Kooky Kitsch and So Much More
Due to overwhelming demand, allnewsnoblues.com is reposting this story.
Jessica Lindsey is the woman who can help you find that long lost Cabbage Patch Kid you've been searching to buy or that McDonald's shirt to relive your burger-flipping past. Lindsey, of Alameda, runs www.kookykitsch.com. also has space at Park Street Antiques and Collectibles at 1519 Park Street, also on the Island. We asked Lindsey to explain a little about her very unique business. Here is what she had to say.
ANNB: We know you could probably write a book on your business, but briefly, what is Kooky Kitsch all about?
JL: Kookykitsch.com is the source for the offbeat, the obsolete, and the odd. What that means is that I have been scouring garage sales, thrift stores, auction sites, the backs of food packages (for mail-away promotional items) swap meets and friends' cast-offs and closets for more than 25 years. I have amassed a substantial (more than 11,000 items) collection. About eight years ago my husband set up the website for me in hopes that I would clear out some space in the garage and he'd have room for his band to rehearse. Well, it didn't quite work out as he planned. Instead, it motivated me to start looking not only for stuff that I liked, but items I thought others would like, too. So, while he did manage to carve out a small area for band rehearsals in the garage, the attic is now chock full o' kitsch.
ANNB: Whatever happened to your original purchase, "McGruff the Crime Dog"? Does he have a place of honor in your home?
JL: McGruff is still around, somewhere in the house. He's probably staking out crimes to take a bite out of.
ANNB: What is the difference between "collecting" and "hoarding"?
JL: Collecting is what I do. Hoarding is what other people do. In reality, collectors and hoarders often share many of the same traits but, since I like to think that most of what I collect has some value and there's still room in my bed to sleep, it's a matter of opinion. My husband has offered on many occasions, to send me to a spa for the weekend so he can "clean up" the house, but I suspect he's got "clear out" on his mind, so I haven't taken him up on the offer yet.
ANNB: Is there anything that you have been searching for to buy but just can't seem to find?
JL: There's always that elusive item that for me, changes from year to year. Every so often I find out about something that's so bizarre I'd like to have it simply because it's weird or funny. For example, I recently found out about a toy from Spain that's an anatomically correct baby boy with a motorized appendage that pees...on you. Unfortunately, other times, these "wish list" items - like a 70's jukebox, Videosphere space age -looking TV or table-top PONG console - are just too expensive for me .
ANNB: What constitutes Kitsch?
JL: In the strictest sense, kitsch is mass produced "art" with pretensions to high taste. But in a broader sense, you could consider anything retro a bit kitschy.
ANNB: What are couple favorites in your collection?
JL: For oddities sake, a Fleet "Eneman" plush doll (yes a plush enema doll), a "Magic Fingers" vibrating bed massager, and pretty much any Keane picture of a big-eyed girl and a cat.
ANNB: Do you have any idea how much money you have spent buying things over the last 25 years?
I couldn't even begin to guess. Less than I would spend if I'd been a crack addict all these years.
ANNB: What is the hottest collectible item right now?
JL: Everything on my website!
ANNB: Do you see yourself doing this for the long haul?
JL: It's already been a long haul! I imagine I'll keep the website going in some form or another indefinitely. There's just too much to share.
ANNB: Do people think you are Kooky?
JL: They don't think I'm kooky. They know it. --KB
Glass House Open in San Ramon
Are you curious to know more about life in the good old days at the turn of the nineteenth centry in the San Ramon Valley?
Docents dressed as farmers, blacksmiths, bankers or in Edwardian hoop skirts with bustles and swishing petticoats, high-button shoes and bonnets, will escort guests through a 45-minute tour of the newly-restored and refurbished, 133-year-old David Glass House in San Ramon.
"It is an exciting educational work in progress,’’ says docent program director Dolores Pita.
Located on the southern portion of the 16-acre Forest Home Farms on San Ramon Valley Boulevard, guests can take a free tour at the grand opening celebration on the afternoon of May 15.
