Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Penguins eating ice cream. No really, penguins eating ice cream. You will not find this print again anywhere else. Ever. Could there be a more perfect winter novelty print?

Look at their happy little faces as they keep cool in a black and white cityscape here and there relieved by sepia tones, Neo-Classical buildings and faceless pedestrians. They appear to be standing on a subway grate to me (which would probably hurt their little webbed feet) but with my provincial eyes everything looks like New York. Perhaps you see something different? To me they appear to be wandering around the Wall Street area, with the colonnades of the Stock Exchange intruding, and the narrow cobblestone streets closed to automobiles. Only their feet, beaks and ice cream provide the technicolor highlights.

This amazing print is available on sale for a mere $10 from Shotgunvintage, where you can find a number of other fetching things.

Far out, indeed. Prints like these were conjured up by the casual psychedelia of a time when counter culture was transitioning into consumer lifestyle. But I wouldn't say that the designer needed to open the doors of perception to create this print. There is plenty of late 60s to early 70s stuff that mimes or references tripping, but much of it is just that, a reference. I always felt that way about that Monkees' movie, "Head". Jack Nicholson, one of the only credited writers may have been high, but one gets the sense that Bob Rafelson, the director, was not. He was just thinking: what would someone on acid do? But without the bother of the trip. After all, one has production deadlines and someone had to edit the film, and get these ice cream eating penguins printed on polyester.

Though I must say it's been a long time since I've seen "Head". Perhaps a winter psychedelic film festival is in order. Though I cannot interupt the juggernaut that is the Karen Black film festival, currently screening most nights in my apartment. I'm now reading Marianne Faithfull's autobiography and she has a keen eye for the places where counter culture and capitalism cozy up. Her reinvention as the grand dame of rock alone shows her savvy. (I really want to know how one becomes a grand dame of anything. I promise a full report if Ms. Faithfull delivers any trade secrets.)

So, it's your call. What do you think? Penguins on peyote? Or: a bunch of suits sitting around a board room saying: will this rock those hippies?

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Blogger hollyhaha said...

This shirt is... cute. It reminds me of shirts in the 70's I would get at Contempo from the small mall with the ice skating rink. Wish I had saved all those clothes from those daze for you.

12:38 PM  
Blogger samsara said...

Dear Ms. Hollyhaha,

I remember that you once had a shirt with blue clouds and Victorian penny-farthing bicycles all over it. I have been dreaming of that print ever since!

2:42 PM  

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