Archive for September, 2012

Unless you were a big fan of the big bands so prevalent in the 40’s or saw every film that Bette Midler ever made, you probably missed the movie “For the Boys.”  A recent news story about the opening of a USO in Virginia is what had be revisiting my film library recently to view this picture once again.

I had purchased a video of a Mark Rydell film a while back. This movie is about a true-to-life couple who entertained the troops, a warm a sentimental look at Eddie Sparks and Dixie Leonard two of the many USO singers and dancers who were hired to visit military installations to boost the morale of the soldiers and to offer them a temporary respite from the stresses associated with the war and from battle fatigue.   Many movie stars volunteered to join the entertainers to cheer up the troops, and just amazed the soldiers with their electrifying stage presence.

The film was not made yesterday (its issue date was 1991), in fact, while Ms. Midler and James Caan were rehearsing a scene on location at a London airbase, and performing for servicemen and reservists, they were surprised by the sudden events of the Gulf War that called many of the soldiers immediately into action.

A good deal of their audience that day had to leave and Caan and Midler found themselves reliving a familiar occurrence,   entertaining the remaining military service personnel  with their film’s musical numbers before the men present on the set were actually called off to do their duty.

While oversees, the bands, the big bands, were doing what they could for the war effort to keep Americans entertained and happy.  Out of this effort, beautiful torch singers emerged and the sounds of big band jazz.  One of the all-girl big bands of the swing era was called the “International Sweethearts of Rhythm” with leader and vocalist Anna Mae Winburn.  Songs that would inspire and lift spirits like “Tuxedo Junction” were the order of fare for these one-of-a-kind, tremendously talented female musicians, their songs, like their popular number “Jump Children” were impossible to listen to without wagging a foot or two, or moving to-and -fro in beat with their lively music.

The International Sweethearts of Rhythm were the first band to challenge biases of gender and race. They confronted these dual prejudices during a time when the African-American mainstream lived under the oppression of the Jim Crow laws (ridged black codes between 1876 and 1965).


The torch singers of the 40’s were a cross between vivacious and sultry and all were gorgeously attired for their musical gigs, they were considered “Big Band Beauties”.  The less petite looking women were labeled “swing singers”, they were more robust in appearance, and less concerned with glamour but more focused on jazzy pizzazz and beautifully belting out their songs.  These beauties where equally as enthralling but in a different way, they were referred to as bluesy sisters who swung, and man, did they ever swing.

Women’s groups (close harmony singing groups) like the Andrew Sisters (La Verne, Patty, Maxine and Sophia) were a combination, a mixture of both striking and spellbinding.  In addition to their on stage performances, the Andrews Sisters made many radio broadcasts and movies with big bands such as the Glen Miller Orchestra in the 30’s and 40’s era.

They would tour, play in clubs and entertain in hotel venues aesthetically enhanced with highly fashionable clothing and makeup.  Much like today, people needed to be captivated and distracted, the sound of their music and their glamorous appeal helped to take their audience’s mind off worrying. The torch and swing singers, the women’s close harmony groups and all female bands like the International Sweethearts of Rhythm, used their aesthetic appeal both audibly and visually to calm, sedate, and to stimulate, thereby, reviving the senses of all those who would show up or tune in to be aesthetically healed, one way or another.

References & Much More on this Subject 

Film clip from “For the Boys”


Tragically Sad Scene from Movie “For the Boys” – Bette Midler sings “In My Life”


The Girls in the Band – All Woman bands of the 30’s and 40’s


International Sweethearts of Rhythm – Tuxedo Junction


Women and Jazz International Sweethearts of Rhythm


Andrew Sisters, Boogie-Woogie Bugle Boy of Company-B


Andrew Sisters – Hold Tight (rare recording)


Sexy All Girl Jazz Band


Ivy Benson and Her All Girl Orchestra


Vintage Make-up Guides (1940’s)


1940’s Vintage Fashion Poolside Fashion Show


Haircuts of the 1940’s


Wikipedia Big Band Era


Music of the 1940’s at the National World War II Museum Stage Door Canteen


Women’s Fashion 1940’s


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Receivers and Transmitters of Beauty

Many people believe that beauty resides in the center of a good soul. Traditionally, beauty has been said to be in the eyes of the beholder (the receiver who looks for beauty,  is likely to encounter it ). Beauty carries with its own vibration, meaning there is a frequency that is attached to it.

Beauty is its own life force and as such it contains its own energy and those who recognize it  are the receivers of its energy and when they release it through their appreciation of it,  they become transmitters of beauty.  Like all elements of light and energy, beauty has reflective qualities. It omits an aura through its own vibration that is subconsciously experienced by those who are in agreement with it.

When we encounter people, places and things that we perceive as beautiful, we often feel lighter and more jovial.  Depending upon what it is that we interpret as beauty, the impression it leaves on us can vary from extremes in excitement, to a soothing sense of internal serenity.

We may not all see the same redeeming value attached to the things we identify as beautiful but we certainly know when we have witnessed it, and when its residual effects are experienced by us and we are touched by it, we are in some way, never the same.

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There is also a group of neuroscientists  that have exploring the signs of spirituality in relation to the human brain which they claim is not the mind and is connected to a higher level of consciousness that links our thinking to the universe and beyond the world of matter. In their book the “Spiritual Brain”

Mario Beauregard and Denyse  O’Leary focus on the strength of our convictions based on our spiritual experiences that inspire ourselves and others who believe as we do. http://www.amazon.com/The-Spiritual-Brain-Neuroscientists-Existence/dp/0060858834

They are researching alternative mental visions such as extrasensory perception and telepathy. They are of the belief that inquires into psi  have special merit and are worthy of just as much  investigation.  In their book they describe the importance of looking for a “God spot” or a “God Gene” in the brain that functions something like a switch that can be turned on in the brain. And, they claim that the studies they are conducting are turning up considerable evidence of such.

They refer to their hypothesis as the nonphysical mind. They see it as another dimension in their  professional neuroscientific lives. Drawing on his own research with Carmelite nuns, Beauregard shows

that paradigm spiritual happenings can be recorded. He offers much more than speculation that holy events in our lives have a spiritual basis which provides for some serious introspection and that could possibly give credence to the idea that there is a mightier power who we can give credence to that inspires our spiritual experiences, and our faith may not merely be the physiology of our brains.

Another book that reveals the inner workings of the spiritual mind is the book “Studies in Neuroscience, Consciousness and Spirituality”.  The series editors: Harald Walach, European University Viadrina, Frankfurt (Oder), Germany, Stefan Schmidt, University Medical Center, Freiburg and European University and Viadrina, Frankfurt (Oder), Germany, have diligently united both scholarship and science.

In the United States, Canada, and in Israel there are those who have contributed to the research and the publication, experts academicians like Jonathan Schooler, University of California, Santa Barbara, CA, USA Mario Beauregard, University of Montreal, Canada Robert Forman, Jerusalem Institute of Advanced Studies, Israel B. Alan Wallace, Santa Barbara Institute for Consciousness Studies, CA, USA

Individual chapters discuss new areas of research, such as near death studies and neuroscience research into spiritual experiences, and report on significant new theoretical advances.  From Harald Walach’s introductory essay that invites inquiry into the subject, “Neuroscience, Consciousness, Spirituality – Questions, Problems and Potential Solutions,” to the concluding chapter by Robert K. C. Foreman entitled An Emerging New Model for Consciousness: The Consciousness Field Model,” “ who encourages us to investigate  this book and promises us a more integrated understanding of spirituality, neuroscience and consciousness.

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