The Haunted Menagerie Group Show And Exhibition Debuts In Portland Tonight!

Haunted MenagerieIf I’m being honest, my soul is forever dying slowly due to the fact that I am not living in Portland where so many friends and talented people and wonderful things reside… but my not being local to the area is causing me extreme suffering today, as there is something very special happening that I cannot attend!

The Creeping Museum, whom I’ve written of at Unquiet Things previously and whose creative vision I respect tremendously, is the labor of love conceived between two friends in North Portland, whose mission is to help artists and independent creators give back to their communities by turning their strange and unusual work into tiny pieces of affordable art, for which to support wonderfully worthy causes. And right now they are gearing up to introduce a new project that I think will resonate on some very heart-deep levels with so many of us.

Caley Hicks

Tonight, Thursday, February 15th at 7PM, at their Little Free Library in North Portland, The Creeping Museum will present an opening celebration for The Haunted Menagerie: A Celebration of Spirit Familiars and Ghostly Pets which will include a miniature group show featuring original artwork as well as an artist bookplate(!!)“exhibition”–and oh, how I wish I could be be present to see all of it! Please go in my stead and take lots of photos and beautiful selfies with the enchanting art and the brilliant minds who pulled it all together, ok?

Jenny Fontana

The bookplate collection will benefit the Portland Audubon Society and includes art by the following artists: Layla Sullivan, Amy Earles, Benjamin Dewey, Marybel Martin, Becky Munich, Pantovola, Christa Dippel, Canvas Menagerie, Hidden Velvet, Alex Reisfar.

The group show in the miniature gallery will include original art by the following artists, and the proceeds from the sale of each piece will go to the nonprofit of the artist’s choice.
– Dena Seiferling
– Darla Jackson
– Stephanie Buscema
– Jenny Fontana
– Diane Irvine Armitage
– Joe Vollan
– Gretchen Lewis

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Next week-ish,  or sometime thereabouts as I understand it, The Creeping Museum will have a shop update with all sorts of magical items and spells and wonderment related to The Haunted Menagerie concept. I will be writing about it at length over at Haute Macabre, and will be certain to share all of the wonderful details and secrets at that time!

In the meantime, I have been granted a tiny sneak peek of some of the beautiful bookplates and have permission to share them with you…

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Interview With Dellamorte & Co.

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Today at Haute Macabre, meet Michael Locascio And Heather Jean Skalwold, the dark hearts and creative minds of Dellamorte & Co., and with whose fantastical creations you’ll soon want to fill every nook, cranny, and corner of your home.

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If you’ve ever wondered where you can find the eerie statuary that adorns my shelves, or the writhing vase in which I keep strange, spectral botanicals, or if you wish to learn more about the talented folks who create such things, peep at my interview with the Dellamorte & Co. team over at Haute Macabre today.

2017 Favorites At Haute Macabre

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2017 was quite a year for all of the Haute Macabre staff writers (and everyone everywhere else, no doubt), and so it took a little while to gather all of our thoughts, untangle them, and make sense out of the resulting mess. This week we’re finally getting around to sharing last year’s favorites–books, apps, art, music, you name it!– as well as, some personal reflections on 2017.

If you peek over there right now, you can see selections from yours truly! Read of my favorite books and lip colors and instagram accounts (cheese related! I’m sure you’re surprised!) and take a guess at the dumb youtube channel I love which I am too embarrassed to even mention.

Actually, because you are someone who takes a moment to read my blaarrgh, I will give you the scoop on that over here, because we’re sort of like a secret club, right? It’s Trish Paytas.
I’m so ashamed! Ugh, she’s awful! I love her! Now please, I ask of you, spare my dignity by sharing a shameful guilty pleasure of your own!

The New Faces of Death: Interview with Amber Carvaly

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(The New Faces of Death is a series I originally wrote, beginning in 2015, and which was published at Dirge. The site is no longer active or updating.)

The New Faces Of Death is a series of profiles and interviews in which we celebrate women passionately involved in the Death Positivity / Death Acceptance movement. Women who seek, in different ways, to educate our repressed society regarding the various facets of death and how to cultivate a relationship with death that is liberating, humanizing – and ultimately – life-enhancing. From mourning and memory to pathology and the intricacies of the human body, from the meaning of a “good death” to The Order of the Good Death, and The Death Salon: we invite you to read further, learn much, and meet the new faces of Death.

