11/30/10

Shafted! #3: Kiss' The Elder


I think every pop artist who ever made it big has tried desperately to attain the love of critics.  Norman Rockwell never felt like a "credible" artist because the critics regarded him as a magazine artist hack.  Never mind the fact that he had incredible artistic skills and his works were often profound..... critics reserved their praise for guys like Jackson Pollack who sprinkled big canvases with globs of paint.  Note: critics also bashed The Grapes of Wrath, Brave New World and Lord of the Flies (source); so, exactly why they are people popular artists should want to please is beyond me.

Kiss had experienced an unbelievable level of success in the mid seventies.  Arenas were packed, live and double albums selling like hotcakes, a Kiss Army of devoted fans, tons of merchandising, a TV movie, and "Hard Luck Woman" and "Beth" topping the singles charts.... it just couldn't get any better.

But the critics hated them.  So none of that mattered.... just ask The Bee Gees.

11/29/10

The Groovy Age of Travel #4: Maybe Not So Groovy After All



A lot of groovy aspects of the 1960s and 1970s have captured our attention on Retrospace simply because things were so remarkably different that it's hard to even imagine them as true. In this politically correct climate, the idea of a stewardess sexpot is damn near science fiction.  Sounds wonderful from a man's point of view.... not so much from the woman's.

Retrospace Trading Cards #2: The 1978 Porn Set

porn trading cards 6


Well, I had such a good time making the last set of Retrospace trading cards, I thought I'd offer up another set.  As with all trading cards from the seventies, they come complete with painfully cheesy captions and odd photographs.  I can't promise they'll be in mint condition, but I think you'll enjoy this set: Vintage Porn Trading Cards!

11/28/10

Retrospace Podcast #2





Hell, yes.  I had so much fun making the last one, I couldn't wait to make another.  I've taken the few constructive criticisms I've received seriously, and the next podcast should also contain words from yours truly.  Nonetheless, this one's still worth a listen   Suffice it to say, it contains the intro to The Six Million Dollar Man and ends with the Card Sharks theme song.  Need I say more?

I really need some feedback on these.  Are you having any difficulty subscribing, downloading, or streaming the feed? Is the podcast too long or short? Would the podcast be improved by the inclusion of my jibba jabba? I look forward to hearing your opinions.

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11/27/10

The Retrospace Podcast





For the sheer hell of it, I decided to try my hand at making a podcast.... and I think it turned out pretty good. No talking, just songs and audio clips. It's got some TV themes, a cut from "Foxy Brown", a sinfully underplayed psychedelic recording, a bit from the movie "Meatballs"..... well, I won't ruin it for you. Take a listen.

Given that I've only spent an hour or so fooling with this, any direction/advice would be much appreciated.  I'm going to try and keep it up and see where it goes.  You can subscribe to the podcast by clicking below or the banner in the sidebar.  I hope you enjoy it.


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11/26/10

Retrospace Mix Tape #6: Sci-Fi-O-Rama


Guess what, folks? The last two Mix Tape posts were among my least popular posts of all time; I think a grand total of 28 people downloaded it.  In other words, of the thirty thousand or so of you who viewed the post, roughly 0.09% were interested enough to download it. Wow!

So, why bother? Well, yours truly has wanted to be a DJ for a long time..... I have a desk job, about the farthest thing from Wolfman Jack you can think of.  This is me livin' the dream. I even hand selected the album art for each song.... I'm just that retarded.

Plus, my track selection isn't exactly mainstream.  But the thing is, if you're as old as me and you've been listening to music for as long as I have, you start to get tired of the well-known stuff.  I mean, "More Than a Feeling" was great when I first heard it, but 10,000 times later, I'm ready to kill myself.  The more obscure the better.

Thus, my science fiction mix tape doesn't have the obvious "Rocket Man" and Bowie's "Space Oddity"; instead, it's got disco versions of Star Wars songs and other bits of obscure vintage artifacts.  Some aren't necessarily science fiction related ("Cosmic Cowboy" and "Universe", for instance) but the titles have a sci-fi feel.

