Tuesday, March 22, 2011

It's Ephemeral - The Running of the Collectors

Hundreds of collectors descended on Greenwich, CT for the Ephemera Society's EPHEMERA 31. The annual weekend kicked off with talks on The Ephemera of Magic; P.T. Barnum: The Man, the Myth, and the Legend; and The Magic Lantern, among other esoteric topics.

What is ephemera?  Visit http://www.ephemerasociety.org/ and you'll find out.


A ROMANTIC DINNER FOR 22

Friday evening, nearly two dozen valentine enthusiasts were rounded up by Nancy Rosin, President of the NVCA and a walking Valentine herself.  All were thrilled to dine with friends who share a passion for this romantic ritual.  Guests included Nancy's close friend, collage artist/designer Rosemary Warren; Valerie Jackson-Harris, Chairman of the Ephemera Society (U.K.); and Barbara Rusch, President the Ephemera Society of Canada. John Grossman, author and foremost authority on Victorian scrap and his wife, Carolyn, traveled from Arizona, while photography's elder statesman, Matt Isenberg and his wife, Elizabeth, zipped over from Lyme, CT.  Elizabeth is working on a book about the Steamboat Arabia Museum.  Cameron Nickels, a retired professor from Virginia, showed off his book, Civil War Humor, featuring a cartoon of a barechested Abraham Lincoln emerging from the shower. Also in attendance: NVCA VP and teacher, organic gardener and florist extraordinaire, Michael Russo and Queen Mary king John Sayers, and his wife, Judith from Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario, Canada.  Thanks to Matt Isenberg for the photos.





Nancy Rosin (standing) bought the first round.  Left side of table (from foreground): Valerie Jackson-Harris, Kathy Alpert, Elizabeth Isenberg, Jean Fisher, and Judy Sayers.  At end of table: Richard Bitterman chats with Sandy Jones.  Right side of table (front foreground): Rosemary Warren; Cameron Nickels, Barbara Rusch.
Cameron Nickels' book shows the humorous side of war.

Nancy Rosin and John Grossman peruse a collection of Valentines.


A display of Valentines a Ephemera 31.

In case you missed Nancy's Valentine's Day appearance on Sunday Morning with Charles Osgood (2/13/11), you can view the clip here:

http://www.cbsnews.com/video/watch/?id=7357116n&tag=cbsnewsVideoArea.0


Meanwhile, Art Groten held a dinner and swapfast for the Poster Stamp Collector Club.


THE MAIN COURSE: A BANQUET OF PAPER

Hundreds of people drove or flew thousands of miles (collectively) to view and purchase a wild variety of ephemera and related objects.  The excitement in the air was palpable, with breathless queries ranging from "Do you have any World War II?" to "Love Tokens?"

It's hard to visit all my favorite dealers - especially since the list grows longer each year.  Didn't make it into Peter Luke's corner, but I did see the effervescent Beth Baird, Willis Monie, Leigh Stein, Peter Keyes, Dennis Holzman, and Joan and Ron Kay, who run the storied Metropolitan Postcard Show in New York City.  Others are featured in photos below.

My finds included a Screen Stories magazine from 1951 with Clark Gable and Ava Gardner on the cover and an ad with this image:

Appearing soon on a greeting card or calendar near you.

And then, a copy of Nugget, from March of 1957, featuring "Salvador Dali Predicts":
You just can't make this stuff up!

Kathleen Murray of Vintage Charmings has a wonderful selection of French ephemera.


These American made Halloween masks were spotted at the booth of  Bartleby Books, located at 1132 29th Street, NW in Washington DC's Georgetown neighborhood.  Bartleby's is closing soon.  Bargain-hunting bibliophiles from the Mid-Atlantic, take note.
Richard Thorner, shown with his daughter, Katherine, sold copies of a book of posters from  Dartmouth's Winter Carnival, dating back to the early days.  His shop, Resser-Thorner Antiques, is located in Manchester, NH.
A shout-out to these first-time exhibitors - their branding, upbeat attitude, and neatly displayed merchandise.

Lauren Sodano of Rochester's Strong National Museum of Play, is the ESA's social media maven. Her interviews with people at the conference will appear on the ESA's website.  Lauren's Sunday morning talk, The Other 362 Days: Ephemera Enthusiasts and Social Networking, was excellent and it was packed.
Kit Barry of Brattleboro, VT has a super organized booth.  In addition to trade cards, letterhead, and other ephemera, he sells acid-free sleeves and other materials used to preserve paper treasures.

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Thursday, February 17, 2011

GRAMMY AWARDS: THE AFTERPARTY

After the awards ceremony, it was a short walk to the L.A. Convention Center for a swanky soiree catered by Wolfgang Puck.  D├ęcor and theme were inspired by the late, great Studio 54 in New York City.  The space dazzled with numerous disco balls and other glitzy touches.  It was a friendly crowd, as  signature cocktails were prepared (Mango Freeze anyone?) to the sounds of vintage disco.  Then the Roots came on, commanding the stage.  What a schmoozefest.  Very LA.
Thousands of well-heeled attendees passed
through metal detectors to gain admission.

 Inspired by Studio 54, the party
dazzled with disco balls and more.


