Copa Room showgirl Lee Merlin poses in a cotton mushroom cloud swimsuit as she is crowned “Miss Atomic Bomb 1957.” Merlin was the last and most famous of the Miss Atomic Bomb girls.
New Mexico’s nuclear history is fascinating. I first met contributing writer Mike Smith—who wrote this week’s arts feature, We Are All Going to Die in a Fiery Nuclear Accident—and food editor Ty Bannerman in UNM professor Gerald Vizenor’s mixed-level American studies course, The Atomic Bomb: Los Alamos to Hiroshima. As you can imagine, the coursework—A/V, scholarship and literature—was intense. Here, we present a Spotify playlist of lighter sonic fare, with an emphasis on kitsch and the absurd.