Saturday, April 20, 2013

Malt Shop Dreams

Historically, we tend to think about the American twentieth century in increments of ten. Certainly by midcentury, it seems like sweeping changes in thinking and style unfolded by the decade, or we've imposed that organization after the fact.  Either way, each era had its own mindset and aesthetic, its distinct existential vibe. 

The fifties have an immediately recognizable quality: that post-World War II glow of righteousness, optimism, safety, convenience, and baby making. We had conquered evil, and it was time to cut a rug, eat burgers and fries, and procreate! 

I include myself grammatically, but I wasn't there. Instead, the essence of that period has been distilled and transmitted to me through family albums, writing, and classic entertainment like an inherited memory. Because I've seen those years through idealized TV shows, movies, and photographs, the fifties capture my imagination in a strange and specific way. There's an ironic, almost surreal contrast between the black-and-white technology still in use then and the emphatic energy I associate with that time. A colorful era on colorless media.

Imagine eating Froot Loops before the food dye has been added... That's the 1950s to me. 

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4 comments :

  1. Ah the 50's, the time of my childhood. Family trips in the car to see relatives. Playing hide and go seek, moon light star light hope to see a ghost tonight. Leap frog and go to the head of the class. Jumping rope, playing jacks, pick-up-sticks, and playing a game called monopoly. Roller skating in the streets and learning to ride a bike. Walking down the street to get candy, a sno-cone or an ice cream sunday at the corner soda fountain and watching the 'older' kids play the pinball machines. Saving pennies to purchase an Archie comic book! Sitting down to dinner as a family and on Sundays going to church. Watching the new invention called a television going to the circus under the big top! My how times have changed. The good old days? Not always, but they were my time to grow, learn and experience life and all it had to offer.

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  2. Hi,it's dad. We should have fun sometime discussing the 1900's decades. I can even add some of the 40's that I remember. In a similar vein, I wrote an article in the local newsletter on of some movies from back then that were/are dear to me, that I thought were "best of" quality. I don't think that I sent it to you but I will if you want. On a separate topic I would like you to give me some education on music keys (the tonic type not the things that you strike). When I played my one-note-at-a-time saxaphones, the key signatures were like reading a script. I understood the sharps and flats and naturals but didn't understand the point of keys in the grand scheme. Do they try to communicate a mood by emphasizing major or minor etc.? I see singers and musicians discussing what key to use but I do not how they get how they know how to coordinate or what they are trying to communicate with the music.

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  3. Chloe says: It's a little strange, but I like it. The hair is very pretty. Can we go to the next face now?

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  4. You present an educated and interesting commentary with your art. I appreciate that.

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