Wednesday, April 23, 2014

The Little House With Big Mid-Century Style

A couple of years ago I looked at a house that was for sale near where I was living. I was thinking about buying a house but I wasn't quite ready at the time. Regardless, the tiny pictures on the realtor's website of this particular home were such a tease that I had to go check it out.

If I remember correctly, the house was finished right around 1955. I was told the original owners had some input with the design and layout of the house when they had it built. I believe they lived there for the rest of their lives. Almost everything in the home was original. It was very apparent that the husband and wife who built this house were very proud of it and kept it in tip top shape. I apologize for the low quality pictures. At the time, my only camera was courtesy of my iPhone 3gs. Even though the pictures aren't great, I still wanted to share this neat little house with the world. I hope whoever bought it appreciates how cool it is.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Join the Swingarmy: Q&A

Some folks like to act like a ghost on the internet. A couple of weeks ago one of our Instagram pictures got reposted by some user called "Swingarmy". I decided to check out their feed and what I found was a collection of the coolest soft-tail motorcycles I had ever seen. I couldn't figure out who "Swingarmy" actually was. I asked around, searched the internet, and creeped through the users tagged in their re-grams. I didn't have any luck so I thought I should just ask them. The interview below was all I was able to get. I'm not sure why they are so secretive of their identity, but they post some damn fine choppers on Instagram. Read the q&a below and make sure you check out @Swingarmy and @AtomicAgeAlchemy on Intagram. All photos courtesy of Swingarmy on Instagram.

Atomic Age Alchemy: First of all, I want to thank you for doing this interview with us. We love the motorcycles that you feature on your Instagram. We understand that your anonymity is important to you so we will try not to push too hard figure out your identity.

What is your name, address, and social security number?

Swingarmy: You almost got me there...

 AAA: Okay, maybe that was asking too much. Moving on, I have heard rumors that you are from Japan or some other country foreign to the United States. Can you give us a general idea of where you live?

SA: Never been to Japan. I prefer the mid-west region of the U.S. so far. And Tennessee or Austin. I guess those are my favorite stops thus far.

AAA: The bikes that you post pictures of are mostly vintage and built in a vintage chopper style. It seems like doing a hard-tail or using a rigid frame is almost the standard when building an early style chopper. Do you dislike rigid choppers?

SA: I like rigid bikes, I just have a deep love for swingarm bikes. I've had a couple hardtails and probably will own more down the road. I enjoy building nice, clean and functional motorcycles - whether its a rigid chopper or something that has shocks. I feel that obtaining a nicely proportioned, great looking yet functional bike with a swingarm is somewhat of a challenge. That may be what draws me to the swingarm stuff... Plus Ive heard the lady's adore them. Or maybe its just jean-vests and handsome beards in general. Or I may be thinking of vanning.

AAA: What draws you to the swing arm bikes so much?

SA: I think I just answered that. I suppose what draws me to the swingarm bikes is the swingarm and shocks overall. I believe those are the two key ingredients.

AAA: Do you have any motorcycles of your own? If so, can you tell us a little bit about them?

SA: I have a few. Currently all of them being Harleys. They seem to always be broken or in some form of disrepair. That's really all I can tell you about them. One is missing a tire at the moment. Sometimes I think I get a lot of satisfaction out of the builds which is why the projects always seem to pile up.

AAA: Is there an internet presence for Swingarmy outside of Instagram?

SA: I have an email.

AAA: Right now all I can find is your IG feed. Do you have any plans to do more with Swingarmy such as a website, t-shirts, stickers, etc.?

SA: Possibly some stickers or perhaps laptop bags and a men's line of shower but really, I like the idea of a t-shirt. Not really sure. For the most part I like the practice of sharing neat bike pictures to where people can get inspired or have a chance to see something from somebody elses imagination. I also like giving people credit whenever possible, and so far I think its created a network of sorts. People from all around the world seeing what motorcycle people are putting together. Anything from a dude in his basement or garage to the pros who are doing stuff for todays big time shows like Born Free or Mooneyes etc. To me its really neat to see what people come up with and create. In reality, I started the "feed" to have all the photos of bikes Ive saved over the years in one spot. Then it kind of toppled from there. Hashtags were created & people were tagged and so on... bikes featured that I wouldn't have seen before. I like that. I think after the fashion show dies off and the smoke clears swingarm choppers will be all the rage.

AAA: Coastal highway or twisty mountain road?

SA: Depends which way has the most 7-11 stops. I love slushies.

AAA: Helmet or no helmet?

SA: I'm a helmet guy. One time I was riding and got hit in the throat by a junebug. It hurt. I couldn't imagine if that was my face.

