“When you cut into the present the future leaks out.” –William S. Burroughs (b. February 5, 1914)

Yes. Hello. Feb 5th is the date of novelist William S. Burroughs’ birth. Coilhouse should really show the man some love. W.S.B. double feature, anyone?

First, The Cut-Ups, a mesmeric and disorienting experimental piece Burroughs put together with filmmaker Antony Balch (aided by multi-disciplinary art firebrand Brion Gysin and others) in 1966. Over the course of twenty minutes, it plays out in very much the same vein as Burroughs’ literary cut-ups, only with multiple sensory layers of headfuckery. (Read more about the film here / the generalized concept of cut-ups here.)


(Via Scott Spencer.)

Second, a clip from the 1983 documentary Burroughs, wherein the birthday Billy reads aloud and acts out the horrifically funny Dr. Benway passage from Naked Lunch. Co-starring Jackie Curtis as the nurse! (And check out this amazing photo of Gysin, Curtis, and Burroughs together. Dawww.)

“Your mind will answer most questions if you learn to relax and wait for the answer.”
(W.S.B.)

Limerence for Ron Turner

I just stumbled across The Bold Italic‘s lovely tribute to countercultural legend Ron Turner via Laughing Squid and smiled until my face hurt. Sasha Darling writes:

Of all the brilliant and amazing people I have encountered here, none are as dear to me as Mr. Ron Turner of Last Gasp. He’s equal parts underground comic book publishing icon, art collector extraordinaire, genuine gentleman, and dirty old man.

[…] Ron, with his long white beard and rosy cheeks, is a man who has rubbed shoulders with Timothy Leary, received fan letters from Charles Manson, and discovered important artists like R. Crumb. Yet he still has the dignified character to make every person in the room feel just as interesting as the legends he shares his delightfully interesting past with.”

Truer and more accurate words were never spoken! Nadya and I had the pleasure of taking Mr. Turner out to a business lunch in SF early last year. Our valiant-but-inevitably-hopeless attempts at verbally “one-upping” this unflappable pervert, this wondrous wizard, this mischievous genius, over quivering bowls of Cafe Gratitude porridge, resulted in one of the most memorable, not to mention visceral, professional lunches Coilhouse will ever host.*

After our meal, Ron graciously invited us back to Last Gasp headquarters, which feels simultaneously like a publisher’s warehouse and a cozily vibrant museum, thanks to his astonishing personal collection of books, prints, original artwork, vintage magician posters, carny ephemera, taxidermy, etc. Another treasured memory. Be sure to check out Darling’s photographs of Ron’s office, as well as his and his wife Carol Sue’s wondrous home. So great. We adore this man. Art crush, for sure.


Photo of Ron Turner by Pilar Vree for artbusiness.com.

*I’m honestly not sure how it happened, but we ended up spending approximately 91% of our summit with this legendary gentleman gabbing about about strap-ons and breathatarians and fecal impaction and ejaculate –the Landmark hippie vegans were nonplussed, lemme tell ya– and perhaps 9% of it discussing business strategy. (Though, to be fair, it was very powerful and insightful 9%.) BEST BUSINESS LUNCH EVAR.

Three Kickstarter Projects Worth Supporting: Take This Book, Cakeland and Ethical Corsetry

2011 was an incredible year. With all the hope, uncertainty and weirdness that lies ahead in 2012 – election year, Alan Turing Year, the year of the Mayan Apocalypse, the year that 2011 seeds come to fruition – why not start on a good karmic note? Three incredible Kickstarter projects need your help. Here they are, in order of how soon they’re ending:

Take This Book: The People’s Library at Occupy Wall Street. A nonfiction book by Melissa Gira Grant that tells the story of the The People’s Library, as imparted by many of the librarians that maintained it in Zuccotti Park before the police raid on November 15th. Here is an excerpt from the book. To many people, the destruction of the library was a painful moment in Americna history; the image of police throwing carefully-curated, free books from the volunteer-run library into dump trucks felt like a symbol for the repression of free speech.

