Quote and Credit

Quote and Credit


Walking Anachronism of Wood Folk Art Wooden Toys Jigsaw and Pine

An early "walking toy" which did just that when a youngster would hold the iron handle and tromp him around the parlor. I don't have to say wood toys are extinct...Benjamin Braddock was warned back in 1967 before he notched his college stick with Mrs. Robinson. Plastics.

Here is a brilliant idea for all you older siblings, uncles and grandfathers out there. Take junior down to the basement and show him a vice and a jigsaw. It will take 5 minutes, and despite the groans, you can point out the pause button first. He has never been to a lumber yard either...but the local craft shop might have a few slabs of pine.

Wooden Walking Toy on a Metal Rod, circa 1920 collection Jim Linderman

Dull Tool Dim Bulb Books HERE

La Lettre Review International Center of Photography Take Me to the Water

A nice review in La Lettre HERE of the Take Me to the Water exhibit at the International Center of Photography which runs through the first week of May 2011. The book and CD is available from Amazon, the publisher Dust-to-Digital and at the ICP Bookstore.

Goofy Term Warfare and the Plywood Jesus Garden Outsider Art

Having pretty much given up the "term warfare" which surrounded "outsider art, vernacular art, self-taught art, eccentric art, art brut, amateur art, sunday painter art, institutionalized art, marginalized art, visionary art, folk art, naive art" and the like in favor of my all- inclusive term "goofy" I hear present a splendid exhibit of some of the goofiest.

E.K. Lund was a part-time magician who lived to the age of 100. From the looks of these cards, that is about one plywood figure a year.

Photo Postcards from Lund's Garden.

See Also "Preacher, Artist, Magician, Centenarian" HERE


Amateur Impalement Art Knife Throwing and a Tarpaper House

There isn't a trick to knife throwing...you just practice. A LOT. On very rare occasions there may be a magician who uses knives coming from behind the board, and there is a trick to the blindfold finale...but for the most part, all that is involved is a good knife and hours of work. No easy solutions, kids. The fellow here is lucky...not only has the amateur missed him, but he is stationary. Obviously, our thrower in training has not yet made a tarpaper "wheel of death" to match his house.

Because their names are as wonderful as those adopted by mobsters, here is a list of famous impalement artists.

Texas Slim and Montana Neil
The Great Throwdini
Che Che Whitecloud
Lash and Steel
The Great Cindini
Jack Dagger
Joe "Brokenfeather" Darrah

Original Anonymous Photograph, circa 1940 Collection Jim Linderman

Dull Tool Dim Bulb Books HERE


The Good Ship New York Folk Art Boat Model Tramp Art Paint

Why is so little tramp art painted? I am not sure...the familiar notch-carved cigar box chip constructions would always look better with a little color. That dark, varnished brown hardly livens up a room any...and because of it I have always felt one piece in a room was enough.

Why didn't the makers ever add color?

My boat is almost three feet long, constructed with available pieces of wood and with every color of paint within reach.

Homemade Folk Art Boat circa 1875. Collection Jim Linderman

Dull Tool Dim Bulb Books HERE


Okay, now Turn Around

Three original photographs in sleeves, circa 1900 Collection Jim Linderman

Canada Carte de Visite Stephen Allen Spencer Finds Gold Taking Pictures

It occurs to me I have never posted a carte de visite photograph, so here is a bunch! CDV photos were an albumen print on small cards, about the size of a small tintype (2.5" x 3.5")

They became the predominant form of photography following the "hard" images of dags, ambros and tintypes and were popular from 1860 to 1900 or so...a few were produced earlier and a few later.

They were common, and they were cute. Many were tinted by hand, and many were popular figures of the day...show folk, authors, politicians...and in this case, Canadians!

S.A. Spencer was born in Connecticut but headed west to find gold. How he happened upon photography is unknown to me, but he was a bit better than most...and being on the West Coast of Canada early means his work is valuable for genealogy and Canadian history. The sitters might not look it, but they were pioneers. They dressed for the camera...but trust British Columbia was frontier when he produced these images.

One is dated on the reverse 1874, I suppose from his peak. Stephen Allen Spencer passed away in 1911.

Group of CDV photographs by S.A. Spencer, circa 1870-1880 Collection Jim Linderman

Dull Tool Dim Bulb Books HERE

Peter the Hermit of Hollywood Mystery Man of the Mountains Lookout Road

I searched "Peter the Hermit" to find the story of this fellow, lo and behold, he's become something of an internet sensation! Full of lengthy posts, Hollywood legend, considerable remembrances and the "I am sure more photos will appear" comment. Well, two more just did. I am happy to add these to the public legacy of the legendary Hollywood loon who lived on Lookout Road...or at least was supposed to until some creep scammed his dough.

Thanks to Luc Sante, who reminded me I had these tucked away in a shoe box...I am working on a story about a similar white bearded eccentric who is a "separated at birth" look-alike from the same era. I do not think my fellow was ever BRONZED!

It appears Peter the Hermit was an acquaintance of Joan Crawford and Lana Turner, and has generated much interest among the Hollywood hoi polloi. He spent his time posing as a biblical character on the streets of tinsel town, and since he appears to have aged little in the 13 years between these photos, it must have been a pretty good life.

We could TRY for Jeff Bridges. I hear he is playing music now, but he might be coaxed.

