I’m still working my way through the February 1951 Virginia Spectator, which has some interesting treasures beyond the Pogo-related content we wrote about yesterday. In particular, here’s a set of cocktail recommendations for Midwinters drinking, proving that straight bourbon and beer didn’t always prevail (though certainly “Mad Men” style sexism did).
In fact, as one might expect from the mid-century period, there’s no bourbon in any of these cocktails, or any dark liquor at all (aside from a little rum). None of these cocktails is fancy, but they’re mostly true to their models—with the possible exception of the fruit salad on the Zombie. Enjoy!
- 1 part French Vermouth
- 4 parts Dry Gin
Stir with cracked ice, strain and serve with stuffed olive.
- 3/4 oz lime juice
- 3/4 oz pineapple juice
- 1 tsp. syrup
- 1 oz white rum
- 1 oz gold rum
- 1 oz Jamaica rum
- 1/2 oz demerara rum
- 1/2 oz apricot liqueur
Shake violently, strain into 14 oz zombie glass, 1/4 filled with ice. Float splash of demerara on top. Spike 1 green cherry, 1 small pineapple stick, 1 red cherry on a toothpick, insert into drink, decorate with mint sprig, dust with powdered sugar.
Pour a jigger of Absinthe into a drip glass, then place a cube of sugar over the drop hole in the upper section, pack with cracked ice, and pour cold water to fill the dripper. When all the water has dripped through you’re ready to deteriorate.
- Juice 1/2 lime
- 1 tsp sugar
- 2 oz rum
Shake well with cracked ice and strain.
- 1 cube sugar
- 1 dash angostura bitters
Place sugar in glass and saturate with bitters. Pour chilled champagne over and serve without stirring.
As previously mentioned, I now have my copy of the February 1951 Virginia Spectator, the “Pogo issue” of the University of Virginia student magazine that started out as the literary magazine (jointly published by the Jefferson and Washington Societies) but was by the 1950s more a college humor magazine with the occasional short story thrown in.
Calling this the “Pogo issue” is based on the incredible Walt Kelly UVa-themed cover (above) which I’ve discussed once or twice before, plus the inclusion of two articles: a biography of Walt Kelly and a discussion of the characters in his most famous comic strip. “The Land of the Elephant-Squash,” of which the first three pages are reprinted below, was later reprinted in the Okefenokee Star fanzine and in Fantagraphics reprint collections. “What Makes Pogo Tick?” is less often reprinted. Reading both, there is nothing to tie them to Virginia, but this appears to be the first time both appeared in print.
I’ve scanned several more of the pages in the issue into this Flickr album. Enjoy…
Following yesterday’s link regarding the possible fate of the Confederate war statues donated to the City of Charlottesville by Paul Goodloe McIntire, I thought it might be worthwhile to dig a little deeper. Was McIntire, a huge donor to both the city and the University of Virginia, a virulent racist like composer and white supremacist John Powell?
It seems many have been asking the same question, and as you might expect the evidence of his intent is a little murky.
Let’s start with the facts. McIntire, after having made his fortune on the New York Stock Exchange, returned home to Charlottesville and started giving away that fortune. In addition to the school of fine arts, the amphitheater, and other gifts to UVA, he donated land and money for parks in Charlottesville, including two white-only parks (Belmont Park and McIntire Park). At the same time he donated the land for McIntire Park, he also donated the land for the all-black Washington Park.
Was he on the side of white supremacy? Or was he simply endowing all Charlottesville’s citizens, black or white, within the scope of the prevailing legal framework of “separate but equal”?
It’s hard to say. An article in CVille Weekly notes that “he did invite the Confederate Veterans, Sons of Confederate Veterans and the United Daughters of the Confederacy to plan the statue’s [Lee’s] unveiling.” But given the heavy concentration of Confederate veterans in Virginia, was this like inviting the Klan or only like inviting the Disabled American Veterans?
