16 September 2012

Funny Face Productions

Lawrence of Arabia, before.

A long time ago, by approaching the manager of the now-closed AMC Harvard Square cinema and asking nicely, I acquired an actual movie poster - a re-release poster of the film Lawrence of Arabia. I don't know what this says about me as a person, but this movie, with its cast of thousands, not to mention thousands of camels, deployed in beautifully choreographed and filmed battle scenes, is one of my favorites. It's astonishing that Peter O'Toole did not win the Oscar that year, although Gregory Peck was no slouch in To Kill a Mockingbird.

I framed my poster and displayed it proudly, but, unfortunately, it was water-damaged when stored in my in-law's home (see image above).  So, the poster went into the back of a closet for years.

A closet clean-out  forced some action - either fix the poster or discard. Could this poster be saved? A little research revealed that a very well-regarded poster restorer works about an hour away from my suburban Boston home, in Haydenville, Massachusetts.

Lawrence, after having work done.

Ted  Eiseman, doing business as Funny Face Productions, worked wonders on the poster (see image above.) For less than $100, he gave the poster a linen backing and touched up the worst of the damage, so my once warped poster is now ready to re-frame. For a price, Ted is capable of completely restoring almost any damage to a poster, but he worked within my budget to meet my goals, and I am grateful for his flexibility.

Movie poster now has linen backing.

My poster is an odd size - 26 1/4" wide by 20" tall. Movie posters come in a number of standard sizes, and the nearest standard size to my poster is called a "half sheet" and measures 22" x 28". Perhaps, in my youthful ignorance,  I trimmed my poster to fit a standard art poster frame, although the original lithograph registration marks remain in the lower corners.

Ted graciously allowed me to photograph his studio and posters in various stages of restoration. 
Poster awaiting treatment.
Tools of the trade; paste and applicator, lower right.
Treatment tray.
In progress.
8-sheet Carter the Magician poster.
Restored and mounted posters.

After dropping off the poster, we drove into nearby Northampton for lunch at a Moroccan restaurant, Amanouz Cafe.  While we ate a gaggle - flock, bevy, herd? - of middle-aged, incredibly fit-looking cyclists entered the restaurant, all in matching red-and-white knit shirts, piling their helmets, saddlebags and water bottles on a table. Well, we certainly enjoyed our vegetarian couscous and hope they did too.

A unique city hall - Game of Thrones, anyone?
Sights in downtown Northampton.
Amanouz Cafe, with cyclists.

Ted didn't take long to finish work on my Lawrence poster, as well as two others, and we combined poster retrieval with a business meeting in Amherst, home to the flagship campus of the University of Amherst, as well as Amherst College.  I found Amherst delightful, with independents bookstores, and other fun places to shop, including that refuge of waiting wives everywhere, a yarn shop.

Sights of Amherst.
The Creative Needle.

The Creative Needle is located a row of stores, called the Carriage Shops, a short walk from the historic center of town and set back from the main road in a mixed-use building.  Proprietor Elaine, helpful and friendly, maintains a densely-packed Aladdin's Cave of knitting and needlepoint supplies, Of course I bought a skein of yarn for a scarf, with directions for a design Elaine developed herself.

The Blue Marble.

Another wonderful emporium is The Blue Marble, whose owner, Cathie, clearly has expertise in retail buying and display.  Her focus is gifts with a positive narrative, and Cathie presents a selection of  well-priced fair-trade and locally-made goods that are chic, sophisticated and fun.  In the image above Cathie displays a luxurious scarf of wool felted over an up-cycled sari, resulting in a meltingly lovely texture and color.

The store features a combination of items both decorative and useful, including desk accessories that one would actually use, charming tabletop pieces in wood, glass and metal, and scads of hand-knit socks in fine yarn and rich colors. I wanted to buy every pair of earrings, too, but limited myself to one gift, beautifully wrapped as I waited, for a friend.

Can't be grumpy eating here.

 On Cathie's recommendation we ate lunch at Judie's, just down the street. The upbeat decor alone was worth the price of admission, and we broke one of our rules, "Never eat anything larger than your head," as we tackled the immense, crusty pop-overs which are served with house-made apple butter.

DH with popover.

We purchased a jar of the apple butter to go, and headed back to Boston.