Places That Inspire: Save the Historic Mid-Century Modern Terrace Theatre PART II

terrace-theatre_lobby_4

The Friends of the Historic Terrace Theatre is taking legal action to save the Terrace Theatre, the one-of-a-kind 1951 Space Age Movie Palace located just ten minutes outside of Minneapolis, Minnesota. Everyone deserves to experience the grandeur of the Terrace Theatre once again.

See PART 1 of the Terrace Theatre story.

Do you know of anyone who would be interested in our story of corporate bullying, unethical moves, unjust and bad faith treatment of a grassroots group by the city and by million/billion dollar corporations? Let us know!

This is a David an Goliath Battle. We need to get maximum word-of-mouth visibility for the cause. Please sign, share this change.org petition and you’ll get story updates in your email.
Please, if you can, please donate at Friends of the Historic Terrace Theatre.
http://www.terracefriends.org

 

Here’s an update from the change.org site from 082816.
A One-of-a-Kind Space Age Movie Palace is about to be demolished! Help us Negotiate a win-win solution.

A Private Citizen Who Wishes to Save the Historic Terrace Theatre

AUG 29, 2016 — Dear Friends,
http://www.terracefriends.org
Do you know of anyone who would be interested in our story — corporate bullying, unethical moves, unjust and bad faith treatment of a grassroots group by the city and by million/billion dollar corporations?

Not gonna mince words here. Please donate Bernie-style if you can. We really need to get broad visibility of this David and Goliath drama.
http://www.terracefriends.org

It’s been a very dramatic two weeks for our mid-century modern Terrace Theater, but the Space Age Movie Palace is still standing.

On Tuesday August 23nd, the City Council voted to demolish the theater a full month earlier than had ever been mentioned before, without even having an application request on file. We had just three days to take action.

Here are two articles that review the events of the last two weeks:
“Attorneys agree to pause in Terrace Theatre demolition, judge sets Sept. 13 hearing.”
http://post.mnsun.com/2016/08/25/terrace-theatre-demolition/
“Robbinsdale council approves Terrace Theatre teardown; lawsuit filed to halt demolition. Vote comes as lawsuit seeks restraining order against site’s razing.”
http://www.startribune.com/as-robbinsdale-city-council-debates-terrace-theatre-teardown-lawsuit-is-filed-to-halt-demolition/391110101/
In the past two weeks there have been a series of seemingly unethical moves which threw us into a legal panic.
If we had not had an attorney who was able to act in two days, it would have been a completely different story.

As of 4:30 Thursday, Aug 25, we have a Temporary Restraining Order until our next court date on Tuesday, Sept 13th.
As near as I can gather, here’s a dateline of the last two weeks of actions to a sudden acceleration to demolish:

– Aug 16th Tuesday
The grassroots group meets with their attorney for the first time.
He will bring the Minnesota Environmental Rights Act (MERA) suit that has saved other the mid-century modern Peavey Plaza in Minneapolis.
He tells us we have a solid case. It is in fact a very historical building in many ways.
We must also prove it is in reasonable condition for restoration and will need a court-recognized Structural Engineer’s assessment.

– Aug 18 Thursday
The grocer HyVee makes a surprise announcement that it has “pulled back” because of a boycott petition –
http://www.bizjournals.com/twincities/news/2016/08/19/hy-vee-halts-robbinsdale-grocery-store-plans-due.html
We think this is a good sign. That is not at all the case.

– Aug 19th Friday
The very next day Brixmor (worth millions) / Blackstone (worth Billions) applied to the city for DEMOLITION –
A full month earlier than had been ever stated.
Luckily someone saw it posted on the city site otherwise the results might have been catastrophic.
We alert our attorney.

– Aug 23nd Tuesday evening
the City Council votes to demolish, even though they state they have no such application request on file.
– The grass root group’s new Temporary Restraining Order is prepared and may now be filed.
There is a well-qualified rumor that demolition will begin early morning before it can get to court the next day.
 Volunteers watch throughout the night to be sure no heavy machinery is staged at the site or at any adjoining properties.

– Aug 24th, Wednesday
At 8:31am we were notified, “the hearing for the Temporary Restraining Order is set at the Hennepin County Government Center Thursday at 12:30 in room C953.” The site is quiet. Volunteers keep watch throughout the day.

