Sputnikfest 2014


Rahr-West Art Museum - click HERE for more info!

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Dude!  We're gettin' the band back together!  The first planning meeting for Sputnikest 2013 is taking place this Tuesday night, January 29.  Sputnikfest 2012 was huge success.  In addition to all the "normal" Sputnik goings-on, the BBC Television Series "All Over The Place" was here and shot a lot of footage that will be included in an episode to be shown in 2013. 
I have been a bit remiss in my duties as Sputnikfest Blogger-In-Chief, but I do intend to remedy that situation going forward.  I haven't posted anything now for a couple months, but I do intend to start doing a new post at least once per week to keep you informed as plans for the 2013 Sputnikfest event come together. 
One really neat development is the new look the famous Budweiser towers in Manitowoc now have. A previous Sputnikfest theme was "Where Were You in '62?"  We are excited to announce that just to honor Sputnikfest - the Budweiser advertising logos on the Anheuser-Busch silos have been reworked so that they now look just the way they did for Sputnik IV's visit in 1962! 
Well, not exactly - but "that's my story and I'm stickin' to it."  Anyone who is even passingly familiar with Manitowoc knows these towers - a famous landmark that has earned Manitowoc the nickname "the city that's three beers short of a six-pack."  The silos do now sport their original 1962 style Budweiser logo.  (Check the "Mad-Men-esque" Budweiser magazine advertisement at left - from 1962.)
The history of these towers, and why they are now sporting their "vintage" look is interesting.  The original paint job on these towers was completed in the second week of October 1962 by the Aggen Paint and Sign Shop of Manitowoc - so the paint job for the striking 70-foot tall bottle and two 40-feet tall cans would have been in progress when Sputnik IV streaked across the Manitowoc sky on September 5th.   
Manitowoc, same as most municipalities, has certain ordinances intended to safeguard the aesthetic appeal of its downtown areas.  One of them limits the size of advertising signs to no taller than 20 feet and no more than 20 feet wide.  There was, however, an exception for signs on your building if it advertised your business.  For years these towers were owned by Anheuser-Busch, but a couple years ago the malting plant, and the towers, were sold to the grain storage company Riverland Ag. 
That made the signs "non-compliant" and triggered a notice from the City that the offending images had to go.
In November of 2012 work crews showed up and began removing the vinyl "three bottle" banners that had been placed on top of the original painted "bottle & two cans" artwork some years back and began making preparations to strip the paint on the towers down to the bare concrete.  In the following days Manitowoc Mayor Jusin Nickels recieved more thann 1100 phone calls and emails asking for something to be done to save this Manitowoc icon.  Subsequent meetings between the City and the new owners resulted in a revised ordinance making an exception for "historical murals."  The vinyl banners will not be replaced, but the 1962 painted artwork will STAY.  Sometimes you can fight City Hall!  Planet Terry

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