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Feature film uses Kingman locations October 23, 2010

Posted by Ron Warnick in Movies.
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A full-length feature film, “Johnny Christ,” has just wrapped filming in several locations around the Route 66 town of Kingman, Ariz., reported the Daily Miner.

Much of the film by writer/director Mark Maggiori was shot in the nearby ghost town of Chloride, but other locations as well:

In addition to Chloride proper, Slack said the production crew filmed in several other locations around Kingman and Mohave County, including Heaven’s Scent Florist, Hualapai Mountain Medical Center, Mr. D’z Route 66 Diner, the Canada Mart Gas Station and Rosie’s Den off U.S. 93. “We used a total of 90 extras from Chloride and the Kingman area and shot at several sites,” Slack said. “We had several actors we used from the area, also there was a 15-year-old named Jack Pozenel from Kingman High School who played Joshua Dagger, one of the main characters.”

Joshua Dagger is the youngest in the Dagger clan, the main protagonists of the film, who are struggling through tough economic times at the film’s outset before encountering an even worse-off drifter, the titular Johnny Christ, played by Mark Wystrach. According to Slack, the family attempts to aid Johnny, in spite of their own troubles, but Johnny eventually reveals his true nature – that of a con artist.

The Slack mentioned is Kirk Slack, who’s made documentaries in the desert Southwest, including one about Route 66. Slack was one of the crew members on the 31-day shoot.

A view from Pacific’s bluff October 23, 2010

Posted by Ron Warnick in Attractions, History.
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The Missourian in Washington, Mo., has posted a fascinating story about the famous bluff in Blackburn Park in Pacific, Mo. This landmark is right on Route 66, at the intersection of Osage Street and Second Street.

The story bristles with interesting history, including:

  • Even many locals are unaware there is access to the top of the bluff, where you can see spectacular views of the town.
  • The bluff once was called Prospect Hill.
  • After mining exposed the bluff at the north end of Second Street, locals started calling the hill Sand Mountain.
  • A local man once fired a cannon every Fourth of July. But that stopped when the cannon exploded and killed him.
  • A new Civil War cannon recently was installed beside a Civil War Heritage Trail marker at the top of the bluff.

A typical view from the top of Blackburn Park can be seen here.

Tavis Minner encore October 23, 2010

Posted by Ron Warnick in Music.
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The previous posting of Tavis Minner’s performance of “Route 66″ got a good reaction. Here’s another of him, with a really grooving jazz trio:

For some inexplicable reason, the video footage has been posted twice on YouTube. No real harm done, though.

A wedding by a King October 22, 2010

Posted by Ron Warnick in Events, Music.
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The chamber of commerce of Wilmington, Ill., is looking for an engaged couple so an Elvis impersonator can marry them during a Route 66 festival in 2011.

The chamber wants to perform the wedding in downtown Wilmington on May 7 during the Illinois Route 66 Red Carpet Corridor celebration. The event runs along Route 66 among several Route 66 towns in northern Illinois, including Wilmington.

The chamber will supply the gazebo in a landscaped town square, with the nuptials presided over by an Elvis Presley impersonator who also happens to be an ordained minister. Route 66 will be part of the backdrop, too.

At left is a photo of him in full jump-suited action.

Afterward, newly married couple and their guests can enjoy Wilmington’s all-Elvis all-day live entertainment, or make their own reception plans.

If you’re interested, call chamber President Eric Fisher or Pam Monson at 815-476-7966 for additional information.

(Photo courtesy of Pam Monson)

Work resumes on billboard near Round Barn October 21, 2010

Posted by Ron Warnick in Attractions, Signs.

Under the cover of night, Zoom Media performed more work on a disputed billboard near the Round Barn of Arcadia, Okla., reported the Edmond Sun.

It was reported by several media outlets that Zoom Media agreed to a 30-day moratorium on work on the billboard. But Zoom Media said there was no such agreement to stop the work.

Needless to say, members of the Arcadia Historical Society aren’t happy with the development:

“Any hope we had to find a reasonable solution has been severely dashed by Mr. (Fariborz) Mazaheri’s action in placing signs on the large billboard under the cover of darkness Wednesday night,” the society said in a statement issued Thursday morning.

