Happy Birthday Micky Dolenz

best known as a member of the 1960s made-for-television band The Monkees. American actor, musician, television director, radio personality and theater director, Micky Dolenz was born on this day 8th March in 1945

Dolenz began his show business career in 1956 when he starred in a children’s show called Circus Boy under the name Mickey Braddock.In 1965, Dolenz was cast in the television sitcom The Monkees and became the drummer and a lead vocalist in the band created for the show, dispite not being a drummer. He needed lessons even to be able to mime credibly, but eventually was taught how to play properly. By the time The Monkees toured for real in late 1966, Dolenz was competent enough to play the drums himself. (He learned to play right-handed and left-footed.)   According to Mike Nesmith, it was Dolenz’s voice that made the Monkees’ sound distinctive, and even during tension-filled times Nesmith and Peter Tork voluntarily turned over lead vocal duties to Dolenz on their own compositions, such as Tork’s “For Pete’s Sake”, which became the closing title theme for the second season of the TV show.   Dolenz wrote a few of the band’s songs as well as providing the lead vocals for such hits as “Last Train to Clarksville” and “I’m a Believer”. Towards the end of the series’ hectic two-year run, Dolenz directed and co-wrote what turned out to be the show’s final episode.   Despite being more of a singer than a musician, Micky purchased one of the first 25 Moog synthesizers, the third Moog Synthesizer ever commercially sold. His performance on The Monkees song “Daily Nightly” (written by Michael Nesmith) from the LP, Pisces, Aquarius, Capricorn & Jones Ltd., was the first use of a synthesizer on a rock recording.

The Monkees have enjoyed continuing popularity Thanks in part to reruns of The Monkees on Saturday mornings and in syndication, The Monkees Greatest Hits also charted in 1976. Dolenz and Jones took advantage of this, joining ex-Monkees songwriters Tommy Boyce and Bobby Hart to tour the United States. From 1975 to 1977, as the “Golden Hits of The Monkees” show (“The Guys who Wrote ‘Em and the Guys who Sang ‘Em!”), they successfully performed in smaller venues such as state fairs and amusement parks, as well as making stops in Japan, Thailand and Singapore. They also released an album of new material as Dolenz, Jones, Boyce & Hart.

After the television show ended and the band broke up, Dolenz hoped to continue a solo recording career, and released several singles on MGM Records (and its subsidiaries) in the early 1970s. In 1971, Peter Tork helped arrange a Micky Dolenz single, “Easy on You”/”Oh Someone”. He also  provided voice-overs for a number of Saturday-morning cartoon series including The Funky Phantom, Partridge Family 2200 A.D., Scooby-doo, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kids, Devlin and Wonder Wheels (from The Skatebirds). Dolenz provided the voice of Arthur in the first season of the animated series The Tick.[SPOON!] Dolenz also played one of Alan Matthews’ bandmates in the sitcom Boy Meets World, and later joined Davy Jones and Peter Tork in episode eight of the 3rd season (titled “Rave On”), although they did not play themselves. In 1972, Dolenz played Vance in the murder mystery film Night of the Strangler. Dolenz provided the voice of Two-Face’s twin henchmen in the two-part episode “Two-Face” on Batman: The Animated Series. In a September 2006 radio interview, Dolenz reported that he is the current voice of Snuggle the Fabric Softener Bear. Dolenz also made guest appearances on prime time shows including Adam-12 and My Three Sons. He also auditioned for the role of Fonzie on the series Happy Days, but lost out to Henry Winkler.

1977 saw him performing with former band-mate Davy Jones in a stage production of the Harry Nilsson musical The Point! in London, playing the part of Arrow, Oblio’s (Jones) pet dog. In the early 1980s, Dolenz also directed a stage version of Bugsy Malone, the cast of which included a then-unknown 14-year-old Welsh actress named Catherine Zeta-Jones. From 1983 to 1984 he was responsible for  creating and producing the British children’s television show Luna. In 2007, he appeared in Rob Zombie’s remake of Halloween as Derek Allan, the owner of the gun shop where Dr. Loomis (played by Malcolm McDowell) buys a gun in his search for Michael Myers. 2011, Dolenz appeared in the movie movie Mega Python vs. Gatoroid alongside Debbie Gibson and Tiffany.

In 1986, a screening of the entire Monkees television series by MTV led to renewed interest in the group, followed by a single (“That Was Then, This Is Now” reached number 20 on the Billboard Hot 100 in the U.S.), a 20th Anniversary Tour, a greatest hits album and a brand new LP, Pool It! in 1987. The group’s original albums were reissued and all hit the record charts at the same time. He has joined the other ex-Monkees for several reunion tours, most recently in 2011 with a series of concerts in England and the United States, and has toured extensively as a solo artist. He has continued to direct for television both in the United Kingdom and the United States, and had occasional acting gigs, including roles in the TV series The Equalizer and as the Mayor on the cable TV series Pacific Blue.

