The Mark of Princess Hijab

Editor’s note: today marks the birth date of one of our most tireless and incisive contributors, Mr. David Forbes. For his birthday, David gave us a present: an interview with elusive street artist Princess Hijab. Thanks, David – happy birthday!

A spectre is haunting Paris. For five years, Metro-goers have rounded corners to find heavy, black marker strokes obscuring the idealized arcadia depicted in subway advertisements, the airbrushed bodies of the inhabitants — men and women — disappeared behind a heavy veil. Princess Hijab has struck again.

When she started her “reign” in 2006, observers initially couldn’t decide if it was the work of a modernity-hating zealot or some sort of rabble-rousing commentary. The year before Paris had destructive rioting. France has its own serious racial and ethnic issues, and culture wars are never a place for nuance. The hijab is now, controversially, banned in public.

But from her work, there is no hiding, Parisians still pour out of trains to find the mark of Princess Hijab.

She hasn’t exactly hidden from the media, either. But strangely, in an era craving constant revelation, her identity remains a closely guarded secret. She claims to be around 22 years old, poor, from an immigrant background, and not a Muslim. Those who meet her aren’t even sure if she’s female.

Via e-mail, Princess Hijab, the alias chosen to represent “a mixture of precarity and aristocracy,” has chosen to draw back the veil, just a bit, and tell us about how — and why — she chose her domain.

Lisa Bufano: Dancer/Shapeshifter

“I’m a shapeshifter… I explore the different forms my body can take using different mediums.” – Lisa Bufano. Photo by Gerhard Aba.

Lisa Bufano is a performance artist whose work incorporates elements of doll-making, animation, and dance. Bufano was a competitive gymnast as a child and a go-go dancer in college before she lost her lower legs and all her fingers due to a staphylococcus bacterial infection at the age of 21. Shortly after this occurred, Bufano went on to study stop-motion animation and sculpture at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston. Bufano’s performances often involve the use of prosthetics and props, and, according to Wikipedia, she lists among her inspirations “medical drawings, historical wax models and dolls, and optical toys; flip dolls and paper dolls; the structural aspects of Japanese jointed dolls, Hans Bellmer’s doll work, Louise Bourgeois’ cell installations, and the animation of Jan Švankmajer and the Quay Brothers.”

Bufano is now working on what may be her most ambitious project yet: a routine using aerial hoop. Bufano is developing a lyra – a steel hoop suspended from the ceiling – designed to accomodate her limited grip. Bufano is currently doing strength conditioning and discovering the movement, holds and momentum of working with lyra:

Below is a clip from her recent performance “One Breath is an Ocean for a Wooden Heart,” a duet with dancer Sonsheree Giles on stilts. Bufano describes the piece as “an unusual modern dance duet for a disabled dancer and an able-bodied dancer that is informed by the relationship between physical transformation and identity.” [via riotclitshave]

Commemorative Coilhouse Birthday Serigraph by Molly Crabapple

The title of this post WAS gonna be “Reasons Why We Love Molly Crabapple, Part #2369138459008164548939347”, but we decided on something sliiiiightly less effusive– only because it more properly trumpets the existence of her beautiful new “Happy Birthday, Coilhouse” print to high heaven:

Limited edition serigraph by Molly Crabapple. BUY IT HERE.

Yes! Indeed, Coilhouse’s 4th birthday is upon us. Although the site didn’t officially launch until October, we first started blogging in August of 2007. In recent, tumultuous days, as we’ve revved up the fundraising engines to ensure our wee company’s continuing evolution and stability, countless incredible people have stepped up to help. One of our most tireless and powerful champions has been Molly Crabapple.

Since day one of Coilhouse, Molly has been relentlessly generous with her time, her contributions, her immense resources, and even her checkbook.

Ms. Crabapple’s latest contribution to our continuing push for growth and financial stability is this gobsmackingly lovely limited edition Commemorative Coilhouse Birthday Serigraph– a high-end print which we are offering for sale internationally as a supplemental fundraising item to the big Black & White & Red All Over Ball in New York City this coming Sunday. Molly obviously kept the palette of the party and our forthcoming Issue 06 in mind when she drew this loveliness. (Isn’t our newest poster child a dream, with her grandiose cake hat, red ringlets and mischievous smile? We covet her bird mask.)

A bit of background on how this print came to be: when Molly found out we were throwing a fundraising ball in her backyard, she was among the first to start helping us organize it. During one brainstorming session, she came up with a great suggestion; undoubtedly, there will be many folks all over the world who can’t make it to the ball, but would nonetheless like to substantially support our fundraising efforts. Maybe we could offer a really meaningful, experiential way for them to help us from afar?

Molly got in touch with her frabjous friend Melissa Dowell. Melissa, an accomplished artist herself, will be taking the time and effort to create these hand-silkscreened prints for us at cost at Bushwick Print Lab. (Melissa. Holy cow. Thank you.)

