Miss Beatnik 1959

Don’t they look like they’re enjoying themselves?  These perky, cheerful ladies were just a few of the candidates vying for Miss Beatnik 1959, in this photo from the LA Times.   The ladies are, from left to right, Michi Monteef, Sammy McCord, Patti McCrory, Shaunna Lea, and Inner Thigh McGee there in the back is Jan Vandaveer.  They won’t smile or acknowledge the camera (except for Jan, but that’s why they made her stand in the back) because they really want you to know how serious being a Beatnik is — so serious, in fact, that this Beatnik contest was disavowed by Lawrence Lipton and his Beatnik colony.  See, this Miss Beatnik contest was sponsored by the Venice Art Committee, started by John Gifford and Tony Landreau, who were seeking publicity for their organization — which means, in Lipton’s words, they were merely “hip squares…taking advantage of the Beatnik movement.”  Real beatniks don’t do publicity stills, see?  Well, unless you’re a Greenwich Village beatnik, because they held their own Miss Beatnik contests in 1959 and 1960, but they were mocking the Miss America contest so that makes it totally Beanik.   The 1960 news article even mentions Miss Chicago Beatnik, Gnomi Gross, who went all the way to Greenwich Village to Beatnik all over those hep cats the way only a Windy City Beatnik could.  Hopefully the four ladies in the Venice Beach Miss Beatnik contest were able to rise above their unBeatnik ways and truly become the disaffected postmodern iconoclasts each one hoped she could always be.

He’s a Brick….House

Some men spend all their lives trying to get a foot-hold in their industry, struggling up the ladder, trying in vain to be recognized for their creativity and ingenuity, then one day — one fine day — they will create something awe-inspiring, something stunning, something that makes the other members of the industry look upon it in awe and wonder.

And then you’ll go to a society ball and they’ll make you dress up like your creation:

This  is from the Society of Beaux-Arts Architects annual ball, 1931.  That guy in the middle, wearing a Hamburglar bathrobe?   He’s the actual, real architect who designed the Empire State Building.  He’s so awesome he doesn’t have to stoop to wearing a ten-story sundress like his compartiots — screw you, Mr. Waldorf-Astoria, let’s see you architect something remarkable next time!  If only Sid and Marty Krofft had ever seen this picture, we might have been raised watching a TV show about a town populated by an anthropomorphic town, which would have been so recursive people’s brains would have exploded.


**Update:  A sharp eyed reader has pointed out that the guy I called the Empire State Building actually looks like the Chrysler Building.   JDavis is correct – that’s architect William Van Alen wearing the tippy-top of the Chrysler Building on his head.  Apparently it’s a common mistake for rubes who have never been to New York before, which describes me accurately.

The Appliance Ball

Kitchen appliance costume balls were serious business in the 1930s.   You didn’t show up dressed half-heartedly or ironically.  Well, unless you wanted to be funny and dress as an iron and call yourself ironic, but that might still get you kicked out.   See more of the modern machinery of the 1930s here.


Sail Away, MacGyver Style

Have you ever dreamed of just buying a houseboat, sailing away, and fighting crime under the auspices of a shadowy nongovernmental entity? Well now you can!

 Yes, for a limited time only, the houseboat featured on the 1980s adventure series MacGyver is up for sale! It’s not the first time it’s been on eBay, and it apparently goes up for sale quite regularly.  The owner has been trying to part with the MacGyver boat for years now, and I can see why:  I watched MacGyver religiously when I was younger, and every single person that set foot on that boat got shot at, was kidnapped, barely escaped being blown up, and at one point was almost crushed in the back of a garbage truck if not for MacGyver’s ingenuity in getting out of a tight scrape.  If the MacGyver houseboat doesn’t come with a fully-functional MacGyver to save me from international terrorists or mobsters, it’s much too dangerous for me to own.

Jayne Cobb’s Hat

Towards the end of Firefly’s only season, Jayne Cobb picks up his mail from his mom, which includes a homemade gift: a ear-flap knitted cap.  Fans love making replicas of props, and some industrious knitter has studied the hat through meticulous repeated viewings and pausing, resulting in instructions for how to make your own Momma Cobb Hat.  People will know, when you walk down the street, that you’re the kind of person who’s not afraid of nothing.

Dime Star Toys

Artist Randy Regier has a taste for 1950s toy and packaging designs, coming up with his own surreal and bizarre products.   I can’t be the only one who totally wished that Santa had left a Tardy the Man-Pony action figure under the Christmas tree for me.   Far more exciting than the G.I. Joe action figures — and I have no doubt that the Saturday-morning cartoon for Tardy would have been an instant cult classic.  John Kricfalusi was born to make that cartoon.

Here Comes Peter Cottontail…

Everone sing along:   “Here comes Peter Cottontail, Piloting the Weyland-Yutani survey ship Paas, responding to an unknown distress call…”  Oh, dear, things aren’t going well for the Easter Bunny this year.

As you’ll remember, xenomorphs take on characteristics of their hosts, so one can only assume that this easter-alien poops acid-filled Technicolor eggs and leaves chocolate headless humans for good little boys and girls.  Bonus:  Alien vs. Pooh.


Power Mustache

You know how awesome mustaches are, and now you can have them watching you in every room:

Creative Outlets Stickers, found at Etsy, have more than just moustaches, though: you can make your outlets look like dogs, girls, and all sort of other anthropomorphic things that’ll make you feel bad for shoving big metal spikes into their eyes and mouths.  Just be aware of what kinds of mains your country uses; U.S. outlets look quite humanlike, but if you’re from somewhere else, adding mustaches to your outlets might look more like a robot failing at trying to look inconspicuous amongst the humans.

He’ll Give You The Answer That You’ll Endorse

This terrified-horse mask has been getting around the internet for quite a while, whether you’re scaring roommates or just watching Google Streetview Car drive by.   Turns out, it’s a $30 piece of amazing that’s available from Amazon — and the user-contributed photos are awesome beyond words.   Go look at the Amazon slideshow, because rather than stealing an Amazon photo I give you this animated GIF instead.  Enjoy.

Via, and via.