IFC’s Portlandia and the Deuce Hotel

For the record, I’m a sucker for the Ace Hotel, which makes being uncomfortable feel so cool that I’d very likely stay there again should I ever visit Portland again. Nevertheless, in their IFC comedy series, Portlandia, Fred Armisten and Carrie Brownstein recently put on a hilarious Deuce Hotel sketch that pokes fun at the Ace’s winning formula – and the vintage pieces that help to create it. The Ace in Portland is famous for its vintage photo booth and the Deuce in Portlandia similarly pays homage to yesteryear with vintage goodies like globes, cardboard taxidermy and a salvaged, rusted metal star. There’s even a vintage abacus, an object which seems to be having its 15 minutes. Or at least its second fifteen minutes. (Which reminds me, what is the right word to describe the act of using once groundbreaking technological innovations to decorate? And where’s my printing press?)  While everything that’s happening decoratively at the Deuce Hotel is very then, it’s also very now. So why does it all look very dated? Was the set arranged poorly in order to enhance the caricature? Or have the objects themselves become the caricature? Gulp! Many have speculated that 2012 will result in massive social upheavals, which will result in a new era of peace and enlightenment for mankind. Are you stocking up on supplies just in case? More importantly, what’s going to be the next big thing in vintage? Or am I being too dramatic and everything’s going to keep going exactly as it has been for the past several years? Check out the Portlandia clip for yourself. Have you been watching it?

Ace Hotel was the topic of an early post after I started Strange Closets out of a brown leather club chair in the corner of my living room in March of 2008. Last summer I stayed at The Jane Hotel in New York City, which was even less comfortable (relatively speaking) than the Ace but just as cool, and I’d likely stay there again too.

Lockers! Ouch. I’ve been looking for a set forever. Guess that’s out. As much as I like vintage typewriters, I don’t have enough surface space.

For those of you who’re fans of oversized pencils, spoons and the like, please take no offense, but I’m not a fan personally. Having said that, context is everything, and I’d love for one of you to convince me otherwise.

Haven’t we all had this impulse? Actually, my first impulse is to check the price and then the fisticuffs.

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3 Responses to “IFC’s Portlandia and the Deuce Hotel”

  1. That’s a funny clip. They just piled up all that cool stuff that some people would call junk and now it looks like junk again. I would like a card catalog, though.

  2. You and I will have to put our heads together and come up with a word to describe using vintage items to decorate. Maybe “historign” for “historical design”. “He had historigned his home with eccentric charm, using old steel desks, lockers and file card drawers for purposes the original designers never imagined.”

  3. This is hilarious. This brings up the age old question/problem “Is something still cool if it ends up being commercialized?”.
    I mean when you find it at DWR/West Elm/every vintage shop….all of which I love….is there anything unique left? I don’t know. I’ve seen the Ace Hotel in NYC and it was impressive but lacked editing. It was like they threw all their decorating tricks into one massive place.