Friday, December 8, 2017

The Cocktail Glass Collection: Palmer's Tavern, San Francisco

At 2298 Fillmore St., in San Francisco, is Palmer's Tavern, a new addition to my collection of photos of neon cocktail glass signs in front of bars. The glass looks fairly generic, but I like the blue  contrasting with the orange neon of the logo.

For more, click the "Cocktail Glass Collection" label at right at the top of the page.

Books I'm Reading: Never Use Futura

If there's a typeface nerd in your circle of friends and family members, here's a great Christmas present idea. Douglas Thomas's Never Use Futura (Princeton Architectural Press, 2017) is a look at one of the most enduring modern typefaces. Futura and its variants are so common today we hardly see them any more, but they're everywhere, as a pictorial section of the book entitled "Futura in the Wild" clearly shows. Louis Vuitton, The Limited, Nike, Valero, Volkswagen, Swissair, Absolut Vodka, Vogue, Apple, Bed, Bath & Beyond, and the US Post Office, among many others have relied on its crisp, geometric forms for branding, but it's a much older typeface than I realized, having been first created around 1925. It rapidly caught on, becoming the go-to font for projecting a modern feel, both in Europe and the US. In its home country of Germany, it was, in particular, part of an internationalist trend in reaction to the peculiarly Germanic fraktur typefaces. The book looks at Futura from numerous angles—at its position in the history of typography, at its structure, at its political applications, and at its extensive use in advertising. It's always been a favorite of mine, despite my ignorance about its past. I use it myself in all the advertising for The Art Wall at Shige Sushi and in advertising material for my own art work. Its appeal is simple: when used in all caps, it creates neat, compact lines of text that are easy to incorporate into graphic design. Recommended--both the font and the book.

Monday, December 4, 2017

Music I'm Listening to: Grams Conducts the Santa Rosa Symphony, Stewart Goodyear Piano

Conductor candidate Andrew Grams, before going onstage
I attended the Sunday, December 3 performance of the Santa Rosa Symphony at the Green Music Center. Conductor candidate Andrew Grams led the Symphony in a program of Overture to King Lear by Berlioz, Ravel's Piano Concerto in G Major, Rachmaninoff's Symphonic Dances, and Debussy's Clair de Lune. Stewart Goodyear was the piano soloist. I didn't get to hear that much of the concert as I was backstage the whole time and the soundproofing is surprisingly good, but it's interesting to watch the backstage goings on with musicians arriving and warming up, with the administrative and other staff handling announcements, lighting, and changes in stage configuration, and watching the conductor and soloist going on stage and coming off again and their rituals before stepping into the lights and applause. Grams is the third of the five conductor candidates being considered to become the new music director of the Santa Rosa Symphony when Bruno Ferrandis leaves the post.

Conductor Grams and soloist Stewart Goodyear backstage
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