Secret Oakland

26 02 2010

secret oakland
Originally uploaded by Paula Wirth

Do you have a secret Oakland place, underground activity, unique activity, local hideout or favorite local business? Know interesting Oaklanders (artists, musicians, dancers) we should know about?

Two new groups for all your Secret Oakland tips:

Secret Oakland group on facebook

and the flickr group Secret Oakland(where you can share your unique shots of Oakland’s hidden charms)


Come to my art show! Friday, Nov. 13th

10 11 2009

Behind the Cup: Coffeeshop Portraits by Paula Wirth

Art Opening: Friday November 13, 2009 from 6:00pm – 9:00pm

Urban portraiture sketched in brush and ink, captured in Vancouver, BC Canada and the SF Bay Area.

Show runs November 13 – December 15

Woody’s Cafe
1841 Park Blvd, Oakland, CA 94606
Hours: 7:30-7pm daily

Event listed on  Facebook | Upcoming


Merely Margy, a Comic Strip by John Held Jr.

27 09 2008

Merely Margy Comic Strip, by John Held Jr.
Clipping from The San Francisco Examiner
© 1929 King Features Syndicate, Inc.
Originally uploaded by Paula Wirth

John Held Jr. is best known for his caricaturization of the 1920s flapper girl, and other characters of the Jazz Age. His cover illustrations and caricatures adorned such magazines as Life, Judge, The New Yorker, Harper’s Bazaar, Redbook and Vanity Fair.

In 1925, Held started a single-panel cartoon feature for United Features Syndicate, called Oh! Margy!. By 1927, Held transformed the idea into a daily comic strip, Merely Margy, An Awfully Sweet Girl, for King Features Syndicate.

I recently found a pile of newspaper clippings from the 20s-30s, including six comic strips of Merely Margy, printed in 1929 in the San Francisco Examiner. Expect to see more scans, shortly.

More about Merely Margy on Toonopedia.

About John Held Jr.

Why We Say…

15 09 2008

Originally uploaded by Paula Wirth

Ever wonder about the history of various common American/English idioms and expressions? An adventure in exciting educational etymological entertainments can be YOURS!

I will be sharing illustrations and anecdotes from this vintage 1953 book by Robert L. Morgan, illustrated by Peter Hoffman.

Expect to see various examples, in no set alphabetical or thematic order, appearing in my “Why We Say…” flickr set, in the upcoming days and weeks, starting with ATOM and BABY DIAPERS. (The combo of atomic baby diapers comes to mind, and that is not a pleasant thought!! Luckily, in this case, they are separate entities. Thank goodness.)

Much thanks to Glen Mullaly, who pointed out a great 2004 Interview with Pete Hoffman (by Dave Karlen), and found out that this book was based on a single educational feature panel strip series (that lasted 28 years!)

More about Pete Hoffman:

WHY WE SAY… A Guidebook to Current Idioms and Expressions — and Where They Came From
By Robert L. Morgan, Illustrated by Peter Hoffman
Sterling Publishing Co., Inc.,  New York, 1953.
(out of printget your own copy on AddAll)

Museum of Neon Art (MONA)

14 08 2008

Dive for fun and profit
Originally uploaded by Paula Wirth

On my recent trip to Los Angeles, while shooting pictures in the historic Broadway Theater District, I fortuitously ran into the Museum of Neon Art (MONA), on 4th Street.

They have an impressive selection of vintage neon signs (though only a smaller portion of them are on display at any one time), as well as recent neon art, kinetic sculptures, and other electric marvels. My faves were the Jantzen diver, as well as a Lancelot Tile sign.of m

I was sad to have missed their Neon Cruise, a nighttime bus tour of local neon landmarks. Guess I know what I will be signing up for next time I’m in the area.

More of my pics from MONA
As well as MONA’s flickr group

Be sure to check out the museum the next time you are in L.A.!

For additional neon pleasures of an ecclesiastical nature, join us at my new flickr group, Neon Gods (Religious Neon Signs)

Take the Magic With You

16 07 2008

Visit the newly restored Alameda Theatre!

I’ve been closely following the development and restoration of the lovely Alameda Theatre, in Alameda, CA. This glamorous art deco movie palace was originally designed by Timothy Pflueger, and built by the Nasser family, who still own and operate the gorgeous Castro Theatre in San Francisco (another Pflueger creation).

After closing as a theatre in 1979, the building housed a roller skating rink, disco, and gymnastics school, as well as serving as band practice space. Now an 8-screen multiplex, with retail space and an attached garage, the cinema shows first-run movies.

I had a chance to view the renovated main theatre and grand entrance hall, with spectacular original lighting fixtures, gilt ornamentation, and plate glass doors. Spectacular! I would love, however, to view a thirties-era movie in that space, with Wurlitzer interludes.

My photos of the Alameda Theatre

The Alameda Theatre flickr pool

More info on the Historic Alameda Theater Rehabilitation Project

A great article from Alameda Magazine: Now Playing!

Easter Egg animals by Richard Baer

23 03 2008

Easter Egg animals by Richard Baer
McCall’s magazine, April 1954
Originally uploaded by Paula Wirth

Happy Easter!

Make these perky Easter egg animals at home!

Designed by Richard Baer for the April 1954 edition of McCall’s magazine, the animals include “Mr. Mouse,” an elephant, frog, rooster, duck, and of course, a bunny.

Read more

See the cover