Saturday, September 27, 2014

Valhalla Silverware

September 20, 1964, the Sunday News Tribune included an article about an 80th anniversary banquet to be held at the Valhalla Hall the following Saturday night, and that although the 80th anniversary of the Swedish Order of Valhalla was in December, the celebration in recent years was held in September to avoid conflict with the holidays.  I include here, fifty years later, Silverware from the old Valhalla Hall.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Scandinavian Dances at the Valhalla Hall During World War Two

This poem refers to the U.S.O. for African-American Servicemen and Women.  (Please click to see a photo of the building in 1945.)  And It refers to the Valhalla Hall, where Scandinavian Americans could attend Scandinavian dances.

Valhalla Hall, 2008 - the brick building from about 1926,
it was demolished to build the new health center

Commerce Street, 2012


She kept a scrapbook.  Pasted in
Is a program from a piano recital
At The American Legion Assembly Room.
Not The American Legion Hall,
Built in 1930 across from the park.
Photos at the library show the Assembly Room
Interior, the ceiling and window structure
The same as a 1922 news photograph
Of the American Legion Assembly Room. 
Other library photos are of African-American
Service men and women at their own
USO Club at 713-715 Commerce, 
the American Legion Assembly Room. 

On the recital program they have taken
The opportunity to make her seem
More sophisticated and professional
By adding to her last name, an e.
Linnea Gorde performed A La Bien Aimee. 

In the 1930s she performed
As a dance band piano player at
The Valhalla Hall.  Her second accordion player,
Claus Anderson, on May 29, 1942,
Promised a PA demonstration at the next
Meeting night of the Swedish Order of Valhalla.
He was a member of the committee
To replace the PA.  The job went to Bark’s
Electric.  The Scandinavian soldiers
Could go the the Valhalla Hall for dances.
Her first accordion player and her drummer,
Her brothers, were in Alaska and The Pacific. 

At the dining room window was a basket
Of white rocks my grandma found
On the beach on the island.
There was a small wooden Chinese man
Who pulled a rickshaw.  Through
The lace window curtain was the
Steep front yard.  In the living room was
The piano, where she had rehearsed
A La Bien Aimee by Shutt in 1923.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Valhalla Hall And First Lutheran Church

In the Tacoma News Tribune, Sunday September 20th, 1964, is a short article, “Tacoma Order of Valhalla in 80th Year”  The Swedish Order of Valhalla, Tacoma’s oldest “home-grown” fraternal body, will celebrate its 80th anniversary with a banquet and program Saturday night in its headquarters, Valhalla Temple at 1216 1/2 S. K St.

Confirmation Class - Boys
First Lutheran Church
According to the article, the actual founding date of the lodge was in December, the celebration changed to September to not conflict with the holidays.  The holidays of course were Christmas,  and closest to the Valhalla founding date was Saint Lucia Day.  The lodge was Swedish, as was First Swedish Lutheran Church, and in 1924, (ninety years ago), the lodge headquarters became the headquarters for First Lutheran Church.  The congregation moved to the Valhalla Hall following First Lutheran’s loss of their second building in Tacoma in a fire.  (Their first building had been on Tacoma Avenue.) Their services continued at Valhalla Hall until the present First Lutheran Church building was completed a few years later.
Confirmation Class - Girls
First Lutheran Church
My mother’s family was a part of Valhalla, a men’s organization.  I can show a picture of a confirmation class from before this happened.  It includes my mother’s oldest brother.  I believe the photo shows the pastor’s residence, which was across the street from the church building.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Excerpts from the Blog Entries for Open Mike at King’s Books

Yesterday Evening I read at the Open Mike at King's Books - Their reader was Laura LeHew.  It was a nice evening.  It begins to be a little cool.
Excerpts from the Blog Entries for Open Mike at King’s Books -
Blog Entry:   A Ticket from 1964   Starting high school in 1964 was not a clean break from friends in junior high school.  So I thought the ticket I had for the September 1964 Electronovision production of Hamlet, with Richard Burton,  was time spent with friends who always  focused on drama.  I retained a remembrance of seeing Richard Burton perform in a simple dark costume.
A thousand copies of Hamlet, directed by John Gielgud with Richard Burton as Hamlet, were released simultaneously at a thousand leading cities in the United States for four performances only.  It was presented at The Temple Theater, (seen to the left of the door of King’s Books).  The copies were then destroyed.  A copy remained with Richard Burton, which appears on the internet in sequences and is available as a restored movie.
From the door of King's Books,
 the Temple Theater
Blog Entry:  Ophelia .  Shocked and unable to communicate, Ophelia struggled, and as time went by, her father's death became an event to discuss with songs.  Hamlet's Ophelia must have been a strong reason John Gielgud, the director, wanted the play performed in rehearsal clothes.  Ophelia was a favorite theme of the wonderful Pre-Raphaelite painters who think her insanity made her radiant.  Gielgud preferred an Ophelia whose liveliness is dull and chill with shock. 