AAA: You'll find plenty of motorcycle content on Atomic Age Alchemy but we are crazy about all things vintage; hot rods, mid-century furniture, architecture, old signage, and much more. Are there any other kinds of old junk that you dig enough to consider one of your hobbies?

SA: I really have a fascination for anything old. Cars, boats, barns, furniture, people, memorabilia and so forth. I was into vintage cars long before I got the motorcycle bug and will always have a solid interest in hot rods and such. Drag racing is a big one too. Always loved that. Ive been getting into gasoline signage more and more it seems. Hope to restore a gas pump someday. Add it to the project pile I suppose.

AAA: On to the final, and most important, part of this Q&A. Please describe the perfect pizza.

SA: The kitchen sink without onions or pineapple from a mom and pop type place where they sell glass bottled root beer.

AAA: If there is anything else you would like to add, please do so!

SA: Thanks for asking me to do this. I hope that it will spark my tour to daytime television. Its been a goal of mine to rub shoulders with Ricki Lake and Jenny Jones since I was a youngster. In all seriousness- Theres two bikes that came about years ago that really spoke to me. The Noise Cycles purple bike and Garage Co Company's "Astroglide". They were both done very nice and so right to where, in my opinion, stood out among the others. Larry from Garage Co recently passed on. Our thoughts go out to his family and friends.

And remember. Swingarms forever- #swingarmy

AAA: Thanks again for doing this interview with us. We'll see you on Instagram.
-Nick and Joey
Atomic Age Alchemy

Noise Cycles "Endless Summer"
Garage Company Customs "Astroglide"

Thursday, April 17, 2014

The Westcot Wedding Weekend

You may remember this post from when my dad and I went to Tom's to help him get his car going for his wedding day. Well, Tom and Rebecca finally had their big day. Tom's car was in perfect working order. Our friends Dustin and Tara flew in from Michigan for the occasion and I was in charge of keeping them entertained until the ceremony. Keep reading to see all the fun stuff we did!

I picked up Dustin and Tara from Lambert Airport on Friday morning. I took them straight to The Green Shag Market on Manchester Ave. because the vendors there always have awesome mid-century modern items and they are mostly priced "right".

After we each bought one item at The Green Shag we met up with my mom and sister for lunch at The Kitchen Sink. Lunch was great but we had some time to kill before we went to the Arch so we made a quick stop at The Record Exchange on Hampton Ave. Dustin is a vinyl enthusiast so I knew he would dig their large selection. Unfortunately traffic was slow so we had to cut the record browsing short. Our next stop was the Eero Saarinen designed Gateway Arch. I hadn't been to the top since I was in 5th grade so I was pretty excited.

When we returned from our trip to the top of the 630 ft stainless structure, we drove over to The Future Antiques on Chippewa. T.F.A., as it's referred to, is the premier mid-century furniture store in St. Louis. Their prices are right up at the top side of "retail", but if you don't feel like searching craigslist and estate sales to find that special mcm piece, this is the place to go. We found some great novelty gag gifts for Tom and Rebecca. Unfortunately they have a strict no-photography policy that I would rate just between "Suggested speed limit" and "NO SOUP FOR YOU!". We got a little tongue lashing for taking pictures so I guess they don't mind us NOT showing off all of their cool merchandise.

Our next stop was at one of my favorite St. Louis watering holes, The Whiskey Ring. Tom was out in his '53 buying a new tie and replacing the Meadowbrooks battery, so he met up with us for some drinks. Not only does the new Cherokee St. bar have a great whiskey and beer selection, super friendly owners, and some killer velvet paintings, but they also let you bring food in since they don't serve any. We ordered a pizza from down the street so Tom and I hopped in the Dodge to pick it up. Once we were finished stuffing our face with St. Louis style pizza, we are all really beat so we headed home to get some rest.

The next day we made the hour long trek to Red Bud, IL and met up with Tom and his buddy Jonathan Ratz at Jonathan and his brother's shop. The Ratz's grandparents were former owners of the Ford dealership in Red Bud. They have some cool leftovers from the dealership hanging inside the shop. Tom, Dustin, and Jonathan tied beer cans to the wedding car while I stood around and watched. After that we grabbed some lunch and went to our hotel to change for the wedding.

The wedding was so perfect and the weather couldn't have been any better. The bride looked beautiful, the groom looked like the happiest gent on earth, and we all had a great time. I feel like I should have more to say about the wedding, reception, and after party but I'll just let the pictures speak for themselves. It was a super busy weekend but I don't know that anything could have made it better. Times like these make me realize how lucky I am. I'm glad I am documenting it here on A-cubed.