Monday, July 26, 2010

Atomic Tiki Art Show: Official Invitation

Hey I know I've been on a bit of a Tiki tangent lately, but it is summer, which is prime tiki season, and also because the Atomic Tiki Art Show is coming up, which is the first profession show I've exhibited in, so maybe I'm a little excited about that. Anyway, if you are in the Portland area on August 5th, why not check out the First Thursday festivities at Elroy Artspace? Here are all the details. Oh, and my understanding is that you can pre-purchase any piece in the show as well, just contact Elroy Artspace directly.

Oh, and one more thing, Tiki Kon 2010 is the last weekend of July, and I know that on Sunday, August1st there will be a special bus tour which will stop to preview the Atomic Tiki show and then visit some of the private residence home tiki bars in the area. Good times!

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Accepted to the Atomic Tiki Group Exhibition

In my previous post—yes, I know it's been far too long—I mentioned the call to art for the Atomic Tiki Group Exhibition over at Elroy Artspace in Northwest Portland. Well, I'm proud to announce that I submitted two pieces and they were both accepted to the show. So if you find yourself in Northwest Portland between the 2nd and 27th of August, stop in  and check out some great art inspired by the mid-century modern tiki craze.

In honor of the Atomic Tiki show, I'm presenting this tiki-themed classic Bugs Bunny cartoon, Wackiki Wabbit from July of 1943. The abstract backgrounds in this one are what I find really intriguing, and I don't recall anything that abstract being used before or since at Warner Brothers, so it's really unique.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Call to Art: Atomic Tiki

Aloha, all you tiki artists out there, Portland's very own Elroy Artspace is calling for artists to submit work for their Atomic Tiki Show coming this August. Deadline for entries is July 18, which is quickly approaching, which means I too need to get my keister in gear if I'm going to submit something. For all the info just clickity-click-click. Looks like good times whether you submit art or not.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Crown Motel Sign Benefit

 I remember going out to Interstate Avenue in Portland on a chilly March afternoon the day before they took down the sign for Crown Motel. I wanted to get some sketches of the sign and the motel before they were gone, but it was so cold that my fingers quickly numbed, so none of the sketches came out worth a poo. I still have the them in one of my sketchbooks, and some day I will probably do something creative based on those sketches and some vintage post cards of the motel. Sadly, the motel was torn down, but at least the sign was saved. As I recall,  Ramsay Signs did the removal and had agreed to store the sign in a safe place until it could be restored. Now it seems that the Portland Metropolitan Area Mid-Century Modern League will be hosting a fundraiser (sign up here) at the Interstate Lanes, which is a pretty cool looking building in it's own right, to help pay for the restoration. I've got a buggered knee, so I wont be bowling, but it looks like good times and certainly a great cause if you can make it.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Retro Preservationists : Marina the Fire Eating Mermaid

Have you heard of Marina the Fire Eating Mermaid? If not, I would like to introduce you, well actually this first clip will do that for me, so I'll just set it up a little bit. Back in the mid-century, many hotel bars had windows that had an underwater view of  the hotel pool, and they would often feature some type of underwater floor show as part of the evening's entertainment. They were called porthole bars and were all the rage for a time, of course, like most cool things from that era, the majority of them are gone now. Enter the lovely Miz Marina (aka MeduSirena) who is doing her part to keep the craft of the choreographed under water performance alive by both performing and teaching others how to do it. In fact, she has a whole pod of lovely mermaid apprentices. Incidentally, Marina  is a multifaceted mermaid and doesn't limit herself to just underwater performances. She's got an impressive list of talents and isn't above shedding her tail and performing on land as well. Among other things: she is a fire eater, a belly dancer, and I believe she even makes her own tails. Although I guess she would have to. It's not like she could go into Wal-Mart and say: give me a blue mermaid tail, size 3. Anyway, I just think it's so cool that she has taken this vintage craft and not only helped keep it alive, but has also breathed new life into it. Indeed, she has built upon it and added enough of her own personality and creativity so that it is truly retro, meaning that it isn't merely a rehashing of something done before, but she has honored the past and at the same time created something unique and ├╝ber special.

Marina is located in Florida, and I'm on the West Coast, so I haven't had a chance to see her live, but someday I do hope to catch one of her shows. Seriously, it's on my bucket list. Anyway, if you want to learn more about her or her shows, you can check out the Medusirena Web Page.

Watch an overview of what Marina the Fire Eating Mermaid is all about.

Marina ~ The Fire-Eating Mermaid newscast from Dawn Dubriel on Vimeo.

Watch this a little clip from 1961, which gives a quick look at Marina's predecessors.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Ronnie James Dio: R.I.P.

Ordinarily I try to keep this blog focused on 1966 or earlier, but today I'm going to make an exception and revisit my early metal-head days (the 80's) to pay respect to a true metal legend, Mr. Ronnie James Dio, who passed away at the age of 67 early Sunday morning after a 6 month battle with stomach cancer. Before forming his namesake band, DIO, he was the front man for a couple of metal icons, Rainbow, featuring Ritchie Blackmore, and of course, he replaced Ozzy Osbourne as the singer for Black Sabbath, in which he helped re-create their sound and sang on two of their best studio albums, Heaven & Hell and Mob Rules. I went to a lot of concerts back in the day, but I regret that I only got a chance to see him live one time, at the Portland Memorial Coliseum in July of 1984 with Whitesnake (before they went all poofy) and Portland's own Black & Blue. My sincere condolences go out  to his wife and best friend, Wendy Dio as well as the rest of his family and friends. Rest in peace, Mr. Dio, and thank you for all the great music.

