Tuesday, October 31, 2006

National Folk Fest in Richmond

Held 13-15 October 2006 on Brown's Island, the National Folk Festival had its second year in Richmond VA (and 68th year overall).

Above are two performers from the group AltaiKai, a bunch of fine folk who twanged and throat sang, made birdsongs and horse whinnies. Pretty my personal faves this year.

Another fave was Mythili Prakash (pictured above) and the Dance of India Ensemble.

The hands above belong to Grace Chang. And the instrument she's goin' to town on is the zheng.

Gourd instruments, gourd hats and gourd masks--the Richmond Indigenous Gourd Orchestra are homegrown and homemade. They played and had hands-on exhibits like the gourd petting zoo and gourd instruments folks could play with.

Next October will be the last of these held in R'mond. If you're in the neighborhood, check it out.

Paragon and Jest

Pics from Richmond VA. These are from the Paragon Pharmacy.

No milkshakes, sad to say, but fountain drinks and BLTs.

Another image from R'mond.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

lacking the treble clef

In my haste (on the tail end of the Walnut Mall pilgrimage), I took this picture of the Melody Inn sign on US 460 in Waverly VA. Anyone from the area and familiar with this sign knows how I goofed up: the roadsigns are obscuring the treble clef symbol to the right of the vertical "MOTEL". Knowing what you're looking for, you can see a slice of it through the roadsigns. (UPDATE: new photo here)

But it's a cool sign and even a half-baked photo of it is worth posting.

I'm from 'round here originally and never had any occasion to stay at the Melody Inn, but I always liked the architecture, those turquoise doors and that cool shade willow tree.

An improbable bit of modernist Shangri-La up against a four-lane highway . . .

in search of Walnut Mall, Petersburg VA

As you can see above, I arrived a little late.

What was Walnut Mall is a future home of Food Lion and, for the time being, a red clay lot.

And since there's already a Food Lion not too south on Rt. 301, I guess that location may soon take a step down in the commercial real estate food chain.

In the meantime, you can currently still find an aerial image of Walnut Mall at Mapquest if you search for a map of Walnut Blvd. Petersburg VA and select the aerial image feature. (UPDATE: thanks to Sickmalls, these exterior & interior shots of the mall from the Virginia Film Office. And at now at Labelscar, mall info plus recently posted 1991 pics of the Thalheimer's there.)

Thankfully, the old movie theatre across the Blvd. from the ex-mall is still standing.

But now it's a church.

Though it may not be the same place where I saw The Goodbye Girl and (some years later) a midnight showing of Bertolucci's Last Tango In Paris, the building doesn't look all that different than it did 25-30 years ago. (UPDATE: An old ticket stub and more besides.)

Here are some other pics of the area, like the nearby Walnut Hill Plaza sign:

I'd never noticed those walnuts before . . .

To make it up to my agéd mom for having driven her way up to some non-existent mall, we went to King's BBQ No. 2.

Saturday, October 28, 2006

intended for a wider audience-corrections

It should be known that this blog (read: the person writing it) is very prone to factual errors. So to save some time overall I would say: take this grain of salt.

However, it's good (esp. online) not to let half-baked info go uncorrected. As all sorts of questionable info gets received and replicated, I'd rather not contribute any more of it if possible.

In "intended" I mentioned the current Macy's at Coliseum Mall may've been a Miller & Rhoades. Anita at the SickMalls blog wrote to say it was likely a Thalheimer's then as the M&R was in Newmarket North/N. Fair.

And that very response probably means the comment I posted there is now up, for what that may be worth.

Perhaps an improved signal-to-noise ratio is forthcoming here at uberkayness.

And if not that, my remembrance of malls past is more of a roadshow than a mission. Once done contributing whatever's relevant to this topic, I will mosey on and leave the sensible folk who really know their stuff to keep it 'tween the ditches.

Kinda spacey then and now,

scenes from Warwick Blvd, Newport News VA

About mid-October, while visiting kin South of the James (I now reside way up nawth in the Land of a Thousand Dunkin' Donuts), I made a pilgrimage to Monty's Penguins on Warwick Blvd in Newport News. Gotta love their shakes and their steak sandwiches. And the above sign.

