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Category Archives: Kitsch

Very Special

With Bottom Feeders: The Ass End of the ’80s, Dave Steed of is cataloging every song that charted outside the top 40 but within Billboard‘s Hot 100 in the ’80s. This is a fascinating, if huge, project that I’m overjoyed that I stumbled upon. Steed has been at this for a year, but he’s only up to the “L” artists in the alphabet. A lot of good stuff falls in this area — R&B, Hip Hop, Metal, Adult Contemporary and Country hits with limited mass appeal, obscurities from outside the U.S., movie soundtrack junk, lesser-known singles from big name acts, etc. If anything, it allows me to hear previously unheard gems like Stacy Lattisaw’s “Attack of the Name Game.”

Discover a Lovelier You

Here’s another swellorama thrift store find to share on flickr. The Nancy Taylor Course was a 1960 four volume self help manual on how to be a fashion model, or at least look like one. Each volume is printed on pale pink paper for maximum femininity, packed with advice on how to attain perfect posture (balance a book on your head!), social etiquette, hair and makeup, diet, even what kind of dainty toiletries to pack in one’s handbag. You know, in case you have one of those “not so fresh” days.

What really grabbed me about these are the illustrations, image after image of Barbie-esque ladies looking all elegant and chi-chi — and there’s a lot of them. The drawings appear to be by several artists, and they’re all so good that I’ve scanned several and placed them in their own flickr set. It contains 50 photos as of now, and that’s only covering the first volume. Some highlights below. Note the carefully positioned feet on the first woman:

Nancy Taylor - 1
Nancy Taylor - 2
Nancy Taylor - 3
Nancy Taylor - 4

Books, Wished After and Not

Right now I’m going through the yearly conundrum of what to put on our holiday cards. This piece on the favorite book covers of 2008 is good for some visual inspiration. So is a complete set of scans from the 1980 Sears Christmas catalog, albeit in a completely different way. Looky here:

Sears Jammies

The Divine Gobbler

Hotel Gobbler

James Likeks’ tribute to the oddly named Gobbler Hotel in Wisconsin is a study in contrasts. Compare the space-age renderings (above) with the actual hotel in its prime — and the ’70s era structure with the sad, outdated ghost of a hotel shortly before it got demolished. Thanks to Lileks, now everybody can appreciate the Playboy After Dark grooviness of it all. The Gobbler’s architect, Helmut Ajango, is apparently still living and working in the same state as his own now-defunct creation.

Pebbles, Shells, Lennons and Kings

Patrick’s kinda now, kinda wow sunshine pop compilation Just Beyond The Sunshine is putting a smile on my face today. Highlight: The Lennon Sisters’ zombie-like “I’m Gonna Make You Love Me.” There’s also Brian Hyland, Nick DeCaro, The Cyrkle, Ronny & The Daytonas and so much more. Great job, Patrick!

Lala Land

Just noticed that the La La A Go-Go website has undergone a spiffy new redesign. I first caught wind of the divine Ms. Lala via her flickr stream. If it’s kitschy and from the ’60s or ’70s, she’s got it!