Photos: The Writing On The Wall at the “Mental Health” Clinic

Actually, it’s the writing on the table but that didn’t work very well for a subject line.

Taken on one of my visits in Sept 2011. I’m looking forward to February.

I’m so glad to see that everyone’s new generic meds (rather than the ones that had been working for them) are working out so well. And I’m so thrilled to see that after the drastic cuts in mental health care in AZĀ  (slipped through during the SB 1070 furor), the state budget now has a surplus. Jan Brewer can’t wait to spend it on stuff no-one wants or needs.

The second decrypted (mostly, the sun was not very accommodating that day):

I LAY HERE BEATEN TO A PULP
WITH BRAINS RUNNING DOWN THE CURB
ILL SEE YOU BITCHES IN HELL
IF IM LUCKY ENOUGH TO BURN
BROKEN RIBS LIKE TREE BRANCHES
SWELLING BRAIN IS AGONY
AND MY LEGS ARE NUMB XXXX CONT?
ILL PROBABLY SHIT AND PISS MYSELF FOR THE REMAINDER OF MY PITIFUL YEARS

DR x FUCKYZ
WITHERING ? TILL IM ENGULFED IN
DARKNESS AND FEAR x THEY COULD HAVE FINISHED
ME x INJURED CRITICALLY, INDEFINITELY x MY FATE
WILL NEVER COME x I DESERVE TO SUFFER IN SHOCK
I LIE IN AGONY HERE x

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What Gorilla? 1949 Photo of High Wire Stunt in Times Square NYC

Acme News Photo from my personal collection

“Nonsense Makes News (Second of Eleven) The movie industry is responsible for the great majority of publicity stunts and New York, as well as Hollywood, is frequently the scene of the shenanigans. To plug a movie about an ape, press agents strung a tight rope across Broadway and a stunt man, dressed as a gorilla, swung back and forth over over the heads of gasping crowds. Credit Line: Acme 6/8/51”

The gorilla stunt was to promote, of course, Mighty Joe Young which was playing at the Criterion Theatre (partial marquee shown lower right). The Criterion was across the street from the Hotel Astor where Blue Barron & Orchestra kept everyone dancing nightly

To the right of the gorilla’s right leg, the marquee of the Victoria Theatre shows Home of the Brave playing: “A sensitive, educated black man’s World War II-time problems.”

A billboard promoting A Streetcar Named Desire at the Ethel Barrymore Theatre stands above what is probably ad for Maxwell House Coffee (Good to the Last Drop… and with some of the most racist commercials ever.) Above the Streetcar billboard is one promoting Lost Boundaries: “This story is a true account of the lives of Scott and Marsha Carter.” [A review on Amazon calls this a “”Haunting Parable of US Race Relations.”]

In the distance a large neon sign advertises what I think is Miss Youth Form undergarments. Today, vintage Youth Form undies can be found for sale online.

The large statue above the Criterion Theatre marquee puzzled me. At first I thought it was part of the Criterion but a postcard of “Bond’s Clothes” posted on Flickr solved the mystery. The enormous art deco statue of a female was part of the Bond Store, “the cathedral of clothing,” and used to advertise “Apparel for Women.”

A photo of a guy in a gorilla suit hanging from a rope over Broadway is pretty cool in itself but the photo says more than a thousand words. Looking into the story of the Criterion brought me to back back back to 1895. The Criterion Theatre in the photo is not the original Criterion Theatre that stood at the northeast corner of Broadway at 44th Street.

The original Criterion Theatre began as part of Oscar Hammerstein’s colossal Olympia, a block-wide complex on the east side of Broadway between 44th and 45th Streets that included a theatre, a concert hall, a music hall, a roof garden and more.

The story of how the Olympia became a number of theatres run by Broadway producers Klaw & Erlanger, Charles Frohman and Florenz Ziegfeld is a fabulous story full of gossip, intrigue, love, betrayals, scandals, high hopes, and lawsuits. But of course! It’s Broadway!

It should not have surprised me to find Flo Ziegfeld threaded through the saga but it did. And Flo Ziegfeld is someone I know a little bit about. I will write up a short history of The Olympia from it’s beginnings in 1895 up through it’s various incarnations and post it as soon as I’m able.

[Updated] Tell Me A Story: Vintage Snapshots of the Skyview Motel

Since my moods change from day to day (or from hour to hour) I woke up thinking about these photos in the reverse order and having a wonderful story to tell. So I eat my words once again: I always think of these snaps as having been taken in the order shown… which makes for a rather sad story that’s so obvious I don’t have to tell it in words.”

No. So I’ve moved the b/w snapshot from first to second photo instead.

Do you see another story? Please tell yours in comments. Thanks!

Skyview Motel, Location Unknown, 1958

Skyview Motel Neon Sign is Hauled Away 1958

Skyview Motel, Location Unknown, Undated

Old Friends at the Skyview Motel

(Snapshots are from my personal collection)

A Good Eye: Some Vintage Amateur Snapshot Negatives

From snapshots taken of a family living in Phoenix in (I’m guessing) the early 1960s. Unknown photographer.

I love these! So Arbus-esque!