Our first installment highlighted Sarah Troop, Executive Director of The Order of the Good Death and Social Media Editor for Death Salon, as well as, a blogger for Nourishing Death and Death and the Maiden.

Next we spoke with Bess Lovejoy, a writer and editor who lives in Brooklyn. She is the author of the bestselling Rest in Pieces: The Curious Fates of Famous Corpses, and is a member of The Order of the Good Death and a founding member of Death Salon.

Today we focus our attention on Amber Carvaly, a California native, mortician, and Service Director at Undertaking LA. Undertaking LA is a fully licensed funeral home, whose mission is to allow families to reclaim rightful control of the dying process and care of the dead body. Along with owner and author Caitlin Doughty (Smoke Gets in Your Eyes: And Other Lessons from the Crematory, From Here to Eternity: Traveling the World to Find the Good Death), they aim to raise awareness that families are empowered, both legally and logistically, to be involved in the care of their own dead. Changes like this, they assert, will help our society to better accept death.

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How did you become interested in death and how did that lead to your current role in the death industry, or as a death positive activist?

Amber Carvaly: I think that I have always been interested in death. I can’t remember a time when I wasn’t preoccupied with the thought of it. Mostly, it would just sort of come and go as I grew. My prior background is in the non-profit industry advocating for the homeless, so it makes sense to me that I would now advocate for the dead. I think that my lot in life is to speak for those who may not have access or ability.

What drew you to your particular profession?

At first I wanted nothing more than to be an embalmer. In my heart I am completely and hopelessly an artist. I am fascinated with learning and how things work, and being an embalmer was a great way to study an art that is reserved for only a few.

What do you want people to take away from the work that you do?

I really only hope for one thing: that people will accept the reality of death and use it to free themselves from the torment of everyday stress; the things that don’t really matter, like standing in a grocery store line for too long or making someone’s bad day a personal offense. I just want to help people see the big picture, because if they could, it would change the way we interact with one another – which would change the world. Whether or not I accomplish this isn’t my concern. It doesn’t take away the desire from me wanting to live this way.

What are some of the most common misconceptions you’ve run into about your job, and to a larger extent, the death industry in general? What do you do to disabuse people of those notions – or not?

The biggest one is that dead bodies are somehow scary. They are not. Really, truly. We are afraid of dead bodies because we are afraid of death. This is why it is so crucial that we work to help people open a healthy dialogue on death. People also think that if you work with dead bodies you are somehow creepy and morbid. I used to get offended, but to be honest, now I’m just sad for people that sneer at me or this line of work. I believe that what I am doing is really important, and I take it incredibly seriously.

Many people find working with the dead or talking about death creepy, or macabre or morbid – how do you enroll those people into the conversation? 

In September, we at Undertaking LA did a fun 30 Days of Deathtember game that is inspired by a deck of conversational cards given to me by my friend Lea Gsceheidle from Berlin. Every day for the month of September we post a question related to death, either logistical or existential. It’s really nice because it allows people to come to us and talk if they would like, or abstain if they don’t want to.

I try to, as carefully as possible, engage with people to encourage deeper thought. It is hard because writing to people about a sensitive topic, especially in an online forum, can be difficult in making sure that you denote a warm and non-judgmental tone, but so far it seems to be going really well.

What can we do to open up the conversation on death? To not just increase awareness of it, but to make more sense of death and dying, to allay our death anxiety?

I think that what everyone at The Order of the Good Death is doing is a wonderful way to create change. Talking about death requires finding every applicable avenue and method of discussion; everyone is different and we all have different ways of learning. I believe it’s necessary to get as many different personality types involved so that talking about death feels accessible. Death shouldn’t be something that is talked about only in a church or educational setting. It has to be continuously delivered in new and innovative ways.

How have your views on the afterlife affected your involvement in the death industry, or vice versa?

I don’t really believe that there is anything after this. I want to. But I don’t. It forces me to feel that any and all chance I have at creating change has to be done here and now.

And lastly, what is your ideal death scenario – your dream death, a “good death” as it were?

I hope that I die in my sleep. if I am married, I hope that my husband is by my side, and it doesn’t freak him out too much!

Even More Stinkers & Duds

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Welcome to another installment of Stinkers & Duds, wherein I complain about the products that really gross me out! Don’t expect thoughtful, articulate commentary on these things (I hope you have figured out by now that you should probably shouldn’t ever expect that from me). These are beauty products and cosmetics that usually make me a little bit irate, so it’s basically just a lot of cusses and hate.