“Take This Book is an extended essay — just over 10,000 words — based on the stories of the librarians and the library’s patrons. (Maybe you were one of them.) It can’t be the whole story, because it’s still happening.” Donating $1 will get you a digital copy of the book, and donating $20 or more will get you a print edition. For $250 or more, you can get a signed and numbered “People’s Library” print from Molly Crabapple, seen above. There are only 18 hours left on this campaign at time of writing. Donate now!

Rachael Reichert’s Ethical Luxury Corset Collection. When you Google image search “eco clothing” and variations thereof, you get a lot of green and earth tones, lots of yoga pants, and more than a fair share of loose, flowy dresses. This is great, but it leaves many of us who care about ethical clothing of a more vintage/fetishy persuasion out in the cold. Designer Rachael Reichert wants to take on the challenge of crafting a collection of luxury corsets using nothing but ethical, fair-trade and (when possible) locally-sourced material.

Her fabrics will will include organic cotton that is grown, woven, and dyed according to Global Organic Trade Standards in India, as well as peace silk or wild silk, produced by a process in which “fibre is pulled out from the cocoon after the moth has emerged, and hand spun.” Reichert plans to use steels bones, vintage twill tape, aluminium grommets, and locally handmade bobbin lace as well as her own signature handmade thread lace. The goal is to make luxurious, elegant alternative clothes “with a clean conscience”.

Cakeland. A giant, cake-themed art installation built by Scott Hove. A magical wonderland of icing, joy and despair. See the beautiful high-res images over at Hi-Fructose. Cakeland will feature “60 full length mirrors, cake chandeliers, theatrical lighting, moving parts and sound to make the most stunningly beautiful and lush mirror maze and art installation you will ever see.”

The most incredible thing about this version of Cakeland (smaller ones have been built before) is that it’s entirely mobile! Cakeland will probably travel to your city, or a city near you. Help make Cakeland happen, and you will one day be able to walk its delicious halls.

Prints and a Novella by Richard A. Kirk


“The Sinister Game of Paperface” by Richard A. Kirk

Artist and author Richard A. Kirk (who we’ve mentioned twice before on the blog) has just put a bunch of very reasonably priced prints of his recent work into his Etsy store. If you’re shopping for darkly whimsical holiday gifts for your more fae or macabre friends (or just for yourself!) you’ll definitely want to take a look at these intricate, elegant pieces.

Kirk’s phenomenal illustrated novella, The Lost Machine, is also worth checking out– a bleakly beautiful weird fiction story that features ghosts, witches, crows, and enchanted automata. Kirk’s prose is as delicate, finessed and strange as his drawings. Highly recommended.


“The Unaccountable Absence of the Wastrel” by Richard A. Kirk

Ready Player One

Earlier this year, Patton Oswalt wrote an essay for Wired entitled “Wake Up, Geek Culture. Time to Die.” In it, Oswalt warns that the world is on the brink of “Etewaf: Everything That Ever Was—Available Forever.” Ready Player One by Ernest Cline is a daring young-adult fiction book about what might happen in such a world.

The year is 2044, and the world is ravaged by economic collapse. The peak oil crisis has occurred, unemployment is at an all-time high (with a two-year wait for jobs in the fast food industry), global warming has destroyed the climate, and people live in abject poverty. Our protagonist, 18-year-old Wade Watts, lives with sixteen other people inside a trailer. The trailer is part of “the stacks” – a new type of ghetto on the outskirts of major cities in which trailers, RVs and shipping containers are stacked one on top of another, creating tall, precarious towers.

On the bright side, a nerd “über-deity”/computer genius named James Halliday has crafted the ultimate MMO: a haptic virtual world akin to the Stephenson’s metaverse, Gibson’s cyberspace, and World of Warcraft. The immersive environment, called OASIS, is accessed by everyone with a computer, and most people spend every waking second in it. In this world, education is free, space is nearly infinite, and every type of diversion exists to distract people away from their daily life.

