Sunday, October 31, 2010



HALLOWEEN BEAUTY: Photography--Immanuel

The amazing, dark, horrifying, stylized, photography of Juha Arvid Helminen (known as Immanuel): a terrifying, strangling, Fascistic nightmare.

Top to bottom: The Hesitation; Queen Of The Invisible Empire; Mother; The Idea Of Individuality; The Gathering; The Grand Admiral


Alexandre Herchcovitch. AW '10-'11.

It's A Long Hard Road...

...out of hell. Celebrating Halloween with my favorite Marilyn Manson video of all-time. The creepy, scary religious iconography, the androgyny, the 20s screen siren silhouette, the Art Deco references crossed with Gothic elements, the disturbing living tableaux... it's all so dizzyingly delicious.


Saturday, October 30, 2010

BEAUTY: Clothing--Obscur

Obscur is Sweden's Richard Söderberg. He designs draped, minimal, edgy, odd and disturbing clothing for men. Using a primarily dark color palette, his designs are all about cut and texture. The pieces from his Spring 2011 collection seen here speak to some kind of alternate world, where humans might occupy their realm with other creatures or spirits.

BEAUTY: Man--l'Homme Sauvage

Vive l'homme sauvage.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Currently listening to...

..."The Protagonist" by Dead Can Dance. Grand, commanding, and mythological, with a video of hypnagogic images.

BEAUTY: Painting--Giovanni Boldini

A masterpiece portrait was recently discovered in a Paris flat that had been locked up for the last 70 years. Since then, the painter of the piece, Giovanni Boldini, has been brought into renewed focus for us here in the 21st century. In fact, the lost masterpiece sold at auction for €2.1 million.

Boldini (1842-1931), born in Italy, was a celebrated portrait painter who worked in Paris from 1872 until his death. He was a friend of Edgar Degas, whose influence, I believe, can be seen in Boldini's swishing, flourishing, near-Impressionistic style. I love how the realist portrait style for the faces dissolves into random jagged backgrounds. His work looks like ribbons of color unfurling in a breeze.

Top to bottom: Portrait Of A Young Man; Count Robert de Montesquiou; Portrait of the Artist Lawrence Alexander "Peter" Harrison; Portrait Of Marchesa Luisa Casati With A Greyhound; Walking In The Bois de Boulogne; John Singer Sargent (Standing); La Divina; Spanish Dancer At The Moulin Rouge

"Cumulus Ursus"

Cumulus Ursus

Driving toward the mountain,
the road climbs up through trees.
Grey afternoon autumn,
clouds lower down,

moisten the summit,
saturate pine needles.
One of the clouds

is shaped like a bear.
There are bears in this forest.

They are coming for us.

©JEF 2010

Just finished reading...


Charles Yu’s first novel, HOW TO LIVE SAFELY IN A SCIENCE FICTIONAL UNIVERSE might be a thin book, but it is packed with all kinds of enormous ideas and concepts.
At the core of this story is time travel and time machines. Our narrator, a time machine repairman who exists outside of time and space as he assists those whose time machines have broken down, is in search of his father. Their complicated and tense relationship included the invention of a time machine but ultimately led to the disappearance of the father—whether accidental or intentional is something our narrator yearns to discover.
On the surface, the book is full of what appear to be actual or plausible references to physics and the study of space-time, or at least what little we know of it at this point. The presentation is at once scientific but also supremely poetic. Yu writes in long, gorgeous sentences, each section, each set of words elaborating and expounding on what came before it, building and growing and stretching the idea or sense or feeling of the sentence into something that seems much larger, something that seems to work its way into your heart. I like this style of writing, and indeed it reminds me of my own (see the previous sentence!).
Under the science lies a character who is torn, aching. With time loops, infinite universes and infinite versions of himself, the book has what I interpret to be a happy ending… but with that many variables and time paradoxes, it is hard to tell. And I like that. The ending is exactly what it should be when discussing parallel universes.
Recommend? Yes. I quite liked it. But I am also aware that even beyond science fiction, time stories are not to everyone’s liking. It requires a mind set that is able to follow complicated thought patterns, complicated time constructs, paradoxes, and an ability to see time as relative and non-linear—or in this case, non-existent.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Currently listening to...