So, without further ado, here's the mix tape.  Save the file to download it, or hit "open" to stream.  I hope all 28 of you enjoy it.

11/24/10

Supergirl #7: Songs of Kara Zor-El



Yours truly isn't the only guy inspired to write about that awesome chick from Krypton.  Through the years, there's been numerous songs devoted to her.  Most recently, I think it was Hannah Montana that had a song about her (but you won't find it here). Here's some super Supergirl songs for your listening pleasure.

Supergirl #6: The Movie



I'll be upfront with you folks, I only made it twenty minutes into this film and could not, by force of will, make any further.  I can normally muscle my way through the lousiest of films, but this one was so unbelievably awful that I literally could not make it to the halfway mark.

The Supergirl movie had everything going for it: a fairly big budget, a pretty young star, big name celebs, and, most importantly, plenty of hype surrounding the Superman movies.  The promise of Supergirl being a financial success was so great, Helen Slater was offered a three movie deal.... there was no way this was going to fail!

But it sucked. It sucked hard.

11/23/10

Comic Books #26: Supergirl Part V: Supergirl Gone Wild



I dare you to sit there with a straight face and tell me you don't see anything sexual in the cover above.  If you don't see a giant phallus complete with testes and ejaculate, then you may need to get a grown up to explain it to you.

Supergirl was exactly what young readers nearly stroking out on puberty were after. Granted, Supergirl was by no means the first to capitalize on the testosteronal appeal of comic books (i.e. you may recall the "Lois Lane, Slave Girl" comic)   Unlike today, however, a lot of the action was laid between the lines. 

ride the dragon, baby.... ride that filthy dragon

Comic Books #25: Supergirl Part IV: Smoking Hot Fashion Plate from Krypton



Sure, she could bend steel with her bare hands, but she also could dress better than Betty and Veronica combined.  Supergirl not only varied her super costume, but also strutted the fashions of the day as Linda Lee Danvers.  Anyone wanting to do a thesis on popular fashions during the sixties and seventies may as well start with Supergirl.

And let's face it, the Supergirl suit was a win-win situation.  The girls loved it for the "dress your Barbie" aspect, and the boys loved it because..... because.... ummmm...



11/22/10

Comic Books #24: Supergirl Part III: Not Just Another Superhero



So many of those Superheroes were just too stuffy and straightlaced.  I mean, Green Lantern, Aquaman and Superman were cool.... but when there wasn't fighting to be done, they were kind of a drag. I'm not saying I'd like to see Batman get drunk and beat the crap out of Boy Wonder, but I am saying that making a mistake, lowering your guard, and just appearing a little more "human" (for lack of a better term) would've been refreshing.



"Superman, can I have your autograph?"... "I must kiss that gorgeous specimen of super-manhood."  Good grief.  The ladies were always clawing for Superman.  He could do no wrong.  He was too perfect.

Comic Books #23: Supergirl Part II: The Timeline

supergirl timeline


The very first supergirl (i.e. a female version of Superman) was technically Lois Lane when she had a blood transfusion from Superman in 1943.  The next appearance of a "supergirl" came in 1958 when Jimmy Olsen gets three wishes from a Native American’s magic totem

Strangely, his very first wish is not for world peace or a cure for cancer, but for a female companion for Superman.  Anyway, this superchick manages to save Supe’s life by removing a Kryptonite meteor.  Unfortunately, it proves lethal to her and Jimmy must use his second wish to wish her out of existence (why he just doesn’t wish her cured is beyond me…. Jimmy’s not too bright).

BTW – What was Jimmy’s third wish? Why, to send Superman to meet his dead parents on Krypton of course.  Dumbass.

