Dave Brubeck

July 12th, 2012

Dave Brubeck
A celebrated jazz pianist and composer, Dave Brubeck is living proof that originality and success can go
hand in hand. Even though critics who had favored Brubeck when he was less well known disliked him
after the success of the Dave Brubeck Quartet, he never compromised or altered his music in order to
gain a wider audience. From his popularity in playing college campuses with the Dave Brubeck Quartet
to touring America and Europe later in his career, Brubeck became a leading name in the jazz world
and is one of five jazz musicians who have been featured on the cover of Time magazine. His most
famous pieces, “Time Out,” ”Take Five,” ”Blue Rondo a la Turk” and “Three to Get Ready” are still
praised and performed today.

Born in Concord, California, on December 6, 1920, Brubeck was convinced early in life that he wanted
to be a cattle rancher like his father, Howard. He learned classical piano at the insistence of his mother
Elizabeth but did not learn to read sheet music until much later in life; instead, he memorized his
lessons so his teachers would not see his difficulty.

Brubek’s professors at the University of the Pacific convinced him to switch to a music major from
veterinary science, but Brubeck was nearly expelled when it was learned he could not read music.
Several of his teachers vouched for his skill in playing piano and his ear for harmony and Brubeck was
allowed to graduate on the condition that he would never teach piano. He graduated in 1942 and was
drafted into the army where he led a service band in General Patton’s army during World War II.

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Charles Mingus

July 10th, 2012

CHARLES MINGUS

Charles Mingus is best known as a multi-talented musician whose colleagues included celebrities such
as Louis Armstrong, Miles Davis, Duke Ellington and Charlie Parker. His skills included composition and
conducting as well as notable talent in both the piano and string bass. Arguably his greatest claim to
fame was his “Renaissance Man” quality – his ability to adapt and master all aspects of the jazz genre

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Charles Parker

June 6th, 2012

Charles Parker, Jr. was born August 29 of 1920 to Charles and Addie Parker. Growing up in Kansas City, Missouri, he dropped out of high school in 1935 to join the local Musicians Union. He had started playing the saxophone at age 11 and learned much of what he knew from his father.

Parker’s father was a singer, dancer, and pianist on the T.O.B.A. (Theater Owners Booking Association) circuit. His father worked a great deal and his mother worked nights at a Western Union office. He spent much of his time with a young musician that taught Parker improvisation, a happenstance that would change his life and jazz as we know it.

Sadly, Parker had an automobile accident as a teenager that left him addicted to morphine. This soon led to an addiction to heroin which he used until it took part in ending his life. During the 1930s, Parker practiced for 3-4 years as much as 15 hours per day, developing his improvisation skills and the sound that led to bebop. He played with local bands, eventually joining Jay McShann’s territory band in 1938, with which he participated in his first recording.

One night in 1939, when Parker was jamming with William “Biddy” Fleet, he had a sudden realization. He found that twelve tones of the chromatic scale could work into any key, which was a major change from the simpler jazz solos of the day. Some of the traditional jazz musicians at first rejected Parker’s new style, but others like Coleman Hawkins and Benny Goodman were excited about the sound and even helped form the new bebop movement.

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Juli Charlot – Poodle Skirt Designer

January 4th, 2011

Poodle skirts are well known clothing articles that were especially popular during the fifties. A woman by the name of Juli Lynn Charlot actually invented the skirts. Charlot didn’t even know how to sew when she created the well known poodle skirt.

Charlot was not an original clothing designer. She was a singer and actress in an opera company. She worked that way until the Second World War was over and she got married to her husband Philip.

She was, however, sensitive to fashion. She was very particular about the clothing she wore while up on stage. She hired dressmakers to look at her designs and sew dresses based on them.

When her husband lost his job, and she had limited funds, she decided to continue creating her own designs instead of purchasing dresses. She was limited in what she could do, however, since she never had learned how to sew. Her mother owned a factory that gave her access to free felt material, so that was the material that Charlot decided to use with her full skirt.

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Choose the Perfect Holiday Gift: A Beautiful Poodle Skirt

December 7th, 2010

Poodle skirts make a perfect Christmas or holiday gift. They are well known for their cute design. They are also versatile and can serve a lot of different functions.

They work for both adults and children. Poodle skirts look great on little girls. Girls will have a blast dressing up in their skirts and twirling in front of the mirror.

They also work well with adults. They come in a variety of styles, sizes, and colors. That way you can choose a poodle skirt that matches the personality of the person you are giving the skirt to.

You can choose to get ones that are authentic like they actually were in the fifties. Originally they came in bright colors that also had a colored appliqué that was metallic. The appliqué was that of a poodle, often shown with a bright collar and leash that wound its way up to the waist of the skirt.

