Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Thrift Store Adventures: Best/Strangest Thrift Purchase Ever!

I do love me some thrift stores. I've gotten some very interesting and unique items from second hand stores, things you just can't find anywhere else (except maybe eBay), and many of those items will end up on this website sooner or later. But today, I would like to put the spotlight on one item I found particularly mesmerizing/interesting/great/sexy?/strange/funny/beautiful/noteworthy.

When I saw it, it simply looked like a small, framed poster from some cartoon of two girls on a playground eating bags of chips. When I look closer, I realized that it was no ordinary poster, and that it seemed to have several layers, each with its own portion of the picture. When I looked even closer, I noticed that it wasn't just a picture, but a hand-painted piece. When I looked closer still, I put it alllll together, and realized I was dealing with an actual animation cel!

I was pretty stoked and, with a price tag of $3.00, it completely made my day. Probably my life. I proudly displayed my original/unique/unusual/fantastic art cel in my living room for all guests to see and be super jealous of. I mean, come on, who WOULDN'T be envious of such a masterpiece???

Just a happy playground scene, right?

That's right. I have an authentic animation cel of a set of interracial friends enjoying a nice bag of chips, on what appears to be a playground, in the 1970's. With heavy eyelids. And holding their bags lovingly... "Wait a minute, they're not simply enjoying chips at all, are they!?" Well sir, it appears as though you are correct. There has to be something more to this scene.

My friends and I have come up with three possible scenarios for this picture, dismissing the idea of it just being two friends at recess eating bags of chips in substitution to the gruel their school lunch ladies call "grilled cheese sandwiches." Our theories:

1) Two girls went for a long walk. One is dressed in a sensible pink turtle neck and less sensible/more trendy pink pants, and the other in an awful blue denim affair, but she still looks cool because it's ironic. They stopped by a convenience store for a drink of water and a light snack. After purchasing "Chips" brand chips, they make their way back home, but on the basketball court of the park, they catch each others' eyes. Each is smitten with the beauty of the other, and all feels so right, so natural. They let their bodies and newly-developed hormones take control. Their eyes lower, and go in for the kiss. And boom. That's the scene.

2) A couple of cheerleaders got picked up by a purple psychedelic van full of a group of teenagers and a dog name Scooby in the 70's. They visited some house the teens claimed was haunted, but was really just their grandma's and they just said it was haunted to make the cheerleaders feel more vulnerable and willing to do a "doggie show" for them. They never said whether or not they did the show, but they did say they got baked as hell off of the "sticky icky icky" and some weed browies, and the teens even gave them a parting gift of some chips. This scene is right after they got dropped off at a parking lot and the girls are mashing their chips cuz they have the munchies, but are confused as to how they are going to get home. Bam, this is that scene.

3) The new girl at school, Moteesha, is from the Bronx. Her family can't afford to take her to fancy stores like JC Penny, and so, alas, she must shop at Goodwill or a trashcan. This makes Moteesha self conscious and makes it hard for her to find friends, especially when she wears that tiny blue vest and elastic-waistbanded jeans. Popular, but ditzy, Laura makes it her mission to welcome the new girl by sitting with her in Social Studies, and they quickly become friends. "I gots this shit that'll blow your fucking mind," says Moteesha. "Let's ditch PE and I'll show you." "Teehee, OK! :)" says Laura. And so after class they sneak out and go behind the dumpster on the playground, where Moteesha pulls out two old chip bags and a half can of spray paint. A few huffs and puffs later, and we have this glorious scene!

My bets are on theory 3, but they all make sense to me. What do you guys think? The only thing that doesn't make sense is that the background is printed off of a crappy printer! The whole thing is masterfully done and hand painted, but the background is a garden-variety print-out? Double-you tee eff? This conundrum was so mind-boggling that a friend and I decided to take the cel apart and look for clues. It was professionally framed and matted and even backed, so it was risking damaging my gorgeous piece of art, but the curiosity was too much.

