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Archive for 2007

Shopping From Television: Mills Canvas Bags

December 15th, 2007



Since I’ve been sick, I’ve been relishing my access to A.M. talk television. My favorite program–as a kind of legacy selection from earlier incarnations–is the Martha Stewart show or simply MARTHA. I’m not too fond of the audience applause factor or the set design kitchen from which Martha emerges at the beginning of each show. However, I do love Martha Stewart’s restlessly perfectionist sensibility and sleuth hound approach to food and objects. Over the last few weeks, Martha has been running a “secret sources” segment where she reveals the source for some hard (for the rest of us?) to find Martha approved artifact. Recent examples include ribbon candy, pottery, pet jackets and a Japanese department store in Manhattan. For the most part, I’ve been indifferent to her finds (but imaged my own guest star selections and how I might revive the fortunes of various struggling, defunct or near obsolete brands). However, last week, Martha Stewart stole a page from Archival Clothing by featuring a brand of canvas boat tote which I swore had not been in production for ages: Mills brand canvas bags. We’ve owned a green Mills tote for many years and I was certain that it was dead brand (the label alone looks like something sewn on the dockyards in the early nineteen thirties).

Out of the Past: A Dover Pictorgraphic Gent

October 19th, 2007

Last week, I met a fellow who appeared to have stepped directly out of the pages of the Dover Pictorial Archive of Men. This living lithograph–code name DJ–was in town to deliver a lecture on the scanning efforts of an enviable archive in a foreign land. Friend RG took a series of photographs of DJ’s tour of our own archive. Both in photographs and in person, DG struck wonderfully stylized line drawing type poses (perfect for tracing or for use in clip art illustrations). In costume, DG sported a Euro spin on Henry Fonda playing young Mr. Lincoln (the spin being his cravat).

Shopping From the Movies: Telephones

September 30th, 2007



Watching Freaky Friday (1977), I remembered how much I miss the corded telephone as dramatic device (and artifact of tasteful home decor). As Sara notes, a traditional telephone creates a restrictive perimeter from which the user cannot roam. All sorts of great comedic/dramatic material–especially in Seventies teen flic films–is generated when the user overrides this perimeter, typically in a kitchen/domestic space (ovens smoke, washers overflow, blenders erupt, etc). What would film history even look like without the home or pay telephone (think: Klute, All the Presidents Men, The Bells are Ringing, Pillow Talk)?! Most likely, everything would be a bland variation on films like the Bourne Identity or The Departed wherein cellular phones simply double as explosive or tracking devices (whole new action film genres are being built upon the untethered, disposable, multi-tasking properties of the modern cordless phone).

Shopping From The Past: Bi-Mart

September 30th, 2007


Until yesterday, I hadn’t paid much attention to Bi-Mart, a regional “worker owned” drug and discount store. However, needing to rent a Rug Doctor to clean up our rental carpeting, I found myself at the west Eugene Bi-Mart, paying five dollars to join the store and gain access to its discounted wares (dairy products, lawn ornaments, shower curtains, fishing gear, floor fans, and yes, carpet cleaner). Though the store merchandise matched up with every other place I shop in Eugene, I was bewitched by its overaching, out-of-time, in-store decor (waxed concrete floors), cool numbered aisle lights and friendly, charismatic sales staff (the kind of sweet stock characters once played by Thelma Ritter or Ruth Buzzy)(one elderly saleswoman was puzzling over the cash register logistics of a 2-1 sale on dvds…. the discount being for a copy of Doctor Strangelove). Overall, I got the feeling that I was shopping in a store from my E.Washington childhood–a place predating the current trend towards overstuffed, art directed box stores. Not sure how I missed out on Bi-Mart for so long but I’ll definitely be back next week for a bag of Brachs Harvest Corn and maybe a little white particle board bookshelf for my Ellendale office.

ADDENDUM: Now that I look, I see the Bi-Mart brand everywhere: providing advertising support for a college football halftime program, as a reoccuring coupon book in my mailbox, sponsoring a local international film festival.