Archive for the ‘ Art ’ Category

WORLDS COLLIDE…AGAIN

Wednesday, August 7th, 2013


photo: Tatiana Gerusova

If you have one of our 2013 calendars, you know Tatiana Gerusova’s work: her images of Cherry Martini for the cover and the month of March are unforgettable. And now, we’ve just learned that Tatiana has been picked up by one of the greats of the world of photography: Art + Commerce! Not only that, but she and Gia Genevieve have been tapped for a new campaign for that icon of itty-bitty-triangle-tagged jeans, GUESS?…

Just another killer example of how exceptional photography breaks down walls between the subculture of cars and popular culture strains like fashion. We know we’ll keep hearing the tired-ass “I ain’t into all that fashion-y bullshit, I just been out there workin’ on my car,” and other various strains of that same sentiment, but the world keeps evolving despite that limited – and dying – perspective. And we dig the hell outta the amazing art that comes from this kind of fusion.

Great work, Tatiana – you deserve every bit of it. We’re just honored to know ye, girl…

CAR CULTURE NOW

Thursday, July 25th, 2013


photo: Gregory Bojorquez

Hey, while GWCs (guys-with-cameras) are dragging those unfortunate girls out to car shows in the orca-betty retro-hog getups, burning up the free pixels on squinty looks and horrible poses and promising online magazine glory, real car culture is happening.

Keep your eyes open, don’t stop and stare when you stumble over the train wreck “photoshoot” happening in the show parking lot (you’ll know it when you see the dude in lion-tamers and beat-up crosstrainers with a digital camera sweating over a chick in clown makeup and a “vintage” outfit from Hot Topic draped over the radial of a rattle-canned Buick sedan with the rear doorhandles shaved off) and you’ll notice it.

Just like anything else, you gotta work a little harder to get to the good stuff.

SEVENTIES PAINT

Wednesday, July 24th, 2013

Working on a very special project right now that, while we’re sworn to secrecy (OK, we just promised we wouldn’t blog about it. YET.), has us all amped up and pacing back-and-forth like Hoffman in Rain Man. And we’re looking for some original ’70s painted panels. Could be a fender off a doorslammer. A front clip from a F/C? Maybe a tailgate from a T roadster pickup show rod. Possibly a hood from a ’55 Chebby street freak. You get the idea: it really all comes down to some insane fade/panel/fishscale/lace/metalflake that’s been untouched since some time between, say, ’69 and ’77.

Let us know whatcha got and there’s a little fame in it for you. Just a little.

BEHIND THE SNAKE AND MONGOO$E

Monday, July 22nd, 2013


McEwen’s freshly-repaired ’79 ‘Vette body at the Salinas Boys shop – photo furnished by Cole Foster

Our man-about-town in Bennington, VT, Dan Strohl at Hemmings, posted up the latest trailer for the oh-so-anticipated “Snake & Mongoose” film releasing this year and we couldn’t resist mentioning it here, again – especially since Cole finished up the Mongoose ‘Vette body that was roughed up a little bit during the making of the film (above).

Now, one of the things, as journalists, that bugs us the most about the Glory Days of Drag Racing (roughly 1965 to 1973) is that the guys (and let’s face it; the girls, too) who were living those wild and wooly years to the wildest-wooliest don’t wanna talk about it.

Sure, they’ll talk about it, but only if they get a swearsies-double-knuckle-cocotaso promise from us that we’ll never write about them talking about it. Late at night, in the back shop at Gotelli’s in South San Francisco – on the same floor that the #19 car was built (the most beautiful dragster ever to roll through the box), we’ve heard some of the most epic stories of what happened at tracks, bars, motels, cargo slabs in chase wagons, truck beds, roadsides, service bays and up against chain link fences among these gladiators and the people who loved them.

