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January 26, 2010

San Francisco - Market Street - 1905

This video is too splendid not to share. It is a leisurely cruise down Market Street in 1905, a year before the earthquake destroyed it all. Look for the wonderful interplay of streetcars, horse carts, carriages, automobiles and pedestrians - especially the kids playing dodge-the-streetcar and hanging on the back of an automobile. Having grown up in the Bay Area, I also loved the sense of familiar but different I got seeing this street I have visited countless times.

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Posted by Walter at 07:15 AM

November 29, 2007

Flash Packet Sings Sea Shanties

Among the many other things I do, I am part of a Sea Shanty group called "Flash Packet".

One of our members, Bill Howard, recently completed a video that showcases our group. It is now up on Youtube.

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Posted by Walter at 10:15 AM

November 30, 2006

Video - Art Deco Gala Dance on the Queen Mary

Here is a video I made in 2005 of the Saturday night gala at the first "Art Deco Festival" on the Queen Mary. This was a joint program of the Art Deco Society of Los Angeles and the RMS Foundation.

The band is once again Mora's Modern Rhythmists. The vocalist is Damon Kirsch.

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Posted by Walter at 08:19 AM

Video - The Gold Rush Camp at the Huntington Library

This is a video we made of the Gold Rush living history program we put together for the Huntington Library. This is actually the second such program we did for them (we did the first of these for the Autry). This was part of a series they called "Step into a story", and we were the world of Mark Twain and Brett Harte.

Over the years, we have pitched a lot of different themes to the Huntington, to include a medieval market fair for their Chaucer exhibit, but they have us pigeon-holed as "The Gold Rush people" and never call us for anything else. Sigh.

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Posted by Walter at 08:14 AM

Video - The Liberty Tea

Here is a video of the first "Lanterman Ragtime Tea Dance" which we called "The Liberty Tea". Since it was on Armistice Day and the house was built in 1914, we went with a World War One theme. It became clear pretty quickly that the theme didn't really have much of a "hook", so we dropped the war connection in later Lanterman House events, and just called it a Ragtime Tea Dance.

Music is provided by Ian Whitcomb and Dean Mora along with Terry Gleny on the violin.

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Posted by Walter at 08:10 AM

Video - Old California Fandango

Here is a video I made of a "Fandango" dance demonstration we did for the Arcadia History Museum a few years back. The band are "Los Californios".

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Posted by Walter at 08:07 AM

November 29, 2006

The 1929 "Crash Bash"

To commemorate the 70th anniversary of the 1929 Wall Street Crash, the Art Deco Society of Los Angeles and the Lively Arts History Association cooperated on "The Crash Bash". It was a Jazz Age dance at the Wilshire Ebell, featuring Mora's Modern Rhythmists with vocals by Kayre Morrison and Richard Halpern.

The camera work is by Tom Lewis. It was edited by Walter Nelson (me).

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Posted by Walter at 08:28 AM

Amara as "Little Egypt" Dances to "Egyptian Ella"

Here's a bit from our 2003 "Gatsby Night", featuring our floor show--the talented Amara, doing a belly dance cum Charleston to the Dean Mora and the Modern Rhythmists. The tune is the late 20s novelty hit "Egyptian Ella".

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Posted by Walter at 08:18 AM

Video of 2002 Jane Austen Evening

Here is a video of the 2002 Jane Austen Evening. It also has the distinction of being the first time I ever edited a video on a computer.

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Posted by Walter at 08:11 AM

November 27, 2006

Video of the Schwartz Sisters

My wife Sheila runs a group called "The Schwartz Sisters" who take their inspiration from the great girl groups of the '30s and '40s, like the Andrews Sisters and Boswell Sisters. Here they are in their USO show mode. It is in the form of a "Movietone" newsreel.

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Posted by Walter at 02:27 PM

November 26, 2006

Video of 2005 Jane Austen Evening

Here is a video of the Jane Austen Evening in January of 2005. It features my wife Sheila singing a traditional aire, a lady impersonating Jane Austen and lots of Regency style English Country Dance.

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Posted by Walter at 02:05 PM

November 25, 2006

Video of the Aviators' Ball

To celebrate the centennial of flight in 2003, we staged the "Aviators' Ball", a Ragtime dance which featured the music of the era, to include aviation songs like "Come take a trip in my airship" and "Wait 'til you get them up in the air. The band was Ian Whitcomb and the Bungalow Boys, with additional vocals by my wife Sheila Murphy-Nelson.

Here's a video.

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Posted by Walter at 02:11 PM

October 24, 2006

Video - An American Revolution 4th of July Theme Party

This is a video of one of Kevin Brown's historical theme parties. This one was an 18th Century, American Revolution theme party.

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Posted by Walter at 03:24 PM

Tapas, Tierra y Liberdad Video

Our friend Kevin Brown hosted this party. He wanted to do a Tapas party, and the only possible choice for a theme was, of course, the Spanish Civil War.

For those a little puzzled by it all, we are portraying the "Popular Front": some of the people who supported the elected government against the Fascists led by Franco. The Republicans had strong Socialist leanings, which had a lot to do with the fact that while the Germans and Italians openly supported the Fascists, only the Soviets helped the Republicans while the rest of the world stood by and watched.

Here is a video of that day--a light hearted take on a fairly grim and serious subject.

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Posted by Walter at 02:49 PM

October 23, 2006

Victorian Etiquette Video

A few months ago, my wife Sheila and I appeared on the Showtime series "Penn & Teller's Bullshit". We were their "experts" on Victorian etiquette.

Here is our little portion of the program.

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Posted by Walter at 02:05 PM

October 22, 2006

The Impressionists' Picnic

A few months ago, some of our little group of friends got together for an "impressionists' picnic". The theme was a bunch of French people from the 1880s, picnicking in the park while being immortalized by an unidentified impressionist (played by the multi-talented Chuck Kovacic). Little did we know that our picnic at Peter Strauss Ranch coincided with the meeting of a painters' club. The video opens with two of the pictures the painters did of us--while the third is from Chuck.

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Posted by Walter at 02:33 PM

October 20, 2006

Social Daunce Irregulars Video

Here is a video I took a few years ago of the Social Daunce Irregulars Ball.

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Posted by Walter at 02:29 PM

September 30, 2006

Video - The Middle Ages

Over the years, I have been involved in medieval living history programs, and this was originally designed as a marketing piece to pitch our services to schools and museums. It is actually of a program we did something like ten years ago, but like bugs preserved in amber, we haven't changed that much (a little grayer and heavier perhaps).

The groups involved, the Red Company, the Yeoman Archers and Danzando, don't really exist any more, but most of the individuals are still involved in some capacity.

The Middle Ages is, in some ways, my first love. I majored in Medieval History in college and would do a lot more of it if Southern California were a more congenial environment for tights and pointy shoes. But, since our "white people" history is pretty much limited to the 19th and 20th Centuries, I have to make do.

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Posted by Walter at 08:23 AM