How's tricks? I am back and whoooo boy, the things I have seen since last we spoke. Diana Ross, for one. Joe Gillis still stuck floating in Norma Desmond's swimming pool, for another (why do I always root for him?! Why am I always disappointed!!). But most shockingly of all, a rare southern snowpacolypse. The whole country's been experiencing weirder-than-usual weather patterns lately, but tell you what, this little non-snowbird has had a DOOZY of a fortnight with regard to the wintry conditions. After week-before-last's Ice-Planet-Hoth-like mix of snow and black ice in the usually temperate corner of the South I live in, I did manage to:
- Eat up three consecutive days of vacation drinkin' mer-luht and suffering a semi-constant state of anxiety as to whether the weather would let up and let me go back to work, while binge reading three books cover to cover,
- Manage to, on the one day I did get out of the house and into the car, get stuck on a hill/ almost spin out into another car in the space of ten minutes' time, and
- Stay home the following day for sheer fear of facing the ice again.
Lord, these nerves, people! I'm trying not to worry like an octogenarian over the potential icy conditions on Thursday, but until then, let's get my mind off it by talking about oh, maybe one of the best thrift store finds I've ever made.
Let me introduce you. Folks, mindboggling cheap Curtis Jere; mindbogglingly cheap Curtis Jere, my readers. I am so excited over this hunk of metal I could cry salt tears. Take a look:
|I kept my ocelot print coat on so we would match. And also because I never want to take it off.|
I was at a junk store with Matthew over the weekend after a long, fruitless day of flea marketing and junk store perusing. He was nice enough to come with me, trailing at a distance with his PSP as I dejectedly price guessed Hall vases ("$8. Is it $8?" ((checks bottom of vase for sticker price)) "$7.99. Am I good or am I good?" or "$20." ((checks price)) "$68?! Are they HIGH?", and so on). To have no luck at the flea market is pretty bad (I did pick up a dress and an Asian inspired fifties' charm bracelet, but nothing to write home about), but to have no luck at three subsequent non-chain thrift stores is downright depressing for this spendthrift. I'd lost my husband to a pile of snarled Game Cube controllers midway through this, our last destination, and wandered down another aisle. "Well, this is all right," I thought, picking up a pair of vividly pink elbow length gloves for $3 (Schiaparelli, anyone?) and a little black turban from defunct Nashville department store Cain Sloan for $4. I was almost at the end of the second aisle of the store, headed towards the front to take a maudlin swipe at the glass cases, when I stepped into a booth full of framed photos. Still on the hunt for something to display some thirties' sheet music, I stooped to look, but first I had to move a giant metal rectangle out of the way to see the frames underneath.
|The booth minus one very important item, which I practically ran out of the store screaming with.|
As I picked it up, I noticed it was H-E-A-V-Y, which, if you know your Jurassic Park quotes, usually means expensive. "Huh," I thought. "Wonder what it is." With some effort, I flipped it over and saw this abstract panel of oxidized brass and three dimensional strips of squares and circles. I still wasn't convinced, thinking maybe it was one of those Rent-a-Center/TJ Maxx style oversized art pieces. All T, no shade, you know what I'm talking about. I thought, idly, as I sometimes do when wistfully willing the next album in the Goodwill bin to be Judy Garland and not another self-produced seventies' religious recording, if it might be a C Jere...but no. Surely not. Surely I wouldn't find something I've been looking for nigh on four or five years here, in a booth next to a booth that sells nothing but diabetic socks....
|My eyes went O_O|
OR HOW ABOUT $9.99. For less than the price of a Woodlands buffet lunch, I could own an honest-to-Garshen piece of high end sixties'/seventies' kitsch. At this point, Matthew caught up to me. The following conversation ensued:
He: Whatcha got there, cutie?
Me: ((in a furtive whisper)) It'saCurtisJerethesethingsareworthlikehundredsofdollarsletsgobuy thisrightnow.
He: ((in a stage whisper)) How much does that one cost?
Me: ((through teeth)) : TEN DOLLARS.
I know it could have been Marlene Dietrich's earrings or an old soup can to him, but he was sweet to feign being impressed until I could later explain to him the far reaching implications of this purchase (or the short reaching ones, which are mainly that I now have a vintage wall piece that isn't super easy to find in the wild for under $100, much less under $10). For his trouble, here's a photo of him holding the Jere himself (I love that tiny face) :
|On display. Like I said, this ish is heavy, too!!|
I was struck by what someone said in a documentary I was watching the other day about context while antiquing or junking-- the dealer in question had bought a slim, pale green lamp at an antique show for $10 "as a joke", thinking it was maybe a fake from the 90's of a better known design. The further he got from the dismal little corner of the field that the lamp had been on, however, the more life the lamp seemed to take in, until he realized it was actually a very good 1930's art deco piece, not derivative of anything, and that he'd bought it at a fraction of its actual value just on a lark. The lamp's proximity to so much "bad" stuff had made his otherwise impeccable eye for the "great" versus the "ok" fail him. Now, if you see a gorgeous rhinestone bedecked flapper masterpiece in a pile of polyester, sure you're going to know it's the best thing going on that sawhorse table. But sometimes, it's true, I buy something on an inkling of interest, get it home, and realize it's really something. This Jere is definitely a great example-- I wasn't even sure it was worth the energy of picking up when it was balanced on top of some cheap Home Accents 8 x 10 frames...but having it leaned up next to the record console every morning (pending my getting my dad to help me hang it on these thin walls with a certain degree of certainty), it's really grown on me how gorgeous it it.
|Once more, with feeling!|
I haven't been able to find an exact copy of this on Ebay or Etsy, but if you've seen one there or in your grandmother's basement, you have to promise to let me know! The more ubiquitous Brutalist designs by C Jere go for anywhere from $400 to almost $6,000, with the figural windmills and sailboats and birds a little less expensive. My socks were knocked right off when I did my usual Google newspapers search and turned up this ad from Artisan House (which Fels and Freiler cofounded in the early sixties') from the 70's :
All right, I have to get going, but what do you think? Do you love it or do you LOVE IT? Have you found anything you were cuckoo go gaga over lately out at the sales? Any amazing finds that defy the odds and spur the vintage imagination? You know I'd love to hear about it!!
I have a veritable backlog of things I need to gab at you about, and don't you know I've missed doing it! I hope I'm back soon, schedule permitting, to tell you all about what's been going on lately. Stay warm and safe in this crazy weather, and I'll see you in the funny papers. :) Take care! Til next time.