11/21/10

Comic Books #22: Supergirl Part I


What's so special about m'lady Kara Zor-El? Well, she's the ultimate comic book hero/heroine for a retro guy like me interested in cultural history.  Supergirl is a perfect reflection of the shifting attitudes of the times. Archie comics are great lenses into the past in terms of fashion and pop culture, but ultimately they are just too whitebread to give a realistic picture of the times beyond a sixth grade level.  To read Supergirl comics is to watch a stereotypical 60s female more concerned with her wardrobe than fighting crime, turn into a total all out badass.

Let's look at a few examples of pre-badass Supergirl...

Supergirl Week on Retrospace


Retrospace has never had a theme week, so I figured it was time to give it a try.  There's no way my short attention span and flightiness will allow the theme to last a full seven days, but "Supergirl 1/2 Week on Retrospace" didn't have the same ring to it.

Of all the possible themes to choose from, why in God's name would I pick "Supergirl"?  Well, I guess you're going to have to just wait and find out.  I've already composed a lot of the posts, and there's actually a good bit of fun and interesting stuff on this stone cold fox from Krypton.  Even if you're not a comic book fan, I think you'll be pleasantly surprised!

Obscure Grooves #13: Cocaine and LSD



"Cocain" by John Martyn

download

"Cocaine Blues" by Hank Thompson

download


"LSD" by The Pretty Things (1966)


Note: The "L" was disquised as a pound symbol to avoid any trouble. 

"LSD" by John E. Sharpe & the Squires (1966)


Note: I don't think the last song actually says "LSD" anywhere in the song (or perhaps I'm not listening close enough).  I'm thinking the title was tagged on to generate controversy (and subsequently sales)

11/19/10

Trivia Newton -John #19: $125 Contest Giveaway



Hell, yes.  The CSN stores have once again agreed to offer a high dollar prize to the lucky winner of this Trivia Newton-John Contest.  I won't spend too much time raving about their site and their wonderful selection of products.  However, I will mention that in their 200 stores, they've got everything and anything you could possibly want - whether you're looking for something for your pet, a pair of shoes, a frying pan, or a suitcase, this place has got it.  And with Christmas coming up, this would be an ideal place to look for gifts.... especially with $125 in your pocket!

Here's how to get your prize: Simply be the first to answer all the questions below (in the correct order).  It's that simple.

A few notes: (1) the $125 does not include shipping and (2) I intentionally allow comments to be posted even if they're wrong or incomplete, (3) you must list all 20 in your comment to get the prize, and (4) you cannot be anonymous - I need to be able to email you the prize.

Olivia's head may appear in the pictures, often to obscure a clue and make things more difficult for you. All questions are image or audio based (I don't want anyone winning via Wikipedia); also be aware this isn't going to be easy.... we're talkin' 125 bucks here.

Do you know your retro stuff? Let's see what you've got.  Here's your twenty questions!

Vintage Scan #17: Your New Miracle Kitchen

Youngstown Kitchen Catalog 1947

I found this 1947 brochure for Youngstown Kitchens an interesting piece of ephemera.  For one, the pictures are just brilliant. Secondly, it's a true blue product of its time - the woman's place was the kitchen.  The only time a man appears in the catalog is to screw things up.

The Great Depression was less than a decade in the rearview mirror and suburban America was booming.  They were having kids like freakin' rabbits (i.e. Baby Boomers) and, by comparison to the days before WWII, money was growing on trees.  Dad got a GI bill to get him a house, a job selling shoes was a good income back then, and mom tended to the kitchen.  And here is a bright, vibrant and optimistic declaration of mom's newfound opulence. 

The best pictures are posted below, but if you want to read the whole scanned catalog, you can download it. Enjoy!

11/18/10

Twisted Impressions #8


Well, folks, it's time once again for my inner 10 year old to emerge.  Sure, I'm into my fourth decade of life; but, juvenile behavior keeps us young at heart.  So, it's time to tap into that inner Beavis, the part of you that wants to snicker when you hear words that sound like female anatomy or bodily functions.  Let's get started!

wonder woman grabs hold

11/17/10

The Retrospace Dictionary #4

get ma sizzle?

