Quote and Credit

Quote and Credit


Set of Handmade and Paint Decorated Folk Art Chairs


Nothing better to cheer up a man stuck in permanent winter than a folk art discovery. Two chairs here (from a set of four) I obtained over the weekend. They are from a bar in the "thumb" of Michigan. I only have room for two in the house, but the others will keep just fine in the garage until it warms up and I can use them on the porch. Dapple paint which looks like smoke decoration gives a subtle hint of the Michigan landscape around 1920, and the scallop tops provide just enough rustic feel without making me feel like I'm in a hunting lodge. Michigan is known for mid-century modern, this being Herman Miller country, but we have more than our share of woods. Creamy! Score!

Set of Folk Art handmade chairs, circa 1920 Eastern Michigan. Collection Jim Linderman.

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Big Benny Binion's Pile of Bills

Reporters on the tube have trouble illustrating the size of the national debt. They should have asked Benny Binion for help. Here, Benny's big bundle of bills (one million dollars on display) competes for attention from a big-hipped better. Binion founded the Horseshoe Casino in Vegas. What set the Horseshoe apart from other casinos was the lack of a betting limit. He didn't dick around with entertainers much...it was all about the play. And to prove he could cover the bets, he put a million dollars in the lobby. Read more about Benny HERE

Binion's Horshoe Real Photo Postcard circa 1955 Collection Jim Linderman

Death as a Way of Life Post-Mortem Tintype Photograph collection Jim Linderman

I know this hurts. A post-mortem tintype photograph circa 1870 depicts a mother holding her recently passed away child. Infant mortality was high and children were often photographed as a memento before burial. An image to share with family members, and nearly every post-mortem photograph is the only image of a loved child. Then, an all too common practice for young mothers. Today, merely a collectible category for early photography collections.

If a photographer can create art in a scene this sorrowful, then he or she is an artist indeed.

Early in the 18th century, death as a youngster was not as rare as it thankfully is now, at least here in the United States. It was also not uncommon for children to be given miniature coffins as playthings or told stories which placed an emphasis on death. Games children played and the rhymes they recited were gruesome indeed. Inevitable but unfortunate. I call it a failure in the design.

Post-Mortem Tintype photograph Collection Jim Linderman

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Mat Mugs! The Wonderful Photomatic Photograph Machine and Mutoscope. William Rabkin Fast Talking Genius of the Photomatic Machine and the Claw

Let's all take a minute to thank the International Mutoscope and Reel Company! No one provided better value for your time and your dime. "Photomatic" photographs are but one example of their product line.

Photomatic machines were plopped down where folks killed time. Railroad stations mostly...the same places Starbucks wedges their six dollar a cup baristas
today. The company created the Mutoscope too..probably the first general circulation machine which displayed moving pictures. Drop a coin, peep in and see something you think you never saw before! It was like peering through a keyhole, but for some I suppose it was the first time their eyes were tricked by the moving image.

Mutoscope could suck a coin out of a parking meter. They created weight and fortune machines and arcade games but as far as I know the Photomatic machine was the only one with a chemical bath built right in the machine.

Time magazine profiled the owner of International Mutoscope Reel company William Rabkin in 1934 calling him a "fast-talking Jew"...don't they all? In the article they credit Rabkin with inventing THE CLAW! That's right...the machine at the carnival which allows one to move around a tiny steam shovel and pick up useless trinkets instead of the valuable watch sitting on a pedestal among the junk.

Now I hate to give credit or praise to a company which referred to their customers as "marks" but it was all in good fun. No one kicked Mutoscope machines if they lost (or rather WHEN they lost) as the process was as good as the prize.

Now the photo machines took a few minutes to develop your photograph...but you were stuck there anyway. Back then, unlike today, modes of transportation were always late. (snicker)

What I have not yet figured out is how they got the cool metal frames on the photo.
As you can see from the reverse, they were not only smart, they were brilliant. One here allows the owner to peel out a built in stand for displaying the photo on your dresser, the other reveals Photomatic was also in the lucrative "photo ID" market... Imagine how many of THESE were produced as World War Two loomed.