Within less than a day of suggesting an auxiliary fundraising art object, Molly had made good on her offer of artwork for a gorgeous commemorative print. Later this week, Melissa will produce a very limited edition run of them. The Commemorative Coilhouse Birthday Serigraph by Molly Crabapple is 19″ x 25″, printed in matte red and semi-gloss black ink onto smooth 100+ paper stock from the deliciously-designed French Paper, with a thick border of white paper to frame the print. The edition size is a mere 35, and we are selling them for sixty-six dollars and sixty cents bucks a pop ($66.60 USD, plus shipping).

Comrades, please know that by purchasing this beautiful birthday print, you’ll not only be helping Coilhouse tremendously in a financial way– you will be celebrating with us, too. Four years on, we are still so glad to be here, and we’re ecstatic that you’re here, too. Thank you.


Oscar Wilde from Molly Crabapple’s delightful “Saints and Sinners” series.

Back to Ms. Crabapple for a minute, now…

Mindful as we are of Molly’s long list of previous kindnesses toward Coilhouse, it’s still astonishing to us that this world-class woman, in the midst of everything else piled up on her drawing table, took the time to make this happen for us, for free, without even blinking. We can never thank her enough, or tire of singing her praises.

Many of you will have, no doubt, already heard all about Molly and her many art projects, but just in case you haven’t, please do give a visit and take a look at the many remarkable ventures she’s been up to lately.

And one more time, CLICK HERE to buy the beautiful Coilhouse/Crabapple limited edition fundraising print.

Kyary Pamyu Pamyu: Pon Pon Pon

Budget for this music video:

  • Toys: $350
  • Fine Harajuku fashions: $400
  • Kraft Macaroni & Cheese Dinner: $1.49
  • Fake fruit: $15
  • After Effects: Free
  • Drugs: $232, recipe 598,231,142

This is fashion blogger and singer Kyary Pamyu Pamyu singing Pon Pon Pon, produced by Shibuya-kei duo Capsule. Lisa Frank on acid. Everybody dance! [via aerialdomo]

Tilda Swinton, The Woman Who Fell to Earth

This month, timeless alien beauty Tilda Swinton (the polyamorous, gender-defying star best known for starring as the hero/heroine of Orlando, based on the Virginia Woolf novel of the same name) appeared in a photo shoot for W Magazine by Tim Walker inspired by David Bowie’s The Man Who Fell to Earth. In the interview accompanying the shoot, Swinton cites both Bowie and her father as figures who influenced her style. “They are individuals with whom I share the same planetary DNA,” she says. Of her father’s uniforms, Swinton says: “from childhood, I remember more about his black patent, gold livery, scarlet-striped legs, and medal ribbons than I do of my mother’s evening dresses. I would rather be handsome, as he is, for an hour than pretty for a week.”

This is not the first time that Tilda Swinton has appeared in a David Bowie-inspired shoot. Previously, she emulated Ziggy Stardust-era Bowie in a 2009 shoot with Craig McDean.

I don’t know if I’ll ever understand Tilda Swinton being a Roman Polanski apologist, but these photos sure are stunning.

Something Old, Something New: The Vintage Lesbian Tumblr Blog

Something old, doctor something new, advice something borrowed, ask something blue: the Vintage Lesbian Tumbr Blog.

“Vintage lesbians, affectionate women, Boston Marriages, lesbian innuendo, antique erotica, [and] women who may not be lesbians but we wish they were.” Something for everyone. Collette, Marlene, Bettie, Renée, Anna May. NSWF.

Leonora Carrington – 6 April 1917 – 25 May 2011

Fantastic pen and ink double portrait by Hilus Anendorf

Leonora Carrington lived a life as surreal and fantastical as the images she painted. The last of the first generation of Surrealists, she consorted with the full pantheon of greats, from Dali to Picasso, and was hailed as “Mexico’s greatest living artist” before her death 94. Despite her storied career as bohemian darling, wild muse and prolific creator of paintings, books, sculpture and theater, she remained always humble, and resolutely uninterested in labels, or all the laurels that have been flung her way over the years.

Her approach to art was completely intuitive, stemming from the deep well of her soul, her own psychic underworld realm that she populated with fantastic beasts and mysterious figures. She disdained the overintellectualization and analysis of her work, her beliefs, her inspirations – believing fervently that the visual world she created was unnecessarily hindered by those determined to understand what it was all about. She was a provocateur, delighting in stirring up trouble amongst the staid, society types whose ilk she rejected. André Breton wrote of her in his Anthologie de l’humoir noir:

“Those respectable people who, for a dozen years, had invited her to dine in a prestigious restaurant have still not recovered from the embarrassment when they noticed that, while continuing to take part in the conversation, she had taken off her shoes and meticulously covered her feet in mustard.”

