Monthly Archives: October 2008

R.I.P. Studs Terkel

Studs Terkel, who secured oral history as an essential form of documentation, has passed. You can get a brief rundown of his output in his New York Times obit, though I suggest you really get started with Working: People Talk About What They Do All Day and How They Feel About What They Do. The inspiring work he did all day changed the way we think about and care about radio, history, and storytelling. What a life!

Here, Mr. Terkel on a soapbox, on independence, on radio, Woody Guthrie, slow talking banalities by the carload, Ravi Shankar, devotion, sinking of the Titanic, and on, and on….

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Lifelong Love Letters


Super Dad Robert Guest, an exhibition designer from Brooklyn, has been getting up at dawn every school day for the past 15 years to write a note to each of his two children, Joanna and Theo. The fancy + lovely zine Esopus published a few of them in their Spring 2008 issue. Just think of how such an act of love would help to form a growing human….both the kiddies and their sweet papa.

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Lee Hazlewood Tribute

This Sunday night, make your way over the Make-Out Room to catch our very own Lady Shopkeeper Nile Nash and her boyfriend, occasional Man of the Shop Sean Smith, as they pay tribute to the musical glory of Lee Hazlewood (and in this case, Nancy Sinatra). They’ll be taking the stage together, along with fellow Hazlewood tributeers Kelley Stoltz, Chuck Prophet, Jeffrey Luck Lucas, Tom Heyman, Marc Dantona, and heaps of others. You’ll never have a better opportunity to steep yourself in the godfather of “Cowboy Psychedelia” than beneath the disco ball, shiny tinsel, and assorted overdue piñatas of San Francisco’s eternal school gym on prom night.

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Louise Bourgeois

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Polaroidification Application!

Visitors to the shop may have noticed that we like to maintain a Polaroid archive of our most satisfied, fierce-looking customers, with the prints tucked around the big turquoise mirror in back and stuffed in every drawer, nook, and wooden cranny. Many concerned visitors, aware that we are living in the End of Polaroid Film Days, have asked us what we’re going to do once our stock of viable film has run out. And while we’ve assured them that we have stockpiled plenty and have observed the proper preservation precautions—keeping the packages sealed, storing our stash in the fridge, only busting it out when it’s really, really important (which just so happens to be often)—we recognize that even we are not immune to the realities of expiration dates and over-abundant documentation opportunities. And I confess, behind closed doors, we did fret.

But not to worry, bunnies, we’ve got a brave face for you once again. I have discovered an excellent new application called Poladroid that does an incredible job of converting your regular digital photos into digital Polaroids—saturated colors, fortuitous blurring, fade out corners and all! Amazing!

It’s super simple to use. Just go to, download and launch the application, drag your photo to the camera icon, wait a few, and your “Polaroid” print will creep into focus. Hurray!

Also, I’ll share one thing I figured out after a bit of fooling around. I had a hard time figuring out where my photos were being saved once they developed. Turns out, if you go up to “Preferences” in your “File” tab, you can choose where you would like to save your pictures. It couldn’t be easier or more satisfying. And though you miss out on the one-of-a-kindness of the real deal, you might just make up for it in your ability to pick the best shots to Polaroidify and then so easily share the love far and wide.

A Poladroid of a Polaroid, featuring our carpenter-helpers Joey Joseph and Keith, strategically installed in a shop dressing room cranny.

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Rainbow Country

Dutch tulip fields: Sure, it’s a monoculture, but it’s also a rainbow culture. Sound familiar?

Thanks, swissmiss!

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From Winchester with a Handgun

A heartfelt hey y’all from the Barack Obama office in Winchester, Virginia. Folks around here are just about the most “Pro-America” Americans you could find. Some of them are also totally committed to switching this state from red to blue for the first time since 1964. 

Our office is on West Cork Street in downtown Winchester, a Shenandoah Valley town know first as a base of Confederate operations during the hallowed War of Northern Aggression and second for its superior apples. It’s a very pretty place, brick and surviving alright, proficient in their “yes, sir”/”no, ma’am.” 

The Obama team here is comprised of two young and very dedicated field officers, Jason and Alexandra, and a solid core of consistent volunteers who have been coming in after work on a regular basis for months and have now taken vacation leave to help coordinate phone calls, canvassing, and the get out the vote effort. Bethany is a former Peace Corps volunteer getting her master’s degree at Shenandoah College who has stepped in to coordinate all the volunteers at the office. Theresa left her five teenagers in Maryland several weeks ago to come and negotiate staging locations throughout the county. They’re both working non-stop, often past midnight, often at the expense of a shower or a decent meal, cheerfully. They’re amazing.

We also get a stream of local volunteers, many of them coming in for the first time to help with this last campaign push, and then some more seasoned parties down from DC on the weekends. Most of the volunteers I’ve met so far are not at all what you think of as the typical Obama support base. They are middle aged working women and high school students, measured in conviction, and really sticking their necks out to support Senator Obama in this community.

When I got here last Friday, Theresa told me a great story to welcome me to western Virginia.

Last week, a gentleman volunteer in his 70s was standing right outside our office holding a canvassing packet and modeling a bit of Obama bling, when a young man in his pickup truck idled up to him with his hunting riffle pointed out the window.

“Think you’re votin’ for the wrong team, old man,” he said.

Not to be swayed by the perspective offered on the upcoming election, our volunteer whipped out his .357 Magnum and aimed it right at the trucker.

“I doubt that, young man,” he said and headed through the doors of the campaign office. The trucker drove away.  

After a bit of pacing and fuming, Theresa gingerly approached the valiant volunteer and asked if he had a license to carry the handgun, to which he replied that he did have a concealed weapon license, yes indeed.

FYI, this here is a .357 Magnum.

FYI, this here is a .357 Magnum.

“Well then, sir,” Theresa said, “while you’re in the office, would you go ahead and conceal it?”

Right. Virginia is for Lovers Handguns.

For some more citified tales of the election in Virginia, look to the New Yorker. A couple of issues ago, they ran “The Appalachian Problem” and, not that any self-respecting citified New Yorkerphile would miss it, you should know that David Sedaris continues to breathe and write, and so you must read “Undecided.” For my part, I’ll try to come up with a few more stories in my time here up to the election. Now, back to the database!

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