalistic purity?
In September, 1978 Stephen Schiff covered films for The Real Paper and the Boston Phoenix before moving on to Vanity Fair and The New Yorker and then establishing a career as a screenwriter (Lolita, The Deep End of the Ocean, True Crime). Real Paper critics provided real coverage, reviewing everything from major openings in Boston to the local Orson Welles Cinema (located one block away) to film showings in churches, coffeehouses, museums and college auditoriums. Those were the daze my friends.
Thanks to Wikipedia. We are not pure journalism. We are fact, opinon and creative input
Photo submitted by Jim Powers
The Merc was the car back in the 50's that was a step above the Ford and a step below the Lincoln. GM car owners often made Ford products forbidden (FixOrRepairDaily), but who among us would scorn this beauty if it were gifted and financed completely? We are not sure of the year of this photo, but given the condition of the surrounding architecture and the car behind the Merc, this might have been a brand new car at the moment the camera flashed. While the car was shiny and sexy, the neighborhood looks to need Turtle Wax.
Photo by Henry Doherty
The projects are gone today and in their place is a pedestrian park. According to the East Boston Times in an article by John Lynd on October 31, 2009, The East Boston Community Development Corporation, the Boston Zoning Board of Appeals and the Boston Redevelopment Authority hammered out a deal whereby a new three story 27 unit project would be built on a half acre site at 170 Maverick that would allow Eastie residents a modicum of affordability in a combined economic downturn and an upswing in housing prices. The status of that circumstance is unknown to this DOB blog. The future of East Boston, by all accounts, is one of upward neighborhood mobility. Those who own property may prosper. Okay, enough fact-grinding. Come on baby, let's get behind the wheel of that '56 Merc!
Bobby Orr in his early days. Courtesy of OldeTimeHockey.com
"A good hockey player plays where the puck is. A great hockey player plays where the puck is going to be." ... Wayne Gretzky
Confession: This writer was all-purpose goalie and campfire keeper in his hockey days.
Bobby Orr's new book, Orr: My Story is out tomorrow, Tuesday, October 15. What can we say about Bobby Orr? The best ever? A real mensch who quietly pays it forward? Virgil-n-Blogspot.com says it well. "Making his professional debut in the 1966-67 season, he would score 13 goals with 28 assists. That was the best point total for a first year defenceman at that time, earning the Calder Memorial Trophy as the league's top rookie and becoming the youngest to recieve that honour. In his second season, limited to only 46 games due to injuries, he was selected for his first NHL All-Star Game and won the Norris Trophy as the league's top defenseman. It would be the first of eight consecutive wins.
Fun fact: He wore #27 during the pre-season, but switched to #4 before the regular season. In the 1969-70 season, Boston would reach their first Stanley Cup Finals appearance since 1958 against the St. Louis Blues. Already leading the series 3-0, Game 4 would be decided in overtime. Forty seconds into the extra period, Derek Sanderson registered an assist on Bobby Orr's Stanley Cup clinching goal. Upon skating away, he tripped on an opponent's stick and his airborne celebration became one of the most well-known images in hockey."
Bobby Orr's Rookie Card 1966. Courtesy of vintagehockeycardsreport.com
"Truly special athletes, the ones that fathers talk about to their sons and daughters, change the game they play. Arguments emerged late in the 20th century about who most deserved to be called the greatest hockey player of all time. Perhaps it was the retirement of Wayne Gretzky in 1999, or perhaps it was a desire to sum up 100 years of a sport that had come into its own and grown exponentially around the world that led to these discussions.
Hockey fans in Parry Sound, Ontario, in the late 1950s saw a lot of this hockey genius in its infancy. Doug Orr, Bobby's dad, had been a speedy player and gifted scorer in his own right. He wanted his son, still small for his age but also enormously talented, to play forward in order to take advantage of his speed and puckhandling abilities. Bucko McDonald, a former NHLer who played defense in the 1930s and 1940s and coached Bobby when the youngster was 11 and 12, believed his charge had all the makings of an outstanding defenseman. He taught Bobby the ins and outs of the position and encouraged him to use his offensive skills as well.
