Jun 23 2011

Peggy Sue

I know nothing about cars, or next to nothing. I know I want a 1964 creamy yellow Karmann Ghia.

And that’s about it, and I love my new truck that really belongs to my partner, but we lovingly call it ‘ours’. It’s vintage, although I don’t know the year. It’s burgundy and beautiful, a little patina’d and rough around the edges and that makes it even better. Which leads me to why I am writing a blog about cars.

My partner, and his love affair with cars. He has had over 65 cars since he was fifteen. He knows most cars ‘make and model’  from about the 1970′s back. He loves cars and I love him, so we ended up at a local car ‘parade’, Peggy Sue’s Cruise on a Saturday night.

I loved it, and I got to take a lot of pictures of beautiful colors, curves, lights, logos and machinery. It was a total feast for the eyes and it was packed with cars, kids, and people having a really good time. Thanks, Ken, I wouldn’t have gone without you.


Even the Foster Farm Chickens and their cronies showed up,



What I can do is show you the cool stuff I saw. I have no idea what the names of these cars are, or the year, the model or make. I just know I liked a lot of them and I would love to share them with you.






























Jun 22 2011


Maynard Hale Lyndon + Lu Wendel Lyndon

Maynard Hale Lyndon and Lu Wendel Lyndon’s Placewares+LyndonDesign

My first trip to Placewares was out of desperation. For personal reasons I wasn’t having a very good time at my normally favorite retreat, the Sea Ranch. I needed to get out of the cabin and I made my way to Gualala, and stumbled upon Placewares. It was just what the doctor ordered. I had a nice conversation with the owner, and left with four different colored concrete cubes by artist Andy Bondi. I rarely go to Sea Ranch anymore, life has changed in oh so many ways, but I had some business to take care of on the coast and my partner and I decided to drop in.

I am so glad we did. We poked around the store, and found beautiful pottery by Soule Studio, Marimekko towels, and other favorite items I have to live without.

Soule Studio


But the most pleasurable part of our visit was meeting Maynard Hale Lyndon and his wife Lu. I had a crash course in the modern design movement in about a fifteen minute period. Maynard’s  story began with his involvement with the Design Research Store and ended with me having to be pulled out of LyndonDesign by my partner. Maynard  worked at the Design Research Store in Cambridge, Massachusetts before coming out to California. There is a book, titled Design Research: The Store That Brought Modern Living to American Homes and the store is still standing, albeit to new retailers.

I would not do the Lyndons’ justice if I did not mention Design Faith. Maynard and Lu  are interviewed in this well written, and thorough piece about modern design in the twentieth century. Design Faith is a testimony to  Maynard and Lu, and chronicles their journey from the East Coast to the West. Please read the interview as it is meticulously and beautifully written.  Some one did their homework on Placewares and its owners. I can only emphasize again, read this piece!

I, on the other hand, will show you what caught my eye on my trip to Gualala.

Sea Ranch is where the Lyndons make their home. The Sea Ranch by Donlyn Lyndon (Maynard’s brother) and one of the architects that designed some of the early Sea Ranch homes in their original vernacular.

A photograph of a photograph, from The Sea Ranch, Maynard and Lu’s deck

Lu and Maynard’s interiors at the Sea Ranch

Maynard Hale Lyndon’s ‘Looking Box’

I almost left the store without going into the LyndonDesign, which is another room attached to Placewares. Currently Lyndon is  showing his ‘Looking Boxes’. Still my beating heart!  It was meant for me, he managed to make my love of the surreal come into the three dimensional world and I was delighted. An entire wall is devoted to these one of a kind, each unique, ‘Looking Box’. It is magical;  Lyndon juxtaposes three to four very different images, with views from one to the other and creates a special ‘world’. I love them.


“In my mind and hands, as I make the Looking Boxes, I envision juxtaposed views of inside and out. It’s a chance to play visually with ‘what if’ combinations-depicting places I’ve sketched or photographed or simply enjoyed.”

Maynard Hale Lyndon

If you want your own personal ‘Looking Box’, Maynard is very happy to work with you. He thumbed through his extensive personal orders, and even those pictures were enough to put me into a trance. He will take three or four of your favorite photographs and/or sketch and create a box unique unto you.

Maynard ‘Houses’

LyndonDesign has several shows throughout the year, the posters on the wall are a sampling of past shows.

I have a few more things that need my attention up in Gualala, and I know we will stop by Placewares. I want to look a little longer, talk a little less. ‘Looking Boxes’ deserves one’s full attention, and then let your eyes and mind wander.

