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Tiki Central Forums General Tiki In Search of Frank Bowers...
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In Search of Frank Bowers...
JOHN-O
Tiki Socialite

Joined: May 16, 2008
Posts: 2691
From: Dogtown, USA
Posted: 2010-11-22 10:12 pm   Permalink

Quote:

On 2010-11-22 22:03, mrsmiley wrote:
Quote:

On 2010-10-12 09:09, mrsmiley wrote:
Awesome!! There is a great mural at an old bar (one of the few left) about a mile from here in Las Vegas. I will have to try to photo it. I am inspired.





OH MY GOODNESS! The mural is also by Frank Bowers!!!! Here in Las Vegas. ZAZZ!!!
The place is called THE HARD HAT LOUNGE.
Here is my capsule review (John-O, add it to your Vegas thread -have you restored the name yet?)
The Hard Hat lounge is a typical, traditional bar. It still has a kitchen-but since the smoking law came into affect a few years ago, the oven is idle. On the border of a sketchy neighborhood (the once fantastic Naked City), I had never had an issue visiting this bar. At nights you have to get buzzed in, but once you are in the mood is sedate and comfortable. A pool table exists in case you need more exercise than lifting your beer or your jack and coke! BUT--- the real star here is the mural by Frank "Maverick" Bowers from 1963. The mural evokes more a feeling of 1956, than 63, but maybe The Maverick was stuck in his painting ways. The legend has it that he painted the mural to pay off a bar tab (google his name and you may find more mentions of his doing this in other areas like Los Angeles). An awesome mural and one the bar is proud of!









I'm floored !! Great job Bruce. I can't wait to get back out to Las Vegas and see it in person.

Does the bar realize what they have ??


[ This Message was edited by: JOHN-O 2010-11-22 22:14 ]


 
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mrsmiley
Grand Member (first year)  

Joined: Apr 03, 2002
Posts: 3172
From: Las Vegas, NV
Posted: 2010-11-22 10:24 pm   Permalink

No, I they don't know( I don't think they do). When the bartender told me the name, I wrote it down and I said the Pdrake. "Bowers is such a forgettable name, I think this might actually be the same guy mentioned in the TC thread". As soon as I got home, I hit TC and found out that he IS the same muralist! Wow. This guy drank everywhere!
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Sabu The Coconut Boy
Tiki Central Poet Laureate

Joined: Aug 20, 2002
Posts: 2793
From: Carson, California
Posted: 2010-11-24 2:36 pm   Permalink

Smiley - Excellent find. I think TC is now the leading internet source for Frank Bowers paintings. He must have been so prolific and it's disturbing to think that the vast majority of his murals are probably gone.


 
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Sabu The Coconut Boy
Tiki Central Poet Laureate

Joined: Aug 20, 2002
Posts: 2793
From: Carson, California
Posted: 2010-11-24 3:11 pm   Permalink

John-O - I was at TURCS (across the street from Don The Beachcomber's) on a non-crowded Monday and was able to explore and discover a few hidden treasures that I've never seen before on crowded nights.

Besides a few new tiki-related items, I found on the very back wall of the back room, a somewhat homoerotic mural of Spanish Conquistadors that I never knew existed there before. It was dark and partially obscured, and I thought I might have found another Frank Bowers masterpiece, but this one was signed "Wandell, 1945".

I'm going to bring my camera next Monday and get a few photos. I didn't know TURCS had quit that much age or history to it.

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bananabobs
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Feb 16, 2003
Posts: 824
Posted: 2010-11-25 09:05 am   Permalink

Quote:

On 2009-10-06 05:46, bigbrotiki wrote:
Great report, John. Man, I just dunno if I will be able to convince all those bartenders in these places to clean off all the bottles and glasses to get a clean shot of these masterworks...



