Archive of ‘unquiet things’ category

Currently {March 2017}

bunnehThis past month has been a heart breaker. We lost our dear Mawga, and just like that, our already dwindling family was that much smaller. The days since her passing have been colder than any I remember for this time of year and I’ve been busying my most of them with the work that comes after a death. Making arrangements for, in this case, cremation, retrieving said cremains, cleaning up and cleaning out the house for when we are able to sell it, meeting with the probate attorney, etc.  Thank goodness my grandmother and grandfather set up many of these things in advance, otherwise it would probably be a lot tougher than it actually is. Note to self: get your will and last wishes down on paper and legalized. When I leave this world, I want to ensure that people are put to as little trouble as possible.

So the weeks have passed. And today, again, just like that, it is the first day of spring.

Afghan

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I’ve been incorporating my grandmother’s beloved belongings into my home and my daily routine. The top photo, an old afghan given new life, draped on the reading seat in my office.  Below that, a pair of opal earrings which I haven’t seen in many years and which we unearthed from the musty depths of an old dresser. She frequently used to warn me against the wearing of opals; apparently they were said to be bad luck if they were not your birthstone. They are not mine, but I’m shrugging off superstition and wearing them anyway. Mawga is no doubt tsk-tsking me all the way from the other side.

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I’m afraid the No-Buy from the beginning of the year hit a stall as of mid-February. I haven’t gone too crazy…for example, no new skin care items because my weird face seems less weird on its current regimen and I’d hate to screw that up. Only ONE new book purchase, everything else has come from the library. No new jewelry at all! I sort of goofed when it came to perfume because glob knows I don’t need any more of that, but how can I resist Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab’s Lupercalia Line?

I have, however, given in when it comes to attire for the torso part of my bod; I just can’t resist  creepy/spooky black tops! No, I do not have enough already, thank you very much. The first is a spider web cardigan from MischiefMadeMe, and the second is a Vampira scream queen top from Grit-N-Glory (there are also Lydia, Lily, Morticia, & Wednesday versions)–and it looks like they’ve not yet sold out!

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…also, okay. Another confession. Though wall real estate is becoming more and more scarce chez Ghoul, I also purchased some more Art. (You can read of my art obsession here, if you missed it). Pictured above is Briar, a sweet batling wrought by the brilliant hands of Jessica Joslin and who has just recently joined our motley menagerie.

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Reading: Gosh, I have been all over the place lately. I finally got around to reading Paper Girls, described as paranormal science fiction mixed with ’80s nostalgia which is such a cool story. I can’t wait to see where it goes.  House of Penance is a horrific take on the story of the Winchester House and is super intense. Glitterbomb, a dramatic horror story about fame and failure, details through the character of aging actress Farrah Durante, how the entertainment industry feeds on our insecurities, desires, and fears.  I kind of wanted more from this story, but I’m at a loss for, what exactly, I thought it was missing.

Not pictured: Something in the Blood: The Untold Story of Bram Stoker, the Man Who Wrote Dracula. I am somewhat conflicted about this one. As one reviewer succinctly put it: “…there’s a Bram Stoker-shaped hole at the heart of the book.” And wow, is there ever. The book’s author delves into the lives of everyone who has ever touched Bram Stoker, no matter how obscure or insignificant. And though neither obscure nor insignificant, I would venture to say that at least half this book is about Oscar Wilde! At the end of it all, though, I can say I have a pretty good picture of the time during which Stoker lived, and the history and culture of that time, and the people with whom he chose to surround himself and those by whom he was inspired. David Skal writes with a wry humor that serves as a skillful punctuation to the information and stories he shares, but never overwhelms the reader with it. He lets the facts and data tell the story. It’s a lengthy, rambling story with plenty of digressions, but if you are a fan of Bram Stoker’s stories, then I think you will very much enjoy this story of the life he lived.