And having heard enough of these stories in wide-eyed wonderment, we can say with every ounce of certainty that the generations since them – ours definitely included – have not LIVED. Nossir, you may think you have some epic stories to tell, but unless you drove/built/wrenched a drag car in the days when so many died going so fast, brother, you ain’t shit. And we include ourselves in that group, too, so don’t get your t-back in a wad.

Back to Prudhomme and McEwen. As much as this little film promises, we’re quite certain that the stuff we’d love to hear about the most was probably not left on the cutting room floor, but never broached to begin with. And that’s a shame. Story is what we’re all about. Story is what lives on after we’re gone – the good, bad, ugly and epic. And while we don’t know Don or Tom personally, we’ll slap leather that the epicness we really want to know about won’t be revealed in any film backed by the NHRA.

But hey – we’re still gonna see the film. We’re still stoked that the cars have been restored, the haulers dragged back out and repainted, Don and Tom celebrated and lauded in a much-deserved way. Stoked. And it just strengthens our resolve that much more to get to the stories nobody else will. Or can.


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A UNIVERSAL LANGUAGE

Wednesday, July 17th, 2013


photo: Thierry Le Goués

Y’know, if we had a dollar for every time some fool tells us that girls don’t belong in photos of bitchin’ cars and bikes and just about every other automotive thing…we’d have exactly $17.00.

Thierry Le Goués proves them all wrong once again, from all kinds of faraway places.

VINTAGE NASCAR AS SEEN BY THE BLUEBLOODS

Tuesday, July 16th, 2013

We couldn’t be more stoked: historic stock car racers have finally infiltrated the green, green grass of the American concours circuit. Woke up to a post over on the Hemmings blog this morning by Kurt Ernst about the St. John’s Concours d’Elegance and its decision to feature a few great examples of perfectly restored NASCAR cars and we can hear Big Bill France chuckling and shaking his head all the way over to the great tire rack in the sky.

First it was the hot rods and customs showing up every two years at Pebble Beach and now this. And while we think it’s a strategically great idea to keep interest in the graying scene at concours all over the country, vintage stock cars on the grass brings up a few questions for us…

For instance, how is the provenance of an old stock car checked? Like any other racing machine, shit got changed. ALOT. Bodies, motors, rolling assemblies, paint…what started out as a Ford entry may have ended up as a Mercury by the end of its racing days. So where does a restoration project stop the chronological clock on a car? Its last iteration as it was found? Maybe. Or maybe its first skin on the track? Or its trim when it made some important contribution to the development of NASCAR? Maybe the answer is ‘yes’ to all of the above.

The Historic Stock Car Racing Series has been working on these kinds of questions long before the blue-jacket-n-straw-hat crowd started asking them and we’ll leave them to it. But the one thing we’d like to suggest is that the cutoff year for these restorations be somewhere around 1984.

See, just like any other form of racing, more money equals more risk equals less willingness to risk the money. And by the early Eighties, NASCAR was starting to reel from the effects of the cash rained down on it by sponsors big enough to really change the alchemy of the rowdiest form of motorsport ever to make it big. Once the domain of moonshiners and cowboys in helmets, NASCAR really started to lose its edge when it went stratospheric in the Nineties and the media coined a term for all the guys showing up to the track, blasting Garth Brooks from their new Scottsdales, in jean shorts and Mossy Oak-branded headsets with matching kidlets in tow: “NASCAR dads.” UGH – just stick a sharp corner of a foam Snickers-branded stadium butt-cozie in our eye.

Up till the early-to-mid Eighties, NASCAR was still exciting. A fight in the pits, beers in the over-the-wall gang, drivers you might actually talk to before a race, teams you’d see in the parking lot at the bar afterward…a real traveling band of incredibly talented gypsies just under the radar of national consciousness. And what we mean by that is a Bill Elliott hat only available for purchase at a truckstop, not a Jeff Gordon XXXL girls hoodie at fucking Walmart. See the difference?