Hold on: On second thought, even though it would be good to have these murals documented as pure paintings, not shooting them with the bottles and glasses would rob them of their Bar context, which is what really makes them cool. Just like with Tikis, where some folks portray them as art in its own right (which they are, yes), forgetting in the process that they came from the mundane environment of a bar or restaurant -which really is the essence of why Tiki culture is so cool.



[ This Message was edited by: bigbrotiki 2009-10-06 05:58 ]



I completely agree, I had the same thought as you and was relieved with your "second thought"
Albeit a clear shot of the paintings would be the best for posterity, I agree that under the acoustical tiles and behind the wares of a drinking establishment, it defines the context of why and where, (especially when we now know that he paid bar tabs with this work)


Quote:

On 2009-10-06 05:46, bigbrotiki wrote:

I noticed before, and now again in your photos of the Buccaneer, that the brush style on their paintings seems slightly different, the faces are not the same. I wonder if these got retouched when they were moved? Or can you John, having seen the art in the different locations in person, attest that they are all vintage and untouched?



I noticed that the faces were different in two of them but there are enough other similarities that show it was the same artist, hands, shading and dimension, I wonder if this could be the reason for subtle differences; most artist evolve and devolve over time. Most keep their overall style but subtle changes can be observed over time. If he indeed paid for his tab with art, it may have been numerous tabs over a extended period of time. It also appears that he found this practice enjoyable as the work and size doesn't appear to be done begrudgingly or under duress. Paintings that large require large amount of expensive art materials and even a fast painter would still have many hours invested, leading me to believe that he enjoyed doing this, a broke artist or someone painting under obligation would not have continually created such grandiose pieces.

Great thread, thank you.



 
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bananabobs
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Feb 16, 2003
Posts: 824
Posted: 2010-11-25 09:25 am   Permalink

Quote:

On 2009-10-04 01:40, bigbrotiki wrote:


"The forecastle was black and slimy with filth, very small and hot as an oven. It was filled with a compound of foul air, smoke, sea-chests, soap-kegs, greasy pans, tainted meat, sea-sick Americans and foreign ruffians. The ruffians were smoking, laughing, chattering and cursing the green hands who were sick. With groans on one side, and yells, oaths, laughter and smoke on the other, it altogether did not impress [me] as a very pleasant home for the next year or two. [I was] indeed, sick and sorry enough, and heartily wish [myself] home."



Sounds like any typical Tiki Bar on a good night!


Quote from;
John Ross Browne, "Etchings of a Whaling Cruise" 1846.
Browne was trying to do for whaling, What Richard Henry Dana, "Two years before the Mast" had done for merchant ships.

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[ This Message was edited by: bananabobs 2010-11-25 09:30 ]


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JOHN-O
Tiki Socialite

Joined: May 16, 2008
Posts: 2691
From: Dogtown, USA
Posted: 2010-11-28 8:43 pm   Permalink

Thanks Sabu (and bananabobs) !! What does TURCS stand for anyway?

You know the more I think about it, the more I'm astounded that MrSmiley's Las Vegas mural was a Frank Bowers piece. The probability of that has got to be off the charts. Maybe there's a greater force at work here.

Could it be that Frank Bowers' spirit is guiding Tiki Central to document his life's work? I like to believe that the Leilani Hut and Zamboanga murals (as well as the Hale Hawaii paintings) are sitting in someones garage waiting to be rediscovered. All you have to do is Google "Frank Bowers mural" and this thread is one of the top hits. That's how the cowboy mural in Indiana came to be included here.

We can only hope.

[ This Message was edited by: JOHN-O 2010-11-28 20:48 ]


 
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bigbrotiki
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Mar 25, 2002
Posts: 11159
From: Tiki Island, above the Silverlake
Posted: 2010-11-30 08:49 am   Permalink

As Boris was pointing out to me recently: Has anyone been INSIDE the Zamboanga building? It is still the same structure, perhaps the murals are still there - behind the wall paper or paint.

