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Knees

Well, I mean .... knees. I don't much like knees. SLYT [more inside]
posted by benito.strauss on Feb 11, 2014 - 8 comments

 

Con Men! Artistocrats! Nancy Boys! Radiothearpy and More!

The Trickster Prince is academic and historian Matt Houlbrook's blog about the ephemera and little-known stories of the English inter-war period (and before) with a focus on class-jumping, queer narratives, "faking it", and urban society in the 20s and 30s.
posted by The Whelk on Feb 5, 2014 - 13 comments

Making Up Hollywood

Cinema tends to make beautiful people look more beautiful, but it wasn’t always so.
posted by the man of twists and turns on Jan 6, 2014 - 47 comments

I Remember It Well

Only Yesterday: An Informal History of the 1920s is very nearly literal in its title—its author, Harper's editor Frederick Lewis Allen, published it in 1931. Writing before popular memory of the decade had solidified, Allen chronicles the Scopes Trial and the Harding scandals, radio and the Red Scare; but he ignores jazz for the mahjong craze and devotes an entire chapter to the real estate boom in Florida. [more inside]
posted by Iridic on Dec 9, 2013 - 33 comments

Roll On

Old records wear out, and sheet can't really describe the swing of jazz, ragtime and blues—but a good player piano roll captures the style and rhythm of a live performance and preserves it for generations to come. [more inside]
posted by overeducated_alligator on Aug 11, 2013 - 20 comments

Call Me Jazzy

Call Me Maybe, 1920s style (SLYT)
posted by Gelatin on Jul 25, 2013 - 57 comments

Armed With Madness: Mary Butts, writer associate of Cocteau and Crowley

Mary Butts (1890-1937) was a British modernist novelist whose frequently overlooked writing has had a cult following largely composed of fellow writers such as Robin Blaser and Robert Duncan. [more inside]
posted by larrybob on Jul 19, 2013 - 6 comments

Talk to the gals just like any old man

Singing the Lesbian Blues in 1920s Harlem.
In Jazz Age speakeasies, dive bars, and private parties, blue singers had the freedom to explore alternative sexuality, and on a rare occasion, they even expressed it in song.

posted by immlass on Jul 12, 2013 - 11 comments

Harry Reser and his kah-raaaaaazy tunes!

There are two kinds of people in the world: those who, upon hearing Harry Reser's 1926 recording of OH! HOW I LOVE BULGARIANS will cover their ears and run as far as they can possibly get from the Victrola, and those who will, um... want to hear more? For those in the latter category, then, there's... [more inside]
posted by flapjax at midnite on Jun 25, 2013 - 7 comments

1920s Britain in colour

In the mid-1920s, Claude Friese-Greene filmed The Open Road, a record of his journey through Britain, using the 'Biocolour' technique first developed by his father William. Eighty years later, the BFI produced a digital version of the preserved and restored film. We've seen London in 1926 previously on MeFi, but there's plenty more of The Open Road to see, including weavers in Kilbarchan (1:16), farmers harvesting with oxen in Cirencester (0:52), Glamorgan coal-miners (0:46), and more. [more inside]
posted by Catseye on Jun 17, 2013 - 7 comments

Selections from the BFI's collection of early cinema

The British Film Institute's YouTube channels offer a staggering amount (previously) of content on historical cinema, shorts, and discussion. Some short selections from the early and silent period of note - The Sick Kitten (1903) - How Percy Won The Beauty Competition (1909) - Tilly The Tomboy Visits The Poor (1910) - Suffragette Riot In Trafalgar Square (1913) - The Fugitive Futurist, in which a man on the run shows a device that can see far into the future (1924) - Vaudevillian legend Billy Merson Singing 'Desdemona'. Widely considered Britain's first sound film - (1927) Charley In New Town - part of an animated series from the Central Office, this one explaining the need for "New Towns." (1948) - Growing Girls, a filmstrip guide to puberty for young women (1951).
posted by The Whelk on May 2, 2013 - 5 comments

Photos of Istanbul from 1920s-1940s, by Nicholas Artamonoff

Nicholas Victor Artamonoff was a talented Russian amateur photographer who lived, studied and worked in Istanbul from the 1920s to the 1940s. He took many photos, mainly black-and-white, of architecture, archaeology, and street scenes, in Istanbul and also elsewhere in Turkey. A collection of images has now been made available by the Dumbarton Oaks Image Collections and Fieldwork Archives. [more inside]
posted by carter on Mar 7, 2013 - 3 comments

Fritz Lang's Die Nibelungen

At a time when the Lord of the Rings didn't exist as a film or a book trilogy, Fritz Lang created the 5-hour-long film Die Nibelungen (The Nibelungs, 1924), based on the 13th-century poem Die Nibelungenlied (The Song of the Nibelungs). A short clip of Siegfried slaying the dragon was used as a trailer for the restored edition of the film. [more inside]
posted by ersatz on Feb 3, 2013 - 28 comments

Not so much theater as outdoor village, complete with night sky.