Professional teams agreed. The Boston Bruins went to unusual lengths to land the small prospect. When Orr was 14, Boston made arrangements for him to play with the Oshawa Generals in the metro Junior A League. He continued to live at home and commute to each game. Though he didn't attend a single practice with the team, Orr was selected to the league's Second All-Star Team. All the speedy youngster required was size to make him a bona fide star. He was 5'6" and 135 pounds at 14. The next year, when he moved to an Oshawa high school and played in the Ontario junior league, he was 5'9" and 25 pounds heavier. By the time his junior career was over - when he was all of 17 and a man playing with boys - he was a sturdy 6' and almost 200 pounds. The phenomenon Boston fans had been reading about since he was a freckle-faced kid with a brushcut was ready to enter the professional game." Excerpt from BobbyOrr.com.
Book signings begin on October 21 in New York. No information about local signings was googlable as of this writing.
On a holiday, even one as benign as Columbus Day, one is tempted to kick back and chill. But not us! DOB never rests. Today, submitted for your approval, comes a photo of the mother of one Valerie Thomas, a DOB contributor, perched on her Ultra-50's counter top gazing out her window, to the streets below, and seeing no freshly fallen silent shroud of snow thank you very much Paul Simon. She is, however, thee mistress of her classic kitchen domain, dressed to kill, in surroundings even today's moderns may envy. And she's doing it right here in Boston, on Bow St, Hyde Park. Sharp eyes will note the presence of a pack of cigarettes cloaked in a protective casing, and a lighter, not of the Zippo mode, at its side. The formica counter tops are pristine as is the modest window plant, perhaps of the cactus variety. The metal plate behind her is the kind of thing one spots in vintage shops priced at about $15 today. The hot and cold water faucet on the sink indicates that at the latest this is in the early 60's. No single water faucet there. Not that early. The thick Venetian blinds, which have made a comeback of sorts, are classic 50's light blockers. The metal door/drawer handles are pure vintage. No brillo visible, no scrunge, and absolutely no plastic scour pad as plastic had yet to make it's presence felt. All things considered, what we are looking at shall never be seen again.
Columbus sailed the ocean blue
In fourteen hundred ninety two
For many weeks he was at sea
With sailing ships at number three
Yo ho! Yo ho! Yo ho me lads, Yo ho!
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"It's no longer a question of staying healthy. It's finding a sickness you like." ... Jackie Mason
It's where Huntington Av and Tremont St intersect. You take the 39 through it, or if you ride the streetcar that only goes as far as Heath St, you travel fairly well to Brigham Circle from Park St. Then you plod down Huntington and crawl up South Huntington. It's always busy, crowded with residents from Mission Hill, students and staff from Harvard Medical School and the Harvard School of Public Health. Don't forget the perennial hospital flow, the essence of then Hanlon Square, now Brigham Circle, named after the late Peter Bent Brigham Hospital. It's now called Brigham and Women's Hospital of course, the result of a merger between the Peter Bent Brigham, the Robert Breck Brigham Hospital, and the Boston Women's Hospital, formerly the Boston Lying In Hospital. And after all that, they managed to merge a square into a circle!
Looking kitty cornered at the Peter Bent Brigham, the sight looks familiar, yet is now 65 years old and the area was then still called Hanlon Square. In Dirty Old Boston terms you can pound a square peg into a round hole. From Hanlon Square to Brigham Circle. The name may change but the song remains the same. Hospital Corner.
Photos courtesy of City of Boston Archives, 1948. Information from Wikipedia.
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"People who want to understand democracy should spend less time in the library with Aristotle and more time on the buses and in the subway." ... Simeon Strunsky, 'No Mean City' 1944
For Boston Newbians, the 57 bus running from Kenmore to Watertown was once a streetcar line which ended its service in 1969. There was a debate about exactly what year it ended, but 1969 was the most agreed upon year. Here's living proof of its existence. What continued to exist for years and years subsequently were the tracks it ran on which led to speculation that any day now that old streetcar would be coming back. But no matter how many T riders yelled "Stella!" it never returned, no it never returned. Bostonians of all stripes have always been dependent on the kindness of T drivers so we assume every person has a story about this line.
The future 57 runs past the First National in 1964.