I don’t know if we will ever get a good answer on this, given that people like Ben Railton and Waldo Jaquith have been plumbing it since 2009. But it’s worth continuing to remind ourselves that many who have been held up as civic heroes were also products of their times. And, with Railton, to remember that we have many public spaces dedicated to the narrow Confederate view of history, and to call for more reminders of how life was on the other side.
Part of the 1953 Virginia Spectator Christmas issue (previous posts here and here) was a set of mildly off-color Christmas woodcuts showing the life of the Baron Soppenscotten, who appears to have had a good deal in common with the students at UVa during the period. This is definitely the most elaborate art published on the theme in any UVa magazine I’ve seen. And what is Christmas, after all, without a little gluttony and drunkenness? (I know: it’s Christmas.)
I first wrote about the questionable treasures and pseudo-carols locked within the December 1953 “Misplaced Mistletoe” issue of the Virginia Spectator back in June, but with Christmas only a few days away it seems high time to revisit the book. Having gotten the clean carols out of the way early, here’s one of the more questionable numbers, “Sexual Misbehavior of a Female Reindeer, or I Saw Donner Kissing Santa Claus.”
I saw Donner kissing Santa Claus
It was really Mommy dressed to kill
Dear Mother looked so queer
In the costume of a deer,
With furry antlers from her front
A tail from out her rear!
Then I saw Donner licking Santa’s paws,
Mommy’s eyes just never had that look.
It wasn’t mother, costume-clad,
‘Twas Donner deer seducing Dad!
Doctor Kinsey, where in hell’s that book?
I’m one step further along on my ultimate UVa checklist. Last week I received my copy of the February 1951 Virginia Spectator, the one with the cover by Pogo artist Walt Kelly showing Pogo and Albert the Alligator trying to sell ice cream to all the college students and their dates trysting in the serpentine walls at the University of Virginia.
I hope I find time to scan bits of the magazine in the next few weeks.
We live in an odd time in which the transient leaves lasting traces. Photos linger for years online that would have moldered in shoe boxes thirty years ago. And even the smallest of businesses leaves traces—in reviews, websites, photos. But businesses and restaurants that closed before the dawn of the Web linger in obscurity, with no digital record of their existence.
I was reminded of this last night when I told my son the story of my first seafood dinner. “Grandma and Grandpa liked to go to a seafood restaurant in Poquoson, at the edge of the wetlands,” I told him, and then had to explain about what that meant. “It sat at the edge of a dock and was run by a man named Crosby Forrest. And it had a huge swordfish on the wall, and the biggest oyster shell I’ve ever seen.” I held my arms out as wide as I could to show him how big it was. “Anyway, I was probably about two or three, and they brought me to Crosby Forrest’s restaurant.”
“What kind of food did they have?” he asked.
“Oh, they had clam chowder.”
“It’s a soup with clams in it.”
“No, you’d like it. There are different kinds; here in Massachusetts they make it with milk—”
“—and in New York they make it with tomatoes, but in Poquoson they make it with broth. They call it ‘Bull Island clam chowder.’ And then they ordered some fish for me. It was flounder, and I ate the whole thing.”
“Did it have eyes?”
“Well, flounder have both eyes on the top of their head. But they took all the meat off the bone for me. They had to, because they didn’t want me to swallow a bone by mistake.”
“Was it good?”
“Yes, and I ate the whole thing.”
“And then I got cranky, and Crosby told Grandma and Grandpa that I could sleep on the sofa in his office. And I remember waking up and seeing him and then Grandma and Grandpa came and took me home.”
“I wanna go to Crosby Forrest!”
“Yeah! I want flounder.”
I wish I had pictures of the restaurant. But apparently it met its demise before the earliest date of the digital archives of the Daily Press. And Google Image Search only turns up pictures of Bill Forrest Seafood, which is a distribution business. Still, the exterior of that business looks awfully familiar; I wonder if he took over the location of the original restaurant. I guess I’ll have to go back home and figure it out.
