"Space Age. I knew what it was but I hadn't been able to find the words to describe it. All those tiki apartments I kept seeing, the outlandishly opulent 70's shopping malls I used to hang out in, that LAX theme building that looked like it landed in the middle of the airport like that spaceship from ELO's 'Out Of The Blue' album and what about all that elusive semi-elevator music?
As it will be scribed in aching detail in this zine series, it wasn't until the 90's when I discovered the terminology that pretty much served as an umbrella that covered this whole scheme: Space Age. Those times between the end of WW2 and around 1981, where the relief from the war and the resulting social suppression spawned an optimism that tried to surpass it and the wide spread fantasy of the future was in the air
What period could ever give us cultural passing floats like World's Fairs and its permanent off-spring Disneyland; the music of Burt Bacharach, Martin Denny and, for the hyper active, the maestro Equivel! (yes, spelled with a exclamation point); an urbanrama sprawl that created its own paradise of decorated backyards from other Polynesian countries, funky shopping centers and almost every corner of Main Street U S of A that had a lounge/bar brought a little extravagance and flare to everyday life. Even the goofy little word & became an architecture term.
All of this unchecked unabashed optimism and cultural fun would obviously be seen as a cover-up to all the realities of the era like assassinations, the 'industrial war complex' Eisenhower warned about and social upheaval that forced a realization of America's underbelly. However, as George Carlin demonstrated in the title of one of his books, the reach of human nature can create the wonderful (Silly Putty) and the dreadful (Napalm) with everything else falling in between in its valley like a bottomless pit. Pop culture serves as a wallpaper to take the edge off the reality and, if done well, help you understand it, too.From the early 50's to the late 60's, the future, or at least, the one we were told about was just, as one of the rides from that Space Age epicenter, the 1964 New York World's Fair, sang endlessly 'only a dream away'. It was't until the 70's and Watergate that everybody slowly began to realize that the New Frontier jig was, more or less, over and the last gasp of the Space Age, disco, was greeted with jeers as we were rolling into the self-conscious 80's and Ronald Reagan.
Little pockets of this old age still came up with bands like B52's and Pee Wee Herman in the form of camp but it wasn't until the 90's that the 80's fog of war lifted and people realized that those decades we were told to ignore weren't so bad after all.
Soon zines, CD reissues, shows on independent radio stations, the growth of the internet and nightclubs and social gatherings began to unearth, reevaluate and praise the Space Age."
This was a part of the introduction of the book version of SPACE AGE ASH TRAY that was published twice eons ago. Now that the ashes of this project was been blown off the earth, it has, more or less, returned as a zine series about a period that I grew up in but too young to remember. So much for nostalgia!
Each issue will grapple and chase down fragments of this now illusive era and will be sandwiched into its 20 pages.
We get the ball rolling with the introductions; the long version you have just read and my own and how I can into this obsession. Go tiki apartment hunting in my old home town of Santa Monica, CA and roam the Edward Hopper-styled streets of old Las Vegas and more
What do mix tapes and the Space Age have in common? Hmmm...I don't really know, but there's a connection somewhere in my head and ears and this future issue tries to explain it. I hope. Coming in early 2020.
Things get 'interesting' as I tackle one subject for one issue: the 1980 movie musical, Xanadu! How it has survived and thrived to this very day, mainly thanks to the fans, like me. We travel to the unofficial 25th anniversary screening of the film and then to New York City to visit the films latest incarnation, a Broadway play, along with a side trip to what's left of the 1964/65 New York World's Fair and more.
Each issue is digest size of 5 by 8 1/2 , 20 b&w pages and come with a $3 price tag.If you're interested in a copy send $3 for each to:
674 Riverfront Drive
Bullhead City, AZ 86442-6302
I do accept reasonable trades but not prisoner trades. If you're Etsy inclined, swing on over to my Etsy page.