I found a pleasant little blog about a couple's re-model of a groovy MCM house in Portland, Ore. -- Green Mid-Century ReModel. They found a nice balance between incorporating new, green technologies and maintaining the period details of the house. And best of all, they have a kick-ass Frigidaire Flair in the kitchen. Check out the virtual walkthrough. It's pretty cool.
Monday, July 30, 2007
Generation Exploitation had a great post on the 1950 movie The Next Voice You Hear. The premise James Whitmore) is listening to the radio one evening when his regularly scheduled program is suddenly interrupted by the voice of the Christian God. As Generation Exploitation puts it: "One can't help wondering, given the year and the context in which the film was made, if this was MGM's attempt to get the House of Unamerican activities off their back. As in, 'See, we believe in God and America - we ain't no commies!' "
Of course, the irony of all this is Whitmore is actually an atheist. In a recent interview on XM Radio's Bob Edwards Show, Whitmore told Bob about how he grew up a very pious young man, an altar boy. However, after serving as a Marine officer through some of the worst fighting in the Pacific, Whitmore came home a changed man. He said that after seeing the things he saw in the war, there was no way he could believe in God anymore. Kind of sad, but it makes an interesting story.
Oh, and another piece of Whitmore trivia -- he played football at Yale, where his coach was his future President Gerald Ford. I remember Whitmore saying that they were related somehow, but I can't find any attribution for this.
Sunday, July 29, 2007
Wednesday, July 25, 2007
It's graced everything from Kodak cameras to Russian World War II fighters and as of this month, Bakelite turns 100. In July 1907, Belgian-American chemist Leo Baekeland applied for a U.S. patent on a substance he dubbed Bakelite, the first "true" synthetic plastic. For more information on our little plastic friend, listen to this NPR segment on Bakelite, starring my old prof from the University of Texas Jeff Meikle, a plastics expert.
Thursday, July 19, 2007
AMC's new MCM drama Mad Men starts tonight at 9 Central. The buzz is good. Mi amigo Robert Philpot is raving about it. Will it make me forget The Sopranos? Give some Eames loungers, bullet bras and decent plots lines and you're on your way!
Tuesday, July 17, 2007
Monday, July 16, 2007
I'm borrowing this from a post on my other blog -- The Caravan of Dreams. It's my reaction to the Fort Worth AIA list of their 25 favorite buildings in Fort Worth. There's a few MCM gems on there -- the Amon Carter, Casa Manana, the Kimbell, the Marty Leonard Chapel and the Paul Rudolph-designed Anne Bass Residence. But I wanted to reflect on the merits of one overlooked aspect of Mid-Century Architecture, not just in Fort Worth and Dallas, but everywhere -- Municipal Government MCM. Here's one of my favorites right here in Fort Worth:
Fort Worth Public Health Building, 1800 University Drive, Fort Worth: I know it may not be sexy, but I have a soft spot for Mid-Century Modern municipal architecture, the sort of postwar government modernism that you are familiar with whether you grew up in the US or Europe. I don't know who designed it, and I guess it really doesn't matter. I love the glass, the brick, the angles and -- what is that? -- green marble? I don't know. There just something kind of optimistic about it. And I believe (but I'm not certain) that it has a date with the wrecking ball. (If someone out there knows for sure, please comment.)
However, I couldn't imagine this building holding off demolition for long. As Fred Bernstein wrote in an article for The New York Times in 2004, this style of architecture may be loved by some, but not by most: "In a society otherwise enamored of the styles of the 1960s, the architecture of that decade is rarely loved and frequently reviled. All over the country, '60s buildings are being torn down while much older buildings survive. Functional problems, like leaky roofs and inadequate heating systems, are often to blame."
Yes, it's mostly a matter of dollars and cents, but taste also has something to do with it. Bernstein continues: "But just as often, the buildings are simply disliked by institutions that have enough money to replace them."
This building and others like it may yet have their day, but I'm not expecting them to endure like the Courthouse and Post Office. This style is just not as easy for most people to love. And like many, many examples of Mid-Century Modern Architecture around the Fort Worth and Dallas area, I expect most of them to be gone before most people think preservation is important.
Thursday, July 12, 2007
Looks a little worn and over-priced, but here it is. 1949 Chambers model 90C, bought new and still in use. One owner and used in only 2 locations. Good condition and easily restorable. Color: white. Asking $900.00, OBO. Stove is in Waco, TX. See the DMN for details.
And they have a Frigidaire Flair! Lots of tiki/bamboo style furniture. Looks like a treasure trove of kitsch! 508 S. Dallas Avenue, Lancaster, TX 75146. Runs Thursday through Saturday, 9a-5p. See thee DMN for more details.
Wednesday, July 11, 2007
Hey, I don't make this stuff up, I just point you to it. This whole Web site -- www.superdickery.com -- is devoted to examples of Superman being ... well, being a dick.
Now, mind you, I've never thought of Superman is particularly being a dick. And I gotta say, if he wants to use his superpowers to ruin Pat Boone's career -- well, I'm kind of OK with that. He can use his heat vision to melt his white shoes, use his super strength to crush his silly little baby guitar. Go ahead. I'm fine with it. Really.
If that's being a dick, I say fine. Let me be a dick. I'm good with that.
Monday, July 9, 2007
I'm not usually one to go ga-ga for vintage wheels -- that's a level of bread and expertise I do not possess. However, this here 1963 Mercedes-Benz sedan is a something I've never experienced before -- a Mercedes with tailfins. It's available from European Motor Cars on White Settlement Road in Cowtown.