So, we can’t wait to see some of these restored cars at concours all over the country. It’s an important movement in the development of the American auto industry and these old warriors deserve this kind of respect and adulation. And we’d love to hold a panel discussion at Pebble on the merits of preservation vs. restoration when it comes to this amazeballs development in the relevance of concours events.


pics courtesy Hemmings Daily

20 YEARS OF KUSTOM KULTURE

Thursday, July 11th, 2013

1993 was 20 years ago. Yeah, it was news to us, too.

That year changed us, dramatically: We were on the East Coast – living in Fells Point, Baltimore – and, while we never strayed too far from cars, let’s just say we were much more concerned with where the next party was in those years.

Anyhoo, the word was out about a show at the old train station in town that had been turned into a fairly bitchin’ art museum of sorts: apparently, there were going to be some cars and some art and some other shit that sounded like something we shouldn’t miss. Turns out, it was the Kustom Kulture show that was traveling across the country and it BLEW. OUR. MINDS.

From that show, an entire subculture gelled: Kustom Kulture became an actual phrase to describe what was happening at the time, Juxtapoz magazine was founded and everything we loved really started to make sense as an actual movement that we could define ourselves as members of.

Now, exactly 20 years later, C.R. Stecyk III, Greg Escalante and Paul Frank are doing it once more. Kustom Kulture II opens this weekend at Huntington Beach Art Center and we couldn’t be more stoked. Not only could there be no one better to put this show on, but now’s the chance for our generation’s artists – our own national treasures – to be featured alongside the very artists who influenced them in that show 20 years ago.

Can’t wait to see how a new generation is influenced by this show. Lord knows, by looking at some of the magazines on the stands, we desperately need it…

1979: THE WORLD OUTSIDE THE STONE PONY

Wednesday, July 10th, 2013


photo: Joe Maloney

If you grew up on the mid-Atlantic area of the East Coast in the Seventies (like we did), you went to the shore in the summer. And there were basically two strains of shore culture in those years: you were either defined by Ocean City, Maryland or Ocean City, New Jersey.

The differences might not have been obvious on the surface, but there was an invisible line of demarcation running in a backwards “J” shape roughly a 4-hour drive east from the coasts of New Jersey, Maryland and Delaware – the hook cradling the Philadelphia area. The O.C./MD experience was defined more by crab feeds, trailer parks on the bay side and college kids cramming into summer shares on the Delaware beaches – a little more, well, “country,” if you will. The O.C./NJ thing was peppered with influence coming south from New York City and year-round dwellers who lived and ran businesses on the Jersey shores – slightly more “cosmopolitan” in traditions that filtered through from Atlantic City and generations of immigrants coming through the gates of Ellis Island.

One of those Jersey shore towns was Asbury Park. Yeah, yeah, yeah – it’s also the home of The Stone Pony: the home bar venue of Bruce Springsteen (nothing against the guy – and yeah, we’ve seen the old photo of him in the ‘Vette – but we just can’t take that music). One of the greatest things about the Eastern shores, for us, is the car culture. In the Seventies, you got to the beach by car and Asbury Park was no different. And what went on at the beach because of all those cars was pretty epic: the boardwalks, the girls, the bars, the hair…it was all good.

Now, a show at the Rick Wester gallery of the photographs made by Joe Maloney in Asbury Park during those beautiful analog years is open and we dig it. All of a sudden, we can smell the melting rubber in the boardwalk t-shirt shop irons and the gentle waft of ditch weed and suntan lotion on the sand…

COURTNEY, WE HARDLY KNEW YE

Tuesday, July 9th, 2013


photo: Williams + Hirakawa

Of all the daughters of John Force – the Elvis Of Drag Racing – who followed in their father’s Funny Car footsteps, we never saw this coming from Courtney: a naked feature in this year’s ESPN magazine’s Body Issue.

Ashley? She’s the first sister to climb into one of those goofy, yet fast-as-hell, Funnies. And much as we loved her the most in the family’s short-lived reality show, “Driving Force,” we figured she wouldn’t have done this shoot: in our experience, it’s the rare husband who’d allow a nude shoot (the fools).