One the day after James Halliday (born: 1979) dies, a recorded invitation gets sent to every player in OASIS. While Oingo Boingo’s “Dead Man’s Party” plays in the background, a recording of Halliday, digitally inserted into a scene of a John Hughes film, informs OASIS users that he has hidden an easter egg somewhere in the game. And that whoever finds it will inherit Halliday’s entire fortune of billions, his assets, his company, and rulership of OASIS.

The hunt is on. Teenagers race against an evil corporation to find the egg. In their search for clues, a new generation discovers the 80s culture that Halliday loved, the culture that inspired him to build his all-encompassing virtual world. From Blade Runner to Ultraman to the Commodore 64 to Dungeons and Dragons to Devo to Adventure and beyond, Halliday’s challenge produces an otaku culture the likes of which the world has never seen. But as the stakes get higher and people begin to die not only in OASIS but also in real life, it becomes clear that it’s not just a game, and that the future of civilization depends on the outcome.

It’s a wonderful book. Everyone should read it. Check out the excerpts on Ernest Cline’s site, where you can also purchase the book or e-book. The audiobook version is narrated by none other than “Portrait of the Artist as a Young Geek” author Wil Wheaton. A perfect match.

[via @nicoles]

“Taking the Hobbits to Isengard” (UBER EXTENDED DANCE REMIX… GO!!!)

Good morning! Guess who’s heading back to Middle Erff today? It’s gonna be a long and difficult journey. Luckily, I’m bringing along plenty of light reading material, tasty snacks, and this version of Erwin Beekveld’s “They’re Taking the Hobbits to Isengard”, which should keep me (and you!) entertained for, oh, I dunno… ten hours?


via Bunny

Or not. Have a great week, lovelies.

The Fantastical Fairy Tale Art of Sveta Dorosheva


From Sveta Dorosheva’s “More Book Illustrations” portfolio.

Sveta Dorosheva‘s fantastical art could be compared to a brilliant dream collaboration among noted artists, for whom the goal is a visionary book of enchanted tales. Imagine an artistic hybrid comprised of the intricately-lined illustrations of Harry Clarke or Aubrey Beardsley, the luxurious art deco magnificence of Romain de Tirtoff (Erté) fashion plates, and the beautiful-on-the-verge-of-grotesque visages drawn by the enigmatic Alastair.

But! In this imaginary scenario, the artists realize there is something… some je ne sais quois… missing from their efforts. They entice illustrator Sveta Dorosheva to join their endeavors: she flits in, and with a mischievous smile and a gleam of amusement in her eye, announces “yes, yes, this is all very beautiful… but let’s make it FUN!” Although comparisons to the above-mentioned artists may be obvious upon first glance, the sense of enchantment, whimsy, and joyful wit present in Dorosheva’s work ensures that one not only appreciates they are gazing upon something technically pleasing or beautifully rendered; one also genuinely delights –and even emotionally invests– in the engaging imagery as well.

Though born in Ukraine, Sveta Dorosheva currently resides in Israel with her husband and two sons.  She has worked as as an interpreter, copywriter, designer (be certain to peek at her Incredible Hats or Fashionista portfolios!) , art director and creative director in advertising, and is currently pursuing her lifelong dream of academic training in art. Dorosheva recently spoke to Coilhouse about her lifelong love of fairy tales, and her inspired,  imaginative new project, The Nenuphar Book, which will be published in Russia this autumn.   See below the cut for her illuminating ruminations and a gallery selection of her extraordinary illustrations.


From Sveta Dorosheva’s “Weird and Wonderful: Fairy Tale Illustrations” portfolio.

A Million Random Digits.