And lastly, Bad Feminist by Roxane Gay. My sister recommended this to me ages ago, and I stubbornly chose other feminist works to read first. On one hand, I am glad; I think my dissatisfaction with those previous titles made me that much more appreciative of Bad Feminist. This series of essays, some of them intensely vulnerable, addresses race, culture, and Scrabble competitions; intertwined with her ruminations on literature and culture, it’s equal parts commentary, memoir, and critical analysis. One thing in particular I loved about the book was the tone; it was not overly academic (I’m sorry to confess I find that rather dreary) and it wasn’t some sort of manic comedy (see Caitlin Moran’s How To Be A Woman)–while it was witty, it was also utterly genuine. But I do think even if I had not encountered those types of reads previously, I’d have loved Bad Feminist all the same, and that much more.

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And of course, one-word movie reviews. This month’s viewing is comprised of a very short list. It seems I’ve been doing more reading than movie watching recently, which is fine. I go back and forth between the two, some months it’s one more than the other. Looks like the books win out, this month! I’ve also started keeping track of the dates the films were watched, but that’s probably of no interest to anyone but me.

2/26 Get Out (in the theatre)…ABSOLUTELY
3/5 Ouija: Origin of Evil…nope
3/9 Don’t Breathe…ugh
3/20 Salome’s Last Dance (Amazon prime)…OMGYES

Fall 2017 Runway Highlights

FASHUNI know next to nothing about fashion, and with every passing season I’m fairly certain my knowledge diminishes rather than increases–but that doesn’t mean I love it any less. For me, at its best, it is glorious art, it is a political statement, it is a snapshot of our times–the good, the bad, and the ugly.  At its worst…well, actually, the worst thing, the most offensive thing a fashion design can do, is bore me.  But at its best, it thrills, it inspires, it sometimes agitates or confounds, or quite possibly it makes you giggle with glee roar or with laughter (my personal favorite.)

At any rate, I don’t take my interest in it seriously. Or at least I try not to! But when the Fall collections begin walking the runway, I am riveted.  Here are some of my favorites right now.

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Comme des Garçons Fall 2017 Ready To Wear offers us a sensible, down to earth collection that that definitely won’t leave your family and friends and coworkers confused and concerned as to your deteriorating mental state. Full of waddling, exaggerated silhouettes evoking over-sized dress forms or perhaps even ancient goddess imagery, you’d be forgiven for thinking huh, this looks like an enormous, gore-soaked maxi-pad.

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On the other hand, I want to wear Yohji Yamamoto’s 2017 Fall Ready collection everywhere that my bright & sunny presence is requested; PTA meetings (I don’t have kids but whatevs), bridal showers, church picnics. The possibilities are endless.

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Valentino’s Fall 2017 Ready To Wear collection, with romantic colors ranging from rich raspberry to ice cream pastels, luxe textures, delicate embroidery and sequins reminds me of several coffee table books belonging to my grandmother. These books were basically photographed tours through various estate homes and I’d spend hours mesmerized by the sumptuous decor: opulent damask curtains framing dusty glass windows overlooking flowering garden mazes, lavish boudoirs swathed in velvets and silks, shimmering crystalline chandeliers. The ensembles featured in this collection conjure these intoxicating, daydream homes.

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To be perfectly honest, all I see when I gaze too long upon Givenchy’s Fall 2017 Ready To Wear collection is a scarlet coven of demonic teletubbies.

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Though I really want to love a couture collection inspired by the symbolism of Twin Peaks, MSGM’s Fall 2017 ready to wear offerings are comprised of an almost offensive degree of fug.

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Are you ready for Gareth Pugh’s sleep-deprived garbage bag dystopia?

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Anne Demeulemeester’s ghostly veils (top) and Rick Owens’ (bottom) grimly towering headdresses are extremely pleasing to me.