This is a great version of the first DIO song I ever heard, Rainbow in the Dark, recorded for a late night TV show in 1983. So, it must have been from the first tour when the Holy Diver album was brand new.

This is Neon Knights from back in his Black Sabbath days.

This is a more recent version of DIO (2002) perfoming a song he originally recorded in his Rainbow days, Man on the Silver Mountain.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Hooray for Hollywood!

In case you haven't heard the news,  Hugh Hefner stepped up to the plate and kicked in the final $900,000 needed to help save the iconic Hollywood sign from the greedy plans of Chicago developers. The plan, as I understand it, was to build upscale homes behind the sign. Of course, there were other celebrities involved, Tom Hanks and Steven Spielberg, I believe, but ordinary citizens also joined the cause, and through bake sales and cash donations, raised the money to purchase the land behind the sign—$12.5 million was the asking price, which certainly ain't hay. It really is fantastic that so many people cared and came together for the common good. At the same time, I'm rather disheartened that the sign was ever in peril in the first place. Seriously?! What kind of filthy douchbag would ever consider it okay to desecrate a national icon—nay, a World icon like that? How much better can they, or do they need to live? Perhaps the weasels from Goldman Sachs and their ilk have the answer. I really don't understand people like that, and I'm not sure I even want to.

I think it would be best for me to move on, and focus on the history of the sign before I go off on one of my legendary tirades about greed and evil. The original lighted sign read: HOLLYWOODLAND, and was erected in 1923 to advertise a new housing development of the same name. It was never intended to be permanent, but in time, the district became known as Hollywood, the movie capital of the World. The first refurbishment came in 1949 when the LAND part was removed to reflect the district instead of the housing development, and the lights were also removed at this time. By the late 70's the sign had again crumbled into such a terrible state of disrepair, that it actually looked as though it said: HULLYWO D. A new sturdier version was financed by celebrities, such as Alice Copper and Hugh Hefner, sponsoring individual letters, which is what we see today. You can read more about the history of the sign here on Wikipedia.

In closing, I found this neat little video clip, which  appears to be from a tourist on vacation in 1932, and features the original version of the sign. It isn't anything mind blowing or spectacular, but it is a small glimpse of life in a simpler time.


Friday, April 23, 2010

Nifty Retro Business Card Templates

I know what you're thinking: Jeepers! I sure wish there was a magic retro business card machine!  Well, my friend, your wish has been granted . . . or at least the next best thing. I am proud to announce that I have just released the first round of my Nifty Retro Business Card Templates over at the Vintage 66 Graphics Shop.

These designs were all influenced by the MCM Era of American Pop Culture; bowling shirts, two-toned sedans and those crazy boomerang motifs that were all the rage. As I mentioned, this is just the first round, so there will be more designs in a similar vein to follow, but for now, I'm just doing a little shameless boasting.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Pedal Pushers T-shirt Design

Hey, I know it has been awhile since I've posted here,  I've been really busy with some other projects, but I've recently wrapped two of them up. This is one that I finished earlier in the week. There's a group of friends down in the East Bay area who get together and ride their vintage beach cruisers around. They call themselves The Pedal Pushers and I was recently commissioned to design a T-shirt with a retro/vintage flair. This is the final version:

And this is how it will look on a T-shirt when they get them printed up. Okay, I'm done boasting . . . for now at least.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Happy Birthday Dr. Seuss!

If the good doctor were still alive today, this would be his 106th birthday. Ted Geisel, aka. Dr. Seuss, is one of the most important illustrators/authors in the history of children's literature. Actually, I would go so far as to say, he is THE most important figure in children's lit. So in honor of this momentous occasion, I present this animated version of his classic story, Green Eggs and Ham.


Friday, February 12, 2010

Arrests Made In Cape Meares Lighthouse Vandalism

Two individuals were arrested February 11th in the case of the vandalism to the Cape Meares Lighthouse which occurred last month. Sadly, the early estimates of the cost of repairs ($50,000) was severely under estimated, and are expected to be more than $500,000! I won't rehash the whole press release, but if you like, you can read it on the Oregon Parks and Recreation Page. Any of you readers have a spare half million dollars lying around?

Anyway, here is a clip I found on Youtube which features a tour of the inside of the lighthouse before it was damaged. The noise you hear is a storm raging outside. I don't remember ever being inside of it, although I may have when I was a little kid. I always seem to find myself there in the winter months when it is closed for the season, of course, now the whole park is closed indefinitely. You can also see the Coast Guard's current light beacon, which the vandals also fired shots at. I know someday it will be repaired, but this  really makes me angry, so I had best sign off, before my temper and salty language take over.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

$5000 Reward! Cape Meares Lighthouse Vandalized

I know this post may be a little terse and disjointed, but I am seething with rage about the vandalism of one of our historic treasures on the Oregon Coast. I will update it soon, when my anger recedes a bit.

This photo was taken a few years ago when I was on what I called the Great Oregon Coast Lighthouse Tour of 2004 (I think, I really don't recall the date so I'll have to check some records and update this if necessary). Anyway, this is the historic Cape Meares Lighthouse, which was vandalized by a dipshit(s) with a gun in January 2010. The asshole did about $50,000 worth of damage, but some parts of the lens that were broken can't really be replaced. There is a $5000 reward for the arrest and conviction of those responsible. If you have any information regarding this crime please contact the Oregon State Police Northern Command Center dispatch: 800-452-7888. Updates and more information about the reward can be found here. Also, you can make donations for repairs and see pictures of the damage here.