Thrift Item of the Moment: The Paintings of Ada C.


This remarkable painting, labeled “Daniel In The Lion’s Den”, is by Ada C. – her name, address and phone number are printed on the back. I found it at a thift store last week and was immediately taken by the cubist/art deco style. I didn’t have my camera on me (what was I thinking?) so I had to come back the next day to take a picture. I’d love to buy it but I don’t want to pay the $30 sticker price. I tried haggling with store staff but they wouldn’t budge on the price. They said it might be marked down in a few weeks if it doesn’t sell, so I’ll be checking back.


Ada also did this painting (of a Roman soldier?). Nice, but it’s no “Daniel”.

Get Ready to Rummage!

‘cuz spring rummage sales are here even if spring weather isn’t. My rummage sale season kicked off on Saturday with the Southeast Edmonton Senior’s Association rummage sale – one of my favorites.


click to enlarge

What is that? A hawk attacking a seagull over a fish? I know you’ll be surprised to learn I did not buy this epic painting even though it was more than affordable at $1.


Marlena seems thrilled beyond words to have found this 32 cup coffee maker in its original box. I wonder which of those awesome 70s colours it is.

All I bought was one lousy LP:


and I do mean lousy. I was kinda excited about the sitar and “exotic” percussion on this record but I forgot how soporific Gleason’s music is.

Oh well, the season has just begun.

Goodbook Hunting

A week ago Saturday I grabbed my old point-and-shoot camera (my new SLR having been lost/stolen) and headed to the newly opened Goodwill store in Old Strathcona. While I’m still choked about the loss of my SLR, the old point-n-shoot is more discreet for stealth jobs like thrift store shoots.

The new Goodwill, at Gateway Blvd. and 78th Ave., is called “GoodBooks” – it has no clothes or housewares , just books, records, cds, dvds and such.

Gotta love those prices.

The records are well displayed. At this point, they’re mostly from the massive CBC record library donation I’ve written about in the past.

I bought one record – not from the CBC library:

Françoise Hardy: Françoise Hardy

which unfortunately I already owned (though with a different cover).

“Arty” sitting area.

Here’s a new use for old tv cabinets.

Oops, took this photo by mistake.

Always good to see a new thrift store open up, especially in the ‘hood.

A Weekend with Cal-Gary

Went to Calgary last weekend to see my buddy Gary.

As per usual, we did a lot of thrifting and ate a lot of good food.

Also did a lot of walking with this fella.

Quincy (left) & Gary

On Friday night we went to a huge book sale at a curling rink.

Undoubtedly the biggest book sale I’ve ever been to. Softcovers for $1, hardcovers $2 and up. I guess the books were donated by CBC listeners/viewers. Lots of bestsellers but also some rarer stuff, including a first edition Hemmingway (The Old Man and the Sea, I think) that they were asking big bucks for. I feel for the poor sap who unknowingly gave it away.

There were rivers of books. I didn’t buy anything, but Gary picked up some sci-fi paperbacks and a few other things.

Saturday morning on our way to brunch we hit a garage sale I noticed the day before that looked like it might be interesting.

It seemed to be stuff from a gift or home decor store – a lot of those touristy wood carvings from Thailand or Indonesia or wherever (elephant marionettes, frogs with umbrellas type of thing) but there was also some cool vintage stuff at pretty good prices.

Gary really wanted to buy one (or even all) of these fedoras, if only they fit.

He bought this vase, marked “Jasba” for his uncle, whose collection of West German ceramics is taking over his whole house.

He also bought this unpainted Russian nesting doll. I know he’ll do something cool with it (he mentioned robots as a possibility).

Brunch was at a diner called Dairy Lane in the residential West Hillhurst neighbourhood. I had this protein overdose called the Triple Double which consists of 3(!) poached eggs, Hutterite bacon, two kinds of sausage and slabs of multigrain toast. Everything local (except the orange, of course).

Gary had the granola-crusted French toast

knuckle sandwich, anyone?

and got annoyed with my paparazzi ways.

At another garage sale, I picked this rotary dial phone out of the free box. I don’t know why, but I’ve been wanting one lately.  I hooked it up (at home, not in my car), and to my surprise, it works just fine – but it takes forever to dial a 10-digit number.