 
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congawa
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Aug 11, 2008
Posts: 356
From: Long Beach, CA
Posted: 2010-11-30 10:40 am   Permalink

This is yet another thread that my haphazard Tiki Central browsing led me to miss the first time around! Great details on the Bowers paintings. The story I got a couple of years ago at the Buccaneer was that most of the Bowers bar paintings were done to square portions of his considerable bar tabs at said establishments (John-O said Square John... but better make it Square John Barleycorn).

I didn't have the guts to go into the Foc'sle a few years ago when I was in the area taking "now" pictures (for my friend John Bengtson's book on Chaplin locations) from a 1914 Charlie Chaplin film (A BUSY DAY) that was shot on the same street (then Canal, now Avalon) during the dedication of LA Harbor's new wharf (Secretary of the Navy Franklin D. Roosevelt was among the honored guests). On that day (a Sunday afternoon), there was just enough street activity that vibed a little suspicious and unfriendly when I was taking pictures of the buildings up and down the street (people coming and going from the couple of pseudo flophouses, as well as the Foc'sle) that I didn't go in.

By the way--and Sabu probably knows this well: if you go down just a little bit east to the Leeward Bay Marina, there's a place called the Chowder Barge which is quite literally as described--a barge serving chowder in the middle of a marina that's the yang to tony yacht marina yings such as Alamitos Bay in east Long Beach (where the Gilligan's Island opening was filmed), Marina del Rey, Newport Beach etc. This is a place where sketchy people live on sketchy boats, and the water is not something you'd want to swim in (I loved an article I read a while ago on the Chowder Barge that described observing one of the waitresses on her smoke break, running out of fluid in her lighter and loudly saying "it's fish food now" while chucking it into the bay). Since Terminal Island's Fish Harbor is no longer as it once was, this is one of the places that now mostly closely passes for "seedy waterfront dive" in the harbor.

Caltiki Brent

[ This Message was edited by: congawa 2010-11-30 10:41 ]

[ This Message was edited by: congawa 2010-11-30 10:42 ]


 
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Bora Boris
Mr. Unreasonable

Joined: Mar 25, 2005
Posts: 2585
From: Boogie Wonderland
Posted: 2010-11-30 10:43 am   Permalink

As for the Zamboanga, I'm thinking / hoping that since it's currently a VFW Hall there might be some nightclub elements of it left, even when it became the Ginza they may have kept some of the original tropical interior.

Little Lost Tiki is a veteran so I will inform Col. Ruzic that his country needs him yet again to volunteer for this mission.


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JOHN-O
Tiki Socialite

Joined: May 16, 2008
Posts: 2691
From: Dogtown, USA
Posted: 2010-11-30 1:16 pm   Permalink

I'm up for the following:

1. Based on CalTiki's comments, I'm willing to be designated driver for a small group of TC'ers who would like to visit both Embers Lounge and the Foc'sle Bar some Saturday afternoon. We can meet at Oceanic Arts. We can also visit Poor Denny's Saloon and maybe the Tamarack Inn to add some variety. You're on your own for the Buccaneer (unless upper-middle class white people intimidate you). Please PM me if you'd be interested in such an excursion.

2. I'm also willing to try to infiltrate the former Zamoanga and take pictures. Can someone provide an address?

3. On an added note, Bora Boris has tasked me with some urban archeology in the "hood". I've been to enough punk rock clubs in sketchy areas to be brave enough (or stupid enough) to accept that mission. I'm always looking for some Tiki back-up to accompany me who won't back down in case I run into "angry natives". If you're brave enough (or stupid enough) to want to join me, please send a PM.


 
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mrsmiley
Grand Member (first year)  

Joined: Apr 03, 2002
Posts: 3172
From: Las Vegas, NV
Posted: 2010-12-05 7:01 pm   Permalink

Artist Biography

Frank BOWERS
1905 - 1964

Frank Howard Bowers was born in California on November 20, 1905. He was active in Los Angeles from the 1930s when he painted murals for the Federal Art Project in the Ruth Home School and the Fruit Growers Exchange (Orange Harvest). He died in Long Beach, California on December 11, 1964.

