Thursday, September 22, 2011

wacky tacky tunes: Get Some! Thee Cormans LP!!!

Do you like things that are spooky?  Well, do you?  Not spooky like Jonathan Winters-on-Scooby-Doo spooky, but spooky like the guy-sitting-next-to-you-on-the-bus-that-keeps-trying-to-bite-his-own-face spooky.  If the answer is yes, then you will love Thee Cormans.  You might remember our previous blog post about Thee Cormans, the official, undisputed champions of the surf/garage/biker/trash/fuzz/morbidly-obese music scene.  In said post we mentioned a forthcoming LP from In the Red Records.  Well, for your listening displeasure, the record is finally here!

The album cover
Cover design by Nick of Tugboat Studios & I am not an Artist

The record comes complete with chilling sound effects.  Even more chilling are the faces beneath the masks!  I guess that because The Cormans are now "legit" and have gone all "corpo," I am unable to post any tracks from the new album*, so you'll just have to take my word for it - this record is probably the closest thing most of you will have to an out-of-body experience.  It is a wave of solid sound.  It is a fuzz-filled nightmare.  It is an euphonic paroxysm.  In other words, it's loud and a little raunchy, but it's got a good beat and you can dance to it.

The cover with the standard and limited-edition, glow-in-the-dark vinyl

Sorry suckers, the glow-in-the-dark vinyl (in all its luminescent glory) is SOLD OUT!!!

The collectible, monster poster included in the record sleeve.

It might be a Halloween record, but I understand that it makes a great Hanukkah gift as well!  Imagine getting it for all eight days!!!!  The record even includes a code so one can download the music from the In the Red website for FREE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  Order your copy today!

Stay tuned, Thee Cormans may be coming to your town!

If you need further persuasion that this is the best album you'll ever buy, I asked my grandma what she thought about the record and she said, "Yeah, it's pretty spook-tacular."  Enough said.

Be sure to check out the following for more art and info:

Thee Cormans Facebook page
Tugboat Studios Facebook Page
I am Not an Artist Tumblr
In the Red Records

* I have subsequently discovered that I must amend the above statement slightly.  It appears that you may follow this link to hear a couple of Thee Cormans latest tracks!

In case you were wondering, I receive absolutely no remuneration for my endorsement of Thee Cormans or In the Red Records - trust me, those sons of guns just won't give.  Just do yourself a favor and listen.


Mr. Tiny

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Sew What?! A Teenie Weenie Bikini

I may be running a little late; I can practically hear autumn outside my window.  No, no...I still hear summer as it coughs and wheezes its dying breaths before the final gasp on Friday.  It may seem like terrible timing but I live in Southern California and we are almost always bathed in sunshine!!!  What better way to celebrate those golden rays emanating from the center of our solar system than with an indoor sewing project?!

While rummaging through patterns at a thrift store I found a 60's bikini pattern and for no other reason than to see if I could sew a bra top, I paid the good woman at the register my two bits and headed home to conquer a bikini!

Because I was sewing this for no one in particular, I simply cut the one-size pattern, made no alterations and began sewing.  I chose an inexpensive, yellow, bandana-printed cotton from the stash.  The pattern went together especially easily and there was enough material left over to make a very-superficial "cover-up."  The cover-up is lined in black cotton; it has side vents and crocheted belt-loops (because I'm not sure what people who really know how to sew do for those "invisible-style" belt loops), and it is finished with a black, ribbon tie. 

The bikini is self-lined.
The bra closes with buttons and the shorts have a back-zip closure

Truth be told, I sewed this quite a while ago but as I am still working on keeping my mysterious malady at bay, I have neither gone anywhere exciting nor attempted anything too creative as of late.  While the swimsuit offers ample coverage to the wearer, this particular pattern was a rather teenie-weenie size; it ended up being so small that I had to pin it to the dress form.  So, it may not be polka dotted, but it is yellow and I think the song still applies.

"Itsy Bitsy Teenie Weenie Yellow Polkadot Bikini" - Brian Hyland (1960)

The swimsuit may be complete, but I am still trying to figure out how to stuff this wild bikini!  A little help...

How to Stuff a Wild Bikini (1965)


Mr. Tiny

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Chow Time: Clifton's Brookdale Cafeteria

Usually, I am loathe to include anything too personal in this blog.  I much prefer adhering to the cardinal commandment of wacky tacky - "Thou shalt not take thine own self too seriously."  There is, however, no escaping the fact that I am currently laid up!  Suffering from the symptoms of an indeterminate ailment,  I should have had plenty of time to blog but my bleary-eyed, semi-conscious waking hours have been filled with prescriptions, appointments and streaming Netflix.  As I lay in what will surely become my death bed, I feel fortunate to have both the strength to type and a small backlog of material about which I can post.  The doctors say that over-dramatization is a probably the most prominent symptom of my illness - whatever that means. 

This is the forest primeval!  Walking through the front door of Clifton's Brookdale Cafeteria in downtown Los Angeles, one is immediately transported into a Depression-era dreamer's vision of the great outdoors.  It might not be what Longfellow was scribbling about, but it is pretty great by wacky tacky standards!

Clifton's Brookdale

The history of Clifton's Brookdale Cafeteria goes back to 1935 and is best described by the Clifton's website:

"In 1935 Clifford Clinton purchased the lease of the former Boos Brothers Cafeteria and began to transform the dowdy interior into an imaginary wonderland rivaled only by his other cafeteria, the legendary Clifton's Pacific Seas.

