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January 22, 2008 5:00 PM   Subscribe

ModFilter: I've been dating a gal for under a month. She's great! Her birthday's this weekend. What do I get her here in Chicago? Hint: She's really into '60s mod culture.

My price ceiling is about fifty bucks. She has a califone school record player that she loves, and a modish clock with flip-over numbers. I wouldn't want to get her clothes or music, of course, because I don't know what she actually has. Any ideas? Any bands coming to Chicago in the next couple of months that I could buy her tickets to go see?

Secondary question: I'm baking her a cake. I was thinking of decorating the cake with a mod target on the top. Too dorky? Too obvious that I researched her hobby on wikipedia?
posted by HeroZero to Human Relations (18 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
Response by poster: Another hint: one of her self-identified beloved music categories is "organ jazz." Has anybody seen Deep Blue Organ Trio at the Green Mill? Worth doing on a weeknight?
posted by HeroZero at 5:09 PM on January 22, 2008

Regarding the cake: No, I think it's cute. As long as you don't over do it and make it a layer cake that looks like a mod target from an aerial view. That's a leetle too much for dating for a month.
posted by spec80 at 5:10 PM on January 22, 2008

Response by poster: Ummm....that's definitely what I was going to do. What were you picturing? One little targets? Lots of little targets somehow made from sprinkles?
posted by HeroZero at 5:14 PM on January 22, 2008

I think spec80 means a layer cake with each layer slightly smaller than the previous, and each layer is one color, and so from the side it looks stepped, but when looking straight down on it, the three dimensions visually squish together and look like a two-dimensional target.
posted by occhiblu at 5:23 PM on January 22, 2008

yar. which is to say, don't make it look like a freakin' wedding cake. just a single, squashy cylinder with a target iced on the top.
posted by mumkin at 5:30 PM on January 22, 2008

Response by poster: Ah. Now I see. Yes, I was definitely thinking of a purely cylindrical cake with no matrimonial overtones.
posted by HeroZero at 5:32 PM on January 22, 2008

Okay, on to the present. There's a great shop on Chicago Avenue in Evanston called Viva Vintage (crap I just got strawberry syrup all over my keyboard) um, anyway, there's one in Chicago too.

Don't know which it is, but here's the whole Google page.

Lots of cool stuff from any era you like.
posted by nax at 6:32 PM on January 22, 2008

As a fellow gal fond of mod culture, I think the mod target cake is great!

For a present, maybe something -- even if just a gift certificate -- from the Vespa Chicago boutique?

It won't work for this weekend, but Delilah's has their regular mod night with good old school soul and R&B coming up in a couple of weeks. (I think John from Laurie's Planet of Sound has been DJ'ing for years.) She probably already knows about it, but if not, be sure to take her as a post-birthday surprise!

The organ jazz night at the Green Mill was fantastic, back when I used to go. (Again, several years ago.)

Are you sure you can't take a peek at her record collection between now and then? Check for the Small Faces -- the ultimate, essential '60s mod band. If she doesn't have adequate Small Faces, email me and I will recommend a readily available collection you could get for her.

Here are some book ideas, as well -- might be too late to get them from Amazon, but what about looking some place like Quimby's? Mods. Mods. Mods. Kings of mod. Transportation for mods.
posted by scody at 6:38 PM on January 22, 2008

If the cake doesn't work out, you could probably find something really nice in a thrift shop that carries vintage mid-century modern Eames type stuff like old cameras or lamps or typewriters.

I had an old girlfriend who liked the Mod aesthetic and she enjoyed going into thrift shops for that very reason.
posted by cazoo at 6:42 PM on January 22, 2008

One more thought: issues of Rave magazine, especially ones featuring the Small Faces, the Who, the Kinks, the Yardbirds, etc. Might not be able to get it from ebay in time, but I wonder if there's a good vintage/antique store in Chicago that might carry some?

