Americana | A Continuous Lean.

Kubrick the Kid Captures the City

Feb 19th, 2015 | Categories: Americana, History, Jake Gallagher, New York City | by Jake Gallagher

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Long before Stanley Kubrick became the revered auteur responsible for films like A Clockwork Orange, The Shining, 2001: A Space Odyssey, and Full Metal Jacket, he was just a kid with a camera. And he truly was a kid. Kubrick was just seventeen when was hired as a staff photographer by the now defunct Look Magazine. As a native of the Bronx, Kubrick was a keen observer of the intricacies of the city, and throughout his five year career behind the lens, he portrayed the ins and outs of ordinary life in New York. From clubs to classrooms, from street corners to circuses, from boxing rings to bars, Kubrick shot society at all levels, capturing the collective frenzy of New York City in the late 1940’s. Below are just a smattering of the more than fifteen thousand images which Kubrick amassed from 1945 to 1950, but all of them can be found online at the website of the Museum of the City of New York.

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Iconic Campaign Buttons of Yore.

Feb 14th, 2015 | Categories: Americana, Jake Gallagher | by Jake Gallagher

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While, it’s not our place to wax on about the ways in which our country’s political rhetoric has changed, we would like to reminisce on the lost art of the campaign button. Unlike the gaudy and contrived pins of contemporary campaigns, classic buttons were crisp, clear, and generally just far more iconic. Some of them are bold, like Ike’s countless punchy slogans (he must’ve had quite the copywriting team) while some of them just seem absurd, as in Edmun Muskie’s fishing pin, but they’re all worth remembering, even if the candidate was not.

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A Whale of a Boat.

Jan 23rd, 2015 | Categories: Americana, Jake Gallagher, Obsessions, Outdoors | by Jake Gallagher

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On a recent episode of Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee, Jerry Seinfeld rolled around Montauk while interviewing Jimmy Fallon. The episode featured a whole lot of star power for one small web short (not to mention one very tiny car) but both celebrities still managed to get upstaged by the unlikeliest of cameos – a boat. But, not just any boat, a thirteen foot Boston Whaler which Seinfeld proudly called, “the greatest boat in the world.” For as hyperbolic as that may sound, Seinfeld’s claim is one-upped by an even bolder statement from the Boston Whaler company itself – that their boats are “unsinkable legends.”





Birdwell Flies High.

Nov 24th, 2014 | Categories: Americana, California, Made in the USA | by Michael Williams

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If by chance you have flown to Orange County recently you may have noticed an American surf icon staring at you as you float down towards John Wayne Airport. Seeing “Birdie” Birdwell on a factory roof should come as a surprise if you know anything about this sleepy SoCal surf brand.

Just as surprising as it must have been to scroll through Instagram and discover Birdie adorned to a mobile surf shop in Southern California this summer. Also, wait, Birdwell is on Instagram? The question you should be asking yourself is: What is happening at Birdwell? For any other brand this wouldn’t really mean much at all, but for Birdwell this is tantamount to a revolution.

Birdwell Beach Britches is one of the most storied and iconic California surf brands that has ever been. It’s authentic, still entirely manufactured in the U.S. (largely to the original specs) and it possesses a certain charm that can’t seem be replicated in modern brands. It took decades of being family owned and utterly resistant to change for the Birdwell quirkiness to resonate, ultimately giving the brand a cult following. Over the years surfers, lifeguards, beachgoers and the like fell in love with Birdwell and came to swear by the product for the quality and durability. Others, like me connected with Birdwell because it is so distinctly American and a time capsule of a brand.

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At Home in the Natural World: Yellowstone in October

Oct 28th, 2014 | Categories: Americana, David Coggins, Fishing | by David Coggins

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Yellowstone National Park is stunning all summer, but in October it’s even more stark and striking. The grass becomes the color of straw, the bison get frost in their fleece and mist rises off the rivers in the cold. Most of the crowds have gone—though there are still knowing visitors—and snow dusts the mountaintops.

Then there’s the Madison River, the main attraction for anglers making their late-season pilgrimage to the Park. Brown trout head into the river to spawn, their color bolder, deeper red and gold. Following the fish are people who wake up early in the freezing dark to go stand in the water. In feels foolish at times, but when it all comes together it’s clear that it’s the right thing to do.





Why We Still Need True Dive Bars

Oct 23rd, 2014 | Categories: Americana, Cocktails, Drinking, Jake Gallagher, New York City | by Jake Gallagher

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By definition a dive bar has no definition.

If you ask someone to define a dive bar, their answer won’t be about a dive bar it will be about their dive bar. Whether it’s the drab basement bar where they first sucked down a one dollar High Life, or some one-light-bulb hole in the wall where they continue to drink away the post-work hours, everyone’s vision of a dive bar is inherently personal.

Emily Dickinson once wrote, “I can’t tell you, but you feel it.” I imagine Dickinson was describing love (or just as likely despair) with this line, but her sentiment is just as true for a dive bar. Yes, there’s a certain atmosphere that all dives share. The outdated decor, the dusty bottles, the stone-faced bartender, the stench of stale domestic beers, a dirt cheap prices (often because the beer is just so damn bad.) We’re all familiar with these dive bar tropes, but what really makes a bar a dive is a feeling. It’s the sense that the world outside has disappeared, and for however long you sit on that raggedy polyester stool everything else can wait. It’s just you, a sweating bottle of beer, and your compatriots. Even if those compatriots are just the thoughts in your head.





The Surprisingly Stylish Side of Hugh Hefner.

Oct 13th, 2014 | Categories: Americana, History, Jake Gallagher, Magazines, Style | by Jake Gallagher

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Hugh Hefner is one of those rare individuals that appears to exist in a universe all his own. Sure, there’s the physical “universe” of the Mansion, the Bunnies, and the never-ending party that is Playboy, but there’s also something much deeper. Hefner has made a career out of the sort of images that you wouldn’t want your boss, girlfriend, mother, or fellow straphanger to catch you looking at, and yet, Hef still manages to come across as a gentleman at every turn. Of course, there is something slightly off about a nearly-ninety year old man that wears robes in public and is married to a women sixty years his junior, which is why we prefer to remember Hef for his younger, more presentable years.

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