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The Sixth C for Arizona

August 12, 2011

The five C’s of The Arizona economy, once used to be a part every Arizona youngster’s education from the 1950’s though 70‘s. Can you name them?

Before delving into them

I want mention a very special C that’s time is a coming and for limited time. Centennial! Feb, 14 2012 will be 100 years of  Arizona State Hood.

There are special events happening across the state to celebrate. How can you find out about them? The official list of events,also check your favorite museum, visit a library or other cultural institutions to see the array of events they are hosting. I know I have a few libraries booking Marshall Shore: Retro Spectacular shows and also talking with a venue outside of the valley. I have a few things in the works to bring Arizona to you with a unique twist. More on those later!

Five Cs of Arizona

The first time that Five Cs appeared in print was in 1939 in an issue of Arizona Highways. The research and finding  this came from a Valley Leadership as part of a project to talk about the Historical Five Cs and update them to match what is going on in Arizona, now. Let’s talk about the Historical 5 Cs, the next post will be on their findings of modern  5 Cs and then I’ll wrap up this trio of post with a list of my own Cs for Arizona .

Copper: People have been digging in Arizona for precious metals for a long time. Native Americans used them for tools, weapons,  for jewelry and in paint for pottery. People started to come to the state to seek riches and settle in the 1700 and 1800s. Copper ore is still mined in the state for many different uses. Copper is used in mostly in wire or coins, such as a penny.  See how Youth got involved in collections Pennies for the Arizona CENTennial Penny Drive


Is it live or plastic?

Cattle: People began raising stock in Arizona around 1690. Spanish ranchers settled, around the same time, Jesuit missionaries gave the O’odham Indians livestock after they agreed to live in mission communities.

Ranching began in growing in the 1730s around the time of the mining boom. The Arizonian countryside was converted into a large livestock ranch in a short amount of time.

Ownership of the Cattle was identified by brands. Brands are supposed to be used on livestock – not as logos – but that doesn’t stop folks from owning them. It costs $75 to register a new brand with the state, and it’s good for five years.

Orange StatueCitrus: Citrus refers to agriculture and farming in the state. Grapefruit, lemons, limes and oranges are among the most popular citrus grown.



 Climate: Climate refers to the weather in the state.  Because it is sunny most of the time many people like to visit the state. Spending money on hotels, food and sight-seeing. As well as many folks using the outside as an extra room or playground almost year around.


Cotton: The Arizona Cotton boom occurred during World War I. The boom was a result of it’s use in making wartime products such as making tires. The town of Goodyear established in by the tire company specifically for its factory and employees there. By 1920, cotton was so profitable, that almost all other crop productions were ceased to grow cotton. However, after World War I many of the government contracts for cotton dried up, since there was no longer a need for it. The resulting glut in the market resulted in the eventually end of the boom of cotton in Arizona.

Which leaves me preparing additional post on updating these historical Cs to reflect a more modern Arizona economy of a 100 year old state. In the mean time go Celebrate the Centennial.


Did Arizona have Gay Marriage First?

June 30, 2011

New York is getting a lot of press for passing gay marriage. But, It might not have been first. It may well have been legal in the state of Arizona since July 3, 2005. That’s the day that Spain legalized gay marriage. Now if your scratching your head let me explain.

The story begins in the early 1800s long before the United States had acquired the territories that would become New Mexico and Arizona from Mexico. It is the only land in northern Arizona to trace back to a Spanish Land Grant. Meaning it might still be subject to Spain’s law not US? The original Baca homestead was near the city of Los Alamos, New Mexico and was abandoned because of violence. Years later the family returns and finds their homestead inhabited. Kind of like goldilocks and the three bears, but here instead of the returning bears scaring her off. Congress authorizes the bears to select 5 plots of uninhabited land. Baca float No. 5, is located in our own Yavapai County, about fifty miles northwest of Prescott. Colonel William Cornell Greene bought the Baca Float #5 and the Mahon Ranch in the 1930s, turning them into the ORO Ranch, AzORO Ranch (pronounced “oh-are-oh”). Operated under the same name but it is owned and kept under lock and key by the secretive JJJ Corporation. Kind of interesting to think that a road trip to Spain is possible without a plane or boat, or that anyone could get hitched there.

