Tuesday, March 31, 2009

"Official Hukilau Mug" Work in Progress

Each year Jody and I look forward to an adventurous weekend at the "Hukilau" in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, and especially to catching up with friends over libations at the Mai Kai. While we won't be able to attend this summer,  I'm beyond thrilled to get to sculpt the official 2009 mug  based on the logo I did for them in 2007.

The ceramic mug will be produced up in Monterey by Munktiki, and will have a stunning glaze treatment. More photos to follow shortly...

If you're interested in attending "the world's most intimate Tiki celebration" visit the Hukilau website for the sensational line up of events in store for 2009.

Hukilau Paper Sculpture Poster

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Rain in San Francisco

Now don't get me wrong.  Just because I love old stuff, doesn't mean I resist change.  In fact, I love change!  A fresh coat of paint, turning over a new leaf, clean socks. When real improvements are made anywhere, I shout hooray!

But bad change - the pointless kind, where something good (or at least something with potential) loses out to something that is decidedly not better... well, that's not so good. 

You may have heard the news that the Tonga Room Restaurant at the historic Fairmont Hotel in San Francisco may soon be lost forever as the hotel is converted into - I can hardly bring myself to say it - condominiums!

I could see clouds gathering on the horizon a few years ago when the Tonga's Hurricane Bar introduced the plasma screen assault of basketball; the true sign of desperation for any themed bar.

The Tonga Room dates back to 1945 when Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer's art director Mel Melvin transformed the Fairmont's indoor swimming pool into a magical nautical bar, complete with a thunder and lightning rainstorm that occurs every 20 minutes.  If you haven't seen it, there's just nothing like it.  Peering down at the rocks, sand and giant clam shells on the dark watery bottom of the lagoon's deep end while a mist of cool chlorinated rain falls from the ceiling above still makes the back of my head tingle.

I urge you to plan a visit to the Fairmont tout suite, request a water-side table, order a drink, and soak up the atmosphere while you may.  I'll be there for happy hour tonight! 

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

All Aboard for the Future!

Fantasyland, 1957

The VIEWLINER was the earth-bound predecessor of Disneyland's Monorail, existing for only a year and a half, from 1957 to 1958. Billed as "the fastest miniature trains in the world," the salmon-colored Tomorrowland train and the blue Fantasyland train ran a figure-8 through the two lands on narrow gauge tracks.

Bob Gurr's concept sketch, 1956

Imagineer Bob Gurr patterned the sleek aluminum sides and big open windows after General Motors' Train of Tomorrow and the Aerotrain - in classic fifties future style. Powered by gasoline, courtesy of a Chevy Corvette V-8 Engine, the cab was practically built from old automobile parts, complete with a steering wheel, stick shift, and a reverse gear!

GM's Aerotrain, 1955

The single best place for information on the Viewliner and the Aerotrain can be found at the fascinating "Viewliner LTD" blog.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Make an Abstract Mobile

Legendary Disney Imagineer Rolly Crump with a few of his kinetic mobiles and sculptures, c.1963. Incredibly cool.

Want to make your own mobile?  Here's a fantastic "how to published in Popular Science Monthly, December 1954.  This abstract pattern was designed by John Lynch of New York City's Museum of Modern Art:

1. Cut abstract shapes from cardboard or light-gauge sheet metal.

2. For the arms, bend the ends of soft 16-gauge wire into loops and attach the cut-out shapes.

It's all about balance.