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Tacky Treasures Road Show 2016

Here I am, in all my tacky glory, as host of the Tacky Treasures Road Show
Here I am, in all my tacky glory, as host of the Tacky Treasures Road Show (LR)

Intro - Winners - Prizes - Also Rans

The Tacky Treasures Road Show is modeled after the PBS program "Antiques Roadshow," except that in this case the question the appraiser always asks is, "Do you have any idea how tacky this is?" I love the sound of that, so I do it every year.

This year's road show took place on March 19, 2016 at the Silver Spring B&O Train Station. No longer used as a railroad station, it has been restored (by Montgomery Preservation, Inc.) to look as it did in 1945, complete with ticket booth, lockers, phone booth, and a waiting room with comfy benches.

There were 28 fabulously tacky entries and about 50 attendees. This may have been our biggest road show yet, and still there were many people I missed seeing there. Maybe next year.

A big thanks goes to this year's judges, who were: Denis Malloy and Carolee Rand. While they made their deliberations, I displayed the five prizes. I was so glad that I was able to get rid of -- I mean find some things in my collection worthy of serving as prizes in the road show.

This show would be nothing if not for the enthusiastic participants who enter the competition. There was stiff competition for the five prizes, and as far as I'm concerned, anyone who didn't win can rightfully say, "I came in sixth." I also want to thank, and give due credit, to everyone who sent me photographs for this report.

Finally, I would also like to thank all those who contributed to the donation basket. I recovered more than half of what I spent to rent the station, which is a big help. Again, THANK YOU!

Key to the photographers' codes on the photos: BF = Betsy Fulford; BS = Bev Stanton; EE = Ed Engel; IG = Ira Gitlin; JM = Julie Mangin; KW = Kathy Woodrell; LR = Liz Roll; RE = Rita Elsner

The Winners

First Place: Sad-Eyed Boy with Elephant and Naked Woman painting

It's not just bad art; it's inscrutable bad art. The bluish complexion is strange enough, but what to make of the naked woman waving a leafy branch with a small elephant behind her? That's what made it such a great entry in the road show. Clearly this is a candidate for the Museum of Bad Art (http://www.museumofbadart.org/).

Of course, this reminded me of another piece of bad art, one which took top honors at the 2011 Tacky Treasures Road Show, the Naked Ladies Dulcimer Society. Of course, this is one piece of art that none of use will forget, most of all Jeff Chumley, in whose family room it still resides. Check it out: http://tackytreasures.com/topics/ttrs2011.html#nakedlady

Religious Shell Sculpture from Skyline Drive
Religious Shell Sculpture
from Skyline Drive
entered by Sabrina Eaton (LR)

Second Place: Religious Shell Sculpture from Skyline Drive

You can't go wrong in a contest all about kitsch if you enter something that is religious, like this crucifix, and decorated by shells. Bonus points if it's a lamp! Add plastic flamingos and palm trees, and you have a winner!

I've often said that I am not making fun of Jesus when I call something like this tacky. I'm making fun of how people represent someone whom they say they have great devotion for. C'mon, the way this thing is decorated, it looks like a party, not an execution. Kind of gives the wrong impression, if you ask me.

Juice Glass with Engrish Poem
Juice Glass with Engrish Poem,
entered by Rita Elsner (RE)

Third Place: Juice Glass with Engrish Poem

It looks like this one slipped past the language quality assurance team at the factory, which perhaps is somewhere in Asia. Their mistake is the Tacky Treasures Road Show's gain!

In fact, sometimes love likes glass cup.
It needs colorful appearance.
Looks like very pure
Let one's mind disturbed.

I recited this poem twice at the road show, and a second reading did not make it any less inscrutable.

Peek-A-Boo Necktie
Peek-A-Boo Necktie
entered by Ira Gitlin (IG)

Fourth Place: Peek-A-Boo Necktie

Ira says, about his entry, "Note the semiotics/iconography: Beer, cards, golf--he's in the dog house! When I saw this on the rack at the Village Thrift Store in Bladensburg, MD, I didn't see the cheesecake photo right away, but I instantly understood the message being conveyed, namely, this is a tie for a man chafing under the constraints of married life. So I says to myself, "I bet there's a girlie picture in the lining." And sure enough...."

I couldn't have said it better myself.

Political Tacky Collection
Political Tacky Collection
entered by Betsy Fulford
and Greg Scholtz (BF)

Fifth Place: Political Tacky Collection

From the Hillary bottle opener to the Trump breath mints, there's something for everyone in this collection of tacky political mementos.

There's a refrigerator magnet with Hillary Clinton as Rosie the Riveter, saying "We can do it!" If you have the Ted Cruz "TrusTED" magnet next to it on your refrigerator, chances are there's great unrest around your house.

