Monday, April 27, 2009

Different Worlds

I just got a copy of Life magazine from January 22nd, 1940, because it has an article about Venice Beach in it. Before I even got to the article about Venice, though, I was looking through the letters to the editor, and I couldn't believe them. Here are the first two letters that I read:


In order to assist in the WPA project of mapping women's contours, looking forward to developing a new method of indicating dress sizes (LIFE, Jan. 15), I should like to submit the following equation for the Callipygian Curve:
As can be seen, nearly every type of feminine back may be represented by the equation.
Walter J. Seeley, Chairman
Dept. of Electrical Engineering
Duke University


When I was a kid I didn't like to go to school any more than other healthy youngsters. I think I may have found out the reason for this.
Recently, I made a tour of a certain state under the auspices of the Board of Education, giving talks on firearms safety to schoolteachers. At the various meetings I spoke to a total of approximately 1,500 schoolteachers. There were a few men teachers in the group but the majority were women. Of these, they ranged from young girls to older women, for the most part principals. Of the entire group I can recall seeing but four attractive faces. Many of those faces would scare any child.
What happens to attractive schoolteachers? I assume that some good-looking girls take up this profession. Do they marry off quickly and desert the game or are there any good-looking schoolteachers?
Any attractive schoolteachers who wish to prove the point with a photograph may write me. Until I have been convinced otherwise, it is my impression that schoolteachers are not good looking.
Philip B. Sharpe
South Portland, ME

I'm now beginning to believe the whole Kuhnian line about people in different eras living in different worlds.

Monday, April 6, 2009

The Location of the Real Paul's Boutique

The photo on the Paul's Boutique album cover is not of the real Paul's Boutique clothing store. It is of Lee's Sportswear, which was at the corner of Ludlow and Rivington on the Lower East Side in Manhattan. The Paul's Boutique sign was added to the building for the album cover photo. (Much later someone opened a Paul's Boutique diner at that location, but it is now closed. Since they didn't make any effort to emulate the look of the fictional Paul's Boutique, this doesn't make me sad at all.)

There was, however, a real Paul's Boutique and it was in Brooklyn. It was located at 758 Linden Blvd, between Utica Ave. and E. 51st St. I haven't ever called (718) 498-1043 but I did go to 758 Linden Blvd. the weekend before last and this is what it now looks like. The only thing that now remains is for me to track down the real Janice. That would be historic, on par with Errol Morris's best work.

One funny thing about the fake Paul's Boutique on the album cover: maybe I haven't explored Brooklyn enough, but the street corner depicted on the album cover looks to me like the kind of corner that one only sees in Manhattan. It certainly doesn't look anything like the buildings around where the real Paul's Boutique was, nor does it look like any of the neighborhoods I'm familiar with anywhere else in Brooklyn. Maybe this was intentional. I'm fond of the idea, suggested by the author of the 33 1/3 book on Paul's Boutique, that Paul's Boutique is an expression of nostalgia for NYC by former NYC-ers who have moved West. Maybe the cover photo intended to use the Lower East Side of the late 80's to depict what Brooklyn looked like in the late 70's.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Buger Shots

Saw this when I went down to Philly a few weeks ago.