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