Not many people know that display mannequins are based on real people.
Artists employed by mannequin companies sculpt life-sized replicas of human models. This process, which allows for the most realistic figures, was created in the late 1950's by mannequin-mogul Adel Rootstein.
A true visionary, Adel had a keen eye and a intuitive sense of "the next big thing". Among her notable discoveries was a young Twiggy in 1964.
The original Adel Rootstein brochure featured a photo of the real Maxine (left).
For several years, I worked at clothing store Le Château, in the window department. My days were spent surrounded by these life-sized Barbie dolls, and I would've jumped at the chance of eventually owning one.
During the time that I worked there, Le Château was in the process of overhauling their corporate image. They decided to unload my all-time favorite mannequin series: a group called the Snapshots.
Based on ballet dancers, the Snapshot series dated back to the late 70's and early 80's (think early Madonna, legwarmers and Fame). By the late 90's, the Snapshots, essentially a teenage-line, became obsolete.
It was my lucky day...
The mannequin that I got was named Maxine, after Maxine Renshall, the real girl that was sculpted. I've had her for about 5 years now, and she resides quietly in the real Expo Lounge, in full miniskirt and go-go boot regalia. Maxine's original Adel Rootstein brochure, laminated, hangs behind her on the wall.
Maxine wears a vintage Expo 67 silk scarf around her neck.
She reads Visitez l'Expo 67 avec Bill Bantey, a guide to the pavilions she'll visit.
Maxine keeps her Expo passport and other souvenirs in her Expo 67 flight bag.
Maxine's mod look is inspired by Michèle Richard, her idol. Don't they look alike?
The Châtelaine House at Expo 67 was sponsored by the Canadian Lumbermen's Association and the Canadian women's magazine Chatelaine. The 2-storey house was designed by Winnipeg architect Gustavo de Rosa, who won first prize in a nationwide design contest.
The theme of the Châtelaine House was Man and His Home, and everything about it, from building materials to furnishings, was Canadian.
The main floor of the Châtelaine House had a pass-through kitchen which seperated the family room from the living and dining areas. The kitchen was outfitted with the very latest in modern kitchen equipment.
The basement included a garage, a work and a gardening area, and a wine cellar with floor-to-ceiling cubbyholes fashioned from red drainage tiles. There was also a cherrywood-panelled laundry room.
Natural gas played an important role in the functioning of the Châtelaine House. It powered such devices as the furnace, water heater, stove, dryer, fireplace, barbecue, patio lights and pool heater, to name a few.
The house was also equipped with a sophisticated ventilation system: forced air heating and air conditioning emerged from a recessed utility core. This included humidity control and dust, smoke and pollen removal.
Each country represented at Expo 67 hired its own hostesses.
There were also general hostesses, employed by the Canadian Corporation for the 1967 World Exhibition, who were stationed at 15 strategic information booths throughout Expo. These girls answered visitors' questions, guiding them to all the sights that Expo 67 had to offer.
General hostesses at parliament in Ottawa.
The general hostess uniform was designed by Montreal designer Michel Robichaud. It consisted of a conservative light blue Fortrel polyester suit, which was worn with a hat and gloves (of course).
A brooch of the Man and His World emblem completed the ensemble.
A rainy-day raincoat was also included as part of the hostesses' uniforms, with a hood that reminds me of Emilio Pucci's Space Bubble helmets...
Variations of the official hostess uniform, including, a mod rain coat (left).
Last Saturday night, I hosted a very special dinner party. The idea was to re-create the golden days of TV Dinners, in the era of aluminum trays.
Regular Expo Lounge visitors already know how much I used to love eating TV Dinners as a child, with my mom. This made the TV Dinner Party concept just perfect for an evening with my mother and her new guy...
Deluxe TV Dinners, à la Jason...
I decided to make Martha Stewart's Perfect Fried Chicken, a recipe which I'll start 2 nights prior to a party. Along with that, I made the traditional TV Dinner mashed potatoes (full of butter and cream), but with a twist: I added sautéed leeks for flavor. And no Swanson replica would be complete without yellow corn in a luscious butter sauce.
All of this was served in rectangular aluminum trays, of course.
The soundtrack for the evening consisted of Music for TV Dinners, mixed with actual vintage TV themes: I Love Lucy, Batman, Charlie's Angels, etc.
No TV Dinner Party would be complete without watching an actual TV show. So after dinner, we sat down to The Doomsday Machine, a classic episode of the original Star Trek (which is my mom's favorite show).
Death by chocolate: Doomsday Brownies. (Note the CorningWare dish...)
For dessert, I asked my sister to bake brownies, as I recall TV dinners often including them. The concoction she came up with was decadent beyond belief: two layers of dark chocolate fudge that surrounded a hypnotic coconut macaroon center. After an indulgent second helping of this sweet cement, I settled back into my chair, in a sugary delirium.
I renamed her dessert after the show we watched: Doomsday Brownies.
Captain Kirk saves the universe from the Doomsday Machine...
images: photoshop art by author photographs by Stephanie Stockl
2007 marks the 40th anniversary of the Universal Exhibition of 1967.
