If you’re anything like us, you’ve encountered a bizarre illustration or two in the many textbooks you’ve pretended to peruse over the years. But these incredible surreal illustrations by Karl Nicholason for Communications Research Machines textbooks in the early 1970s, which we spotted over at 50 Watts, might just take the cake, weirdness-wise. After all, they look more like illustrations from some cracked version of Alice in Wonderland than they do images from any textbook we’ve ever seen. After the jump, check out a few of our favorites from the set, and then head here to see more of Nicholason’s work. … Read More
No Wave icon Anya Phillips (girlfriend of singer James Chance) was one of the founders of legendary New York nightspot the Mudd Club. Burroughs, Debbie Harry, Nico, Lydia Lunch, and other downtown figures populated the nightclub that hosted bands like Talking Heads, DNA, Chance’s The Contortions, and The B-52′s.
Photographer William Coupon started his career in New York City, documenting the Mudd Club’s thriving counterculture scene throughout the late 1970s. Coupon would later go on to photograph George W. Bush and Bill Clinton, but we’re more than happy to stare at a young Klaus Nomi, photographed like a classic Renaissance painting. See more of Coupon’s portraits in our gallery, which we spotted in his Behance portfolio. … Read More
Photographer Michael Jang took these amazing portraits of aspiring weathermen and weatherwomen in 1983 when he was working for a local television station in San Francisco that was holding auditions. Thirty years later, he’s dug them up for our viewing pleasure. Summer Weather is a testament to broad smiles and bad blowouts. Some of these look quite pro. Others? Not so much. Spotted by It’s Nice That, check out some of these amazing portraits in our gallery. Please, do not judge them with mockery or mean guffaws. Look at their gleaming, hope-filled eyes, their ambitious postures, their… trucker hats, priest collars, and very, very thick glasses. Such character! Hey, you gotta dream big. … Read More
Before there was IKEA, there was Bloomingdale’s. Founded in 1861 by Joseph and Lyman G. Bloomingdale, the first incarnation of today’s upscale department store was a “Ladies Notions’ Shop” specializing in hoop-skirts on Manhattan’s Lower East Side. Having the brains — and the imagination — to predict that the bourgeois metropolis to come would need a glorious retail destination housing everything from a delicatessen department to the largest rooftop greenhouse in America for city dwellers wanting the fresh air of a country estate, the Brothers Bloomingdale did more than outfit an era, they defined it.
Bloomingdale’s Book of Home Decorating by Barbara D’Arcy, the influential interior design guru and chief decorator of the model rooms in the flag ship store’s furniture department, is testament to its influence. As one particularly helpful Amazon reviewer writes, “this book showcases the best of the best, furniture for your dream home, no budget in sight. It’s an inspirational, all-out, sky’s-the-limit explosion of creativity, trends and fantasy.” Click through to check out the very best of this ’70s design dream tome. Then, let us know in the comments what inspires you the most today! … Read More
We’ve been keeping tabs on British film mag Little White Lies and their ongoing collaborations with local galleries, exhibiting film posters that reimagine iconic movies through contemporary artists. The publication’s newest joint venture is with Paris concept store Colette — a show that opened just in time for the inaugural Cannes Film Festival celebrations and runs until June 2. Thirteen new artists and films have been added to the overall collection. See how Superman’s signature curl figures into Vahram Muratyan’s design, appreciate Geneviève Gauckler’s Warriors interpretation, and remember the figure in red in Paul X Jonhson’s Don’t Look Now artwork by heading past the break. Pick up your own poster in the online shop. … Read More
We’re finding it pretty difficult to pick a favorite part of the unintentionally funny 1976 educational film “Graffiti: Fun or Dumb?” There’s the opening song, which preaches against graffiti in a way somewhat reminiscent of the Oompa-Loompa chants from Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. There’s the faux-objective weighing of grafitti’s pros and cons. And, of course, there’s the implicit class judgments about “inner city” vs. suburban street art. There’s the testimonial from a preppy dude who claims graffiti is “neither art nor literature,” followed several minutes later by a girl who believes “kids who write on toilet walls have psychological problems.” Let’s hope she never grew up to find herself in a New York bar bathroom. Watch grafitti’s very own Reefer Madness after the jump. … Read More
The 1970s was an exciting time in the world of design. Architects and engineers were competing to build the tallest building in the world. Buckminster Fuller perfected “Spaceship Earth.” Renzo Piano and Richard Rogers “turned the architecture world upside down” with the inside-out Centre George Pompidou in Paris. And as we discovered via our favorite passport to another time, Retronaut, Graystone Press published a massive, eighteen volume anthology known as The Practical Encyclopedia of Good Decorating and Home Improvement. Arranged alphabetically by topic, the books cover everything from “how to select chairs that are comfortable and durable” to “how to arrange collections to create focus and visual rhythms” to “why the ancients used color.”
We were so inspired by the quirky range of entries that we had to make our own abridged version of our new favorite design reference. Let us know in the comments what has you wanting to invest in some avocado green accent pieces or give couching a whirl. … Read More
Should you need any proof that Manhattan in the 21st century is a very different place from the artist-friendly (and, OK, often unsafe) urban jungle that welcomed Patti Smith and Robert Mapplethorpe in the 1970s, look no further than the fate of the legendary Hotel Chelsea. The place where Dylan Thomas and Nancy Spungen died, Bob Dylan and Leonard Cohen wrote some of their most famous songs, and the Beats made their unofficial headquarters was put up for sale last fall. And now that it’s been bought by Joseph Chetrit, “the most mysterious big shot in New York real estate,” it seems the hotel and residence is slowly losing its history.
Gothamist has posted a pair of photos by Hotel Chelsea resident and author Ed Hamilton, who also blogs about the hotel, and they’re pretty freaking depressing. According to Hamilton, the images below show “the remains of American writer Thomas Wolfe’s last residence in New York City. Where he worked on You Can’t Go Home Again, in 1938.” Hamilton tells Gothamist that the gutted space is part of the new owner’s plan to get rid of as many residents as possible — ostensibly so he can renovate the spaces and, in the process, render them virtually unrecognizable. … Read More
Those looking for some retro fashion inspiration could do worse than perusing the stripper_polaroids Flickr account. No, we’re not cheekily suggesting that you clothe yourselves in G-strings and feather boas. The archive, which we discovered via Dangerous Minds, belongs to someone who apparently bought a box of 400 Polaroid stripper audition photos from the ’60s and ’70s for just $10 — and while there are some underwear and bikini shots, we were taken with the ones that show ladies dressed in the height of period fashion. There are mod print sheath dresses from the ’60s, sparkly disco frocks from the ’70s, and many truly enviable pairs of high-waisted, wide-legged pants. Travel back to a more innocent time — especially, it seems, for exotic dancers — with the gallery of our favorite shots, after the jump. … Read More