Photomatic photographs collection Jim Linderman



The BIG Problem of Digital Photography and Digital Art

My concern is not so much with the profession or the industry. It lies in the esthetic. Photographs are physical objects. They age, they yellow, they wear…and each step changes the physical object. Think of a country song with a yellowing photograph on the wall, or a angst ridden young wife tearing up those of an old sweetheart. Photographs have surface and form. They are objects. A fingerprint, a tear…each adds to the authenticity and the presence of the print. They say God is the Greatest Artist. He creates patina. He creates rough edges, wrinkles and memories. The photographer is but the first step in creating a picture, not the last. Pictures grow with age, they change with age. Digital photographs don’t.

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Good DOGS! Well-trained Dogs pose for their Tintype Photograph circa 1870.. Good DOGS

Managing to maintain their composure during the long exposure time required for a tintype photograph is not one, but TWO good dogs who I hope were rewarded with treats and love as they have rewarded their owners with this photograph.

Anonymous Tintype Photograph, circa 1870 Collection Jim Linderman

Laura Levine Prolific Photographer Proprietor Artist and Renaissance Woman

Bjork, Woodstock, NY, 1991 © Laura Levine - All Rights Reserved

Dr. John, NYC, 1992 © Laura Levine - All Rights Reserved

Captain Beefheart, NYC 1980 © Laura Levine - All Rights Reserved

Henry Rollins, NYC 1993 © Laura Levine - All Rights Reserved

Madonna, NYC, 1982 © Laura Levine - All Rights Reserved

Tina Weymouth and Grandmaster Flash, NY, 1981 © Laura Levine - All Rights Reserved

I was all set to profile my friend Laura Levine a few months ago, but the Museum of Modern Art selected her work for the Looking at Music 3.0 exhibition currently on view (running though June 2011) and she became impossible!

Not really. But the Museum does start off their video for the show with her image of Tina Weymouth and Grandmaster Flash!

I love Laura Levine but mostly I admire her. Laura brings back the tradition of the "renaissance man" but she's a woman. A renaissance man is "one whose expertise spans a significant number of different subject areas" and it is hard to find a better example today.
As you can see above, Laura is a photographer of great, great talent and skill. These are extraordinary photographs by any standard, but that they are all of musicians I personally admire is a bonus. She let me pick them. I was a kid in a rock star store.

Laura has more. She was Chief Photographer for the New York Rocker, a tabloid which was largely responsible for me packing my bags and moving to the city decades ago. They were lucky to have her as the photos above testify.

Despite the work above (and in some limited cases, available for purchase from the artist) photography is hardly Laura's only skill.

You have likely seen her paintings as well. As this post is an excuse for me to show the photos, I'm not posting any paintings here, but Laura, self-taught, works in a most appealing naive style and has created some of the most endearing portraits of musicians you will ever see. Her portfolio is a trip through American music history, and I can't think of an artist who has done as much except R. Crumb. Just take a few minutes to browse HERE.

A published author. Not just published, but with a blurb from GEORGE JONES.
I don't have to say any more. Among her books are Honky-Tonk Heroes and Hillbilly Angels: The Pioneers of Country & Western Music, and Shake, Rattle & Roll: The Founders of Rock & Roll. Her first picture book was Wig!, a collaboration with the B-52's. I expect many more.

Shall I go on? Okay...Documentary filmmaker who has been screened at Sundance. Need more?

Laura also handles Homer and Langley's Mystery Spot. I know it sounds like a place you read billboards for two hundred miles then stop to pee at, but it is in fact one of the greatest junk stores in the world. Vintage fashions, books, records, what-nots and what-have-yous. Take a look at the folks who have shopped there. Somehow, Laura even finds time to take THEIR pictures.
I'm only telling you about the shop because since I moved, it is too far for me to drive to. They even have porch parties you wouldn't believe.

