Posts Tagged ‘Dan Streible’

Sip and Sing Along!

Friday, April 30th, 2010

I’m not from a horsy family so I didn’t watch the Kentucky Derby as a child.
This annual ritual began for me in graduate school. Each year my friend Dan Streible gave a Derby party at which guests wore colorful hats (well, this guest did, anyway), sipped mint juleps, and sang “My Old Kentucky Home” along with the folks at Churchill Downs.
We also watched the horse race.
Dan is a darling person and a terrific scholar. He was also smart enough to marry my friend Teri the Renaissance Woman. I think of him every time I watch the Kentucky Derby, sip a mint julep, or sing “My Old Kentucky Home.”

Dan at his recent Orphan Film Symposium, obviously getting ready to sing “My Old Kentucky Home” (Courtesy of the Orphanistas)

Like other tunes by Stephen Foster such as “Hard Times” and “Old Black Joe,” the state song of Kentucky is nostalgically sentimental and easy to sing.
The act of crooning it and watching the VERY brief horse race (which often seems shorter than the song) always starts May off with a bang for me.
The song is traditionally played at the Derby by the University of Louisville Marching Band.
I was lucky enough to find a recording of the band at the Kentucky Derby Information site (which also provides a little history of the relationship between the song and the race, as well as a look at some outstanding Derby hats and of course a few recipes!).
I used it as background for our sing-along. Click on the sheet music below to start the recording and then minimize your audio player so you can read the lyrics and sing with me. That way you’ll be in good voice for the Derby tomorrow.
I’m still working on the recording technology; my loud voice may sound a little fuzzy and faint. I think I messed up a couple of notes and lyrics. And frankly if I’d been in charge of the band I would have asked the musicians to play the song a little faster and a little higher.
If you drink a couple of mint juleps before listening, none of those things should bother you, however.
Here we go……..  
The sun shines bright in the old Kentucky home.
‘Tis summer, the people are gay.
The corn top’s ripe, and the meadow’s in the bloom
While the birds make music all the day.
The young folks roll on the little cabin floor,
All merry, all happy, and bright.
By’n by hard times comes a knockin’ at the door.
Then my old Kentucky home, goodnight.
Weep no more, my lady. Oh! Weep no more today.
We will sing one song for the old Kentucky home,
For the old Kentucky home, far away.
Dan’s Mint Juleps
I asked Dan for his julep recipe and then immediately changed it just a little bit by adding mint directly to the simple syrup to make the concoction more minty.
He was vague about amounts of syrup and bourbon. Basically, you should make this drink to your taste! Here I’m giving you the proportions my family uses, along with his instructions, slightly modified.
for the simple syrup:
2 large sprigs very fresh spearmint, slightly crushed
1 cup sugar
1 cup boiling water
for each julep:
lots of shaved, finely crushed, or snow ice
(You can see from the picture above that I wasn’t the most thorough crusher in the world, but luckily the glasses still ended up frosty as we sipped!)
about 1 ounce simple syrup
about 2 ounces Kentucky bourbon whiskey or coffee flavored whiskey
(Dan says, “There is no such thing as Tennessee bourbon. Don’t make the mistake of using sour-mash whiskey.”)
2 sprigs very fresh spearmint
The day before the Derby (that’s today!) prepare the simple syrup. Combine the mint with the sugar, and pour the boiling water on top. Stir until the sugar dissolves. Cool and refrigerate overnight.
The next day make the julep.
Pack a julep glass with ice. (No julep glass or cup? Use a highball glass if you must.)
Drizzle simple syrup over the ice. Top off the glass with more ice if needed.
Pour the bourbon over the sweetened ice until the glass is nearly full.
Add sprigs of very fresh spearmint. Stir slowly. Sip slowly, with a straw or not. Be sure to get a snootful of mint as you sip. The longer the bourbon blends with the mint oils the better.
Do not drive or operate heavy machinery. 