Cooling off in the Dry Heat: What Do Crave in the Desert?

June 29, 2011

Yea, summer has arrived in the snap of the moment. I am investigating refreshing things to consume after waiting for train via light rail and getting walking home. Also, with Paul’s birthday and the 4th coming up I wanted to try a new cold something. The Greater American Cook BookEnter into the picture a newly aquired cook book The Greater American Cook Book, edited by Ruth Berolzheimer, Director, Culinary Arts Institute printed 1942. picked up for the end papers and being a fan of modern cuisine I couldn’t resist the section titled Western cook book of Pioner and modern recipes. Images of a moderne ranch kitchen busy filled with the greatpioneer and modern recipes? smells, but it’s too hot to fire up anything inside. So instead, I stuck the buckets of the ice cream maker in the freeze ready to make a buttermilk sherbet, but instead of pineapple I’ll be using blueberries and including some strawberries for a great red, white and you get the picture. So off to Basha’s I went, of course the flagship store on 7th Ave with it’s tall beaconing fin, it’s hard to resist. Butter milk and blueberries on sale, score. By the time I got home Paul had already had dinner and dessert. The actually making has been delayed until the weekend. I’ll let you know how it turns out. But What are your favorite things to consume in the heat?

Tight jeans got their Start right here

June 28, 2011

I am sure you have noticed the increase of tight fitting jeans, better known as skinny jeans. Before skinny jean, people wore jeans as tight as they could get them. Giving life to a urban legend about death by shrinking jeans. This was busted by Mythbusters, but could not find a link to grant in pool shrinking his jeans. I would like to think that we can all thank an American artist who lived right here in Phoenix for making tight jeans a long standing pop culture icon. George QuaintanceI would like to say belated Happy Birthday to George Quaintance. What you’ve never heard of him? Your not alone. Tacshen recently released a book covering his art. In the early 1950s, he set up his own studio in Phoenix, Arizona, where he created the works of male figurative art he is best known for today.

Art of George Quaintance

Prior to AZ, he studied drawing and paint in New York, and Los Angeles, CA specializing in painting and photographing male athletes for popular physique magazines,Physique Pictorial art by George Quaintance such as Physique Pictorial edit by Bob Mizer of the famed Athletic Model Guild, or AMG. George Quaintance died of a heart attack in 1957, leaving a legacy of tight jeans and bulging muscles.

What if you wanted to dress like that today. Parr of Arizona, circa 1960One option would be Nu-Parr of Arizona. Started in the early 50’s by local architect Ralph Parachek where men and women can have custom undies, posing straps, swim suits, even jeans made just for you. Some utilizing the patterned created 50+ years ago. Those custom jeans are on my bucket list! Check their history.

Wishing George a belated Happy Birthday, and a deserved place in Phoenix and Art history.

Phoenix’s Obscured History Revealed

June 28, 2011

Look at the Valley on a map and you’ll notice that it is designed on a grid, with an exception; because every rule has an exception, such as Grand Ave. Which is the home of

Trunk Space, 2011 Grid Show postcard

Phoenix’s Obscured Past Revealed Trunk Space which has been doing a city theme show for over a decade and what better name than The Grid Show and This year subtitled Phoenix’s Obscured Past Revealed. What does The Phoenix New Times say about the show and the special events such as a Phoenix Obscura by Marshall Shore: Retro Spectacular on First Friday, July 1st at 7:30p and the debut of Perry Allen’s film, Phoenix, Appropriated on July 15 at 7:30. Come see works of art and learn about the some obscured Phoenix history:

Back of Trunk Space post card

Back of Trunk Space, 2011 Grid Show, postcard
Masque of the Yellow Moon, Security Building Brothel-Casino, Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho, Powder Puff Derby, Gold Spot Bowling Alley, Phoenix Rodeo, UFO Crash At Dreamy Draw Dam, Winnie Ruth Judd, Phoenix Lights

Smithsonian in the Valley?