As for Brighton itself, it is a dissolved independent municipality named after the town of Brighton in the English city of Brighton and Hove. For its first 160 years it was part of Cambridge and called "Little Cambridge". It separated from Cambridge in 1807 following a bridge dispute and was annexed by Boston in 1874. Allston was also formerly part of Brighton but is now considered somewhat separate leading to the Allston-Brighton moniker for the combined area. The real trick is to identify exactly where Allston ends and Brighton begins. Anyone? Anyone?
Thanks to Wikipedia for Brighton information. Thanks to Brighton-Allston Historical Society for photos
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Photo submitted by Paul Duca from Flickr
"Someday my boat will come in, and with my luck I'll be at the airport." ... Graffito
When the ships come into Boston, there is a place where the Mariners are always welcome. Located in the North End, it is called The Seaman's House. It was and still is a place where a sea-farer can get an inexpensive short-term room as long as s/he can prove active membership in the Merchant Marines. Built in 1847, the four-story Greek Revival structure boasts 40 rooms. Most recently available information places the cost of a room at $65 nightly with a maximum stay of 13 nights. In 1999 it was added to the National Register of Historic Places.
Information furnished by Wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mariners_House
Photographs furnished by Flickr
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"Susan, looks like I'm losin'. I'm losin' my mind. I'm wastin' my time." ... The Buckinghams
The Buckinghams could be all wet. Susan Legere and Susan Bregman a.k.a. "The Two Susans" are on a mission. That mission has been reported on our Facebook page Dirty Old Boston and in the paper edition of The Boston Globe by cultural journalist Christopher Muther. Because Mid-Century cultural artifacts are fading away we call your attention to this once again. A Facebook page called Long Live Circle Cinema is working hard for the original sign, still in decent shape, which has been the theater's calling card since it opened in 1940. There is hope.
The Circle Theater as it was originally known was opened in 1940 and at the time was considered suburban, even though it stood at the Cleveland Circle/Brookline border, an area now considered well within city limits. It had one screen, wide aisles and was considered the be all and end all of the movie-going experience. It got a makeover in 1965 and by 1976 the theater was subdivided and renamed The Circle Cinemas. Most patrons admit that certain mini theaters within the complex were less desirable than certain larger ones and following the home video revolution of the early 80's, the small screens were unacceptable to many. One thing remained constant. That black-lettered sign that says "Circle" has been there all 73 years, and with Demolition Man coming soon, it needs a home. This writer is in favor of putting it up square over the circle as you come in from BC. Funding would be needed. A few social events with a $25 cover and BYOB DJ events? A commercial property owner across the street is willing to put it up on his building. He'd get by with a little help from his friends. If you are interested in involving yourself in this undertaking, write LongLiveCircleCinema@gmail.com. If you have a venue, DJ skills and a desire to preserve icons the Two Susans want YOU! Jump in. This writer will be happy to supply the DJ's if a venue operator steps forward. It could be BYOB or cash bar.
Again, contact LongLiveCircleCinema@gmail.com. Save a pieceof Dirty Old Boston.
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A motorist pushes his empty car on Hyde Park Av, 1973
It was a shock to the system. Suddenly gasoline prices that long held steady at 32.9 a gallon regular began to take off. Boomers, used to the relative economic stability of 60's American fuel prices, experienced a crisis of confidence. Call it a first world problem, and it mos' def is, but this writer remembers his then girlfriend getting up at 5am to get in line early to feed her Firebird. Car-free me? I just pressed the snooze button. Frequently she'd return dejected. The stations, she'd report, were already out of fuel. Time for the C-line, a virtual cattle car.
"Oil prices have fallen lately. We include this for the benefit of gas stations which otherwise wouldn't have learned about it for six months." ... Bill Tammeus/Toronto's National Newspaper
Thanks to the ever ready Wikipedia for info.
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Photo by Andrew Anderson
"What differences does it make to the dead and the homeless how the mad destruction is wrought?" ... Mahatma Gandhi (paraphrased)
He won the Neighborhood Character award year after year in the Phoenix. A seemingly eternal presence in the Kenmore Square of Dirty Old Boston, Mr. Butch was immediately recognizable to the multitudes who hung out in and passed through the area on a daily basis. Whether panhandling, polishing off a tall boy, or puffing something mysterious, the ageless dreadlocked Butch (Harold Madison, Jr.) became more than another homeless street wanderer. Between his ready smile and sad faraway eyes, he endeared himself to the area's population and was sometimes called the Mayor of Kenmore Square. Often seen ranting rhythmically to no one special, it was understood that Mr. Butch lived in his own parameters and that those parameters were not easily understood. But for the most part they were accepted.