...the crisp, graphic psychedelia of Goldfrapp's "Strict Machine." Mmmm, wonderful electric...

Wolves say:

The Contents Of My Head

Sitting in a traffic jam on a freeway. I look over at the side of the road and see a lot of trash comprised mainly of cigarette butts. We know now what kind of poisonous chemicals are added to cigarettes and here are the remainders of hundreds and thousands of them. They break down in the sun and rain and the poisonous chemicals leach into the ground. It would be interesting if there was something like a spectrometer that could read chemicals on a camera screen—and the more harmful they are, the area would read warmer (red) like a thermal camera. What would the ground look like through this camera? Would it be a swath of red? The chemicals must go into the ground, and I suspect they grow into the plants nearby… which means that animals, at some point, are ingesting these chemicals.

Sentient beings: sentiency means that you are aware of yourself, that you are aware that you exist and are aware of your own existence.
Cats and dogs are sentient. They communicate with us, talks to us, tell us what they are thinking, what they want. They are aware of themselves as separate from us.
All mammals are not sentient, only domesticated ones: cats, dogs, horses—and almost all simians are sentient (tiny primitive ones might not be)—maybe bunnies…
Water mammals are sentient too, whales, dolphins.
Hive minds like bugs are not sentient.
Non-domesticated and wild are not sentient.

The myth of the “tortured artist” is a lie, but I do think that, generally speaking, a certain type of depression is conducive to creativity. But not necessarily. Let me rephrase that. Depression (obviously I am not speaking of clinical depression in which one is paralyzed) characterized as a struggle/ conflict within--or even without--oneself, is conducive to creativity. This struggle or conflict translates into movement, and by extension any kind of movement, anything that is yearning or struggling, any kind of emotional movement or thought movement, is conducive to creativity. Creation doesn’t come from inertia, creation doesn’t come from a state of rest, creation springs from MOVEMENT.

I am listening to Gary Numan sing a song called “Prayer For the Unborn.”

"So, I prayed...
But you weren't listening.
Making miracles?

So, I begged...
But you were far away.
Saving souls perhaps?

So, I screamed...
But she was very small
And you have worlds to mend.

So, she died...
And you were glorious.
But you were somewhere else.

If you are my shepherd
Then I'm lost and no one can find me.
If you are my saviour
Then I'm dead and no one can help me.
If you are my glory
Then I'm sick and no one can cure me.
If you light my darkness
Then I'm blind and no one can see me.

If you are my father
Then love lies abandoned and bleeding.
If you are my comfort
Then nightmares are real and deceiving.
If you are my answer
Then I must have asked the wrong question.
I'd spit on your heaven
If I could find one to believe in."

I learned that he wrote this song after his wife suffered a miscarriage. Usually this kind of “angry with God” stuff does not work on me. I find it sad that people ask questions like, “Why did God take my loved one?” Such questions seem so willfully ignorant and childish. “God” did not “take” your loved one. There was no “taking” involved. “God” did not do anything. Your loved one died. People die. They die violently, they die peacefully, they die suddenly, they die slowly, they die young and they die old. There is no “reason” for it other than that is what happened. Often it is hard to take, but take it we must. And if you try to find fairy tale answers—and there are a lot of them out there—you are only doing yourself and your loved one a disservice by not walking through and facing what has happened. You are only harming yourself by not being fully present to reality and to now.
Gary Numan has taken this a step further. He displays anger toward a deity that doesn’t exist and although he knows that, the anger is still there.
People who DO believe in the stories of god and religion, the lies, must continue to tell lies. When you tell a lie, or rather when you BELIEVE a lie, in order to believe it, you must tell another lie to prop the first one up, and on and on it goes.
A fantastical lie begets another fantastical lie—because you have to explain it somehow. Explanations for things that simply aren’t true require more and more elaborate lies until you have a whole system of dogma and a fairy tale that, if revealed to us from some other unknown culture, would seem quite bizarre and silly.
The words to this song though, are quite powerful in their simplicity. They are really saying, “If you’re IT, we’re screwed.” They are simple words, but forceful and they profoundly cut to the truth—I felt as though I had just been slapped when I first heard them. They are succinct, violent and slashing.