Gawd...I HATE Laura Levine. But I also love her like a sister.

The artist Laura Levine owns all rights to the photographs above, and she deserves them. She also didn't have to share them here, so respect her artistic contributions and don't crib them. It would be an insult to me, the artist and you!
However, Laura does from time to time sell limited editions of the work and you can see the catalog HERE. Homer and Langley's Mystery Spot is HERE. The Artist's official website (which dances and moves) is HERE.

Above Photographs courtesy of the photographer© Laura Levine - All Rights Reserved

Canadian Vaudeville Performer with Snake and Monkey RPPC 1939 Paguin Pequin Paguin Canada Moose Jaw Saskatchewan

A member of the Paguin vaudeville family active in the Saskatchewan Province of Canada in the 1920s and 1930s. I purchased a photo archive of the group and am seeking information. The multi-talented group (musicians, contortionists and more) performed on the prairie circuit of Canada. If you have information, please write me at j.winkel4@gmail.com. If you know family members, please forward? Thanks!

Edward Paguin(?) 1939 Real Photo Postcard Paramount Film Service Collection Jim Linderman

UPDATE! Brian Busby, friend, writer and manager of the beautiful site The Dusty Bookcase was kind enough to get me started with the note below. I will do a proper thank you post one day, but for now please note Brian's latest book A Gentleman of Pleasure: One Life of John Glassco, Poet, Translator, Memoirist and Pornographer was just published by McGill Queens University Press and looks fantastic. You MUST see this link. THANKS BRIAN!

"Though not a betting man, I'd be willing to wager a few dollars on Paquin over Paguin. The former is a fairly common French Canadian surname. The 1911 Canadian census (the most recent open and available online), doesn't list more than a few dozen Paquins on the Prairies... and none are named Edward. In fact, the only Edward Paquin I could find was then a 32 year-old plumber living in Quebec. My thought - and here I won't place a wager - is that the Paquins likely came from Quebec, moving west to the new provinces. Edward might actually be one of several young Edouard Paquins listed in the census."

Genealogy DNA Roots Family History Hand-painted Lithographs and Buffalo Bill

I am not into genealogy, though the doctor did take a DNA test today...scientists are learning how genetics influences disease. I have always been more interested in moving ahead than looking back, but those who do the family history are to be much admired, and if it weren't for my uncle I would not know I was related to Buffalo Bill. (True) When I was young, that was really cool, but now that I know he was a "showman" and big-time hunter, I have had second thoughts.

The document here lasted one hundred years. Not a long time when tracing your roots or relatives. And yet to me it seems ancient. The entries begin in 1826, and the last entry is dated 1927. One hundred years before the family lost interest and stopped keeping track. The latest death recorded was 1880 and it is still sad. The country was young when this record was started, but in the span of life on earth, this entire familial package doesn't even qualify as a freakin' blip.

I am sorry the entire document doesn't fit on the scanner, but we should be glad it remains at all. It has been in a flood or two and has been repaired, but at some point it was passed over or weeded out, and I found it abandoned in an antique mall.

The document itself was printed by Kellogg and Comstock, lithographers who churned them out and underpaid women to add the color by hand. They were second only to Currier and Ives in sales.

As the world shrinks, we will actually have to rely on science even more for our records. Travel and the growing population have put one tribe in touch with another to the extent that culture, language and heritage are even harder to trace and record. When one married the "girl next door" it was easy to know where she came from (of "good stock" probably) but now who knows?

I have been doing this blog a few years. It is surprising how many relatives of those I have mentioned or profiled have gotten in touch. I'm not too polite or delicate, but in all that time not one family member has written to criticize. Every single mail I have received from a surviving member, be their ancestors scoundrel or saint, has been to thank me. I am including the folks I put on old time religion and vintage sleaze as well...not one critical letter from a family member. I think we have lost so much of our roots, we are grateful for whatever we find. I have had former strippers, children of musicians, great grandchildren of artists, family members of postcard makers and more write to say "Thanks..."I didn't know that!"