June 8, 2011

When you wander through the amazing museums in Washington DC. Do you ever wish Arizona, the Valley, had a Smithsonian museum? Well guess what we do! Or at least one that does have tons of items on loan from the Smithsonian and an extensive collection it’s self. I am speaking of the Musical Instrument Museum.

MIM in Phoenix, AZ

It took me a while to get up to it and make the trek out to the 101 and Princess, Further in my mind than reality. What I found striking was the huge opportunity for learning going on.

First off there exhibits are broken into theme that start by country of origin and many include a video screen show the instruments being played and how it fits into the culture. Many times there are traditional or ceremonial clothing included in the display.

I found that I was reminded me of the performance artist Leigh Bowery.

Liegh Bowerey

There were also shadow puppets that crept into the displays! There was an interactive exhibit curated by the Music Experience.

That takes you on a musical journey there Latinos in Popular US Music and included a dance floor so when the mood hits and you need to move, you have a place. Be sure and check out the play room were you get to be a kid among kids and actually play some of the instruments a bong, a thermin, and a few xylophone-esque.

Now onto the gift shop, there where many instruments in real size or scaled down to a wearing size or even pocket. That would be my weakness especially when it is a Thermin. I have not put this together yet, but looking forward to being able to create my own 1950’s horror film music.

Though, I would never consider myself musical and that includes those years in elementary school badly playing the saxophone. I can say that those four hours spent wandering the museum were amazing, cool, insightful, inspiring and mindful. This was a unique opportunity to explore and experience a global and cultural part of what being human means. I could say I wish it was closer to downtown, accessible by public transit, or just plain easier to access, but that would not changed where it is. It is worth the drive! Carpool with friends, pack a lunch, just go!

Future Fate of Iconic Neon?

May 12, 2011

The abundance or romance of national chains is nothing new to the valley. Just check out this vintage postcard.

Vintage postcard of National chains in Downtown Phoenix, Ariz

The buildings and signs have long ago been torn down. The case for preserving buildings is a strong one with many advocates, but what about signs? The Highway Beautification Act was enacted in 1965 that allowed the removal and heavily restricted the replacement of these highway gems. I could talk about the Diving Lady downed in an Oct, ’10 storm. The first reaction of many is that sign couldn’t go back up due to existing sign codes, but the city has agreed to let it go up, again. Here I am holding the last surviving piece of the original diving lady.

Marshall Shore with the last surviving neon from the Mesa, Ariz Diving Lady.

What if an iconic sign has lost it’s relevancy through a business closing does the sign still have a place in our cultural fabric? I would argue yes, but no one who knows me would be surprised by that. Which bring us to the point of this post.

My Florist sign at 7th Ave and McDowell, Phoenix Ariz

My Florist sign on 7th Ave and McDowell is in jeopardy. Check out the history of My Florist. The firm of Lawrence and Geyser have had designs on the build and recently it has been rumored to be the future home of a Paradise Bakery and the retro inspired logo’d chain of In and Out Burger.

Lawrence and Geyser art work for the NE corner of 7th Ave and McDowell development.

NE corner of 7th Ave and McDowell, Phoenix, Ariz

The caveat is that on the website the art work of the My Florist sign, not only remains dark, but is missing altogether from the current renderings. When contacted via mail they was no response about the future fate of the lovely purple beacon of the Willo. Is the sign worth saving? I say yes, but I am only one voice. How should we go about saving the sign as a part of Americana? This summer in Tucson is the Arizona Historic Preservation Conference where Friday late afternoon is a presentation where we about Tucson and Mesa efforts to save

100% upcycled t-shirt created by Marshall Shore: Retro Spectacular

classic neon. Let’s hear from you if you think that the neon My Florist is worth saving!

Here is T-Shirt that I designed and is available at ecOcentrictity andZinnias at Melrose.