Clearly hand-painted.

Different layers of celluloid for animation.

Numbered frame.

Printed fucking background!! 

The autopsy disclosed nothing. Why would someone go to all the trouble to paint, frame, mat, and back this and just throw on some ho-hum printed background? Perhaps the mystery shall never get solved, and perhaps it is actually the mystery that is the diamond-in-the-rough with this, but if anyone has ANY information about this I would be happy to hear it.


  1. In what is clearly your ultimate blog thus far, I have a new theory as to the scene depicted in this mysterious work of art.

    It's Saturday morning in a non-descript midwestern setting. 1976. No one is at the playground and the girls are clearly alone. The previous night they had their first ever sleepover...

  2. ***BACKSTORY***
    (Please skip if you just want the short version of this interpretation)

    The previous day, Laura Vacanstein (the fancy blonde) had invited Moteesha Jones for a sleepover out of simple charity. Moteesha was indeed the new girl in town and fresh from the Bronx. In preparation for her first day of school, she had stolen some groovy threads from JC Penny and walked through the doors looking just like her idol Diana Ross. Only problem was...she looked too damn fine and the reigning beauty at the school (Nausha Updyke) got jealous when she realized she had some competition.

    When Moteesha took a long, luxurious drink of water at the fountain, she knew just what she was doing and all the boys in the hallway were frozen at attention. Oh, the way the water dripped off those full, luscious lips! No one had ever seen a girl that foxy before. Plus, the fact that she was an ebony beauty made her even MORE exotic. See, there were no black people who went to that school. Half the kids had never even SEEN a black person in real life before! It was at that very moment when Nausha made her move and did the unthinkable. She removed the strawberry Blow Pop from her heavily glossed mouth and rolled it cotton candy style in Moteesha's brand new weave (!) Moteesha screamed in agony as Nausha's grip on the Blow Pop stick never faltered, pulling and yanking her hair in feminine fury! It was a true cat fight. Moteesha's new duds were ruined and she was left crying and far from popular when the fight was over and the hallway emptied.

    Laura watched the whole thing going down. It was hilarious! It'd been a good long while since she'd seen a fight that bitchin! But then, as she watched Moteesha try in vain to remove the Blow Pop from her hair, she decided to perform her self-imposed one good deed of the year and befriend Moteesha...err, well actually, no "befriend" isn't quite the right word. After all, she did have a reputation of her own and this girl was totally tainted. But...she WOULD be nice to her for one whole day (secretively) and hell, why not? She'd even go the extra mile and invite her over for a sleepover. Yeah, that might actually be fun she thought. We could think of ways to get back at that bitch Nausha. She deserves everything that's coming to her.

    And that was how Moteesha met Laura. The sleepover was a huge success...after they got Moteesha some new clothes from the janitor's closet.


  3. Moteesha had some stolen tequila in her backpack that night, so she and Laura decided to try out getting drunk. They drank while they hatched schemes to defeat that evil cow-whore Nausha. Well, their schemes were short lived. Even though they had each eaten 5 packages of Little Smokies, it was not enough to help their tiny bodies absorb all that alcohol and they promptly passed out with a half-empty bottle between them.

    That morning they both woke up with massive hangovers, complete with puffy eyes and underwear full of tequila squirts. They were both disgusted, but every cloud has a silver lining for that was where the plot to get back at that cockknocker Nausha was hatched! this masterwork of thrift shop proportions, the captured scene now makes sense to at least this author. The girls are hungover from a wild night of drinking...they woke up with shitty underwear...they ate some chips immediately and felt a little better...whoa...they came up with a grody put their shitty underwear in the empty chip bags, sneak into school when no one's there and plant the shitty drawers in that smelly gayer Nausha's locker!

    The picture clearly shows a conspiracy at foot, bulging bags of "chips" and a clear case of drunken dregs.