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And finally Alexander McQueen’s collection of jacquard and brocade with feather stitch details, trailing beads of jet with memento ribbons threaded through tweeds and leather, was imbued with dense imagery woven into every motif- whether witchy sun and moon symbolism or medieval tapestry inspired flora and fauna–and utterly brimming with both youthful and traditional female energy and power. Gorgeousness.

Harry Crosby’s Black Sun

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Harry Crosby and unidentified woman, Four Arts Ball, Paris

Yet it was precisely in his character … to invest all his loyalty and energy in magic: at first the approved magic of established religion; later the witchwork of poetry and sun worship; finally the black mass of violence” -Geoffrey Wolf, Author of Black Sun: The Brief Transit and Violent Eclipse of Harry Crosby

Harry Crosby – self indulgent socialite, tortured poet, wealthy mystic …. a playboy who lived his life with reckless abandon – was a man both adored and reviled. He has been described by some as “a representative figure of the so-called Lost Generation”, the bohemian 1920s.

A godson of J.P. Morgan Jr., Harry was a Harvard graduate and a decorated war veteran, who had left school to become an ambulance driver in France with his upper-crust chums during World War I. He ended up with the Croix de Guerre for valor and, after a few frustrating years back in Boston, fled to Paris for the rest of his short life. Married in 1922 to Mary Phelps Jacob, known as “Caresse”, they lived the “ultimate Bohemian lives as poets, artists, and patrons in Paris in the 1920’s. To every adventure their answer was always ‘yes’.” Harry once sent a telegram from Paris to his father, the quintessential sober, patriarch, which read, “Please sell $10,000 worth in stock. We intend to live a mad and extravagant life.”

While living and writing in Paris Harry Crosby founded The Black Sun Press, one of the “finest small presses of the twentieth century”.   In 1924, the Crosbys went public with their first book. The following year, they each published their first collections of verse. Harry commissioned Alastair – a “spectacularly camp” German creator of beautifully decadent and Gothic fantasies – to illustrate his second collection, Red Skeletons.  Soon they were issuing works by other writers, including Poe, James, Wilde, Joyce and D. H. Lawrence.

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Color plate from Red Skeletons, by artist Alastair

On December 10, 1929, Harry was found in bed with a .25 caliber bullet hole in his right temple next to his mistress, the newly married Josephine Bigelow who had a matching hole in her left temple, in an apparent suicide pact. Harry’s toenails were painted red and strange symbols were tattooed between his shoulder blades and on the soles of his feet. A lover of dark mysteries to the last, he left no suicide note. London’s Daily Mirror speculated on psychological motives, while New York’s Daily News blamed poetry and passion: “Death itself had been the motive, others speculated, just as aspiring poet Harry’s life had been his greatest artwork.”

We recently caught up with Erik Rodgers, founder of String and a Can Productions, and director of The Black Sun: The Life and Death of Harry Crosby, who provides his own insight into Harry Crosby’s strange, short life and speaks to what makes the man such a fascinating study.

How did you come to decide Harry Crosby might make good material for a play – what it was about him or his life that inspired you, or what aspect of him you were hoping to shed more light on? How did you come across him to begin with?

Erik Rodgers: I actually came upon Caresse first, while developing a project on Salvador Dalí.  [My business partner] was intrigued by the idea of such an accomplished and independent female from that era, and started researching her life.   Of course as soon as she began reading about Caresse, she discovered Harry as well.  Their story captured her imagination, and she began relating to me some of the details as she read them. We both felt there was something vital and overlooked in their story, something that had been obscured by all the scandal and negative criticism.

Over the next few months, I sat down with Geoffrey Wolff’s incredibly well researched biography, as well as several works on Caresse.  Time and again, I was struck by the incredible amount of negativity, dismissiveness and judgement that surrounded Harry and Caresse.  Even Mr. Wolff felt it necessary to defend and explain away his decision to dignify Harry with the full biographical treatment.   I felt disappointed by the apologia of an afterward he wrote for the nyrb edition.  After all, from our contemporary vantage point, considering the near century of work and popular culture that has followed, Harry hardly seems shocking…

I didn’t immediately resolve to write about Harry, but he stayed in my mind for some time.  Still a bit of an enigma, I felt the vital pulse of his life, his work, but had yet to find a context for it.  It was several months later, when encouraged by Devin and some friends to develop a project for us all to work on, that the idea of the play struck.

