Friday, January 17, 2020

Glorious Aluminum Christmas Tree Overdose

Over the holidays, we made a pilgrimage to the Johnson County Museum in Overland Park, Kansas to see dozens of aluminum Christmas trees on display.

Seriously, I have a new reference point for what constitutes an adequate number of artificial trees belong in one house.

In this case, the house was originally built as a demonstration project for the Kansas City Power and Light Company (KCPL) in the 1950s. The museum was originally a bowling alley and skating complex that I spent time in while growing up in the 1970s. A house where the skating rink was takes some getting used to.

Yeah, the aluminum trees are kinda cheesy, but I love them. These were on loan from collectors and many had their original color wheels. Why color wheels? Well, stringing a conductor with electric lights might have led to accidental death - definitely not in the holiday spirit.

Some of the trees also had their original rotating stands. They spun majestically with the color wheels aglow. There was also one unfortunate tree that we thought was rippling in a heat vent breeze. Nope, it had a vibrating device attached to its trunk.

Yes, it's a house. Pretty cool.

If you want to learn more about the biggest brand name in the business, check out this story about Evergleam Wisconsin Evergleams are Making a Comeback

 What could possibly be better than aluminum trees with color wheels? How about adding a snow attachment with an angel tree topper helping to direct the blown styrofoam pellets?

I want one these so badly.

Once upon a time, these were kitsch. Now they are highly collectible. This model in the display case has never been removed from its box.

In case you are curious, the photos in this entry were captured with a Google Pixel 4 and a Fujifilm X-H1 equipped with a 1950s Cooke Ivotol cinema lens.

Thanks for coming along on this little stroll down holiday lane. The Internet is vast and Blogger is an increasingly smaller corner. I'm glad you're here.

Saturday, October 12, 2019

A few scenes from Nashville

Well, heck. It only took a few weeks to get totally sidetracked from posting on this blog. So, back in the habit with a quick and dirty peek at the few days I spent in Nashville last week.

I took a pass on the heavy tourist zone on and near Broadway. I spent a few free hours in the Musicians Hall of Fame and it just blew me away.

 This museum is focused on studios and musicians that created our soundscape. The few photos here don't do it justice. Jimi Hendrix has his own section with artifacts including a drum kit, guitar and outfits.

 Shall we bump up the volume to ear shattering?

 The last thing you see on the way out is a Roy Orbison section. This is just a small part of it.

 I absolutely loved the Enactron mobile studio trailer that now lives in the museum. Visitors get to walk through and get a glimpse at how recordings are made. After a number of years on the road, it was parked in the yard of the owner's home and continued on as a fixed studio.

 The mixing board and preamp live in the middle of the trailer.

 Can you imagine Dolly Parton and Rosanne Cash recording in this space?

 You know how audio fetishists get all wound up about analog and warm sounding amplifiers? Here's a reminder of the kind of equipment that was used to process music before the pure digital era.

 My nerdy stereo loving heart went pitter pat on seeing this stack.

Here are a few artists that recorded in this space.

And how about the pianos that contributed to the sound of David Bowie and Elton John albums? Mind blown.

Captain Fantastic is one of my top twenty favorite albums of all time.

Too much to share here. I hope you make this museum a Nashville destination.

Next up: Hatch Show Print. This shop has been making show posters for over 140 years. The gallery space in front featured a visiting artist that dove into the collection of wood blocks and added some twists of his own.

 Yes, the visiting artist created this amazing take on the Ramones.

 The Hatch work space is visible through a glass wall. The technology is delightfully analog.

A sampling of the prints available in the store.

In my last full day, I had an hour to spare and took a walk to Third Man Records. The brand aesthetic is incredibly strong in this store.

 Vinyl is forever, y'all.

And then it was time to go home. Southwest is a quick direct flight from Kansas City. I love what they do for Halloween. It helps take the drudgery out of travel. The Nashville airport is a pretty decent place to spend time. The Burger King even has Impossible Whoppers.

 Adios, Nashville!

These photos were captured with a Google Pixel 2. It's a very good travel companion.

As always, thanks for reading!