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For the Love of Film: Heroes, Orphans, and Peach Jam

Saturday, February 20th, 2010


I know I went on and on and on about the fascinating Iris Barry in my last post. This post will also participate in the For the Love of Film blogathon—but in a less long-winded way.
Thinking about Iris Barry’s passion for film reminded me that I have been lucky enough to know several people who have put their passion to work in preservation. I thought I’d mention three of them (briefly, I promise!). One of them has an event coming up that should appeal to the film folk reading this. (I’m sure many of you know about it already.)
1. My late honorary godmother, Dagny Johnson, zealously pursued short and long films about Paris for her film festival in the 1960s and 1970s, Paris en Films.
She understood the race against time involved in finding and saving films of all sorts. I have seldom seen her happier than she was the day on which she announced that one of her contacts had found a film about the French resistance in a gypsy camp—in perfect condition. I’d love to have half of her knowledge of French film. (I wouldn’t mind her personal charm, either!) 
Dagny Johnson in Cuba in 1950 with a mysterious stranger (Courtesy of Eric Johnson)

Dagny Johnson in Cuba in 1950 with a mysterious stranger (Courtesy of Eric Johnson)

2. My former colleague Jane Klain in the Research Services division of the Paley Center for Media in New York is a bloodhound when it comes to finding old television programs that were once considered lost—particularly when those programs involve her great love, American musical theater. I love watching Jane work and listening to her enthusiasm when she is on the trail of a television program. She is one of Manhattan’s unsung heroines. 
This 1959 production of "What Makes Sammy Run?" was one of Jane's TV finds.

This 1959 production of "What Makes Sammy Run?" was one of Jane's TV finds.

3. Finally, my graduate-school pal Dan Streible at New York University organizes a biennial Orphan Film Symposium. The next one will take place in April.

The symposium finds, celebrates, and helps preserve films that have no commercial homes. (Dan has a much better definition than this on the Orphan site!) In it Dan brings together scholars and enthusiasts who recognize the aesthetic, historical, and cultural value of diverse orphan films.
Dan’s orphan metaphor is perfect for preservation. It indicates the ways in which these films have been cast adrift as well as the moral imperative for people to help save and protect them.
Dan and Friend (Courtesy of NYU)
Dan and Friend (Courtesy of NYU)


Dagny, Jane, and Dan, I salute you and the other wonderful film and television preservationists in my life (hi, Mike!).

In addition to attending the Orphan Film Symposium you can show your support for preservation by donating to the National Film Preservation Foundation. The NFPF is giving away four DVD sets to donors chosen in a random drawing this week. Here’s the link to donate.

And of course please do visit some of the other bloggers who have spent at least part of this week writing For the Love of Film. The blogathon is sponsored by Ferdy on Films and the Self-Styled Siren, who hope to raise awareness of, and funds for, the NFPF.
Preservation, Tinky Style: Peach Jam
I’m not a person who preserves film or television professionally. I’m more likely to save vegetables or fruit.
In case you’d like to contribute to food preservation as well as film preservation, here’s a simple peach jam recipe. Spice it up a little if you like with some crystallized ginger—or color and flavor it with a few raspberries. This is the basic formula.
I know peaches aren’t in season for most of my readers right now, but if you’d like to cheat a little you may certainly use unsweetened frozen peaches. Be sure to defrost the peaches before cooking and to adjust the recipe proportionately to fit the volume of peaches you have. You can’t really go wrong with fresh jam on the table.
4 cups peach slices or peaches
3 cups sugar
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 pat butter
In a 4-quart nonreactive pot combine the peaches, 2 cups of the sugar, and the lemon juice. Let the mixture sit for an hour or so to allow the peaches to juice up.
Cook the fruit over low heat until tender. Add the remaining sugar and butter, and cook rapidly until thick, stirring frequently. The jam is ready when it sheets off a cold, stainless-steel spoon. Remove any foam you see (there shouldn’t be too much, thanks to the butter). Stir the jam for 5 minutes before you ladle it into sterilized jars; this keeps the fruit from rising to the top of the jars when cooled. Process in a boiling-water bath for 5 minutes.
If you don’t want to be bothered processing the jam, just put it in the sterilized jars and keep it in the refrigerator. Serve with toast, biscuits, or scones.
Makes about 4 cups.