Sunday, November 24, 2013

Mad Men Game Night

It's that time of year again, when my hubby packs up and goes to Dallas with a caravan of friends to attend BGG.con, a huge board game convention.  This year he worked the booth for a friend who was selling his game, Dark Horse.  I get little text updates throughout the day, telling me quirky happenings, and about what new game he is playing.  For the last two years, the actor Rich Sommer, who plays Harry Crane on Mad Men, has been in attendance.  I must admit to being super jealous when he sends me pics of the two of them together.  Apparently he's super friendly and agrees to take pics with everyone.
  My husband left on Tuesday, so by Saturday I was pretty desperate for some adult interaction.  It's been snowy and miserable, so I was worried that no one was coming over for our regular Saturday game night.  I sent out messages to all of our regulars, encouraging them to come over and dress 60's for some game night shenanigans.  I think the subtext though was, I'm one night away from running down the street, throwing cats at people. Bat Shit Crazy.  Trapped in a house with four kids and freezing temperatures will do that to you sometimes.  I wanted to send my hubby some shots of all the fun Mad Men game fun we were having.  Fair is Fair. ;)
Playing Notre Dame
Liar's Dice...I think they are on to me
Terrible liar
Playing For Sale.  I'm not sure of the context, but I think Juan must have been kicking our asses.
On a side note: Wade and I are going to co-design a board game, and maybe next year I'll get to go to Dallas to help him sell it!

If you are interested, Rich Sommer has a whole blog about his board gaming hobby.  He doesn't post very regularly, but he's insanely funny.  Check it out: here

Happy Sunday! xox, Hannah

Sunday, November 17, 2013

The Opening for Pueblo Modern

  Friday night was the opening of the art exhibition that I co-curated, called Pueblo Modern.  It was all about mid-century fashion, art, architecture, and lifestyle.  I spent hours sitting in archives at the CF&I steel museum and the library, picking out images to share.  There was a theater room in the basement that played propaganda films, strange commercials, and educational cartoons from the 1950's.  We played iconic school instructional films about what do to in case of a nuclear attack, absurd drug PSAs, and instructional movies about how to spot commies hiding among us.  The second basement room was set up like an atomic bomb shelter.  I partnered with some local antique stores; Hooda Thunk, The Nest, and Colorado Ave. Antiques and Collectibles who loaned accessories and furnishings, and we even wallpapered with authentic deadstock 1950's wallpaper from Fred's Decorating Center .  I took items from my personal collection to fill in the gaps.  A fellow collector friend, Mark Mihelich, also lent some gorgeous pieces. The Starlite Classic Campground brought one of their campers and a station wagon, where they parked outside and roasted marshmallows on the sidewalk.  A caterer provided some authentic mid-century staples, like pigs in a blanket, cucumber sandwiches, and jello.  We also created a fashion show, highlighting clothing from the 40's, 50's, and 60's.  Two vintage shops; Vintage Treasures and Robot Exchange each styled models for the event. After walking down a spiral staircase, models went into the windows and acted as live mannequins! We had a great turnout, and everything came together perfectly.  A big thanks to Kadoya Gallery owner Gregory Howell, for believing in my vision and pulling all the pieces together so seamlessly. 
The show will be going until December 12th.  Our next big event will be on First Friday Art Walk (Dec 6th), when we'll be having a mid-century casserole and Jell-o bake off.
        Images by Bill Belden

Images by Wade Broadhead

Images by Bill Belden

theater room

Images by Wade Broadhead

Models dressed by Vintage Treasures in Trinidad.  Hair by Rockstar + Lambs Salon & Jodi Shannon @ Infinity Salon
Models dressed by Robot Exchange.  Hair and makeup by Wicked Scissors Salon.  Image by Fred Greenwood.
Many of the items in the bomb shelter are for sale, as well as some beautiful photographic prints of mid-century locations, handmade vintage style aprons, and also a limited run of Solar Roast Coffee.  It's my own blend, called "Hyper Housewife"!
Happy Sunday!

