To Deuce of Clubs Autographed copies of Adventures with the Mojave Phone Booth are now available!

Trivia: Ferde Grofe (Ferdinand Rudolph von Grofe, 1892-1972) composed another Arizona-themed suite: The Valley of the Sun Suite, about Phoenix -- or, more specifially, about noted boondoggle the Salt River Project, one of the greater swindles this side of the Tennessee Valley Authority.


Grofe also composed the Mississippi Suite, the Hudson River Suite, the Death Valley Suite, the Hollywood Suite, the Niagara Suite, World’s Fair Suite, & who knows, maybe the Tennessee Valley Authority Suite.
What kind of guy do you suppose Ferde Grofe was? Yep. You guess it-a quick, boss.

Further trivia: Ferde Grofe, Jr. -- Ferde Grofe's son -- directed the low-budget, proto-Reservoir Dogs film The Day of the Wolves, filmed in Lake Havasu City, Arizona.

If you have an LP or CD of Grofe's Grand Canyon Suite that does not appear in the index at left, please send me a scan. (Especially if that cover features artwork or a photo that depicts something -- anything -- other than the Grand Canyon. Gracias.)

Update, 22mar2007—

Maestro Steven Richman sent the following:

It contains the tiniest Grofe Grand Canyon representation yet:

Update, 25sep2007—

Marshall St. John has found another:

"I purchased a recording of the Grand Canyon Suite in the early 1960's, and there is no photo of the Grand Canyon on the cover. The recording was pressed by RCA for the National Academy Record Club, and I bought the album, and others in the series, for $1 in a drug store. The cover photo is attached."

Ain't it just Grand?

A man in Boston decides to spend his vacation at the Grand Canyon. He visits his travel bureau, looks at the folder, signs up for a two-week tour. He and his family take the tour, see the Grand Canyon, and return to Boston. May we say that this man has seen the Grand Canyon? Possibly he has. But it is more likely that what he has done is the one sure way not to see the canyon.
Why is it almost impossible to gaze directly at the Grand Canyon under these circumstances and see it for what it is -- as one picks up a strange object from one's back yard and gazes directly at it? It is almost impossible because the Grand Canyon, the thing as it is, has been appropriated by the symbolic complex which has already been formed in the sightseer's mind. Seeing the canyon under approved circumstances is seeing the symbolic complex head on. The thing is no longer the thing as it confronted the Spaniard; it is rather that which has already been formulated -- by picture postcard, geography book, tourist folders, and the words
Grand Canyon. As a result of this preformulation, the source of the sightseer's pleasure undergoes a shift. Where the wonder and delight of the Spaniard arose from his penetration of the thing itself, from a progressive discovery of depths, patterns, colors, shadows, etc., now the sightseer measures his satisfaction by the degree to which the canyon conforms to the preformed complex.
-- Walker Percy, The Message in the Bottle, pp. 46-7.

I have seen the Grand Canyon both ways on the same trip. I'm an Arizona native but had been to the Grand Canyon only once, when I was about four years old. Years later participation in the Confluence Project provided a good reason to visit again. From the Official Grand Canyon Established Tourist Vista Sanctioned Viewpoint Stopping Place And Public Toilet, the Grand Canyon does look merely like a postcard, or the cover to every extant album cover I've ever been able to find of Grofe's Grand Canyon Suite. All ho-hummy. I remember making comments to this effect while at the canyon & getting looks from whatever nearby German & Japanese tourists spoke English. Fortunately, Confluence-fari impelled us westward from the Official Grand Canyon Bullcrap Do-This Do-That Don't Cross The Yellow Lines Area. We parked alongside the forest road (strictly verboten, as if anyone should care) and hiked through the pines until the forest suddenly dropped off into the Canyon. It was quiet. It was still. It was ... Grand.

Over the years I've collected a number of LP recordings of Grofe's Grand Canyon Suite, always hoping to find a case where the album cover artist did NOT resort to some representation of the Grand Canyon. I have so far been disappointed at the unimaginativeness.

Now, to begin...

To Deuce of Clubs