Saturday, February 27, 2010

Mazel Grandpaw!

Ahh, the happy wedding day. They don't look too happy, do they? Taken in 1919.

Oy vey!

These are my Dad's parents. I really didn't know, or at least connect that he was Jewish until, well, my non-practicing Jewish best friend made a big deal out of it several years ago. For me, and our family, it was really a non-issue that Dad was a Jew, well, from a Jewish family.

I don't see any yarmulke in any of these photos, but my Dad's Dad, or my grandfather sure looks like my Dad, no mistaking that.

I don't even have a very Jewish sounding last name. Dad used to say his Dad changed his last name when he immigrated here to the U.S. in, well, whatever year he immigrated. In his later years, he said the family name wasn't changed. Oy vey! Taken about 1922. Somewhere on the east coast of the U.S.

You'd swear my Dad had little Hassidic curls, but he had to have come from Ashkenazi Jews, given his blue eyes and light hair. Well, My Grandmothers light hair.

In reality, the curls my Dad has in several photos of him as a young boy are the result of my Jewish Grandmothers old Victorian values, and those are Victorian curls many boys had as boys. I just discovered my Grandmother was 35 when he was born. I come from people who have babies late in life, which accounts of all the old photos. Taken 1923 (photo below)

Poor Dad, I bet he was teased for those Victorian curls as a kid. I also had no clue Dad went to Hebrew school or even was a Jew until I was about 14 ha ha. Seriously. He never talked about it. It was a non-issue. (below photo taken in Washington D.C. or New York about 1925-1926)

And while I keep talking about my Dad, it's really my Dad's Dad I want to point out.

My Grandfather left my Grandmother when Dad was about 9 years old. Thanks, Grandpa. You left my Dad with one of the most controlling Jewish Mothers ever found in New York. Lots more about her to come.

But maybe, after hearing the stories, I kind of understood why. Dad was an only child, by the way. I guess one trip around the bed was enough for ol' Grandpa lol... (below photo taken about 1925-1926, probably New York).

So I know virtually nothing about my Grandfather, except he bailed on the family back in about 1930. This photo of his shadow on the ground while taking Dads picture is rather poetic I suppose. Sad. Dad really never talked about his Dad either.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

1950's Atomic Ranch House Roots

Tintype of my Great, Great Grandmother as a girl, left.

OK, in light of Vintage Christine's completely hilarious family and self portrait photos and commentary, I decided to do something similar, for that reason, and a few more.

Namely, in case of fire or being struck down by lightening, I need to get more of the family photos photographed and posted somewhere.

But I promise you, this is all going somewhere. My family has some hilarious history. All kinds of dirt and gossip. And since they were all kinds of mean to my folks on both sides, and I no longer associate with any of them, I can say whatever the hell I want about them lol!!!

Mom's Dad and Mom on left, her Mom's Dad on right. 1920. (Above photo)

It wasn't all bad, but geez, some of the stories I heard were something else. Mom told me these stories, and Mom was not the kind of person to embellish the truth as so many people seem to do, so I pretty much know, it's a fact.

My Mom's Mom left, her Mom, Mom's Grandmother on right. About 1919. The older woman in the photos, my Great Grandmother, outlived three husbands I believe. And if the family names on the back are correct, one of her husbands was an engineer on the Brooklyn Bridge. Or something like that. Hard to keep it all straight. Another photo of that person is somewhere.

Now, My Mom's Mom's folks were out of Virginia, I believe. My Mom's Mom, or Grandmother, was raised in the city by strict Victorian parents.

Then came her husband, the young man in the photo above showing the three people, straight from the hollars of Kentucky. He married my Grandmother about 1919.

And here is their Kentucky family shack, the parent's of my Grandfather, my Mom's Dads' folks. You don't get more "shack-like" than this lol.

Some of these photos set the stage for all the dirt to follow.

More next time... Because I am damn bored of shopping eBay, so some family dirt should be good. Heehee~~~~

The family dirt being the reason my folks moved out here to California and bought this 1950's Atomic Ranch House.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

The Navalaires Big Band - Dad's Band

These are photos of the Big Band my Dad played drums in. They were called the Navalaires.

Mom took the time in her later years to write on the backs of the photos. The one above says it's in some hotel in Washington D.C., photo dated December 1955, although Dad was notorious for taking photos and waiting as long as a couple years to get them developed.

Here's Dad on the drums, with part of the band name visible, and his initials on the drum in the back, left. She also credits Frank Morrison guitar, Bill Birch up front on horn:

My lovely Mom who went along to listen to Dad and the band play.