(I try to generate heat, but the only complaints I have received came from a post where I made fun of Glenn Beck (which I ignored) and from a post where I roasted the "science" of chiropractic. I ignored them as well for the most part, but did refer a few to the Wiki article. I also got one or two angry notes from folks who didn't like my profile of scam artist Charles Jessup...so let's bring it up again HERE. Facts is facts.)

The important categories are Family, Born, Married and Died. Not died HOW, but
died when and where. Although the family here came all the way from England, it looks like most of them never got out of Michigan after that. Having gotten out and returned, I know one could do both better and worse.

I won't be making any deathbed confessions (or having a deathbed conversion.) I am an open book for the most part, and now even my Deoxyribonucleic acid will be in digital form I guess. Medical confidentiality is sacred, but how many of you read the forms you sign? Eh...if whoever replaced J. Edgar wants my DNA, let him have it. At least I don't have to worry about some crime from decades ago coming up when they sort through my strands of genetic material. When I was ten, I was fingerprinted during a boy scout tour through a police station. That has never haunted me either!

Kellogg and Comstock Lithograph, embellished by hand circa 1825. Collection Jim Linderman

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Graphic Design of the Awning Kind The WHEEL of AWNINGS Salesman Sample Pamphlet

There will be no yawnings when you have new awnings from MacKenzie! Magic rotating wheel allows one to select the perfect shade of shade making shades!

MacKenzie Awning Salesman Sample Booklet with wheel and die-cut window. No Date Collection Jim Linderman

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Pretend Scrapbook Folk Art Project Miniature!

Some time and place in the 1940s or so, a child created a tiny Pretend Scrapbook. With cast away wallpaper scraps for a cover, bound in yarn. There was a mother, father, doctor and nurse. Not the child's caretakers, but close enough approximations to do the job. School years and His First Sweetheart followed quickly.

Pages from a "Pretend Scrapbook" with pencil labels. Circa 1935? Collection Jim Linderman


Miracle Fotos Pic-Tease "Fingers"Game YOU DEVELOP THEM Hollywood Lovelies

As Kodachrome fades into fuzzy, unfocused memory, I present here just about the only thing left to develop. MIRACLE FOTO! The "Fingers" Game with photographs you develop at home. Presented by Pic-Tease, one of the finest providers of Hollywood Lovelies. But it isn't enough for you to create actual photographs at home, there is a game involved too! As you see on the reverse, one must "guess the fingers" As you can see in the only "developed" card in the set, our lovely here has a full set of ten digits AND two "bonus" nubs I had to black out. But you get the point, and the have indicated a "10" on the card. That is for her fingers, not a sexist scale rating her beauty. The instructions ask one to wet the crepe paper which comes with each card, and press it against the reverse until the miracle foto appears!

Being a collector, I am saving them all in the original box, as I hope the Kinsey Institute will bid high for the set on day. I find nothing on the web about these miracle fotos, the manufacturer did also produce "Miracle Derby Cards" so they clearly did intend the placing of bets. As such, and given the risque images, I suspect these were, at the time they were made, Illegal and that is why they are scarce.

Set of Miracle Fotos Pic Tease cards. Collection Jim Linderman Date Unknown (1935?)



Folk Art Frame 19th Century Wallpaper Tintype of Baby

Circa 1870 Tintype within a homemade folk art wallpaper frame Collection Jim Linderman

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How Old is that Folk Art in the Window? "Let's make an ANTIQUE"

Not long ago, I wrote a post pointing pointing out that plywood is now officially an antique. Need a hobby?

All the above ads come from one issue of Home Craftsman, the August 1952 issue.

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