If you’d like to visit the things upon which my wrath and disappointment fell in the past, see:
Stinkers & Duds // More Stinkers & Duds // Hateful ‘fumes

 

adgWhy is it that when someone gifts you with something awful, it’s a jumbo-sized version of that awful thing? Yes, I’m a jerk for complaining about a gift…but…it’s not like I’m complaining to their face, right? Aqua di Gioia from Giorgio Armani was a Christmas present this past year, and I am fairly certain I already knew I would hate it; a very similar scent was gifted to me right after high school, as well. And true, when we are young, we haven’t really developed all of our tastes, we are still trying to figure out what we like, but I can assure you that when it came to fragrance, I knew what I was all about–and it was not “shower fresh”, “soapy clean”, or “the world’s most watery glass of lemonade.”

This is a bland, polite scent whose very inoffensiveness offends me. ALSO, and here is a loathsome confession. I am kind of addicted to the youtube channel of this really horrible celebrity; I don’t know why I continue watching her, but I just cannot look away. There is really nothing at redeeming about this person or her place in the world, including and especially her horrible taste (which I know is so subjective, and I am sorry, but she’s pink and UGGS and spray tan and oh my god why can’t I stop watching her?) Anyway, she bought herself Aqua di Gioia as a Christmas gift and as soon as I saw that this dumb dummy loves it, well, that just summed it all up for me. It’s just a dumb, pointless perfume.

 

 

07629Oh my god, I am such an asshole. This LUSH Shoot For The Stars bath bomb was a gift, too, and even worse, it was a gift that I suggested someone buy for me. It’s beautiful, right? It purports to smell of bergamot which sounds super classy, right? Well, we would be wrong for thinking that. It smells like a peach gummy scented urinal cake. Which is the exact opposite of classy. It also left both the tub, and my post-tub bod, super greasy. I know this for a fact because when I went to bed that night, I snuggled up against my partner, who remarked, “…ugh…you’re super greasy.”

 

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Joseon Beauty of Joseon Dynasty Cream was highly recommended to me, first by friends, and secondly by the internet–reddit threads, facebook groups, beauty blogs.  It has a cult following, all sorts of heavy-hitter ingredients, and it seems to be everyone’s Holy Grail multifunctional skincare cream.  It’s supposed to be brightening, anti-aging, and give you beautiful, bouncy skin. Use it as a face massage, a sleeping pack, with your bb cream, whatever. It was starting to sound like coconut oil, in that regard, right? Like, what can’t this amazing stuff do?

Well, I could not use it long enough to find out. While I didn’t love the powdery-cucumbery scent, it was the slimy, sticky texture that I couldn’t get past. It had a this horrible jellied, stringy consistency (if you are familiar with snail mucin products, you know what I mean), and if I am being honest with you, it looked like someone jizzed all over my face. It was really bad. Like, Faces Of Jizz 18: The Jizzening bad. To add injury (injizzy?) to insult, not only did I look like a glazed fucking donut the few times I used it, it really reddened and inflamed the sensitive areas on my face. Not cool, Joseon Dynasty Cream*. Not cool at all.

To be fair, I purchased this product through amazon. I am aware that purchasing things like this through third party sellers can be risky business, but I truly think I was using the actual product, and it just didn’t work with my skin.

So that’s it for my recents Stinkers and Dud products? What about you? Tell me what you’ve been hating lately!

Links Of The Dead {January 2018}

A gathering of death related links that I have encountered in the past month or so. From somber to hilarious, from informative to creepy, here’s a snippet of things that have been reported on or journaled about in or related to the Death Industry recently.

This time last year: Links of the Dead {January 2017} | {January 2016}

💀 Feminist Death Work: A History
💀 My therapist died. Is it okay to go to her memorial services?
💀 We’ve got to start talking about grief in the face of deaths that are not beautiful.
💀 Death as Entertainment at the Paris Morgue
💀 ‘The Bright Hour,’ By Nina Riggs And ‘The Art Of Death,’ By Edwidge Danticat
💀 Death Salon with Nuri McBride
💀 How Do We Bury the Writing of the Dead?
💀 Two new books that can help both those in mourning
💀 Smell of death tells undertaker bees it’s time to remove corpses
💀 The new death industry: funeral businesses that won’t exploit grief
💀 Drive-Thru Funeral Home
💀 What to do with the remains of notorious criminals.
💀 WeCroak: An app to remind you that the end is near
💀 Breakfast, Then Death. A piece of short fiction by Claire L. Smith
💀 For the Living, a Donated Face. For the Dead, a Lifelike Replacement.
💀 French YouTube channel, Le Bizarreum, explores death through historical and archaeological cases.
💀 On why writing about grief sometimes means you have to sneak into a defunct cemetery

The Re-Shelvening

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I don’t quite recall when we first installed this spacious landscape of shelves into my office, but what I can assure you is that they have been amassing quite a lot of junk ever since! (The above is an “after” photo, and as you’ll see, I still have a lot of junk.)