– Aug 25th, Thursday
At 10:00am, attorneys for the owners Brixmore/Blackstone, ask to delay the hearing. We asked, “Why delay? That means more time for them to prepare. Be wary. Brixmor does this all the time … they know the ways to win …”.
 Only then did we learn that a demolition permit had been applied for through the state pollution board on Friday Aug 19th for demolition by large contractor Fratallone for this coming Monday the 29th — way too close for comfort.

– Aug 26th, Friday, and through the weekend
We’ve been wary of utility trucks and workers marking the site. Otherwise, it’s been quiet.

– Aug 29th, Monday
Volunteers will be on hand to watch to be sure Frattalone, who has the contract for demolition, is not on site.

Our Attorney tells us we have  a solid case. It is not only beautiful, it is in fact a very historical building in many ways.
Along with an Architectural Historian we will need a Structural Engineer to describe the condition of the theater as we must also prove it is in reasonable condition for restoration, a solid business plan which seems to be in the works and fundraising, fundraising, fundraising. Please donate and share here:
http://www.terracefriends.org

 

 

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Places That Inspire: Save the Historic Mid Century Modern Terrace Theatre PART 1

They paved paradise. And put up a parking lot.
Joni Mitchell, Big Yellow Taxi

TerraceTheater night_070116

Photos of the Terrace Theater, circa 1960,  from the Robbinsdale Historical Society.

The Terrace Theater has stood idle, it’s windows and doors covered with plywood and interior gutted since it’s last movie showing in 1999. Now it’s under immediate threat of demolition, likely to be replaced by a homogenous, “Anytown, USA” strip mall/grocery store development. But in fact, this parcel of land is so big that a simple relocation of the planned grocery store could prevent demolition of the theater and provide an attractive, differentiating feature to a retail site that has struggled, even in the very recent past.

Built by Lithuanian-born brothers, Bill and Sydney Volk just after WWII in 1951, in the modest, working class second tier suburb of Robbinsdale in Minneapolis, the Terrace Theater is of the rarest of rare — a soaring and inspired mid century movie palace, created by architects Jack Liebenberg and Seeman Kaplan with Space Age taste, design and quality inside and out. It’s been recognized nationally by architectural historians as “one of the first ultramodern theaters in America” and considered by historian Larry Millett to be the builder’s masterpiece.

Last year over 1,700 people signed a petition to stay any demolition permits, with more than 190 people writing comments of support.

402412_10151285360040497_638795317_nThe Terrace Theater gets an unusually beautiful siting atop a hill.

In April 1984 David Byrne, who’d been working with Minneapolis’ Guthrie Repertory Theater, and director Jonathan Demme, along with the Walker Art Museum, hosted the regional premiere of the Talking Heads concert film, Stop Making Sense at the Terrace Theater. (Several friends and I were lucky enough to have been there. David walked down the aisle right past us.)

Present details are sketchy. It’s been rumored the board of the non-profit,  Save the Historic Terrace Theater, made an offer to purchase the theater recently. The offer was refused and the property kept in limbo by it’s current owner, Brixmor/BlackStone, a REIT that owns hundreds of such properties throughout the nation. One might suspect Brixmor of using the common developer’s tactic of forcing the theater’s demolition by intentional neglect.

It’s been reported that $75,000 has already been spent by the city for asbestos abatement, with more funds available from the federal program if needed. The last figure quoted to make the theater habitable is a surprisingly low $500,000, though it could be expected to be many more times that. A “blight” study (blight is a loaded term, hijacked from agriculture by the often-criticized city redevelopment movement of the 1950s-1970s) is rumored to have been conducted by the city recently but that study has never been shared with the public. No one from the non-profit has been allowed inside the building to estimate costs.

1609818_10154035534200497_1944363024808685477_nThe Terrace Theater accords us with Space Age luxury, complete with two snack bars, a sunken lobby, party rooms and a TV room—after all, this is 1951, and television is still quite a draw.

10152420_10154035533980497_3105832960671483421_nThe soaring interior light-filled space of the Terrace Theater has a generous ambiance. You feel special, being treated with rare accommodating care and respect. 

10173692_10154035534820497_2898657247164137187_nTall windows, a copper fountain, and a fireplace in the sunken lounge just outside the restrooms are perfect for a minute of respite before your movie.

