Snackbar Confidential / Art Au Go-Go !


Saturday, January 20, 2007

Thrift SCORE, Jan. 18 2007 *UPDATED* FEB.19

My first Thrift Score of the new year! I had finished a new painting last week and needed to frame it. If you've ever had to go out and buy a wooden picture frame brand new, you know how expensive they can be ( a small 16 x 20" wooden frame --just the size I needed would probably run $24.99 -- at a retail chain store like Michaels'). Even at that, the quality is so bad that there were times when I was looking at new wooden frames and scratching the back of it with my thumbnail questioning it's quality--like it was some sort of "poly-wood" or something. So being a veteran of the thrift stores, I simply put "buy small wooden frame" on my mental thrift list. ****As Thrift Store "Laws of Circumstances" go, you rarely find exactly what you're looking for in thrifts--they are NOT fully stocked like supermarkets--rather, you're more likely to be diverted by another bargain item that never even entered your head. Example : "I went in looking for a vintage cocktail shaker , which there were none of, but I did find a clear lucite magazine rack from the 1970's for my bathroom"
Next Day: I went to one of the most dubious (but large) thrifts in my area; the accursed
Northern Thrift (Huntington Station, NY)-- a not-for-charity thrift that seems to forget what the word "thrift" really means and moreover, the fact that thrifts are sometimes geared to people with lower incomes (and cheapskates like me!). Whenever I do enter Northern Thrift , I use with extreme caution and get ready to "bite-the-bullet", wallet-wise.
To beat-them-at-their-own-game, I only shop at N.T. when they do the "half-price-ticket-day" (All
green tickets half price, etc.)
So....let the games begin.....
I enter the store at 11:50 am and first thing I see; a badly painted vintage clown painting in (gasp!) a 16 x 20" wooden frame! Exactly what I was looking for! (SEE PHOTO). Alas, this is Northern Thrift, and this piece of "art" is overpriced at $14.99 (!). In fact all the "art" and framed items in the store are pretty expensive-- I really really really doubt that the Vermeer on the shelf (next to the framed kitten poster) is an original , but they price according to stupidity here, and the stained faded Vermeer print in a chipped frame is $39.99 or more (and the kitten poster is the same price too! Oh, and a cheezy poster picturing a pair of pink ballet slippers next to a single rose in a vase (in faded condition --circa 1987): $29.99--these people are fucking insane with their prices!Arggghhhhh........
The good news was that the clown painting in the frame was half price, as it had an Orange sticker! Whew.
Score # 1; (Clown Painting) in Desired Wooden Frame - $7.49.

Next , if you're like me, you never have enough pairs of jeans. There is no feeling more comforting than having a stock-pile of jeans in varying degrees of character to suit your mood or activities (loose fit, regular fit, boot cut, brand new and deep indigo, worn out and faded with big Ramones-styled holes in the knees, various brands--Gap, Levis, Wrangler, etc.) So I find a pair of Levis in my size for the rip-off price of $14.99 (!!!!) A brand new pair of Levis is $21.00 at Wal-Mart so how could anyone justify buying a used pair at that price? But wait ...I see an "Orange Tag"...half off.... Score #2 ; Pair of Levis in my size, gently worn to perfection- $7.49. ($7.49 should be the REGULAR everyday price anyway! Those silly bastards!) Northern Thrift's Price-Pirates also commit this crime: no accounting for condition flaws! I've seen jeans in there, stained with white house paint OR bleach (that will never come out) priced at $12.99 ! Also, Northern Thrift does not price according to quality or brand. Used Levi's and Calvin Klein jeans are priced the same as Sears Tough Skins, J.C. Penny's Plain Pockets or K-Mart no-frills jeans. The Calvin's would have originally sold for $40.00 (or more)--the Levi's for about $20.00 and the J.C. Penny "old man's" jeans would have been $12.99--all brand new. Here and the misguided N.Thrift , Jeans are all the same (price-wise) and nobody is better than anyone else! Nice concept on paper--bad value for the customer who wants a worn out used pair to distress with fake blood for a Halloween costume (or just does not want to spend a lot of money at any rate and doesn't care about the brand or label).Now, he must pay $12.99 for the used K-Mart jeans that were originally $12.99 when they were NEW because the Levi's & Calvin's were (over) priced into the same ballpark ! THIS IS NOT THRIFTY!

Moving along, I pick up some minor items. A small but vintage pack of Party invitations with a kooky Jester on the front of the invites (these make great gift and all-occasion cards as well) Score #3 Package of Party Invitations- 39 cents.

Score #4
, Wizard Of Oz Shirt- $1.49 came from the T-Shirt rack. A bright green shirt (size Large) reads "Emerald City Pipe Band...Inis Fada...Wizard of Oz...2005". Huh? Some kind of "Oz" themed frat party? Anyway, I know enough people that love the Wizard of Oz, that I can give this as a last minute fill-in or gag gift. ($2.98 with Orange tag half price = $1.49)
Score # 5 - Mary's Danish CD "Circa"-$2.49. Mary's Danish was a very good alt-music
band from the "flood" led in by Nirvana in the early 1990's. The group had bawdy double lead girl vocals from Gretchen Seager and Julie Ritter and the band was sorta like a cross between
X and Sleater-Kinney playing at a college campus bar (well maybe not that good). Some gooves, funk, rock and soul. Their fist album is great ("There Goes the Wondertruck"), but this CD is just very good. The original Northern Thrift price on this is way over-priced at $4.99 -- but it was another "Orange" sticker and bling, $2.49. Unknown 1990's alt-rock CDs clog thrifts and should all be 99 cents if the staff pricing this crap never heard of the groups! Period.
N.T. has a outlandishly high prices on LP records too! Scratchy copies of the double "Grease" movie soundtrack $7.99, Herb Alpert's thrift perennial "Whipped Cream and Other Delights" goes for $2.99 and UP !

