Paradise Lost

When I was twelve, I thought the coolest building in the world was the Contemporary Resort at Walt Disney World. It was brutalist and a monorail drove through it. When you are a twelve year-old boy living in Reno, Nevada, these are the criteria points used for architectural criticism. Today, I still think the Contemporary Resort is cool, but now for the Mary Blair mural in the Grand Canyon Concourse. The Contemporary has a sleek boutique W Hotel feel. That’s great if you like that, but I spend enough time in W Hotel rooms, so I’ve moved on to Disney’s Yacht Club. My clothing choices fit in better there also.

When I see images of the Contemporary when it first opened in 1971 it looks like the most magnificent vacation spot ever. It’s so groovy and chic. The color palette of avocado, burnt orange, brown, and butter yellow is magnificent. There was a happening supper club, the Top of the World, with live entertainment in the style of Lawrence Welk. The disco had a nifty Logan’s Run vibe. I imagine happy men dressed in their finest maroon leisure suits and women in their floor length lime green chiffon dresses dancing to KC and the Sunshine Band, but a more mellow version. I want to go to a conference where the dining room is all orange and we sit at tables with ochre table cloth. But most importantly, there are giant acrylic trees in the lobby. I say to all the tasteful boutique hotels out there (and the current Contemporary Resort), “Dump the good taste beige and walnut. Put in autumn toned acrylic trees and psychedelic colored Navajo patterned carpet.”

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Contemporary Resort color palette, 1972

Sean Adams

Sean Adams is the Chair of the undergraduate and graduate Graphic Design Program at ArtCenter, founder of Burning Settlers Cabin studio, and on-screen author for LinkedIn Learning/ He is the only two term AIGA national president in AIGA’s 100 year history. In 2014, Adams was awarded the AIGA Medal, the highest honor in the profession. He is an AIGA Fellow, and Aspen Design Fellow. He has been recognized by every major competition and publication including; How, Print, Step, Communication Arts, Graphis, AIGA, The Type Directors Club, The British Art Director’s Club, and the Art Director’s Club. Adams has been exhibited often, including a solo exhibition at The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.

Adams is an author of multiple magazine columns, and several best-selling books. He has been cited as one of the forty most important people shaping design internationally, and one of the top ten influential designers in the United States. Previously, Adams was a founding partner at AdamsMorioka, whose clients included The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, Disney, Mohawk Fine Papers, The Metropolitan Opera, Los Angeles County Museum of Natural History, Richard Meier & Partners, Sundance, and the University of Southern California.

Baby Doll

As an elderly shut-in, I never stay up late enough to watch Saturday Night Live. When I stay at my grandparents’ house, the only thing to watch is old VHS cassettes of The Lawrence Welk Show. Noreen showed me a wonderful combination of the two today that needed to be shared. If only my grandparents were still alive, we could switch their tapes with these.

Tiny Bubbles and Prison Shanks

One of the worst aspects of Tivo is that you don't have it when you travel. I hate sitting in a hotel room, missing what someone said, and I can't go back. And I'm forced to watch whatever is on the 15 stations they receive. It seems that CSI is on most of the channels all the time. Sitting in a hotel room on my last trip, I found myself mesmerized by The Lawrence Welk Show. Now you know I have some Lawrence Welk records which are very relaxing, but, even as wholesome as I am, I can't really watch it. But the colors are miraculous. Originally, this post was going to be about just that, the color palette on The Lawrence Welk Show.

In my research, however, I discovered three video clips that needed to be seen by all. The Love Boat theme dance number is something you will never get out of your head. Tokin', really? Did they know they were promoting marijuana usage? And the Velvet Underground does make for a nice change of pace.

I can take cute, or sweet, or even saccharine, but this goes over that line. This seems to be the result of entertainers after a Frances Farmer lobotomy. It's all so nice and measured. Somebody backstage must have snapped at some point. I like to imagine a plastic fork from the craft services table being shaped into a prison shiv, and then the brutal attack like a scene from Oz. This is the only way to watch The Lawrence Welk Show without believing that it is the evidence that Satan has returned and is disguised.