Excited about driving to the playa to destroy yet another pair of Demonia platforms? This video may be for you.
In the newly-released, self-directed video for her song “Genesis”, Grimes dons a Daenerys Targaryen-meets-Sailor Moon getup, rides through the desert, wields a fiery sword, and cuddles with an albino python. However, it’s rapper Brooke Candy, looking very cybergoth 2002, who steals the show. All that’s missing from this video is The Vengabus.
Gerda Wegener, Cuckoo, 1920. Note the fallen black mask on the floor: it repeats in many of Gerda’s erotic paintings.
This is the true story of turn-of-the-century lesbian romance, erotic Deco illustrations rife with harlequins and crinolines, the world’s first male-to-female sex reassignment surgery, and the 1950s pulp novel that brought it all to light.
The story begins one hundred years ago. In 1912, artist couple Gerda and Einar Wegener arrived in Paris, hoping for greater prosperity and freedom than their conservative hometown of Copengahen would allow. They checked into the Hôtel d’Alsace, where – they were shocked to learn – they had been placed into the very same room where Oscar Wilde had once died twelve years earlier. The couple spent the next few days reading Wilde’s works out loud to each other. The forbidden sexuality, transformation, beauty and tragedy in Wilde’s work was reflected in the couple’s following years together.
Gerda, left. Lili, right.
In Paris, Gerda quickly became well-known for her sensual, free-spirited illustrations. Her work often featured a mysterious beauty with a stylish short bob, full lips, and beguiling brown eyes. In 1913, the public was shocked to learn the identity of the mystery model: Gerda’s husband, Einar. Einar was transitioning to living life openly as woman named Lili Elbe.
Aoi Kotsuhiroi: creator of the The Official Shoes of Tumblr. The France-based designer’s dark, textured art-fashion pieces have certainly madetherounds, but did you know that Kotsuhiroi is also the photographer, poet and model behind these creations?
Kotsuhiroi’s website feels like a fleeting vision. Page after page of large-scale images reveal a mysterious world full of fetish objects, in both senses of the word. In a series of fragile, dreamlike images reminiscent of Sarah Moon, Kotsuhiroi’s adornments appear to radiate profound magical power, while making your fetish platform boot look like a pair of flip-flops by comparison.
In addition to fashion and photography, Kotsuhiroi has the sensibility of a writer. Rather than releasing her work in collections, such as”AW12,” she releases them as chapters of a book on her site, which is rife with poetry. On Twitter, she describes herself as a novelist. Follow her to see what she does next!
Who would’ve thought there could ever be a more wonderful rendition of Lana Del Rey’s “Video Games” than this one?
Well, Boy George has knocked it out of the park. The music video for his lush, soulful cover –a meditation on “young love in bleak Britain” starring London clubbing diva Angel Rose and alt-model Cesare Polini– is wistfully gorgeous as well.
Bay Area residents: tonight is the opening of the Transmography exhibitat the Union Square Lomo store!
Transmography is a collaboration between photographer Najva Sol and artist Molly Crabapple. Najva took the photos using a Lomo camera, and Molly embellished them with her unique illustrations:
Transmogrify, Verb: To transform, esp. in a surprising or magical manner.
From poets to porn-stars, computer nerds to community gardeners, artists to activists: these portraits capture some of the real gender warriors today. They are trans, genderqueer, or just gender-fabulous, and they deserve their own magical realm.
You can also see the photos on display at the New York Lomo store in Greenwich Village, or buy them on Molly’s site. All prints are 17″ x 17″. The images are signed and numbered by both artists in an edition of 5, and cost $200 each. More images, after the cut.
“I said anything I wanted because I don’t believe in children, I don’t believe in childhood. I don’t believe that there’s a demarcation. ‘Oh you mustn’t tell them that. You mustn’t tell them that.’ You tell them anything you want. Just tell them if it’s true. If it’s true you tell them.”
With this post I run the risk of turning the top of Coilhouse into a memorial to my youth, but there’s really no helping it, I suppose. More sad news then, as it has been reported that author and illustrator Maurice Sendak died today, at the age of 83 due to complications from a recent stroke. Sendak was perhaps best known for his 1963 book Where the Wild Things Are. The book not only made his career but earned him the prestigious Caldecott Medal in 1964.
Mr. Sendak’s work was a staple of my childhood. I learned to read with the help of the Little Bear Books (written by Else Holmelund Minarik). My first exposure to Grimm’s fairy tales was through my mother’s copy of the collection he illustrated and I had a copy of E.T.A. Hoffmann’s Nutcracker which featured his artwork. His Mouse King terrified me.