"do you get what I am saying?"

NONVERSATION

nonversation

A completely worthless conversation, wherein nothing is illuminated, explained or otherwise elaborated upon.

11/16/10

Tech #10: Video Games for the Home!

1981

One thing you'll notice when looking at old video game advertisements is that it was marketed as a social activity, much like a board game.  Early video game ads weren't much different than ads for Monopoly or Twister - it was something for the whole family to take part in (or at least husband and wife).  Somehow, the video game experience has morphed into a solo activity, or with anonymous players online, and it's all about the graphics and virtual experience.  Although, Guitar Hero and many Wii games hearken back to the home video game's early days.

Pong

Back in the day, almost no kid had a TV in their room (they were freakin' expensive) and a TV and a video game system in their room was basically unheard of.  It's probably not too off the mark to say that MOST kids in America have a TV and video game system in their room; whereas, in the 1970s and even 1980s, it was always in the family room.

11/14/10

Tech #9: Home Movies



The home movie or slideshow was once a big part of American social life. After a vacation or wedding, the family and friends would gather ‘round for the viewing… often bored to tears, but that was part of the experience. Nowadays, video recording has become so common that it has all but lost its “specialness”. There’s hardly a reason to invite people over to look at slides from your Bahamas trip – just post your stuff on Facebook or Flickr and be done with it. The communal aspect of the movie is kinda faded.

In the 1950s, the 16mm camera was fairly common, but it was still pretty expensive for the average family to afford (about $500 in today’s currency). It wasn’t until the Super8 hit the market that it got cheap, and therefore widespread. In the 1980’s, you had the fairly expensive and clunky cassette video recorders, and, finally, in the last decade, digital video recorders became historically cheap, and a standard feature on mobile phones.

11/12/10

Album Covers #14: More Awful Album Covers


Ahhhh. There's just nothing better than a good bad album cover.  Let's take a look at few, shall we?

It pains me that all of the following images are less than 500 pixels wide - I usually require a decent amount of resolution so that their badness can be full appreciated.  However, I was recently sent a ton of album images (many I'd never seen before), and beggars can't be choosers. I simply had to share some of them.

11/11/10

Vintage Men's Mags #8: A Whole Lotta Girlie Magazines


I'm no authority on the subject, but I think the history of girly magazines goes something like this:  The French were the first to put nudity on the pages of magazines (big shock), but the sensibility of the US wasn't quite so "open".  Americans got their titillation from men's adventure magazines and guides for the urban male (i.e. Esquire and GQ).


The adventure magazines generally were filled with lurid illustrations, but never photographed nudity (unless it was of a primitive tribe in New Guinea).  The urban magazines were geared toward cocktail drinking sophisticates would offer up some clever eye-candy, but nothing even bordering on pornography.

11/10/10

Spreading Some Blog Love


Check it out.  Lioness has sent me an award, and I think this time, instead of being lazy and doing nothing, I'm going to pay it forward.  Maybe it's the approaching Christmas season or maybe it's the 5 Hour Energy Drink, I don't know, but I feel like giving back to the blogger community. So, here goes.

The rules are that I must (1) reveal seven things about myself and (2) pass it along to fifteen other worthy blogs.

My seven things:



I have never seen Avatar, The Godfather series, Apollo 13, Dirty Dancing, Footloose, or The Sound of Music

Retrospace Mix Tape #5: Animal Songs


Sticking with the Animal Songs theme, I thought I'd throw together another mix tape.  As usual, these are all vintage tunes found well off the beaten path.  See below for the track list and download link.  Enjoy!


