Tuesday, February 13, 2018
In 1952, she penned and sang scat-style lyrics to saxophonist Wardell Gray's composition "Twisted" and it was an underground hit, resulting in her winning Down Beat magazine's New Star award.
My analyst told me
That I was right out of my head
But I said dear doctor
I think that it's you instead
'Cause I have got a thing that's unique and new
It proves that I'll have the last laugh on you
Because instead of one head, I've got two.
See Annie performing "Twisted" on Hugh Hefner's "After Dark."
Sassy: The Life of Sarah Vaughan by Leslie Gourse, which says, "As a very young woman, Annie, like Sassy, had enormous energy for a life in the fast lane; together they stayed up all night, drinking and smoking. Sassy liked marijuana and cocaine. Later Annie would switch to herbal tea, but in the 1950s, she too liked to get high."
Ross performed with Louis Armstrong and idolized Billie Holiday, about whom she spoke on a recent BBC interview. She recorded seven popular albums with the vocal group Lambert, Hendricks & Ross between 1957 and 1962. During that time, she descended into heroin, and had an affair with Lenny Bruce. According to Jet magazine (11/6/69), she was arrested for drugs, as was Anita O'Day.
She also had an acting career, appearing in Robert Altman's Short Cuts (1993) and providing vocals for other actresses.
"Twisted" has been covered by a myriad of artists, including Bette Midler and Joni Mitchell (complete with a cameo from Cheech & Chong). In 1996, Ross recorded "Marajuana," the Arthur Johnston/Sam Coslow song first performed in the 1930s by Gertrude Michael and also covered by Midler.
At the age of 81, Ross sang "Twisted" at the 2011 MAC Awards, where she was honored with a Lifetime Achievement Award. A documentary about Ross's life, titled No One But Me, premiered at the Glasgow Film Festival in 2012. She is reportedly working on her autobiography and still singing. See Annie's website.
Saturday, February 10, 2018
On January 6, 2008, the Dallas Morning News picked up Cal State Long Beach professor and novelist Diana Wagman’s column: What my cancer taught me about marijuana, subtitled Why I – and a surprising number my friends – smoke pot.
Among other things learned during chemotherapy treatment, like that eyelashes really do have a purpose and how wonderfully helpful her friends are, Wagman wrote, “What really shocked me was how many of my old, dear, married, parenting, job-holding friends smoke pot. …People I never expected dropped by to deliver joints and buds and private stash. … The poets and musicians were not a surprise, but lawyers? CEOs? Republicans?”
Pain was the #1 reason Wagman’s 40- and 50-something friends still get high, she wrote, adding, “We're all beginning to fall apart, and a couple of tokes really take the edge off the sciatica, rotator cuff injuries, irritable bowel syndrome and migraines.”
Wagman’s oncologist told her pot’s antinauseant properties were discovered 25 years ago, and that patients seem to like it today “because they would rather support a farm in Humboldt County than a huge pharmaceutical conglomerate.” When modern medicine’s anti-nausea drugs didn’t work for Wagman she lit up, finding it helped “a lot” but shocking her 15-year-old DARE-educated daughter.
Wagman hasn't slowed down in the last decade, recently publishing her first young adult novel, Extraordinary October, “complete with trolls, fairies, intolerance, talking dogs...”
Visit Wagman's Website
Saturday, February 3, 2018
In Tesla's autobiography My Inventions, he wrote of taking apart the clocks of his grandfather as a boy. "Shortly there after I went into the manufacture of a kind of pop-gun which comprised a hollow tube, a piston, and two plugs of hemp," he wrote. "The art consisted in selecting a tube of the proper taper from the hollow stalks." Hemp does indeed have hollow stalks, so it seems the young Nikola was familiar with the plant.
|A bag made by Tesla's mother |
It is quite probable that the seeds Djuka planted were hemp. Nikola was born in 1856 in a mountainous Serbian village in what was then part of the Austrian empire and is now in Croatia. Some of my ancestors happen to have lived during that time in a similar village only 200 km away, and I have confirmed that the national costume of the Gottschee people, as they were called, was made from hemp.
Being separated from the mother country [Germany], the Gottscheer developed his own national dress. He obtained wool from the sheep which he raised himself, and the hemp which he planted, supplied him with the yarn from which he spun his own linen, which was known as ‘Konig.’ On Sundays and holidays, the men wore linen trousers that went just above the shoes, a jacked made of coarse material and a broad-rimmed large black hat.
The women’s apparel was very colorful and picturesque. They wore snow-white pleated linen aprons and, around their middle, they wore a bright red or brightly embroidered belt with long fringes hanging down their backs. Around their shoulders, they wore a colorful shawl. There was always a great deal of competition amongst the women as to who would have the prettiest dress when they made their next “Kirchgang” since they all made their own dresses . . . Until the latter part of the 19th century, this type of national dress predominated.
Hemp is still grown and processed throughout Eastern Europe.
Djuka and Nikola didn't necessarily make rope and paper from it, but quite likely she spun and wove the hemp she grew and processed, and her young son played with the stalks and fibers. One can only speculate as to whether Djuka's "genius" and intuition, and that of her son, were enhanced by hemp.