Coilhouse party! It’s happening! In New York! On Sunday, August 21st! Full announcement coming very shortly. For now, allow me to entertain you with a couple of book reviews snippets from Amazon.

RAND Corporation published “A Million Random Digits” in 1955, before it was easy for computers to generate random numbers. It was an important work in the field of statistics and cryptography. Amazon readers of today note:

“Such a terrific reference work! But with so many terrific random digits, it’s a shame they didn’t sort them, to make it easier to find the one you’re looking for.”

“The book is a promising reference concept, but the execution is somewhat sloppy. Whatever algorithm they used was not fully tested. The bulk of each page seems random enough. However at the lower left and lower right of alternate pages, the number is found to increment directly.”

“I took a class in statistics in college. I used this book to help me select random phone numbers for a poll I was conducting for my class project. (The most popular household cleanser in the greater Siouxland area is Bon Ami, by the way.) One of those phone calls was answered by the woman who is now my wife. We’ve been happily married for ten years! Thank you, RAND.”

“If you like this book, I highly recommend that you read it in the original binary. As with most translations, conversion from binary to decimal frequently causes a loss of information and, unfortunately, it’s the most significant digits that are lost in the conversion.”

More reviews here. [via @raindrift]

“How to Become a Sensuous Witch”

Sexy Witch writes:

“Two of New York’s most successful witches”, Abragail and Valaria, “reveal their occult (and culinary) secrets for a livelier love life!” in How to Become a Sensuous Witch: Spells, Rituals, and Recipes for a Livelier Love Life (New York: Paperback Library, [November] 1971). The shout on the rear cover continues:

Finding a new love, or getting rid of an old one, is simple when you use magic. Keeping the right man is easier too.

How to be a Sensuous Witch is a combination of time-tested rituals and up to the minute recipes guaranteed to satisfy you and your love.

There are spells to attract both men and money (poverty is counter-sensuous), to arouse passion, to assure fidelity, or (if you get bored) to separate your lover from you. The recipes range from elegant dinners to restorative breakfasts—and there is a whole chapter on festive Sabbats for your whole Coven!

More info at Sexy Witch. Via Catamara, thanks!

Another Vietnam: Pictures from the Other Side of the Vietnam War

A surreal and haunting photograph taken in Cambodia in 1970, deep in the mangrove swamps of the Ca Mau Peninsula (this was an actual medical situation, not a publicity setup):


Photograph by Vo Anh Khanh © National Geographic Society

In 2002, it was included in curator Doug Niven’s Another Vietnam: Pictures of the War from the Other Side– the first ever exhibition of Vietnam War images by North Vietnamese photographers, presented at the International Center of Photography.

As a wire service photographer in Cambodia from 1991-96, I worked on occasional assignments in nearby Saigon. There I got to see firsthand images from the “other side.” On the same tree-lined street where American war correspondents had offices during the Vietnam War, grimy street kids now peddled war memorabilia, such as fake U.S. Army dog tags, Zippo lighters, and handmade black-and-white postcards of the conflict. While the images they sold were not very high quality, their existence suggested to me that more photographs must exist. Thus began the adventure of rediscovering lost Vietnamese-made war photographs.

During meetings with various communist officials over endless cups of bitter green tea, doors slowly began to open. Word spread that a young American was trying to collect and print photographers’ war negatives. Soon, everyone wanted to help. Entire archives were opened up, and tables overflowed with catalogues of images, both good and bad. One photographer brought me trash bags of dusty, curling negatives, none of them ever printed before. Another photographer kept his pristine film airtight in an old U.S. ammunition case, packed with roasted rice to absorb the moisture.

Ultimately, I was able to locate thirty surviving war photographers from all corners of Vietnam, as well as thousands of pictures by photographers who had long since died. The living photographers shared their stories with me, and I worked with them to edit and print their old film. From hundreds of such encounters, this exhibition emerged.

Another Vietnam is now available as a book, published by National Geographic Press. Visit Nivens’ site here.