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image via String and a Can Productions, artist Egon Scheile

How did you find the process to be for this particular medium, translating Harry’s life/works into material for the stage? Are there any other projects you have in mind for Harry Crosby?

By limiting the play to three characters, Harry, Caresse, and Josephine, and using the stage as more of an abstract space, I set out to let the characters observe, confront and relive specific moments across time and space. It was a way, I felt, to do more than relate their story, or explore Harry’s personal mythos. It was a way to deconstruct, unlock, and hopefully reclaim them back into our collective consciousness.

I began reading Harry’s work in earnest once I resolved to write the play, including his diaries Shadows of the Sun. This era was a specialty of mine back in college (Lawrence, Hemingway, Joyce et al) and I was surprised that I hadn’t really encountered Harry’s work before. I found that the more I read, the more powerful … Harry’s vision became. It is indeed difficult to sum up Harry’s work by sharing a poem or a line here or there. There is a cumulative effect to the work, something remarked upon in Eliot’s essay on Harry. As a result, I used a lot of Harry’s own work as source material, crafting scenes from poems or diary entries. I did this not only to keep true to the story, but also to hopefully let Harry’s vision unfold over the length of the play. It was important to me to let them be taken on their own terms, by their own ambitions and their own vision. In many ways, to me that was what Harry’s life was about.

[…]In writing the play, however, I also wanted to wrestle with the very human aspect of their lives as well– the volatility of Harry, the toll that took on Caresse, the anguish in Josephine that found some answer in Harry’s elaborate mythos. Harry and Caresse’s own depictions of their lives are always a little unsatisfying to our modern sensibilities in that they don’t submit to easy psychological types. Questions linger about who they were, even after you’d heard all the juicy details. How much did the war or Harry’s Dad play into his tumultuous behavior? Were Caresse’s attempts to leave sincere? Was she a bit relieved at his final passing? Who pulled the trigger first, Harry or Josephine? How did that fateful meeting transpire, exactly? These are some of the mysteries that propel the story.

On a personal note, this last October, I had the pleasure of visiting the Athenaeum in Boston and arranging a viewing some of the original Black Sun Books. The experience was striking in two ways in particular. I was struck with the strange power of viewing such rare texts that had been made with such care. From the gold wrapping of Transit of Venus, to the uncut folio pages of Torchbearers, it was as if you were viewing something sacred. In an era of mass printing, it’s hard to imagine the power such handcrafted books can have. The other thing that struck me in viewing the books was a feeling of direct connection with Harry and Caresse, something I had strived for through the research and the writing. This reaffirmed my convictions about them that underlined the play, and reinforced for me the importance of their story.

I have also just completed composing a series of music inspired by Harry’s work and the play. You’ve heard some of the temp tracks on the page for the play, but I’ve now completed the cycle and am looking to make a live recording of it all.

In addition to the original site for the play, there’s also a larger effort underway to commemorate and honor the legacy of Harry and Caresse. Info on the nascent Black Sun Theatre Foundation can be found here.

Harry Crosby’s Black Sun was originally published at Coilhouse on March 16, 2010.

FASHUN update: Voluminous balloonimous cocoonimous

Harper's Bazaar, May 1976, one-piece by Gil Aimbez for Genre, sandals and necklace by Yves Saint Laurent

Harper’s Bazaar, May 1976, one-piece by Gil Aimbez for Genre, sandals and necklace by Yves Saint Laurent

I suppose it all really started with my love of all the beautiful things I’ve amassed from Babooshka Boutique in recent years; the roomy, flowing tops, tunics, and dresses that waft and whirl around me now as I go about my day. They’re easy to dress up or they can be casual, they are exquisitely comfortable, and they are pretty much perfect. At this point I’m afraid I have really come to resent garments with zippers or buttons or hooks or or fasteners–closures are prickly and poky! And so oppressive and stifling! There’s no going back. I just wanna let it all hang out, basically.

