Friday, January 27, 2023

Friday Night Videos

Friday Night Videos

Here's a new one from the MonaLisa Twins, a cool groove infused with a touch of 70s funk called "If You Raise Your Head." This may well be my favorite original composition of theirs thus far.

Previously on Friday Night Videos... The Linda Lindas.

Now Playing: The Go-Go's Return to the Valley of the Go-Go's
Chicken Ranch Central

Friday, January 20, 2023

Friday Night Videos

Friday Night Videos

Until a couple of days ago, I'd never heard of the Linda Lindas. But goodness gracious, I'm well aware of them now! This quartet of talented young women can rock with the best of them. It is hard to believe that the youngest is only 12 years old! Their talent and focus belies their callow youth. Their single, "Oh!" is a perfect synthesis of old school punk rock and the New Wave that followed. Rock on, ladies!

Previously on Friday Night Videos... The Who.

Now Playing: The Hooters Nervous Night
Chicken Ranch Central

Monday, January 09, 2023

Tiki build-along, pt. 28

It has been an exceptionally long time since I've posted a build-along. I regret that, but probably not enough to alter that pattern significantly. A Moment of Tiki has taken the place of my build-along posts and that YouTube show is, unfortunately, more time-consuming to produce. That said, I had a small project this past weekend that doesn't warrant a full Moment of Tiki episode but may still be of interest to folks building their own tiki spaces, so I share it here now.

A year or so back, I came across this curious coconut palm tree/monkey lamp at a thrift store for cheap. Naturally, such a thing would fit in well in a tiki bar, so I grabbed it even though it did not have a shade. Note that a weird thing about this lamp is that the monkeys depicted look very much like chimpanzees, they sport tails. So are obviously monkeys. Mutant monkeys. Or mutant apes. Take your pick.

Finding a shade proved more challenging than I'd initially thought. It was more than a year before I came across the one below for $3 at a thrift shop. First, the shade had to be the proper size. I think this one is slightly undersized, but not terribly so. Secondly, I wanted a plain white or off-white fabric on the shade so patterns wouldn't ghost through the new material I applied to it. Thirdly, I wanted the shade to be a straight cylinder to simplify the application of fabric. Check, check and check.

I had some material left over from a different project I realized would work well. I spread the fabric over the dining table then rolled the shade over it to mark where I needed to cut.

I used a pencil to mark the edges of the shade as I rolled it over the length of the fabric, then added an inch to the end of the run as well as an additional inch on either side of the path. As I learned, it's better to leave more fabric than less.

After cutting out the fabric I'd mapped out, I hit the end (that extra 1") with some spray adhesive, then folded over the edge onto itself to make a hem. This will add stability to the fabric later.

Next, I sprayed down the back entire piece of fabric adhesive. I used Gorilla Glue, but any spray adhesive should work. Normally, one would spray both surfaces to be joined for maximum bond but by spraying only one surface give me extra time to reposition the fabric before the glue sets. Turns out, I needed that time.

I positioned the shade on the fabric and rolled it over. Then pulled it off and tried again, as I got it on crooked the first try. And the second. And the third. Forth time it looked good. The hem I'd made earlier was the last to go on, overlapping the raw opposite edge of the fabric. There should be an inch of extra material extending beyond the edges of the shade. Fold these over the sides into the shade and press onto the inner sleeve of the shade. The adhesive should still be tacky and adhere. I cut one side a little short so it wanted to pull up when I folded it over. I had to apply a bit of extra glue to get it to stay.

In most cases this would probably be enough, but seeing that tiki is an over-the-top aesthetic, I wanted to add a little more. I've got a stash of bacbac braiding that would look good on it, so I measured out and cut two lengths to span the circumference of the shade.

Because the bacbac braid has an uneven, textured surface (it's made from weaving together strips of dried banana leaves) I used Goop, a thick, rubbery glue, to attach it to the shade. I held the braid in place with binder clips until the glue set.

And the final result turned out better than I expected. The fabric--which I acquired from Spoonflower--was perfect for this project. I added a LED flicker bulb to the lamp to complete the effect. I'm very happy with it. This is hardly a huge build but the little things add up. Many people don't realize how easy it is to reskin a lamp shade, and the right type of material can make a world of difference in someone's home tiki space. I know this one fits much better into my tiki aesthetic now!

Now Playing: The Who Thirty Years of Maximum R&B
Chicken Ranch Central

Friday, January 06, 2023

Friday Night Videos

Friday Night Videos

I just realized I've been doing Friday Night Videos here for almost 15 years, and in all that time I've never featured the Who. Let me rectify that now with "Won't Get Fooled Again."

Previously on Friday Night Videos... The Kinks.

Now Playing: The Who Thirty Years of Maximum R&B
Chicken Ranch Central

Tuesday, January 03, 2023

Chicken Ranch anniversary: Happy Birthday Miss Edna!

Miss Edna Milton Chadwell last Madam of the Chicken Ranch in La Grange, Texas and inspiration for Miss Mona Stangley of The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas
On this date in 1928, Edna Arretha Milton was born. Today would've been her 94th birthday. Miss Edna passed away in February of 2012, the last surviving madam of the infamous Chicken Ranch in La Grange, Texas, and inspiration for Miss Mona Stangley and The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas.

Throughout the six-plus years it took to research, write and publish Inside the Texas Chicken Ranch: The Definitive Account of the Best Little Whorehouse, there was no bigger supporter than Miss Edna. As I've said elsewhere, my biggest regret is that she did not live to see the finished product. I can't say for certain what she'd have thought of it, but others who were close to the Chicken Ranch have given me the thumbs up, so I like to think Miss Edna would've approved (while giving me an earful about what I got wrong).

Let me share something about her that didn't make it into the book. When I first met Miss Edna, she asked where I was from. I answered that I was originally from Columbus. Miss Edna paused a moment, then said, "Twenty-two miles." Then she asked my wife where she was from. Bastrop, Lisa answered. Miss Edna paused again, then said, "Thirty-six miles." Almost four decades removed from her life in La Grange, Miss Edna still remembered those details that would've mattered to her prospective out-of-town customers. I'll wager we could've sat there for hours, tossing out town names like Brenham, Hallettsville, Bryan, etc. and she'd have come up with the distance between them and La Grange like there was nothing to it. I have long felt that a fascinating glimpse into her character.

Inside the Texas Chicken Ranch: The Definitive Account of the Best Little Whorehouse is now available from both and It's also available as an ebook in the following formats: Kindle, Nook, Google Play, iBooks and Kobo.

Now Playing: Martin Denny Primitiva
Chicken Ranch Central