It occurred to me that there was a great deal of empty space just begging to be filled with all of the books that were lying around the house because the other bookshelves were already dangerously full. I figured hey, I’ll take this opportunity in finding a home for all the wayward books, to do a bit of organizing…and who knows…maybe that will clear up space for more books!

I posted a few photos on Instagram of this process and several folks requested that I share some lists of the titles I was reorganizing. I am happy to! See below for a shelf-by-shelf breakdown of what got moved where and why, my probably-logical-only-to-me reorganization system, and where to find each of the books if you want them for your own shelves.

Haunted Anthologies

A shelf of mostly haunted anthologies that have covers illustrated by Edward Gorey.

The Ghost In The Far Garden
Ghostly Gentlewomen
Bewitched Beings
Cat Encounters
Grande Dames Of Detection
Ladies Of The Gothics
Sisters Of Sorcery
Baleful Beasts
The Haunted Dolls
Ghosts
Vampires
My Heart’s In Greenwich Village

Weird

A shelf of the weird, the uncanny, the psychotic, the satanic.

Satanic Feminism
The Horror Reader
Satanic Panic
The Uncanny
Monsters Of Our Own Making
House Of Psychotic Women
Lost Girls: The Phantasmagorical Cinema Of Jean Rollin
Vampira: Dark Goddess Of Horror
HP Lovecraft: A Life
Uncanny Reader
Shirley Jackson: A Rather Haunted Life
Powers of Horror: An Essay on Abjection

Poetry

A shelf of poetry that didn’t fit on the other poetry shelf, zines, and weird booklets that defy categorization. And a funny little goblincat to watch over it all. Also, the best candle.

Best Bones
Paperdoll Fetus
A Red Witch, Every Which Way
Dear Jenny, We Are All Find
Swan Feast 
Bestiary
Dream Date With A Villain
Dream Date With A Villain Vol. 2
Forever Doomed
Witch Women
Die Mensur (not sure of availability)
Morbid Fantasies (only available as PDF)
The Occult Activity Book (not available)
The Occult Activity Book Vol. 2 (not available)
Sound Of Snow Falling
Hera Lindsay Bird
Bruja
I Miss The World
The Impossible Fairy Tale
The Atheist Wore Goat Silk
Literary Witches
Teaching My Mother To Give Birth
Milk And Honey
Ask Baba Yaga
Bags (This is by the Over The Garden Wall guy; not sure on availability)

perfumeA shelf for perfume and the dark arts.

Italy’s Witches And Medicine Women
The Ultimate Guide To Tarot Card Meanings
Cosmos, Chaos And The World To Come
The Black Arts
Victoria Regina Tarot Companion
Season of the Witch: How the Occult Saved Rock and Roll
Satanic Alchemy: Atrocities Of Gilles de Rais
The Secret Of Scent
Essence And Alchemy
The Emperor Of Scent
Perfumes: The A-Z Guide
The Tarot Bible

writing

A shelf on writing, creativity, journals…and my mother’s cremains in a teacup.

What It Is
On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft
A Year Of Creative Writing Prompts
A Short Guide To Writing About Art
Ghost Stories And How To Write Them
Artful Sentences: Syntax As Style

cookbooks

A shelf of cookbooks, recipes, eating and drinking. Some of these things are not like the others.

Cannibal Kitchen: A Horror Lovers Cookbook
Whistle Stop Cafe Cookbook
Damn Fine Cherry Pie: And Other Recipes from TV’s Twin Peaks
Feeding Hannibal: A Connoisseur’s Cookbook
Death Warmed Over: Funeral Food, Rituals, and Customs from Around the World
Square Meals
My Kitchen Year: 136 Recipes That Saved My Life
Smuggler’s Cove: Exotic Cocktails, Rum, and the Cult of Tiki
Death & Co: Modern Classic Cocktails
The Zombies That Ate Pittsburgh
Son Of The Martini Cookbook
Chas Addams Half-Baked Cookbook
The Death Row Cookbook
The Cannibal’s Cookbook
Decadent Cookbook
The Dark Shadows Cookbook

deathThe Death & Stuff shelf.