The theater’s non-profit continues it’s relationship with associations such as the League of Historical American Theaters and has now employed the experienced preservation firm, PVN, for the theater’s application to the National Register of Historic Places through  $10,000 grant from Minnesota History Center. Though registration is never a guarantee against demolition, “PVN makes historic preservation projects happen with an innovative and integrated business model, a collaborative interdisciplinary team, and a wide network of technical and financial resources.” “… demonstrating innovative solutions to traditional barriers.” 

Differentiation sells.

Unique, aspirational, striking, functional, and stylish, it strikes us that this theater has the character and personality that is exactly the kind of development opportunity most cities would die for. With just a little time to create a proper business plan and a nationwide search for investors and sponsors, there is every reason to believe that the Terrace Theater will become not just a great community focal point and source of pride, but also an attractive, beyond-local destination and a great attractor for economic growth — more so than just another ubiquitous strip mall/grocery development could ever be on it’s own.

No, restoration projects are surely not as important as caring for our middle eastern refugees, #blacklivesmatter, immigration, the many women’s equality issues, our homeless vets, childhood poverty, or LGBT rights, but when special places like the Terrace Theater are recognized and cared for, the world, and especially its’ children, is sent an implicit message that they too might have a chance of being cared for, that we’re still living in a caring world, and that we shouldn’t let go of hope just yet. With the troubles we’re seeing in today’s headlines, it seems we might be in great need of this kind of message right now.

An open house with the developers is scheduled for July 13th and public meetings with city council soon after.

* * * * * *

Update—After the open house conducted on July 13th: Hy-Vee (the grocer as many had guessed), the developer, and the city appear determined to execute the plan that will demolish the historic Terrace Theater. Unless there is overwhelming public outcry, or some kind of legal injunction, demolition will begin the end of September.

See Part 2 of the Historic Terrace Theatre story.

* * * * * *

When in Minneapolis, you can get a sense of what the experience of the Terrace is really like, but on a much smaller scale. Bill and Sydney Volks asked Jack Liebenberg and Seeman Kaplan to remodel their earlier Riverview Theater after the Terrace Theater had proven to be such a hit. A half-hour south of the Terrace, the Riverview is an active theater that still shows movies daily and is consistently rated at the top of all the “best of” lists.

* * * * * *

The following is the description that appeared in the petition:

Brought to life by the prominent Twin Cities architects Liebenberg and Kaplan, the Terrace Theatre stood proud as their crowning achievement and final indoor movie theatre they designed.  As a groundbreaking example of a completely new movie theatre experience, the Terrace Theatre attracted nationwide praise from the entertainment industry.  As a popular Robbinsdale destination, the Terrace Theatre stood tall for more than 40 years as a local destination for community gathering and entertainment.

 The Terrace Theatre is both historically and culturally important to the citizens of Robbinsdale, and the state of Minnesota as a whole.  The Save the Historic Terrace Theatre group seek to preserve this important structure, with the intention of restoring and reopening the building  to continue the service to the citizens of Robbinsdale that it began in 1951.  I support the Save the Historic Terrace Theatre group in their efforts, and petition the Robbinsdale City Council to deny any and all requests for a demolition permit that is presented for this property.

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SEO: Help! I can’t find what I want on Google search.

The truth? As much as SEO (search engine optimization) services promise results, and as pretty a picture of online business success is painted, most businesses find it’s not easy getting found in a search. First of all it takes one to three months to actually grow your links and to populate within all of Google’s algorithms, and even then it seems more than ever the big payers and players always come out ahead.

Here’s an example of a recent search I tried that was current, possesed broad appeal and had big enough national names that I thought, “Surely, this search will be easy”.

I’d heard a good segment on NPR. It was about running and its’ restorative powers.
It had only been a couple of days and I wanted to send the article to a runner-friend.

Since it had been so recent and on such a well known news outlet with good online presence, this one was going to be easy to find, right?

Attempt Number One:
SEARCH: “running and age NPR”

Surely my search would give me the most current and recent entries. They would be authoritative sources with objective, proven, trusted and honest content, and not dubious, popular clickbait sources.

Boy, was I wrong.
Instead of my easy-find article, I got two-year-old running and age studies.
I got radically irrelevant results too:
1) about the 2012 Presidential Campaigns (running)
2) and about the death of Tom Magliozzi, one of the host brothers of NPR’s CarTalk. (NPR, age)

And this strange oddity:
How Do I Hate NPR? Let Me Count the Ways | Miscellany …
“Last year, when NPR was running a long, long, long series of stories on local … one morning on a topless dancer suing a Dallas club for age discrimination.”

