The Pink Motel

Ahhh Vacation…

The Pink Motel

The Pink Motel

Filed under most misleading title of all time. I am aware that there is this thing called vacation of which I heard rumblings about all through the summer months. Alas I am a freelancer, these terms like leisure time, vacay, and R&R …surely they must be but unicorns dancing on skittle rainbows over a tropical island. Or some such fictionalized affair of a scene usually relegated to black velvet paintings.

But perhaps a land of such magic did once exist. As I drove out of my business meeting last week deep in the valley on San Fernando road this gem of a sign sparkled on the horizon surely a mirage caused by the good 10 degree jump in temperature in the SFV. But no there she was, resplendent, even with a matching diner next door! Cadillac Jacks Diner, yes sir don’t mind if I do! This is the kind of thing that justified silly words like agog in the english language. I was indeed agog. But the Pink Motel was oddly quiet and it was in the most peculiar of places. Surrounded by muffler shops a recycling center, train tracks due east across the street and a whole bevy of industrial warehouses it was as if a sad Liberace looked down from heaven and dropped a sequin, from his fabulous cape of the day, on a pile of dog poo.

I wandered about a bit, diner empty, a lone cleaning lady popped out of a room. No tenants out walking about. But there were several lovely vintage cars scatter shot in a few places across the parking lot. Although I didn’t mark down the model a beautiful white hard top was parked under number 7, my lucky number.

I wondered out in a daze and as I texted photos to few close friends one happened to ask for the address of the Pink Motel. I google mapped it but the map came up with nothing. No pink motel, no Cadillac Jacks diner either… I looked over my shoulder a few times for Rod Serling.

And now to buzzkill. Turns out Pink Motel is kept so minty pristine for film shoots these days. It surely did once house the holiday dreams of newlyweds, kids with water wings ready for the pool, dad’s with buzzcuts and Mom’s with a pile of Life magazines to catch up on. But now it’s just a ghost on celluloid.

Bonanza!

Mid Century Packaging WIN

Somebody spilled Mid Century awesome sauce onto my table!

Oh. My. God. Joy explosion over here! Not only did I start Russian lessons today. YAY! I also received this bundle ‘o joy via USPS today. 😀 Yep that’s an original Diana Camera, some “Gay-Lites” for xmas and an amazing bright red 8mm film editing station. Giggity! As far as I know everything is in working order. Expect super awesome future posts! Did I say Huzzah yet? Yeah you know it Huzzah!

Bouffants and beehives and falls oh my!

La Coiffure Nouvelle!

Bouffants and beehives and falls oh my!

beehive hive mind

Go Gay HairsprayThese amazing birds are courtesy of my somewhat odd ephemera collection. I found this slide in a black velvet sleeve, in a pell -mell box of photos and miscellany I bought at a thrift store. Lot’s of aspiring actress headshots, a few letters seemingly unrelated to the photographs, I even have some pamphlet on dinosaurs published in 1912. These ladies are much fresher than 1912, surely late sixties dames of high style. Mad props to my roommate for locating the film scanner I used to bring these lasses to light again. I don’t know what occasion would require them to all dress in white and feel the need to spend hours in the salon to perfect those rafter caressing styles but I bet it had a lot do with things like this.

I wonder what the art direction was for this? I will now speculate.

“Okay team it’s time to shake up the European market. We want to seduce those frogs. What we are going for is sultry, make that models hair a hero in the shot. Noir lighting you say? whatever that means son, your the pro that’s why I hired you. What was I saying? Oh right that coif should inspire the passions of men more than Joan of Arc did and make women feel like they could be Joan of Arc. Can you shoot it on red or black maybe, just make sure it’s sexy okay. You there graphic designer, what’s your name? Ted? okay got it. Now Todd we have an idea, imagine all of this french type coming out of her hair like wisps of hair. Oh and we wanted to let you know, we dig the kicky logo you designed last year. Get to it son, Wow us.

Don’t forget Go Gay girls are discovered first!”

Go gay girls are discovered first!

…by hot sailors with no legs

A shame really those are some sassy G’s Love the arrow point terminals! Get going then, you heard the man!

Southeren Comfort Naturally

Yes of course …Naturally.

Southeren Comfort NaturallyAh… is that a Eero Saarinen womb chair that dapper gentleman is kicking back in? Ooooo I’d so love to have that chair. This is a perfect mid-century ad dare I say. A beautifully relaxed and fluid script paired with a fine extended sans serif. Of course we can’t forget the beauty shot of the product. How much do I love that this whole ad looks so bright and inviting despite the whole thing being red and black! How does it not look like a goth liquor ad?! Marvelous… It goes without saying revel in that composite image of aforementioned dapper chap in his lounger and not to be overlooked neato side table. Look at it all relaxed over a fine dreamy riverboat illustration. Some poor schmuck had to mask out that swell photo to marry it to the “riverboat dream behind it” by …dare I say it I don’t know the how, did they make rubylith masks in 1958? In any case I could all but guarantee if you had to do it this way, youl’d surely have already thrown up your x-acto knife and pica ruler up in frustration.

