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Tag: vintage

Everybody dance now: Conga dogs

Why dogs dancing the conga?

Because it’s my birthday.

I got an e-card that featured this video.

It made me smile. Hope it does you, too.

A blast from the past — of soda water

Here’s a vintage video — circa mid1980s — that’s funny enough on its own. Throw in the disco hairstyles, and the fact that the deadpan British pub owner is speaking Japanese to German shepherds, while Dutch subtitles run across the screen, and I’d have to call it a classic.

We coulda stayed in a wigwam

Ace and I had planned to get across the New Mexico state line Monday, but once we hit Holbrook, Arizona it was close to 6 p.m. So I pulled out my AAA “Traveling with Your Pet” guide to see what lodgings might be friendly, and saw that all four listed accepted pets “with restrictions.”

We hate restrictions.

We’d decided to push on to Gallup when we saw, on the edge of Holbrook, a Motel 6 — the chain that we’ve come to rely on for under $40 a night dog friendliness, with no deposits or restrictions. We checked in there — it’s the nicest Motel 6 we’ve stayed at yet — and I left Ace in the room while I went back into town trolling for somewhere to eat dinner.

It was then I found where I should have stayed. Had I done a little research, or taken 10 minutes to tour the town first, I would have seen it earlier. Now, I’ll have to wait until the next time we pass through to stay at that kitschy monument to thinking outside the box — the Wigwam Motel.

It’s a glorious sight — especially in the modern day world of look-alike, smell-alike, sound-alike motels: 15 individual concrete wigwams perched on a dusty lot.

From the looks of things, it has managed — though it died once — to survive where a lot of other family owned motels, thanks to the Interstate bypassing town, have not.

I stopped in and chatted with Guy Thielman, the great grandson of Chester Lewis, who opened the motel in the 1940s after seeing a similar one in Kentucky.

It was part of a chain, and Lewis — of a mind that if anywhere should have a wigwam motel it was Holbrook — took out a loan and got himself a franchise, or at least something close to that. According to Wikipedia, he purchased the rights to the design, as well as the right to use the name “Wigwam Village” in an unusual agreement: The chain’s owner would receive the proceeds from coin operated radios (30 minutes for a dime) installed in rooms at the Holbrook Wigwam Village.

Lewis closed the motel in 1974 when Interstate 40 bypassed downtown Holbrook. Two years after his death in 1986, his two sons, Clifton and Paul, and his daughter, Elinor, renovated and reopened it and later managed to get it listed on the  National Register of Historic Places.

Seven Wigwam Motels, also known as Wigwam Villages were built between 1936 and the 1950s. Only three are still in operation — in Holbrook, Cave City, Kentucky and near San Bernadino, California.

The other four — now gone — were located in New Orleans, Orlando, Bessemer, Alabama and Horse Cave, Kentucky, where the first one opened.

Holbrook’s Wigwam Motel has a few bonus features as well — a museum of petrified wood and other artifacts accumulated by Chester Lewis, and many vintage automobiles strewn about the parking lot.

The biggest bonus of all, though, is that dogs are allowed, with no deposit required.

I stopped by the wigwams again yesterday to take some photos and ran into a group that was packing up after what they described as an enjoyable and inexpensive evening in their wigwam.

Amber, her friend Shantelle, and Shantelle’s son, Logan, were headed for the Petrified Forest, but they took the time to say hello. Logan immediately bonded with Ace, and invited him into the wigwam.

The three were on vacation, hitting most of the well-known tourist attractions of the southwest — Carlsbad Caverns, Sedona, the Grand Canyon and more. They learned about the Wigwam Motel while Googling things to do along Route 66. Since Shantelle and Amber didn’t have many pictures of the Wigwam Motel, or the two of them together, I put together an album and slapped it on my Facebook page, so they could have access to them.

Logan babysat Ace for me while I wandered around the property taking photos of them, the wigwams and the vintage cars — some of them even older than me.

It’s nice to see an effort to preserve the past, and to see that the old motel — even though bypassed by an Interstate and pounded by the poor economy — is still up and running.

Wigwams forever!

(“Dog’s Country” is the continuing tale of one man and one dog spending six months criss-crossing America. It can be found exclusively on ohmidog! To read all of “Dog’s Country,” from the beginning, click here.)

My adventures as a pinup photographer

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Darned if it isn’t February already — time for procrastinators like myself to get a 2010 calendar.

Allow me to suggest one that doesn’t feature my work — Pinups for Pitbulls.uptopar

When Pinups for Pitbulls issued a call for submissions for its annual calendar last year, I answered — vaguely entertaining the notion that I, too, could have a career in photographing beautiful women, or at least have my photo make the calendar.

First, I recruited friend Carey Hughes and her pit bull Bimini to serve as my models. The challenge: to loosely recreate, with a pit bull, the vintage pin-up poster to the left, called “Up to Par.”

Carey enlisted her sister Kelly to serve as fashion advisor and hair and make-up person. Kelly was also to be the skirt-blower-upper, using a battery operated leaf blower I bought from Home Depot for the occassion to poof up her sister’s skirt and ensure our photos showed the requisite amount of leg.

On the day of the shoot, Kelly had another commitment, and Carey’s mom, Jeanne, ended up replacing her as the skirt-blower-upper — and doing a fine job, I might add.

We all met at Carroll Park Golf Course in Baltimore, where officials let us take over an unused hole. Not surprisingly, we drew a few a gawkers.

pinup4Both Carey and Bimini proved remarkably patient — though he wasn’t too thrilled with the golf cap he was initially sporting.

I sent the best of my shots into Pinups for Pitbulls, where we’d end up in the pile of those that didn’t make the cut. You can look at some of the other contenders not chosen here.

To see the winners, you can buy the calendar.

The calendar, in its fourth year, highlights stories and images of 12 pit bull-owning women and their dogs.  Sales from the 2009 calendar raised almost $20,000 for pit bull rescues across the nation, double the amount raised in 2008.

Pinups for Pitbulls, a non-profit organization, works to educate the public about pit bulls, remove the stigma associated with the breed and save the lives of abused and abandoned pit bulls throughout the United States.

The video below highlights the organization in more detail.

Meanwhile, if you need a slightly used battery-powered leaf blower, contact me.