Call it what you like: Populuxe, Doo-Wop, Coffee Shop Modern, Jet Age, Space Age. The mid-century Southern California architectural style, with its ski-jump roofs, starbursts and kidney-shaped signs, is still all Googie to me. Named for the jet-age lines of John Lautner's famous 1949 Googie's coffee shop at the corner of Sunset Boulevard and Crescent Heights in Los Angeles, Googie is pop culture personified, direct from a primordial birthplace of said culture. You couldn't ask for a better pedigree.
Like any kid who grew up in the '60s (I did), living in a car town on a steady diet of White Spot, Azar's Big Boy restaurants and The Jetsons, Googie was an integral part of my developmental landscape. And I still have to smile when I come across a remnant topsy-turvy, stacked neon lettering or a roller-coaster roof while driving through town. Harder and harder to find, Googie still lives in Denver if you know where to look. Among other things, the exhibit Googie Architecture, opening today at the Aurora History Museum, provides a pictorial view of some of those local parabolas and boomerangs of the past, many of them still located on the Colfax strip. But it also provides a general overview of the style against which one can couch the local angle. I wouldn't miss it for the world.
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Googie continues through July 13 at the museum, 15051 East Alameda Parkway in Aurora; see www.auroramuseum.org or call 303-739-6666 for more information.
May 14-July 13, 2008