Friday, November 19, 2010

Off My Back

I've raved about Ellen's Silkscreening before -- and I must add, that since then I have had the pleasure of hanging out with Ellen Daigle (the Ellen behind Ellen's,) and she is as cool as her shop.

This sign on her store window got me to thinking about T-shirts, and how they really do tell stories. When I look through my own T-shirt drawer it's like a scrapbook of my past. There are the well-worn Solidarność and Divest Now! shirts from my picket line walking, sign waving college years. There's one from The Who's farewell tour in 1983. My high school boyfriend and I went to Dallas to see that one. Sadly, we had to sit through the opening act of Billy Squire. Then, there's yet another shirt from yet another Who farewell tour in 2000. That one was at the Hollywood Bowl. I had box seats -- a perk from clients still flush from the Dot.com boom years.

There are all the ones from so many other concerts, they could be the wearable liner notes from the soundtrack of my youth: REM, U2, Guns and Roses, The Smiths, The The, Smashing Pumpkins, Nirvana, Tori Amos, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Green Day, Coldplay. There are all the snarky ones that say things like "Will Write for Food" and "Read a %^$&ing Book!" There's the one with a picture of Tinkerbell and the word "believe" almost completely worn away. (But I still know it's there.) There's my old orange Lifeguard tank top. There's the charity red one from the Gap a few years ago that says Inspi(red). There's one I love to wear when I'm out with my husband because it says "I love my geek." There's the 1980 "Reelect Carter" shirt I wore when I was too young to vote but I bribed my 18 year old friend Marty to vote against Reagan. There's my "Friend of Bill" shirt from Clinton's second term. Then, there's the one with Nader's name on it. And finally the one that says "Apathy, Apathy, that's our cry, A P A... oh, whatever."

There are several with Little Bit's picture.

There's one Jon made for me that has "Sweetiepea" embroidered on it. There's another one he gave me with the famous portrait of Che Guevara. And then there is my personal favorite -- one worn on many nights with ratty PJ pants -- a pink t-shirt with a picture of Pussyfoot, my very favorite Looney Tunes character.

There's one missing from my drawer, one I never should have let my friend Machaela borrow back in 7th grade ... the Frampton Comes Alive concert T-shirt with 3/4 baseball jersey sleeves. (She never gave it back. I'm still not over it.)

What about you? Do your shirts tell your story? If so, what do they say?

22 comments:

Anonymous said...

I wonder if the "has a story" was a reference to the "Naked City" movie/tv show's "tells a story."

Judy Williams said...

When I was in high school, Dad was still on the Olympic Committee, and as the former Univ. of Texas Swimming and Diving Coach, would travel around the country. I had tee shirts from many different unheard of colleges. It was kind of my status symbol every time I would wear a new one. Slowly, the collection turned to dusting rags, and I don't have any of them now. I have an XL sized one with Pigpen on it, that I've painted a zillion rooms in. I have a tie dyed one, when the craze returned during the early 2000's, and I just can't part with it. I have a few with classic Camaros on them, since we own one of the Chevrolet beauties, and I wear them to car shows. My current favorite is a burnt orange long sleeved one with Texas Longhorns on it, but I'm rather embarrassed to wear it, with our worst season since the 90's. My blood still runs orange though, and some times I put it on, to rekindle the college spirit that was so strong when I attended in 1971. Man, that was a long time ago.

I like the minimalism of your photo, Laurie. The slogan makes us think. I like that a lot.

dbdubya said...

Based on the contents of your T-shirt drawer, is it safe to assume you're a Democrat? Re-elect Carter??? You're the only person I know who admits supporting his re-election, even though you couldn't vote. Nice selection of musical tastes, though.

Mister Earl said...

I have a ton of T-Shirts. I went through them a couple weeks ago looking for Giants ones, and I have some going back about 20 years. Also have some Rose Bowl (Little Old Lady From Pasadena), and South Pas Car show, and several from radio stations including a prized Loman and Barkley, and several KMPC ones from Robert W. Morgan. Just this week, an assortment of 5 World Series shirts arrived. Time was when I was known for a white T-Shirt and blue jeans.

This time next year I expect to have several discussing some members of the South Pasadena City Council, many beginning with the word "Dump"

Laurie said...

I can't even properly call myself a Democrat anymore, DB. The party has swung too far to the right for my political ideology.