So much for Google’s authoritative, context-based approach.
I searched five pages in and and started anew.

Attempt Number Two:
I tried something more specific:
SEARCH: “running prevents aging study NPR 2015″

I hoped this would more clearly describe exactly what I was looking for. But no. Instead, I got entries as old as 2006 on the first page. Again, I searched five pages in and and I gave up.

Attempts Number Three and Four:
SEARCH: “_________”

I just started to hunt for the needle in a haystack.
Guessing, I went straight to NPR’s Morning Edition site. Nothing.
I guessed at another public radio show, Here and Now and finally found it there with a link to Colorado Public Radio, the originator of the story.

So, search is hard. As much as Google promises, it’s not perfect.  It’s just far too global a network and it can take a lot of ingenuity on the part of the user to be successful, even with items that seem like they should be easy to find.

There are some strategies a local business can use to their advantage to bypass some of the noise of Google searches that we’ll discuss in a future post.

Have you ever had a search leave you frustrated? Leave a comment!

Posted in digital design, Google, Search, SEO, Social Media, web design, web sites | Leave a comment

A Film Review: Headless

Headless movie posterA Film Review by Jay F. Miller.

“You guys are pretty religious, huh?”
Headless is a terror-suspense thriller by writer/director Toby Lawrence.

Not a splatter opera. Instead, a good-looking terror-suspense film that’s ominous, compelling and occasionally funny with a well-acted lead and an unsettling twist.

In the supernatural thriller Headless, Marie uncovers a 150 year old legend that’s similar in religious fervor and violence to her own sister’s barbaric, unsolved murder. We follow Marie to the remote woods of Milburn’s Gap where her sister’s body parts were found.

Marie must contact the proprietor of the town store, Freddie Jones (Brecht Andersch) who owns the land where the old legend took place. At the store, all the warning signs of danger are present in a tense scene of psychological cat-and-mouse with the suspicious store owner. Marie cruises through aisles of plastic road food and truck stop tchotchkes, cautiously sizing up the strange troll-man behind the counter.

Marie in the woods.When Marie asks to visit his land where the grizzly events of the legend were to have taken place, Jones suggests that she follow him home after he closes his store for the evening. Marie reluctantly agrees. Alone in the store’s restroom, Marie melts down, shaken by the realities of the dangerous odyssey she’s committed herself to.

Director Lawrence creates a backdrop of old time religion, superstition and righteous fear with a dialogue of authentic-sounding religious fervor that is without a hint of snicker. Unlike the stories of Jason, Michael or Freddy, there is no singular villain or horrific serial killer here. We are fighting a perpetual conflict, an unseen force that promises to reign terror down if one is not ever-vigilant. This is a life lived in fear—a fear of the unknown.

Headless3Actor Emily Jackson never allows us to disbelieve in Marie. She is a crusading hero, descending into very dark depths in the tradition of Halloween’s Jamie Leigh Curtis and Alien‘s Sigourney Weaver. Marie is not deluded by the unsafe choices she makes. She places herself in jeopardy in order to correct an injustice, to right a wrong.

Scenes not be missed are the delightfully awkward Jones family dinner when Emily is requested to take part in a ceremony in order “to show respect for our beliefs.” Another disturbing scene is when a tender moment results in a grizzly and purposeful conclusion that leaves the viewer torn. We ask ourselves, “Was there any other way?”

The color and cinematography (by Tim McConville) is satisfying and rich. Hand-held close-ups are revealing and dialogue and exposition are held to a minimum. A simple scene of Emily hanging up a coat in an unfamiliar house exposes her inner dread and apprehension. The soundtrack is sophisticated, much of which is written and performed by writer/director Lawrence, including some good-old fashioned lo-fi hymns that add gritty texture to the setting.

Headless is a film where sometimes right is wrong and wrong is right, and it’s not what is said, but what goes unsaid that is most telling.

Settle down with your popcorn and Milk Duds for this delicious creep-fest with an unsettling conclusion. It’s a film that may even deserve a second viewing, and rumor has it that a prequel of more than one hundred years is in the works. Happy dreams, dear horror lovers.

Posted in Art and Book Reviews, Building Brands and Brand Nations., long copy, Movie Reviews, Writing and Copy | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Ideas that inspire: 100 Years After the Riotous Rite of Spring

I’ll admit. I’m obsessed with Igor Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring. 