Take the opportunity to step back in time for a brief look inside the two-story, Italianate Victorian family home of early settlers, Eliza and David Glass and their family.
The David Glass House was restored to represent its original state from 1877 to 1931 at a cost of $1.2 million.
The restoration project included comprehensive details to make the complete park accessible to the public, with interests in antique agricultural artifacts, and an appreciation of preserving the beauty of open space.
The Glass House is located at Forest Home Farms, which was once the family ranch of Ruth and Travis Boone, a direct descendent of Daniel Boone. It was bequeathed to the City of San Ramon in 1997 for use as a municipal historic park and is now on the U. S. National Register of Historic Places.
Forest Home Farms Associate Stephanie Herscu says, "The city is excited to see this very special piece of San Ramon history presented to the community as a monument to the people, after twelve years of work."
The addition of the Glass House, built in 1877, added elegance to the simple farmhouse style that was prevalent in the San Ramon Valley at the time. Although David Glass was a prosperous man from the East, he was never wealthy.
Still, his taste for the home he would later have built by architects from San Francisco allowed for a sophisticated new fashion exterior design. The impressive, two-story, nine-room, white home stood in proud contrast to the modest structures in the surrounding area. With its elaborate tall windows, column-like structures flanking the front door entrance and the upper level front balcony, it conveyed a grand appearance amidst the small rural community of farm houses.
David and his wife Eliza came to California in the summer of 1850, founding a small trading post near Alamo shortly thereafter. They sold staple goods in high demand by early settlers along the old mission road, the only route between the mining district near Mt. Diablo and the center of commerce in Mission San Jose. Their first home partially burned down during the construction of this larger Victorian house.
The Glass family lived in the newer home until he died in 1897 and she passed away in 1899. Their two unmarried daughters also lived there until their deaths in 1922 and 1931.
The restoration project, 12 years in the making, has come to fruition via the collaborative efforts of the City of San Ramon Public Services Employees, The San Ramon Historical Foundation Volunteers, and grants from city, state and federal sources and private donations.
The newly-renovated Glass House Museum, relocated from its original site at Lora Nita Farm in San Ramon, will serve in depicting life in the San Ramon Valley in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s. It’s not a biographical account of the Glass family alone, but is representative of family life in the valley during the Victorian period.
The Glass House tours are from 1 to 4 p.m. May 15 at 19953 San Ramon Valley Blvd. in San Ramon. For more information, call 925-973-3284 or go to http://www.srhf.org/
Following the grand opening celebration, the museum will be open for tours the second Saturday of each month, between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. No appointment is necessary and the fee is $5 per person. Group tours are available for adults or children during the week. On the tours, there will be information about people living in the valley during that era, services available, home deliveries, the meat wagon, tips on how to be a good housewife and hand-written recipes. Hands-on activities will give children a feel for Victorian parlor games and crafts of the time.--KRB
Help Woman who had Double Lung Transplant
Kaitlin Fleming, 20, had a double lung transplant today, Friday, May 14 and people in the San Ramon Valley are rallying around her to raise $40,000 to help pay for the surgery and her aftercare. With the cost of a transplant often exceeding $500,000, many transplant patients are unable to cover the costs not covered by insurance. That’s where the Children’s Organ Transplant Association (COTA) comes in. It’s a national charity that helps organize and guide communities to raise funds for transplant patients. At least three events are planned in Danville for Kaitlin this month and in June.
Kaitlin Fleming, 20, had a double lung transplant today, Friday, May 14 and people in the San Ramon Valley are rallying around her to raise $40,000 to help pay for the surgery and her aftercare.
With the cost of a transplant often exceeding $500,000, many transplant patients are unable to cover the costs not covered by insurance. That’s where the Children’s Organ Transplant Association (COTA) comes in. It’s a national charity that helps organize and guide communities to raise funds for transplant patients. At least three events are planned in Danville for Kaitlin this month and in June.
