a jazz banjoist in an eskimo suit

sorabji.com: What are you listening to?: a jazz banjoist in an eskimo suit
By Jeffrey Scott Holland on Monday, January 5, 1998 - 10:59 pm:
    Harry Reser. Jazz Banjoist. Inspired by such late 19th century greats as Fred Van Eps and Vess Ossman. Recorded solo banjo works in the early 1920s. In 1925 became director and frontman for the Cliquot Club Eskimo Orchestra, who performed in eskimo suits.
    These were his glory days. After that gig ran its course he continued playing until his death in 1965, when he was a guitarist on Broadway in "Fiddler On The Roof"'s orchestra.

    There is only one Harry Reser album that I know of, a compilation of some of his 1920's recordings.

By R.C. on Monday, January 5, 1998 - 11:31 pm:
    Damn, JSH -- you're as good as Jicotea! (Where is J anyway?) But I'll stump you yet!

    It's just that it's hard to play this game when I know so little. Even if I find someone way obscure/I won't have ever heard their muisc/so I won't really 'know' anything -- I'll just be quoting from somewhere else & hoping you guys aren't hip to it...

By Jeffrey Scott Holland on Tuesday, January 6, 1998 - 12:02 am:
    Then again, all this damn trivia occupies my head and takes up valuable space, preventing me from remembering that it's trash day, knowing what my congressmen are up to, and being able to do long division quickly. Not to mention functioning conversationally as a real flesh and blood human. None of which I am much good at.

    When I was a tot, I had photographic memory - I only had to be shown something once - and only once - and I'd remember it forever. It faded away when puberty came around, but perversely, useless peripheral trivia still sticks to me. Which, as far as I can tell, is worth zip on the job market unless I can get to be the guy who comes up with those pun-filled abstract-reference cutesy headlines for magazine articles, or a writer for MST3K.

By R.C. on Tuesday, January 6, 1998 - 12:54 am:
    But it makes you good company. Seriously, JSH. I dunno how old you are or what yr romantic life is like/but I'll bet you could walk into a bar or a pizza shop or be waiting on line to buy movie tickets & be able to strike up a conversation with absolutely anyone/apropos of absolutely nothing/& have some woman giggling inside of 5 minutes over some witty remark you made about an arcane bit of knowledge nobody cares about
    /but which was funny nonetheless. (How's THAT for a run-on sentence?) It's an incredibly charming talent to have.

    My Theory for 1998: (So what if you didn't ask!)

    Every New Year's Eve/instead of going out like normal people/I stay home/usually in the company of some alcoholic beverage/& come up with a Theory for some new trend or phenomena that will emerge in the coming year. I usually get too drunk to remember it the next day/but sometimes I bother to jot down a few notes. This New Year's Eve/my Theory for 1998
    was as follows: "1998 will be the year that Wit replaces Money as the as the new social currency." From what I've read/in the past 2 years/Wall Street has taken a nostalgic trip back to the Go-Go '80's. Bonuses for the Big Swinging Dicks (not my expression/I stole it from a review of a book on The Street whose title escapes me at the moment) at the top firms reached the highest recorded levels in the history of currency. Real Estate in NY has doubled & even tripled in price over the last 2-3 years. A couple of months ago/my brother in NY went to look at an apt. in the building I used to live in out in Queens. A studio of the same size/on the same floor/in the same building where I had a studio that cost $650 is now renting for $825/month. And that neighborhood was just average/& just Queens.

    There are a million guys around with money & education. Most are boring/some are less so. And women are tired of them. But very few men today understand the art of Verbal Foreplay. No woman/no matter how crazy or suspicious/even in NY, that most hostile of social environments/
    no woman on earth can manage to be cool & aloof/or cautiously offputting/or patently disinterested/towards a man whose conversation amuses her & makes her laugh. Wit is something even the rich can't buy. And mark my words -- you'll hear people quoting Voltaire & Oscar Wilde all over the damn place/ & guys like you/who've got Wit in spades/are going to be getting over like fat rats in 1998! Along with men who know how to buy & wear great hats.

By Jeffrey Scott Holland on Tuesday, January 6, 1998 - 08:37 pm:
    Speaking of hats, I think I'm going to need a larger one after all these compliments! I am a compulsive hat wearer but for my hair's sake I'm tryin' to cut down.

    Thanks so much for your words, seriously. You've cheered me immensely this day. You're very interesting to talk to as well, and anyone uses the word "apropos" properly is alright by me! :)

    I hope 1998 is a great year for you, R.C.! Just out of curiosity, what was the alcoholic beverage of your choice on New Year's? I alternated between Amaretto and Kahlua.


By R.C. on Wednesday, January 7, 1998 - 12:05 am:
    I rang in the year with a bottle of Veuve Cliquot Grand Dame/becuz I love champagne & my friends are too cheap to buy it for me. Then again/they have braces & college funds & such things to worry about. (Which is why I choose bubbly over baby shoes.) And I think I shall resolve to drink only champagne from now on. Which will either cut my consumption greatly/or cause me to start hanging out in better watering-holes. Either way/it's a win-win situation for me. By the way/it was the BEST champers I've ever had. Dom P. is camel-piss compared to V.C.!


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