If you know the Disney movie Fantasia you know the music. It’s the one with the scary dinosaurs. This music may well be imprinted into my lizard brain. As kids we’d dance to it in our little rented stucco home in Evanston, Illinios. For us it was a story of the chase—of calm and chaos.

If you like percussive, crazy and aggressive music you might want to give it a try. It was one of Frank Zappa’s favorites. Beware, it’s not a crooner. It’s the musical and dance performance that created a riot in Paris in 1913 on May 29.  And your kids may love it.

One year ago today I celebrated it’s 100th anniversary with a series on my Facebook page. The music sounds challenging 100 years later and I wondered, “How crazy would it have sounded in 1913? What was it like in Paris back then?” The city was growing into a metropolis, automobiles and aeroplanes were brand new, and movies were still silent. In one year Europe would be engaged in the most terrible war the world had ever seen.

Here’s what my Facebook looked like a year ago. Don’t miss the 1910 French post cards of the future. Sorry, some links may no longer be available as happens on the internets.

Disney's 1940 Fantasia included Stravinsky's music with dinosaurs.

What the 21st century looked like in vintage French postcards

The first Paris Air Show in 1909

The Paris Metro dig, 1900-1917.

The 1913 Armory Show

1910 great Flood of Paris

From the one movie theater in Paris in 1906 to 35 theaters in 1913.

“There is nothing in this involved, compact, and concentrated film but explosive genius.”
Update: As of March 2015, the 1913 silent film Fantômas is streaming on Netfllix.
It’s a nice print and score, though so naive that few of us would find the plot surprising.

1913 and Velodrome motorcycle races were all the rage.

WNYC radio celebrates with a series "Culture Shock 1913".

Contemporary Music festivals today.

The Bad PLus band performs The Rite of Spring.

A Rite of Spring performances with Horses on stage

A full recreation at the same theater in Paris 100 years later

Stravinsky's portrait by Picasso

My Epilogue:
“I have paris live streaming on Arte right now!” I posted.
I had found as an exact a recreation as possible streaming live on ARTE, France, of the musical performance, the costumes and Nijinski’s choreography—at the exact same hour, on the exact same stage, exactly 100 years later (you can see a clip of it here)—Le Centenaire du Sacre du Printemps at the Théâtre des Champs-Élysées, Paris, performed by the Mariinsky Russian ballet, and conducted by Russian director Valery Gergiev.

Here are a couple of movies that recreate the event.
Riot at Rite 2005, by the BBC, now streaming free on youtube.
Igor Stravinsky and Coco Chanel 2010, with Mads Mikkelsen (Hannibal) as Igor Stravinsky and Anna Mouglalis as Coco Chanel

Posted in Art and Book Reviews, creative thinking, design, photo blog | Leave a comment

Ideas That Inspire: Paul Rand on Singular Solutions.

Logos by Paul RandPaul Rand’s essay on “The Politics of Design”.
In this excerpt, Rand explains why presenting many solutions to a problem leads to waste and confusion.

Graphic designer Paul Rand created classic logos and striking book covers during his career. Steve Jobs talked about working with Paul Rand in 1993.

**********************

One of the more common problems which tends to create doubt and confusion is caused by the inexperienced and anxious executive who innocently expects, or even demands, to see not one but many solutions to a problem. These may include a number of visual and/or verbal concepts, an assortment of layouts, a variety of pictures and color schemes, as well as a choice of type styles. He needs the reassurance of numbers and the opportunity to exercise his personal preferences. He is also most likely to be the one to insist on endless revisions with unrealistic deadlines, adding to an already wasteful and time-consuming ritual. Theoretically, a great number of ideas assures a great number of choices, but such choices are essentially quantitative. This practice is as bewildering as it is wasteful. It discourages spontaneity, encourages indifference, and more often than not produces results which are neither distinguished, interesting, nor effective. In short, good ideas rarely come in bunches.

