City Center Motel, 2007, photographed by Aaron Gilbreath

We’re thrilled to spread the news that contributor Aaron Gilbreath’s “Dreams of the Atomic Era,” from our Summer 2010 issue, has just been listed as a notable essay in Best American Essays 2011. The piece explores his love for the Googie architecture of 1950s and ’60s coffee-shops and motels, including boomerang-shaped roofs and amoeba- and atom-motifs. “Googie incorporated simplified visual elements from both space exploration and molecular science,” Gilbreath explains in the essay. “This was the Atomic Era, the Jet Age, later the Space Age.” He narrates his discovery the style in motels on down-on-its-luck Van Buren Street in Phoenix, but the essay is more an elegy for Googie, as the buildings are torn down for condo development and Gilbreath is left as “another thirtysomething carrying childhood regrets, a man in a lot gazing at a new condo building, trying to stare the past back to life.”

Congratulations on the recognition, Aaron!

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