Fashion Victims
Death’s Summer Coat
Rest in Pieces: The Curious Fates of Famous Corpses
Dr. Mutter’s Marvels
Morbid Anatomy Anthology
Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers
Smoke Gets in Your Eyes: And Other Lessons from the Crematory
Bitten by Witch Fever: Wallpaper & Arsenic in the Nineteenth-Century Home
From Here to Eternity: Traveling the World to Find the Good Death

altar incense perfume samples

And the rest of the shelves…well…they’re a bit of a work in progress. There’s my mom altar, my shelf of incense, potions, and elixirs, and then an entire shelf dedicated to perfume samples! And as you can see from the photo at the very top of this post, there’s still a few shelves that need some work; they’re in odd or hard to reach spots with relation to my desk and where I sit, and so right now they are home to weird little action figures and toys that still need some sorting.

…so that’s it! And in case you are wondering: yes. Yes, I did clear some space to make room for even more books.

How To Wear Hushed Embroidery

How to wear Fevernest

I am thrilled to announce that my fancy wardrobe collages have found a seconds home over at Haute Macabre, where “How To Wear {insert some ridiculous thing here}” will become a recurring series!

This week we have How To Wear An Article About Hushed And Haunted Embroidery That You Wrote Three Weeks Ago…head on over to Haute Macabre for the details!

Previous ensembles at Unquiet Things can be found here.

Shudder Picks For This Friday Night

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There is nothing as irritating and frustrating as scrolling through your video service of choice for twenty minutes or more and not seeing anything that looks even halfway decent or that grabs your attention. This makes me very angry! I’ve been known to toss the remote across the room in a snit over this very vexation–I mean why are we even paying for these services? I know, this is a really dumb thing to complain about, but it is one of those things that gets my dander up.

A couple years ago, on a whim, I started up a free trial for Shudder (“Curated Thrills, Horror, and Suspense That Will Make Your Spine Tingle”, whee!) through Amazon, and promptly forgot about it. But when I was compiling films to watch this past October for my 31 Days Of Horror project, I realized that Shudder really has some amazing selections. If you’re into super current releases, you might be a bit disappointed, but if your thing is slightly obscure cinema, or previously difficult to find movies, or films with a cult following–there is really a treasure trove of riches to dig through here. Don’t go by current line up of titles they show on the welcome screen at any given time–there is so much more available than that. Which isn’t to say that there’s a magnificently huge selection, but I have found that the really interesting titles are is not the ones featured on the front page.

But let’s say you’re on the sofa, you’ve got your popcorn ready, and you want something NOW. You don’t want to dig around and scroll endlessly for hours and then it’s midnight before you settle on something. I hear you, and I am here to help.

(By the way, how do you eat your popcorn? I like mine with butter, flaky salt, aonori, and nutritional yeast! I could eat it morning, noon and night. Popcorn for life.)

Below are twenty(ish) films that I found in their 50 or so pages of selections, that have my stamp of approval. I mean, don’t tell anyone that. My stamp of approval is sort of worthless, so no doubt they’ll just laugh at you. But between you and me, you cannot go wrong with the following choices, some of which I have mentioned or reviewed previously, and some of which appeared on Unquiet Things as part of a guest blog post, just last week!

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Jordskott (series)
Prevenge
Demons
Audition
A Tale of Two Sisters
The Beyond
Repulsion
Battle Royale
The Whip and the Body
Trollhunter
The Host
Kill, Baby Kill
High Tension
The Devil’s Backbone
Frankenhooker
Antiviral
Let Sleeping Corpses Lie
The Stendhal Syndrome
Berberian Sound Studio
Fascination

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And here are some films that I have read about over the years, or which have been on my list of things to watch, and I was very excited to find them on *Shudder as well! Have you found any gems or must-see movies on Shudder (or amazon prime, or netflix, for that matter–we have all of them!)

Short Night of Glass Dolls 
Black Belly of the Tarantula
The Church
The Velvet Vampire
Baba Yaga
Dead Ringers
Nightmares Come At Night
The Last Circus {h/t to Kate for making me aware of this one!}

*These are all my opinions, and Shudder did not pay me for my enthusiasm.

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