And that is, above all, what I remember and respected most about his work, his willingness to scare the crap out of kids. There is a darkness and danger in his books, the same kind found in the stories of greats like Carroll and Baum, which seems mostly lacking from children’s literature now, something that Mr. Sendak seemed keenly aware of. Sendak wrote books that treated children like adults, like equals. Speaking to The Guardian last October, he said “I refuse to lie to children. I refuse to cater to the bullshit of innocence.” This refusal to sugarcoat his work was, undoubtedly, his greatest asset. It will be missed.
Edmund Welles, 2010 press photo. Aaron Novik, Jeff Anderle, Jon Russell, and creative mastermind Cornelius Boots in the foreground.
Confession: I’ve been meaning to write a feverish and swooning rave-up of Oakland-based musician Cornelius Boots‘ absurdly beautiful and strange and intelligent and mischievous and sincere and meditative and heavy-as-fuck bass clarinet chamber music group, Edmund Welles*, for years now.
It certainly isn’t for lack of reverence for Boots or his compositions that I’ve lagged. When suffering from blogger’s block, my editorial purview tends to be “when in doubt, crap it out.” But occasionally, there are those subjects that you can’t just casually hork up. You want so badly to do them every justice– to elevate and praise them to the highest and most lofty of misty, Middle Earth-worthy mountaintops. Boots’ ouvre definitely lives in that non-horkable category. Well, then! Having unburdened my guilty conscience…
Yes, Cornelius Boots and friends make music that I want throw a parade for. Or, alternately, throw my frilly undergarments at. While his group Edmund Welles definitely is not everyone’s cup of tea, it’s 100% my cuppa, and hopefully, it’ll resonate with Coilhouse readers who also love waaaay-off-the-beaten-path-no-srsly-bring-your-machete-cos-we-be-bushwhackin’ music.
Edmund Welles [...] has the distinction of being the world’s only original, composing band of four bass clarinetists, they invent and perform heavy chamber music. The bass clarinet has a five octave range and a huge span of tonal, melodic, and rhythmic capabilities.
Drawing virtuosic precision from the classical realm; innovation and texture from jazz; and power, rhythm and overall perspective from rock and metal, the quartet’s sound is characterized by a thickness of tone, a density of texture, absolute rhythmic precision, and the extreme use of dynamic contrasts: a dense, pulsing sound capable of expressing and reflecting the full range of human emotions.
They ain’t foolin’. It’s a massive, meticulously structured bass reed sound like nothing else you’ve heard. (Parallels have been drawn between John Zorn’s more recent works and Edmund Welles, for sure, but Boots’ steez feels simultaneously more West Coast and Far East-steeped.) Weirdest Band in the World‘s assessment is pretty spot-on as well: “The bass clarinet is an inherently weird instrument. Put four of them together in one group, and it sounds like a chorus of demon cats in heat fighting over a chicken bone. A demon chorus whose eerie caterwaulings just happen to occasionally assemble themselves into passages from Pixies and Nirvana songs.”
In 2005, they put outAgrippa’s 3 Books, which offers up original compositions by Boots that reflect his abiding interest in the occult and his talent for interpreting uber heavy spine-crunching metal. (Hilariously, Boots calls this stuff an attempt to create “Muzak for conspiracy theorists.” ACHIEVEMENT UNLOCKED!) Additionally, there are Sepultura and Spinal Tap covers. Not to mention the most bewilderingly esoteric and brilliant liner notes you’ll find north of a Trey Spruance solo project. (Buy the goddamn CD. Seriously. No, seriously. Totally worth it.)
Edmund Welles’ second album is called Tooth & Claw, and it’s comprised predominantly of original composition that are as bizarre and heavy as anything Boots has ever written, but with more nuanced elements of avant jazz and modern classical woven into the dense sonority.
For the past two years, Kevin McTurk –a world-renowned cinematic effects artist– has been hard at work on a breathtaking personal project called The Narrative of Victor Karloch. McTurk describes it as a ”Victorian ghost story puppet film”.
Featuring the voices of Christopher Lloyd, Elijah Wood, and Maurice LaMarche, Karloch combines bunraku style rod puppets, shadow puppetry, and an array of traditional in-camera effects to present a tale from from the journal pages of one Victor Karloch: weatherbeaten alchemist, scholar, and ghost hunter. This film, very much a labor of love for McTurk and his crew, was made possible by grants from Heather Henson’s Handmade Puppet Dreams Film Series and from The Jim Henson Foundation.
Photo provided by Kevin KcTurk.
