fresh popcorn productions

observations and obsessions, in print and pictures. roadside ramblings, from the pavement to the pasture.

Tuesday, January 31, 2006

No Catchphrase Left Behind

George W. Bush is in the background, flubbing phrases like "baby boomer," "natural disaster" and "youth initiatives," stumbling over words such as "conscience," "resources" and "judges," and yet his delivery of the words EVIL and CREATOR ring out loud and clear, with an eerie, calm pride.

Roadside signs brought to you by: Pittsburgh, PA; Mt. Hope, PA; Brownsville, PA and Connellsville, PA.

Monday, January 30, 2006

Love the Neon, Hate the Meat!

A modern vision in brown, pink, gold and orange! Now dismantled, this towering sign boasts a hypnotic circumference of tiny bulbs and a western-style typeface that together form a glowing "10-gallon hat," a luminous structure that until recently, stood as a lone, neon masterpiece presiding over the sea of comsumeristic mayhem dubbed McFrightmare Road. This variety of Arby's sign is an endangered species of roadside advertising--sadly replaced by the diminutive red and brown plastic, neon-less version (seen dotting similarly nullifying suburban thoroughfares, such as the South Hills' Banksville Road), and I've attempted to capture its flair on film from Scranton to Spokane. A smaller version still stands along Route 51 in Brentwood.

Uses for Duct Tape

duct tape
noun: a wide silvery adhesive tape intended to seal joints in sheet metal duct work but having many other uses.
(Example: "Duct tape holds the world together")

I love hot pink duct tape! Discovered this chair, one of my favorite models of the classic, durable aluminum office variety, serving as a doorstop inside the stairwell of a downtown parking garage. We have several similar GoodForm chairs at home (sans tape), manufactured by the General Fireproofing Company of Youngstown, Ohio.

Sunday, January 29, 2006

Spring in January

Today's sunset in Golden Mountain brought this fluffy cardinal to our neighbor's fence and a luminous rainbow over the alley. They appeared suddenly and remained briefly. Magical gifts on a winter afternoon.

Pilgrimage to Jumonville

On New Year's Eve, we trailed close behind my brother's ailing van. Through grey rain and fog, our own van packed with more family, we left Pittsburgh to quietly honor and celebrate the life of a grandmother and a mother. Our destination: the Jumonville Cross, located on a mountaintop outside of my grandmother's childhood home near Uniontown, PA. My brother and I used to drink from the mountain's many running springs, and hike to the summit with my older cousin, who would hide in the woods from us on the way back down the mountain. On this trek, we passed through spooky Brownsville, stopped to peer into my great-grandparent's old house in Lemont Furnace and drove along windy sections of scenic Route 40. My aunt and I were stunned to see a a pile of rubble in place of Fayette County's most beloved potato chip haunt, Ruse's Roost. For more on this endangered roadside fowl, visit The Pittsburgh Signs Project:

Memorial at Jumonville Summit

The Blue Telephone

How polite and how elegant an empty roadside telephone booth can be. Reflecting a time, not so long ago at all, when our telephone conversations were ours to carry on and keep close. Played out within boundaries created by cozy booths or partitions, situated within interior and exterior spaces that provided both privacy and civility, our calls and their content were not always the currency of sidewalks, restaurant dining rooms, classrooms, museums, department stores, bakeries, or subway cars. This space-age example lured us from a rural route into the parking lot of the Keystone Inn, somewhere near the border of Armstrong and Indiana Counties.

Cold Wine, Cold Beer

One of many fond memories I have of my grandmother is, that to her, beer was ALWAYS "cold beer," as in, could you please grab me a cold beer? As for cold wine, let's hope it's white, despite the graphic. Two stellar libation advertisements, one from eastern, the other from western, PA.

Rest, Ye Merry Gentleman

On Christmas Eve, this sleepy sentry was charged with standing guard over an ornate menagerie of candy-coated gingerbread houses, a display of life-size statues representing the Christmas spirit throughout the ages and around the world, and a miniature holiday village complete with chugging toy train and fake snow.

The Amish Don't Shop Here

Driving back from New York City across my hometown state, this roadside gem lured us from the Pennsylvania Turnpike through corn fields and along main streets.

By far the most colorful sight along the wintery, desolate streets of downtown Lancaster, PA, this pop-art inspired, multi-tiered plastic appliance company advertisement caught my eye.

Vertically installed, it beckons like a candy bar!