San Francisco International Airport

A brush with the SFO Museum’s Hair Style exhibit

San Francisco International Airport (SFO) is home to the SFO Museum, which does a great job of bringing top drawer exhibits to the terminals.

The SFO Museum’s newest offering runs through August 22, 2021, in Terminal 1, Departures Level 2, and is all about hairstyles and styling aids.

Objects in the exhibit include historical tools, hair products, and novelty items ranging from early curling irons and hair dryers to one-of-a-kind hair sculptures.

“The Flip” – Jeff Hafler, Beauty Bubble Salon and Museum

Here are more images from the exhibition, courtesy of the SFO Museum, as well as some exhibition notes about hairstyles in the 20th century:

Short bobs of the 1920s were made famous by entertainers such as Clara Bow and Josephine Baker.

Waves prevailed in the 1930s, and movie star Jean Harlow became Hollywood’s first “blonde bombshell” with her novel platinum tresses.

During the 1940s, large, voluminous curls, called Victory rolls, adorned the tops of women’s heads.

The late 1950s and ’60s gave way to voluminous hair, namely the bouffant—with hair puffed high at the crown and curled under at the sides.

Counterculture hippies preferred to wear long, free-flowing hair in the late 1960s. Around this time, a growing sense of ethnic pride inspired many African Americans to embrace their hair’s natural texture and wear afros.

During the late 1970s, actress and model Farrah Fawcett established one of the most iconic styles of all time with her feathered locks. Millions of women and girls went to salons requesting the “Farrah” cut.

Polar cub electric hair dryer  c. 1923 – The A.C. Gilbert Company

More holiday cheer – and dances – from airports and airlines

If we were traveling around this month, we’d certainly be spending a lot of time in airport gift shops buying Christmas chocolates and other treats.

Some of that chocolate would even make it home and into nicely-wrapped gift boxes.

Instead, we’re home and keeping an eye on what airports and airlines are doing to be festive and still keep us safe during an unusual travel season.

SFO Airport is charming us with lights, music, and dancing

We love the giant light switch in this holiday message from SFO and we’re ordering one installed in our home office.

We also love this ‘put your mask on’ music video starring and produced by some incredibly talented people who work at SFO airport.

SFO’s mask video is a good pairing with the safety dance video Alaska Airlines put together that we featured here yesterday. That video also stars in-house talent.

Wreath-decorating contest at O’Hare Airport

It looks like they had so much fun with the pumpkin decorating contest at Halloween that now 13 shops at Chicago’s O’Hare Airport are competing in a wreath-decorating contest.

The public is invited to weigh in on which is best.

Voting is open through December 25, 2020.

O’Hare Airport also has some great themed holiday trees.

More to come..

Surf Music exhibit at SFO has its own soundtrack

Fender Jazzmaster – 1965, played by Bob Demmon of The Astronauts

The SFO Museum at San Francisco International Airport (SFO) has a fun new exhibit celebrating the instrumental surf music popular in the United States in the early 1960s.

SFO Museum General Exhibition 2020

Surf’s Up! Instrumental Rock ‘n’ Roll

So much fun stuff comes from Southern California.

One example: surf music,

“Energetic and melodic with little or no vocal accompaniment, instrumental surf music originated in Southern California along with a booming interest in surfing and the subsequent pop-cultural craze,” the exhibit notes tell us.

“The most authentic surf music reflected a youthful lifestyle and started at the grassroots, often by teenagers who formed bands to play dances and other functions.”

Here are some of our favorite photos from the exhibit.

DoubleJunk” Fender Jazzmaster/Jaguar 1992 & Weather King bass drumhead  1989

Howard custom double-neck guitar 1960
played by Duane Eddy, “The King of Twangy Guitar”

More surf tidbits from the exhibit notes:

“Surf music was influenced by the rock ‘n’ roll instrumentals of the late 1950s when many bands replaced vocal melodies with leads played by the saxophone, piano, organ, and guitar.

Duane Eddy and The Rebels scored a major guitar hit with “Rebel Rouser” in 1958, the same year that “Rumble” by Link Wray & The Wraymen was banned by radio stations for its “suggestive” title.

The Ventures refined instrumentals with brilliantly simple lead-guitar lines layered over rhythm- and bass-guitar melodies. In 1960 their arrangement of “Walk—Don’t Run” landed at #2, the first in a string of instrumental hits by the group.”

“By 1963, surf music was a full-fledged phenomenon that received national attention. A revival of instrumental surf music occurred during the early 1980s and spread worldwide in the 1990s. The music is now more diverse than ever, and there are active surf and instrumental scenes throughout the United States and in Mexico, Brazil, Australia, Japan, and across Europe.”


Surf’s Up! Instrumental Rock ‘n’ Roll is located post-security in Terminal 2 of the San Francisco International Airport through July 18, 2021.

You can see many of the exhibit items in the online exhibition and, even better, listen to a Spotify surf music playlist here.

All photos courtesy SFO Museum.

Airports are being challenged, but there are bright spots

Despite this recent NYT article documenting how truly awful conditions are right now for airports and the operators of airport concessions, there are some bits of hopeful news.

New shops at MKE Airport

At Milwaukee Mitchell Airport (MKE), which will be getting new daily nonstop flights to both Tampa and Fort Meyers on United Airlines in December, there’s a Leinie Lodge pop-up on Concourse D.

In addition to snacks and beverages, passengers can build their own souvenir variety 12-pack of Wisconsin-made Leinenkugel’s beer.

MKE also recently celebrated the opening the Bronzeville Crossing retail shop on Concourse C. The shop carries locally crafted goods from the city’s Bronzeville neighborhood.

SFO Airport reopening a concourse

During this pandemic, airlines have cut back schedules and parked airplanes. As a result, airports around the country have closed concourses due to flight inactivity.

But here’s some good news.

Enough flights have come back on the schedule at San Francisco International that the airport will be reopening a concourse in the International Terminal which has been closed since April 1st.

Boarding Area A, which houses Gates A1 – A15, will reopen on September 1, 2020. The Airport has been operating all international flights on a single concourse since the closure.

13 airports: 1 big virtual music festival

13 airports around the country have put their hearts and efforts together to host a free online music festival Wednesday evening, August 19, starting at 5 p.m. CST.

The show starts at Austin-Bergstrom International Airport (AUS) and then work its way around the country with short sets by stellar local musicians chosen by the participating airports.

Each airport will be running the event on their respective Facebook Live page.

The rundown is below. Note that Kenny Loggins (remember him from Loggins and Messina?) will be capping off the event for the Santa Barbara Airport (SBA)

Airports deploying ‘mask nannies’

Right now face coverings and masks are required in every airport and on most airlines due to continued concerns about the spread of the COVID-19 virus.

There are signs, stickers, and announcements everywhere a traveler turns, but still, not everyone is covering up.

Some people don’t want to mask up and it is reassuring to know that some airlines won’t let those folks fly.

Other travelers may have forgotten their masks or are neglecting to put them on in areas of the airport.

So, to help passengers get with the program, “ambassadors” who are serving as mask nannies are being sent out into airport terminals to help.

Yes, it’s come to that.

At San Francisco International Airport (SFO) “TravelWell Ambassadors” are roving the terminals to make sure passengers wear face coverings and maintain proper physical distancing.

At Los Angeles International Airport (LAX), the mask nannies are called “Travel Safety Ambassadors. They’re on duty in Terminal 1 and in the Tom Bradey International Terminal (TBIT).

Don’t have a mask? No problem. The mask nannies have a supply of them. So there should be no excuses.

We expect other airports are or will be deploying mask nannies as well.