Category Archives: christmas

VA’s Best of 2014: Fave Music, Media and Re/Discoveries From The Century’s Inaugural Teen Year

variousartists best of 2014 graphicVA Best of 2014 A&M

(Top Photo montage/doctoring by VA — original photos taken at the downtown Bank St. location of Compact Music here in Ottawa and at Chez Various: Click on photo to see full size image.  Below: This and all other labels on the page doctored by VA from my personal vinyl bounty).

After a relatively-weak-year-for-albums 2013, 2014 should have been the antidote for me: seemingly almost every currently working artist that I listen to released a new album while many of my favourite legacy acts put out compilations, archive sets or deluxe reissues.

And in many ways, 2014 was an antidote. Continue reading

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VA-Tel presents 20 OUTTASIGHT XMAS SENSATIONS! (Xmas #8)

VA-Tel presents 20 Outtasight Xmas Sensations(Cover by VariousArtists; Pics grabbed from ye olde Internet)

20 Sensational Hits! 20 Sensational Stars!

Here’s some fun’n’hip shakin’ musical accompaniment for the annual Santafest.  This splendiferous list mostly avoids the obvious or overly solemn, and should get the gang groovin’ at your seasonal shindig while helping to mask the sound of partygoers vomiting in the bathroom after too many Baileys … or drive everyone swiftly out the door, depending on the circles you run in.  (A playlist of this terrific 20 can be found over on my YouTube channel, VATV). Continue reading

VariousArtists’ 12 Days of Christmas Viewing (Xmas #7)

VariousArtists xmas viewing tv image

Originally Published on OpenSalon.com on December 13, 2013

My final of three new Xmas entries for this year, following my pieces on Xmas Advertising from LIFE Nov. 30 1959 and on how I discovered the truth about Santa Claus.

Turn on, tune in, and drop … onto the sofa in front of that TV: the annual Clausfest is upon us on a midnight clear, meaning that it’s time once again to celebrate the season via reconnecting with the annual viewing of beloved Christmas TV specials or movies.

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I Believe In Father Christmas, or: Brown Shoes Don’t Make It (Xmas #6)

BLOG Me Winter 1970

Me during the winter of 1969-1970.

Originally published on OpenSalon.com on December 5, 2013

.Here is another off-topic post for the Christmas season.  Two years ago over on Open Salon, they had an open call soliciting folks to share their tales about how they discovered that Santa Claus was indeed a sham.  I was too busy during that and the previous xmas season to tell my tale, and so, with my usual out-of-whack timing, here is my story for you now.

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“If you think about it, Santa Claus is directly responsible for heroin addiction.  Innocent children are brainwashed into believing the first big lie their parents ever tell them, and when the truth finally hits, they never believe them again.” 

John Waters, “Why I Love Christmas” from Crackpot: The Obsessions of John Waters (1987).

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It was 1969, and as one of December’s children, I was ending my adventure of life as a six-year-old and looking forward to seven and the seventies. Continue reading

Christmas Advertising: LIFE Magazine, Nov. 30, 1959 (Xmas#5)

BLOG PROCTOR SMILE

Just look at that radiant smile!  And it’s all because of (find out below) …

 

Originally published on OpenSalon.com on November 30, 2013

NOTE: I occasionally post off-topic entries, especially during the Christmas season.  I’ll be taking a breather from the My Life — In Concert! series for December to make way for three or four Christmas-themed entries to come in the the next few weeks.

A couple of yuletides ago, I published an entry highlighting Christmas-related ads spanning 1949-2011 that were culled from my magazine collection, focusing on gift-giving suggestions from throughout the years as well as with ads relating to seasonal social activities and entertaining.

While I love old magazines in general, I am particularly fond of and seek out issues of LIFE (something I chronicled in this piece on the first issue of LIFE on the 1950s).  In this entry, I am zeroing in on one particular issue, with a newsstand date from exactly 54 years ago today: November 30, 1959. Continue reading

KA-CHING-A-LING: Christmas Advertising Highlights 1949-2011

VariousArtists presents, KA-CHING-A-LING: Christmas Advertising Highlight 1949-2011

Season’s Greetings from Schlitz.  And Joan from Mad Men (Life, December 1960) .

Originally published on OpenSalon.com on December 19, 2011

Christmas is the season of peace, good cheer, and jollity … and maxing out your credit card; stressing over what to buy everyone in between bouts of insomnia as you try to recall if you bought Uncle Walt a similar pair of McGregor socks last year; rock’em sock’em parents giving each other a sharp right hook as they fight over the last (insert latest toy fad here) on the shelves while dodging pepper spray; abused, overworked sales staff squaring off against exhausted, overheated shoppers to discern who’s more fed up; mall patrons launching law suits following multi-car fender benders after a downpour of freezing rain has turned the parking lot into a fiesta of black ice …

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