Archive for Mail Art

Sponge-worthy metal tape begets decentralized culture

by David Solomonoff

TDK cassette ad "The Sound Sponge"

Boingboing recently had a post about the last remaining factory making analog audio cassette tapes. Business is booming with a resurgent taste for things analog, physical and tangible – and they also sound good.

My wife and I took part in an international underground art and music movement in the 1980’s that used snail mail to create a decentralized culture that predated but anticipated the public Internet. Cassettes were the game-changing technology that allowed for fast, cheap music reproduction in small production runs.

Blank cassettes are actually collectors’ items now. Unfortunately the type of cassette that allowed us to do complex sound collages with cheap hardware doesn’t seem to be made anymore. The Type IV metal tape – actual metal bits instead of metal oxide in the tape emulsion – had sound quality that rivaled analog reel-to-reel machines and digital compact disks.

I found a few metal cassettes at a church rummage sale recently and plan to save them for special musical projects – the way Elaine chose “sponge-worthy” boyfriends on Seinfeld.

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All Saints Keep Marching In! 200 Postcards/Got Mail Art

by Carola Von Hoffmannstahl-Solomonoff

All Saints Eve aka Halloween is long gone. Even the Great Turkey has flown. Yet the saints keep marching in! How spectral is that? Meanwhile, back at the 200 Postcards/Got Mail Art project, folks are revving up for Xmas*. Partying with in-laws and no laws, stalking Black Season sales, and decking the motel halls with duct tape. Me no tell Santa if you don’t…

 

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1) Making merry with balloon golf. BYOB and watch out for the holes. Go ask Cousin Alice— she fell down one!

 

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2) Bennington, Vermont.  Where a surprising amount of product can be found.

 

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3)  Anonymous Motel, Lake George, New York.  An attentive staff and a TV in every room. Set amidst rolling acres of stain-resistant carpet.

 

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4) Anonymous Motel, Lake George, New York. An attentive staff, plus cozy cabins with kitchen/bath combos.

 

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5) Meanwhile, back in Vermont, the wacky ways of Hollywood– and organized crime– are being pondered.

 

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6) Duct tape, used auto parts, and a heavenly calendar girl. Happy new old year, January, 1963. Cooperstown Junction, New York.

 

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7) Gilboa Dam, Schoharie Reservoir, upstate New York. Created to supply New York City with water, the reservoir sits atop a flooded village and acres of rolling drowned farmland.

 

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8) Hotel Mark Hopkins, San Francisco, California. A tip top view from glamorous Top of the Mark. Careful of the eye holes tho. Cousin Alice… well, you know.

 

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9) Shinglekill Falls, Purling, New York. Postcard sez: “The water evoked reverence in early years”. Now?  Folks “must scream to be heard over the roar”.

*Xmas: Though often confused with Christmas due to proximity, Xmas is a completely different holiday. Widely celebrated, its origins are somewhat mysterious. Conspiracy theorists claim Satan thought it up while “X-ing” old angel friends out of his address book. Others put the blame on Bizarro. Or possibly Mame

 

Coming for Christmas: Return of the Magnificent Incoming/ Miraculous Mail Art from Around the World.

The series so far:

200 Postcards/Got Mail Art– The Movie!

200 Postcards/Got Mail Art: Summa Summertime Fun

200 Postcards/Got Mail Art: Famous Faces, Strange Places

200 Postcards/Got Mail Art: Incoming! Incoming!

Spring a Ding Ding, Eight from the Gate

Mail Art Confidential Part 2: Extreme Sports

Mail Art Confidential Part One

Five More for the Road

200 Postcards/Got Mail Art?

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200 Postcards/Got Mail Art — The Movie!

by Carola Von Hoffmannstahl-Solomonoff

As Summer draws to a close, faces in Hollywood are long. So many months, so few blockbusters. True, superheroes broke through but the comic book barrel is just about bare. Mighty Mouse lurks at the bottom. Buck up Money Men, have I got a hit for you. 200 Postcards/Got Mail Art? Yes! It’s PO Box Boffo. See– postcard on postcard action! See– mixed media vixens! Aw heck– see for yourself.

But first a word about our rubber stamp star. Little Skull Girl With Gun was designed by Rob Hales and obtained at Casey Rubber Stamps in NYC …

 

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1) Little Skull Girl is looking to make a killing among the magnolias. Got Mail Art, Sugar?

 

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2) The eyes have it– as always.