As you can see from the above preview, it’s a stunning piece of work. And did I mention that the film’s score was provided by Zoe Keating, Lustmord, and… our very own Meredith Yayanos? Yes!
This Thursday, April 19, at Meltdown Comics/NerdMelt Theater in Los Angeles, McTurk will be holding a sneak peek/wrap party reception. There will be a live marionette performance by Eli Presser (one of the film’s key puppeteers) and limited edition Narrative of Victor Karloch t-shirts (designed by comics legend Mike Mignola!) available for sale.
Congrats to all involved! Attendees of the wrap party are enthusiastically encouraged to report back in comments.
A frozen rainbow carousel, headless dinosaurs and lonely swan-shaped boats: this can only be Spreepark, an abandoned amusement park in Southeast Berlin. Conceived as a Socialist project to celebrate 20 years of GDR, Spreepark opened its doors in 1969, and shut down in 2001. If you saw the film Hanna, images of a girl assassin running through this decaying fairyland park may spring to mind. Recently, Matthew Borgatti (previously on Coilhouse here and here) grabbed his camera and went exploring: he’s just published a beautiful set of photos showing both Spreepark’s ruins and signs of life, in tandem with a witty, comprehensive guide to urban spelunking. Spreepark’s story, writes Matthew, is one of “broken dreams, drug smuggling, and illegal things done with kiddie park rides in the dead of night.” You can’t tell the story of Spreepark without mentioning the story of Norbert Witte, as told by journalist Julia Jüttner.
An affluent funfair operator known as the “King of Carousels” to his friends, Witte walked into trouble when he decided to invest in Spreepark after the reunification of Germany. The son of a carnival performer and grandson of Otto Witte, an acrobat/swindler who once managed to be crowned as the King of Albania, Norbert Witte built his own carnival empire from humble beginnings. Together with his young bride Pia, the daughter of a bumper-car operator, he purchased one roller coaster (“The Catapult”) and began to tour with it, amassing eight rides over the course of two decades.
Photo by Matthew Borgatti.
At first, Spreepark seemed like a lucrative investment for Witte. But after the government eliminated 3,000 parking spaces near the park, people stopped coming and the park went out of business. Witte relocated his family to Lima, Peru, with the hope of bringing over Spreepark’s rides and establishing a new park called Lunapark. However, Peruvian customs officials refused to release all the parts of the rides, and the family quickly slid into poverty. Ultimately, Witte was caught smuggling 76 pounds of cocaine (worth $14 million) back to Germany in the mast of the “Flying Carpet” carousel. Norbert Witte received a lenient 6-year sentence in Germany, but his 21-year-old son, stuck back in Peru, received a jail term of 20 years. In a heartbreaking interview with Spiegel Online, Pia Witte elaborates further.
Unlike the story of Spreepark’s ruin, Matthew’s photos aren’t all that tragic. In fact, unlike most typical, ruin porn-tastic shots of abandoned theme parks around the world, his photos reveal the park’s vibrant, frenetic second life. Vinyl stickers depicting the step-by-step construction of an origami swan adorn a swan boat’s plastic neck. One of the dinosaurs still standing dons glam-rock makeup crafted from neon adhesive tape. A layer of graffiti art slowly encroaches upon the abandoned rides, often giving them a strangely modern look. Perhaps it’s because the German authorities seem pretty lenient, occasionally allowing fashion shoots, filming, and festivities such as “concerts, art installations, performances and a burning man” to take place in the park.
As hinted in Matthew’s photos, the future is bright for Spreepark: this summer, a new project called Kulturpark will set up a three-week artist residency camp producing public art inside Spreepark’s walls. Artworks will include “ecological grafitti, sustainable bicycles, a ping pong competition, learning events, radio station, [and] storytelling projects.” The public opening will be June 28 – July 1st.
While most of Lado Alexi’s photography falls squarely in the realm of traditional, commercial fashion photography, a few of his photos are too magical not to share here. The character in the image above looks like an spellbound Russian princess, while the fetish gladiatrix below resembles a rendering or a sculpture more than a real person.
After the jump, a couple more of Alexi’s stranger photos from the series Fin de Siecle, Amazones, and Astronaut, including a priestess wearing a decrepit doll head, a blue-faced woman wearing Saran wrap, a colorful circus girl, and an astronaut resting in a mysterious room with red lanterns. Overall, the photos might be more compelling if the agency models didn’t all employ the same thousand-yard stare (and, in fact, if some of them weren’t agency models), but the colors are beautiful, the fashion is astonishing, and the makeup is very inspired.