A lot of once great [New York movie] theaters have been gutted and repurposed, most often into churches, pharmacies and gyms," writes The NYC Scout in today's installment of Scouting New York. "I’ve stopped in quite a few hoping to find the rare gem that’s survived, but have only been disappointed time and again." Scouting New York has been featured in the blue many times ( 1 2 3 4 5 6 ), but this entry is (literally, at least in my case) jaw-dropping. Just keep scrolling down. [more inside]
posted by Mothlight on Jan 28, 2013 - 47 comments

"Only the invented parts of our life had any meaning."

Living Well Is the Best Revenge by Calvin Tomkins is a classic New Yorker profile of Gerald and Sara Murphy, central figures of the Lost Generation social circle in 1920s France. F. Scott Fitzgerald created Dick and Nicole Diver, the central couple of Tender Is the Night, by merging himself and his wife Zelda, with the Murphys. Gerald was a painter of note (examples: 1, 2, 3, 4), whose masterpiece has been lost. After seven years of painting, Murphy stopped, and never restarted, for a host of reasons, from the illness of his son to his closeted gayness. But the Murphys are probably best known for "the special quality of their life." They hosted parties and lived in a villa on the Mediterranean coast and were both painted by many artists, including Pablo Picasso. They were the subject of a recent biography and an essay collection.
posted by Kattullus on Jan 11, 2013 - 10 comments

THE BOSOM BUDDIES OF WASTE

“During the 1920s, the British firm Parker-Holladay created a fictional character named Bill Jones. Mr. Jones’ dispensed his friendly advice to British clerical workers through colorful lithographic posters emblazoned with his get-right-to-the-point maxims." Why not enjoy this collection of can-do, yes-sir business motivational posters before you head back to work?
posted by The Whelk on Jan 1, 2013 - 40 comments

BRIGHT YOUNG THINGS

Spend an hour tooling around 1920s-Era NYC via the magic of video
posted by The Whelk on Nov 10, 2012 - 11 comments

A Monument Devoted To The Best In Music, Photoplay And Theatrical Arts

"In 1911, the Saenger Brothers, Abe and Julian, operators of a drug business at Louisiana and Milam streets, decided to enter the amusement field. They were impressed with [Shreveport movie theatre operator E.V. Richards] and induced him to join them in their new field of endeavor ... In 1912 the Saenger Amusement Company was organized with Saenger Brothers, E.V. Richards and L. M. Ash as the stockholders. Richards continued as manager and an expansion policy was adopted which linked Texarkana, Monroe and Alexandria with Shreveport and thus formed the first Saenger chain of theatres in this area ... The company moved to New Orleans where the Strand Theatre, a building of magnificent modernity, was formally opened on July 4, 1917 ... In 1924 the company again inhaled deeply before exhaling a new record of expansion that established branches in 12 southern states. In 1926 and '27 further expansion took the company into Cuba, Jamaica, Panama and Costa Rica. During the expansion peak 320 theatres were involved in the holding company." Sadly, few remain. [more inside]
posted by the man of twists and turns on Nov 8, 2012 - 8 comments

"It does not give you conspicuous, ephemeral extremes [..] You can absolutely rely on the styles given you in Butterick Patterns"

The New Dressmaker; With complete and fully illustrated instructions on every point connected with sewing, dressmaking and tailoring, from the actual stitches to the cutting, making, altering, mending, and cleaning of clothes for ladies, misses, girls, children, infants, men and boys; The Butterick Publishing Co., 1921; 168 p. illus. [more inside]
posted by applemeat on Sep 16, 2012 - 12 comments

1920s Gaming and the 1939 World's Fair

"A maverick theater and industrial designer, Norman Bel Geddes is best remembered for creating the undisputed hit of the 1939 New York World’s Fair. Mounted in the midst of the Great Depression, the Fair focused on America’s promise of a utopian tomorrow. Geddes’s Futurama, a piece of “immersion theater,” took six hundred visitors at a time on a swooping, simulated airplane ride across America circa 1960." "The City of Tomorrow, a model of Manhattan that Geddes created, in 1937, to promote Shell Oil Company’s new “motor-digestible” gasoline, is often cited as [Futurama's inspiration.] But Futurama’s beginnings actually harken back much further, to the meticulous, insanely detailed private games he created in the 1920s and early ’30s for the amusement of his friends." [more inside]
posted by zamboni on May 6, 2012 - 15 comments

"...we still can’t tell whether we are all about to die or whether we are being sold a bill of goods."