Paul Rand book covers.The designer who voluntarily presents his client with a batch of layouts does so not out prolificacy, but out of uncertainty or fear. He thus encourages the client to assume the role of referee. In the event of genuine need, however, the skillful designer is able to produce a reasonable number of good ideas. But quantity by demand is quite different than quantity by choice. Design is a time-consuming occupation. Whatever his working habits, the designer fills many a wastebasket in order to produce one good idea. Advertising agencies can be especially guilty in this numbers game. Bent on impressing the client with their ardor, they present a welter of layouts, many of which are superficial interpretations of potentially good ideas, or slick renderings of trite ones…

Expertise in business administration, journalism, accounting, or selling, though necessary in its place, is not expertise in problems dealing with visual appearance. The salesman who can sell you the most sophisticated computer typesetting equipment is rarely one who appreciates fine typography or elegant proportions. Actually, the plethora of bad design that we see all around us can probably be attributed as much to good salesmanship as to bad taste.

Excerpt from A Designer’s Art, Paul Rand, Yale University Press (1985)

**********************
The more design variations you show seems to be in direct correlation with the vagueness of the project brief/goals/objectives.

It’s usually a sign that things moved into the visual exploration stage too early in the process. Proper design requires properly defined objectives to design against. Once those are properly defined, the range of potential successful design solutions is narrowed significantly.

Posted in brand identity, brand strategy, Building Brands and Brand Nations., creative thinking, critical thinking, design, digital design, ideas that inspire, trends, web design | Leave a comment

SEO: The Truth About Search Engines, Google and Your Web Site.

Who are we to believe about Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and page rank?

Below is a link to an article that really explains the nuts and bolts of search and does a very good job of demystifying Google logic and its’ algorithms. It also tells the story of being blacklisted by Google for black hat-like SEO methods.

http://boostblogtraffic.com/seo-mistakes/#more-632
Six SEO Sins That Will Put You On Google’s Naughty List. by Jon Morrow.

First published on March 20, 2013, this guide still applies to Google’s most recent algorithm and biggest change in years—Hummingbird.
And the 218 Comments certainly tend to bear the information out.

After going through a lot of don’ts, the very end the article says everything we’ve been hearing for years — it’s all about creating valuable content:

“The Truth about How Google Works:

It’s evolving. All the time.

Every day, they tweak their algorithms to filter out spammers. Every year or two, they also roll out major updates that cause huge shifts in search engine rankings for nearly everyone on the web. … 

(plus, more importantly … )

If you know nothing about SEO, and you’re doing nothing more than publishing awesome content and building relationships with your readers, you’re probably safe. In fact, that’s a good mindset for all bloggers, in my opinion. At least in the beginning.

Instead of trying to figure out how to manipulate the Google algorithm for better rankings, just create content that deserves to be on the first page, promote the hell out of it, and wait for Google to catch up. Their goal, after all, is to move the best stuff to the top of the pile.

In that respect, the real, supersecret, behind-the-scenes strategy for getting your blog ranked on the first page of Google doesn’t have anything to do with link pyramids or keyword density or any of the rest of that complicated nonsense. It’s just three simple steps:

  1. Create jaw-dropping content
  2. Get influencers talking about it
  3. Wait for Google to catch up

Oversimplified? 
Maybe, but it’s exactly what Google wants you to do. So why do anything else?”

Posted in Google, Search, SEO, Social Media, web design, web sites | Leave a comment

Places That Inspire. “1968” at The Oakland Museum of CA.

“The 1968 Exhibit” is a blend of light pop culture—Mad Men style—that includes Jane Fonda’s Barbarellathe Beatles’ Yellow Submarine, TV’s Bewitched, Family Affair and Star Trek, Op art, macramé, trippy music, and Kodak Flashcube cameras, contrasted with the assassinations of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Robert Kennedy, the demonstrations for Civil Rights and the Women’s Movement, and protests against the Vietnam War. In the end, the year witnessed the ominous election of presidential candidate Richard M. Nixon, and 1968 became a turning point for an entire nation.

Entry into the "1968" Exhibit.

"1968 just cracked the universe open for me."

"Wherever we looked, something was wrong."

Household furnishings, 1968 style.

Household furnishings, 1968 style.

Cissy of "Family Affair" gets hip to 1968.

On the TV: Cissy of “Family Affair” gets hip to 1968.

Spock gets hip to the scene.

Could Spock be rejecting trippy space psychedelia?

Bewitched in 1968.

Bewitching.

Blue Meanies.

"The youth is our nation's clearest mirror ..." — Robert Kennedy

Pop Artifacts, 1968.

Pop culture artifacts, 1968.

Arms up. Nixon.

“Arms Up” 1.0

Arms up. Black Power.