Born in 1989, Kaitlin was diagnosed with Cystic Fibrosis when she was 1 year old. Cystic Fibrosis is an inherited chronic disease that affects the lungs and digestive system. It affects about 30,000 children and adults in the United States and an estimated 70,000 people worldwide, according to the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.
On Wednesday, May 19, long-time San Ramon High teacher and coach Hans De Lannoy, is organizing the "San Ramon Valley Yoga Crunch-A-Thon 2010 for Kaitlin." Students, and possibly even a few brave teachers, will meet at lunchtime in the auxiliary gym to pump out as many crunches as they can for as long as they can. People sponsor the students and teachers for a certain amount of money for every crunch completed.
Walk to show your support
At 11 a.m., on Sunday, May 23, there will be a walk-a-thon to help raise funds for Kaitlin. Meet at the Sycamore Club House, 635 Old Orchard Dr. in Danville for an easy stroll on the Sycamore Valley Creak trail in front of the clubhouse.
There will also be fair-themed fundraising booths, music and lunch (bbq chicken, Ceasar salad, beans, potato salad, rolls and beverages) provided by Bulldog BBQ and Catering. Registration is $25 per person.
Eat pizza for Kaitlin
On Saturday June 5, Primo’s Restaurant in downtown Danville will donate a percentage of the night’s revenue (including take out) to Kaitlin’s cause. All the waiters and waitresses are donating their tip money as well.
Kaitlin was a hostess and a waitress at Primo’s, but can no longer work because of her condition. The parking lot will be blocked off for live music and to accommodate more diners,Primo’s will open at 4 p.m. that Saturday, earlier than usual.
Donations can also be mailed to the Children’s Organ Transplant Association, 2501 West COTA Drive, Bloomington, Indiana, 47403. Checks or money orders should be made payable to COTA, with "In Honor of Kaitlin F." written on the memo line of the check. Secure credit card donations are also accepted online at www.COTAforKaitlinF.com.
We will bring you more updates on her condition when they become available. Follow allnewsnoblues.com for udpates. --KB
Have Your Own Palm Springs Weekend
More than 100 years ago, Palm Springs was a sleepy village situated in what were once hallowed Indian canyons. By the turn of the 20th Century, it was thought to be a place with restorative powers, due to the natural hot springs. By the 1920’s, it was discovered by movie makers and the Hollywood elite. Considered just far enough from Los Angeles to be out of the reach of tyrannical studio heads, movie stars flocked to the area to let down their hair and party like early rock stars.
As the era of Old Hollywood faded, the “Rat Pack,” headed by Frank Sinatra made it their own, building luxurious homes and backing the building of high end resorts and golf courses. But by the 80s, Palm Springs had become a faded beauty, known for tacky tee-shirt shops and retirees.
Enter Sonny Bono. The entertainer, restaurant entrepreneur and social activist ran for mayor and to everyone’s surprise, won the seat. Bono worked hard to bring the charisma back to the area, starting the Palm Springs International Film Festival, helping to restore the city core and bringing media attention back to the desert community. Sadly, he was killed in a tragic ski accident in 1998 .
Here’s how you can experience your own Palm Springs Weekend:
3:00 p.m.: Take the mid-afternoon flight from SFO to PSP. Check into the Ace Hotel, the newest and hippest hotel in the city. You may see in its stark white walls and orange doors a faint resemblance to a 60’s Motel 6, which it once was. The room rate varies by season, so check the website to make reservations.
6:00 p.m.: Head to Tropicale in downtown PS for cocktails and dinner. The outside patio is a great place to meet new friends while you enjoy the warm evening air. The restaurant has both indoor and outdoor seating. Serving a Hawaiian Fusion menu, entrees run from about $15 to $25.