Brittany? Yep, we fully expected her to do it. She definitely seems like the one with her daddy’s crazy gene and who knows – we may still see her show up where we least expect it.

But Courtney? That one caught us asleep at the butterfly wheel. Good for her, though: she looks great and it ain’t the easiest thing in the world to bare it all on the dry lakes for a production crew the likes of an ESPN magazine shoot.

One of our favorite television moments of all time was watching the completely baffled look on John Force’s face as three of his daughters and his wife, Laurie, blow his ass up over something he thought he’d actually done right: total befuddlement. The man is one of the winningest drivers in one of the fastest motorsports to ever dare test the laws of physics and he just can’t figure out his wife or daughters. Just makes us love the man even more. So, we’re fairly certain that same look probably crossed his face when Courtney dropped this bomb on the old man, but he should be proud of her. It’s the new world and it’s beautiful.

Now, Brittany: we’ve got a shoot with a vintage Funny Car and a great idea we wanna talk to you about. Call us, girl…

THE HALF-STRONGS: UNDERGROUND AMERICAN CAR CULTURE, INTERPRETED BY THE SWISS

Monday, July 8th, 2013


photo: Karlheinz Weinberger

If you follow us, you know that we just fucking LOVE how the underground culture of cars in America is re-imagined in faraway lands all over the globe. From the Germans and their drag racing scene to the British rockasilly movement and all the Japanese lowriders and Swedish hillclimbs in between, we love it all.

But what’s even more amazing to us is that some of these truly underground movements happened 60+ years ago when teen rage was really being simultaneously developed here, stateside. Before the interwebs, before the cultural saturation of television, before this stuff could traverse the globe at the speed of light, it was being spread just a little faster…at the speed of teen, son. In the late Fifties, Karl Weinberger – a Swiss amateur photographer, started to make photographs of a youth subculture in Switzerland that seemed to magnify the young outsider movement in America.

The Halbstarker, or “Half Strong” movement was made up of German and Swiss kids who’d obviously seen what was happening in the burgeoning American rock-n-roll industry, but they also seemed to have gotten a taste of the 1%-er motorcycle culture and a dash of hotrodding that was fast becoming one of the most influential mid-century American exports, too.

Weinberger was a GWC (guy with a camera) who had gotten some of his amateur photos published in the gay magazines of the day when he met a kid on the street in Zurich in the late Fifties who was dressed like some sort of beautiful caricature of Elvis, Lee Marvin, Bill Haley, the Lone Ranger and the Black Rebels. And once that kid let Weinberger in to the rest of his world that was existing just under the surface of post-war Western Europe, he wasted no time in documenting every glorious bit of it.

And see, this is what we love about offshore youth culture looking in on everything we created here in America: it all gets magnified. A good belt buckle can be a great belt buckle if it becomes a much larger belt buckle, right? Some purely functional metal hardware on a Schott Perfecto is awesome, so extending it in actual hardware to shirts, jeans, zippers and boots is more awesomer. Jelly rolls? BIGGER jelly rolls. Motorcycle boots aren’t nearly as “American” as cowboy boots, so cowboy boots with the jeans stuffed into them are better. A silver necklace? No, no, no – that won’t do…but a length of chain with an enormous old factory door lock around the neck will work just fine, thanks. It all adds a little more shock to the effect, right? Right. Especially when the world you live in is the righteous epitome of Western European culture.

The Halbstarkers were taking American underground youth culture to an extreme that, had they magically woken up one morning (after a night of doing whatever they were doing out in the Swiss woods) in Hollister, CA, would’ve probably even shocked the Americans they were sort of emulating. And Weinberger had gained their trust enough to document their lives and the lives of the subsequent outlaw cultures that grew out of them over the next three decades or so.

You can find more of Weinberger’s collection of Halbstalker in Rizzoli’s Rebel Youth. Good stuff…