By the way, if she's not a hardcore '60s mod purist and therefore also likes the mod stuff from the '70s/'80s, I can help you out on that score too. (And again, if you get a peek at her records, check for the Jam. There are a couple remastered discs of theirs that came out in the past couple of years that she might not have, but that any self-respecting mod girl would love. Anyway, sorry, forgive my over-enthusiasm -- I know you said you didn't want to mess with music!)
posted by scody at 6:51 PM on January 22, 2008

This is a really cute post, and your new girlfriend is lucky!

Big, chunky vintage jewelry (think enormous bracelets and flower pins) is easy to find and she'll probably dig it even if she already has some.

Posters/home decor stuff with Edie Sedgwick or the whole Warhold aesthetic is all over the place right now.

This blog covers scooter-related paraphenalia, much of which is mod-related.

If she collects records, a 45 RPM record carrying case would be a cute and appropriate gift.
posted by alicetiara at 7:04 PM on January 22, 2008

as a small present to go with other stuff, you might wanna check out the mod section of pins at i ordered a bunch of pins from them a few months ago and they're great, not just selection wise but quality too. the images are sharp and they don't rust like some of the other cool pin sites on the web.
posted by ifjuly at 8:02 PM on January 22, 2008

Try Shangrila Vintage on Roscoe. The owners are really friendly, so if you tell them about your girlfriend I'm sure they'll have a lot of recommendations. They have more than just clothes--even so, with vintage clothing you're unlikely to get her something she already has.
posted by hydrophonic at 9:24 PM on January 22, 2008

Theres a place outside Chicago called Magazine Memories. Its pretty incredible. Just lots of vintage magazines and newspapers. You can easily get some classic mod magazine for under 50 dollars there.
posted by damn dirty ape at 9:28 PM on January 22, 2008 [1 favorite]

DVD of the movie Quadrophenia.
posted by Ironmouth at 11:57 PM on January 22, 2008

Re: the scooter-thing, do you know if she's a Vespa or Lambretta gal? Because some folks are pretty solidly in one camp or the other, and if she's a diehard fan of Lammies then Vespa gear won't rev her engine. It's not clear to me whether you know if she's into the Mod design aesthetic, philosophy, music, culture, or what. Mod covers a pretty broad spectrum of possibilities, and she could be some kind of post-modern neo-Mod synthesizing her own expression of Modness for all I know. In fact, that seems more likely than that she's strictly roleplaying Modness like a civil war reenactor.

Really I'm kinda inclined to suggest that you just go with the cake, which is a nice "I know this about you" statement combined with bad ass baking skillz, and either spend the $50 on a non-Mod present or plain ol' dinner and a movie. Buying gifts within someone's area of expertise is tricky, and you run the very real risk of getting her something she already has, something she's dismissed as not being her thing, or something that just wrong in a way that you and I can't begin to imagine. It's early days for your relationship, but it sounds like it's going well, so best not to make it glaringly obvious that you don't instinctively intuit the terrain of her secret heart just yet. You may have this "she's all into Mod" notion blown out of proportion, too since you're pretty light on domain knowledge here.

Instead, you might, for example, buy her some album frames since you know she has vinyl and a beloved old turntable. I assume she'll have album covers that she considers worthy of hanging, and then you don't have to guess if she's a jazz Mod or a Quadrophenia Mod or a Blue Beat Mod or whathaveyou. As long as she's a Mod with walls to hang things on, Bob's yer uncle. For super extra I-heart-you points, hit Goodwill / thrift shoppes / etc. and find some special (but disposable) records like this one to put in there when you wrap 'em.
posted by mumkin at 12:48 AM on January 23, 2008 [1 favorite]

Thanks for the clarification help, occhiblu and mumkin!
posted by spec80 at 12:20 PM on January 23, 2008

I gave my mod sister a copy of the "Scooter Girl". She loved it.
posted by nimsey lou at 6:01 PM on January 23, 2008

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