Obscure Grooves #12: Animal Music


Aera - "Elephen Elephants"

download

Aera was a German progressive rock band that lasted from around 1975 - 1982.  They specialized in the drugged out instrumental stuff that stoners loved back in the day.  This sort of heavy duty prog is not for everyone - if you're looking for something melodic and catchy, you may want to go listen to Elton John or something.This will be torture for you.

Question: Have you ever met a female that enjoyed prog rock? I'm not being facetious - I've never honestly met one  (other than the kind that pretends to for the sake of her rock snob boyfriend).  It's like The Three Stooges and Monty Python - you simply have to have a Y chromosome to appreciate it.

11/9/10

Tech #8: Science Fiction's Broken Promises



Shouldn't we have robot maids by now? Shouldn't I get to work via spaceship? Or at least a hovercraft? Not that long ago, most Americans thought we'd be living in the space-age by 2010.  Indeed, Blade Runner is set in 2018 and the sci-fi show UFO was set in 1980.  Land of the Giants was supposed to take place in 1983 and let's not forget Space:1999. Well, it's 2010 - where's my robot maid and all the effing space ships?

The Jetsons originally aired in 1962..... who'd have guessed that 48 years later we'd still be traveling by the same ol' internal combustion engine (with a few more whistles and bells) rather than jet packs and space cruisers? What a disappointment.  Here's my list of empty promises brought to us via science fiction:
 

11/8/10

Searchin' for a Podcast


I've spent a fair amount of time hunting for a good podcast to listen to during my grueling workdays, and I've been less than successful.  Naturally, I'm looking for something "retro" - whether they're talking about old horror movies or old TV shows, I don't care, so long as it's old.

Most podcasts I've come across seem exceptionally bad - poor sound quality, lousy conversation... nothing more than a bunch of friends cutting up.  While I commend them for giving it a go, I can't sit and listen to the blather for any length of time.  I'd actually considered starting one here, but I'm already strapped for time doing the blog.  Plus, I haven't a clue as to how it's done.

The best I've found is Chin Stroker vs. Punter - a couple of Brits yacking about everything from Steven Seagal to Star Trek.  Very enjoyable banter, often humorous and insightful.

At any rate, I'd be appreciative if anyone could recommend some good podcasts to keep me happy during the day.  Thanks in advance!

Mini Skirt Monday #59: Catalog Minis

Simpsons-Sears Fall-Winter 1972 (014)

The post title says it all here: mini skirts found in old catalogs.  Those of you that've been following along here - what years would you most likeily catch mini skirts in catalogs? Answer: 1968-1973; you may find them here and there in the adjacent years, but not in any real quantity in the U.S.

So, sit back and enjoy another round of high hemlines courtesy JC Penny and Sears.  Enjoy.

Retrospace Trading Cards: The 1978 Punk Set

vice squad

As a kid, I collected not only your run of the mill sports cards, but also scads of non-sports cards as well.  I had piles of Mork & Mindy, Star Wars, Saturday Night Fever, Charlie's Angels, Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, Battlestar Galactica, Welcome Back Kotter, Incredible Hulk, and even Three's Company cards! They basically all followed the same format: an odd little photo with a painfully cheesy caption.

In honor of those old non-sports trading cards, I thought it would be fun to create a Retrospace line of cards.  This time around, it's punk bands.  Collect them all!

11/7/10

Let's Get Physical #7: The Losing Battle

80s Fitness

What gets me about the 1980s fitness craze (other than the tacky clothing and bad music) is that it was precisely during this time period that the obsety rate started climbing!  In other words, America didn't really have an obesity problem until the aerobics craze. WTF?

Okay, I'm not suggesting that Jazzersize causes weight gain, but I am suggesting that it was ineffective.  It had good intentions, but, quite honestly, it was fighting a losing battle because a lot of other factors came into play at the same time.  It is my opinion that these factors (listed below) have made this country a bunch of fatasses and there's not a damn thing a couple of leg warmers and leotard can do about it.