“Arms Up” 2.0

Barbarella.

Jane Fonda is “Barbarella”.

"1968" Exhibit.

The exhibit was originally mounted by the Minnesota Historical Society, where my  sister-in-law, Wendy, is Head of Museum and Education Programs (if it were up to me, I’d just tell you Wendy invented 1968).

There’s plenty to see at the Oakland Museum, including the first retrospective of graphic novelist, Daniel Clowes, a 1960’s protest poster exhibit, and Oakland’s great permanent collections.

After August 19th, the exhibit heads off for dates in Pittsburgh, Philadelphia and St. Louis, through 2014. Highly recommended.

Read more about this year’s history in Mark Kurlansky’s book, 1968: The Year That Rocked the World.

All photos by Jay F. Miller.

Posted in critical thinking, design, ideas that inspire, photo blog, places that inspire | 1 Comment

Places that Inspire. Dirty Frank’s.

Dirty Frank’s Bar is a great place to stumble into. You’ll find it on Pine and 13th, near Broad Street in Philadelphia. It’s one of those friendly and unpretentious places, like your favorite neighborhood bar right next door.

Pine and Broad neighborhood in Philadelphia.

Lots of art students live in the neighborhood. In fact everybody lives here.

Vestibule art seen through a door window, Pine Street, Philadelphia.

It's a pretty old part of Philadelphia.

People have lived near Broad and Pine in Philadelphia for a long time.

Dirty Frank's got pictures on the outside now.

They're all regular customers.

Entry Dirty Frank's.

Cool Bartender.

Beer.

Bar decor.

Art on the walls. Winter 2011.

Comfort at Dirty rank's.

Unisex bathroom sign.

Batman pinball machine

a Mural of The Pirates and an old architect.

Dirty Frank’s Bar, 347 Pine Street, Philadelphia, PA 19102,  215.732.5010

Posted in photo blog, places that inspire, Small Business. Big Business. Your Business. | Leave a comment

Places that Inspire. Clifton’s Cafeteria.

On Broadway between West 6th and 7th Streets is a 1935 Downtown L.A. landmark, Clifton’s Cafeteria, where “none were ever turned away, [and] during one 90-day period, 10,000 ate free”.

Clifton's Cafeteria front glass.

Clifton's 1935 facade.

Clifton's illustrated side walk.

A framed quote from Clifford Clinton.

A magazine clipping, source unknown.

Inside the tiny second floor chapel at Clifton's.

From the second story loft.

From the second story terrace.

Paradise in the cafeteria line, next to the jello salad and turkey and gravy at Clifton's.

Clifford Clinton created his forest oasis during the Great Depression in 1935. Inspired by the family’s tradition of service, he created a world “… of imagination, dreams and whimsy—away from the troubles that we hope can be left at the door for just a short while.”

Ray Bradbury, Jack Kerouac, Robert A. Heinlein, Jerry Leiber and Walt Disney have all been loyal patrons. (This fantasy forest was completed twenty years before Disneyland.)

Check before you go—Clifton’s is under restoration. This year the Clinton family sold Clifton’s to luxury night club creator Andrew Meieran. His plans for preservation offer some hope—he transformed the old downtown powerhouse into the very nice
Edison nightclub.

Meieran will be adding a speakeasy, a cocktail bar and more, but also promises to restore Clifton’s original facade and old time charm, including re-creating the Water Wheel,
Old Tree Wishing Well, Limeade Springs, Sherbet Mine, and the long-employed greeter—a stuffed raccoon.   “All existing historic fabric will be thoughtfully and carefully retained—including the Chapel, the Waterfall and Brook, … the Redwood trees and Terraces—the elements that have made Clifton’s an institution for so many decades.”

Magically kitchy, Clifton’s Cafeteria is worth a special visit.
Clifton’s Cafeteria, 648 S Broadway, Los Angeles, CA 90014, telephone: 213.627.1673.

Check out the panarama the L.A. Times created for Clifton’s Cafeteria.

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UPDATE:
#thejellostays
After a four year restoration, Clifton’s Cafeteria  will conduct it’s preview celebration on September 17, 2015 and reopens October 1st. Let’s cross our fingers. The Los Angeles Conservancy has already praised Andrew Meieran’s preservation of Clifton’s ground floor and mezzanine and there’s been a lot of good press in the LA area.
And the jello? Yes, #thejellostays.

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