While I was back home last month for my sisters wedding I happened upon the most amazing set of 8 “double old fashioneds”, as they were once referred to. Yep that’s 8 dreamy bar glasses. They were a promotional item for Southern Comfort. Back in the day before the interweb, folks would mail in some money to an actual mailing address. Several weeks later *bam* for a whole 4 dollars they had a set of highball glasses ready for the boozing. History lesson aside they are one of my new favorite things. Several weeks later my Mom sent along some neato “short” drink glasses with the nifty little feet.Turns out much to my surprise this whole promotion was issued a full 10 years after the ace of an advertisement above. Can you imagine just one year before the infamous summer of love. All hail 1968! Now that’s staying on message with a brand image! Riverboats for everyone, in fact until the current insipid “SoCo” campaign they were featured prominently surely to pay homage to the products southern roots. If you could locate a marketing director from the company to confirm my suspicion that would indeed be mighty fine.

Southern Comfort Riverboat glassesNow what are the chances I could get my mitts on some of those “Smooth Sailing” Cocktail naps and those stellar highball glasses. I’m putting it out there naturally.

…A new kind of Democracy.

First things first howdy and hello or Здравствуйте! Should you actually be able to read Russian unlike yours truly. Hey thanks google.

Now that we have polite greetings out of the way, we must ask ourselves what’s going on here? Fair enough and although I don’t have definitive answers at this point I don’t mind so much telling you how I got here. Query one is usually “Why blog?” I have been advised from many a source, for a very long time that any creative worth their salt maintains a blog or does a fair bit of writing about their process. Without qualifying that expectation with actual reasoning and or facts, I must say I fully agree. So on to second question “What’s up with the Cold War theme already?” Well for sometime this is where my creative mojo has found it’s fuel. I’m fascinated by the creative work, political climate and social dynamics. God help my bank account nearly any material good made in the period is also my kryptonite, actually anything produced from the late 1930’s until pretty much the mid 1960’s. I suspect it is one of my few predictable traits, the whole mid century modern lust that compels many a designer to do what they do in varying degrees depending on the name of aforementioned designer.

So why then run the risk of basing my whole personal brand on what is most assuredly design history? Why not embrace the time in which I live? Well to that I say, I don’t think we’ve come so far in the most impressive sounding year of 2010. Oh Kubrick I know you would have been so disappointed, but hey, no HAL 9000 to muck up our space missions, yeah that’s right silver linings, we still have ’em. I mean if you want to get down to it we aren’t even all that keen on real science teaching in this country lately. We’ve even coined this brilliantly misleading term called intelligent design, We think that topic would surely have inspired a cinematic masterpiece on your part, alas. Oh sure we are still playing tug of war for smog mongering fossil fuels and staging pissing contests about who’s religion is right and who’s is wrong. Hell sometimes we still start wars about such things.

But I digress. Let’s start this literary tour de force shall we.

I mean how can you deny this, brilliant. Basically it’s “Your passenger planes is made by the same company that makes war machines” That’s a pretty good vote of confidence for the safety model methinks. And from a design standpoint, just look at it! I mean that’s a pretty static centered composition if not for the color, and the dynamism of the abstract linework which was surely to represent aerodynamics. Okay typography definitely up for discussion, I have to say that typeface Convair was set in is certainly ahead of it’s time!

I think what fascinates me and many others  is the omnipresence of fear in the cold war. Inside of all of the happy go lucky pop culture of the time is this undercurrent of terror, of certain annihilation. It’s what made the writings of Vonnegut so timeless. Life is mostly like that you know, there is this persona you put out in the world but inside and behind our closed doors there are all of those worries that keep you up at night, cause the arguments or keep you from taking chances. For the first time we had truly managed to make  the world around us in our own image. We were able to realize for it the possibility of total destruction.

Milk Bombs better than atom bombs

Milk …new weapon of Democracy!

Fallout

I Don’t know about you but if a diagram like the one on the right was all over my e-mail, social networks, and posted around my neighorhood I’d start feeling a whole new level of anxiety too.

It’s amazing what creatives did with this though, maybe less so on this fallout “reassurance” diagram which is actually pretty terrifying. More with the Convair and Douglas aircraft ads. Promoting a feeling of safety of humanitarian effort even via the designs. All by visually representing the very same machines that might destroy entire lives, villages, cities, maybe the whole damn kit and kaboodle. Ah the power of propaganda design. That’s some mighty fine spin my friends.

This a test, only a test

And we now return you to your regularly scheduled programming.

While we are standing here let’s talk about how much we want this booklet to the left. Can you believe that? Just look at that awesome 2 color job, love that hint of mis-registration on the glove. A whole new meaning to the phrase “red right hand”, take that to the bank Johnny Cash.