The Conjuror

All of her work is infused with this dark sense of humor and mischief, particularly her writing. In her only novel, The Hearing Trumpet, she envisions herself as a wizened crone – the 92 year old Marian Leatherby, a deaf and toothless “drooling sack of decomposing flesh” who is cast-off by callous relatives to a sanatorium for the elderly. It is here that her life truly begins, when she finds her kind: a coven of witch-sisters who help her discover and unleash her mediumistic talents.

Carrington once said, “I wanted to appear like an old lady so I could poke fun at sinister things.” As a young woman growing up in her stultifyingly proper Lancashire family estate, she railed against convention, and was booted out of multiple boarding schools. In her story “The Debutante”, she recounts her fantasy of dressing up a hyena in her coming-out dress, and sending the wild thing to her debutante’s ball in her stead. Allowed at last to attend art school, she horrified her family by running off with a married man twice her age, who happened to be Max Ernst. The romance was tragic, and ill-fated – doomed by the Nazi invasion of France and their subsequent incarceration of her lover. After a nervous breakdown, which caused her to be thrown into an asylum, she fled Europe for Mexico, where she settled and flourished until her death.

“We went down into the silent garden. Dawn is the time when nothing breathes, the hour of silence. Everything is transfixed, only the light moves.”
— Leonora Carrington

Austra: “Feel It Break”

Praise. IMMENSE praise– for the creative development of Katie Stelmanis and her rare, tremulous bird voice, swooping and soaring higher than ever, supported by her bandmates in Austra and the epic production value on their recent release, Feel It Break. Kudos to Bjork/Prodigy/UNKLE producer, Damian Taylor, for lifting them up on his capable shoulders. Such a strong, vivid dream of an album; a “100% dud-free collection”, as Stereogum puts it.

The inevitable Zola Jesus and Karin Dreijer Andersson comparisons are pouring in, and let them. There are some parallels, for sure: dark witchy prowess, shamanic danceability, classically trained chops, sharp songwriting skills, unconventional presentation. It’s electronic pop steeped in earnest ritual.

But dial back the scrumptious bleep and bloop effects a bit. When the arrangement is primarily just Stelmanis and her piano (as with the final, breathtaking track “The Beast”), it becomes clear that the album’s most powerful magic lies simply in that voice. There’s something humbling, and deeply healing, about that.

Highly recommended.

Jillian Mayer: “I Am Your Grandma”


Via Ariana. Again. LADY YOU SCARE ME.

Ladies, did your uteruses just shrivel up and fall out… and then do a little dance? Yuss? Well, good! I’m not alone, then!

The bio on Jillian Mayer‘s website states:

Jillian Mayer is a visual and performance artist exhibiting her work across the US and internationally and is part of the permanent collection at the Frost Art Museum and the Girl’s Club Collection. Last year, Mayer’s experimental musical “Mrs. Ms” was commissioned by the Miami Light Project, premiered at the Adrienne Arsht Center in Miami, FL. Mayer’s latest video work has been screened at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Miami, Ft. Lauderdale Museum of Art and at the Solomon Guggenheim Museum in NY, Bilbao, Venice and Berlin.

Mayer has recently been commissioned to create a performance-based television art show at the De la Cruz Collection Contemporary Art Space for Basel 2011. Mayer will develop and produce several live segments of a conceptual variety show in a cable access-styled television program, which will survive as a cultural time-capsule under the guise of animal fascination. World Class Boxing is also commissioning Mayer to create a new video work for the gallery for Basel 2011. Recently, the Borscht Film Festival commissioned Mayer to create short film told entirely through installations by Mayer which features legendary Luther Campbell (Uncle Luke of musical group 2 Live Crew). The film is a modern Miami adaptation of the 1962 French short film “La Jetee”, “The Life and Freaky Times of Uncle Luke”.”

Allrighty! Definitely one to watch. (Perhaps with a mixture of glee, revulsion, and kinship.) Plenty more Mayer mayhem at her website, and on her Vimeo channel. (“Scenic Jogging”‘s especially intriguing.) Click here to read a great Interview Magazine Q&A with this burgeoning OMGWTFBBQ multidisciplinary art star.

Happy Birthday, Martha Graham

Photo by Yousuf Karsh.

Martha Graham, buy viagra Mother of Contemporary Dance, online speaking to friend and colleague, purchase Agnes de Mille:

“There is a vitality, a life force, an energy, a quickening that is translated through you into action, and because there is only one of you in all of time, this expression is unique. And if you block it, it will never exist through any other medium and it will be lost. The world will not have it.”

“It is not your business to determine how good it is, nor how valuable, nor how it compares with other expressions. It is your business to keep it yours clearly and directly, to keep the channel open. You do not even have to believe in yourself or your work. You have to keep yourself open and aware to the urges that motivate you. Keep the channel open. … No artist is pleased. [There is] no satisfaction whatever at any time. There is only a queer divine dissatisfaction, a blessed unrest that keeps us marching and makes us more alive than the others.”

As quoted in The Life and Work of Martha Graham (1991) by Agnes de Mille, p. 264.

Martha Graham, photographed by Edward Steichen for Vanity Fair, 1931. (via)