Wednesday, May 27, 2009


Frankie was indeed happy that one of his Wednesday Night Hoppers designed his book and jacket. His inscription in Pat's and my copy included a line something like "Thank you for making me look so good." He didn't any need help to look good; he always looked great. When we had the project in work at BTD, I know you weren't lovin' the script used for the jacket subtitle; I see your point. My goal was to show dynamics using type, but with a great jacket photo like Eugene Smith's, who needs to be fuusy?

Trendily connected or not, the graphics for Frankie95 are pretty darned nice. Everything is clean, handsome, strong, consistent, and lively. The whole approach shows Frankie and swing as the strong phenomenon he was/is, without any of the retro trappings that tie graphically to his first heydey (Guilty!). The muscular of-this-decade look is perfect for the current generation of scarily talented and acrobatic dancers who are building on Frankie's steps. Eugene Smith's image gets a workout—an an abstracted workover—in the tee shirt below.

I don't know how consciously the organizers plotted the branding of Frankie's Festival. As someone privileged to hang out with him as a member of the class that became extended family, I have mixed feelings about Frankie becoming more icon than person—especially on the kicky signage for the memorial service.

But, if you need to show the Obamization of someone, then Frankie's the man. Speaking of Obamization, one of the ads even included the slogan "Yes We Can Lindy Hop."

The program design is by Daniel Bosse of Bayon Creative. The program cover illustration, based on a photo of Frankie arriving in Australia in the 1930s, is by Chris Switzer. Eli Pritikin had a lot to do with the website, designing posters, and being a general aide-de-camp (mixed metaphors intended).

Without Frankie himself to pose with, people gathered for shots in front of the iconic poster at the venue's entry (I don't know the folks in the shot below; a lot of attendees were from abroad—including lots and lots and lots of Swedes, many of them superlative dancers).

Yup, we attended a number of the events and most of the dances. Frankie's birthday eve was the best, with an awesome Wycliffe Gordon leading the battle of the bones (trombones, that is) and Yvonne Glover (she has some set of pipes!) doing occasional vocals. You may find this hard to believe, but what I wore were short, non-vintage dresses—assuming things I've had for 25 years aren't vintage!

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