Feature Articles & Events...
 

www.Decotique.com

 

Decotique offers the finest inventory of Art Deco & Art Nouveau antiques and collecticbles.  We add fresh items to our shop weekly. 

 

Our quality stock includes Antique & Vintage Purses,

Fine Estate Jewelry, Ephemera, Porcelain & Pottery, Millinery, Footwear, Vanity items and more. 

Metropolitan Opera House
as it Stands Today.  Renovations are underway.
Met Center Stage 1908
Stage as it Stands Today
Watch Out for the Orbs!







Decotique Haunts Historic
Metropolitan Opera House!
N. Broad Street, Philadelphia, PA - Historic Metropolitan Opera House was built for Oscar Hammerstein in 1908.  This photo shows the Grand Lady of Classic Revival Architectural Style during her heyday -- an era when Ladies and Gentlemen donned themselves in ornate finery, adorned themselves from head to toe in  feathers and fur, precious jewels, walking sticks and outlandish millinery.  It was a time when Opera was Queen and composers, Berlin, Bernstein and Hammerstein were Kings.

Sadly, the years have taken their toll on the Grand Lady of Opera and she has fallen desperately into decay.  With the advent of the motion picture, first silent, then "talking" pictures, theatre goers turned to the movie houses of MGM, Warner Brothers, Paramount Studios and the like.  But there are some who remained!  They glide about the place yearning for the days of their youth, reliving the moments of performances they so loved...



...and they don't like to be disturbed!
After more than 50 years of silence, a group of brash and strangely attired young hoodlums took to center stage of the beloved Met and caused such as stir as to awaken the ethereal residents' melancholy slumbers!
The Intruders...

...were none other than Godshed Eyes, rock band,   Philadelphia natives.  Having stole into the building earlier in the day, Met residents couldn't believe their eyes...or ears!  Music was once again ringing (roaring, actually) throughout their beloved Opera House!

Ghostly Groupies
Shades of Susan, Randi, Kate & Jason
It wasn't quite Berlin, Bernstein or Hammerstein, but it was something!  And it was ALIVE and KICKIN'!!!  Come back anytime, Boys!  Cool

With love,
your Ghostly Groupies                               


ps:  Can't wait to see the video!

Ghostly Groupies check out the strange musical apparatus
For more information on Godshed Eyes visit
http://godshedeyes.com/news

View of Ridge Avenue Entrance

Our Tour of Historic Laurel Hill Cemetery

Decotique, TearDrop Memories and Ladies' & Gentlemen's Society of Delaware Valley

Our day at Laurel Hill Cemetery, located in the East Falls section of Philadelphia, PA, began mid-morning in the cool mist of a gray October day. The atmosphere was perfectfor our tour into the past. Rolling Hills of exquisitely sculpted marble and granite soothed the eye as far as it could see. Monuments and reminders of longpast mingled with recent days of those who have gone before loomed in the distance.

From Classical to Exotic Revival, the park boasts more than 33,000 monuments and obelisks, and over 11,000 family plots.  While Laurel Hill was open to all, a large portion of the land is occupied by the wealthy.  Here you will discover the Wharton family plot, Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania, as well as barons of industry, prominent businessmen and citizens all vying for a coveted view of the scenic Schukyll River. 

Wharton Family Plot

Eternal Residents of Laurel Hill also include figures of fame, military, politics and literary worlds.  Notable Revolutionary figures include signer of the Declaration of Independence, Thomas McKean; Continental Congress Secretary, Charles Thomas; and Hugh Mercer, hero of the Battle of Princeton.  We are pretty certain George Washington never slept here.

The American Civil War of the 1860s contributed 42 Civil War Generals alone.  Elaborate mausoleums contain the mortal remains of Matthias W. Baldwin, founder of Baldwin Locomotive Works; Henry Disston, Disston Saw Works; and financier, Peter A.B. Weidener.

General George Meade Family Plot

A more recent resident of Laurel Hill is the beloved Hall of Fame Voice of the Philadelphia Phillies, Harry Kalas.  Informally known as 21st century Modern, or Functional Art, Kalas’s Memorial invites you to relax and reflect while resting upon one of four seats that formerly occupied Veteran’s Stadium during Harry’s heyday.  The monument itself is a large granite microphone, lovingly sculpted as a fitting memorial of a man who was well loved by many.

Grave of Harry Kalis

Laurel Hill Cemetery was officially designated as a National Historic Landmark in 1998 and is maintained by the Friends of Laurel Hill Cemetery.  Its mission is to preserve the park’s cultural values, architectural integrity and historical importance through volunteer and fundraising efforts. 

By tour’s end, the sun began to peak through the clouds.  Were happily exhausted and ready for a much needed rest,  temporarily, of course. 

Prominent Philadelphia Architect Frank Furness
William Warner Tomb 1889 by Alexander Milne Calder

For more information on Funerary Art, Symbolism and Cultural Traditions of the Georgian and Victorian Era Mourning, visit Historian and Shop owner, Greg Cristiano, of New Hope, Bucks County, PA, www.WeSpeakAntique.com, www.TearDropMemories.com .