As my dad said, if we were all the same the world would be too damned boring. I'm sure you looked quite dapper in your Reagan in '80 shirt back then, my conservative friend. :-) And we all know music is the great leveler and bridge builder.

Laurie said...

I forgot my sports T-shirts. Sure, there are the Longhorn ones. But Chicago Cubs!!!!!

Green Guy said...

We have a lot of the same shirts. Are you sure we didn't know each other back in the day?

Mister Earl said...

Got any wet ones? ;-)

I mean, we're expecting rain this weekend!

Mister Earl said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Mister Earl said...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3ASli9-F3HI&feature=related

I REALLY LOVE MY SHIRT!

rebecca said...

Tori Amos! Just one more reason to love ya!!
I found your blog about a year ago and haven't missed a post since!

TheChieftess said...

I swear Mr E...where do you come up with these songs!!! I was a big Donovan fan "back in the day", and today, if someone had mentioned this song to me I would have looked at him cross eyed!! I have to admit though, while listening to it, I think at least one memory cell in my brain was responding!!!

Mister Earl said...

Chieftess: When I'm in the old folks home, and don't know who I am, or how to dress myself, people will still come to me and I'll pull 60s songs out of my hat.

TheChieftess said...

Hmmm....I think I want to be in the same old folks home...sounds like a fun time!!!

altadenahiker said...

Smashing Pumpkins. Sigh. I was just thinking about this song this morning:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NNwu3b3mid8

dbdubya said...

No political T-shirts for me, Laurie. I'm not nearly as conservative as you might think. No musical T-shirts either. Only logos of organizations or companies that felt the need to give me one.

A good friend refuses to buy any shirt, cap, etc with the company logo. He's actually removed them when sewn on. He owns a Toyota without the word Toyota on it anywhere. He removed all the badges. His theory is that if he pruchased a product from a company he is not obligated to advertise for them, so he removes the company logo. Odd.

San Diego Farmgirl said...

I still have a t-shirt advertising MTV's show Remote Control from 1987. It was my first clothing purchase after I went away to college. It's so full of holes I can't wear it anymore, but I can't bear to throw it out. I also have a Nirvana t-shirt from a 1991 concert that has Dante's Circles of Hell on the front, and the back says "fudge packin crack smokin satan worshippin muther f#cker." Back in those days, I wore it out in public all the time and only got a few raised eyebrows. These days, I worry I'd be arrested on obscenity charges. So now I wear it under a button down shirt like Mr. Earl and his F-bomb Giants tee. *sigh* Ah, the good ol' days of free speech ...

Pasadena Adjacent said...

Somewhere is a photo of my 19 year old self in Aspen wearing a Palomino Club T with cap sleeves. Somewhere else is another picture of my 19 year old self wearing a Mule Days T-shirt with 3/4 baseball jersey sleeves. It's enough

Dixie Jane said...

Use i befor e
Except after c

Weird

Mike said...

I want Farmgirl's Nirvana shirt.

TheChieftess said...

I love that you had a Mule Days shirt PA!!!

Trish said...

Were I in SoPas--I'd have had Ellen make me the latest one I created for my pals in the chemo room---glad Ellen is still going strong! "Careful, I've kicked melanoma to the curb, not much scares me anymore". Alas, my trips to town are fewer these days. And also alas, we buried a friend of mine today who kicked melanoma to the curb for 6 years...just not quite far enough to the curb. Under my dress shirt I wore one of my other favorite shirts to his funeral (please pardon the language):
Foxtrot
Uniform
Charlie
Kilo
Charlie
Alpha
November
Charlie
Echo
Romeo

Love the sharing going on about shirts. I was never allowed to go to concerts, so I don't have a lot of shirts---tho somewhere I used to have a Ramones shirt I took off my first boyfriend, back in the day. And somewhere I have shirts from some sports teams I played on.

Mr Earl...wet ones? sigh! ;-)

and db---haven't gone so far as to remove the symbols and words from cars, but we did buy a new car from an online dealer once. I called the local PD to ask if I HAD to keep the paper ad and surround they'd put on the vehicle in place of the license plate until I received the CA plate. Took a while, but the PD said "no, as long as you have the temp reg taped to the front window and paperwork inside the vehicle". They'd never had the question before---guess everyone assumes you HAVE to keep it.