Thursday, May 4, 2023

Baseball’s last dive bar: Farewell to the crumbling Oakland Coliseum | Oakland Athletics

'Yet there’s an authentic experience that will be lost that won’t be recovered when the A’s skip town: a character that could be found in Oakland’s industrial southeast that won’t make the southbound trip after next year. And baseball will be poorer for it. “It’s a giant concrete toilet bowl,” former A’s outfielder Eric Byrnes said. “But it’s their toilet bowl and it’s a special toilet bowl.”

The stadium that’s prompted the Athletics’ move to Las Vegas was just as outdated and unfashionable as advertised. Naturally, I loved it

Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum, the fifth-oldest stadium in Major League Baseball and the home of the A’s since 1968, has been called baseball’s last dive bar. A brutalist concrete doughnut short on grandeur and long on character, seated next to a Bart station at the center of an industrial waste land, no one could ever mistake it for the sport’s revered old cathedrals such as Boston’s Fenway Park, Chicago’s Wrigley Field or Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles.

Longtime loyal A's season ticket holder will miss the old palace he's been attending for all its 55 years

Blasts from the Past > #retro #oldies

Old time candy we ate as a kid

When I paid the princely sum of $2 for a ticket to a recent Wednesday afternoon game against the Cubs, the stadium was just as cavernous, threadbare, outdated and unfashionable as advertised, managing to combine all the regrettable features of the dozen-plus cookie-cutter multipurpose stadiums that popped up throughout the US in the 1960s and 70s. Schoolkids in loosely assembled groups scampered excitedly through the aisles and about the large swathes of empty outfield seats. The trough-style urinals in the men’s rooms were leaky and rusted and the stained-concrete concourses stank of stale beer. All in all, the last place you’d take someone you were trying to impress. Naturally, I loved it.

Maybe it’s down to a misspent youth watching Phillies games from the bare-bones 700 level of Veterans Stadium, but there’s something about the simpler, stripped-down gameday experience that I’ve always preferred to a patch of grass surrounded by a point-of-sale processional. Nostalgia is a powerful narcotic, but the Coliseum experience stands out in an age when 99% of America’s sporting temples have come to resemble shopping malls. Of course the few active venues remaining today that compare to the Oakland Coliseum are part of a vanishingly brief shortlist. In the NFL, only the Buffalo Bills’ home ground even comes close (and its days are numbered). Another is Pimlico Race Course, the creaking 153-year-old home of thoroughbred racing’s Preakness Stakes. And then?

Oakland A’s fans protest the team’s impending relocation to Las Vegas during a game last week against the Cincinnati Reds.
Oakland A’s fans protest the team’s impending relocation to Las Vegas during a game last week against the Cincinnati Reds. Photograph: Thearon W Henderson/Getty Images

No sooner did I arrive home that Wednesday night than it was announced that A’s owner John Fisher, reclusive scion of the Gap clothing store empire, had purchased 49 acres of land close to the Las Vegas Strip for a billion-dollar retractable-roof stadium, all but guaranteeing the team will be out of Oakland once their lease at the Coliseum expires after the 2024 season. Amy Lau had it right: Everything fades. Nothing lasts.

None of this comes as a shock to anyone that’s been paying attention. The A’s have been trying to leave the Coliseum for at least three decades. Fisher has openly shopped the team to Vegas for years while letting the roster and its infrastructure crumble, even as the team’s valuation has soared to an estimated $1.18bn in the decade and a half since he bought it for $180m. This year’s team has a payroll of $56.8m, lowest in the majors by some distance, with only 11 players earning more than $11m and a scant two under contract for next season. Oakland’s starting pitchers are 0-15 with an 8.51 ERA. To no one’s surprise, they’ve lost 25 of their first 31 games – including by scores of 18-3, 17-6, 13-1, 12-2, 11-0 (twice) and 10-1 – putting them within a reasonable shot of the 1899 Cleveland Spiders’ major-league benchmark for futility.

It’s unnerving enough to watch the plot of Major League unfold, only without the Hollywood ending. But there’s something deeply troubling knowing the Athletics’ departure means that Oakland will have lost all three of her major-league sports teams in the span of a decade – with the Raiders having relocated (also to Las Vegas) and the NBA’s Golden State Warriors having moved to the $1bn Chase Center in downtown San Francisco.

