Light fantastic – a short history of neon
From Apollo: ‘People used to ask for Soho red,’ says Denise Mitchell. In the 20th century, Soho in central London was synonymous with sex, and therefore with the scarlet light of neon. Strip joints like the Windmill Theatre, which sidestepped strict obscenity rules by showing their nude women in motionless tableaux vivants, had their names and functions spelled out in giant neon letters, giving the neighbourhood a characteristic blood-red glow. On the Raymond Revuebar sign in Walker’s Court, a cancan dancer kicked her legs, animated by different tubes being lit up in alternation. Smaller, seedier venues had signs that simply said ‘GIRLS GIRLS GIRLS’, or showed a heart with a keyhole, signifying a peep show.
Museum of Neon Arts’ new director works to electrify attendees from a distance
From the Glendale News-Press: Taking over a museum at any time is sure to bring a dizzying combination of excitement and stress. There are big plans and shoes to fill, as the torch of a cultural institution is passed.
Seizing the reins during a global pandemic, when doors are shut and endowments stretched — as Corrie Siegel has done at Glendale’s Museum of Neon Art, or MONA, this month — has required a complete rethinking of the function of a museum.
“The heart of museums, at least the way I see it, is people gathering together and using objects to connect to stories each person brings into the space,” said Siegel, who is an artist, educator and curator.
The vintage neon Prescott Valley Motel sign has been saved. Here’s what’s next
From AZCentral: Piece by piece, the Prescott Valley Motel neon sign that glowed for decades was taken down by a crane this month, making way for a Circle K gas station to open where the motel once stood.
The people who paid for the sign’s removal hope it won’t be long before the landmark will be back up in Prescott Valley.
“The sign’s older than the town, and we just don’t have a lot of historic things,” said real estate broker Wade Crandell, who provided most of the money needed to pay for the sign’s removal.
Iconic neon sign at Spokane Chinese restaurant has fallen down
From KHQ-Q6: SPOKANE, Wash. – An iconic neon sign at the Ming Wah Restaurant in downtown Spokane has unfortunately come crashing down.
It is currently unknown when or how exactly the Ming Wah sign on W. 3rd Ave. fell down. Darrin Huff came across the downed sign on Sunday, April 12, snapping some photos and sharing them with KHQ.
Photographers from our partners at the Spokesman-Review spotted the downed sign on Monday, stating it appeared the base of the sign was rusted.
Broadway Is Shuttered but Its Buildings Sing: A Virtual Tour
From the New York Times: Weeks ago, back when New Yorkers were starting to shelter at home but it was still kosher to get a little fresh air and take a walk, I invited a few people to suggest modest strolls, one on one, around places meaningful to them. They would guide the tour.
The goal? Simple. Distraction, joy, consolation, a chance to describe how buildings speak — and speak, historically, personally, deeply and differently to different people.
Today the city is officially on pause and everybody is banding together by staying inside, so the walks, as they were pretty much intended from the start, are to be consumed vicariously, from home, via text and images, not on foot. They’re a reminder that, even besieged, the city amazes, endures, awaits.