It’s A Hard Life.

Eva Herzigova by Chicao Bialas 1993 - 3

Staunching wounds one day, held hostage the next. A gun moll’s life is no fun at all. From Elle France magazine back in 1993, German photographer Chico Bialas shoots Eva Herzigova in a gunsel & gun moll photo suite, though it looks to me like Eva’s the one that ultimately did the shooting.

Eva Herzigova by Chico Bialas 1993Eva Herzigova by Chicao Bialas 1993 - 2Eva Herzigova by Chicao Bialas 1993 - 4

 

They Just Keep Trying, Don’t They?

By Jessica castro, ia Unsplash

While Presidents submit their proposed Federal budgets each year, the “power of the purse” – the authority to appropriate money – rests with Congress, and most Presidents’ budgets are more or less ignored, except as a blueprint for that particular administration’s or the party’s agenda.

The Stiletto Gumshoe is more or less a politics-free zone, however passionate my own positions may be (and what they are…well, we won’t get into that here, unless they’ve peeked through unintentionally in prior posts). Nonetheless…

For each year of this current administration, the President’s proposed budget called for the complete elimination of the federal Institute of Museum and Library Services, which funds research and provides grants to museums and libraries. The IMLS is the primary source of federal funding to public libraries. Not their primary source of funding, mind you, which typically will be local property taxes, but the primary source of federal funding. Also, the proposed 2021 budget – “A Budget For America’s Future” – calls for the complete elimination of the National Endowment for the Humanities (the NEH) and the National Endowment for the Arts (the NEA).

I have my points of view and you’ll have yours about erecting walls, detention camps, cozying up with dictators, billing taxpayers for resort stays, launching a Satellite Sam space force, gutting or cutting Medicaid, the Environmental Protection Agency, the U.S.D.A., the State Department and…well, you get my point. And I’m sure there are political persuasions that will rail against the NEH and NEA as promoters of particular ideologies they vehemently oppose. (Or choose not to understand.) So, let’s just agree to disagree.

But it’s pretty hard to argue against public libraries.

I whine about my own local library often, a lovely and well-appointed facility that unfortunately is woefully short of actual books. But complaining doesn’t mean you won’t find me in there every week or so, and leaving with books in hand.

Despite the repeated attempts to defund or eliminate the IMLS, NEH and NEA altogether, Congress has not only re-appropriated funds in each of the past years, it has actually increased funding. Sincere support or pandering, who knows?

ALA

Whether you come up a few bucks shy on your next bookstore visit, or faint when you see the online bookseller charges on your credit card statement, or routinely take advantage of your local library like me, consider popping over to the American Library Association site at www.ala.org for a handy link to reach out to your own congressional representative to voice your concern about where your tax dollars go. Or, where they don’t go. I mean, we’re talking about your local public library, for goodness sakes.

John Warner’s 2.10.20 Biblioracle column in the Chicago Tribune, “Libraries Most Popular Attraction, And For Good Reason” (link below) references a December 2019 Gallup Poll of Americans’ most common cultural activities. Surprise: Going to the library topped the list, coming in at nearly double the rate of going to the movies, and way more than attending sporting events, zoos, casinos, concerts, etc., used most frequently by lower income households and, surprisingly, shows the highest use by the 18 – 29 year old demo (and incidentally, highest regional use in the Midwest…go Flatlanders!) Warner’s column concludes with a simple message: “We don’t want a world without libraries”.

Amen to that, brother.

(Photo: By Jessica Castro, via Unsplash)

https://www.chicagotribune.com/entertainment/books/ct-books-biblioracle-0216-20200210-fdrdtzhlafct3jbmmohjcy3txa-story.html

More From Eileen Walton

Shadows Dont Bleed - E Walton 1967

More work from talented British artist and illustrator Eileen Walton, sister of fellow artist Barbara Walton, both women enjoying prolific periods from the late 1950’s through the late 1970’s. As the examples show here, and in the preceding posts, it’s interesting to see how their work evolved and became increasingly ‘graphic’ vs. the more traditional illustrative styles of the earlier work. Be sure to browse backwards through the preceding posts to view their stunning work.

Miss Turquoise - E WaltonA Real Killing - E Walton 1976Accessory To Murder - E Walton 1968Conquest In Ireland - E Walton 1969

Eileen Walton

Death And The Dark Daughter - E Walton 1966

How intriguing that two sisters broke into the same business, around the same time, pursued such similar paths and saw their work evolve in similar ways. British artist and illustrator Barbara Walton’s sister Eileen Walton began working in advertising art and magazine editorial illustration in the mid-50’s. There are some examples of her early work to be seen online, but mostly un-postable teeny-tiny thumbnail files (one image is right below). Not sure, but I get the feeling that Eileen may be the elder sister, and started her career before Barbara.