11/6/10

The Vintage Preservation Collection #8: Art Appreciation


I'm impressed with a blog that can appreciate the unappreciated.  Old textbooks and manuals sometimes had a brilliant sense of composition and style.  Indeed, art isn't just found in downtown museams, but in stacks of old paper at your local bookstore.

11/5/10

Sex Sells # 21: More Suggestive Ads

10-8-2010 3-39-28 PM

In other words - you don't need to get her high or drunk when you're wearing Bawawa clothing.

Read on for more retro ads not afraid to take a page from the "sex sells playbook". 


11/4/10

The Vintage Home #9: Shag Under Foot Once More

Lost in Shag

My understanding is that shag is making a comeback.  I have this on good authority - my spouse, who watches HGTV every night.  They've also just put a shag rug in the break room in the building where I work.  I never thought I'd see the day where the once maligned shag would find its way back under our feet.

I'm not sure I understand why it's making a comeback.  I loved it back in the day, but it was awfully hard to keep clean, and would become matted.  It was also absolute hell on a vacuum cleaner.

But then, I remember how you could sink your feet into it and they would completely disappear under the deep comfortable shag.  Ahhhhh. 

11/3/10

The Boob Tube #20: TV Shows that Time Forgot (B)


Time for a second round of shows that hardly anyone remembers - this time ones that start with "B".  Ball Four, Big John Little John, and The Bob Crane Show certainly desrve mention as shortlived duds in the "B" category, but the next three shows are the ones that interest me most... 


Bridget Loves Bernie (1972)

It's about a Jewish cab driver (David Birney) who marries a wealthy Catholic girl (Meredith Baxter).
Sounds very Dharma & Greg-ish to me.  The only reason I'd ever watch this is to see Elise Keaton back before she added "Birney" to her name.

This show has the distinction of being the highest rated series ever cancelled by any American network. It actually performed better than Mary Tyler Moore before it was canned!  Many believe it was cut because of complaints about the Jewish-Catholic thing.  That was a no-no.

11/2/10

Retrospace Mix Tape #4: Songs Named After Women

names mosaic 2

As a sort of "part two" to the previous post regarding the greatest songs named after women, here's another handcrafted, homemade old-school mix tape on the same subject.

Remember the days when you'd give your girlfriend a mix tape as a sign of your everlasting love and devotion? I'd even get creative and have a peanut butter theme with a "smooth" side and a "crunchy" side.... I know, it's embarassing.  But we all did it.

Nowadays, we can be a bit more creative with the process.  Sure, there's no sides A and B to toy with, but there's tons more songs we have access to, and we can put album art for each individual track (as I did with this mix tape). 

Note: This is not a compilation of the top songs from the previous post.  We've all heard those songs a million times (plus, it's liable to be forcibly removed due to its Beatles content).  No, this is an ecclectic mix of some rather underplayed tracks from all types of music genres.  Check out the track list below and download away!

11/1/10

Music Lists #12: The 45 Greatest Songs Named After Women

click to enlarge
Okay, here's the rules:

(1) The song has to have a female's name in the title, but not necessarily be about a female.  In other words, "Lola" by The Kinks is about a male transvestite and "Martha My Dear" by The Beatles is about a sheep dog; neither about a chick, but both qualify.

(2) It has to be the first name.  Thus, "Mrs. Robinson" by Simon & Garfunkle doesn't count. Also, it can only have a girl's name, not a boy's; so, "Jack and Diane" by John Cougar wouldn't count.
  
And, finally (3) This is Retrospace, so we're not looking at songs from the nineties on up to the present (not that any would deserve to be on the list, anyway).

Last thing I'll say is: please don't concentrate on the numerical order (i.e. "WTF? 'Lovely Rita' is before 'Billie Jean'!").  I'm more interested in the one's that I missed.  Perhaps there's some oversights that you could shed some light on... please drop a comment if you've got some!
 

The Retrospace Dictionary #3

heteroflexible

heteroflexible
i.e. "I'm straight but shit happens."