Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Get Clocked

This post is about how great things end up in the craziest places. Two years ago, in a tiny house where a couple had lived for decades on Detroit's far east side - a working class neighborhood during its best days - an estate sale listing with these pics shows up:

Monday, April 25, 2016


Online advertising has really pulled the rug out from under magazine publishing, at least in its mass-distributed form. One of the byproducts of this has been the rise in popularity of the specialty magazine (or journal, or bookazine, or magbook or whatever). They tend to have a higher price point than your typical newsstand read, and they are beautifully printed and have great, specialized content. The idea isn't new however, and one of the greatest examples of the subscription magazine/journal is Eros, a groundbreaking magazine from the early 1960s.

First published in 1962, Eros was a magazine devoted to eroticism. It was geared toward intellectuals and in its four issue run covered a broad range of stories about sexuality in history, politics, arts and literature. Available only through mail order, it featured top talent, starting with a fantastic design by the legendary Herb Lubalin (even then a leading typographer and art director) who was engaged to help elevate the project above the era's popular notion of sexually-oriented publishing.

Thursday, April 21, 2016


I pick up a lot of vintage glassware. It goes with the gig.

Vintage Scandinavian glassware

Some of these are in constant rotation in my own household, some are in (or will go) in the shop, some I just pick up to use for a bit and resell online, because I can't just leave them behind.

Sometimes in photos the details aren't really discernible, glass being transparent and all. But all of these are handmade, the craftsmanship is noticeable when you hold it. After so many years of buying vintage glassware I can usually tell if something is worth getting just by picking it up, and as a matter of fact I've found some of my best glasses buying on a hunch.

If you do enjoy adult beverages it's worth it to pay attention to the delivery mechanism. When I say that using good glassware makes it better, just know that I speak from experience.

Hanging around the house today (from left to right):
"Linear" champagne & water glass, Rosenthal Studio-Line, Germany, 1963
"Canada" port & cordial glass, Per Lütken for Holmegaard, Denmark, 1955
"Ultima Thule" double old fashioned, old fashioned and extra large old fashioned, Tapio Wirkkala for iittala, Finland, 1968
"Varm/Kall" combo hot glögg/cordial glass, Lindau & Lindekrantz for Orrefors, Sweden, 1971 
"Skibsglas (Ship's Glass)" wine glass & cognac glass, Per Lütken for Holmegaard, Denmark, 1971
"Gaissa" double old fashioned, Tapio Wirkkala for iittala, Finland, 1973
"Kluk Kluk" decanter, an historic design repopularized by Holmegaard in the 1950s
"Princess" cognac glass, Bent Severin for Kastrup/Holmegaard, Denmark, 1957
"Aarne" cocktail glass, Göran Hongell for iittala, Finland, 1948
"No. 5" whiskey glass, Per Lütken for Holmegaard, Denmark, 1970
"Tsaikka" hot beverage glass, Timo Sarpaneva for iittala, Finland, 1957

Monday, April 18, 2016

Den Permanente

A couple weeks ago I came across some simple teak bar boards. I grabbed them because vintage barware does well in the store, and frankly a nice bar board is a great find under any circumstances, new or vintage. Each had a price sticker from a store unknown to me called “Den Permanente.” I figured they were import items, usually a solid selection, and moved on.

Obviously once I was home I did some digging on Den Permanente. Information online was surprisingly limited, but what I did find left me with one question: Why, after nearly 20 years of researching mid-century design, and after all the Danish Modern furniture and housewares I've bought and sold, did I know nothing about the greatest Danish design store that ever existed?

Den Permanente Copenhagen 1972 JCRA Archive Photo
Den Permanente, 1972 (photo: JC Raulston Arboretum archive)

Monday, April 4, 2016

Feeling Cordial

Doing some spring reorganizing this week and came across one of my favorite drink styling photos ever.

Playboy Host and Bar Book cover photo

It has served as an inspiration on several occasions, including as part of the invitation to a cocktail party I held at my swank Lafayette Towers apartment during the 2008 election cycle and the subsequent piece I did for Detroit Public Radio about partisan politics and the healing power of disco.

Taken from the wonderful 1971 "Playboy Host & Bar Book," a still-excellent beginner to intermediate resource for any party-giver.

Playboy Host and Bar Book