I also found this on the web about a modern restaurant in Richmond, Virginia named Balliceaux ;



"There are many, from the porthole-style windows along some of the booths that feature resin-printed photos he took in Haiti, the Bahamas, Cuba and Hong Kong to the racy Frank Bowers mural in the back room that originally hung in a West Hollywood bar. Gratz found it at an antiques shop in San Francisco".
..................

Images of his Sunkist murals (done with Arthur Prunier) here;
http://citrusroots.com/paper1a.html
More about the Sunlist murals ;"ConservArt Associates, headed by Duane Chartier, have been conserving the 1935 mural paintings in the Sunkist Corporate Headquarters in Sherman Oaks, CA, since December , 1994. The paintings represent allegorical California scenes amid orange groves and were painted by Frank Bowers and Arthur Prunier. They are oil on canvas improperly mounted with contact cement on 3/4" plywood. The marouflage was done in the early 70's when the paintings were moved from the original downtown building to the present site. To add insult to injury, two out of four have a double polyurethane varnish which has become so discolored that the color scheme is indiscernible. Treatment included contact cement removal from the face, varnish removal using novel mechanical methods, injections of hot BEVA 371 into large detachments using a specially designed heatable syringe and remounting of the paintings in the company boardroom."
More info: Restoration information from Susanne of conservartassoc.com ---Friend Sunkist Growers, Inc. -- WPA Mural Conservation - Sherman Oaks, CA - August 1994 - March 1995
Conservation of the four murals by Frank Bowers and Arthur Prunier, 1935, presently in the main boardroom. The murals had been exhibited externally for many years before being deinstalled from the old Los Angeles downtown headquarters and marouflaged onto plywood in the early 70's. Two of the panels have a polyurethane coating and are differentially discolored. All the paintings were damaged in the 1994 Northridge earthquake. Work includes a new mounting system, cleaning and reinstallation.

.....................

Craiglist Indiana ad from Mid Novemeber 2010 (John-o's earlier post);
http://indianapolis.craigslist.org/clt/2066798069.html
"This is a Big Mural, By Frank Howard Bowers, 1905-1964
Measure 55 inches tall by 128 inches long
Would look great behind a Bar or in a game room

I found that he was from California and did do some paintings for the Federal Art Project in the Ruth Home School and for the Fruit Growers Exchange, Plus a few other murals to pay off bar tabs.










Make me an offer. Please put Frank in subject line.
Sorry for the garage door track in the middle of the pics. "










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[ This Message was edited by: mrsmiley 2010-12-05 23:18 ]

[ This Message was edited by: mrsmiley 2013-03-12 01:39 ]


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mrsmiley
Grand Member (first year)  

Joined: Apr 03, 2002
Posts: 3172
From: Las Vegas, NV
Posted: 2010-12-05 11:15 pm   Permalink

Here are some images I grabbed off the internet of a closed VFW hall in Sierra Madre, CA;














......




 
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pdrake
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Jan 13, 2006
Posts: 1767
From: las vegas
Posted: 2010-12-05 11:43 pm   Permalink

interesting

we'll have to go back to the hard hat. cindy would probably let you take more photos.


 
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JOHN-O
Tiki Socialite

Joined: May 16, 2008
Posts: 2691
From: Dogtown, USA
Posted: 2010-12-06 10:45 am   Permalink

Wow, this really is getting interesting.

Frank Bowers does a Polynesian mural for a pre-Tiki nighclub which is now a VFW hall. Who knows if the mural is still even there? (Probably not, but I'm working on getting in there).

He also does a mural specifically FOR a VFW hall. Is it just me or does anyone see a "Pulpish" influence in his work?

One of our Northeastern TC agents needs to visit that Balliceaux restaurant and get better photos of the Bowers there. It appears to have a kinky Middle Eastern theme.

Great internet detective work Bruce !!


 
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