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Los Angeles, CA

The Art of Reading and Everything At Hand to Make It More Enjoyable --

     Highly-desirable vintage and modern books,accessories and art

Blog

a selection of the very best vintage books & authors

Filtering by Tag: 1960s

1964 Venture Magazine, Volume 1, #1, Takes an Early Look at Young Authors & New Orleans Street Art

S.A.

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Sometimes a magazine is not a magazine, it's also a book. And in this case, the #1 issue of Venture (a travel magazine first published in 1964) was bound in cloth, which made it a book.   Image These days, sophisticated readers are not only attracted to rare antique and much-desired vintage volumes. We (and they) also are collecting old paperbacks (especially pulps) and even magazines, especially if they contain the works of not-yet-discovered authors & artists.Image

Case in point, Venture #1 which featured articles by John Knowles, then writing his second book of fiction (The Collector was his first, runaway hit & The Aristos, non-fiction,followed) and a young Tom Wolfe, who wrote about New York's "Helping Hands", and did not even merit a by-line here for his trouble. (To be fair, he was credited by name in the table of contents, but to young writers, by-lines & contributor attributions are every bit as important as the rolling credits at the front or back-end of a new movie).

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This Venture issue also contains an article by Craig Claiborne on New York Restaurants (he was an already well-known New York Times food critic, but not so much as an author of  cook books . (Hee wrote many after penning the classic New York Times Cookbook). Still, a Claiborne collector (and he has many passionate fans) might relish reading this early 1960s away-from-The Times --desk critique.

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One of my favorite articles in the magazine is a photo-essay on New Orleans' old wall-painted signs, presaging the street art explosion to come that would rock the U.S. urban art core in the 1990s & beyond. Unlike the handiwork of now well-known, stratosphere-selling street artists like Banksy and Basquiat, these art works were largely advertisements - some with words & some without: art sign-language to advertise the merchandise sold inside.

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It's 50-year-old magazines like Venture that can help you appreciate and understand the roots & routes now famed artists and authors took to find their calling - not always so deftly explained on sites like Amazon & Google.

Cooking Celebrities

S.A.

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I've been collecting cookbooks for years. This is rather odd, since I rarely cook.  I'm foodie at heart (and, also at stomach), so cookbooks are my idea of a Disney fairy tale. All I need is a magic wand to conjure up a handsome prince, who also happens to be a(magic) chef!  And Voila! Cook books inspire me to keep that dream going. Thus, I have a  bookcase full of vintage cook books, mostly by and about artists, or from other countries. (Anybody know where to find a multi-lingual-painting-prince who can cook like Gordon Ramsay?) Cooking for Charity in 1966

On the other hand, there are certain vintage cookbooks I collect that are definitely not in the dreamy category. This is  the case with Dinah Shore's  The Celebrity Cookbook,  a far cry from Disney. Alas, no brilliant color photos to dream over. Published in 1966, the book is aged and worn, like a starlet who just couldn't get a part. The dust jacket is tattered. There are a few stains, here and there.  But, if you don't or can't cook like me, this book is dual-purpose. Not only does it contain quaint old-school recipes, it's a great reference for autograph and entertainment collectors who avidly seek authentic signatures and ephemera.  Illustrations aside, this book has a certain panache. Or should I say, "ganache."

For starters, there's  Jacqueline Kennedy's recipe for Waffles and Bette Davis' Red Flannel Hash. Then, there's Edith Head's Chicken Casa Ladera and Lucille Ball's Persimmon Cake. Each recipe was signed, when submitted to Dinah for inclusion in this book, and later  printed in facsimile. So, with the help of this book,  you can compare Sandy Koufax's signature to the one on the baseball you are thinking of buying. (Never mind his recipe: boiling water for coffee).

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The other most charming fact about this book is that it features the home addresses of many late celebrities. Gene Kelly, the great dancing star, lived on North Rodeo Drive, presumably cooking up some Coq Au Vin in the kitchen. The great writer, Fannie Hurst, lived & cooked on West Sixty Seventh Street in New York. Dean Martin , who contributed Martin Burgers (plain hamburgers with a side of chilled bourbon), lived on Graciosa Drive in L.A. Not every famous person/politician's address was included with their recipes, but enough of them  to whet a paparazzi's appetite (had they existed, back then).

Designer Chicken

So, yes, the 1960s were simpler and more idealistic. People shared. Not only their recipes, but their addresses.  And, this book, with its personal details, is witness to that.  And, like that.

Cooking in the Rain