 

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3) Little Skull Girl wishes she had a high heel shoe hat…

 

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4) Fleeing the scene, Little Skull Girl wonders why Christ and Pol Pot had to meet in the desert. Like– why is it always the desert?

 

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5) Little Skull Girl is wistful. “Will I ever be built like a calender girl?”

 

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6) Oh look! The Magnolias are back. Coinkydink– or eternal return?

 

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7) Humming High Heel Sneakers, Little Skull Girl heads off to school.

 

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8) OMG! Classes are being held in the desert. Must be a Catholic school…

 

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9) Screw the high heel shoe hat. Little Skull Girl decides to let her noggin fly.

 

Coming Soon: The Return of the Magnificent Incoming! Startling works by Mail Artists from around the globe. Monsters, Magic, and Babes in Toyland. Get with it, Hollywood. Real superheroes travel by snail.

The series so far:

200 Postcards/Got Mail Art: Summa Summertime Fun

200 Postcards/Got Mail Art: Famous Faces, Strange Places

200 Postcards/Got Mail Art: Incoming! Incoming!

Spring a Ding Ding, Eight from the Gate

Mail Art Confidential Part 2: Extreme Sports

Mail Art Confidential Part One

Five More for the Road

200 Postcards/Got Mail Art?

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200 Postcards/Got Mail Art: Summa Summertime Fun

by Carola Von Hoffmannstahl-Solomonoff

Oh yeah, the living is easy. Catfish jumping, cotton high. Pols sweating bullets all over the place. Dodging ’em can be tuff. Load up the car and hit the road jack. Send pals postcards from the Paradise Motel saying “Wish you were here!” Ditch the cell tho. It doesn’t do privacy…

 

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1) “Purring Tranquility” in the Scenic South of Bessemer, Alabama.

 

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2) “Welcome to Walt Disney World.” What would Summer be without a drop-in on Disney, the “Vacation Kingdom of the World”?

 

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3) Tomorrow Land at Disney World: “Welcome to the Future”. Or is it the past?

 

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4) Just ’cause it’s hot and gritty, don’t skip New York City! “Luscious” Lana Turner and “Mob gorilla” Johnny Stompanato do Rockefeller Center Plaza.

 

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5) In upstate New York, famous folks can be spotted at Niagara Falls. But you gotta look fast before they disappear…

 

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6) Paleface Mountain Inn, Jay, New York; yet another great place for people watching. How many pale faces can you spot? Winner gets an all-expenses paid trip to Albany!

 

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7) The State Capital, Historic Albany, New York circa 2007.  No matter how hot things got, Governor Eliot Spitzer always kept his socks on. And though his “Steam Roller” temper was legendary, historians say Eliot/Elliott never erupted over his misspelled name on the Capital’s most iconic postcard.

 

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8) All aboard the Union Pacific Railroad! Claim a seat in the Astra Dome Observation Car and bring on the non-stop booze. Take in the “mystic and romantic light from the star-studded canopy” while the cat up front blows an ode…

 

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9) The Big Texan on I-40 East says “Exit Now”. Steak for 99 cents– an offer that can’t be refused.

 

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10) Meanwhile, back in the heart of Dixie, North Carolina’s state bird spots an angel amongst the magnolias.

 

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11) One last reminder re that cell…

 

The series so far:

200 Postcards/Got Mail Art: Famous Faces, Strange Places

200 Postcards/Got Mail Art: Incoming! Incoming!

Spring a Ding Ding, Eight from the Gate

Mail Art Confidential Part 2: Extreme Sports

Mail Art Confidential Part One

Five More for the Road

200 Postcards/Got Mail Art?

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200 Postcards/Got Mail Art: Famous Faces, Strange Places

by Carola Von Hoffmannstahl-Solomonoff

Saviors, celebs, and monsters ride the Snail. Therein lies the tale. Yippee-ki-yay! Mofo or no, they go with the flow…

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1) Christ and Pol Pot in Desert w. touch of El Topo. Highway 84 between Phoenix and Tucson.

 

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2) Frieda Kahlo by TicTac. Geisha rising from Lake Mead, largest reservoir in the US– straddling Nevada and Arizona.

 

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3) Mao Zedong say wha?? Revolution isn’t a Pu Pu Platter. China City Restaurant– quaint, exotic, and air conditioned. Florida, possibly Saint Petersburg.

 

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4) Going to a Go Go with Mail Art and iconic dervish. Silver Springs, Florida. “Nature’s Underwater Fairyland”.

 

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5) Skeletons and Ocotillo. Indigenous to the Sonoran Desert in Southwestern U.S. and northern Mexico.

