Studio Address

14010 N. El Mirage Rd
El Mirage, AZ 85335

Monday, November 22, 2010

Toastmaster Cafe

During my last visit to Globe, Arizona I revisited one of my favorite roadside icons.  The Toastmaster Cafe Sign which is easily overlooked, hidden in the shadows of a large concrete walkway extending over the highway connecting the old neighborhood to the school on the other side.  The sign sits as it has for half a decade or more.  Ironically the sign looks pretty toasty, as if it were burnt at one point in time and has most of its neon still intact.  The cafe itself is surfaced in a thick rough pink stucco and has vintage glass block flanking the front entrance.  In the past, I had paid no attention to the possible contents of this old relic, assuming that all was removed or vandalized at one point in time, like most of the structures I encounter during my travels.  But to my surprise this was not the case.....peering through skinny cracks between the wooden covered windows I discovered that the interior looked as if it might have looked 30 years ago, with the exception of a thick coat of gray dust covering all of the contents.  The building was secure and there was no way to gain entrance.  I wanted to photograph the interior and was determined to get in.  Returning to Phoenix later that evening I researched the cafe and was unable to find much information....with the exception of a short story written by the author Lewis Shiner titled "Twilight Time" which made a reference to Globe and the cafe.  This story gave me an idea......immediately I contacted the Chamber of Commerce in Globe, spoke with a woman who gave me a name and number of the person in charge of Main Street Preservation, who in turn shared with me a history of the building as well as whom the owner is.  I am waiting for a return call from the owner.  If all goes well, I plan on gaining entry to the cafe, photographing it as it is, then exhibiting the photographs while the short story by Lewis Shiner is read aloud.  I will keep you posted as the project progresses....for now take a listen to song number 207 on the old Wurlitzer Jukebox with the colored tube of bubbles on the side, which sat in the Toastmaster Cafe.

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