Friday, February 26, 2010

Owl Movement

Owls seem to be the kitschy collectible bird of choice these days...Sorry, pink flamingos. I have a bunch of owl stuff. I don't collect owl stuff or anything...hell, I really don't seriously collect anything(maybe records and vintage lamps), I just buy what I think is neat...and cheap. Anyway...

One little jewel-eyed Owl...

Two little jewel-eyed Owls...

BIG God damn jewel-eyed Owl!

Here's another picture of that monster, because he's awesome!

The salt and pepper shaker owls were made in 1956 by the George Zoltan Lefton Company(Geo Z Lefton Co.) of Chicago. Lefton was one of many importers of cheap, but nifty Japanese ceramic and porcelain goods...other big names were Holt-Howard and Napco. Lefton stuff is pretty popular as of late, but these owls are by no means rare...Most of the ones I come across(with both eyes intact) are around the $20 range. I got these at a Goodwill in Kalamazoo for a buck 50 each. I don't understand why Goodwill insists on selling a set of salt and pepper shakers individually, but I don't really understand why Goodwill does a lot of things they do. Definitely NOT my favorite thrift store, but every now and again, you can still score cool stuff.

The Big(over 16" tall!) Owl we found in the basement of one of our favorite semi-local(because there is NOTHING in Coldwater) antique malls. He wasn't as cheap as the salt and pepper shakers, and it took several antique shopping trips before we finally said 'screw it, we NEED that'...but I'm glad we got it, because it's probably the most awesomest thing on the planet! It was made in 1967 by the Universal Statuary Corp, also of Chicago, Ill. Universal was started and run by brothers Jack and Leo Lucchesi(Wonder if they're related to Tina Luchessi, of Trashwomen fame?), who brought in artists from Italy and Guatemala to design all their statues, lamps, wall plaques, and whatnot. They are the source of all those ugly 70's Spanish explorer wall plaques and lamps you see at garage sales. Universal made a lot of VERY cool chalk ware tropic tiki-ish stuff in the 40's and 50's, and that stuff goes for relatively big bucks now days, or so my quick scan of Ebay tells me. They also made a pair of cats that I need.

Finally, speaking of owls, here's a poster I drew for a show my band's playing on Saturday(The Burning Hatreds).

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

When I Say I'm In Love, You Best Believe I'm In Love..L.U.V!

Ah, Saint Valentine's Day...a fake holiday invented by card companies...and candy companies..and flavored lube companies. I'm not a huge fan, really. I prefer Christmas and Halloween and My Birthday. Hell, I prefer Thanksgiving, The 4th of July, New Years, City-wide junk pickup day, and Hollywood Week on American Idol. My girlfriend always ends up working On Valentine's day, and everyone else is either out being romantic with their significant other, or complaining excessively about being alone. I used to look forward to the History Channel's 2 hour St. V-day Massacre special, narrated by Paul Sorvino, but I never came across it this year, which is too bad. Anyway, this year wasn't too bad, even though Melanie was working. She got me a big bag of Kit Kat bars and took me record shopping the next day, so now I've finally heard the new King Khan and BBQ record. Plus I found a long outta print Zodiac Killers record I didn't have, so Happy Valentine's day to me! Anyway, enough rambling...

A few years ago, my old band was playing a house show in Grand Rapids. I wish I would have taken pictures of the place. The Kid that owned it had inherited it from his grandparents, who designed and built the killer ranch house in 1956. It looked straight from the pages of Atomic Ranch. Really an amazing place to explore, since most of the guy's grandfolks' stuff was still there. He knew I was into neat old junk and asked if I would be interested in some old Valentine's and X-mas cards. Turns out, his grandma and great grandma, and maybe even great great grandma were all elementary school teachers. He ended up giving me 2 large Hefty bags full of old valentine's cards, the earliest dated one being from 1901, the newest being sometime in the late 70's. Condition ranged from half mouse eaten, to looked like it was made yesterday and still sealed in the original envelope. I (poorly) scanned some of the best ones.

These ones are all from the early 1900s, mostly made in Germany.

The girl with the bowl of cherries has a tab on the back that makes her arms move, to look like she's woofing down the cherries. The other girl has a tab on the back that moves her eyes, and used to turn the pages of the book she's holding. The Fatty Arbuckle-looking kid is cool, but I added the other creepy kid as space filler.

Nothing says 'Be my valentine' quite like some good ol' American racism. the black girl's arm moves, and on the back, somebody wrote "Happy Birthday, Happy New Year, Merry X-mas. Happy 4th of July. Nuts To You Nancy. XXX".

move the heart on the side of the card, and the boy moves his arm, I don't know if it was intended to be as dirty as it seems, but I have a suspicion that the guys at the card company had a few giggles over this one. I'm not sure what it says at the bottom, as it's missing a chunk, but I imagine it's something filthy! The cowboy and Indian engage in some light bondage, while the pervo bear has a message for you in his sweaty jacket.

These two cards fold out as shown. Pretty cool pre-WWII cartoon art.

The chalkboard girl's arm spins, and the chalkboard says all sorts of generic lovey stuff. Pull the bottom Dog's ear to move his eye and tail. I think the bottom two cards are from the 1930's, the top two from the 1940's.

...and a few more cool one's from the 30's and 40's.

I got these both for 99 cents at two different Goodwill stores, the Blue one(R&W Berries Co's 1971) here in town, and the devil(R&W Berries Co's 1972) in Battle Creek. I'm sure they were someone's Valentine's gift at one time.

I got this bad-ass rock art(or whatever you call that stuff...little glued-on colored rocks) poodle for Melanie for Valentine's day this year. It's gotta be from sometime in the 50's or 60's...not sure. She loves it, so do I.

Finally, I got this at the other Goodwill in Battle Creek last year, and it's one of my favorite possessions. It was in a huge box of pretty terrible art I imagine was donated from some community center art class. The sweater and the girl's hair are textured with puff paint. It doesn't show up great here, but the teeth are drawn in pencil. The hands are all shaped weird and stubby. There's some random glitter on the guy's shirt for no reason. But they sure are in love. Happy (late)Valentine's Day!