Ultra Swank - Retro Adventures

Design

Lotus Esprit – The Quintessential 1970s Supercar

In the mid-1970s, English automaker Lotus replaced the Europa, a boxy, mid-engined pocket-racer for driving enthusiasts, with a now-classic wedge design, and called it the Esprit. With sharp ‘folded paper’ lines and flat surfaces courtesy of legendary designer Giorgetto Guigiaro, the outrageously low and wide Esprit looked like nothing before it – and nothing since. It represented Lotus’s attempt to step into the higher-end exotic...

Before There Were Video Games There Was the Wonderland Arcade

Nowadays we are used to having games available right in the palm of our hands at anytime given. But before we had the smartphone – we ventured to the arcade – were the latest and greatest video games were on display like electromagnetic rainbows. But, what kind of fun was available for kids growing up in the 1950s and 1960s? Enter the Wonderland arcade. Located...

The Cocktail Nation Podcast

The Cocktail Nation

If I Can Dream
The Cocktail Nation on February 7th, 2016

Podcast #390: If I Can Dream

A Tale of a Pink Flamingo
June 25th, 2015 in Kitsch

A Tale of a Pink Flamingo

I remember the first time I saw the mighty Pink Flamingo formation. It was in front garden of my Aunt’s 1949 Art Deco Home. A spectacular home with a perfect lawn and a distinct late fifties sixties furnishing inside the house and a 1956 Ford Customline in the driveway. The cool thing about all of this was that the year was 1988. Not much had...

Stylish Mid-Century Shopping Malls

I’ve always been a sucker for shopping malls, even as a kid I thoroughly enjoyed going to the mall with the folks. Nowadays most shoppings centers are just loud, generic and boring. Where’s that sense of soul and character? Well fear not, Ultra Swank takes you back to take a look at some of the mid-century gems. Every mid-century mall needs three things; a water...

The Secret Tunnels Under the Playboy Mansion – Direct Access for Hollywood Celebs

Apparently, there once were secret tunnels with direct access from underneath the Playboy Mansion in Hollywood to the basements of some of the crème de la crème actors of the 1970s and 1980s. Legendary “bad boy” Hollywood casanovas such as Jack Nicholson had his own direct access to Bunny haven. The tunnels were built around 1977, and as you can see in the diagrams, they...

There is a Performing Arts Center Inside this Egg

Upstate New York was a far cry from Washington, D.C. and Capitol Hill, where I had spent the last two years taking in the culture and politics of the Nation’s Capitol. But being the restless spirit that I was, I decided it was time to go back to school. Less than challenging and low paying jobs and a desire for something more propelled me to...

Let’s Play Swinging JiveCat Voodoo Lounge – A Retro Board Game

Game designer Seth Roback was raised in 1970s southern California and was considerably influenced by Disneyland, Googie architecture, and Jay Ward cartoons. Today, Roback resides in Seattle and has taken his love of mid-20th century pop culture and turned it into his first board game, Swinging Jivecat Voodoo Lounge, which is currently crowd-funding on Kickstarter. Here’s what he had to say when he discussed his...

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