People get so uptight about gender roles and sexuality because they see them as rules. And if the rules are not there, they won’t know what to do.
If you accept the rules without testing them out, without seeing if they resonate with you, without seeing if they match up with what is inside you and your soul, then you have no idea what is inside yourself—and you have no idea who you are. In that case, you must rely on outside rules to tell you what to do, who to be, and how to think… just like religion. Gender roles are a kind of religion for people and they take it on faith. Otherwise, they wonder what to do because they have no clue who they are inside, as a human being. The unspoken situation that scares them is: if there are no rules, if gender roles are fluid, where do I fit in, what do I do, how do I behave? They do not have the answers to those questions because they have not looked inside themselves. They need to hear: never mind other people—what do YOU think and want? And I am sure that if they have not looked inside their own souls about this issue, they have not examined themselves about lots of other areas of life as well. What does it mean to be a man, what does it mean to be a woman, what does it mean to be a human being?
And here is the real, true issue: looking inside yourself leads to responsibility--a responsibility to yourself, to truth, to reality, and the idea that you are responsible for creating your life. And that is the most frightening thing of all.

I am fairly certain I have synesthesia—working on paperwork at home, going through the calendar, seeing the months, I see that the name of the month has a certain shape and feeling and the number of the month has a shape and feeling (August is 8 which is round and full, September is 9 which is jagged, October feels good as 10 which is the first month to have a double digit--and therefore is aged)—and where the months fall in the year corresponding to the seasons has a shape and feeling…and a color too. The seasons are quarterly and they have a shape and feeling of where they fall within the wheel of the year.
Months have color—in my journal, I use colored pencils to write the name of the month.
I think I have number form synesthesia as well as Ordinal Linguistic Personification synesthesia.
Synesthesia: n-- The subjective sensation of a sense other than the one being stimulated. For example, a sound may evoke sensations of color

BEAUTY: Interior--Kips Bay Showhouse 2010

The 38th Annual Kips Bay Designer Showhouse is currently underway in New York City (through November 11th). The design firm 2Michaels, which consists of sisters Jayne and Joan Michaels, created a marvelous room for this year's Showhouse: its egg/ bird/ aviary theme is subtle but powerful. The fireplace is egg-shaped and organic, the ceiling light fixture looks like a nest, a metal double-bird sculpture and a bird cage sit on tables, the floor lamp looks like a tree branch, eggs are piled under a glass cloche, and the wall art is made of ceramic cast ostrich eggs, some whole, some broken.

The Kips Bay Showhouse has been a must-see design event for the entire Interior Design industry for many years. The array of talent and vision is stunning as evidenced by the rooms below from last year's Showhouse. First is Garrow Kedigian's earthy yet sophisticated European-style sitting room.

Here we can see Christopher Corcoran's second floor landing in all its glorious, symmetrical splendor. I love his use of texture and pattern.

And this is a remarkable, sculptural, masculine bathroom by Andrew Flesher.

BEAUTY: Man--Arian Levanael

Arian Levanael is a gymnast/aerial performer/ fire dancer working in Australia and the UK. I featured him in a post about tattoos here. His tattoos are certainly fascinating--they all seem to be symbols from mystic traditions or from Egyptian iconography (he is also a Tarot reader, so the tattoo designs make sense)--and the design and symmetrical placement of them all seems to be very well thought out. But he is an amazing gymnast and physical showman as well. Take a look at his blog, linked below, for pictures and videos from some of his agile Cirque-du-Soleil-like performances.