9:00 a.m.: After breakfast at the Kings Highway at the Ace, rent scooters right out front and motor around the fascinating mid-century neighborhoods nearby. Stop at the top of Palm Canyon Drive, and look south for a dead on view of Bob Hopes house, designed by famed architect John Lautner.
Noon: Park your scooter in front of LOOK, for lunch. The lime green and black and white décor makes for a perfect place to experience the ultimate PS vibe. The food and service are the best with a covered patio to keep you out of the sun. My favorite, a wrap called Nuts and Clucks runs just under $10.
9:00 p.m.: Stroll along the retro shops of north Palm Canyon. Window shop, take in an art gallery opening or grab a gelato.
10:00 a.m.: Right across from the Ace is Koffi, where you can sit by the fountain and enjoy the view of Mt. Jacinto. Also be sure to check out Koffi downtown, where Sunday morning is an event with the grassy yard filled with morning people and their dogs. Right next door is Just Fabulous, where you can buy gifts, cards and books on the history and homes of Palm Springs.
1:00 p.m.: Palm Springs is famous for its consignment stores. Two of the best are The Estate Sale and J & J Consignments. Peruse everything from furniture to art to jewelry here. If you see something you like, buy it. By tomorrow, it may be gone.
4:00 p.m.: As your afternoon draws to a close, take time to lounge by the pool. The Ace pool area is usually rocking with a lively crowd on late Sunday afternoons.
7:00 p.m.: Palm Springs is loaded with entertainment options. From the McCallum Theatre to the Annenberg Theater to the many casinos in the area, there is always a great artist in town. Recent concerts ran the gamut from Reba McIntyre to Earth, Wind and Fire to Adam Lambert.
Sadly, you’ll have to catch that Monday flight home. But this is one weekend you won’t forget while you make notes of all the things still to do on your next visit.--SEW
The Estate Sale
Palm Springs Follies
A Senior Moment
Tomorrow is Mother's Day. We wish all the mothers of the world a wonderful day. Contributing writer Steve Wallace wrote this in honor of his own mother. Enjoy.
My mother is 74. She is still a beautiful woman and has a wicked wit and sense of humor. She can tell from 3,000 miles away if I’m having a bad day and I can tell from her "hello?" on the phone what kind of day she is having. We have had our ups and downs over the years. She can be stubborn, needy, loving, funny, exasperating, thoughtful or my best friend. Sometimes these things happen in the same day.
My parents divorced when I was 17. They married way too young, and if you look at pictures of their wedding day you will see a couple of terrified kids who are keeping the secret of a baby on the way (ME.) By their 30’s they realized that they were different people, with opposite ideas of what they wanted in life. Divorce is never easy and theirs was typical of most, but it was what they both needed to do to be happy.
For many years, mom struggled with her identity and insecurities. Having gone from a daughter and only child to a wife and mother, she wasn’t always sure who she was or what she wanted. There were other relationships. A second marriage that didn’t work out and another long term boyfriend. But eventually she found herself single again and stayed that way for nearly 20 years.
Then at her fiftieth high school reunion, in the small town in Ohio where she grew up, she ran into Toby. They had known each other in school, but not dated. They probably didn’t even run in the same crowd, but he had never forgotten her. He had also had a marriage or two, had grown children and a life time of experiences. They immediately found a commonality and bond.
But there was one big problem. He lived in Oregon and she lived in Florida. I think the term "geographically undesirable" might have applied here, but for them and the modern world, it made no difference. By phone, computer and the US mail, they got reacquainted and found laughter, joy and eventually love. He visited Florida. They spent a summer together exploring the country by car and visited family, introducing each other to their respective children and friends.
Within two years they had figured out how to share a life. Toby moved to Florida and somehow, two people in their 70s were living the life they may have had in that small town in Ohio in 1954.
This brings us to today.
That e-mail did catch me off guard, as it did my brothers and I’m sure Toby’s children, too. But, they planned a wedding just for them. No stress about inviting everyone. No frustration over other peoples wishes and wants. Just the two of them in front of their local minister in the library of their church. He was handsome in a suit and she was pretty in pink. They both wore big smiles with trust, hope and respect in their eyes.
