PVD, You’re for Me.

As of tomorrow, I will have been living in Providence, Rhode Island- my adopted home town- for 4 years. It’s like I’m graduating from Providence-as-college (certainly not to be confused with Providence College. Go Friars.)

In celebration, here’s a mash up of two things that I have seen, thanks to the almighty internet, and have loved.

1.Spring of ’17: Providence Vaudeville Data Mash Up

At first, I thought that this was a flyer for some dumb, new dance night… but it’s not! In fact, it is a collection of 6 walking tours!

From the website:
To share a piece of this history with the public, I looked to graphic ephemera from the day: elaborate, often hand-drawn illustrations from Sunday Providence Journal advertisements for the various theatres of note. These spoke to me as the artifacts of Providence’s DIY poster culture, the visual antecedents of today’s wheat-pasted and silk-screened broadsides.

The performance/music heritage that these advertisements evoke inspired me to create a series of guided historical soundwalks. The six tours, intended to be listened to in the vaudeville sites themselves while walking, are partly personal, replete with my own real memories of live music in downcity Providence, and partly guided tours of the vaudeville era’s spatial history. While the archive is delimited by time, I have made a great effort to include information about diachronous sites of import in Providence’s vaudville history, not just those relating to the Spring of 1917.

So: historical walking tour+ vaudeville + broadsides + Sanborn Fire Maps= YES, PLEASE!

2. Kodak’s 1922 Kodachrome Film Test.

Maybe you’ve seen this before. Surely, by now, it’s been reposted to death by a bunch of 19 year-old girls whacked out on whimsy, calling it “elegant”, “amazing” or “amazingly elegant”. Regardless, I found it through Clever Nettle who got it from someone who probably got it from boingboing.net.

And here are my thoughts, as posted to Ms. C. Nettle’s comments thread:

Cheesy piano soundtrack aside, i think what stood out to me the most (so much so that I must comment despite being a silent reader of your blog for the past few months) was how completely humanizing this made the starlets. Because of aesthetic surrounding the typical silent film- the soft light, the flicker, the film stock- my mind just always assumes that everyone in 1922, including my 9 year old grandmother, was really, really graceful. But the little moments in between posing are so natural and human… and in turn, that makes seeing them do those classic, movie poster poses become so odd-looking and contrast so harshly with these folks who were just real people, roughly the same age as me!

It’s one of those conclusions that should be easy and obvious but isn’t- kind of like how I assume the sky was way more blue in 1963 thanks to Kodachrome.

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