Best Vintage Tourist Souvenirs, August 2009
If Martha Stewart staged a flea market, it might look something like Shine Gallery. The whitewashed two-year-old shop, tucked in the southern end of the Farmers Market at 3rd and Fairfax, stocks ephemera dating from the 1920s through the 1970s, all of it organized with curatorial precision. Owner Bernard Shine skips the garden-variety trinkets favored by other market vendors, instead scouring warehouses around the world for objects that reflect the political, social, historical, and cultural phenomena of their day, from team mascot patches to scenic postcards to flower-power lacquerware to pinup matchbox covers to novelty toys to Nixon campaign buttons (“They Can’t Lick Our Dick”). Some of the merchandise is displayed in glass cases, but most is arranged in open bins, baskets, and jars, giving you the tactile pleasures of a tag sale minus the dust bunnies. The prices feel retro, too; many items are less than $10.