“This certainly makes us question their sincerity when they indicated they would suspend all work on the large billboard for 30 days and try and find a solution. Mr. Mazaheri’s actions have only strengthened our resolve. We are committed to exhaust every avenue possible to stop the desecration of such an historic icon on Route 66.” […]

Zoom Media stated it will honor an agreement to wait 30 days for the Arcadia Historical Society or any interested group or individuals to exercise any of the proposed options.

This part of the story also stuck out:

Zoom Media also maintains that during an Oct. 18 meeting involving Mazaheri and persons associated with the Round Barn, Mazaheri said the signage for Arcadia was approved by the town, that it was paid for and that it was ready to go up.

If true, who with the town approved the sign message? And why weren’t folks with the Round Barn forthcoming about the meeting?

But at this point, I’m putting away my reporter’s pen. Obviously, members of the Arcadia Historical Society are mad. But this contention that Zoom Media’s move to finish the billboard will “seriously dash” hopes for a solution is hogwash. The options for a solution are there, and in writing (unlike the moratorium, apparently). Barring a left-field scenario that shows the billboard is illegal, everything Zoom Media has done is above board, and it holds the cards. The clock’s ticking, and members of the historical society had better start negotiating in earnest, instead wasting time wailing and gnashing teeth.

And, please, stop calling the billboard a “desecration” of the Round Barn. I love the Round Barn. But the Round Barn is not a church, it is not a temple, it is not a holy site. The Round Barn itself isn’t even directly affected by the billboard. So stop with the hyperbole already.

Round Barn will host a fundraiser October 21, 2010

Posted by Ron Warnick in Attractions, Events, Preservation.
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The historic Round Barn in Arcadia, Okla., will host a fundraiser starting at noon Nov. 6 — mostly for general improvements to the structure and its facilities, but also possibly for a settlement the barn may pay if a nearby billboard is to be removed.

According to the Edmond Sun:

All of the money raised from the $10 admission tickets will benefit the Round Barn, Simonton said.

Additionally, the proceeds from $1 tickets will be part of a 50-50 drawing, Simonton said. If $500 worth of these tickets are bought, $250 of it would go to the Round Barn and the remaining $250 would go to the winning ticket holder.

Round Barn supporters may also still buy commemorative bricks that will pave walkways. More details are available at the gift shop. […]

If you can’t make it to next month’s fundraiser, donations to the Arcadia Historical Society may be dropped into the gift box at the Round Barn or checks may be mailed to: The Old Round Barn, P.O. Box 134, Arcadia OK 73007.

Donations to the society, a nonprofit organization, are tax deductible. Donations are logged and records kept for each and every donation the society will send a receipt for your tax records.


Barney’s Beanery marks 90th year October 21, 2010

Posted by Ron Warnick in History, Restaurants.
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Barney’s Beanery, a West Hollywood restaurant based on Route 66, is marking its 9oth anniversary this month. And the Los Angeles Times today has one of the most attention-getting lead paragraphs I’ve read:

It’s a story so revolting and so legendary that it has achieved near mythical status. One night in the 1960s, during a particularly heavy bout of drinking, Jim Morrison stood up and urinated on the long wooden bar at Barney’s Beanery in West Hollywood. Rock god status and titillating snug leather pants or not, Morrison was booted from the famous restaurant and bar.

“Of course, this being Barney’s, they wiped it off and put a plaque there,” jokes Jim Ladd, the KLOS-FM DJ known for spinning raw, classic rock sans formulaic playlists for nearly 40 years. He adds, “Probably every rocker that has ever come through L.A. has gone to Barney’s.”

Other celebrities — including Clark Gable, Rita Hayworth, Jimmy Page, Janis Joplin and Jack Nicholson — have gathered at Barney’s (and presumably been better-behaved).

Barney’s, founded by John “Barney” Anthony, actually started in Berkeley, Calif., but moved to Santa Monica Boulevard in West Hollywood in 1927 — the year after U.S. Highway 66 was officially commissioned.

Anthony was known for giving a meal of beans to destitute travelers during the Great Depression in exchange for license plates. Those plates now decorate the bar.

Barney’s has opened four other such restaurants around the region, and plans another in downtown L.A. But the owner says he’ll stop it there — he doesn’t want the dilute the coolness factor of the original restaurant, which is still going strong.

The whole story is worth reading, which includes the bad (the restaurant excluded homosexuals for decades) and the good (the effort to keep Barney’s atmosphere and food as roadhouse-authentic as possible).

(Hat tip: Kevin Hansel)

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