'The stories about epidemics that are told in the American press—their plots and tropes—date to the 1920's, when modern research science, science journalism, and science fiction were born.' This is the story of how the media back then (January, 1930) helped fuel fears about a parrot-fever pandemic, and the subsequent public backlash. (Via) [more inside]
posted by zarq on Sep 11, 2011 - 24 comments

Atlantropa: Dam in the Straits of Gibraltar and Flood Africa

The Canal des Deux Mers connected the Atlantic to the Mediterranean, the Zuiderzee Works reclaimed part of shallow inlet of the North Sea to expand the Netherlands, so why not try taming the Mediterranean and irrigating Africa? Part ocean reclamation, part power generation (the "white coal" of falling water), Atlantropa wasn't simply the stuff of science fiction. First called Panropa, it was the long-term goal of a German architect and engineer named Herman Sörgel, a dream that lasted until his death in 1952, and the Atlantropa Institute continued on another 8 years. [more inside]
posted by filthy light thief on Apr 22, 2011 - 17 comments

Not for old fogies.

“The flapper movement is not a craze, but something that will stay,” the author maintained. “Many of the phrases now employed by members of this order will eventually find a way into common usage and be accepted as good English.” [more inside]
posted by timory on Apr 10, 2011 - 83 comments

Amateur Films of 1920's China

When John Van Antwerp MacMurray was dispatched to Asia in 1925 as the American Envoy to the Republic of China, he brought a Kodak motion picture camera with him.
posted by Iridic on Dec 14, 2010 - 4 comments

There's Always Steady Work for the Steady Worker

Don't Make Excuses - Make Good! Between World Wars I and II, the U.S. economy was booming - workers had choices and employers competed for their time. How to motivate and gain loyalty from a labor force that knew it could walk out the door and find more work soon? Charles Mather, head of a family printing business in Chicago, offered employers a solution: the first motivational posters for the private workplace market. Printed between 1923 and 1929, Mather's "Work Incentive Posters" used strong imagery and short, clear messaging to encourage workplace values like teamwork, punctuality, safety, and loyalty. Today, some of his 350 designs can be seen in traveling exhibitions and poster galleries, and Antiques Road Show - or you can soak up some motivation from his modern-day successors at Successories - or generate your own. [more inside]
posted by Miko on Oct 12, 2010 - 25 comments

Old Orient Museum

Vincent Lexington Harper compiled the world's largest collection of digitally restored pinups from the 1920s and 30s in the Old Orient Museum. [more inside]
posted by gman on Sep 19, 2010 - 18 comments

Proletarians of All Lands, Unite!

Peasant! Free your pregnant wife from work, don't allow her to pick up heavy items since this will harm her and the child. An excellent collection of vintage soviet propaganda, public health, and infographics posters from 20s to 30s, many with full translations.
posted by madamjujujive on Jun 7, 2009 - 17 comments

(Internetworking Frequency, 2.4 gigacycles.)

The Early Television Foundation and Museum Website covers the nascent days of the nation's pastime, with interesting items like mechanical TVs and programming schedules from 1939.
posted by TheOnlyCoolTim on Sep 9, 2008 - 11 comments

Art Deco

Art Deco was the dominant style of the interwar era, coming out of Paris in the 1920's and ruling the roost until World War II broke out. Randy Juster's Decopix - The Art Deco Resource has enough pictures of Art Deco architecture to send one hurtling into The Gernsback Continuum. If that's not enough then there's always the 11000+ images of the Flickr Art Deco Pool. But Art Deco wasn't just about architecture. On the Victoria and Albert Musem's Art Deco site one can view Art Deco objects in great detail, rotating them and listening to audio lectures on each object. But before Art Deco was a design aesthetic it was an art-style. Illustrations for the Art Deco Book in France has more than 170 images from the proponents of that then-new style (some images are not safe for work, especially in the George Barbier section).
posted by Kattullus on Jul 22, 2008 - 23 comments

Driving fast and jazzing it up in the 1920s.

