Posts Tagged ‘Atomic Pop’

It’s once again Fallout Shelter Friday! This week’s shelter isn’t a fallout shelter at all, but Art!

Pink (Art) Fallout Shelter Doors

In 2009 the Canadian art collective, Instant Coffee created the Disco Fallout Shelter installation for the Toronto Sculpture Garden. The installation was on display from May 6 through September 15, 2009, and man I wish I’d seen it live rather than via the 1997ish, super low-tech website on which it currently resides. (Or maybe the retroness of the site is part of the exhibit? You never know with art!)

Anyway, the installation consisted of the above-ground portions (mainly the door and ventilator duct) of a 1950s fallout shelter, all blinged-out in Pepto pink and a disco-ballified satellite dish. Visitors wound their way through the installation by way of a yellow brick road, terminating at a locked (pink!) shelter door, through which party music is heard. So, what was behind the locked door? Well, the exhibit answers that for us, thanks to a video screen housed in the ventilator duct.

The ventilator duct provided a glimpse into the (supposed) goings on of the shelter. Shelter residents could be seen “playing records, eating spaghetti, dancing, reading, sleeping and just hanging out in the tight confines…of the shelter.” Of course this was all make-believe, with the collective members making up the residents and prerecording the whole shindig.

Ventilator Video Screen


Marty and the Clock Tower

(An earlier version of this piece appeared on McSweeney’s Internet Tendency.)

Somewhere along the line, Back to the Future became a lot less nuclear. The Back to the Future that we know and love begins with clocks—lots and lots of clocks—followed by Doc Brown’s Rube Goldberg-esque Einstein-feeding machine, and of course, Marty going electric and blowing the bejeezus out of Doc’s giant speaker with his first strum.

But that wasn’t the opening that Robert Zemeckis and Bob Gale envisioned. I have a copy of the first draft of the Back to the Future script, as well as a later draft written in 1984, because of course I do. Both of these versions are much (much!) more nuclear than the resulting film.




Kids playing shuffle-board, dad chillaxin’, and ma tending an ahead-of-its-time rooftop garden. Oh! and we have Pebbles the dog up with ma as well.

This is indeed an ATTRACTIVE ADDITION.

No word on what the shelter’s interior looks like, but if it’s anything like the outside, I’d love to ride out the apocalypse with the Bartholows. Seem like a fun bunch.

Happy Atom Smashing!




PS – Where’s the barnyard?


(An earlier version of this piece appeared on McSweeney’s Internet Tendency.)

I am very much a fan of The Twilight Zone (OG series). In fact, two of the very best holidays each and every year are the Fourth of July and New Year’s, not only because of the fireworks and family and friends generally associated with each of them, but because the SyFy channel usually airs a The Twilight Zone marathon during the days surrounding each holiday.

The original series aired from 1959 to 1964 and ended-up with a run of 156 episodes. Although essentially a science fiction series, the episodes were almost always a commentary on contemporary American society, as I suppose most science fiction is anyway. Of the 156 episodes, I count six that are directly tied to the Atomic Age/Cold War Fever/General Nuclearness of the American Landscape. The number of episodes loosely tied to this theme are almost innumerable.