 

Back to top

Lady Bean & Gentleman Bill

The swelting June day did not keep us away from one of the most beautiful Garden Home, now Liberty Hall Museum, in the state of New Jersey.  A guest of the Greater Delaware Valley Ladies' & Gentlemen's Society, GDVLGA, based in Bristol, PA, we set out to Liberty Hall Museum at Kean University in Union, NJ. 

 

If the name "Kean" sounds familiar, it should.  Thomas Kean was Governor of our fine state in the early 1980s.  His legacy is far reaching, going back to the  1700s.  Ancestor John Kean was a Patriot during the Revolution and the presidency of George Washington.  Liberty Hall remained the Kean family home for next 200 years until it became a museum in May, 2000.  Liberty Hall has been on the National Registry of Historic Places since 1974.

 

 



Miss Justine Jackson, Founder of DVLGS, better known to members as "Miss Bean," was stunning in her summer Victorian ensemble while Society member, Bill, sported cool cotton trousers, vest and topped off with a white linen jacket. 



A special display of period gowns were attractively arranged in each room of the mansion.  While on display at Liberty Hall for a limited time, we were happy to have had the opportunity to enjoy them.  A variety of historic Ladies' & Gentlemen's clothing, millinery, footwear and accessories. 

 

All in all it was a lovely day!  We strongly encourage you to visit this beautiful historic home and gardens.

 

Egyptian Theatre:  Art Deco Revival

When we first pulled into the unassuming drive of author/artist, Andrew Zourides', home in New Hope, PA, we weren't quite sure what to expect.  I had known Andrew from his shop, Nu*Retro Designs at the Golden Nugget Flea Market in Lambertville, NJ for some time.  I knew we shared a love of Art Deco but had no idea that he had created an Art Deco Egyptian Theatre in his home. When he shared this tidbit with me, I was a bit, well, flummoxed.

 

Immediately I had to have an interview with Andrew and asked if he would be willing to give all the juicy details! He forwarded a few photos of his theatre but somehow I wasn't getting a feel for a story. The only way I was going to get the full effect was to have a tour of my own to which Andrew graciously agreed.

 

 

Artist/Author, Andrew Zourides

 

With photographer friend in tow, we set out to experience the Egyptian Theatre and it was more than worth the trip. Not only were we treated to a private tour of the theatre located on the second floor, the first floor was a veritable fun plex for big kids with a passion for shiny juke boxes and it delighted us that they were fully operational!

 

 

1959 Automatic Music Instrument

 

The 1959 AMI sports the automotive style of Detroit, wrap around windshield, control pedals and lots of chrome. This machine, with accents of turquoise and red, completes the look of the Deco style "diner" kitchen also created by Andrew. He points out scratches on the glass and explains how they got there, "The girls would come in and test their diamonds on the glass to see if they were real."  

 

The adjoining rooms held three additional AMIs including the 1951 "space ship" model and Andrew's prized 1961 Continental, inspired by the Russian Sputnik, and the first model to include the latest in "Stereophonics."  The Continental is valued upward of $10,000 in today's market.

 

 

Making our transition from first floor to second, we arrived in the lobby of the Egyptian Theatre where we picked up our tickets from an actual ticket booth hosted by none other than Coco Channel, of course, who graciously asked for our tickets via the press of a button. As a vintage hat and purse lover I can honestly say that she did the real Ms. Channel proud!

 

Moving away from the lobby and through the corridor we approached the Theatre door. Greeted by a hand painted figure of a well built man (to say the least!) we pushed through the door exposing a dimly lit room complete with theatre seating, screen and mini bar. Each nook of the room held an Art Deco Egyptian Revival treasure, many restored to their original states by Andrew and David Rivera, Andrew's partner of six years. Though Andrew established the Theatre years ago at a former residence, David has helped maintain The Egyptian in their new home with his own artistic eye and skill. "The Theatre is always changing" says Andrew. "If David sees something he's not comfortable with, he'll make changes."  

 

Painted by Andrew

 

While an entire magazine layout could be created with the objects that grace the room, I asked Andrew to pick just a few of his favorites. With no hesitation he chose a large painting of Cleopatra attended by one of her maids in a classic Egyptian setting. He purchased the painting at a flea market and completely restored both canvas and frame breathing new life and luster into the aging 1909 piece. He also noted the popcorn warming machine from the mid 1950s, a piece he also restored for his movie house and a gold, ivory, bronze statuette lamp of an Egyptian woman frozen in eternal dance.

 

Mid 1950s Popcorn Warmer

 

When Andrew's mother brought home an exotic and mysterious bronze statue from a little antique store in New York, a life long love affair with Art Deco had begun. While he favored art and furnishings of the dark gothic, Victorian era when outfitting his early home settings, he found himself gravitating back to Art Deco and Modernism, ultimately winning Andrew's heart in the long term.

 

Egyptian Theatre Movie Screen

 

A busy man these days, what with all the upkeep in his home, brick-and-mortar shop, as well as an internet store, I don't know how he has time to author books, yet he does. Andrew has written a collection of poems and short stories entitled, Venerated Objects, and has just completed, Mirror Deviants, a horror thriller which he hopes to have published as time allows.