 

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6) Christ and Saturn in Ballroom w. touch of Louis XV. Henry Morrison Flagler Museum, Palm Beach, Florida. Flagler was Dad to Miami and Standard Oil. Monopoly anyone?

 

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7) Mao Zedong and Skull Pez. United Nations, New York City

 

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8) Back to the Desert, Varieties of Cactus. Some less prickly than others.

 

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9) Greetings from the Mohawk Bingo Palace, St. Regis Reservation, Hogansburg, New York.

 

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10) Riding the Ridge in Hunter, New York. Catskill Mountains. Corn high, Eye in the Sky…

The series so far:

200 Postcards/Got Mail Art: Incoming! Incoming!

Spring a Ding Ding, Eight from the Gate

Mail Art Confidential Part 2: Extreme Sports

Mail Art Confidential Part One

Five More for the Road

200 Postcards/Got Mail Art?

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200 Postcards/Got Mail Art: Incoming! Incoming!

by Carola Von Hoffmannstahl-Solomonoff

“What matters most is how well you walk through the fire.”

So said Charles Bukowski and I agree. (Tip: flame retardant underwear helps.) Mark Hammond put the fire-walk words on the back of his view of Fuji:

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1) Mark Hammond, Kanazawa, Japan

Peterolpetal sent a distressed looking angel enrobed in an envelope of mystical significance.  Just what is that tower broadcasting?

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2) Petrolpetal, Kwa Zulu Natal, South Africa

Speaking of broadcasting, are you ready for some CircumSubstantial Playing & Blindfolded Tourism? Check out tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE at the Mattress Factory in Pittsburgh circa 2001.

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3) Who Unit? Pittsburgh, Pa., USA. Message on back: “We meet again, decades later, at the due speed of snail mail!” Yes I say yes to reconnecting in slow mo–

and I will honor The Snail with these stamps from TICTAC POST.

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4) Ptrzia/Tictac, Starnberg, Germany

Tictac keeps right on ticking:

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5) Ptrzia (Tictac), Starnberg, Germany

The Tictac came with an AMBASCIATA DI VENEZIA book of wonders. Too large to be presented here. Just the cover, ma’am, just the cover. Inside, beautifully presented works by more than 50 artists and “the idea of a free space where the only leading power is that of culture”.

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6) AMBASCIATA DI VENEZIA, Tiziana Baracchi, Giancarlo Da Lio, Venezia Mestre, Italy

“Even if you are adult, your childhood is still inside of you” says Bernhard Zilling on the back of his hand-painted card. Hmmmm– the fellow on the card looks strangely familiar. Could he also be one of the three men in a painting by “anonymous” that hangs on my living room wall? If so, who are these men and why are they manifesting in art all over the world?

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7) Inside Childhood, Bernhard Zilling, Berlin, Germany. With detail from Three guys from a Thrift Store, anonymous, upstate New York, USA.

No anonymous here– photo by Reed Altemus, presumably of Reid Wood in a State of Being. Or is it Lord Laurence Olivier?

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8) State of Being, Oberlin, Ohio, USA

Then there’s this big eye from Gimel Patrick/Patrick Gimel, containing a reworked version of a postcard I sent. Our exchange ricocheted into a back-and-forth of photos within photos. One of my favorite Mail Art riffs.

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9) Big Pink Eye w. Red Hat Baby, Gimel Patrick/Patrick Gimel, Grenoble, France.

Another Mail Art tradition– games. Dan Buck sent instructions for Trial and Error, A Dicing Game. Keep the kids busy on car trips! Are we there yet, Mommy? Shut up and study your crime mag…

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10) Trial and Error, Dan Buck, Armour, South Dakota, USA

Pati Bristow stitched this card, which contains instructions for what may be pruning or grafting trees. “Stumps” are involved; trees seem a good guess. The bad guess? Think crime mag.

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11) Stitch instruction card, back & front, Pati Bristow, Los Altos, California, USA

Finally, an illustrated dissertation by Scott Thomas on “people who just don’t care what others think of their appearance”. Like Scott sez: “you just just have to admire that in some ways….many ways”. Also includes an ode to a real-life “semi-pro dumpster diver”.  Envelope and outer card bedecked with smiley faces. Several sinister. Try not to think crime mag.

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12) They Just Don’t Care, Scott Thomas, Lexington, Kentucky, USA

Th-th-th-that’s all folks! For now….