Maynard Hale Lyndon and ‘Looking Boxes’

Jun 18 2011

Get your Motor Running

and head out on the highway with Phillip Batson, scientist, photographer and man of mystery.

on the road with Phil,

a birds’ eye view from his motorcycle


Phil and his Yamaha, post trip

Phillip Batson is the most adventurous, young at heart, seventy year old person I have ever encountered. He worked most of his adult life at Berkeley National Laboratory as a scientist, and although he is officially retired, he is never very far away from working on or advising on projects for various clientele.


Phil’s  road worthy Yamaha


Phil began his trip in 2007 leaving from Santa Rosa and traveling to Key West Florida. After Katrina hit New Orleans, Phil a long time visitor to New Orleans, wanted to see the damage firsthand. He photographed that trip with his heavy Canon 20D. It proved to be too heavy to leave around his neck all day but he managed to he get a few photos while riding. On this juncture of his odyssey he traveled across the southern states. He stopped at the Carlsbad Caverns and then returned to California. Phil kept a wonderful log of his trip, took over 35,000 pictures and you can access his journey at http://altairhouse.com/mctrips/index.htm

from the rear view mirror

Phil’s show in Alameda only showcased a very small handful of his photographs. He had a wonderful slideshow running of his pictures to view as well, and of course the infamous Yamaha was on display for all of us wanna be adventurers to climb on to and pretend we were on the road again.

biker babe Bean

In 2008 Phil  rode to Alaska going north on 101 and coming back through Wyoming.

“In preparing for this trip I bought my net book and my Panasonic Lumix FZ-28. I went to Walmart and looked for a camera that I could use with my gloves on. The camera passed the test plus it was light enough that I could leave it around my neck all day.  Switching from my old laptop and Canon gave me a lot more room for other things. That trip was a little over 9,000 miles. I was in Alaska the last week of July and first week of August. It was the year they did not have a summer. Rained most of time. “

That trip did not stop our wanderlust Phil, he began another trip in 2009. This is the trip that allowed him to photograph to his heart’s content. He had the right camera and laptop set up.  Phil wanted to ride through all of the states that he had previously bypassed.  He headed east bouncing north and south as he traveled to “collect states and places” he hadn’t visited.   A storm front followed Phil across the country and in North Carolina he rented a motel to let the storm pass.  According to Phil, this was by far his most interesting trip. He kept a slower pace traveling but was once again called back for his high school reunion!


slideshow on big screen monitor



In 2010, Phil’s last trip in this series, he describes a ” trip where I did 1000 miles in under 24 hours for the iron butt award”.   He traveled to Colorado to ride to the top of Mount Evens and Pikes Peak, both over 14,000 feet, with Mount Evens being just a little higher.  Phil is back to California and we really don’t know what Phil has up his sleeves for his next adventure? We’ll find out.


I do believe our scientist made it to the moon!


attention to detail


Times Square, Manhattan


I love this prologue to Phil’s journal from his trips. So to close . . .



I bought this old motorcycle so I could go for a ride with my neighbor and friend Barry. Little did I know it would lead to much bigger adventures. The old 1986 Yamaha Venture Royale XVZ1300 had 53,000 miles on it when she became mine. She now has 114,000 and counting. At 800 lbs. she is no lightweight but she has 1300cc and 98 hp to push us along. The bike has been described by some as a barcalounger on two wheels. She has cruise control, am fm radio and a cassette deck. I have removed the other frills.

We have now visited 49 states together and as far south as the tip of Key West Florida. We have ventured as far North as the Arctic Circle. She has been in whale snot on the way to the Arctic Circle, in the heat, rain, sleet, snow and hail. We have traveled the freeways and the by ways together, down gravel roads, dirt roads and through the mud. We have traveled together coast to coast twice. She has fallen over many time so has lots of bruises but has never fallen while going down the road. (She has wonderful karma) I have tried to keep a log as we have traveled. The writing may not be great but the experiences were.

I would love hear your comments xriphil@hotmail.com

I encourage you to read Phil’s blog, it is an odyssey and my what a lucky man he is.




Jun 8 2011

Imitation of Life, 1959

I recently watched the movie ‘Imitation of Life’.



It is a remake of an earlier movie, same title, starring Claudette Colbert, made in 1934 and based on a novel of the same title by Fannie Hurst.

I was attracted to the movie because of its subject matter and then became increasingly taken with the visuals. The sets, the colors, the cinematography and of course, the clothes. Lana Turner, the lead actress, wore Jean Louis and it is estimated that about a million dollars was spent for his incredible designs. I have searched the internet high and low and what I am offering is the best I can find. I suggest if you are a clothes freak, watch the movie. An interesting side note, Jean Louis designed Marilyn Monroe’s infamous gown that dazzled President John F. Kennedy on his birthday.

