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Category Archives: Rubylith

Oskar Fischinger on NPR

NPR’s Day to Day aired a good but too-brief segment on filmmaker Oskar Fischinger today. Fischinger’s influential animated shorts from the ’30s and ’40s translated the concept of abstract art into moving images; his Allegretto (1943) is a jazzy example shown below. And some of his work just recently came out on DVD! More info at The Fischinger Archive. Update: Allegretto has been removed from YouTube.

Swanky Banking

One of our favorite things about living in Phoenix is the daring and unusal midcentury architecture. We’re not Palm Springs with neat-o googie buildings on every corner, but occasionally Christopher and I will marvel at a gem hidden among the neighborhoods and uptown areas. Among the nicest were the banks commissioned by Valley National Bank in the ’60s. ModernPhoenix.net has compiled a series of pages showcasing some of these buildings. Not old enough to be protected under Historic designation, many of these structures have changed hands and fallen into disrepair. The Tempe location, an awe-inspiring geodesic dome, may be destroyed by evil owners ASU very soon.

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There are a lot of these buildings peppered throughout the Valley, and they all stand out in some way. Even the less showy location we use for our banking (NE corner of 7th Avenue and Thomas for you locals) has this understatedly elegant, desert version of International Style. Most locals don’t appreciate it, but we do. We also enjoy using the Christown location with its mural depicting various historial forms of money. The 44th Street and Camelback location might be the coolest of them all, having a sort of “Frank Lloyd Wright on crack” look. Hopefully it and the others will stay standing for many years to come.

Highlights for Children (And Teens)

Way gear: Ward has just started a new Flickr group called The Retro Teen, intended to showcase cool old illustrations made for the audience who grew too old for the stuff shown in the Retro Kid group. There’s also the Eye Candy from the trippy hippy ’60s and ’70s group, for those who prefer kiddie ephemera of the quasi-psychedelic sort. I just added some scans from the Electric Company cast album there; check it out.

Today’s Inspiration

I’ve been busy busy busy on various design projects lately (can’t ya tell?), but now’s a good time to deliver a well-deserved plug for Leif Peng’s Today’s Inspiration weblog. I’ve long used old general-interest magazines from the ’50s and ’60s as neat visual resources. However, I still know very little about the hard working, prolific illustrators whose work appeared within their pages (usually accompanying a saucy piece of short fiction). Peng has done a great job — not only with assembling drop-dead gorgeous pieces from that era, but also in supplying biographical info on these overlooked artists. The images discussed in Peng’s blog are also posted on his flickr account for easier perusal.

Oh, and here’s a typically lovely example. Andy Virgil in McCall’s, November 1959:

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Fawning Over Flora

Ward Jenkins has completed a nifty post on Jim Flora’s 1957 childrens book, The Day the Cow Sneezed, comparing Flora’s never-before-seen original mockups to the final printed pages.

Tales from the Hundred Crayon Wood

The Storybook Series: Winnie The Pooh is a current L.A. art show that I’d so love to see in person. Children’s drawings of scenes from a Winnie the Pooh story were hung alongside interpretations of those drawings by adult artists. The results are both funny and whimsical, although it’s interesting how the Disneyfied Pooh characters are so indoctrinated in these children (via Cartoon Brew).