Some women playing instruments. It's all I can muster at the moment. The last 6 weeks, I've been running around like the proverbial chicken with its head cut off. I'm hoping to regain my head, along with my sanity, very soon, and get FringePop back into a regular schedule. In the meantime, I apologize for all the static.
Photographs of musicians is a collecting sub-genre in antique photography collecting. This particular group is a strange lot. Odd, awkward expressions. Stiff stature. Of course, this isn't uncommon for the time. However, I've seen enough antique photos to know that these fellows look stiffer and odder than the norm.
I find antique photographs of lower class people quite interesting. They have a Dickensian character that is not found in formal cabinet cards taken in a studio. But, we shouldn't romanticize this. No doubt, this was a hard life. "People's History of the United States" by Zinn comes to mind.
Photos of minorities are relatively uncommon in photo collecting. You do find them from time to time, but they aren't "run of the mill" like photos of white folk. I can go to an antique store and look through 500 cabinet cards, and I probably won't find a single photo of a minority. So, it's interesting to find these photos when you do find them. This cabinet card from Baltimore shows an Asian man, probably Chinese.
One of the sub-genres of my collecting involves rats. I have a brood of 9 pet rats who reside in a 5-foot tall rat manor. I couldn't be happier to have these curious little buggers as pets. People who don't own rats usually aren't familiar with their docile demeanor, curious personalities, and overall friendliness to humans. Anyway, I saw this Victorian trade card at an antique show and picked it up, because it shows a rat riding a frog.
Overall, I haven't been able to find very many collectibles with rats so if anyone out there comes across something cool, let me know. I'm especially interested in antique books about rats and rat-catching. I have a great rat catching book in this blog's archives.
At times, it's unclear whether an antique photograph depicts someone post-mortem. This is one such example. Judging from the somber expressions and the all black dress, I suspect that the baby is deceased. The baby is also "set-off" from the rest of the family with white dress. Whatever the case, a striking photograph.
Original one-sheet film poster from the movie "Jack the Ripper" (1959). I so prefer the term "ladies of the night" when referring to prostitutes. It's so much friendly than our lingo today. You know, "bottom bitch," "ho," that sort of thing.
My apologies for the brief hiatus. My brother was in Atlanta for 10 days, having flown in to visit from Seattle. We visited some interesting sites, such as the world famous Clermont Lounge. Truly the John Waters of bars/strip clubs. Anyway, for the moment, behind on my FP scanning, but enjoy this delightful image.
Before photoshop, photographers still found ways to manipulate their work. For this family photograph, images of people that couldn't be there for the photo (whether because of death, long distance, what have you) were inserted into the final product. So, the whole family got to be in the photo, whether dead, alive, or in jail for double-homicide. Pretty nifty. Not sure how they did it, but it's an interesting historical artifact.
I like collecting items with the devil on them. I find him as imaginary as an unicorn or Jesus, but still, it's a fun hobby. Okay, don't get me on a technicality here. I know Jesus as a person isn't technically imaginary, but the whole zombie thing, well you know what I mean. This one has a Belarski cover, so it's also "For the Love of Rudolph Belarski."
It was mostly the pulp paperback market that took on the subject of juvenile delinquency. They liked scandalous stuff. Of course, there were mainstream juvie movies too like "Blackboard Jungle" and "Rebel Without a Cause." This book's a rare example of a hardcover with pictorial dust jacket taking on the subject of juvenile delinquency.
It's always more fun to talk about "bad girls" than it is "bad boys." Our society just loves to get off on the deeds of "bad girls," and then condemn them the morning after.
This cover painting was so awesome that later Popular Library reused it for "Death and Taxes" by David Dodge. I would have scanned it as a companion piece, but it's in one of a gigantic stack of boxes in my storage unit.
I was really happy to read the tagline of this Belarski cover and find out that "Death wears skis." I couldn't be happier with the news! I don't play sports and growing up in cold weather, I plan to stay away from it permanently. I guess this means I'll live forever.