Hyperallergic: Folk art relics from the Golden Age of America’s Secret Societies (via Boing Boing). Interesting exhibit of artifacts from the Freemasons and Odd Fellows.
It made me think of some of the few artifacts that have surfaced from the University of Virginia’s secret societies. Most of them have left behind only their rings or ribbons, but a few other items of stranger affect survive, particularly from the Hot Feet.
My favorite is the crown of the Hot Feet, pictured above and worn by James Rogers McConnell, among others. Though the crown was updated by the time that Lewis Crenshaw wore it, it is still a fascinating reminder of this intersection between UVA mythology, folk art and the American tendency toward the borrowed ritual image. It would be fascinating to see if any of the other … intriguing artifacts pictured below from 1906, showing the coronation of Charles S. McVeigh outside the East Range, survive.
Seven years ago today, I summed up the things that happened eight years ago before that: the small amount that I could write, stunned, on September 11, 2001; my more elaborate write-up from 2002 and, after singing in the Rolling Requiem, my detailed recollections from the day; my thoughts from 2003, on the brink of invasions; my thoughts from 2008, in which I assert that in spite of the attack, we’re still here.
All of which is to say I thought I had processed and finished my grieving for the victims of that bright fall day fifteen years ago.
Then, one night this week after rehearsing Adams’ On the Transmigration of Souls, I attempted to describe Doug Ketcham to one of my TFC colleagues. And I could not speak. I was suddenly dumbstruck by the immense unfairness of what happened to him: twenty-seven years old, a rising star at Cantor Fitzgerald, who retained enough presence of mind to call his parents from underneath his desk after the first plane hit the towers to tell them that he loved them.
Doug was an acquaintance who I wish I had known well enough to call friend. Other UVa friends, like Tin Man, knew him much better. But he was a decent human being who never blinked an eye when I joined the crew that hung around with him. He made you feel less alone.
I spent some time thinking about him in our final rehearsal of Transmigration on Friday. I thought about the fact that I haven’t come to terms with his death after all these years. I thought about the fact that this anniversary still has the power to turn me somber and sour.
And then I thought about the structure of the piece. It opens with street sounds, footsteps, and then the words “missing… missing…” and the reading of names. The choir and orchestra slowly emerge from shifting tonalities to sing words, not of high poesy, but from the families of the victims, who posted them on fliers around the site of the Twin Towers in the weeks after the attack. Everyday words. “…he was tall, extremely good-looking, and girls never talked to me when he was around.” (Which could have been written about Doug.) Or the words of one woman: “I loved him from the start…. I wanted to dig him out. I know just where he is.”
It is at this moment that the orchestra gives a tremendous wrench, building in intensity and volume until at the top of the crescendo the chorus bursts into the moment of transfiguration: “Light! Light! Light!”
But after the transfiguration moment, the chorus drops away, the instrumentation drops back down, and you can hear that the voices and names are still speaking. And so it goes until the end of the work, with a final wordless tone cluster from the chorus yielding to a slendering thread of string sound, which after the thirty minutes of the piece finally resolves upward into a new major key—but not triumphantly, but so quietly it can almost not be heard.
And I think about this ending, and I think I finally understand what Adams was trying to get at. The dead are still with us after the transmigration because they always will be. It is we who must be transmigrated, who must allow ourselves to be changed, to not continue to stand, breath held, on the edge of that dreadful day. We who must resolve upward.
UVA Today: More Green Space Planned for Ivy-Emmet Entrance Corridor. Buried in the discussion, as it was when an early version of the plans were discussed over the summer, is the proposed demolition of the Cavalier Inn.
It’s no Ritz-Carlton, or even Marriott, but I’ve long had a soft spot in my heart for the old Cavalier Inn, slightly mildewy though it may be. It’s often the most affordable, and available, place to stay near Grounds. And I find it ironic that the proposed renovations may eliminate one of the few places close enough to Grounds to comfortably walk without taking a car, in the name of “green space.”