[Silly me, forgot to take pictures at Inner Sleeve]

At The Inner Sleeve, a record store near Gary’s house, they had 3,000 records from CBC Calgary. CBC has been divesting itself of its music libraries across the country – shortsighted and sad. In Edmonton, they donated the records to Goodwill (see my previous posts) but in Calgary they sold them to record dealers. There was some very nice vinyl that I was interested in, but not at record store prices ($15 to $40 per).

I was most intrigued by this album, by 60s Canadian pop group The Sugar Shoppe (I stole this image from the internets. Sorry). The dandy in the green suit second from the left is Victor Garber, star of Broadway (Sweeney Todd…), movies (Godspell, Exotica, Titanic…), and television (Alias…). This was The Sugar Shoppe’s only album. As you can tell from the clip below, they were more than a little influenced by The Mamas & The Papas.

Their version of Canada’s 1967 Centennial song (“Ca-Na-Da”) delights me a lot – so different from the official version.

ah! wilderness

For supper we met a couple of Gary’s friends at trendy Char|cut roast house – described as “urban rustic cuisine”. I’ve been wanting to go here for a while, though I thought it might be the kind of place where you can drop a lot of bucks and still leave hungry. No worries though – it lived up to its considerable buzz.

This was the star of the evening for me – tender pork belly on a bed of cheesy hominy grits with nettles and tiny fiddleheads. Oh my yes.

Not a fan of most poutine, but this one was outstanding (the secret ingredient is duck fat).

Edwin devours his cheesecake in a jar.

The only disappointment for me was the dessert. The pineapple upside down cake was too dense and bland. The best part was the scoop of coconut gelato. Gary’s milk chocolate mousse was a much better choice (did not  taste Edwin’s cheesecake).

Tea (lavender Earl Grey – very manly) came in this porcelain glazed cast iron teapot.

mutant cow?

Somewhere between Gary’s and the dog park is this house with an amazing ski fence (in the Altadore neighbourhood, if you’re looking).

Pretty crazy, no?

On Sunday we went to the Rogers video store where they’re clearing out DVDs – buy 1 get two free. It was down to the dregs, but even so there was some worthwhile stuff. This is my stack:

I’ve seen most of these but I’m looking forward to watching Funkytown for the first time (about the disco years in Montreal) and the 40th anniversary edition of Face Off (the 1971 Hockeysploitation movie – not the John Travolta film), which includes the SCTV parody as a bonus.

Gary’s pile (note that he also picked up Face Off).

Sunday backyard barbeque

On Monday I picked up Mr. Bali Hai at a for-profit thrift store. My best tiki mug score in many months.

Yes, he’s ugly and probably culturally insensitive, but I love him.

Before leaving town on Monday, I went for lunch with Gary and his uncle to a Jewish deli in the warehouse district called Gruman’s.

Gary & Uncle Laurie

Montreal smoked meat sandwich. So good.

Lox and cream cheese.

And that’s my story.

Good times.

Shirt of Fury!

I found this awesome polyester shirt at Value Village some months ago and bought it for my friend Gary’s birthday which was this weekend. I thought it might be a little small for him, but I figured he’d like it even if it didn’t fit. At the very least, he could probably sell it on Ebay for a lot more than I paid for it.

But it did fit (more or less).

The images are from 70s and 80s kung fu movies, many starring Bruce Lee. I scanned the fabric, and using the magic that is Google Images (you can drag and drop images from your computer into the search window and it will look for a match – genius!), I was able to identify most of the movies:

1. Fist of Fury (not to be confused with Fists of Fury)

2. Also Fist of Fury

3. The Big Boss (aka Fists of Fury)

4. Way of The Dragon

5. The 36th Chamber of Shaolin

6. Shaolin Temple (1982)

7. Men From The Monastery

8. Possibly Executioners from Shaolin

9. Game of Death

10. Snake in The Eagle’s Shadow

11. Blood Brothers (Dynasty of Blood)

12. Mr. Boo (The Private Eyes)

I couldn’t positively identify these three:




Do you know what movies they’re from?