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Christmas Party Ideas With a Fifties Twist

December 7th, 2010

Hosting a holiday party is always a fun adventure. It is fun to think of new ways to entertain friends and loved ones, especially at Christmas time. A great party idea this year would be to host a 50’s themed Christmas party.

First of all, the 1950’s have a lot of things to offer. There are fun 50’s outfits that you can purchase to wear to make the event fun. Plus there is good Christmas décor, and beautiful 50’s Christmas music that you can listen to.

Food – Serve a traditional, holiday meal that would have been served in the fifties. This can include holiday glazed ham, parsley potatoes, eggnog, green salad bowl with French dressing, individual plum puddings, broccoli, fruit cocktail, potato cubes or roast potatoes, and Parkerhouse rolls. Choose your favorite array of food items and be sure to serve on nice china.

50’s Outfits – Ask guests to dress up in traditional 50’s outfits. Adult men can wear suits and fedora hats, women can dress up as fifties housewives with heels and full dresses that reach a little below their knees. Teenagers and children can have fun with greaser outfits, poodle skirts, white t-shirts, slicked back hair, ponytails, and rolled up jeans.

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How to Plan an Amazing Sock Hop For the Holidays

December 7th, 2010

Looking to liven up your holiday season? Throw a sock hop. Sock hop dances are a wonderful way for people to get together and celebrate for the holidays.

Start with a great invitation. Invitations are the first thing your guests will look at so be sure that you have a fun invitation to share. You can make hand-made invitations or purchase ones that have a 50’s theme.

Another important aspect of sock hops is the costume choices. 50’s attire is mandatory to pull off a successful sock hop. This means wearing bobby socks, saddle shoes, cuffed jeans, leather jackets, poodle skirts, and cat glasses.

Dances need really good music to dance to. Stick to the popular classic choices with your music. Elvis Presley and Bill Haley will definitely liven up the dance party.

You could hire a choreographer to teach some fun 50’s dance moves to people who are interested. There are quite a few fun dance steps including the bop, the hand jive, and the cha cha. Some people like to have the choreographer teach guests the dance moves an hour or half  hour before the dance starts so they can use those moves during the dance.

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Inspiring 50’s Costume Ideas

December 3rd, 2010

There are many great 50’s outfits and 50’s costume choices and ideas out there. The 1950’s offered a wide arrange of styles and cool trends that we can look to for ideas. These trends include ideas on what clothes, hairstyles, shoes, accessories, and makeup to wear.

Clothing – Clothing styles were classified in to different types. Preppy styles were poodle skirts, button-blouses, and cardigans for girls. Guys wore button down polo’s, blazers, letterman’s jackets, and loose fitted slacks.

The Greasers were also a popular style during the fifties. Greaser guys wore white t-shirts, tight rolled up jeans, and leather jackets. They took their inspiration from the Hollywood legend James Dean.

Hairstyles – Hairstyles also varied. Girls often wore their hair in ponytails or short, curly poufy hairstyles. Guys wore their hair slicked back or parted to the side.

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Fun Activities Where You Can Wear Your Amazing Poodle Skirt

November 23rd, 2010

Have an amazing poodle skirt from Halloween or a dance recital? Are you looking for other activities to wear it at? Here are some great 50’s themed activities that you can wear your beautiful poodle skirt at.

“Grease” Party – Get a group of friends together for a fun 50’s movie party. You can have some friends dress up as the good-girl Sandy with poodle skirts, cardigans, and ponytails. Others can come dressed up as the pink ladies or grease members. Add some soda and popcorn and you have the perfect Grease party.

Car Hop – Host a carhop or look for a carhop in your area. 50’s costumes work perfectly for carhops. Dressing up in 50’s attire makes the car hop look more authentic, and makes it a much more fun experience for everyone involved.

Sock Hop – Have a fun sock hop dance party. Pull together the amazing music from the 50’s. You can even host the dance in a gym and ask guests to take off their shoes for the event.

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Dressing Up in Poodle Skirts During the Holidays

November 19th, 2010

Poodle skirts are great items to have around for the holidays. First, they allow children and adults to have fun dressing up during the special season. Secondly, poodle skirts offer a quick costume choice for people going to dress-up parties.

Having a few extra costumes on hand is always a terrific idea. Children love to dress up spur-of-the moment. When you have costumes for them to dress up in already you don’t have to worry about hunting down items last-minute.

Dress-up clothes can also be handy for adults. How many times have we forgotten about costume parties we have been invited to? A lot of times we don’t remember until the day of, and it can be stressful trying to run around and find a costume to wear.

Having an adult poodle skirt solves this. You already have a costume that you can fallback on. Poodle skirts work for 50’s parties, dress-up parties, couples parties, etc. They are great items to have in your closet.

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