Intl. Notebook Jul 11 2012
The Festival is more popular than ever, but the art hit its heyday decades ago.

We were so inspired by our time in the Basque town of Pamplona (you may remember we went there before) that today we decided to share some vintage posters celebrating las ferias y fiestas de San Fermín. We watched the encierro, i.e. running, from a first floor balcony on Calle Estafeta, and that’s about as good as it gets, as our photo above shows. As far as the actual bullfights go, we didn't see any. Not that we're opposed. We've been to several over the years and came away with some intense feelings, mostly of sympathy for the animals. But since it isn't our culture, we don't take a stance on the practice's merits or evils. What we do take a stance on is the art of the festival, some of which we've uploaded below. The collection encompasses varying styles of graphic design, but through all the shifts the posters retained an extremely high level of quality for about fifty years. That golden period was followed by an all too typical abandonment of painterly skill, which was replaced in the 1960s by photography, and later by yawn-inducing InDesign and Photoshop technicianship. For that reason, the posters made during the 1970s and forward compare very unfavorably to the early pieces. While the artistic skill to produce great posters is undoubtedly still out there, such art might be more expensive than desktop design, which means that, as in nearly all areas of modern life, a focus on the bottom line tilts the landscape toward mediocrity. But let's not worry about that. The posters below are glorious, just like the long nights and crazy days of San Fermin. 


History Rewind
The headlines that mattered yesteryear.
August 20
1940—Trotsky Iced in Mexico
In Mexico City exiled Russian revolutionary Leon Trotsky is fatally wounded with an ice axe (not an ice pick) by Soviet agent Ramon Mercader. Trotsky dies the next day.
1968—Prague Spring Ends
200,000 Warsaw Pact troops backed by 5,000 tanks invade Czechoslovakia to end the Prague Spring political liberalization movement.
1986—Sherrill Goes Postal
In Edmond, Oklahoma, United States postal employee Patrick Sherrill shoots and kills fourteen of his co-workers and then commits suicide.
August 19
1953—Mohammed Mossadegh Overthrown in Iran
At the instigation of the CIA, Prime Minster of Iran Mohammed Mossadegh is overthrown and the Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi is installed as leader of the country.
August 18
1920—U.S. Women Gain Right To Vote
The Nineteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution is ratified despite heavy conservative opposition. It states that no U.S. citizen can be denied the right to vote because of their gender.
1958—Lolita is Published in the U.S.
Vladimir Nabokov's controversial novel Lolita, about a man's sexual obsession with a pre-pubescent girl, is published in the United States. It had been originally published in Paris three years earlier.
Featured Pulp
japanese themed aslan cover
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ASLAN Harper Lee cover
Four Aslan Covers for Parme

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