Singer unknown, fronting the band:

Bill Birch, a friend of my folks on horn:

My lovely Mother and the guitarist, also good friends of theirs, Frank Morrison and his wife Gerry:

Mom writes on the back of this photo that they are practicing for a gig, and Eli Nan was the band leader:

Dad on drums, front, right:

Mom and Bill Birch:

Mom writes that this is Dad on the drums:

My Dad practicing:

Dad (left) loading up the drums. It has the band name "Navalaires" and his initials

And I believe this is several years later, because all prior photos are Washington D.C., and this is after my folks moved out here to California. Band practice, Dad on drums:

It was interesting to me to go through these photos. Dad rarely talked about this, if ever. It was my Mom who told me all about it.

I wish I had tape recordings of the band, but alas, if there were any, and Dad used to have a reel-to-reel, they were lost long ago.

Here's to you, Dad!

Anyone having any more information about this band, please post, and if possible, a contact email address.


Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Gene Krupa Autograph

Clicky click for a bigger image.

My folks were older by the time I came along. OK, old! So I grew up listening to Big Band music as that was Dads favorite. To me, that is mid-century music, not the Doo-Wop stuff (don't hate me, just a conditioned preference).

Dad played drums in a Big Band himself, and I recently came across photos of him in the band. Will post some of those soon.

Meanwhile, he loved Gene Krupa since he himself played the drums.

He had Gene autograph these especially for him, years ago. As the story goes, Gene himself suggested to Dad that he cover the autographs with a piece of scotch tape to help keep them from damage.

Ha ha.

There is a brown spot on one of them, but with the tape covering, I'm sure I can carefully clean it off.

These have been separated in the house for years and years, and just today I located them both at the same time, finally paired again!

They have virtually no real value I am sure (a Gene Krupa and Johnny Davis autograph on sale now on eBay for $69), but for me of course, they have great sentimental value.

I intend to get these framed and hang them above the drums and such from Dads estate I plan on displaying here in the 1950's Atomic Ranch House.

Here's to you, Dad!

Gene on drums:

Monday, February 22, 2010

Mid-Century Chalkware Fish

These arrived today! I just won them! And yes indeed, it says: "Miller Studio 1960" on them.

They are real vintage! Whoo hoo!!

I was sure they'd be some kind of reproduction given the low selling price and amazing condition.

I am happy. =)

Update On Atomic Lamp

Someone asked the question I think a lot of us had:

Q: It's so wild it's hard to believe it isn't some lousy reproduction -- it is definite mid century vintage? Did they use bulb clips like that in 50's and early 60's?

Good question! Have you ever seen a lamp anything like this? I saw a seller who was selling printed fiberglass whip-stitched lampshades on eBay with all kinds of different things printed on them.

Here is the answer:

A: Hi and thanks for your interest in my auction. I'm sure it's an "oldie". Evidently it was in someone's attic or basement for a long time before the auction judging by the "moldy" smell. As for the bulb clips - The wires are soldered onto the outer frame and appear to be original to the piece. Hope this info helps.

Uh oh, there's the "M" word again. Moldy.

The highest bidder added a couple more bids to their own high bid, and it's still standing at $110. Auction ends in less than 5 hours as of this post.

I thought about it, I really did.

But that moldy smell turns me off. And I have nothing that matches this color scheme at all. It's so, well, unusually over the top atomic style. Have you seen anything made in the 50's or early 60's like this, in this pattern and these colors?

Once, while watching Antiques Roadshow, one of the adorable Keno brothers was evaluating an Art Deco poster, dated 1929.

He described it as "Art Deco on steroids". Simply too over the top, too quintessential Art Deco even for it's time, pumped up, IF it had been printed in 1929.

It wasn't. It was a reproduction style poster made in the 1980's.

So this one still makes me skeptical. And I don't want to deal with the stink.

But I sure do love looking at it!

Check it out HERE.


Stinkie sold for $202 dollars. Whoo hoo lol...

Vintage 1950's Mid-Century Reproductions

What's your opinion about reproductions? Do you incorporate them into your decor?

I figure, there are enough vintage things out there, that one really doesn't need them, except maybe in a very few very specific cases.

Part of the reason I am asking, someone gave me an Amazon gift certificate, and they don't have a whole lot of vintage reproductions that have high customer ratings. Their KitKat clock rates as "a piece of junk" lol.

And why are atomic print materials so expensive? A pillow for $59? No thanks, I'll buy a piece of original barkcloth and make my own, thank you very much.

I will need to get new, reproduction kitchen appliances, unless I can find someone to rebuild and refinish my original pink kitchen appliances, and I'm going to buy a new couch and chair for the living room because I want brand new, and they make 50's style couches and chairs. Plus I want them in black, and you don't see vintage couches and matching chairs in black.

But what about you?

Do you use reproductions, what kinds, and why?

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Another 1950's Starburst Clock

Whoo-hoo, got a matching-ish black and gold starburst clock to match my other black and gold starburst clock. This one for only $28!!

It doesn't have the cool backlit lights, but it certainly was more affordable.

