Vintage Terror: East Germany 1950 – 1989

Photos by Daniel and Geo Fuchs show the East German Secret Police compound or Stasi Facility. It’s like looking into a nightmare. The yellow vinyl chairs and sterile atmosphere, I can just imagine the florescent light flickering as a man with a bloodied nose and ragged clothing sits in a corner of a concrete cell.

I once read a series of memoirs published about living under the iron curtain in East Germany the book was called Stasiland (http://www.amazon.com/Stasiland-Stories-Behind-Berlin-Wall/dp/0062077325 ) These photos bring all that to life.

MarienbornKommandoturm

BautzenBadezelle

MielkeEtageVorzimmer

HohenschoenhausenVernehmertrakt1

From Wired : http://www.wired.com/2014/09/eerie-architecture-east-germanys-secret-police/#slide-id-1566153

Krupa and Rich

Krupa and Rich

Unabashedly the most amazing album I ever invested $4 in. Look at those two, side by side, play’n drums in their amazing waist high pants socks show’n they’re a 50’s dream. Collared shirts obviously hyper color due to the fact this photo was probs in black and white and colored over. I like it that way the “vintage” feel (imagine that) .

One of them is even smiling while he plays, why wouldn’t he be!!! Watching someone talk about or perform their passion, well it’s flat out intoxicating. Apparently this album was a 1956 acoustic jazz classic, Dizzy Gillespie even makes a cameo! It looks the part, I found it wedged against martini glasses on a mid-century modern bar display at Father and Son in Downtown Raleigh. I had no idea what greatness, yes greatness I was about to hear.

I’m listening now bobbing my head. Each time a solo ends and the horns come in I imagine myself in another place. Some time and location I’ve only heard about or something alluded to in movies. A smokey bar with velvet curtain backdrop and a low stage with yellow lights all else fades into blue smoke. A semi put together band consisting of the best of the best from all around rightly friends. Each dressed to the 9’s in their suites playing away. This was a live recording though, in a studio, someone randomly shouts out”yay!” like it’s almost a club where the woman have bouffant hair and long cigarettes stained with red red lipstick.  what really awesome things were happening in Kansas City, Detroit, and New Orleans? You know how in the holodeck on TNG they get the opportunity to go back in time? 1890’s England for Data or the 1940’s Noir Mystery for Jean Luc …you now know where I’m going with this…and I’ve now lost all credibility by referencing Star Trek Next Generation (not even the original Star Trek where fashion was semi 1960’s…oh man the outfits they put on Diana Troy shriek!) Returning to the Jazz Drummers of 56′, it’s amazing, full of energy and style, I would love to have been there witnessing this masterpiece and unadulterated fun. But now, alas the record player clicks it’s sorrowful finale and all is slowing down…I must finish my glass of wine and retire for bed, brass and beats still swig’n away up there somewhere.

Diana Dew and wearable Pop Art

I found a 1968 copy of the Washington Post. A tattered cover illustrated with faded politicians and the Capital in the background. The big story was all about how America was mucking up Vietnam. I like reading articles from the 50’s and 60’s about US politics so I paid the 50 cents and brought it home. I like how these old magazines give a sort of cultural landscape a nation from years and years ago which has changed a lot from today… but sometimes is shockingly similar. For example this magazine had a feature article by Daniel H. Watts titled “America will Burn”

this author focuses on the racial problem in the U.S. He says that the popular concept of progress in the race relations in the U.S. is pure myth. He states that for over 300 years, African Americans have been obliged to carry not only the burden of racism but also white-liberal paternalism. The white man wants to be free to expand and exploit but an African American man perceives freedom as having an opportunity to enjoy life…


What I didn’t expect from the Washington Post was a 3 page spread on fashion icon Diana Dew, which is what my post will focus on today.

Hot lights, mod mini  and loads of references to psychedelia (is that a word? oh well I like it…like paraphernalia but totally psychedelic man)

Hit the Lights

Diana Dew was breaking edge in the club scene. Her small flexible battery packs added light to the garments she created. She was a pioneer, first being a woman (which is awesome) second being a designer who made functional art.

Her Designs


I guess later the technology she developed was purchased by the US government for space…but from the articles I read some of it went to less than admirable uses such as “interrogation” techniques for the Pentagon (yikes!)

Below she talks about her hippie roots… I hear ya! My hippie roots were def denying me a life of experience…wait…I grew up in a Baptist family in the 80’s …jk.

On Hippies

Like an LSD trip

Light up my Pants


Did I mention my love of hearts…comes from my 80’s past and far too many hours of doodling…apparently these dresses only sold for $150-$250 who knows how much now but you bet I’d be wearing the one below! Def reminds me of the Carebears…but I’m okay with that, I embrace it.