The final bill for my purchases $20.12

Scoring : 50 points on the painting with wooden frame. (Why so many points on a single item? Because I found EXACTLY what I was looking for with the weird painting as a bonus. I can sell the unframed clown on E-Bay or give it as a gag gift! If it does sell on E-bay, I could possibly make all my money back on the entire days thrift purchase!). 20 points on the Levis (for exact size), 5 points on the package of cards (for being way under one dollar!), 5 points on the Oz shirt (for the cheap gift potential), 2 points on the CD (which was no big deal, really). 5 bonus points for most of the items in this haul being very practical.
TOTAL THRIFT SCORE: 87 ! Very Good/Excellent.

****** FEB.19 UPDATE**** I just sold the clown painting on E-Bay for $15.00 today! SO; the new total cost of the haul comes down to $5.12 for all that stuff!

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Now and Then with LUCKY CHARMS !

One of my favorite all time cereal boxes! Lucky Charms goes back to 1964 (!) and this front image was around till about the 1978-disco-era when all things went seriously wrong and the plunge into the unlucky 1980's was just around the corner. Graphically, this is perfect! The red background has a touch of magenta that offsets the greens in Lucky's garb. Lucky himself is rendered not unlike an illustration from a better childeren's book from that era as well. The marshmallow count was still at four (4); green clovers, yellow moons, pink hearts, orange horseshoes and nobody was "sugar shy"!
Today the Lucky Charms box is a confused mess with almost no association to the old one. In the 1980's they also toned down his Irish brogue accent as not to offend anyone and kept adding different marshmallows which almost fulfilled a few childhood fantasies of the cereal being composed of nothing but marshmallows!

Thursday, January 11, 2007

The Poppy Family !

Finally on CD! The Poppy Family (1968-1973) featuring Terry and Susan Jacks. Terry being “Mr. Seasons in the Sun” (!) with his lovely sister could have been Canada’s answer to The Carpenters. Their music was all over the map--bubble gum, psychedelic, folk, cheesy & lullabye. At times The Poppy Family could almost pass for the Caucasian version of Os Mutantes! The vocals were mainly supplied by Susan with Terry composing the songs, which are pretty crafty and should have spawned at least a few more “one-hit-wonders”. They had a minor U.S. hit with “Which Way You Goin’ Billy” in the eary 1970’s. This CD contains 21 songs pulled from their two or three LP’s so all bases are probably covered as their discography goes. Obscure and somewhat adventurous

Monday, January 08, 2007

Kellogg's Danish G0-Rounds (1968-1978)

One of my first retro-food obsessions! I remember these as an alternative to Pop-Tarts as they sure looked like they had more yummy fruit filling (but they didn't). They tasted exactly like Pop-Tarts and came in the same routine flavors (Brown Sugar Cinnamon, Blueberry, etc.) I have no idea what the point was....but I loved them! The great TV commercial has a little animated merry-go-round with the Danish Go-Rounds (in place of carousel horses ) moving up and down as a chintzy jingle went "New, Kellogg's, Danish Go Rounds...." . Danish Go-Rounds devolved into Danish Rings in 1977 and were gone by 1978.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Has Anybody Seen My Old Friend Polly ?

My family was mostly Italian, so growing up, we had the required Sunday-Italian dinners. Polly-O was the most popular national brand of Ricotta Cheese and was always present in our kitchen. I loved that Parrot character who was almost kooky enough to be on a cereal box! Well folks....he's gone. On your next trip to the dairy isle, look at the new Polly-O containers and see for yourself. Another sneaky move by a major company discarding a mascot in favor of...I don't know...a new generic look? When did this happen? The dreaded 1980's, naturally! (Tropicana did it with the little Hawiian girl mascot on the container) . Write to the company and complain:

Four Huge Holes in My Old Food Collection

I have a lot of old food packages in my collection and have been collecting for almost 19 years...but these Burry's boxes have eluded me so far...
Even on E-Bay, they NEVER turn up.
This line of cookies was very popular in the 1960's and early 1970's . (The sandwich cookies had that little "button" of creme filling in the center that you loved to pop-out with your tounge) . Burry's was a division of Quaker Oats who also merged with Girl Scouts of America to produce their line of cookies....SO, when you buy G.S. cookies today, your eating these Burry's favorites of yesteryear! (Only without the cool boxes, dammit!)

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

What to wear in 1967.....

Super-cool wearables from the J.C. Penny Catalog in 1967! Penny's is the store that has you perpetually asking "are they still in business?" (they are) . I'd wear the green Robin boots with the Monkees outfit any day. The Monkees clothes would sure look strange in 1984, but as we are at the E.O.C. (End Of Culture)--everything old is new again. The hole-in-the-theory is that all the out-dated flashy, colorful and stylish MEN's wear from the 60's and 70's--usually is reincarnated into women's clothes (today). In the past few years, however, Ben Sherman, The Gap, Ralph Lauren and others saw the light--and produced a wide variety of bright, mod paisley shirts, fake ruffles, flower pattens and day-glo colours FOR MEN. (I snatch 'em up at Marshalls clearence rack too!)