The city of Montreal has announced a 200 000$ budget to commemorate the event. An official announcement and an interactive new website are scheduled for February 19, 2007.
Expo 67's 30th anniversary in 1997 was great; it was then that I first fell in love with Expo. Local newspapers and television stations had dipped into their archives, bringing forth fab vintage documents pertaining to Expo 67.
I sure hope the same will happen this year.
A great blog called Expo 67 2.0 has been created for the occasion, by a local press agency called l'Évènementiel. The blog's goal is to keep the public up to date on all the festivities surrounding Expo's 40th anniversary.
The cover of an original 1897 Montreal Exposition booklet.
It seems that Expo 67 was notMontreal's first grand exhibition. According to an article from the April 27, 1967 issue of the Montreal Gazette, there was a "Montreal Exposition" in 1897.
Here are a few facts on the forgotten fair:
While Expo 67 celebrated 100 years of Canadian Confederation, the 1897 Exposition celebrated "The Diamond Jubilee"...
The fair was held on Mount Royal avenue, which the original 1897 booklet described as "the northern part of the city"(!)
Instead of riding the Minirail, the Expo Express or the Metro, guests were invited to "ascend the mountain by means of the Park Incline Railway".
Visitors of the 1897 Expo were promised new marvels such as "the Wonderful Electric Device or Horseless Carriages". The site was also "brilliantly illuminated by colored electric light", a curiosity in 1897...
Since I was a kid, I've worshipped Madonna (or Madge, as the brits call her). With her recent foray into retro-disco (complete with Farrah Fawcett hair), she's tapped into one of my favorite eras: the late 1970's.
Madonna struts her retro stuff in the video for Hung Up.
With the 2005 release of the album Confessions on a Dacefloor, Madge (with fab producer Stuart Price) went back to the days of ABBA and Donna Summer, to create a sound that was both modern and retro. [Both aforementioned muscial legends are felt on Madonna's album: an ABBA sample is featured on her single "Hung Up" and an "I Feel Love" inspired beat is the backdrop for "Future Lovers". On tour, Madge even sang portions of "I Feel Love" during her "Future Lovers" performance].
My favorite disco-inspired cover art: the Sorry maxi-single.
The cherry on the retro-sundae for me was Madonna's live performance of Music during last summer's Confessions Tour. Madge sang to the beat of the Trammps' Disco Inferno, while boogie-ing in a John-Travolta white leisure suit. Her daredevil dancers did roller-tricks wearing authentic 70's skates. I was fortunate enough to see the Confessions Tour when it came to Montreal last June, and this song was the highlight of the show for me...
Strike a pose: Madonna channels John Travolta during Music Inferno. Watch and see Madge in all her Saturday Night Fever glory:
A model of the McIntyre Medical Sciences Building.
One of the most prestigious educational facilities here in Montreal is McGill University. McGill's downtown campus is an eclectic mix of historical buildings and modern edifices. One of the grooviest buildings, built during the Expo 67 era, has to be the McIntyre Medical Sciences Building.
An Expo 67 postcard that featured the McIntyre Building in the Montreal skyline.
The McIntyre Building was named after Canadian Pacific Railway founder Duncan McIntyre (1834-1894). McIntyre built his mansion Craiguie on ten acres of land on the slope of Mount Royal. The house was eventually demolished after his death, and in 1947, family members donated the property to McGill in his honor. For many years, the park was used as as the site of the University tennis courts, as well as a wildlife area.
View of the McIntyre Building under construction, in the mid 1960's.
The site was chosen for the new medical building, designed in 1965, because of it's strategic location between the Royal Victoria and Montreal General hospitals (McGill's 2 teaching hospitals). The site posed numerous problems, however. Being on the south side of Mount Royal, there was a difference of 70 feet between the two required entrances. A circular tower with a central elevator core was deemed as the most practical design.
The structure was built using poured-in-place concrete, with exterior walls of pre-cast concrete. An exposed melange of quartz, limestone and granite gave tones from white to dark grey.
One of the McIntyre Building's 2 lecture theatres.
The two main lecture theatres were positioned near the sixth floor entrance to reduce traffic in between classes. The upper floors contained research labs and offices, and the lower floors were mainly dedicated to classrooms, offices, a library, cafeteria, and public areas.
A mod student lounge and cafeteria in the McIntyre Building.
CorningWare was introduced in 1958. It was made of a glass ceramic material that could be used in the oven or on the stovetop.
As with many inventions, CorningWare was a lab mistake. A malfunctioning furnace heated to 900° instead of 600°, and amazingly, the glass inside did not melt. A chemist later dropped the white glass, and surprisingly, it didn't break. These accidents lead to the creation of Pyroceram and the very first pieces of CorningWare in 1957.
Though long out of production, the Blue Cornflower pattern remains synonymous with CorningWare for most (including me). It seems like everyone's mother had CorningWare pieces with this dainty blue pattern.
As a child, I remember playing with miniature CorningWare toys made to mimic our mothers' bakeware and coffee/tea pots.
These pieces will always hold a special place in my heart.