Blog Entry:  From The News Tribune, September 1964, Emily Walker’s Column:  "...three hours of watching Richard Burton's superb performance had left me in pieces...when the curtain fell...tears were rolling down my face, out of my nose, I couldn't see what I was doing, and I couldn't stop...I stumbled out, with the others...You who didn't see Burton's Hamlet at the Temple missed something wonderful...Here is a man who may be long remembered as the greatest Hamlet of them all."  These are quotes from Emily Walker's review in the News Tribune, printed the Sunday after the "Electron-o-vision" show on Wednesday and Thursday, September 23 and 24th 1964.
Landmark Convention Center
Old Mason Temple
Temple Theater
Blog Entry:  A Clue Emerges  A postcard from Elsinore Castle.  A friend sent the card from a summer trip to Scandinavia in 1966.  Part of the message…”The Castle from Hamlet!!  Remember Mrs. Hunt!”  It could be an English teacher had to do with students having tickets to the Electronovision Hamlet.  
Blog Entry:  Remember Ophelia.  Water Adjustment in the 1950s was at the YWCA pool in Tacoma. I did some microfilm research at the U. of Washington in Seattle.  A reference was in the stacks at the Drama Library.  The Drama Library was beyond the quad, at Hutchinson.  Hutchinson, the women's physical education building where I participated in The 1968 Swim Marathon of the dormitories, in a small pool, a pool like the YWCA in Tacoma.  
So at Hutchinson at the Drama Library stacks, I asked if the pool was still there.  Then if they could show me to an exit where the pool used to be.  This was nearby, and as the library worker showed me through the hallways, he explained which part had been the pool, which part had been the locker room.  However, as he explained his voice sounded into the ceiling with resonance, it was as though the pool were still there. 
That sound to me, in those spaces, always had meant there was a pool there.  Can I have to accept that, instead, the sound had something to do with the ceiling?
The fiftieth anniversary of John Gielgud’s direction of Richard Burton in Hamlet, 1964, and the Electronovision distribution of the taped movie, four performances only in two days, at around a thousand movie theaters.

Friday, September 5, 2014

Celebrate 13 Miles of Go Walk Tacoma Bikeways and Pedestrian Improvements

Celebrate 13 Miles of Go Walk Tacoma Bikeways and Pedestrian Improvements - for this purpose bike riders and pedestrians met at Wright Park yesterday afternoon.  Celebration ride groups included a bike ride to 26th and Stevens, a bike ride to South 37th and "G", and Walk With The Mayor, to 15th and Fawcett.  I have a few snapshots of the Walk.
Group returns to "Upper Downtown"

Podium for Speakers

Walk Group near Lighthouse Senior Center

Near the Lighthouse Senior Center

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Flier from Poetry Reading, April 29, 1968

"April 26, 1968, it was a fine reading."  A flier from the reading turned up, it featured Denise Levertov and Galway Kinnell.  So many fliers were printed neatly without any special detail work in those years, but this flier was done in very sweet calligraphy.  I link to the essay about my attending this reading, which was published at Salt River Review

Sunday, August 24, 2014

The Idea of Original Material and Replica; and The Amazing Theaters - and Hamlet, With Richard Burton, in 1964

1.  The Idea of Original Material and Replica

The beginning of autumn, 1964, saw the public release of the Warren Report on the Kennedy Assassination.  Part of this report discussed images made at the scene.  In November would be the first anniversary of the Assassination.  As a beginning high school student I thought of this part of the time.  In a class we studied the Kennedy inaugural address. 

Associated with the Hamlet ticket I have from 1964 was my assumption:   by “live” I thought they meant the play would be presented on live television the way the new year’s eve ball dropped on live television each year for us, in Tacoma, at nine in the evening.  I misunderstood.  Hamlet was performed live at a theater and recorded on video cameras.
The idea that an original work of art, extracted from experience or pure imagination by an artist, differs from some replica or some adaptation occurred in the 2013 movie, Saving Mr. Banks, about the author of Mary Poppins. Mrs. Travers flew to Los Angeles from England in 1961 and tried to prevent Walt Disney from using her character in a typical Disney movie.  Walt Disney, who put her up in a plush Beverly Hills hotel room filled with plush Disney animals, got his way, she did not.  She did not like the movie, Mary Poppins, when she attended the opening in 1964.  However the movie and the money encouraged her to write more stories. The end credits show across a reel-to-reel tape recorder, the sound of her voice and the Disney worker voices are surely a digitally recreation of the tape. 
2. The Amazing Theaters
Electronovision and Hamlet in 1964 was a product for American theaters to offer.  If it had caught people’s interest, it might have meant economic opportunity for old iconic American theaters.  Electronovision also did 1964 rock production.  Regarding opportunity for theater owners:
“Record dealers in cities where the T.A.M.I show will be screened should experience record sales by the dozen artists highlighting the film. Many excellent tie-ins should be advantageous as well between the dealers and the theater owners. Both could stand to gain. The only showings to be made, except the premiere, will be during the holidays, December 19 through January 3, 1965.”
Iconic American theaters, along with churches and Masonic-type lodges did face competition with music concert performance because the quality of large amplifiers was on the increase.  Good sound could also be found on stereo record players.  Entertainment could also be found on televisions.  However I think competition was not the only difficulty.  Earlier post-war experience was a boom economy, in which people had money to spend; people compared that time with the way the growing urban population spent money in the early 1960s.  The excellent possible advantage may have been reminiscent of other times. 
I saw Mary Poppins and liked it.  A scene late in Saving Mr. Banks recreates the festive opening at an amazing Los Angeles movie palace.  A part of the internet search I have done about Hamlet included looking up a few of the theaters listed in the New York Times with their Hamlet ad.  About fifty-six theaters in New York are and New Jersey showed the film.   Some of these theaters exist today, restored and showing movies.  Some have been demolished.  Some are now churches, some are beautiful Community Live Theaters.  It has been very lovely to view some of these iconic special places on the internet screen, and some have interesting stories. From the internet,  About The Oritani Theater, in Hackensack, NewJersey, listed as showing Hamlet:   “Erected in 1926, the Oritani — named for Oritam, chief of the Achkinheskcy Indian tribe in the 17th century — quickly became a local landmark…”