Tuesday, July 29, 2014

The "Hilltop Ad"



In yesterday's post I linked Coca Cola to an ad the company ran in July, 1971. Known as the "Hilltop Ad", it features a crowd of teenagers, dressed in clothes that signify where in the world they are from, gathered atop a hill in Italy and lip-synching to a song co-written by the advertising company Coca Cola had hired to accelerate sales of its brown drink. This one-minute song proved so popular amongst Americans that radio stations were besieged with requests to "play the ad."

I remember seeing the "Hilltop Ad" as a nine-year-old. And though I too was drawn to it, I could never understand why, when the camera pulls back to show those gathered, they are not in the shape of the world, only a third of it. Years later my mother, who used to sing this ad to us on car rides, told me that it was not the incomplete world-shape people talked about back then, but that it looked like the place from which babies are born.

Monday, July 28, 2014

"It's the real thing/ (Coke is)/ What the world wants today"



A picture by Vancouver photographer Fred Herzog is now available as a postage stamp. The picture, entitled Bogner's Grocery (1960),  features no less than a dozen signs for Coca Cola products outside a long-gone corner store at 158 West 5th Avenue. A secondary narrative is a meeting of four boys under the age of ten.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

A Los Angeles Education




"It was the week after I tore up the linoleum."

Friday, July 25, 2014

Black Light Posters




None of the posters in the above collection were among those I stared at in the 1970s.

Thursday, July 24, 2014


A small room inside a bay window. A single bed, a table and chair, and a sink. I could manage something larger, with more conveniences, but I could never match the view.

Last night's dream was hard and black, but it softened. The hardness gave way to froth; the blackness, purple.

At froth's edge -- lavender. Beyond that, what I took to be light.

Or was it white?

Now I remember where I was.

I was in a friend's basement. I was fourteen-years-old and we were listening to this under a black light, which in fact shines purple.