Sadly, Babooshka Boutique is closing this year, so I am beginning to look elsewhere for my fix as it relates to a wardrobe that beguilingly balloons around my bod, or which cocoons me in crazy coziness. Luckily, I think I have found some things that fit the bill, and I am quite excited about them.

See below for a few voluminous / balloonimous / cocoonimous things currently on my wishlist. Don’t be too shocked if you see some colors. It was bound to happen one day.

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I love this botanical print tie-front shift dress from Rundholz; I don’t love that it’s a white background, but there’s enough interesting artwork here to distract me from that. £139.00

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I’d forgive you for thinking the print/color combination on this Charisma dress from shonmodern is a bit fug; but there’s something about the asymmetric cut and the easy shape (and pockets!) that strikes me as both flattering and super comfy. Also, if you prefer, if comes in plain black.  $299

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I think these calf-skimming, floofy linen Lantern pants are adorable, so shut your mouth. $65

IMG_4423 IMG_4398_fcf57dce-cba1-44c8-8f63-b535f91f5848I am desperately coveting both of these lovely, loose fitting black tops with geometric graphics from UZI NYC at mooreaseal: the beams tunic $99 & the broken lines kimono $116

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I recall being intrigued by this etsy seller’s wares a long time ago, but I never took the plunge to order something back then, especially after hearing a friend’s review of the poor quality of said wares. Still, to this day I covet these billowy linen Moon Water pants … because pants that look like a skirt? I reckon that’s the best thing I ever heard of. $58

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And lastly, I love everything about this short maxi dress from Metamorphoza–the oversized shape contrasted with the knee-brushed length, the swingy cut, the pockets and, most of all–that (gasp!) powerfully, gorgeous blue color. Who am I anymore? The older I get, the more I hope I never have an answer for that. $52

So…to sum up, this season’s look for me is clothing that screams “WE’VE BEEN MADE! SMUGGLE OUT AS MUCH STUFF AS YOU CAN FIT UNDER THIS DRESS!”

What’s inspiring you right now in terms of wardrobe for spring and summer?

this, that, and the other thing {xxxiii}

Oregon

INVISIBLE OREGON: a study of light across time and space from Sam Forencich on Vimeo.

Jenna Kass

Bluebeard & the Final Girl: Feminist Retellings of Perrault’s Classic

Morbid-Anatomy-Museum-bulding

Remembering the Morbid Anatomy Museum

The Snake Women of Kazuo Umezu

The 1940s Horror Movie That Embraced Lesbianism and Satanism

Museums Shared Their Creepiest Possessions On Twitter And They’re Kind OfTerrifying

Listen to the Sweet, Soft Warble Common Ravens Sing to Their Partners

Unearthly Laments: Two Records with which to refract time through the prism of sound.

9 Pretty Baby Names Inspired By Real British Witches

Suicides, Psychokillers, and the Question of Audience; The violence of girlhood in contemporary fiction

Haunting a Tiny House with Lady Delaney

Nagoro: Japan’s Strange Village of Dolls

Dracula’s Lost Icelandic Sister Text

How Dana Scully Inspired a Generation of Women

The Forbidden Desire of “Lover’s Eyes”

The Mysteries of the First-Ever Map of the North Pole

Bad Books For Bad People Episode 6: Alraune – The Ultimate Femme Fatale

Currently, Part Two (February 2017)

spirit
Currently I am having a rough go of it. I find myself shuffling from one end of the house to the other, without thought or purpose or even memory of doing so. I cannot focus or concentrate, so work is all but impossible, and yet I haven’t taken any time off, either. I find it difficult to justify time off when I already work from home, you know? So I’ve just been sitting at my desk, dazed, thoughts both a million miles away and no where, and desperately hoping that the phone does not ring.  Inevitably it does.  And so, a week has passed since we lost our Mawga.