The site of documentary filmmaker Hope Anderson "Under the Hollywood Sign" has plenty to say about Peter and is where I cribbed the bronze photo. I thought New York was the place of 8 million stories!

Two Original Press Photographs of "Peter the Hermit" AKA "Mystery Man of the Mountains" AKA "Peter Howard" 1925 - 1938 Collection Jim Linderman


Pair of ORIGINAL 19th Century Painted Photographer Studio Backdrops (For Sale)

I put together a book on Painted Backdrops and their use in the transitional period from painting to photography last year, it is a modest attempt at describing the relationship between the two art forms at the turn of the century. Having collected examples of tintype photographs with unusual backdrops (and photos of studios with them on display or being painted) I know how scarce original 19th century studio backdrops are.

A gentleman with two extraordinary ORIGINAL examples contacted me last week and asked if I was interested in obtaining these two remarkable survivors. I have moved on to other projects after finishing The Painted Backdrop...and since I have not the room to display these quite striking historical pieces, asked the owner if I could share them here (with his contact information for a purchaser.) I am very grateful, and hope this post helps these find a good home! ANY museum of photography or a serious collector knows how scarce these are.

Condition looks remarkable, and the owner even has an example of a photo taken here to show you one of the drapes "in use."
If you are interested in purchasing or asking questions about these early photographic backdrops, contact the owner at email nypopa@aol.com or I would be happy to forward your request for information to the owner.

I can tell you the price is QUITE modest, and these really should be in an institution or a very serious collection.
Thanks to the current owner for sharing, and to any photography collector who wants a wonderful addition to their collection, these are quite nice.

I hope they find a good home.

(For those of you interested in my book The Painted Backdrop: Behind the Sitter in American Tintype Photography 1860-1920 see it HERE)
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Bike Tricks in the Dark Bicycle At the Circus in Black and White #25

#25 in the Dull Tool Dim Bulb Series "At the Circus in Black and White" isn't really at the circus, but certainly this pair of balancing artists did their share of work at them. Floating!

Set of Four Snapshots circa 1930 Collection Jim Linderman

Dull Tool Dim Bulb BOOKS Here

Madam Fortune takes on the case of the Missing Money

Madam Fortune knows ALL
That will be twenty dollars please.

How to Find the Museum of Woodcarving and Let Others Know if it was Worth the Trip

Joe Barta picks a nice, sunny day to chisel his spear and shield carrying African warrior boy, who will soon be placed in the "Suffer the Children" exhibit inside his curious shaped museum building in Shell Lake, Wisconsin. I am going to guess the extension to the building is where the massive Last Supper is displayed, but you shouldn't take my word for it. The museum is open May through October, so wait for a thaw. Joe carved 100 life-sized figures and 400 miniatures.

For those of you who do not know where Shell Lake is, go to Spooner and you will be close. In the old days, say 5 years ago...you could stop at the local gas station and ask Gomer "Is there any good stuff to do around here" and probably learn about his dog and the time he fell into the grease pit while giving directions, THAT was quite a day...but today there is a better way.

Trip Advisor® (A website which provides information on things one used to "happen upon") kindly gives not only numerous links to travel and reservation sites but tons of aggregated information you don't really need like Weather Underground® average rainfall in August (5 inches) , the "top rated" restaurants nearby (Bistro 63...7.4 miles down Highway 63 from the museum, so skip the restroom) it also allows all to contribute their OWN reviews of the attraction! (In case you are one of those people who can't mind their own business)

I will let you read the detailed reviews from your peers yourself while you plan your trip HERE.

Joe Barta Museum of Woodcarving Real Photo Post Card collection Jim Linderman

A Tribute to Betty Fox The Most Amazing Performer in History and the Plaintive Comment Board


Browsing around to find some background about this photograph, I came across a plaintive and heart-wrenching comment on "Behind the Curtain" the wonderful photographic blog of the State Journal Register, the oldest Newspaper in Illinois. The comment comes from the daughter of the woman shown above. I am leaving the name off the comment to protect her privacy in what must be a difficult time. The comment is dated February 20, 2011.

"This is my mother and she is the most wonderful woman I know!! She is 93 and on her last days of life what a blessing she is!"

I own many photographs but several of my favorites turn out to be photographs of Betty Fox.
I treasure the second here particularly as I found it among the possessions of my late father, who likely took it himself. As you can see, he was impressed by Betty as well. He took several, I would have too...and I posted some of them earlier HERE, they are among the most beautiful photos you can imagine. I am afraid this wasn't due to my father's skill, it was due to Betty and Benny.

God Speed to the wondrous woman named Betty Fox. Many have entertained others, but few with such daring, grace and form. With all the offensive, slimy, divisive (and frequently, Rush Limbaugh inspired) crud clogging "comment" boards today, it is a splendid thing indeed to see such a heartfelt, honest and pleasing contribution from someone who actually has something to say. It made my day.

I don't want to turn my tribute into a screed against "entertainer" Limbaugh, but that fat clown could not begin to touch the toes of this splendid, striking and amazing woman, much less his own.

Thank you Betty Fox for entertaining and astounding so many good people over the years, including my family.

Original Press Photo and clipping, 1968 Collection Jim Linderman
Betty Fox Snapshot, circa 1940 Collection Jim Linderman
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