Other cool pics from about the same stretch of Warwick below . . .

And with apologies to John Barth for the superobvious bit of irony, I seem to recall this was a piano store. But N. News folk would know better than this VA ex-pat.

intended for a wider audience

New to this sort of thing, I thought I had posted the following comment to the SickMalls blog. Not so. So here I go with my remembrance of shopping malls past, specifically the Coliseum Mall in Hampton VA:

I remember the Korvettes. Used to go the music section and window shop mostly ("hmm, cool album cover . . but is it really worth the $7.98"). Big memory there is how I, like many American teens at the time, just passed by the big display brimming over with newly released Never Mind The Bollocks LPs. My reaction was something of a slack-jawed "wha?"

Yep, Korvettes' music dept. was cool (even if I wasn't).

I have mid- to late-80s memories of buying cool cutout cassettes in essentially the same space, but I can't imagine it was Korvettes still (or Wards). Sorry, I don't recall the store.

I forget the record store that was between the Penney's and what's currently Macy's (back then a Miller & Rhodes?). But it was a small, compact store. And another source of mid-80s cutout cassettes. Including a Jonathan Richman solo thing I ended up giving to my nieces and a copy of Lou Reed's Berlin that my boom box made a big show of chewing up in the very first moments of play on my way back home. A grand and harrowing slur of sound, then nothing.

End o' comment.

To check out the Sickmalls post I was responding to:


Friday, October 27, 2006

who & what done start it

It was the Sickmalls blog that I was trying to comment on that brought me here to blogdom. And this specific post I was wanting to comment on:


I dunno the author Anita and haven't been thru whatever passes for good manners online to say "hey, posting about yr blog in mine". But she has pics of old malls and the Krispy Kreme on Mercury, to name a very few of my favorite things. Makes her a cultural hero in my book.

And viewing her documentation of various ancient retail places in SE VA (my old homeland) will be a new leisure activity. Indeed, I think folks are posting to Flickr more of the same, if I understand correctly.

To keep my promise in "if I were a webmaster", I won't go into the why of my slackness, but some day my own OCD images of some groovy VA signage will emerge. (Assuming way cooler pics aren't already out there . . .) Must explore, learn, now.

if I were a webmaster & you were a lady . . .

I think often of a bit from the Simpsons, I forget which episode, where Patti and Selma are conferring on old standby interests that just aren't filling that personal void anymore. As one of the surly sisters mentions the shortwave radio, the radio is in view and some dude on the air says something in Serbo-Croation or whatever that translates as: "I have a ham radio."

That's kinda how I feel about this blog. (And maybe most blogs, but we'll stick to this one.)

To avoid said empty assertions, I will either find content or terminate this blog. If I have the time (big question) and figure how to do what needs to be done (something along the lines of what antenna to use--of which I will avoid any further mention). Just this initial bit of self-consciousness to limit my embarrassment if anyone ever looks at this blog.

As a wise person once told me: careful, this may suck. You've been warned.

as I was not saying

Hello All--

I only created this blog so as to post a comment on another blog--whose name slips my mind, but it's about old/sick/dead shopping malls in the goo'ol' US of A (of which I am a happy, proud, if also skeptical and ironical, citizen).

In the spirit of blogdom (shout it from one of a million million virtual rooftops), I will post it here too, a brief remembrance of the Mercury Mall that once existed on Mercury Blvd in Hampton VA, USA, N. America, Earth. If I recall the blog to which I posted, I'll mention that too for other morbidly sentimental types.

What birthed a blog:

Wm. Blake wisely wrote: "Drive your cart and your plow over the bones of the dead."

But I'm a sentimental old cuss who remembers the old Giant Open Air Market at the Mercury Mall. A vast and otherworldly place where my mom would pick up a dozen of the biggest glazed donuts in history.

And I recall being just small and goofy enough to submit my then nascent cursive handwriting to a computerized handwriting analysis machine that was stationed in the mall, say, circa 1971. I forget the exact results but they were printed on several blue hole-punch cards.

Now we have Bob Evans Restaurant and the Internet, and such ancient miracles are long past.

Thanks for your postings on these dead/sick malls.

End o' comment . . .

All for now,

faint beginnings in the rubble