Raw sewage backs up in the Oakland Athletics’ dugout during a September 2013 game against the Los Angeles Angels. Photograph: Michael Zagaris/Getty Images

This rickety building wasn’t always a symbol of decay. From their 1968 arrival in Oakland, the A’s have amassed the sixth-best winning percentage in the majors. Since then, the Coliseum has played host to six World Series, including baseball’s most recent threepeat, featuring a colorful cast including Catfish Hunter, Gene Tenace, Rollie Fingers, Sal Bando, Vida Blue, Blue Moon Odom and Reggie Jackson. The Raiders, their longtime co-tenants, won a couple of Super Bowls while calling it home. (And, yes, it’s where Nick Foles once threw seven touchdowns in a game.)

Of course, the Coliseum was beyond saving even before the Vegas move, rendered obsolete by the game’s modern economics if not health-department standards. Among the problems that have beset the Coliseum in recent years and pushed it beyond preservation: at least least delays due to malfunctioning stadium lights; a colony of several dozen feral cats that “invaded” the ballpark; dead


Click here for Old time candy

mice in a soda machine; the postponement of a game for more than three hours while crews pumped four inches of untreated sewage out of the visitors’ dugout; and, most recently, the opossum that has taken over the visiting team’s press box.

Yet there’s an authentic experience that will be lost that won’t be recovered when the A’s skip town: a character that could be found in Oakland’s industrial southeast that won’t make the southbound trip after next year. And baseball will be poorer for it. “It’s a giant concrete toilet bowl,” former A’s outfielder Eric Byrnes said. “But it’s their toilet bowl and it’s a special toilet bowl.”


Reggie Jackson circa 1974 with As third World Series trophy

Oakland Loses A’s, Last of It's 3 Major League Sports Teams– Reggie Blasts City, Kostas says Ownership also At Fault

original Oakland A's owner Charles Finley with his Mule mascot in 1968


Oakland is about to lose last of 3 major sports teams after the As announced thry ha e bought land in Vegas to build a stadium.

Bob Melvin: 'I'll always be an Oakland A.'

We don't imagine the giants will be too upset if the As leave, based on their history of trying to block every possible LOCAL attempted A's move in the past, i.e. San Jose, Fremont, Sacramento, you-name-it. NO, CONVERSELY, JINTS WILL BE ECSTATIC, Especially now with their less than stellar play and resulting  attendance drop. But , will old As fans cross the bay , especially to see this product - now vying for last place after five .500 or below seasons-to see their long -time nemisis?

Of course, the oakland a's never really appeared to go all out for the team - It was like they were punishing their fans for not having a new stadium and wouldn't spend the money- they even admitted -until they got a new stadium. MORE>

' Super Blooms’ of The East Bay Following Heavy Rains In NorCal 🌂 


Wednesday, April 12, 2023

Blast from the Past


Lola Falana was never allowed back on the Tonight show - The bittersweet life of Lola Falana

Blastsfrom the Past
(To be taken with the grains of salt before salt became bad then good again) 







































Friday, February 24, 2023

Huey ‘Piano’ Smith, New Orleans Rock ’n’ Roll Cornerstone, Dies at 89


Huey ‘Piano’ Smith, New Orleans Rock ’n’ Roll Cornerstone, Dies at 89

With songs like “Don’t You Just Know It,” “Rocking Pneumonia and the Boogie Woogie Flu” and “Sea Cruise,” he put a firm backbeat behind joyful nonsense.

Friday, February 10, 2023

Messages Gleaned from Lisa Marie Presley's passing- Lisa Marie and Priscilla on Grief and Counseling

Hopefully these words will have some impact on all of us in dealing with our Own relationships so we don't lose Is more needlessly as we lost Lisa Marie

Thursday, February 9, 2023

'Debonair pop composer, arranger, conductor, record producer and occasional singer's apolitical hit songs in the 1960s distilled that decade’s mood of romantic optimism'

Mr. Bacharach with Hal David, his most frequent collaborator, and Dionne Warwick, the pair’s definitive interpreter. Together they turned out a steady stream of pop hits.Credit...Frank Driggs Collection/Getty Imag

Bacharach defied genres , working with everyone from country Marty Robbins in 1957 to avante garde Elvis Costello in 1998 and dozens in between including R and B Chuck Jackson, Jerry Butler and the adrifters and Shirelles to pop rock early sixties icons Gene Pitney, Karen Carpenter and Dusty Springfield to instrumentalist Herb Alpert and especially Dionne Warwick. BACHARACH was truly prolific for over seven decades, working right up to the end Performing recently in places like Modesto California

The New York Times

By Stephen Holden

Feb. 9, 2023, 9:57 a.m. ET
Burt Bacharach, the debonair pop composer, arranger, conductor, record producer and occasional singer whose hit songs in the 1960s distilled that decade’s mood of romantic optimism, died on Wednesday at his home in Los Angeles. He was 94.