“A readjustment of reality, ” is how a friend summed up some of what I am feeling.  I spent so many years worrying and fretting over my grandmother, paying her bills, keeping up with her house, handling all the what-ifs and emergencies as they arose, paying her a visit after work every day…now that I no longer have these things to do (these things that sometimes I was honestly quite bitter and resentful of) I am feeling unmoored, adrift, purposeless. Instead of having to sneak my knitting or reading into spare pockets of time, stolen and emptied from other portions of my life, I now am at leisure to do these things as I please. But for the moment (and I do know it is a momentary, passing thing) …I just …can’t.

But I do feel the compelling, compulsive need, as I do every month, do vaguely document the things I have been doing–and so to keep to a routine and regain a sense of normalcy, here is some photographic evidence that there was life and liveliness over the past month. And I suppose, even though it doesn’t feel like it now, there will be again.

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A fantastic box of Vegan Treats morbid chocolates from my beau. This has become our Valentine’s Day tradition. Somehow we manage to make these delectable morsels last a month or more; I think three years in, we have managed to become pros at it.

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Also honor of Valentines madness and treating myself, I took a break from the No-Buy to grab the Fire Walk With Me soundtrack from Mondo and this gorgeous antique print of The Young Widow by Henry Hutt.

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A few weekends ago we sat in the afternoon sun and planted all kinds of seeds–marigolds, morning glories, carrots, radishes, squash. It will be a miracle if any of them make it. I also planted a few little succulents in the hollowed dome of this cranial planter, an osteological-inspired marvel sculpted by the phenomenal Kermit Tesoro.

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Last Saturday I got my got my bangs cut. My hair has been all one-length for the past twenty years, so this is a weird adjustment. And I probably won’t keep it this way forever (sweaty humid bangs on my forehead in July? Ugh) but for now, I think I really dig it. It’s got a sort of Stevie Nicks or Ann & Nancy Wilson vibe. And it’s certainly an improvement on this, a photo which was taken a day or so before the big chop.

books

Currently reading Something In The Blood: The Untold Story of Bram Stoker. I was so excited to read about the author of my very favorite novel, but I am finding that while it is not dry reading, exactly, it is certainly dense and packed with information and taking me a rather long time to muddle through. Much more than just a biography, it immerses the reader in the culture and the history of the Victorian era, encountering various celebrities and characters along the way. It’s enjoyable, it really is…but there’s just so much of it. I broke up the monotony of it with Fingersmith by Sarah Waters, which is something I’d been meaning to read for awhile as I loved all of her other books, but for whatever reason, I’d never gotten to it. After reading a few chapters I was sorely lamenting watching Chan Wook Parks film adaptation of it, The Handmaiden, just last year. It was exactly the same story (but you know, London, instead of Korea) and I knew what to expect! I was disappointed that I already knew the twists and turns before they could surprise me. Ahhh, but not so. I read on and after a while I was glad of having seen the film first. And I ended up adoring the book as much as the film. I cannot recommend them highly enough. Make them both priorities on your to-watch/to-read lists.

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One word movie reviews!

Absentia–maybe (on amazon prime)
Trouble Every Day–perhaps (on amazon prime)
Blair Witch–skip
The Love Witch–Yes
The Editor–YES
The Village–ugh
VHS–probably (on netflix)
The OA–absolutely (on netflix)

How To Wear: A Winter Getaway

Bamboo Garden, Hakone Museum, 1954 - Toshi Yoshida

Bamboo Garden, Hakone Museum, 1954 – Toshi Yoshida

I have always found February to be the cruelest month, in terms of winter madness (although it rivals November, I think, in terms of emotional upheaval). While I was living up north there was always a certain point during the month of February where I would be curled up on the couch, shivering and gazing out the window and thinking, resignedly, how it has always been winter and there was never a time before winter and I was born in the snow and I’d die in the snow and that’s all there was to it.

