Sign Geeks & the O.C.

Last night, I went back down to Glendale for the Grand Opening of MONA (Museum of Neon Art)’s second exhibit.  This one featured a sampling of the museum’s vintage sign collection and photos from the sign-crazy, nationwide “club” known as the Sign Geeks.  It was quite a special event.  I got to meet lots of folks who share my passion for signs, buildings, etc.


Both of these signs were originally displayed at the L.A. County Fair in Pomona — now part of MONA’s collection:


This parking sign is a recent acquisition from downtown L.A.:


This sign is from the former Papoo’s Hot Dog Show in Burbank — gone now but MONA saved at least two of the signs:


I don’t know where this one came from. Killer:


A couple of sweet advertising signs:


Some unlit beauties were also displayed:


I was so happy to see this opal glass & applied letter sign from downtown L.A.  A replica of this sign was created and now hangs on the Bendix Building in its place:


The photographers’ stuff was all displayed on identically-sized canvases, 3 per photog with a little identifier next to each column.


More than 50 photographers were represented.  I think most of them came to the event.  I met folks from Texas, Tucson, Connecticut, Northern California, and elsewhere.  I wish I could have talked to all of them.  Here’s one person that I’ve known from Flickr for about 10 years — Devil Doll:


I really enjoyed watching the photographers doing what they love doing best:  taking photos:


OK — just a couple of other signs before we move on.  This cocktail glass is owned by MONA’s VP and super nice guy, Eric Evavold:


I don’t know where this BBQ sign came from but the flashing bulbs are crazy wonderful.  I stood next to it for far too long yapping with someone and felt like a pig roasting on a spit.  Those bulbs put out a LOT of heat:


If you’d like to read more about the show, here’s a little article from the Opening:

Okay, put on your sunglasses and let’s go outside.  I took some photos in Orange County and elsewhere before heading home today.  This sign in Anaheim originally advertised for a Lucky supermarket.  Too bad about the backlit plastic letters and, no, the panels on top no longer revolve.  But that rocket-shaped sign post is still wonderful:


How about a couple of religious rockets?  Here’s the Salvation Army in Long Beach:


… and the Judson Baptist Church in Carson:


I love this top-heavy roof at Martha’s Donuts in Lakewood.  I don’t know what was here originally but the little strip mall behind it has a similar hat-too-big look:


I didn’t have donuts there but I did stop in at this place in Redondo Beach.  I remember Handel’s Ice Cream from roadtrips in Ohio.  The company now has 3 locations in California.  This is the Heavenly Hash which was fairly heavenly on a summer-like spring day.  Since I’m vegan in my “real life”, I think the ice cream that I allow myself on roadtrips tastes even better than it did in years past.  I hear Ben & Jerry’s is making vegan ice cream now — but I can’t imagine how you can replicate the marshmallow goo & creaminess:


I’ve wanted to shoot this silly guy for years but never found myself in the Valley at the right time of day.  Finally!  This topiary, ivy Poodle Arch is in North Hills:


Speaking of dogs… Yes, I know I haven’t tortured you with any photos of my beasts lately.  So, how about this.  My pal Geoff took this slow-mo video with his drone in Carpinteria last weekend.   My 16+ year old dog, Fixie, doesn’t do these long beach walks anymore so she’s not present.  But my other three kids enjoyed themselves chasing and barking at that motorized alien in the sky:


Alright, I’ll close out with two more signs from Long Beach.  This one’s for all you fans of crazy green (I am!) and Comic Sans.  Not sure what biz was here originally but at least the mammoth steel panels are still there:


I’m a sucker for shoe-shaped signs.  I’ll have to do an SCA article about them one of these days.  But here’s a nice home-spun shoe AND key at Mill’s Shoe Repair.  The key was wood and the shoe might have been as well.  The hand-painted sign also a plus:


If you want more signs, more buildings, click over to my Flickr stream where I’ve posted some other photos from last night and today:

I’m not sure when the next roadtrip will be but I’m hoping to get a couple of weeks off this summer.  Probably a little 3-day weekend trip before that though.  Stay tuned.

Happy trails,

dj & the dogs

Posted in Uncategorized

12 thoughts on “Sign Geeks & the O.C.

    • Thanks! I was sort of dreading the socializing aspect of it since I’m quite the recluse but it was actually really fun to meet people. There’s a hefty book that Stefanie Poteet put together to document the photos represented at the show. I was too distracted to look at it & buy it. It’s probably available at the MONA or Sign Geeks site.

  1. Wish I was able to be at that show – looks wonderful! I can’t help but notice on one of your shots how the “calling card” of the photogs were from Instagram (which would make sense with the square format as well) – even tho IG is owned by FB I do like how it has given a platform to people who love to collect and share photos of roadside signs and places. Makes me realize there are more of “us” out there than I knew of, and in this day and age, that’s a good thing!

  2. Yes, it was very uplifting and inspiring to be in a room full of people that love these vintage things. The artists seemed VERY supportive of each other as well — or so it seemed to me. Yes, I think all or most of the photos were posted to Instagram. But I think one of the photogs that I was speaking with said that someone from MONA had gone through his Flickr stream and dug deep to come up with square format stuff. So, it might be more than the IG world. I think a lot of those folks post their stuff to FB as well.

  3. I could easily spend hours in a facility lit by vintage neon lights – dreamy.
    The dog video is priceless.

  4. Adriene Biondo, Board Chair for MONA, supplied the following info about some of the signs shown above:

    The Fun Land sign is from the 1930s. The sign was designed for an amusement park in New York state and can be seen in the 2008 movie “Yes Man” starring Jim Carrey. The sign was donated to MONA by the David Bohnett Foundation. I had been told that the sign came from the L.A. County Fair in Pomona — but it was really only there as part of a temporary MONA exhibit in 2011.

    The Dining & Banquet Room sign is from the Bel-Air Motel in Fresno.

    The Bricklayer sign was built in 1952. It was located at Midway Building Supply which was “midway” between Ontario and Pomona.

    Ths Chris’ & Pitt’s BAR-B-Q sign is from the 1950s. This neon panel sign and the neon & bulb “BAR-B-Q” sign were saved from Chris’ & Pitt’s #8, formerly located in the San Fernando Valley on Victory Blvd. The business’ pole sign with matching text was also saved and is now located at the American Sign Museum in Cincinnati, OH. The MONA Chris’ & Pitt’s signs were donated by Village Fulton Partners, LP and VPI, Inc. with thanks to the Los Angeles Conservancy Modern Committee and Adriene Biondo. The signs were restored with a gift from the National Endowment for the Arts.

    Now we know!

  5. I am completely drooling over that “dining and banquet room” sign. Color, font, arrow, it’s got it all! Haven’t made it to MONA yet, but I hope to before the Sign Geeks show ends.

    As a vegan, I highly recommend the Ben & Jerry’s non-dairy ice cream. They’re making four flavors — Chunky Monkey, Coffee Fudge Caramel, Chocolate Fudge Brownie, and a peanut butter one that I’m forgetting the name of at the moment (I’m not a big peanut butter person but I tried it and it’s pretty good). They’re available at Target which makes it super convenient. I was a big Ben & Jerry’s eater as a kid, and as far as the chunks go, I think they nailed it.

    • The Dining Room sign came from the Bel-Air in Fresno — visible in this postcard very far left:
      Bel Air Motel Fresno, CA

      I will look for the B&J ice cream. I AM a big PB fan — as are the dogs. Nasty meds go unnoticed by them in PB.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s