Disco dancers on raised platforms in skintight white
costumes (a la "Saturday Night Fever") entertained
the crowd.
All right, let's get
the party started.

Solomon Burke, Jr. (left) and his
fashionable family and friends enjoyed
the party.  Minutes earlier, he had placed
his father's cape on Mick Jagger.
Jagger performed in honor of "King"
Solomon Burke, who passed last October.

Joni wearing "The Cape"

The Roots' tuba player, Damon
"Tuba Gooding Jr." Bryson was
especially exhuberant, exciting the crowd.

Singer/songwriter Jenny Jarnagin and her
Manager/Boyfriend Otto D'Angelo, both
of Phoenix, were eager to promote
Jenny's career. Otto, a member of the
Recording Academy, noted that Jenny's
new CD is a contender for a Grammy
in 2012.

Mieke Roovers, President of of Santi 
Cosmetics, flew in from Netherlands. Her
company had provided goodies for gift
bags in past years.

Sam the Sham (right), of Wooly Bully
fame, is still a force in the music biz.


Back in Boston, snow is melting, but still California Dreamin'.  
NEXT:  On the Scene: LA Fashion Trends

Monday, February 14, 2011

Happy Vintage Valentine's Day from LA

Strolling through an outdoor mall in LA, Valentine themes and sweets were abundant.




Sunday, February 13, 2011

Joni and I arrive at the Staples Center ready to rock the Grammys!

Kathy Alpert & Jonilee Rossi
In the lobby we spotted Hattie Vyrine Barnhill wearing this stunning dress. She is currently appearing in the hit Broadway show Fela!


I can't confirm this as a trend yet, but neon bow ties were spotted. 


 Always among the first to adopt a trend, these Japanese fashionistas were stand-outs.


 What a striking pair! Michael Desmond and friend.

Off we go to find our seats...



Saturday, February 12, 2011

SEEN IN ATLANTA: TOP 10 TRENDS FOR 2011

Crowds at AmericasMart were huge this year and spirits unusually high despite Atlanta's ice-covered sidewalks.  As I walked the three gigantic buildings, I discovered some serious eye candy and other curious delights. 

1. RETRO GOES MAINSTREAM
2. SEASONAL SPARKLES
3. COLOR EXTREMES
4. REPURPOSED CASTOFFS
5. CELEBRITY CHEF WARE
6. ANIMAL MOTIFS
7. QUIRKY LIGHTING
8. VINTAGE TOYS & GAMES
9. COCKTAILS & CUPCAKES
10. PEACE & LOVE

1. RETRO GOES MAINSTREAM

Vintage animal prints continue to abound on shoes, bags, and every other imaginable product.  A promotional postcard includes a nod to the iconic "Welcome to Las Vegas" sign. "Keep Calm and Carry On" dates back to the outbreak of World War II.  Originally created by the British government, the design has been revived and is now all the rage on posters and many other products.  I wouldn't have thought to combine roses with a skull and crossbones, but somehow it works.




2. SEASONAL SPARKLES

Christmas trees featured glitter, od-fashioned tinsel, white lights, and crystal ornaments.  A whimsical "tree" is anchored by  glass marbles. Bottom, a colorful Menorah.


 
3. COLOR EXTREMES

Vivid pinks and oranges catch the eye, while smooth, translucent stones in shades of pale blue and seafoam green glow in a window display.




4. REPURPOSED CASTOFFS

Computer keyboards are the basis for this picture frame, while vintage typewriter keys become handmade bracelets. Industrial gears, meanwhile, have a steampunk flavor when transformed into one-of-a-kind home decor pieces.

 

 


5. CELEBRITY CHEF WARE

Here I am with Steve Raichlen, star of the PBS show Primal Grill® and author of "Planet Barbecue," which chronicles his adventures on the barbecue trail. Recipient of five James Beard Foundation awards, Steve's grilling demo was jammed.  Afterwards, he signed copies of his book to promote his line of high-end outdoor cooking tools.
Steve Raichlen &
Kathy Alpert
"Best of Barbecue"




6. ANIMAL MOTIFS

Dinnerware features the ever-popular rooster, while silver serving pieces are  inspired by alligators. It was a surprise to see peacock and leopard designs on nail grooming kits.

 

 


7. QUIRKY LIGHTING

An outdoor lighting fixture made of upside down blue glass bottles is shown here, along with a chandelier made from colorful detergent containers and a stunning fixture with a mid-century vibe.





8. VINTAGE TOYS & GAMES

I spotted marbles and jacks in the corner of a showroom window. Inside, were model airplane kits, train whistles, and costumes - impeccably crafted authentic repros, many dating back to the 19th century.


 



9. COCKTAILS & CUPCAKES

Cocktail culture rocked the show. Margarita and martini glasses serve as ornaments on this holiday "tree." Cupcakes remain the treat of choice, especially in product design.



10. PEACE & LOVE

The sixties vibe keeps on truckin' with feel-good slogans gracing pillows, t-shirts, and other products.  Even the peace sign is back, bringing good karma along for the ride.
  

 
There you have it, a visual feast, courtesy of my humble iPhone camera and AmericasMart. Up next: Come with us to the Grammys and get the inside scoop on trends from the red carpet.