Pop Culture

 

I've guessed at the British folk rock band Mumford & Sons' affection for old and interesting places since seeing their "Sigh No More" album cover showing the band standing in an old London shop window. The music video for their popular song "Little Lion Man," which was filmed at London's historic Wilton's Music Hall, furthered that theory.

But it wasn't until I heard about their upcoming summer "Gentlemen of the Road" tour -- which stops to perform at and give back to four small main streets and downtowns across the country this August -- that I realized they were really serious about these places.

According to the band: "We want to stop off in towns where bands don't usually tour, and celebrate the people, food, and music that make them special. We’re keen to promote the town’s local businesses, and we’ll be using the local bars and venues for after-show parties, whilst working closely with the local people to get everyone involved in making these shows spectacular."

Another reason we love this idea? Two of the selected towns are National Trust Main Street communities: Bristol, Virginia/Tennessee (considered to be the birthplace of country music) and Dixon, Illinois. And get this: the tour producers are generously giving one percent of ticket sales to the local Main Street programs to help with their revitalization efforts, and have worked out agreements to bring in additional revenue from the shows and after parties.

Check out the full "Gentlemen of the Road" tour website for more information on ticket sales, interesting tidbits about the towns, and where to eat, drink, and visit while you're there.

The National Trust for Historic Preservation works to save America's historic places. Join us today to help protect the places that matter to you.

 

Everyone's heard of the Grammys, the Oscars, and the Emmys. But last night was an awards show of a different kind. The 2012 Webby Awards, held at Manhattan's historic Hammerstein Ballroom, celebrated people, companies, and organizations that have done something especially intriguing, impactful, and engaging online.


A screenshot of Dear Photograph, which was nominated for a Webby in the "Cultural Blog" category.

Some of the winners were a bit odd (Draw a Stickman), while others I had seen before and admired (have you played with NASA’s new site lately?).

Those of us who love history (and, cough, who work in the non-profit sector) recognize that we can’t travel everywhere, so new digital tools that create impactful online travel and  visitor experiences are valuable investments. I started thinking about the winning sites that I was drawn to and realized many of them had connections (unsurprisingly) to art, architecture and place in the digital realm. ... Read More →

The National Trust for Historic Preservation works to save America's historic places. Join us today to help protect the places that matter to you.

Priya Chhaya

Priya Chhaya

Priya Chhaya is Associate Manager for Online Content, Preservation Resources at the National Trust for Historic Preservation. A public historian at heart, she sees history wherever she goes and believes that it is an important part of the American identity.

[Slideshow] Inside the New LivingSocial HQ

Posted on: May 2nd, 2012 by David Garber

 

LivingSocial, the popular online deals company headquartered in DC, has a particular office style. And fortunately for us preservationists, that style is typically this: a restored old building with a fashionably raw + modern interior.

Their newest DC office -- located at the corner of 7th Street and New York Avenue, NW --  fits that mold, and brings new life to a prominent corner that has sat empty for over thirty years.

As you'll see below, this new office is a combination of three different buildings. Built at the same time in 1872 for Mr. William H. Dunkhurst for a commercial cigar business with residences above, the corner has also served as the locations for a peanut and candy company, a wine and liquor store, and a stove company -- a fittingly diverse past for a building whose new tenant pretty much does it all.

 
For more great LivingSocial preservation and reuse, check out our post from earlier this year on the company's new Live Events Center located in downtown DC.

The National Trust for Historic Preservation works to save America's historic places. Join us today to help protect the places that matter to you.

DC's Historic Howard Theatre Reopens After Major Restoration

Posted on: April 12th, 2012 by Gwendolyn Purdom 2 Comments

 

George Clinton surveyed the crowd Tuesday night and let out a soulful sigh: “Boy, do I have memories in this joint!” The legendary purveyor of funk, looking notably tidier sans his equally legendary Technicolor dreadlocks, took the Howard Theatre stage at the historic venue’s VIP grand opening concert and celebration following a $29 million renovation.

And Clinton wasn’t the only one looking spiffed up at the event: Dating back to 1910, the traditionally African American performance space that sat vacant and decaying for decades in Washington, DC’s Shaw neighborhood now shines anew, its stucco exterior façade brought back to its 1910 appearance; its cavernous interior modernized with gleaming wood surfaces, intimate booths, and jumbo screens flashing images of vintage programs for Howard performances featuring Ray Charles, Ella Fitzgerald, and Duke Ellington.


Stripped of its detailing, this is how the Howard Theatre looked for many years before its recent restoration. (Photo: NCinDC on Flickr)

It’s an intimidating set of footsteps to follow for any performer. The Howard, billed as "the largest colored theater in the world” when it opened, hosted everyone from Booker T. Washington to Marvin Gaye until it closed its doors in the early 1980s. With an article looking at the restoration of the Howard and other historic black theaters across the country scheduled to appear in an upcoming issue of Preservation magazine, we were especially excited to attend Tuesday night’s performance. ... Read More →

The National Trust for Historic Preservation works to save America's historic places. Join us today to help protect the places that matter to you.

Chicago Welcomes Mad Men Back in Style

Posted on: March 30th, 2012 by David Garber

 

After being off the air for a year and a half - during which time our attentions, rightfully, turned to Downton Abbey - Mad Men is back. AMC's iconic and more-popular-than-ever television drama is set in 1960s New York and revolves around the fashionable but unglorified daily existence of a Madison Avenue advertising agency. Part of the greatness that is Mad Men is AMC's incredible attention to detail in the costumes, music, and sets - which of course, is kind of a preservationist time traveler's dream.


The staff of Mad Men with our local Chicago preservation partners. Top row: Evan Regester, Chris Brown, Lisa DiChiera, Kristen Johnsen, Camille Bratkowski. Bottom row: Stacey Pfingsten, Hannah Allen, Jonathan Fine. (Photo: Bum Bul Bee Photo + Films)

On Sunday, our Chicago field office hosted a swanky mid-century modern Mad Men premier party to ring in the show's fifth season. Not only were our Chicago staff and about 100 other fans there in style, but the event - the proceeds of which went to support efforts to save Prentice Women's Hospital - attracted the attention and attendance of Mad Men Art Director Chris Brown, Set Designer Camille Bratkowski, and Graphic Designer Evan Regester. Check out the great photos from the event below!

 

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The National Trust for Historic Preservation works to save America's historic places. Join us today to help protect the places that matter to you.