Poster Chills

In between noshing on Tibetan dumplings and viewing a pre-release screening of Frederick Marx’s moving documentary film Journey From Zanskar at a fundraiser a couple Saturdays ago, Primitive owner Glen Joffe and PR pro Dan Davis took the time to give us a tour of the grounds and show off some fantastic African movie posters that are unlike anything I’ve ever seen. Joffe has amassed hundreds of these lurid hand-painted B-movie promos from Ghana, and there’s a wild back-story. “In 1980s West Africa, a cottage industry developed known as mobile cinema,” he explains. “Young entrepreneurs who had a TV, a VCR, and a generator would travel from village to village and sell tickets to outdoor screenings.” To promote the shows, they commissioned local commercial artists to paint colorful, attention grabbing posters on opened-up flour sacks (logos sometimes show through). The line-up was far from Hollywood rom-coms—skewing more toward horror, Bollywood, chop-socky, and low-budget slasher—resulting in some Tarantino-tinged, oft-gory imagery. “Most of the posters are more interesting than the films they advertise,” Joffe added. “Sometimes they are so absurd and melodramatic they become humorous, downright ludicrous.” If you have a macabre sense of humor, you’re Ghana love these.

What a Hack!

When Randall Kramer told me about some sexy new Ikea hacks he built, I nodded appreciatively, then immediately Googled “Ikea hacks” as soon as I had the chance. (Don’t judge.) It turns out there is a vast cult of people who tinker with and transform standard Ikea products, and post the results of their experiments online, sometimes with DIY instructions. Kramer’s been making a lot of Ikea runs in the process of kitting out his girlfriend Seena’s River North condo on a budget, and these geometric glass Grönö lamps got him thinking. “I consider Ikea sort of like a hardware store,” the designer says. “Full of components with simple, elemental, inexpensive forms that lend themselves well to repurposing.” These resulting floor lamps are handmade of steel and wood, in the same studio where Kramer fabricates custom furniture, and you’d be hard-pressed to pinpoint their humble origins.

Color Theories

If you’re blue and you don’t know where to go to, you need to talk to Michelle Quaranta, owner of the Bucktown paint and design boutique Colori. During Susan Fredman’s recent Revive Your Green Retreat, she shared tint-tips and opined on 2009’s color trends, which should be of interest to anyone looking to freshen up some rooms this summer without spending every dime. Relax, Barney—purple isn’t going anywhere (“It was heavily influenced by the election and fashion trends of 2008…a grayed-out violet works well as a neutral or an accent”), blue is the new green (“a greener world is a given, but consumers are looking to bluer greens”), yellow doesn’t mean step on the gas, it means energy (“it’s the color of 2009 as we rebuild this economy—go bright and vibrant”), and neutrals are here to stay (“but look to complex neutrals that bridge the gap between black and brown”).

In the Boudoir

I bumped into decorator Brynne Rinderknecht at a NeoCon party last month, and we caught up on life and some recent projects that she’s been working on. Brynne used to style sets for Playboy photo shoots, and branched off into her own biz, Bedrooms by Brynne a couple of years ago. She’s got a great eye, a flair for drama, and the ability to transform spaces using what clients already own as well as new pieces. This pic is from a job she did in Wicker Park (I’m enchanted with that chandelier), and I’m eager to see how a Hyde Park home that she described as “fresh Old Hollywood” turns out.

Bath Time

A fresh issue of Chicago Home + Garden just hit the stands, and for July/August we come clean about bathrooms and kitchens. Who better to talk to than Luca Lanzetta, who owns high-end showrooms for each? He dishes on Italian vs. Yankee style here. Also in the ish, Claudia Skylar revisits and revamps a couple of kitchens she designed a score of years ago (they’re hits), we go deep inside the world of built-in coffeemakers, and a Humboldt Park modernist manse goes for baroque with an in-your-face Clive Christian kitchen. Booya! Lots more news you can use, so pick up a copy and subscribe here—you’ll also get our lists of design resources.

How Does Your Garden Grow?

What the heck is all that racket going on outside? I can barely hear myself drink! I guess it’s frantic gardeners clipping, raking, mowing, and blow-drying to get ready for this weekend’s garden walks, judging from this roster of roundabouts scheduled for July 11 and 12 (check sites or call for hours, maps, and admission info): Roscoe Village Garden Walk, 773-329-5036; East Edgewater Glen Garden Walk, 773-761-3668; Bowmanville Garden Walk, 866-837-1006; Gardeners of Central Lake County walk, 847-816-8007; North Park Chapter of Wild Ones, 312-744-5472; McHenry County Master Gardeners’ self-guided tour, 815-479-7570; Chicagoland Daylily Society’s meeting and tour, 847-494-8258; Mt. Greenwood Garden Walk, 708-373-8470.