Looking out my window now, there is a wilting hibiscus under a blazing sun and two feral cats making noisy love on a tree stump in my direct line of sight. I am a little grossed out, but my fingertips aren’t numb and my coffee hasn’t frosted over, and you know, life’s not perfect. But I am not cold, and I am not going to slip and fall on a patch of ice just outside my front door when I go to check my mail this afternoon. It is February in Florida and I have escaped that dread, formerly freezing existence.

My lifelong habit of escaping into daydream is no doubt what kept utter delirium at bay during those long, frozen years. Imagining breathless travels to far-off places that boast vibrant sunsets, lush flower gardens, and beautiful architecture, I’d slip into a trance-like state while envisioning sipping espresso in a Parisian cafe, or silently hiking through ancient forests, or just stopping to give a ragged alley cat behind-the-ear skritches while sneaking around Venetian canals, attempting to avoid running into a murdering dwarf in a red raincoat (my daydreams get kind of fucked up sometimes.)

Regardless of whether you’re merely escaping the cold weather, or literally running for your life during your mid-winter holiday, you can’t visit to these imaginary destinations without a valise full of clothes for travel! With shapes inspired by majestic cathedrals and celestial temples, colors reflecting the seasonal flora or the afternoon sun on the ocean, and textures reminiscent of cascading waterfalls and mythical priestesses’ mysterious veils, below you will find a variety of wardrobe selections for fanciful February frolics whilst pretend-journeying abroad.  As always, click on the individual images for details on where to find each item.

Travels to the Wind Forest

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A Hideaway On Mystery Beach

Mysterious Beach Hideaway

Cologne Cathedral, Germany

 

Germany

The Oracle of Delphi

Greece

Mayan Temples

Mayan Temples

England In Midsummer

Midsummer England

Paris At Dusk

Paris, France

The Everglades

Everglades

Taroko Gorge

Taroko Gorge

Abandoned Amusement Park In Berlin

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Venice

Venice

Moon Duo’s Occult Architecture Vol. 1

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Released appropriately on February 3, in the heart of winter in the Northern Hemisphere, Moon Duo’s fourth album Occult Architecture Vol. 1 offers a cosmic glimpse into the hidden pattern embedded in everything, and is, I am told,  “an intricately woven hymn to the invisible structures found in the cycle of seasons and the journey of day into night, dark into light.” Hm!

Written and recorded in their hometown of Portland, Oregon, the two-part epic reflects the hidden energies of rainclouds and sunshine and the deep creep of Northwest forests along with their effect on the psyche, and was inspired by the occult and esoteric literature of Mary Anne Atwood, Aleister Crowley, Colin Wilson, and Manly P. Hall.

According to guitarist Ripley Johnson, “the concept of the dark/light, two-part album came as we were recording and mixing the songs, beginning in the dead of winter and continuing into the rebirth and blossoming of the spring. There’s something really powerful about the changing of the seasons in the Northwest, the physical and psychic impact it has on you, especially after we spent so many years in the seasonal void of California. I became interested in gnostic and hermetic literature around that time, especially the relationship between music and occult qualities and that fed into the whole vibe.”

Okay, that’s all terribly fascinating, poetic, even, but what does all of that mean? Moon Duo’s last album didn’t immediately grab me, but I’m willing to give things another go, and admit if I have been hasty to judge, and to be honest, I often find that what I don’t care for one day will become my absolute very favorite thing the very next week.