 

With the many historic, artistic and whimsical items to see, hear and experience, there was so much more I wanted to know about the creators and occupants of this happy place. While our time was limited, we could have stayed all day. Andrew's & David's home is reserved for entertaining friends and family, however, Andrew would be happy to entertain you at his shop,

 

Nu*Retro Design, Golden Nugget Flea Market, River Road, Lambertville, NJ, Wednesdays, Saturdays & Sundays, 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., open year round. His books can be found at Amazon.com, and be sure to visit

http://www.etsy.com/shop/nuretro, Andrew's online store.

 

Shhhhhhhhh!!! The movie is about to start!


 

The Eternal Couple of the Roaring Twenties &

The Great Gatsby

F.Scott & Zelda Fitzgerald
 

Long since buried in a church cemetery in Rockland, MD, F. Scott & Zelda Fitzgerald might have fallen into obscurity had it not been for Fitzgerald’s classic novel, The Great Gatsby.

 

The 1920s was an era of aspiring socialites and glamorous parties where folly and extravagance were the norm.  After the publication of his first novel, This Side of Paradise, Scott and Zelda married. 

 

Their early life together was a reflection of the eccentric characters and wild exploits of Fitzgerald’s critically acclaimed novel, The Great Gatsby, first published in 1925.  Though the critics praised the writing, books sales were less than profitable.  Tight finances and living above their means led the couple further into the misfortunes of intemperance. 


To survive, Scott had to take on work writing articles for mass publications.  Zelda’s charming antics of earlier days were now viewed as disturbingly eccentric.  By 1930 Zelda was admitted to an institution eventually diagnosed as schizophrenic.  While Scott continued his downward spiral into alcoholism, Zelda spent the ensuing years in and out of mental institutions.

 

In ill health and strapped with debt, Fitzgerald miraculously won a contract as a screenwriter with MGM.  Though he had stopped drinking and was working on a new novel, The Last Tycoon, he suffered a massive heart attack and was dead at 44.

 

Zelda fared little better than her husband.  Sadly, at 47, Zelda Fitzgerald, along with eight other patients, perished in a fire behind the locked doors of a mental institution. (The subject of my next article, The Infamous Triangle Shirtwaist Fire, where workers tragically perished by fire behind locked doors!)

 

In more than 87 years since The Great Gatsby’s first publication, audiences just can’t seem to get enough of the dapper Jay Gatsby and Daisy, his fashionably pale lover. 

 

In 1926, a theatrical adaptation of Gatsby opened on Broadway starring James Rennie in the title role.  The same year, a film production, a Dramatic Thunderbolt of the Season, as it was touted, starred Oscar winner, Warner Baxter.  Jay Gatsby was portrayed in 1949 by Alan Ladd and in 1955 by Robert Montgomery.


In 1974, Flappers flapped, glasses clinked and the party was in full swing once again.  The dashing Robert Redford darkened his hair for the role of Mr. Gatsby while Mia Farrow donned her floppy hats and head hugging cloches to portray the lovely, yet hopelessly aloof, Daisy.  Original scriptwriter Truman Capote was fired from the production and Francis Ford Coppola of God Father fame was brought in to write the script. Jack Clayton directed the film.  Once again critics were lukewarm with reviews:

 

The Late Roger Ebert wrote:

 

The Great Gatsby is a superficially beautiful hunk of a movie with nothing much in common with the spirit of F. Scott Fitzgerald's novel. I wonder what Fitzgerald, whose prose was so graceful, so elegantly controlled, would have made of it: of the willingness to spend so much time and energy on exterior effect while never penetrating to the souls of the characters.

 

Despite past reviews, today’s audiences still can’t get enough of the glitter and flash of Gatsby.  With Leonardo DiCaprio in the lead role, and newcomer Carrie Mulligan as Daisy, Fitzgerald’s legacy continues.  The newly released film with its hefty budget, 3-D version opened to a whopping $51.1 million, attesting to its enduring popularity. 

 

The New York Times offered mixed reviews, "The screen version of The Great Gatsby is quite a good entertainment, but at the same time it is obvious that it would have benefited by more imaginative direction.”

 

Whether or not one agrees that the latest version of The Great Gatsby’s characters are shallow and never penetrate souls, the flash, extravagance and excitement portrayed on the screen in sets and costuming are just what the doctor ordered for Vintage Flapper Fashion and Fun!


Though F. Scott Fitzgerald died believing he was a broken down failure, and whether or not he would have approved of the many versions of his historic novel through the years, being the showman he was, he might well have approved of the latest box office success his novel has enjoyed.

Strange Happenings at the Met!

Ghostly figure takes to the stage to see what all the infernal caterwauling is about!

Ghostly Groupies!

The lovely and bewildered Susan, Theatre goer from Many Years Past. 
Costuming by Decotique

Lady Randi glides effortlessly about in her ethereal Edwardian gown. 
Costuming by Decotique

Portions of Met's Interior


Andrew Zourides

Artist/Author, Andrew Zourides