His publicist Tina Brausam confirmed the death, The Associated Press reported on Thursday. No specific cause was given.

A die-hard romantic whose mature style might be described as Wagnerian lounge music, Mr. Bacharach fused the chromatic harmonies and long, angular melodies of late-19th-century symphonic music with modern, bubbly pop orchestration, and embellished the resulting mixture with a staccato rhythmic drive. His effervescent compositions epitomized sophisticated hedonism to a generation of young adults only a few years older than the Beatles.

Because of the high gloss and apolitical stance of the songs Mr. Bacharach wrote with his most frequent collaborator, the lyricist Hal David, during an era of confrontation and social upheaval, they were often dismissed as little more than background music by listeners who preferred the hard edge of rock or the intimacy of the singer-songwriter genre. But in hindsight, the Bacharach-David team ranks high in the pantheon of pop songwriting.

Bacharach-David songs like “The Look of Love” (Dusty Springfield’s sultry 1967 hit, featured in the movie “Casino Royale”), “This Guy’s in Love With You” (a No. 1 hit in 1968 for Herb Alpert), and “(They Long to Be) Close to You” (a No. 1 hit in 1970 for the Carpenters) evoked an upscale world of jet travel, sports cars and sleek bachelor pads. Acknowledging this mystique with a wink, Mr. Bacharach appeared as himself and performed his 1965 song “What the World Needs Now Is Love” in the 1997 movie “Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery,” which spoofed the swinging ’60s ambience of the early James Bond films. He also made cameo appearances in its two sequels.

Mr. Bacharach with Hal David, his most frequent collaborator, and Dionne Warwick, the pair’s definitive interpreter. Together they turned out a steady stream of pop hits.Credit...Frank Driggs Collection/Getty Images
Mr. Bacharach collaborated with many lyricists over the years, and even wrote some of his own words. But his primary collaborator was Mr. David, seven years his senior, whom he met in a music publisher’s office in 1957. The team’s artistic chemistry solidified in 1962, beginning with the hits they wrote and produced for Dionne Warwick, a gifted young gospel-trained singer from East Orange, N.J.

Mr. Bacharach met Ms. Warwick at a recording session for the Drifters that included “Mexican Divorce” and “Please Stay,” two songs he wrote with the lyricist Bob Hilliard. Hearing Ms. Warwick, a backup singer, Mr. Bacharach realized he had found the rare vocalist with the technical prowess to negotiate his rangy, fiercely difficult melodies, with their tricky time signatures and extended asymmetrical phrases.

The artistic synergy of Mr. Bacharach, Mr. David and Ms. Warwick defined the voice of a young, passionate, on-the-go Everywoman bursting with romantic eagerness and vulnerability. Their urbane style was the immediate forerunner of the earthier Motown sound of the middle and late 1960s.

Mr. Bacharach and Mr. David worked in the Brill Building, the Midtown Manhattan music publishing hub, and they are frequently lumped together with the younger writers in the so-called Brill Building school of teenage pop, like the teams of Carole King and Gerry Goffin or Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil. But they rarely wrote explicitly for the teenage market. Their more sophisticated songs were closer in style to Cole Porter, and Mr. Bacharach’s fondness for Brazilian rhythms recalled lilting Porter standards like “Begin the Beguine.”

Hits and a Miss
Beginning with “Don’t Make Me Over” in 1962, the team turned out a steady stream of hits for Ms. Warwick, among them “Anyone Who Had a Heart,” “Walk On By,” “Alfie,” “I Say a Little Prayer” and “Do You Know the Way to San Jose.”

Accepting the Academy Award for the score of “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid” in 1970. Mr. Bacharach also won the Oscar for best song that year, for the film’s “Raindrops Keep Fallin’ on My Head.” Credit...Associated Press
Mr. Bacharach’s success transcended the Top 40. He won two Academy Awards for best song: for “Raindrops Keep Fallin’ on My Head,” written with Mr. David, in 1970, and “Arthur’s Theme (Best That You Can Do),” written with Peter Allen, Carole Bayer Sager and Christopher Cross, in 1982. His original score for the 1969 film “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid,” which included “Raindrops” (a No. 1 hit for B.J. Thomas), won an Oscar for best original score for a nonmusical motion picture. And the Bacharach-David team conquered Broadway in December 1968 with “Promises, Promises.”

Adapted by Neil Simon from “The Apartment,” Billy Wilder’s 1960 film about erotic hanky-panky at a Manhattan corporation, “Promises, Promises” was one of the first Broadway shows to use backup singers in the orchestra pit and pop-style amplification. Along with “Hair,” which opened on Broadway that same year, it presaged the era of the pop musical.