So, for having the courage to find happiness at 74, for having the strength to just go for it, for having the love to sustain a new beginning, I celebrate your marriage even from a distance.
Congratulations Carolyn and Toby.--SEW
Find Your Way to Style This Summer
This is the May installment of the Designer's Log by Danville designer Steve Wallace. Look for Wallace's column once a month, usually the first Thursday of the month and feel free to email him ideas.
As I’m writing this today it’s raining and cool, even though it’s May. But, don’t let this longer than usual winter weather fool you. Summer is almost here, and you need to be ready. Just like you’ll be trading in the coats and boots for shorts and flip-flops, your home and yard wants to shed the gloom and show its stuff.
Here are 5 ideas to get your summer off to a fresh new start:
Get your outdoor furniture refreshed.
Winter can be downright hostile to your patio furniture. The rain, freezing temperatures and winds may leave your outdoor area looking worse for wear. Take time to give your furniture the attention it needs so when you are ready to sit out there with a cool drink it’s ready for you.
Teak furniture can be cleaned with mild soap and water. For tough stains, use a scrub brush with a little bleach. If you haven’t sealed it, it will have turned a silver-grey color. If you like that look, great; if you want your teak to look like new again, use teak oil, found at any hardware store.
Metal or aluminum furniture should hold up well over the winter. It’s best covered or put in storage, but if not, a good hosing will wash away dirt and grime. Most furniture made of metal or aluminum has a powder coating, which should not fade or discolor. If you have cushions, clean with a mild soap and scrub brush.
Wood or wicker furniture will be most damaged by the elements. Look for cracks or loose joints. Often these can be fixed with wood glue. More serious issues can be addressed by re-weaving or new dowels. Consider painting wood or wicker for a bright, fresh new look. White is always a safe bet, but wouldn’t it be fun to brighten up the space with sapphire blue or canary yellow?
Whether you have a large yard or a small balcony, plants and flowers in pots bring life and color to any space. Use odd shapes and sizes of containers for that unplanned, natural look. Pansies, vinca vine and geraniums are all inexpensive to buy, easy to plant and require low maintenance. Check with your local nursery for what works best in your situation. It’s even fun to plant vegetables and herbs. Tomatoes, beans, strawberries and basil all thrive well in pots.
This is the time of year to find great plastic serving pieces at the stores. I’ve seen colorful plates, glasses, pitchers and platters everywhere from Tuesday Morning to Target to Pottery Barn. You can also use mismatched glasses for candles (remember Citronella keeps the bugs at bay), throw an assortment of colored pillows on the hammock and rolled up towels on the chaise lounges for that resort look.
Plan a barbeque
Nothing gets the season off to a fun start like an outdoor party with friends and family. Make it easy on yourself and don’t over plan the event. Grill hamburgers or chicken, make a large green salad and serve strawberries and ice cream for dessert. Don’t offer too many refreshments, you don’t want to play bartender all afternoon. Wine, beer and soda should be enough to please everyone. E-vite.com has great summer- themed invitations for a fast and convenient way to keep track of the guest list and RSVP’s.
Although this is the time of year to spend more time outside, do something to bring summer indoors. Paint an accent wall yellow or lime green or lilac. Place a bouquet of wildflowers in a glass pitcher. Hang sheer drapes from a rod and let the breeze move them around. I have a brightly colored throw from Hawaii that in the spring comes out of hibernation to brighten up on the bed or sofa. You can feel like you are on a tropical island inside your house as well as out.
Steve Wallace lives in Danville. An interior designer for more than 20 years, his work has been featured in Palm Springs Life and he is completing a book about design for publication soon. He writes a monthly entry for www.allnewsnoblues.com about design and style. Contact him at www.stevewallacedesign.com or call 925.915.1005.