Archive for July, 2010

Mai-Tais and Suicide, Is it Bad?

Thursday, July 29th, 2010

Trader Dick's, John Ascuaga's Nugget, Sparks, Nevada

One of my favorite spots was Trader Vics at the Beverly Hilton. It used to be a very Sinatra Beverly Hills crowd, but then the other group, producers and prostitutes, found it. Unfortunately, it was recently updated. Why, I don’t know. I guess it was on the verge of being very cool, so time to make it tasteful. At the other end of the spectrum is Trader Dicks at the Nugget in Sparks, Nevada. It’s amazingly cheesy in a 1980s porn movie way. I actually love it more. If you are looking for an evening of serious career alcoholic drinking with mai-tais, this is the place. This is dangerous, though. You can either revel in the plastic flower, velveteen booth, and fried pupu platter wonderfulness, or it can go the other way. If you are the type who drinks and has crying jags, this atmosphere may lead to the most depressing evening of your life. But it’s Reno, and a gamble as to whether the night ends with hilarity or an intentional overdose.

Trader Dick's, Sparks Nevada, postcard, 1950s

Trader Dick's mugs

Trader Vic's, Beverly Hilton, Beverly Hills

Being Not Square

Wednesday, July 28th, 2010

Invisible Circus poster, Dave Hodges, 1967

I have never taken Lysergic acid diethylamide, or acid as they say on the street. I don’t endorse revolution (except for our original one in 1776). I don’t own any clothing with fringe or tie-dye. I get up every day, go to work, pay taxes, and keep my front yard neat. I am square. I’m the establishment. But, as you know, I did spend formative years in the Haight during the late 1960s. My parents were never pleased that I ended up so square, but they would be pleased that I love counter-culture culture. I love the colors, the attitude, the optimism, and the naïveté.

In San Francisco, in the late 1960s, a group of counter-culture characters formed the Diggers. This group was a theater troupe and endorsed a non-capitalist society without money. They provided free food service in the Panhandle every day, arranged places for homeless hippie teens to “crash”, and opened a series of “Free Stores”. They gave free concerts with the Grateful Dead, Janis Joplin, Jefferson Airplane, and Big Brother and the Holding Company. The Diggers are the originators of some of your favorite sayings: “Do your own thing” and “Today is the first day of the rest of your life”. The Digger Bread, which was baked in coffee cans at the Free Bakery, popularized whole-wheat bread.

The Diggers did not “fall apart,” they evolved and integrated with other groups: The Free Bakery, the Gypsy Truckers, and my favorite Up Against the Wall Motherfuckers, and became the Free Family.

Arthur magazine provided some new knowledge to me about the posters and broadside. Novelist and poet Chester Anderson and his protégé Claude Hayward, created the “Communication Company,” or more commonly, “Com/Co.” According to Claude, the broadsides were “handed out on the street, page by page, super hot media, because the reader trusted the source, which was another freaky looking hippie who had handed it to him/her.” This quite possibly was my mother or father.

Broadside, The Communication Company, 1967-68

poster, The Diggers, Victor Moscoso, 1967 or 1968

The Communication Company broadside, 1967

Bombs Away

Monday, July 26th, 2010

One of the disturbing things about getting older is that all of your cultural references become obsolete. I’ll mention Leave it to Beaver, and get blank stares. Or I’ll suggest someone look at the colors of the Fillmore posters, and, once again the stare that says, “Wha’?” and, “You’re old.” Today I mentioned Pablo Ferro’s incredible title sequence for Stanley Kubrick’s Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb and had a similar reaction. I love Ferro’s explanation that refers to the sexuality of the scene. Others might skirt the issue, or suggest the viewer can determine his or her own meaning. Pablo states blatantly, “Everything we do is always very sexual. A B-52 refueling in midair? Of course! It’s sexual.” The combination of the wonderfully immediate typography, easy listening music, and documentary footage creates a pornographic and sensual experience. Okay, maybe not hot, hot, hot pornography, but certainly sensual.

For Your Aural Pleasure

Friday, July 23rd, 2010

The Jetsons, 1963

Many of you have written, and asked, “Sean, where can I find interesting ringtones and alert sounds for my computer?” The answer is here at the cabin. This collection has a sci-fi bent for those of you in the sci-fi nerd category. Since I made them, I must be in there, also. And I added an extra that we put on Noreen’s computer for her alert sound about cookies.

Jetson’s doorbell

HAL9000 moment

2001: voiceprint identification

Voyager door signal

HAL9000 Tracking

HAL9000 Message

Battlestar Galactica Action Stations

would you like a cookie?

Caviar Breakfasts and Champagne Dreams

Thursday, July 22nd, 2010

If you’ve never seen Tommy directed by Ken Russell you are missing the cultural equivalent of landing the man on the moon. And Ann-Margret is unbelievably beautiful. I still don’t know what any of it means, but it looks great. I used to think the writers on Brothers and Sisters based the family names on my family. We have Tommy Walker, Kitty Walker, etc. But, as it turns out, they used Tommy. The original Nora Walker is Ann-Margret in Tommy. I think Sally Field should use the Ann-Margret portrayal as a starting point for her Nora Walker.