Record Covers of the Week

A few weeks ago my media librarian friend Lee alerted me to the news that CBC Edmonton had donated 35,000 LPs (!) to Goodwill (maybe with the recent budget news they should have had a big parking lot sale for their own benefit instead). They went on sale on Saturday morning at Goodwill’s annual Art and Book Fair at their 51st Avenue location. This is an event I normally avoid, leaving it to the professional pickers, but I just had to see all that vinyl.

I arrived shortly after 9:00 am opening time. While the parking lot was full, the store itself wasn’t overly crowded. I was mostly looking for soundtrack albums and maybe some Canadian Talent Library titles to add to my collection (I’m trying to collect all 280+ albums in the series).

I didn’t see any CTLs that I didn’t already have, but there were a decent number of rare (if not necessarily desirable) movie soundtracks, mostly from the 60s and 70s – my favorite movie decades.

By far, the bulk of the records were jazz and classical – lots of really good stuff. Several jazz (and one classical) aficionados were happily filling boxes and shopping carts with albums. In past years (a decade ago, say), I too would have been buying these records by the dozens, but in these post-culling times I’m happy with the seven records I snagged:

OST: My Pleasure Is My Business

Finding this one made my day. The original soundtrack from the 1975 film starring Xaviera Hollander (“The Happy Hooker”), directed by Canadian television icon Al “King of Kensington” Waxman (Americans may know him as Lt. Bert Samuels from Cagney & Lacey). Read the Canuxploitation review here. The soundtrack was written and performed by a young Tom Cochrane (before he hooked up with Red Rider).

OST: Cactus Flower

Arranged and conducted by Quincy Jones. Groovy. “Introducing” Goldie Hawn (she’d had some bit parts in movies previously).

OST: Gunn

Henry Mancini’s soundtrack music from the 1967 movie version of Blake Edwards’ Peter Gunn TV series. Never seen this one before.

OST: Marco Polo

Ennio Morricone soundtrack from a 1982 television miniseries.

OST: Altered States

Soundtrack from Ken Russell’s 1980 film starring William Hurt in his first film role. Composer John Corigliano won an Oscar in 1999 for scoring The Red Violin.

Lewis Furey: The Sky Is Falling

Collaborator and husband of sexy Québecoise actress/singer Carole Laure (though she’s not on this album). The cover art is by Stephen Lack, a talented painter and sculptor who’s probably better known for acting in David Cronenberg’s Scanners (as Cameron Vale).

Julie London: Yummy, Yummy, Yummy

Silky easy listening versions of late 60s pop hits.

I’ll be heading back to Goodwill for another look (once the roads are clear). I’m sure there’s a few interesting records I missed.

I also had a boo through the bins and bins of paintings and prints and picked up this lovely original painting:

Looks like it might have been copied from a still from an arty European movie, doesn’t it? The artist didn’t give it a title but Goodwill staff imaginatively labeled it “Man and Woman.”

Buy Michael’s Stuff

My buddy Michael had a “garage” sale in his studio in the Ortona Armoury on the weekend and he’s doing it again this coming weekend.

From his own publicity bumf: “Radios, clocks, clothing, Ray Bans, chalkware, books, records, blankets, and so much more!”

“Fire King, Federal Glass, Pyrex, Eldorado Rena Ware, Hycroft, Medalta”

“Loads of Mid-Century Modern collectibles”

There’s much more than what you see here – he keeps restocking from his vast collection.

I’m happy to shill for Michael for no recompense other than the warm glow of friendship.

Ortona Armoury Arts Building (9722-102 Street) on Saturday & Sunday (Dec. 3 & 4) from 11 to 4.

Be sure to look up to see the x-ray light fixtures on the ceiling.

The Pain in Painting

A roundup of remarkable art from this weekend’s thrifting.

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This was at the Goodwill in the west end. A little bit of googling reveals it to be a copy of…

this image from a 1900 German postcard.

Michael C. had another garage sale in his studio (more about which later).

This painting lunged out at us.

click to enlarge

The tag says “Bear stopping man from committing suicide (my favourite interpretation)”

“There are only two styles of portrait painting; the serious and the smirk.” -Charles Dickens (Nicholas Nickleby)