As a youth, Clifford spent his summers in the Santa Cruz mountains among the coastal redwoods, not far from the famous Brookdale Lodge.  This mountain feeling was the theme Clifford wanted for his new location.  Working with rock sculptor Francois Scotti, Clifford created a 20 ft. waterfall cascading into a quiet stream that meanders through a dining room.  Redwood trees were used to conceal steel columns and a renowned L.A. muralist, Elinar Petersen, created a life size forest on canvas covering one wall.  A Little Chapel perched high amongst the crags fulfilled Clifford's desire to feed the soul as well as the body of depression weary Angelinos."

The Clinton family's recent sale of Clifton's had foodies, history nerds, downtown enthusiasts and regular customers alike a little more than worried about the fate of the grand institution.  After a recent visit I found that in fact there is very little about which to worry.

The deco-style, terrazzo entry is the same.

The signs are the same.

The food is largely the same.

In something as simple as the trays, the noticeable changes might even be seen as improvements.
It may seem like niggling, but the one devastating change is the new computerized registers.  In days of yore the women at the check out knew every price and product by heart and rang each guest on vintage, push-button cash registers with lightning speed and the accuracy of Swiss watchmakers.  The new system may benefit Clifton's bookkeeping but it sure slows down the line and takes away some of the fun!

The old tray
The new tray
Mary puts the new tray to good use
Normally - and to everyone's great surprise - I am not a buffet/cafeteria type of guy.  Call me self-conscious, but as one of larger proportion, I just don't feel quite comfortable shuffling along, testing the tensile strength of my heavy-laden tray.  I like to sit down, order and have a genial person set my food before me.  If there is one giant exception to this rule, it is Clifton's.  Cafeteria food has a rather-dicey reputation and in most cases this reputation is justified; Clifton's notices range from sublime to mediocre to scathing.  However, I must say that every time I have eaten there, I have found the food quite good and I left feeling fat and sassy.  Although, it must be said, I came in feeling pretty fat and sassy.

It's not what it looks like...okay, it's exactly what it looks like!
Mmmmmm, Clifton's meatloaf is good!

Because Clifton's is the type of landmark with which people feel such a personal connection, theories and rumors about the "changes" abound - especially about the Clifton's third floor which until recently looked like a mix between Disneyland's Golden Horseshoe Saloon and a small-town museum.  The most persistent of these rumors is that the third floor is being remade into a Polynesian paradise reminiscent of the long-since-closed Clifton's Pacific Seas Cafeteria.  On our most recent visit, the third floor was still shrouded in both drop cloths and mystery.

The famed third floor

Views of Clifton's Pacific Seas

Happily, the remainder of the cafeteria appears to have weathered the change in ownership unscathed.

The amazing, cow hide, hearthside chair still
beckons guest to take a load off and set for a spell.

Bears are still fishing
A postcard view of the chapel and the main dining room

The Chapel is still chapel-ing
We should have taken video of the spiritual message delivered
at the push of a button inside the chapel but perhaps that is
just the incentive one needs to get to Clifton's Brookdale!

An additional dining nook still carries the theme

"By a waterfall, I'm calling you..."
The water is still falling.

The country cabin still welcomes visitors.

 And taxidermy, always taxidermy!

Again we must bastardize paraphrase the great poet Longfellow:

"...List to a Tale of Love in (Brookdale), home of the happy."

As luck would have it, there is a fitting Disney cartoon for every occasion.

"Morris the Midget Moose" (1950)

Clifton's Brookdale Cafeteria
648 South Broadway
Los Angeles, CA

Hours of Operation:

Tuesday - Sunday: 6:30am - 10:00pm
(Please verify hours before making your way downtown and paying to park.  Due to the renovation, the hours may vary.)


Mr. Tiny

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Encinitas Boat Houses Ahoy!

When roadside architectural interest is combined with habitable living quarters, a wacky tacky angel gets its wings.  In Encinitas, CA the world-famous boat houses have been maintaining their steady course for over 80 years!

In 1928, Miles Miner Kellogg, using building materials reclaimed from a defunct dancehall, built the S.S. Encinitas and the S.S. Moonlight.  Obviously inspired by ocean travel, Kellogg's twin boat houses are permanently docked on 3rd St. in old Encinitas.  Despite appearances to the contrary, the boat houses were never seaworthy crafts, they were only ever intended as residential properties.

Land Lovers Delight!
It would be easy to get your "sea legs" whilst smelling the salt air from the decks of these twin ships.

As is true with most interesting, 20th-Century, vernacular architecture, the future of the boat houses had been in serious jeopardy over the years.  In 2009, the Encinitas Preservation Association, through public and private donations, purchased the structures and guaranteed the future of the boat houses by placing them in the public trust.

The S.S. Moonlight was named after The Moonlight Dancehall
from which the wood for the houses was procured.

The boat houses cut a striking figure on a street dominated by traditional dwellings.  The structures are  painted in a nautical color scheme of red, white and blue and come complete with decks and portholes.  Upon their purchase in 2009, the boat houses were open for public tours; they are now rental properties.

Imagine how much stress would have been relieved from Cary Grant if only he and Sophia had opted for a boat house instead of a houseboat!

Houseboat (1958)

While the boat houses are not tugboats, we couldn't help but think of one of our favorite cartoons - "Little Toot" from Disney's Melody Time (1948).

"Little Toot" (1948)

The Encinitas Boat Houses
726 & 732 3rd St.
Encinitas, CA


Mr. Tiny