The BOV will take up the question of whether to proceed with the plan in December. Here’s hoping that enough data accompanies that discussion—like hotel vacancy rates and walkability options for visitors to the University—to set my mind at ease.
Virginia Historical Society’s Blog: What is a sublime landscape? What is a picturesque landscape? Where are they found in Virginia? Nice survey of 19th century painting conventions and landscapes, beginning with Jefferson’s assessment of Natural Bridge as “the most sublime of nature’s works … It is impossible for the emotions arising from the sublime to be felt beyond what they are here.”
UVA Today: UVA spearheads efforts to digitally map Faulkner’s world. Stephen Railton and the fine folks at IATH are continuing their project to create an interactive way to access Faulkner’s writing. Some of the visualizations, like the Location-Character Graph, look like they have the potential to revolutionize study of his writings.
Today’s adventure into the musical past of the University of Virginia comes courtesy of my sense of curiosity. I had often seen the statement (starting with Virginius Dabney’s fine history of the University, Mr. Jefferson’s University) that “Virginia, Hail, All Hail” and “The Cavalier Song” were winners of a competition sponsored by the student newspaper, College Topics, for the best fight song and alma mater song. It occurred to me that I had repeated that claim in several places, including on Wikipedia, without actually checking the primary source.
I had a little downtime on Saturday and paged through copies of College Topics from early 1923—thanks, Google. What I found surprised and amused me a little.
Discovery one: The contest was not widely subscribed. On January 19, 1923, with twelve days left in the running, Topics ran the following article:
So apparently, even in this more musical time, students and alumni were not pounding down the door to provide original songs.
Discovery two: The competition was not specifically to find an alma mater song or fight song; it was more generally about getting more original songs written about the University and was open to both students and alumni.
Discovery three: The organizers weren’t wild about the winners! On February 16, in announcing the winners, they said the following: “The Committee desires to thank those who submitted songs and to congratulate the winners. It is hoped that the contest will stimulate the student body and alumni to greater effort to give Virginia a still better group of songs with original music.” This attitude may explain why “Virginia, Hail” was not more widely adopted outside the Glee Club. Also of note: neither of the second place winners were Glee Club members, while two of the three first place winners were associated with the Club.
Here’s the article from that day, minus the texts of the winning songs:
I still have one more piece of research to perform, since I haven’t seen the original announcement of the competition. Google News archives doesn’t have College Topics from December 1922, and I can’t find a copy of the December 1922 Alumni News on line either. But I’m a little closer to having good information than I was.
A few follow ups to Monday’s post about slave quarters on the Lawn:
“Rooms beneath the student rooms on the East Lawn”: I couldn’t find a photograph, but the excellent rendering above shows how the sloping elevation of the ridge on which the Lawn is situated exposes access to a basement level beneath the student rooms on either side of Pavilion VI on the East Lawn. These are visible as you approach the Lawn via the alley between the gardens of Pavilions VI and VIII. I distinctly remember a conversation with other students (my memory is they were University Guides, but I could be mistaken) discussing the theory that these anonymous windowless doors were slave quarters, a theory which was dismissed at the time but which appears to be true.
“Even in the recent IATH project to create and render 3D models of the buildings, they appear to exist in a vacuum, without outbuildings”: I spoke hastily. The IATH project in question, the “Jefferson’s University: The Early Life” project, does include renderings of some pavilions in a standalone fashion. But as seen above, for some pavilions a more full representation is provided. Particularly noteworthy is the work that has been done on the Pavilion VI outbuildings, which provides renders and historical context for no fewer than five outbuildings, ranging from Gessner Harrison’s office to a privy to a smokehouse. Also see the page on the Crackerbox, which is described as a combination kitchen and slave residence.