International Women’s Day

International Women’s Day takes place on March 8th and has been observed since in the early 1900’s, during a time of great expansion and turbulence in the industrialized world which saw booming population growth and the rise of radical ideologies. Great unrest and critical debate were also occurring. Women’s oppression and inequality was spurring them to become more vocal and active in campaigning for change. Then in 1908, 15,000 women marched through New York City demanding shorter hours, better pay and voting rights. In accordance with a declaration by the Socialist Party of America, the first National Woman’s Day (NWD) was observed across the United States on 28 February 1909. Women continued to celebrate NWD on the last Sunday of February until 1913.

In 1910 a second International Conference of Working Women was held in Copenhagen. A woman named a Clara Zetkin (Leader of the ‘Women’s Office’ for the Social Democratic Party in Germany) tabled the idea of an International Women’s Day. She proposed that every year in every country there should be a celebration on the same day – a Women’s Day – to press for their demands. The conference of over 100 women from 17 countries, representing unions, socialist parties, working women’s clubs, and including the first three women elected to the Finnish parliament, greeted Zetkin’s suggestion with unanimous approval and thus International Women’s Day was the result.

Following the decision agreed at Copenhagen in 1911, International Women’s Day (IWD) was honoured the first time in Austria, Denmark, Germany and Switzerland on 19 March. More than one million women and men attended IWD rallies campaigning for women’s rights to work, vote, be trained, to hold public office and end discrimination. However less than a week later on 25 March, the tragic ‘Triangle Fire’ in New York City took the lives of more than 140 working women, most of them Italian and Jewish immigrants. This disastrous event drew significant attention to working conditions and labour legislation in the United States that became a focus of subsequent International Women’s Day events. 1911 also saw women’s ‘Bread and Roses’ campaign.   On the eve of World War, Whilst I campaigning for peace, Russian women observed their first International Women’s Day on the last Sunday in February 1913. Following discussions, International Women’s Day was transferred to 8th March and this day has remained the global date for International Women’s Day ever since. In 1914 further women across Europe held rallies to campaign against the war and to express women’s solidarity.

On the last Sunday of February 1917, Russian women began a strike for “bread and peace” in response to the death over 2 million Russian soldiers in war. Opposed by political leaders the women continued to strike until four days later the Czar was forced to abdicate and the provisional Government granted women the right to vote. The date the women’s strike commenced was Sunday 23 February on the Julian calendar then in use in Russia. This day on the Gregorian calendar in use elsewhere was 8 March.

Since its birth in the socialist movement, International Women’s Day has grown to become a global day of recognition and celebration across developed and developing countries alike. For decades, IWD has grown from strength to strength annually. For many years the United Nations has held an annual IWD conference to coordinate international efforts for women’s rights and participation in social, political and economic processes. 1975 was designated as ‘International Women’s Year’ by the United Nations. Women’s organisations and governments around the world have also observed IWD annually on 8 March by holding large-scale events that honour women’s advancement and while diligently reminding of the continued vigilance and action required to ensure that women’s equality is gained and maintained in all aspects of life.

IWD is now an official holiday in Afghanistan, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Burkina Faso, Cambodia, China (for women only), Cuba, Georgia, Guinea-Bissau, Eritrea, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Laos, Madagascar (for women only), Moldova, Mongolia, Montenegro, Nepal (for women only), Russia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uganda, Ukraine, Uzbekistan, Vietnam and Zambia. The tradition sees men honouring their mothers, wives, girlfriends, colleagues, etc with flowers and small gifts. In some countries IWD has the equivalent status of Mother’s Day where children give small presents to their mothers and grandmothers.

The new millennium has witnessed a significant change and attitudinal shift in both women’s and society’s thoughts about women’s equality and emancipation. Many from a younger generation feel that ‘all the battles have been won for women’ while many feminists from the 1970’s know only too well the longevity and ingrained complexity of patriarchy. With more women in the boardroom, greater equality in legislative rights, and an increased critical mass of women’s visibility as impressive role models in every aspect of life, one could think that women have gained true equality. The unfortunate fact is that women are still not paid equally to that of their male counterparts, women still are not present in equal numbers in business or politics, and globally women’s education, health and the violence against them is worse than that of men.

However, great improvements have been made. We do have female astronauts and prime ministers, school girls are welcomed into university, women can work and have a family, women have real choices. And so the tone and nature of IWD has, for the past few years, moved from being a reminder about the negatives to a celebration of the positives.

Annually on 8 March, thousands of events are held throughout the world to inspire women and celebrate achievements. A global web of rich and diverse local activity connects women from all around the world ranging from political rallies, business conferences, government activities and networking events through to local women’s craft markets, theatric performances, fashion parades and more. Many global corporations have also started to more actively support IWD by running their own internal events and through supporting external ones.   This year The Oxfam Get Together is being held  to celebrate International Women’s Day.

Concern Worldwide are also celebrating International Woman’s Day. They are committed to empowering women living in poverty in order to make major improvements in their lives and help people recognise that gender equality and women’s rights are essential to advancing justice and ending global poverty.  International Women’s Day also connects women around the world and is aimed at inspiring them to achieve their full potential and is also an opportunity to celebrate the valuable work of women around the world. It also highlights the progress women have made in their struggle for economic, social, cultural, political and Gender equality. The United States have even designated the whole month of March as ‘Women’s History Month’.