Featured Landscape Coin Drops for 2005

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Coin Drop of the Month for July, 2005

Country Music Highway, Route 23, Letcher County, Kentucky

On our Fourth of July weekend trip to Letcher County, Kentucky, we were struck by so many amazing sights and sounds, and coin sites, that it was very difficult to choose one for this page. We saw Civil War memorials that commemorated the dead on both sides of the war, within the same families, all within Letcher County. We heard day after day of incredible live music. We saw beaver in the wild, and saw the home-made road marker observing the childhood home of infamous U2 pilot Francis Gary Powers.

We've chosen to feature the Country Music Highway here on this page because we were most deeply struck by the absence, in Letcher County, of the mainstream musical monoculture. We heard country music emerging from front porches at twilight; we saw people of all ages spontaneously making music at any occasion. Campfires, squaredances, lazy hot sunny porches at midday... every occasion was an occasion for someone to pick up a guitar or a banjo and sing or just strum. This was one of the deepest entrenchments of an indigenous local musical culture we've ever seen in the U.S. and it was wonderful to be around. On a short exploration in our rental car, we took a scenic drive of the extremely historic hills of Letcher and Harlan counties, and left this coin around ten a.m. July 4, 2005. --MSP



Coin Drop of the Month for April, 2005

Place of Discomfort: The Standard Hotel, Los Angeles

    

The ironic thing is, I really liked the Standard Hotel. That a hotel experience could be successfully orchestrated to be remembered, in a positive light, for its ability to taunt its guests with discomfort, well, before April I could not have imagined such a place could exist. On Sixth Street in downtown L.A., the Standard Hotel is that place. The lobby is designed to disorient. All the couches and chairs are situated to face away from one another. Or rather, the pieces of furniture seem to face other pieces of furniture, but are designed so that no one sitting on the furniture can comfortably face another person sharing that piece of furniture. Guests are impelled to sit on the floor, or to perch on the edges of sofa seats, facing the backs of the couches, looking at their friends over the low-rise pink-upholstered fences placed between them by the back rests of the furniture. In the hallways on the way to the rooms, messages of deep discouragement are letter-set into the lock-window display cases. One read: "give up."

Then the rooms. Statements of minimalist luxury, the rooms managed to make prison-issue style gray wool blankets and cotton sheets feel sumptuous. The primary provocation to discomfort was not in the physical softness of the space. The provocation was located in the spatial relationship between the bedroom and the bathroom. The shower stall itself formed the "wall" between bed and bath; the stall being an enclosed glass box bereft of shield, leaving the bather irrevocably exposed to the other inhabitants of the room. I felt like a real country bumpkin in that room. Not because I was uncomfortable, I liked it very much and would love to go back. But because the place made a successful business out of provocation in a manner I had never seen before.

I have decades of experience with situations that have been designed to provoke discomfort in order to make aesthetic or theoretical suggestions that cannot be made in comfortable spaces. But each and every such situation... from punk night clubs to modern art made with bodily fluids, from garlic ice cream to sound recordings of people screaming... each of these is of limited scope: offered to the world for visiting or sampling or tasting, firmly situated within the constellation of experiences from which a person can retreat when they go to rest their head at night. Not the Standard Hotel. Rest your head in this berth and you've no recourse. Highly recommended.

The coin was rolled under one of the uncomfortable pink couches in the lobby at the moment of our departure, April 6, 2005. --MSP



Coin Drop of the Month for January, 2005

Freestanding Columns at University of Missouri

    

Six ionic columns in the lawn at the University of Missouri: Architectural remnants of the university's original structure, which had been built in 1843 of local limestone, but which was lost to fire in the 1890s.



There were only three Landscape Coin drop recorded on the website in 2005. Our apologies to fans of this site. We've been spending all our time in the Library . Please join us there.

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