Friday, June 28, 2002

Off the Shelf III
That might not be the most appropriate headline, but so far, all of the Off the Shelf entries have mentioned Steve Portigal, so here's to tradition!

Steve recently emailed me commenting on Media Diet and his blog -- even comparing me to Wil Wheaton, whom, I admit, I might look like -- but more importantly, he turned me on to the Boombox Museum.

Kickin' it old school, as they say, the museum outlines the history of the humble ghetto blaster from 1976-1989, dividing the narrative into three periods: the birth, the golden age, and the decline and fall. The images in the 1976-1981 section are the most interesting, but the golden age, which covered 1981-1985, touches on the role boomboxes played in early hip-hop and breakdancing culture -- and warrants the most coverage. (The Fat Boys and LL Cool J are featured prominently.) Finally, the decline and fall pages show how product design changes followed changes in functionality -- almost every boombox manufacturer chased the ghetto blaster and portable stereo markets simultaneously with awkward hybrid products coupling Walkman-like devices with boomboxes. This is where I came in. I had the Sears LXI as a teenager.

The Boombox Museum is slightly misleading, as it's one of many only exhibitions organized by the Pocket Calculator Show -- which also curates online exhibits of digital watches and Walkmans. Good to hear from you again, Steve! Welcome back from Japan.

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