The US media is as exploitative as ever. I'm shocked that words like "racket" have gone out of style. It's such an over-the-top, cheesetastic word. You'd think we'd be hearing about different "rackets" all the time.
And the whole "white woman in peril thing." Sometimes I wish the media would just be honest. We know you're obsessed with missing white women, why don't you just acknowledge your little fetish, media? Can you imagine a newscaster saying, "In today's news, yet another missing white woman. Everyone knows we love a good missing white woman story. Of course, a missing woman can't just be a woman, she's gotta be attractive too (or at least a 6 out of 10) and don't forget the most important part, WHITE."
Anyway, I know all this commentary is tangential to the "Crime Detective" shown. I just think it's interesting to contrast over-the-top media of the past with our over-the-top media. I think if you're going to be over-the-top, you should take it all the way and not try to pretend you're something you're not. The headline on the front of the "Crime Detective" should be "Please no! Don't hurt this poor, attractive, white woman!"
I generally prefer the 40's to 50's detective magazines with covers by artists like George Gross and Howell Dodd, but "Crime Detective" is a particularly good 30's mag. Covers are brightly colored, salacious artifacts of sin, sex, and scandal. And "mad rampage of the human monster"-- how can you NOT love THAT?
I'm a writer and a bibliophile. My husband and I have upwards of 10,000 books in our collection. Every few months, we do our "rounds." We visit the local used bookstores and see if they got anything new in. We only do it every few months, because usually the stock is pretty stagnant, and we walk out disappointed.
Last week, we visited one of the used bookstores on our "rounds." We volunteer for a non-profit global poverty organization called RESULTS, so when I saw a first edition of Jeffrey Sachs "The End of Poverty," I snapped it up. I did notice that it was signed and inscribed by Sachs, but I didn't think much of it. That was an added bonus, but not a big deal, as modern author signatures are not that rare.
Later that day, I was reading a book when my husband walked in the room with "The End of Poverty" and told me "I wasn't going to believe this." I made a few guesses as to what he was talking about. Did one of our friends from RESULTS happen to be pictured in the book?That's when he handed me the book and told me to look again at the signature and inscription. It was signed "to Angelina," and it was thanking her for "her efforts for the world's poor and dispossessed." There were lots of Angelinas in the world. But it wasn't just any Angelina, the book was the personal copy of Angelina Jolie.
To make the story even stranger, tucked inside the book was a piece of stationary from the office of Vermont Senator Patrick Leahy. There was a signed note to Angelina from the Senator that said he hoped she would enjoy the enclosed. But stranger yet were the two candid, original photographs tucked inside. Pictured in photo one was Angelina Jolie with Senator Leahy and in photo two Angelina Jolie with Senator Leahy's wife Marcelle. The photos were taken in early 2005 at the World Economic Forum in Switzerland.So, not only had we found Angelina Jolie's copy of "The End of Poverty", we had found a note to her from Senator Leahy AND two original, candid photographs of her at an important world event.
But many questions remain. How did these personal items of Angelina Jolie end up in a used bookstore in Atlanta, GA? It seems very unlikely she would give the book away, as Jeffrey Sachs is a friend of hers and the photos are originals of her. If she didn't give it away, did she lose it? If so, how? And in Atlanta? The whole thing is a great big mystery and certainly this is the weirdest thing I've ever found in my used bookstore adventures.
So, Angelina, if you're out there, and you come across this post, I want you to know that I have your book and photographs. I'm sure you want them back, so just let me know, and I will return them. And since we do volunteer for the same causes, I'm going to throw it out there--it'd be really cool to meet you.
FringePop is a showcase for uncommon and esoteric cultural artifacts. The focus is on unusual items from both popular and fringe culture, with an emphasis on subversive pieces. The items shown are from the author's personal collection, unless otherwise noted.
I am a pop culture buff and collector, who focuses on the odd, subversive, and fringe elements of Western culture. In 2005, I edited a book for Feral House called "Sin-A-Rama: Sleaze Sex Paperbacks of the Sixties." The vintage oddities in my collection include victoriana, sideshow, medical, and kitsch. I am also an amateur sewer, making clothing from vintage mod patterns.