A tale of hearts

(he he that is NOT where my heart is but I just had to …thank you Christina 😉


Here are some more readings on Diana and her electric wearable pop art! Yay!

http://www.coololdstuff.com/fashion1.html

http://io9.com/350261/in-the-1960s-you-could-wear-an-electric-dress

http://www.cultjones.com/stock_item/1287/dew-diana-electric-dress

http://wendybrandes.com/blog/2010/12/light-up-with-tron-legacy-tiger-morse-and-diana-dew/

Charles Addams and Fall: A flair for the macabre

This week has been unseasonably cold and wet, reminding me of fall and all things wonderful there in (b-t- dubs the Pumpkin Spice Latte is now out at Starbucks, but who’s paying attention really). I’ve decided to get an early start on the festivities. Halloween is closer than one thinks and this weather totally reminds me of it! It’s not really gloomy weather if you take pleasure in the pat pat rhythm of the soft rain. The cool breeze that requires  layers of clothing and the feel good companion one finds in a fluffy blanket by a fire.  On my rambling walks  I search for gray hued clouds, dark shadowy places  and paths that lead into dense woods. All the above allowing my imagination to run further up and further in.

When I was around 15 my Step Dad gave me this book of Charles Addams’ cartoons. A round nosed rosy cheeked fellow, he was a big fan of the New Yorker comics where Addams was a contributor for a while. I can see his spectacles peeking from behind a newspaper where I always imagined he was reading the comics. Charles Addams shared our fancy for whimsy and dark humor. It is a special memory a  father and daughter thing we shared that my mom rolled her eyes at.

Chales Addams

 

3 bears


I read earlier this summer that the Mansion Addams modeled his drawings after went up for sale in Jersey. The house hadn’t been on the marked since 1923. Being lived in from generation to generation and passed down. It’s a Victorian Gentleman’s home complete with a tiled fire place in each room and crown molding around the entry ways and doors. The vast wood floors and open drawing roomsare so vivid to me, I can almost smell the old Victorian home when I look at the pictures. A treasure few see. It’s a warm memory of entering Grandmother’s house, exploring closed doors with Alice and Wonderland brass knobs. A nose and key whole mouth that open to a new discovery. A box full of oxidized silver teaspoons or post cards written in such fine cursive I can barely make out the tidbits on corn crops failing or this year at the highly celebrated , Kansas State Fair.  The Mansion (pictured below)  still holds true to being both creepy and spooky…

Adams Family House

 

Living Room

http://www.news.com.au/finance/real-estate/addams-family-house-in-paddington-on-the-market-for-the-first-time-since-1924/story-fnd91nhy-1227029673860

Going on auction Thursday (September 11th) if you’re interested in an investment piece. Meanwhile, I’ll continue my walks in the rain admiring the fall weather and all it brings.

 Props to Shiv for the photo and standing in the rain ❤

A Dangling Conversation

Fell into wispy and strange dreams last night, starting with my date in a record shop. It was all fuzzy walls and shelves. The colors in the dream were muted. I was standing there and waiting for someone. I looked down at my phone and  saw that I was getting a call. Answering it casually, hello, yes, you’re on your way? I’m here, ok, see you soon. Then in through the glass door walked the gentle eyed, slight smile of Paul Simon. It was 1960’s Paul Simon. A turtle neck and shorter hair all in soft grays. I looked at him with amusement, joy and warmth, like welcoming an old friend. This is how I think of Paul Simon. Funny how dreams are, it didn’t bother me that even in the dream he was a full head shorter than me…I’m tall woman, 5 foot 9 and three quarters, I just tell people 5’10 though, why trifle with that last quart inch, I’m usually taller than them anyway. So there he was standing and looking at me. He put his arm around me and told me how excited he was too. Let’s look at some records, sounds great, I said with a smile then it faded and I woke up still feeling the excitement and warm of his sweater and cool voice.

I found this photo today searching for photos of Paul Simon, Dream come true! Ha

I found this photo today searching for photos of Paul Simon, Dream come true! Ha

 

A minor obsession of mine has long been Simon and Garfunkel. The Dangling Conversation is by far my favorite. The lyrics, the sync-co-pat-ted-time, they greet me and I press my head into their warm soft arms and chest and breath in the familiarity and complexity of the moment they create. I sing it like a poem reads because that’s what it is poetry.

It’s a still life water color,
Of a now late afternoon,
As the sun shines through the curtained lace
And shadows wash the room.
And we sit and drink our coffee
Couched in our indifference,
Like shells upon the shore
You can hear the ocean roar
In the dangling conversation
And the superficial sighs,
The borders of our lives.

And you read your Emily Dickinson,
And I my Robert Frost,
And we note our place with bookmarkers
That measure what we’ve lost.
Like a poem poorly written
We are verses out of rhythm,
Couplets out of rhyme,
In syncopated time
And the dangled conversation
And the superficial sighs,
Are the borders of our lives.

Yes, we speak of things that matter,
With words that must be said,
“Can analysis be worthwhile?”
“Is the theater really dead?”
And how the room is softly faded
And I only kiss your shadow,
I cannot feel your hand,
You’re a stranger now unto me
Lost in the dangling conversation.
And the superficial sighs,
In the borders of our lives.

 

So now dear reader, if you should be so inclined, grab a collection of poems by Robert Frost ( I recommend any and all about nature and changing of seasons), set yourself near a window, wrap up and enjoy.