E Walton 1956

The Foolish Gentlewoman - E Walton 1960

Eileen Walton’s 1960’s era work is fairly traditional, but as you’ll see in the next post, became increasingly graphic as time went on. Sadly, as with her sister Barbara, I can’t tell you if she left the commercial illustration field and if so, when. Did she retire and pursue more personal fine arts endeavors? Is she or her sister Barbara still with us? If you know of reliable sites, books or sources on either of these two talented women, I’m all ears (particularly you UK readers and followers!).

More of Eileen Walton’s work follows in the next post…

Death Came With Flowers - E Walton 1966Funeral For A Physicist - E Walton 1966

More From Barbara Walton

Shadow of Katie - B Walton 1977

More intriguing covers from UK illustrator Barbara Walton, a prolific cover artist of late 1950’s through late 1970’s British paperback and hardcover books, who’s not nearly as well known to contemporary art/illustration fans here in the U.S. as she ought to be. (I didn’t know abut her!) Scroll back to the preceding posts for more Barbara Walton info and covers, and go ahead to the next posts to see work from Barbara’s sister, Eileen Walton.

Murder With A Kiss - B Walton 1963Prey For The Dreamer - B WaltonThe Evergreen Death - B Walton 1968The Zebra Striped Hears - B WaltonWhere Is Janice Gentry - B WaltonShot At Dawn - B Walton 1964

Barbara Walton

Tell It To The Birds - B Walton 1963

So, just who is Barbara Walton?

If you read the preceding post, you know that I really can’t tell you. All I can say is that this British artist/illustrator did some striking paperback cover art and hardcover dustjacket design and illustration from the late 1950’s through the late 1970’s, her most active period being the mid-1960’s. It’s particularly intriguing to see how Walton’s style evolved from relatively traditional full-bleed illustration to a more ‘designerly’ vignetted style, later work almost more graphic design than pure illustration.

The Schults Money - B Walton 1960

I read that Barbara Walton was almost an unofficial ‘house artist’ for Robert Hale Ltd., though she also did work for other UK publishers. See the next post for additional examples of Barbara Walton’s work, and then keep going to view covers from her sister, Eileen Walton.

Label It Murder - B Walton 1963False Witness - B Walton 1964Count-Down - B Walton 1962

Who Are The Walton Sisters?

Label It Murder - B Walton 1963 - Art

Seems like I only stumbled across a previously unseen (by me) edition of John D. MacDonald’s One Monday We Killed Them All this morning or the day before (image below). But I’ve already forgotten where, and scrolling backwards through my WordPress Reader, Tumblr feed, Pinterest and BlogLovin’ hasn’t revealed the source. (So, if it was you posting this provocative cover art, please shout out so I can say thanks…at least, thanks for sending me on a merry goose chase!)  Wherever it appeared, the signed cover illustration intrigued me enough to go rooting around, hoping to learn more about British artist and illustrator Barbara Walton. And as I then soon discovered, about fellow British artist and illustrator, her sister, Eileen Walton.

One Monday We Killed Them All - B Walton

Biographical info on the Walton sisters is sparse. Make that nearly non-existent, at least from what I could find, though I’m no vintage pulp/paperback cover art archeologist. If a reliable go-to source like J. Kingston Pierce’s Killer Covers Of The Week blog could only yield sketchy details, a rank amateur like me could do no better.

When were they born? Are they still with us? Who came first? Sorry, I don’t know. All I can deduce from dated work is that Eileen Walton began working in advertising and editorial illustration in the mid-1950’s, her sister Barbara in book cover illustration in the late 1950’s, both of them the most prolific throughout the 1960’s, with their intriguingly evolving art seeming to vanish altogether by the late-1970’s. But then, they wouldn’t be the only illustrators who migrated from the rapidly shrinking cover art marketplace around that time, as photography and image-free graphic design swiftly dominated the industry.

THis Is For Real - B Walton - Art

Both Barbara and Eileen Walton did contemporary and historical romance titles and even children’s books, but it’s their exciting work for Fontana Books, Robert Hale Ltd. and other UK publishers’ mystery, thriller and crime fiction titles that fit here. So browse the next few posts to discover (as I did) some truly intriguing work from two women you may not have even known about, perhaps overshadowed for many retro illustration enthusiasts by the likes of Reginald Heade or David Wright among the UK artists, and a long list of faves from Maguire to McGinnis and others among American illustrators.

