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Retro Reading

The brilliantly retro-minded folk at Chronicle Books delivered a triple-whammy this Spring, with three new titles that will appeal to film lovers, design freaks, lounge lizards, and anyone with an appreciation of the past.

Cine Mexicano is a vibrant assortment of more than 150 posters from the mid-1930s to the mid-'50s culled from the Agrasanchez Film Archive, the largest private collection of its kind in the world. The era marked the Golden Age of Mexican Cinema, and the gloriously colorful posters are a vivid reminder of the celluloid dreams captured during that period. From political thrillers like Dicen Que Soy Comunista (They Say I'm a Communist) to heroic cowboy epics like Espuelas de Oro (Golden Spurs), the themes and storylines of Mexican cinema often closely mirrored those of Hollywood. These carefully preserved posters are a monument to a near forgotten art form, almost lost to the ravages of time.

Another testament to the enduring allure of innovative design is California Crazy & Beyond, a study of roadside vernacular architecture, by author Jim Heimann. As car culture flourished in the mid-20th century, builders began constructing gargantuan, whimsical, eye-catching edifices alongside the roads. Some depicted the very thing being sold, like a giant donut or bowl of chili. Others were a little more esoteric, such as the now infamous Brown Derby, shaped like a giant bowler hat. Pagodas, pyramids and tepees started springing up everywhere, but they were almost always intended as temporary structures, and most did not last or were purposefully replaced. California Crazy rectifies years of neglect and records a fascinating and fun part of American architectural history.

After touring the West Coast in search of supreme sillyness, take a load off with a couple hands of five card stud. Poker, by Al Alvarez, provides a fascinating look at the most popular card game ever. The coffee table tome covers the rich history of the game and the notable figures who played, from President Richard Nixon to World Series rivals Jack Strauss and Mickey Perry. The engaging text is complemented by historical images, including stills from films like Gone With the Wind and Cool Hand Luke. For aspiring players, there's a full glossary of poker terms in back.

-Joanne O'Day

For more Retro Reading be sure to visit the ATOMIC Retro Store.


Year 1999 Reviews
Year 2000 Reviews
Year 2001 Reviews
Year 2002 Reviews
Year 2003 Reviews
Dave Berger and The Sultans of Swing—Doin' The Do!
Blue Lunch—Not Live at the Copa
Blues Jumpers—Royal Motel
Johnny Boyd—The Last Word In
Buddy Blue—Pretend It's Okay
BR549—This is BR549
Dennis Caiazza and Swing Factory—
Enhanced
Liz Callaway—The Beat Goes On
Matt Catingub's Big Kahuna and The Copa Cat Pack—Shake Those Hula Hips!
Cocktail Angst—Big Top Parade
Gerard Carelli—Lucky To Be Me
Rebecca Kyler Downs—
Love Me Like Candy
Gas Money—Hopeless Love Affair
The Good Fellas—Salute!
Charlie Gracie—I'm All Right
Wayne Hancock—A-Town Blues
Skip Heller—Jazz From Hell(er)
Jools Holland—The Swing Album
The Jaztronauts—Swank
Jump 4 Joy—Cutest Lil' Boogie
KGB Swing—Proletarian Swing
Laika And The Cosmonauts—
Laika Sex Machine
Linda & The Big King Jive Daddies—
Linda & The Big King Jive Daddies
Jimmy Luxury—My True Love Is...
Maci Miller—A Very Good Night
Swing Nouveau—Shakin' When Stirred
Alex Pangman—They Say...
The Prairie Cats—'Til the Daytime Fades
Lee Press-On & The Nails—Playing Dirty
Dexter Romweber—Chased By Martins
Frank Sinatra—Sinatra Love Songs
The Stingrays surf Band—
Don't Fear the Reverb
Stardust Records Presents—
Vocal and Jazz Ecstacy
Ron Sunshine & Full Swing—Candy
The Swing-O-Matics—
The Swing-O-Matics
The Swingtips—Roswell
Joe Turley—When The Jitterbug Bites
Mitch Woods—Jump For Joy
Yalloppin' Hounds—New Yalloppin' City
 

Retro Reading Reviews
The Aloha Shirt
Cine Mexicano, California Crazy & Beyond, Poker
Cult Vegas
Dark City Dames
Entering Germany 1944-1949
The House That Jack Built: My Life As a Trailblazer in Broadcasting and Entertainment
Leni Riefenstahl: Five Lives
Making The Wiseguys Weep:
The Jimmy Roselli Story
Truer Than True Romance
My Father's Daughter—Tina Sinatra
Tell It To The Future

 


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