“Promises, Promises” ran for 1,281 performances, yielded hits for Ms. Warwick in the catchy but fiendishly difficult title song and the folk-pop ballad “I’ll Never Fall in Love Again,” and was nominated for seven Tony Awards. (Two of its cast members won, but the show itself did not. Both “Promises, Promises” and “Hair” lost in the best-musical category to the much more traditional “1776.”) It was successfully revived on Broadway in 2010.

At the piano in 1968 with the creative team for “Promises, Promises,” which included the actor Jerry Orbach, left, who won the Tony for his role in the Broadway musical, and Neil Simon, third from right, who adapted it from Billy Wilder’s 1960 film “The Apartment.” Credit...Bob Wands/Associated Press
With success both in Hollywood and on Broadway, as well as a high-profile movie-star wife, Angie Dickinson, whom he had married in 1965, Mr. Bacharach entered the 1970s not just a hit songwriter but a glamorous star in his own right. It seemed as if he could do no wrong. But that soon changed.

In 1973, Mr. Bacharach and Mr. David wrote the score for the movie musical “Lost Horizon,” adapted from the 1937 Frank Capra fantasy film of the same name. The movie was a catastrophic failure. Shortly after that, the Bacharach-David-Warwick triumvirate, which had already begun to grow stale, split up acrimoniously amid a flurry of lawsuits.

Reflecting on his split with Mr. David in 2013 in his autobiography, “Anyone Who Had a Heart: My Life and Music,” written with Robert Greenfield, Mr. Bacharach acknowledged that “it was all my fault, and I can’t imagine how many great songs I could have written with Hal in the years we were apart.”

A New Partnership
Mr. Bacharach endured several fallow years, personal as well as professional — his marriage to Ms. Dickinson was over long before they divorced in 1981 — but experienced a commercial resurgence in the 1980s through his collaboration with the lyricist Carole Bayer Sager, whom he married in 1982.

Mr. Bacharach and Ms. Sager hit their commercial peak in 1986 with two No. 1 hits: the Patti LaBelle-Michael McDonald duet “On My Own” and the AIDS fund-raising anthem “That’s What Friends Are For,” which went on to win the Grammy for song of the year. Originally recorded by Rod Stewart for the soundtrack of Ron Howard’s 1982 movie “Night Shift,” and redone by an all-star quartet billed as Dionne and Friends (Ms. Warwick, Stevie Wonder, Gladys Knight and Elton John), “That’s What Friends Are For” was Mr. Bacharach’s last major hit. He and Ms. Sager divorced in 1991.

Mr. Bacharach married the actress Angie Dickinson in 1965; they divorced in 1980. At the time of their marriage, he was not just a composer but a debonair, glamorous star in his own right. Credit...Associated Press
Burt Freeman Bacharach was born in Kansas City, Mo., on May 12, 1928. His father, Bert Bacharach, was a nationally syndicated columnist and men’s fashion journalist who moved his family to Forest Hills, Queens, in 1932. His mother, Irma (Freeman) Bacharach, was an amateur singer and pianist who encouraged him to study music. He learned cello, drums and piano.

While still underage, he sneaked into Manhattan jazz clubs and became smitten with the modern harmonies of Dizzy Gillespie and Charlie Parker, which would exert a huge influence on him.

He studied music at several schools, including McGill University in Montreal and the Mannes School of Music in New York. Among his teachers were the composers Henry Cowell and Darius Milhaud. While serving in the Army in the early ’50s, he played piano, worked as a dance-band arranger and met the singer Vic Damone, with whom he later toured as an accompanist.

He became the German actress and singer Marlene Dietrich’s musical director in 1958 and toured with her for two years in the United States and Europe. Other performers he accompanied in the 1950s included the Ames Brothers, Polly Bergen, Georgia Gibbs, Joel Grey, Steve Lawrence and a little-known singer named Paula Stewart, who in 1953 became his first wife. (They divorced in 1958.)

Mr. Bacharach spent the 1950s accompanying famous performers, including the German actress and singer Marlene Dietrich, pictured with him in 1960.Credit...Werner Kreusch/Associated Press
The Bacharach-David songwriting team enjoyed immediate success in 1957 with Marty Robbins’s “The Story of My Life” and Perry Como’s “Magic Moments.” Mr. Bacharach’s emerging melodic signature was discernible in early 1960s hits like Chuck Jackson’s “Any Day Now” (lyrics by Mr. Hilliard) and “Make It Easy on Yourself” (lyrics by Mr. David), a success for Jerry Butler in the United States and the Walker Brothers in Britain. In their Gene Pitney hits “(The Man Who Shot) Liberty Valance” and “Twenty Four Hours From Tulsa,” the team adopted a swaggering quasi-western sound.

