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SOHO's 1st Modernism Weekend

A Mid-Century Marvel

By Alana Coons

Architects Homer Delawie and John Reed

Vendor Carol Davis with Silent Auction volunteers Janet O'Dea & Susan Hector

SOHO staffers Sandé Lollis, Autumn Acker & Mary Jones

Erik Hanson lectured on Irving Gill

Vendors Peter Loughrey & David Skelly, with architect Malcolm Leland

Following SOHO's tried-and-true formula for spectacular weekend events, the first San Diego Modernism Weekend was a resounding success. With its exciting line up of vendors, lecturers, fabulous homes, and lively parties, we introduced many new people to our signature style.

Opening night we were honored with the presence of world-renowned architectural photographer Julius Shulman. Mr. Shulman's slated one-hour lecture grew to two as the audience could not get enough of this engaging man. My favorite part occurred after everyone was seated: Mr. Shulman asked anyone present who was not already a SOHO member to leave the lecture at once, join, then come back and take their seats! Quite the SOHO spokesman! We thank Mr. Shulman for sharing his 93rd birthday with us. His warmth, wit, and strong preservation message stayed with us throughout the weekend.

In addition to the entertaining lecture by Mr. Shulman, opening night provided guests with an opportunity to preview the exhibition and sale while the Peggy Claire trio entertained us and hors d'oeuvres were passed around. Vendors took center stage presenting a superb array of goods. These exhibitors have our gratitude for taking the risk to show at a new venue with an unknown quantity. All of the exhibitors were great people who were a real joy to get to know. Arriving with vehicles laden with furnishings and artwork, they returned home with lighter loads courtesy of a successful show.

Vendors throughout Southern California exhibited. Peter Loughrey of Los Angeles Modern Auction brought rare books and even rarer furniture. (Peter also direct-mailed 2000 postcards promoting the weekend for us.) San Diego's own David Skelley of Boomerang for Modern played a number of roles over the weekend. In addition to joining us as a vendor, David served as a committee member and a sponsor. San Diego was represented well, county wide with Mike and Diane Nile of Postmodern in Carlsbad , Jesper Pedersen of Solana Beach's D.N.A. Gallery's , and from Fallbrook, Marilyn Mattson, representing Anzea and Malik, Marilyn offered the spectacular textile designs of Ruth Adler Shnee . Adding to our regional friends a number of vendors came from San Francisco, Seattle, Arizona, Los Angeles and Northern California.

This willingness to travel to this show was also reflected in the attendance of weekend visitors who arrived from Michigan, Chicago, Colorado, Texas, Seattle, and Miami Beach, and all over California to see what was offered. These out-of-state parties were able to get detailed information from our wonderful website, thanks to webmaster Mike Kelly.

In addition to the array of quality vendors, the San Diego Modernism Weekend included a vintage travel trailer display. The vintage travel trailer folks added a fun aspect to the show and demonstrated ways in which modern design was incorporated in all areas of the movement. The trailers were all owned and exhibited by San Diegans, and their energy and enthusiasm was contagious. Bonnie Poppe was our last minute coordinator for the trailer show; she was terrific, and also the source responsible for acquiring the 1940's trailer for the silent auction. Thanks Bonnie!

While the vintage travel trailer exhibition drew some San Diegans not familiar with SOHO to the show, Saturday's lectures also brought out the crowds. The entire series was well received, and it culminated with the Modern Masters Forum, a precedent-setting gathering of nine of San Diego's prominent Architects and designers: Homer Delawie, James Hubbell, Kendrick Bangs Kellogg, William Krisel, Malcolm Leland, Bob Mosher, John Reed, Hal Sadler, and Herb Turner.

Thanks to Steve Eilenberg for recording this event for the SOHO archives. Steve also put together the PowerPoint presentation along with Weekend chairman Bryan Forward, who served as moderator for the Modern Masters Forum. This particular contribution to the weekend was Bryan's main focus, and his passion for it was evident in his thoughtful questions he asked of the panel. Thank you Bryan!

Bill Lawrence handled all the audio-visual logistics making it possible to switch effortlessly back and forth from projector and slides to PowerPoint presentations. Dennis Boyer and Rebecca Gray contributed the use and expertise of their PowerPoint equipment. We thank all of these wonderful people for making the lecture series and forum a success.

Contributing Reflections editor and events staff assistant Julie Kolb writes about the Saturday night event in this issue and so I will only say that it was indeed what San Diego Magazine had predicted: "the party of the year!"

And speaking of San Diego Magazine, they were a terrific sponsor. Because they were invited to be our sponsor based on the magazine's extensive chronicling of this period, it was fun to see vintage San Diego Magazines as some of the hottest items being sold at the show. I was able to find an issue from 1969 that covered the founding of SOHO.

A tour of the Community Concourse led by architect Hal Sadler and designer Malcolm Leland got Sunday's events started. Tour goers commented that it was fascinating to view this 1964 icon through the eyes of its designers. Eagerly anticipated, the historic home tour got underway at 11:00. These unique canyon homes located on narrow streets and cul de sacs presented a challenge to the trolleys. Tour goers were good natured and understanding about delays and steep walks. The homeowners were more than gracious to allow us to share their homes with so many hundreds of visitors. Their stewardship of these architectural gems is impressive. Thank you to Don Bacigalupi and Dan Felder, Susan Camiel, Carol and Michael Morris, Heather and Douglas Nelson, Janet Richards, and Keith York.

Our sponsors were a major contributor to the success of the weekend giving this inaugural event the send off it deserved. Thanks once again to San Diego Magazine, Old Town Trolley, Modernism Magazine, Elizabeth Courtier, Woodbury University, Herman Miller for the Home, and Boomerang for Modern.

All our volunteers and staff are much appreciated. I would like to call attention to just a few who worked extremely long day and nights and who made this event possible. Mary Jones, Julie Kolb, Bill Lawrence, Sandé Lollis, Jessica McGee, Beth Montes, and Christopher Pro.

As SOHO's event coordinator I was often the lucky recipient of many compliments on this wonderful event. I graciously thank you all; it was an enormous undertaking. I would like to once again point out, that as always, this was a team effort. All of SOHO's achievements are team-driven, and we are very proud of that. The Modernism Committee consisted of Homer Delawie, Bill Lawrence, Christopher Pro, David Skelley and myself and was chaired by Bryan Forward. This committee, in turn, was supported by SOHO's Events and Education committee, SOHO staff, SOHO's Board of Directors, and Executive Director Coons, along with our super core of events volunteers.

It is a tremendous satisfaction to share successful moments with our comrades. If you haven't already joined us in such a venture, please come and join us on our committees. We promise lots of fun and lots of laughs, with a healthy dose of hard work thrown in, and a great sense of shared accomplishment.

Photos by Sandé Lollis

2003 - Volume 34, Issue 4


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