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Picking Mid-Century photo locations

Way back when I started doing vintage outfit posts, we would snap shots just about anywhere.  The earliest posts are in my driveway, living room, etc without a whole lot of forethought.   As the outfit posts started to become a regular weekly phenomenon, we sought out better locations.  Alleyways became an easy solution, but the funnest "shoots" were those that we planned in advance and mirrored the era of the dress.  Finding mid-century backdrops for our photos became a fun little challenge as we drove around our city, lattes in hand, trying to drum up some quirky little gem to use for snapping photos.  Our drives were a bit like historical neighborhood surveys.  Not only did we start to understand how many of our post-war neighborhoods were laid out, we started to view every building in a different light.  We started to notice storefronts with curved glass block, aluminum awnings, or fabulous neon signs interspersed  with our historic downtown.  We get excited when we see Art Deco letters on an apartment building, or cinder block breezeways near a courtyard.  We are learning the hallmarks of each decade and figuring out how older neighborhoods infilled a century later.  Enthusiasm in contagious!  Our friends and family have started to notice different locations too.  Buildings that remained in anonymity are now being recognized as "that weird 40s one with the race lines" or "that cool pink 50's Motor Inn."  I have some helpful steps to help you figure out your best mid-century locations.  I guarantee you will start to see these buildings in a whole new light.
1.  Seek out your post-war developments.  Chances are, your town or city has a neighborhood that started going up in the late 40's or early 50's.   When our troops returned from WWII, the government realized that if they didn't do something quickly about the housing shortage, there was going to be political unrest.  Whole neighborhoods were built in the span of a month in some places.  Others developed over the course of a couple of decades to accommodate the baby boom.  1950's neighborhoods are usually characterized as being sprawling, with little thought to amenities being walkable.  However,  many of these neighborhoods have little pockets that surrounds schools, churches, and maybe even a tiny fire station.  These are great photo resources, many of them popped up and have never been changed.  Also, be sure to check for a neighborhood shopping center.  
Brown Elementary School, built in Denver, 1952
image from

Christ Congregational Church United Church of Christ, built in Pueblo, 1958 by notable architect Elizabeth Wright Ingram (Frank Lloyd Wright's granddaughter)
image from the Pueblo Modern study

2.  Think car culture.  During wartime, there were not a lot of material goods to purchase, and many women entered the workforce with factory jobs.  This meant that when the war was over, many people had built up big savings and car ownership hit an all time high.  Many American families became two car households, which meant a whole new lifestyle that centered around the automobile.  Many car dealerships popped up, as well as drive-up style restaurants (think car hops), Motor Inns along the highway, retro gas stations, and if you are very lucky, a Drive-In movie theater.
East Drive-In, circa Denver 1960s
image from Denver Post archive

Long Holiday Motel, Gunnison, CO

3. Figure out where the old timers hang out.  Chances are there are some great local businesses that opened up and are still serving the same crowd.  Restaurants, ice cream shops, neighborhood grocery/meat markets, bakeries, and of course bars.  We find a lot of bars that look like someone preserved their memory under glass.  I guess it's more fun to be nostalgic while drinking a beer.

Eiler's Place, Pueblo, CO ,
built in 1893, it operated as a "grocery store" during prohibition (wink wink) and then opened officially as a tavern in 1933

City Diner, built in Pueblo, CO, 1955

4.  Find amazing houses in neighborhoods.  This one requires a certain brashness, as it's best to ask permission before you begin posing in front of a stranger's house.  Don't let your eagerness scare them away.  For instance, refrain from saying, "Oh my, your portholes are amazing!! Could I take some pictures with them?"  Seriously, this will have them running for their pepper spray. ;)
This is my friend's house, and she is okay with me liking her portholes...she's cool like that.

1950s Aberdeen rancher, Pueblo, CO
Lopped house in Eiler's neighborhood, Pueblo, CO, possibly late 1940's

5. Do some research.  There a lot of passionate groups and organizations that put buildings on local or national historic registers, seek to preserve, or catalog architectural history. For a good starting point you can check out these links:
 National Trust
Landmarks Illinois
National register for Historic Places
If you are here in Colorado, check out: & 

 or for Pueblo, check out the Pueblo Modern report which can be found here:
then go to departments, planning, and historic preservation

Colorado Springs: here

Maytag Aircraft building, downtown Colorado Springs, CO, built 1957

This is by no means a definitive list, but hopefully it will get you started.
Happy hunting!!
xox, Hannah

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