Alexandria Virginia

jacques tati, english pewter and everyday situations

Mar 27, 2012 | Leave a comment

Introduced in 1955, the Volkswagen Karmann Ghia (designed in Germany by coach builder Karmann) looked like a squashed Beetle. The Ghia’s smooth lines and curves were constructed from hand-shaped alloys (English pewter) and fancy welds to give it a distinct look and subsequently a heftier price tag. It was Volkswagen’s flagship model at the time and made the bolt-on Beetle look even more utilitarian. The Bug did get the Karmann design treatment though with the Convertible/ Cabriolet line.

There is a wonderful French film by Jacques Tati called Trafic (Criterion DVD out-of-print!) that is filled with colorful cars and characters. It’s the story about a car designer (Tati resuming his M. Hulot role) trying to get his latest vehicle to an Amsterdam car show. If you’ve seen any of Tati’s films starring his alter-ego Monsieur Hulot, you’ll know that they have numerous sight gags, precision comic-timing and very little dialogue. I highly recommend all of them especially this one and Playtime. Here’s the trailer for Trafic.

Jacques Tati stated in an interview on French television that his films sometimes tell a story through hundreds of details: “I try to bring a smile to familiar everyday situations. In Trafic, it’s automobiles.” I hear you Monsieur.

built for spite and to keep sally out of the alley

Mar 20, 2012 | Leave a comment


One more late-60’s MG from Alexandria, VA. The MGB classic roadster in Dark British Racing Green. Hard to choose between this one and last week’s hardtop. Maybe both? One block away from this spot on Queen Street is The Spite Housea narrow house built to discourage neighbors from driving their carriages through the alley and to prevent loitering. 

stuck on the van wyck with nicki minaj

Mar 13, 2012 | Leave a comment

A fine example of an early 70’s MGB GT. This 2-door coupe is a little more refined than its convertible, roadster cousin and the Pininfarina-designed “greenhouse” hatchback really looks sharp. Kind of reminds me of a poor spy’s Aston Martin DB5.
I always imagine myself cruising through the English countryside with Chantal Goya tunes on the radio, maybe stopping off at The Hare and The Who for a pie and pint but the the reality is I would probably just be stuck in traffic on the Van Wyck with Nicki Minaj and cold White Castle. Fail not for sorrow, falter not for sin, but onward, upward, till the goal ye win.

the audacity of mirrors and hobbitses

Mar 6, 2012 | Leave a comment

Another fine truck from Alexandria, VA. Look at those side mirrors! How large they loom! Ready to take out unsuspecting pedestrians and cyclists in a single swipe but hopefully that will  never happen.
This early-70’s Chevrolet C20 Deluxe came stock with those mirrors and are especially useful when towing blind spot-inducing trailers and caravans. I shot this truck with my friend Doug who happened to live a few doors down from a family I was visiting. We picked up right where we left off some 15 years prior meaning that the conversation immediately turned to music and all of the great bands we used to see during our college days.

I love Alexandria specifically the Old Town neighborhood because they have a proper chip shop, Eammon’s; a proper coffee shop, Misha’s; and a bar named Bilbo Baggins. What more do you need?

pardon the paronomasia on oronoco

Feb 28, 2012 | Leave a comment

Over the next few weeks I’m going to feature some vehicles that I shot in Alexandria, Virginia. I would have never guessed this little town to be a hotbed of cool automobiles. Here’s a nice early-70’s Ford F-Series Ranger. I love the pun on the awning which leads me to comment on some of the more interesting ones in my Brooklyn neighborhood …the former fresh seafood joint on Bedford Avenue called Off Da Hook and a new pet supply shop on Halsey St. called Who’s Your Doggy?. Fantastic.