The opening shots of 1920s New York City are wonderful, then you get a zany high-speed Harold Lloyd blazing down the avenues, and that's fun to watch, but the real killer is the horse-drawn trolley absolutely tearing-ass through lower Manhattan, full gallop. Ends badly. Then it's over to San Francisco for one last bit of homicidal vehicular activity with a bus. Well, they sure don't drive like they used to! [more inside]
posted by flapjax at midnite on May 25, 2008 - 37 comments

Ripeness is All: Lustmord Portrayed in Oil

New York artist Ashley Hope's Ripeness is All exhibit at the Tilton Gallery recreates crime scene photographs of murdered women from the 1910s through the 1990s as oil paintings on huge 4' x 6' canvasses. [some nsfw art] [more inside]
posted by WCityMike on Nov 30, 2007 - 48 comments

TRANSIT - an art deco murder mystery

T.R.A.N.S.I.T. is, by a wide margin, my favorite animated short ever produced. Set in the art deco Europe of the 1920's and (and released in 1997) it tells the story of a journey throughout several major vacation destinations of a wealthy tycoon, his young wife with wandering eyes, and a murderous turn of events. The story is told in reverse, from the final stage of the "vacation" back through each prior stop, and the artwork for each segment is painted in the style of the luggage travel sticker for that stop.
posted by jonson on Sep 2, 2007 - 14 comments

Vintage Cultural Ephemera lives on via Flickr

Fans of Vintage Cultural Ephemera Rejoice!

Illustration and print design of the 1920s-30s
Cold War Propaganda (on both sides)
Illustration and print design of the forties
Vintage cigarrette advertising
Sheet Music of the 1800s - 1950s
Out of print cookbooks
7-Up advertising (pre 1980s)

All of these (and much more) found via this excellent Flickr Page of Groups administered by cultural archivist Paula Wirth.
posted by jonson on Dec 15, 2006 - 15 comments

Bath of Fire: The Worst and Most Forgotten Mass Murder of American Children

America's worst school violence ever was not a recent event, but the Bath School disaster of 1927. Andrew Kehoe, a school board member upset with his tax bill, used dynamite and some pyrotol from WWI-era military surplus to blow himself up along with the elementary school of Bath Township, Michigan, leaving 45 dead and 58 injured. See a 1927 book on the disaster, a list of victims, the coroner's inquest, a historical marker, a memorial park, an oral history from a witness, and a 1920s KKK rant denouncing Kehoe as an agent of the Roman Catholic conspiracy.
posted by jonp72 on Oct 5, 2006 - 14 comments

Designs for an American Landscape

The decade between 1922 & 1932 was not a good one for Frank Lloyd Wright; his star had faded in the US upon his return from Japan, and even though his most prolific years were still ahead of him, he had trouble finding work, and was evicited, his fabled home siezed by creditors. The Library of Congress hosts a fantastic collection of 5 projects he undertook during this era, none of which ever came to fruition. All that's left are his extensive blueprints, perspective drawings, and scale models carved specifically for the exhibit.
posted by jonson on Aug 14, 2006 - 15 comments

The Outlandish Art of Mahlon Blaine

The Outlandish Art of Mahlon Blaine. The highlight for me was Nova Venus.
A short biography of Blaine.
Another smaller gallery, which includes illustrations he did for translations of the works of Hanns Heinz Ewers.
[Many/most images on all pages NSFW]
posted by PinkStainlessTail on Jul 5, 2006 - 7 comments

Feast your eyes

Search early 20th Century news photos. Welcome to the Library of Congress' new George Grantham Bain Collection: the extensive files of one of America's earliest news picture agencies. Some favorites after a morning spent perusing just a small number of the 50kish pics: The Whiteman Submarine Band, a fire truck heading to the Triangle Shirtwaist Fire, the flowers at Wilbur Wright's funeral, Ignaz Hildebrandt dead in Union Square, Theatre marquee, a fire in NYC, midday crowd in Union Square, Penn station on a Sunday, suffragettes......and many more.
posted by CunningLinguist on May 2, 2006 - 38 comments

'Study, study, and study, to overtake and surpass the capitalist world!' - K.Radek

The Parade of the Red Army and other scans of Soviet Children's Books from the '20's and '30's. [via DaddyTypes]
posted by anastasiav on Mar 27, 2006 - 14 comments

Deutschland 1929

Beautiful Gallery (Google Cache) of b & w photos of Germany from 1929. The shots look like something out of a fairy tale, or a Jean Cocteau film. Here are some favorites. Compare to this (all to brief) flickr gallery of photos from about 15 years later, during WWII.
posted by jonson on Sep 9, 2005 - 19 comments

Roaring 78s, Roaring '20s

Joe Bussard is the self-proclaimed king of record collectors (pre-war 78s, of course). He'll even make you a tape. According to Bussard, jazz died in 1933. Were the '20s America's golden age? Great art, architecture, movies, and even coins.
posted by hyperizer on May 6, 2004 - 24 comments

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