 

The series so far:

Spring a Ding Ding, Eight from the Gate

Mail Art Confidential Part 2: Extreme Sports

Mail Art Confidential Part One

Five More for the Road

200 Postcards/Got Mail Art?

 

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Spring a Ding Ding, Eight from the Gate

by Carola Von Hoffmannstahl-Solomonoff

It’s season of the switch at 200 Postcards/Got Mail Art? Magnolias are blooming and tigers and teens are looking for a kiss. Sure, politicians keep shoveling but guess who has risen? Hint: His name rhymes with…

 

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1) Mississippi Magnolia: “This beautiful flower of the evergreen Magnolia Grandiflora is seen throughout the South in the late Spring.”

 

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2) Mating Season in Historic Beaufort, South Carolina.

 

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3) Mating Season in Ormond Beach, Florida.

 

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4) State Capitol, Albany, New York. Regular tours take in “The Million Dollar Staircase”. Coming soon– a casino to die for! Just a hop skip from the Cap.

 

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5) Aladdin Casino, Las Vegas: “Truly a magical resort where your wish is our command.”

 

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6) Main Street, Old Tucson, Arizona. Among the many Westerns shot at Old Tucson Studios: Rio Bravo, El Dorado, and Andy Warhol’s Lonesome Cowboys

 

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7) Palm Springs, California: “…famous for its luxury shops, restaurants, and hotels.” But natives say “keep watching the sky”.

 

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8) Alta, Utah: Skiing in deep powder. After the fall, a rise…

 

Thanks to pals in SoCal for the cards from Vegas, Palm Springs, and Utah.

The series so far:

Mail Art Confidential Part 2: Extreme Sports

Mail Art Confidential Part One

Five More for the Road

200 Postcards/Got Mail Art?

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Mail Art Confidential Part 2: Extreme Sports

by Carola Von Hoffmannstahl-Solomonoff

Seven contenders from 200 Postcards/Got Mail Art? Lightweight, heavyweight, and in my lady’s chamber. Spelunking with Mae West, swimming with sharks, maiden-form skiing and flying pink. BYO bra, Bro…

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1) Hot dogging skier w. peaks. Park West Resort, Snyderville, Utah. (Thanks to pals in SoCal for the unaltered card.)

 

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2) D.C. Stadium, Bird’s Eye View. “…the Washington Senators play home games here.”

 

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3) Touch Football Heaven. President Kennedy’s summer home, Hyannisport, Massachusetts

 

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4) Boozing! Swimming! Power Walking! Top athlete Ted Kennedy, Dyke Bridge, Chappaquiddick Island, Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts

 

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5) Swimmers in Great Salt Lake, Utah. (Another SoCal pal card.)

 

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6) Flying Pink. December, 17, 1903: The Day Man First Flew, The Outer Banks of North Carolina

 

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7) Scratch Match: Spelunking with Mae West. Carlsbad Caverns National Park, New Mexico. Caves and stalactites boys, caves and stalactites…

The series so far:

Mail Art Confidential Part One

Five More for the Road

200 Postcards/Got Mail Art?

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Mail Art Confidential

by Carola Von Hoffmannstahl-Solomonoff

Mail Art Confidential; another handful of perps from the 200 Postcards/Got Mail Art? project. Served with a splash of vintage American Noir. Calendar girls, corruption, and epic political conspiracies. Hat tip to James Ellroy…

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Lyndon Baines Johnson Library and Museum, Austin ,Texas. Presidential limo, 1968. “The large soundproof passenger compartment provided ample space for discussion in transit.”

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First Federal Savings and Loan Building, Jackson, Mississippi. Erected 1962. Ecstatically viewed from balcony of the Old Capital Museum.

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Nixon in Tijuana w. buddy, 1972. Campaigning on the Avenida Revolucion, aka “Main Street”.

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The Mystery of the Singing Tower, 1940 or thereabouts. Florida? Or Hoboken, New Jersey before real estate fever burned down the town?

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After Dark, My Sweet. Contemporary. Jesus at the Jefferson Memorial, Washington D.C.,

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Five More for the Road

by Carola Von Hoffmannstahl-Solomonoff

Five more postcards hit the road– a moving part of the 200 Postcards/Got Mail Art? project.

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Midwest Modern, Waterloo, Iowa, 1933:  “Our YMCA is the newest and most modern in the 5 state area in Midwest.”

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Florida Pelican Boy

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The Ghost of Radio City, New York

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Million Dollar Aqua-Babe, St. Petersburg, Florida

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Silver Springs Demi-God w. Maiden

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