And I am here to tell you that the psychedelic krautrock space jams found on Occult Architecture Vol. 1 are indeed my current Favorite Things. A hazy, hypnotic ride, buzzing with repetitive grooves, long, droning synth-laden refrains, and drowsy vocals, this is the background music I imagine playing if William Hope Hodgson’s reclusive narrator in The House On The Borderland were to describe his time spent astral-traveling to all those freaky, terrifying places that he mentions in his manuscript, but through, you know, the filter of rose-tinted glasses, and with an “…ahahaha, so THAT happened” kind of attitude.

Like, if he were traversing the vast desolation of space and time, not alone and afraid, but instead accompanied by his rad cousin (the one who shares all of his acid and shrooms) and just exploring the cosmos and visiting dying stars and dead planets in his dope ass El Camino, high as balls.

Which is not to say it’s all woozy sonic delirium and a miasma of languorous psychedelia. To my (admittedly untrained ear) I hear fuzzy, feisty post-punk garage band and 80s new wave influences, and the pulsating, throbbing beat of something one might even be compelled to dance to –if you’re at some far-flung space rave, I guess, at the outer edge of the galaxy. The cold, machine-like yet passionate beat of the album’s second to last track, “The Will of the Devil” even has a goth pop/cold wave vibe to it, that I especially dig.

On the whole, this is an unexpectedly catchy album (I am literally tapping my feet to it even at this moment, while at the same time bemoaning all of the drugs I never did, because man, hallucinogenics and space travel sounds like good times) and if this is Moon Duo’s dark side, I cannot wait to see what they deliver when they step into the light with Occult Architecture Vol. 2

Find Moon Duo on the web: Facebook | Bandcamp | Twitter
Release date: February 3, 2017 | Label: Sacred Bones Records

Love Trumps Hate Valentines Day Auctions

16585721_167731560387738_2006875038728323072_nOver at @munichartstudio’s instagram today are two auctions in collaboration with @thecreepingmuseum!  Both auctions are in the spirit of LOVE TRUMPS HATE for Valentines Day– with proceeds to benefit The International Rescue Committee (helping refugees and others in desperate need) and The Creeping Museum (to help fund the next nonprofit release).

The auctions will run from today until until Sunday evening, 2/12 (6pm Pacific/9pm Eastern). Be sure to bid and support these excellent artists and some very worthy causes.

This first auction is for a mystical seer, magically rendered in graphite and colored pencil (above) , and auction number two is an occult art bundle which includes the following:

• 9×7 Framed drawing of “Escapees from Pandora’s Box”
• 3×3.5 Framed drawing of “The Witch’s Eye”
• 6×6 Unframed print of “Do Not Summon Up That Which You Cannot Put Down” by artist EC Steiner
• One copy of The Occult Activity Book Volume 2 (super rare!!)

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this, that, & the other thing {xxxii}

witch

W.I.T.C.H. PDX: The Women’s International Terrorist Conspiracy from Hell is back

None-Limmen-three-queens

Unearthly Realms: The Photography of Nona Limmen

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Hauntingly Beautiful Abandoned Chapel in France

The Lost Art of Painting on Cobweb Canvases
Interview With Anna Biller, Director Of The Love Witch
Sanrio’s new character has an office job, drinks beer, and likes heavy metal
On the Trail of Marie Antoinette’s Last Scent
Diamanda Galas: Hear Apocalyptic ‘O Death’ From Her First LP in Years
An Interactive Journey Through Endangered Natural Soundscapes
A Cosmic Horror Game Inspired By The Work Of Manga Artist Junji Ito {h/t Jack}
New “Twin Peaks” Action Figures Announced
The Melancholy Visual Fables of Laura Makabresku
The Artists Recreating the Tarot Deck for the 21st Century
† Getting a Whiff of Perfume’s Illusions
Miranda July Shares Her Vintage Feminist Film Archive
Ghostly Whistlings: A Tribute To M​.​R. James
Creative Prompt: Cook Up a Secret Recipe
Bad Books for Bad People: Episode 6, Alraune. Plus, a giveaway!

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