Well, it happened. I'm officially old. I turned 30. Had a great party. 25 of my closest friends and family showed up and helped me celebrate in style. U feel good about 30.I think these next few years are going to be the best of my life.
Went to Doug Fir and closed it down. What an awesome place! I've always been attracted to old skool design. I am always looking at old machine shops and television stores. There is this great old one near my house, I'll have to get a pic as soon as I get replacement camera. Ours got left in the rain and doesn't work now... wierd, huh?
Anyways, the "retro" look was big a few years ago. A lot of designers were mimicing the ads of the 20-50's and it was cool. Distressing and muted tones were cool too. But I think the retro look back then is different than its latest incarnation. So-Cal Speedshop's catalogs and t-shirts are all done in this vintage style that is just great. But I think what makes it great is the overall feel and big idea behind what they are doing. They aren't just applying a retro style to a modern concept. They are recreating the entire experience. That is what Doug Fir does. Sure, they have modern bands and music and the crowd is defnitely not retro, but the feel of the place is definitely got a retro aesthetic.
Even my Fir Burger at the Doug Fir Lounge captured the retro aesthetic. It was still complex and modern, as the lounge is, but it had a distinct flavor and look that sparked impressions of the 50s. Not memories, I wasn't alive in the 50s. But a collective impression passed down from generation to generation.
Capturing this aesthetic is tricky. Lew's Dari Freeze in Milwaukie attempts this. Although the location is about as authentic as it gets, the retro nature of the food still includes the grease and cheap ingredients (it is tasty but a little bit too authentic) and the service sucks. A new owner took over and it hasn't been the same. Even the Annual Cruise at Lew's, one of the best car events in Portland, may go by the wayside. Too much liability or something.
At any rate, I don't think any of these wonderful legacies of American culture is in any danger of dissapearing. It will always live on in some form or another as long as it is still relevant to our culture.