The Green Futuro of Livingston, Illinois

 

Green Futuro – Livingston, Illinois. Photo by Michael Huntington – 2014.

 

Okay, maybe not THAT green. But I think this looks cool! The Green Futuro – “Flying Saucer House” – on the grounds of the Pink Elephant Antique Mall, just off Route 66 near Livingston, Illinois.
Inside of the Mall, which is an old dance hall possibly haunted by Al Capone’s ghost, tons of cool collectibles can be found (one could spend all day here exploring). Outside – on the grounds – there are a number of classic roadside attractions: a giant Pink Elephant, Michelin giants, giant chairs and bicycles, an old Twistee Treat stand, various cannons, and a few flying saucers – one being the Green Futuro.
The Futuro in a modern/futurist flying saucer-shaped ski chalet designed by the late Finnish architect Matti Suuronen. Only about a hundred were manufactured during the 60s and 70s. Less than 20 of these plastic pre-fabs survive in the US – in various states of disrepair – some with residents living in them (the Livingston Futuro is an unoccupied shell). They could be shipped in pieces and assembled, or pre-assembled and delivered by truck or helicopter. Artists and architects are rediscovering these historical gems and have, in recent years, began refurbishing old and building new Futuros for museums and art centers. Collectors value complete shells at around fifty grand.
Livingston’s Green Futuro was our first to explore. The following year, we were able to check out the White Futuro in Gulf Breeze, Florida on Pensacola Beach. We plan on seeing three more during travels this summer, with more to check off the list in the years ahead!
 
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 Photos by Michael Huntington – 2014.

 

Find out more about the Futuro House at  http://www.thefuturohouse.com/

 

 

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The St. Louis Toynbee Tile – 8th & Market

The Last Original Toynbee Tile in St. Louis – Corner of 8th and Market Streets, Downtown.  
Photo by Michael Huntington – 2015.

 

TOYNBEE IDEA

by Michael Huntington

 

St. Louis has one true Toynbee Tile left. There used to be three, but one was paved over and the other stolen. The survivor sits on the corner of Eighth and Market Streets, next to the downtown City Art Park – which is appropriate since the Toynbee Tile is a form of urban street art.
Toynbee Tiles began appearing on the asphalts of city streets sometime in the early 1980s. There have been HUNDREDS of these linoleum graffiti pieces discovered in a few dozen US cities and a number of South American urban centers. The creation method is understood, but the artist/artists who made them is a mystery – but theories do abound. Many may be, indeed, the work of copycats – most of the true tiles by the originator(s) are believed to center around the Philadelphia area with sojourns to various cities in the Midwest. Countless tiles have been lost due to development, anti-graffiti measures, or art theft.
The unusual mosaic tiles, generally, bear strange reference to to Stanley Kubrick’s science fiction film masterpiece “2001: A Space Odyssey,” which was based on the classic work written by Arthur C. Clarke (Arnold Toynbee was a British historian-philosopher who had influence on Clarke and Ray Bradbury, who also employed Toynbee’s ideas). Some tiles are more conspiratorially bent and serve as commentary on Reagan-era Cold War politics with the Soviet Union.
Most relay this cryptic appeal:  

 

TOYNBEE IDEA

IN KUBRICKS 2001

RESURRECT DEAD

ON PLANET JUPITER

 

St. Louis’ last Toynbee – WHICH SHOULD BE MOVED A FEW FEET INTO THE CITY ART PARK SO THAT IT CAN BE PRESERVED – sits where it has, on the street, awaiting it’s eventual fate…worn away more and more with each tire tread and foot fall. Many recent copycat/influenced tiles do still spot the city – with more being made each year. There are a number of so-called “HOUSE OF HADES” tiles that have shown up around town within the past 5 years – utilizing the Toynbee Tile ideas in message, style, and medium. The Toynbee demonstrating artistic and cultural influence nearly 40 years on.
If you want to find out more about this urban culture jam art mystery, check out the intriguing 2011 documentary “Resurrect Dead: The Mystery of the Toynbee Tiles.”

 

 

Spirit Encounter: The B-2 Stealth Bombers of Whiteman AFB

Northrop Grumman B-2 Spirit Stealth Bomber at Whiteman Air Force Base – Knob Noster, Missouri.  Photo by Michael Huntington – Summer, 2015
Last summer, Diane and I took the boys to the 2015 WINGS OVER WHITEMAN AIRSHOW at the base near Knob Noster, Missouri – east of Kansas City. Aside from the thrill of seeing the Air Force Thunderbirds perform, we were lucky enough to be able to check out these billion-dollar babies on the ground and in the sky!
Whiteman AFB is the home of the 509th Nuclear Bomb Wing – the same guys that, back in the 1940s, dropped the bomb on Hiroshima and collected the crashed flying saucers found near their air base in Roswell, New Mexico. All of our B-2 Spirits are based at this nuclear weapons facility and are under the command of Brig. Gen. Paul W. Tibbets IV, grandson of the famous Enola Gay captain. The region around this base is a top UFO sighting hotspot in Missouri.

 

The Flying Car – US Rocket Center, Huntsville, Alabama

This is a flying saucer vehicle model on display at the U.S. Rocket Center in Huntsville, Alabama. There are a number of saucers and other strange craft scattered about this facility. There are, also, quite a few exhibits honoring the Operation Paperclip Nazi rocket scientists that built NASA.  Photos by Michael Huntington – Spring, 2015.

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Strange Travels

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I am Michael Huntington and I travel to strange places across America with my wife, Diane, and my two young boys, Robbie and Sammie. We visit famous UFO sighting locations, hunt for mythical monsters, search spooky places of the Unknown, explore air and space museums, set-jet movie filming locations, and check out unique roadside attractions. Mostly, we try to have fun traveling as a family. We live in Cape Girardeau, Missouri – a Midwest town located on the Mississippi River.