Jean Louis

The movie is unique because it deals with racism. Mainstream Hollywood films were not really interested in acknowledging this particular American problem. The movie was directed by  Douglas Sirk, produced by Ross Hunter and released by Universal Pictures. It starred Lana Turner and John Gavin and features Sandra DeeDan O’HerlihySusan KohnerRobert Alda and Juanita Moore as Lana Turner’s friend and companion, Annie Johnson. Gospel music star Mahalia Jackson appears in the movie as a church choir soloist. The movie deals with the issue of ‘passing’ and the conflict it sets up between mother and daughter. Douglas Sirk never lets you forget about the racial divide, despite the lavish sets, the drop dead clothing that Lana Turner wears and pure melodrama of her story. It was panned when it was released; today many filmmakers laud Sirk’s work, and this film.

Douglas Sirk

One Happy Family


Fuschia  Ensemble


Orange Chrysler 300 c convertible  (to die for)


Sandra Dee and Juanita Moore


Lana Turner and Sandra Dee in Sandra’s bedroom


Susan Kohner and Juanita Moore


Mahalia Jackson


Susan Kohner




Jun 3 2011

Mary Quant, Mod 101

I lived in Germany when I first heard about Mary Quant. I wanted white go-go boots, a mini skirt, and a wide leather belt. I also wanted a Vidal Sassoon bob. I got it the whole package and that was the beginning of my love affair with the Sixties, Mod, Twiggy, and ultimately the ’90′s redux, Austin Power’s: International Man of Mystery.

Mary Quant and Vidal Sassoon


Mary Quant

‘It is given to a fortunate few to be born at the right time, in the right place, with the right talents. In recent fashion there are three: Chanel, Dior and Mary Quant’.

Ernestine Carter

I could not agree more. She is credited with inventing the miniskirt and hot pants and she not only could design it, she could wear it.


Quant was beyond expirimental. It was as if someone blew helium into the fashion scene. Color, materials, patterns, shapes and sizes were no longer what you had seen the day before. She made sweater dresses with plastic collars, knee-length white plastic lace-up boots, and of course, the miniskirt.



Mary Quant owned a clothing shop in Kings Road, Chelsea, London, called Bazaar, from which she sold her own designs. By the late 1950s she was experimenting with shorter skirts, and in 1965 the miniskirt was born, named after her favorite car, the Mini.



The ‘London Look’ reigned  and ‘Mary Quant’ and Carnaby Street were accessible to the young and trendy. Jimi Hendrix landed in London and bought his entire wardrobe to blow away Eric Clapton at their infamous meeting.

Throughout the 1970′s and 1980′s Mary concentrated on her make up line. The only thing I ever owned that was made by Mary Quant was berry stain lip gloss. My brother’s girlfriend took me to a trendy boutique in Mill Valley, summer  of 1973, and bought it for me, I was in heaven.


In 1988, Mary Quant designed the interior for the BMC Mini. It featured black and white striped seats with red trimming. The seatbelts were red, and the front seats had Quant’s signature. The steering wheel sported Quant’s iconic daisy. Two thousand BMC Mini’s with this package were released in the UK on 15 June 1988.

I still love the clothing of the 1960′s and many of my favorite designers openly acknowledge their nod to the ’60′s in their current designs. Today’s fantasy would be to open a little store devoted to all things 60′s. Mod rules.


Jun 1 2011

I ♥ Vivetta


Vivi Ponti designs VIVETTA.



This sweater is from one of Vivi’s earlier collection. It is one of my favorite pieces, and I don’t own it. Yet.

VIVETTA was founded in 2008 by Vivi Ponti, VIVETTA’s only designer. VIVETTA designs are made completely in Italy. All materials are from Italy and production is done solely in Italy. Her collection can now be found in boutiques throughout our beautiful world. I own three incredible pieces that I will never tire of. Her designs are timeless and yet they are so freshly original they take my breath away.


Andrea dress at Cancun Boutique in Paris


I have a lovely series of photos to share with you, Vivi calls it GIRLS ON VIVETTA.


white lace pierrot dress

cat skirt

I love you shirt

Red Criscris Coat


These are women, like myself, who are addicted to VIVETTA. Once you own a piece you have got to have another. They are like little building blocks of beauty.

Her new collection for Spring/Summer 2011 has absolutely to die for dresses.

Black Pierrot

My very favorite dress from her current collection, the Black Pierrot. I simply love it.


Why do I love Vivetta? This dress knocked my socks off, and it’s gone, daddy, gone. The lucky owners’ are ‘fantasies’ in my mind. I keep thinking one of them will magically call me and say, “Hey Michel, you know that dress that turned your head? Well you just have to have it, so please, here’s my gift to you”. Fantasy is one of my greatest abilities, and fantasy is what VIVETTA delivers.

I Vivetta

some cool videos on VIVETTA

check them out

Michel Stong | Create Your Badge