On an even better note, I went through most all the family photos last night. Mom used to have a photo of she and Dad taken while they went to Vegas hanging on the hall wall, and I did not see it. I hope to heck I didn't somehow throw it out when I was getting rid of her multitudes of smaller framed things she'd hang on the wall (mostly pretty little pictures she'd find in magazines or pretty greeting cards she framed). I don't think she would have put a magazine pic over a photo like that, and while I was sure I checked behind every picture before throwing it out, I can't seem to find it. I get hung up on details like that lol.

At any rate, it was wonderful looking at the old photos. More photos of the house when it was new, the furniture, the landscaping, and best of all, more photos of the Big Band my Dad played in. I only had one of him loading up his drums into his car. Now I have pics of the whole band!

My Dad also used to go to the Palladium to listen to the other Big Bands, and there's a photo of he and Mom in a Palladium folder taken by a photographer there. Very cool.

I don't have a scanner, so will have to take digital photos of the photos (ugh), but will try and get some posted later today, if possible.

OK, so it may not be quite as interesting as Vintage Christine's Ronald McDonald photos, but very retro 1950's indeed!

P.S. I started adding your blogs to a bloglist in my wigits along the side of my blog, and will add any and all of you who comment on my blog on a semi-regular basis and have a blog that is retro or art related, and one that you update on some kind of regular basis. =)

P.P.S. I notice that artist I featured several posts ago never responded to my email to her via eBay, and never came here to comment? I wonder why? When I was selling on eBay, I'd have jumped for joy if my art was featured on someone's blog. =)

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Vintage Chalkware

Every once in a while, after I've exhausted my usual "Eames, 1950's, Vintage" searches on eBay, I'll start plugging in other words. "Paint by number", "vintage metal", "vintage chalkware" and this auction popped up. $10, 1 bid, ending in a short time.

As it counted down I threw on a bid higher than usual, because I've seen these go for ridiculous prices.

3 seconds, 2, 1; and I won it for $10.50??

What, is this some kind of cheap reproduction that I am not aware of?

I'm skeptical when I get vintage items on eBay cheaper than usual lol.

At any rate, regardless, it will match my pink and white bathroom perfectly!

Friday, February 19, 2010

1950's Linoelum Tiles

These vintage tile sample sets come up fairly frequently, and are so cool looking. I saw this one and thought how neat it would be to buy it, and turn it into an artwork. Get a canvas or board the size of the 12 tile samples, glue, frame and hang!

I remember this kind of flooring. In fact, it seems to me all floors looked like this. My bathroom floors were this design. When you yourself are vintage, you know these things lol.

Want this set? It's only $24.99 Buy It Now HERE.

OK Fellow Bloggers...

How do you get one of these wigit thingies? I'd love to have a list of my fellow bloggers blogs, but with a little photo like this one has.

How do you do that? Is it included in our list of wigits already or do you have to get this somewhere else?

That way I can keep up on what you all are doing as soon as you post. =)

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Totally Bitchin' Atomic Lamp Alert!!!

Someone get me a drool bib, and get me this lamp!!

It's on eBay, the auction has 4 days to go, and it's up to $110.

I'd bid like crazy on it, but the auction description does mention a "musty smell", and I have yet to figure out how to get rid of a musty smell in all my years of vintage shopping, so I pass those things over.

But what a lamp!!

Does anyone know how to cure a musty smell? Please let me know. I may get it regardless lol......

Check it out HERE.

So I Finally Got My 1950's Starburst Clock

Which is very cool, but I also noticed the minute hand is "loose". No, not like a wanton woman, but if you move the clock around, the minute hand moves by itself about a 1/2 inch to an inch on it's own.

Where is my rolling eye smilie?

So before I leave feedback, I'll have to plug that sucker in and watch it. Because I suspect when the minute hand gets to about 10 after the hour, it's going to jump to 15 or 20 after the hour.

It's not attached by a screw but more like a flat nut-dealie, and looks like I'd have to take it all apart to try tightening that loose hand, and even that seems iffy at best.

So, should I neg the hell out of the seller or what?

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Help Me Understand Frida Kahalo

OK, some may consider this a controversial post. Which is a nice way of saying witchy lol. But it seems on topic as she was a mid-century artist.

I know many of you out there are artists too. So I thought I'd ask:

Why the heck is Frida Kahalo so darn popular? I know her image became a very popular one to paint after the movie about her life came out in 2002. I watched the movie too.

And while I enjoyed the movie, it didn't make me want to paint hundreds of portraits of her. Not a single one. In fact, if one was to "follow" what Frieda did, then shouldn't we all be painting portraits of ourselves?

I'm not trying to be critical here! Really! I simply want to understand the huge popularity of her as a subject matter. Because before the movie, you didn't see the volume of artworks featuring her.

In fact, I rather enjoyed the movie "Pollock" better. But I haven't done one splatter painting either.

So if you have an opinion, please share it. If you think I am wrong, please tell me why. I am genuinely curious why this subject matter is still so widely popular, because while I feel she was an interesting person, I personally have not been compelled to paint her portrait.

Thank you for your input.