Accessory To Murder - E Walton 1968 - Art

Happy Valentine’s Day?

Daily News

I’d love to send each and every one of you a gold box of decadent Godiva chocolates and a dozen long stemmed roses for Valentine’s Day. Not gonna, of course.

Since The Stiletto Gumshoe comes from the Second City (well, it was ‘second’ at one time) or the Windy City if you prefer, lets skip the hearts and flowers for this Valentine’s and consider a Valentine from just over 90 years ago…along with one from over 50 years ago while we’re at it.

You know, you can chow down on pretty darn good pizza at an Italian restaurant/bar where a corner table looks out right into the alley where John Dillinger was gunned down. In fact, if the pussycat-sized rats will let you pass, you can even take an après-dinner stroll between that eatery and the Biograph Theatre where the Public Enemy, his gal-pal Billie Frechette and the notorious “lady in red” took in Manhattan Melodrama almost ninety years ago.

Unfortunately, you can’t poke around the bullet-riddled brickwork of the North Clark Street garage where the infamous St. Valentine’s Day Massacre occurred, that building torn down long ago and only a vacant lot now (photo below).

2018

That bloody but botched assassination attempt was a symbolic climax to the violent prohibition era gangland warfare that turned Chicago into a battleground throughout much of the 1920’s, in which Al Capone and the Mafia tried to take out North Side bootlegger George ‘Bugs’ Moran once and for all. As it happened, Moran coincidentally escaped the bloodbath, but members of his gang, hangers-on and a garage mechanic were lined up against the wall by Capone gunmen dressed as Chicago cops and Tommy-gunned down. Capone was questioned but never charged with the crime, but always assumed to have ordered the killings, supposedly planned by Jack ‘Machine Gun’ McGurn.

Massacrethe St valentines day massacre Poster

For all of Hollywood’s fascination with gangsters, no one made a movie specifically about the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre until Roger Corman’s 1967 version with 20thCentury Fox. Working with an unfamiliar big-budget and full studio resources, B-Movie veteran Corman intended to shoot on location in Chicago with classically trained actors backed up by some AIP reliables, but studio execs immediately vetoed Orson Welles as Al Capone, putting Jason Robards (originally cast as Bugs Moran) in the role. Moreover, the movie was shot on the Fox studio backlot and sound stages, some street scenes looking pretty familiar from countless 1950’s/60’s/70’s era TV shows and movies. (The climactic massacre itself was shot at Desilu studios.) Ralph Meeker, Bruce Dern and Jack Nicholson all make appearances along with often-seen TV and B-movie actors, and while no one would claim that Robards looks remotely like Capone, he delivers an energetic performance. Screenwriter Howard Browne had done extensive research on the subject and already written Seven Against The Wall for CBS’ Playhouse 90 in 1958. Supposedly with the seven-week shoot nearing completion, director Corman fretted that the movie was missing something – specifically, a woman…any woman – and they quickly cobbled together some business for Moran gang gunsel George Segal’s gun moll, played by Jean Hale. Intrusive as the bit may be, it’s a surprisingly well done and entertaining sequence for something shoehorned in at the last minute.

St Valentine Massacre

The St Valentines Day Massacre 1967

I’ll leave it to true crime and gangster buffs to nit-pick the historical inaccuracies – and I’m sure there are many. Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway in Arthur Penn’s Bonnie & Clyde this is not. Still, it’s a pretty entertaining flick, surely lurking online somewhere or likely to turn up on cable. Hopefully you’ll have more romantic things to do this Valentine’s weekend. But if not, what would go down better than Chicago bootleggers, mobsters and the most infamous gangland slaying in a kitschy 1960’s B-movie?

Al Capone - Jason Robards

Holin’ Up In The Lair.

2-12

Mid-February only brings us about two-thirds of the way through Winter. I don’t know about you, but once the Holiday decorations are put away, I’m usually ready for Spring. But no such luck ‘round here. The snow started late afternoon on Wednesday and will continue through the same time Thursday, with the temps plummeting then into the frigid zone and apparently just staying there for a few days.

There’s no way to escape the day job, hunting for missing mittens, wading through frozen drifts or slip-sliding across icy parking lots. But after work and definitely over the weekend that’s almost here, it’ll be time for some serious hibernating. Which for me means lining up suitable beverages, queueing up inspirational tunes (just nabbed some really weird jazz compilation CD’s that ought to be perfect) and pounding the keyboard. Sounds good to me. Heck, I’m usually happiest holed up in the writing lair anyway. Bet some of you are too.

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