Maybe you want Bill Clinton for First Gentlemen, but just in case, you should be ready for Crazy Bernie. Don't forget, "We Shall Overcomb." I find this whole presidential campaign season confusing, if not outright scary. This collection of memorabilia pulls it all together. (Shudder.)

The most compelling object in this collection was the Trump toilet paper. Here's what it looked like hanging in the train station ladies room.

The Prizes

The winners, in order of their rank in the contest, were invited to select from the array of prizes.

The Also-Rans

There were many other great entries, not all of which I could include here. These were among the best for which I received photos.

Two-headed clown decanter
Two-headed clown decanter,
entered by Liz Roll (JM)

This is an excellent example of a tacky treasure. It's a misguided attempt to be cute, which turns out to be creepy and possibly even terrifying to people who are afraid of clowns. Make sure you check out the little cups that go with it.

Ten Plagues Hand Puppets Kit
Ten Plagues Hand Puppets Kit,
entered by Bob Cantor (JM)

"Create a Puppet for Every Plague!" shouts the blurb on the box. I especially liked the one for cattle sickness...the cow has a hot water bottle on its head to signify that it is ailing. Bob did a short play using one of the puppets from the kit, and a finger-puppet of an alien to portray God.

Woven cigarette pack wallet
Woven cigarette pack wallet,
entered by Kathy Woodrell (KW)

This high school craft project resulted in a wallet too fat to put in one's pants pocket. Yet it has a certain do-it-yourself charm, kind of like the Rubber Band Vest.

entered by Cindy Attwood (LR)

The jackalope is the invention of two brothers in Wyoming, who studied taxidermy, and then took it a little too far. Practical jokes like this are what makes America so great.

Elvis Lamp
Elvis Lamp,
entered by Julie Mangin (JM)

More than just a bust of Elvis, it's a lamp! The shade is probably original because it matches Elvis's scarf. The gold trim around the edge of the shade? That's because Elvis is The King. That is all.

Brando's (Cotton) Balls
Brando's (Cotton) Balls,
entered by Eli Savada (JM)

"The quiet confidence and brooding energy that Brando has brought to the stage can now be yours," according to the packaging on this unassuming pair of cotton balls. This one could have been a contender.


No. 2 pencil
No. 2 pencil,
entered by Julie Mangin (JM)

I don't think any further explanation is necessary.

Viagrello liquor in suggestive bottle
Viagrello liquor in suggestive bottle,
entered by Sandy Bostian (JM)

Sandy says she haggled for this at a market in Rome. I understand -- it's too tacky to pay full price!

Inflatable Breasts
Inflatable Breasts,
entered by Ira Gitlin (LR)

I'm not sure what the Japanese script says on the package, but clearly it has to do with the excitement a young man feels to have breasts for the first time. Note the necktie around his head. These pictographic instructions explain how this young man achieved his state of exhilaration.

Giving Living album
Giving Living album,
entered by Ed Engel (JM)

I'm not sure who this guy is, but the album was recorded at Jerry Falwell's Thomas Road Baptist Church in Lynchburg, Virginia, so that should tell you something. However, I could find no explanation on the album cover for the ear of corn.

Breast mug
Breast mug,
entered by Bev Stanton (BS)

A classic...you can drink your milk through the hole in the nipple.

Golf mug from Geneva, Switzerland
Golf mug from Geneva, Switzerland,
entered by Carolin Vollmann (JM)

Carolin assures me that this symbolizes everything that is wrong with the city of Geneva. I'll take her word for it.

Shell Madonna
Shell Madonna,
entered by Cheryl Adams (JM)

Our Lady of Guadelupe, to be exact. It comes with extra glitter.

Saint Sebastian and Duck Dynasty Garden Gnome
Saint Sebastian and
Duck Dynasty Garden Gnome
entered by Dottie Jacobsen (LR)

Presidential plates
Presidential plates,
entered by Ellen Walsh (JM)

Also entered were:

  • Coke Can Telephone (Bob Cantor)
  • "How to Fly" collectible plate (Stephanie Allgaier)
  • Reversable leather purse (Kathy Woodrell)
  • Nose pencil sharpener (Andrea Savada)
  • Tacky Teddy Bear Christmas sweater (Jane Gorbaty)
  • Electric bill supplement from the 1950s, promoting appliances as wedding gifts (Rita Elsner)
  • Sparkly stirrup tights (Jane Gorbaty)

That's all folks!

Julie the Queen of Tacky.

Julie, the Queen of Tacky (LR)

Copyright © 2000-2010, Julie Mangin. All Rights Reserved. April 2, 2016