All the elements of Mr. Bacharach’s style coalesced in Ms. Warwick’s recordings, which he produced with Mr. David and arranged himself. In the typical Warwick hit, her voice was surrounded by strings and backup singers, the arrangements emphatically punctuated by trumpets echoing the influence of Herb Alpert’s Tijuana Brass.

Among the other artists who had hits with the team’s songs were Jackie DeShannon (“What the World Needs Now Is Love”), Dusty Springfield (“Wishin’ and Hopin’,” “The Look of Love”), Tom Jones (“What’s New Pussycat?”) and the 5th Dimension (“One Less Bell to Answer”). But Ms. Warwick was their definitive interpreter.

A Reunion
After the “Lost Horizon” debacle, Mr. Bacharach worked predominantly as a concert performer, conducting his own instrumental suites and singing his own songs in an easygoing voice with a narrow range. He periodically released solo albums, of which the most ambitious was “Woman” (1979), a primarily instrumental song cycle recorded with the Houston Symphony. But these records had a negligible commercial impact.

Time eventually healed the wounds from Mr. Bacharach’s split with Mr. David and Ms. Warwick, and he reunited first with Ms. Warwick (most notably for “That’s What Friends Are For”) and later with Mr. David (for “Sunny Weather Lover,” recorded by Ms. Warwick in the early 1990s). He found his greatest interpreter since Ms. Warwick in the pop-soul balladeer Luther Vandross, whose lush 1980s remakes of “A House Is Not a Home” and “Anyone Who Had a Heart” transformed them into dreamy quasi-operatic arias decorated with florid gospel melismas.

He married his fourth wife, Jane Hansen, in 1993.

Accompanying the singer-songwriter Elvis Costello at Radio City Music Hall in New York in 1998, the year they collaborated on the album “Painted From Memory.”Credit...James Estrin/The New York Times
In his 60s, Mr. Bacharach found himself regarded with awe by a younger generation of musicians. Bands like Oasis and Stereolab included his songs in their repertoire. The British singer-songwriter Elvis Costello, a longtime admirer, collaborated with him on the ballad “God Give Me Strength” for the 1996 film “Grace of My Heart,” loosely based on the life of Carole King. That led them to collaborate on an entire album, “Painted From Memory” (1998), arranged and conducted by Mr. Bacharach, for which they shared music and lyric credits.

A track from that album, “I Still Have That Other Girl,” won a Grammy for best pop vocal collaboration. It was the sixth Grammy of Mr. Bacharach’s career; he would win one more, in 2006, when his “At This Time” was named best pop instrumental album, as well as a lifetime achievement Grammy in 2008.

The Bacharach-David team was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1972. Forty years later, shortly before Mr. David died at age 91, the two received the Gershwin Prize for Popular Song from the Library of Congress.

Mr. Bacharach in 2007. “Most composers sit in a room by themselves and nobody knows what they look like,” he wrote in his autobiography. “I get to make a direct connection with people.”Credit...Lisa Maree Williams/Getty Images
Mr. Bacharach remained in the public eye until the end. In December 2011, “Some Lovers,” a musical for which he wrote the music and Steven Sater wrote the lyrics, opened at the Old Globe in San Diego. “What’s It All About? Bacharach Reimagined,” a New York Theater Workshop production built on his songs, opened Off Broadway in December 2013. (An earlier revue based on the Bacharach-David catalog, “The Look of Love,” had a brief Broadway run in 2003.) As recently as 2020, Mr. Bacharach was still writing new music, releasing a collaboration with the singer-songwriter Melody Federer.

In 2013, Mr. Bacharach began collaborating with Mr. Costello, Mr. Sater and the television writer and producer Chuck Lorre on a stage musical based on the “Painted From Memory” album but also including new songs. That project never came to fruition, although some of the new material ended up on Mr. Costello’s recent albums. In 2023, all the music from the “Painted From Memory” project was included in “The Songs of Bacharach & Costello,” a boxed set that also included Mr. Costello’s recordings of Bacharach songs.

Looking back on his career in his autobiography, Mr. Bacharach suggested that as a songwriter he had been “luckier than most.”

“Most composers sit in a room by themselves and nobody knows what they look like,” he wrote. “People may have heard some of their songs, but they never get to see them onstage or on television.” Because he was also a performer, he noted, “I get to make a direct connection with people.”

“Whether it’s just a handshake or being stopped on the street and asked for an autograph or having someone comment on a song I’ve written,” Mr. Bacharach added, “that connection is really meaningful and powerful for me.”