It came in the late 90's. Like Scollay Square and the West End before it, Kenmore Square, it was decided, was no country for old hoi polloi. Self destruction, it was headed for self destruction, as demolition man began ripping out Everyman cultural icons to make way for the Rich and Beautiful. Authorities were pushin' too hard on Mr. Butch so he skedaddled for a new spot to chill in Allston around Harvard and Comm. This apparently was satisfactory for about seven years or so. But one late night, while riding motor scooter, Mr. Butch died in a collision with a tree. He was 56 years old, a 30 year street veteran at the time.
Photo by David Henry
In Mr. Butch's own words, "You got to be articulate every day and keep going on strong and straight and use your heart and all your might and all your weight and all your power. Do what you can, make it last for many hour, 'cause once you're dead, you're done, you don't come back," he rapped, pausing before adding, "Yeah."
Thanks to Brian Marquard and the Boston Globe for quote and some information
Thanks to Andrew Anderson and David Henry for photographs
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"Your motivation? Your motivation is your pay packet Friday. Now get on with it." ... Noel Coward
As Charlie Rich, and later our own Barry & The Remains sang, "Well I'll make it alright, from Monday morning t'il Friday night. Oh, those lonely weekends."
These days the Lonely Hearts Club can turn to the computer and troll the pictures of women taken 10 years earlier, men with physiques unmatched since 1993, and click a few links in the hopes of getting a cup of coffee or even a dinner date. But that wasn't always so. There was a time when meeting face to face was the way to meet someone with whom to date. Advantage: you saw what you were getting. Disadvantage: walking away was much more personal.
Dirty Old Boston detectives have stumbled onto a computer dating time warp of sorts. Pictured is an early 70's computer dating advertisement for a service that actually existed at 2464 Mass Av in North Cambridge. Since you need superior vision to read the script, we will provide it for you:
"Cross genderal gratification through sequentially indexed characteristic collation and compatibility information retrieval." Questions? Not really! They got it, only with a little more gobble-t-gook. Happy weekending!
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Photos by Jim Kelley
"To alcohol! The cause of, and the solution to, all of life's problems." ... Matt Groening
The Old Town Tavern was an old school, dyed in the wool Southie joint where you could belly up to the bar pretense-free wearing the same clothes you wore all day on the shop floor. In fact, we bet if you showed pretense it was best if you grabbed a cab to the nearest brick and fern bar. The Old Town was the real thing, a bar where a guy could knock back a couple and have a few chuckles. Conversely he could knock back a few and have a couple of chuckles. The bar was run by Ken Conley, a longshoreman in the Conley Terminal , who had run the 1-A for a few years.
Ray Flynn would stop in. Mike Barnicle, columnist with the Boston Globe hit it. Television personality and news lady Liz Walker drank at the Old Town. One regular got tagged "Laughing Gas" because of his explosive laughter. Oh, and just for the record? No bookies allowed.
Thanks to Rick Winterson and South Boston Online for vital information
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- "One (wo)man practicing sportsmanship is better than a hundred teaching it." ... Knute Rockne
Bennington St. is one of East Boston's main streets, running almost the length of the residential part of town. It begins in Central Square as a narrow two-way jammed with shops and houses. It crosses Chelsea St. at Day Square. From there it widens into a tree lined street with two lanes of traffic in each direction separated by an island. It goes through the center of Orient Heights and curves left past the Belle Isle Marsh Reservation, enters Revere and ends in Beachmont Square.
Thanks to Wikipedia for some essential details.
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Photo by David Kruh
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Since 1961, Skippy White has made records his business. As a seller, producer, label owner, DJ and all around 'good guy', he has been the go to guy for soul and gospel music for as long as most remember. Located alternately in Central Square, Cambridge, South End, Roxbury, Jamaica Plain, Egleston Square and any inadvertent left-outs, the man has presided over the Boston Kingdom of Soul and maintained it through thick and thin for over 50 years. He's DJ'd on more radio stations than any other DJ in the area and always with his own musical agenda.