Burning Ears for Tuesday

Who in the world is talking about Halifax (Mar.27/07)

It's a slow news day for the city both at home (where the big story is yet more talk about what might have been with the Commonwealth Games) and abroad. A Texas company's issued a press release about a leather store, and an ancient magazine gives props to dearly departed Denny Doherty. Full links below.

Seeking hide?
from Fort Worth, Texas
The leather-goods chain Tandy Leather Factory sent out a press release to drum up attention for its latest store openings. And yes, one of them is supposed to open here in Canada's far east. According to Ron Morgan, president and CEO of the Texan company, "We believe there is a good market in far eastern Canada and our new Halifax store establishes a closer local presence. Brian Fehr will be managing the Halifax store. He's been training in our Edmonton store for a year." You can visit Brian when the store opens next week in Burnside. (full release here)

Halifax's Ringo
from Washington,DC
The Atlantic, which has been publishing in one form or another (including The Atlantic Monthly magazine) for 150 years, has an obituary of '60s legend Denny Doherty in its latest issue. Why now? you might well ask. Although Doherty died January 19, an eternity ago in modern news cycles, that's recent by the standards of glossy monthlies' printing schedules. And the piece, called "The Other Papa" and written by Mark Steyn, is a solid last word on the Mamas and the Papas.

It has history:

Doherty was indeed from Halifax, Nova Scotia: a dockyard worker’s son who quit school in ninth grade. With a couple of pals, he formed a group and, like all the other aspiring folkies, started doing Kingston Trio numbers. They called themselves the Halifax Three.
It has criticism of the active band. Steyn says Michelle Phillips was "the hot babe — seriously hot, in a way distressingly few rock chicks are in the cold light of day when the drugs have worn off" while Cass Elliot had the talent. The leader was John Phillips.
That left Denny, the other Papa. He sang lead, and he had one of the most gorgeous tenors of the rock-and-roll era. But you got the impression he was mostly just along for the ride. There was a plastic doll of him for sale in the ’60s, but today Mama Cass is the one valued by collectors.
And of course it has the end:
Back in Halifax, Denny’s dad had never been impressed by the California dreamin’. “Get yourself a trade,” he told his son, when junior pointed out how well he was doing in the Billboard Top 40. “Something you can put in your arse pocket.” When the group fell apart in 1968, Denny discovered his arse pocket was empty. The money had gone. He was married to a gal from the chorus of his flop New York theater debut and living in a two-room dump in Hell’s Kitchen when he remembered he still owned a house in Nova Scotia. So he came home.

“There are no second acts in American lives,” said Scott Fitzgerald, but there are if you’re willing to move to Canada: Back north, Denny Doherty ended his working days as the beloved harbormaster on the children’s TV show Theodore Tugboat, which is to Thomas the Tank Engine as the Halifax Three was to the Kingston Trio. It was filmed in his old school. “People say to me, ‘Your life is so exciting Yeah, I’m back in my grade-five classroom playing with tub toys.” (full story, unfortunately by subscription only, here)


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