Eyepatch Party!

Eyepatches have long been a staple of alt fashion. From visual kei to burlesque, the eyepatch has been used to accentuate elements of romanticism, glamour, and mystique throughout the ages.

Advertising giant David Ogilvy knew this in 1951 when he created “the man in the Hathaway shirt,” a campaign that put a tiny company on the map by featuring a distinguished-looking man with a mysterious eyepatch in a series of ads that continued to run for over 25 years and inspired dozens of copycats.

David “Wear the Eyepatch“ Bowie knew this in 1972 when he popularized the patch during his Ziggy Stardust era, influencing everyone from Peter Burns to Rihanna. And of course, film directors know that an eyepatch can create the character, from Quentin Tarantino’s Elle Driver to John Carpenter’s Snake Plissen. It can be said that the most (come to think of it, the only) memorable thing from Sky Captain and The World of Tomorrow was the sight of Angie with an eyepatch.

Of course, stylish eyepatches aren’t just for show. For centuries, people with eye ailments have incorporated the patch into their personal style. The first chic eyepatch-wearer may have been Spanish princess Doña Ana de Mendoza y de la Cerda. Around 1545, young Ana lost her eye in an accident during a playfight with one of her guards. Donning an eyepatch only fueled her popularity at the court, and it is said that she had a bejeweled eyepatch for every dress she owned.

Film director Fritz Lang’s eye problems started in 1916, the same year he stumbled into film. While recuperating from war wounds that would eventually cost him his eye, he began to write scripts and took up acting. In his younger years, he wore a monocle over his injured eye; later in life, an eyepatch under dark glasses. Knowing the director’s struggle towards monocular vision, Maria’s lingering robot wink in Metropolis somehow feels much more significant. Other fabulous/functional eyepatch-wearers include Slick Rick, James Joyce and Momus.

I never thought I’d have to wear an eyepatch for any reason other than a fashion shoot or a fancy night out. But following some recent eye problems, I have to wear one for at least a portion of each day, for at least a little while. Thus began my trawl through Tumblr, Flickr, and fashion blogs in search for the perfect patch. The search uncovered dozens of beautiful images from Coilhouse friends and family. After the jump, an epic collection of over 60 eyepatches featuring Mother of London, Salvador Dali, PUREVILE!, James Dean, Amelia Arsenic, Chad Michael Ward, Shien Lee, Antiseptic, Jane Doe, Alyz Tale, Atsuko Kudo and many others. I suspect that many of you have eyepatch photos as well. If you’ve got one, post it in the comments!

“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.)

WTFtastic Music Video for Maruosa’s “ACA” by Sekitani Norihiro

This perfect, gleaming sliver of transcendent “whaaaa thaaaa faaaaaa??!” comes to us care of a tweet from Keith Jenson of Brainwomb, who claims to be sharing it to polarize the effect of the “‘spirit bomb’ of Harajuku” video that Nadya just posted. (Athough it seems just as likely that he’s trying to insidiously destroy us with subliminal mind control.)

Laughing Squid says that Japanese artist Sekitani Norihiro –be sure to check out that website, but be warned, it is rife with CAN’T UNSEE imagery– made this succinctly fucked-up-beyond-all-reckoning-ness for the digital grindcore demigod Maruosa.

おはようございます!!!

Collage detail by Sekitani Norihiro.

“Cupid and Centaur” by Joel-Peter Witkin (1992)

(un)Naturally, we can’t have Centaur Week without posting one of Joel-Peter Witkin‘s most famous works, riffing off the classical Greek “Kentauros & Eros” motif…


“Cupid and Centaur” by Joel-Peter Witkin (1992)

(Preaching to the choir, here, but) Is there another photographer living whose sublime darkroom necromancy conveys quite the same level of beauty, horror, ferocity, compassion, grace and grotesquerie as Witkin’s? Doubtful.

Buy his books:

World AIDS Day

In 1985, when Coil recorded this cover of the Gloria Jones tune (not long after Soft Cell), frank and open discussion of the HIV/AIDS crisis was still considered taboo. Many media sources were too uncomfortable with/outright offended by Peter Christopherson‘s “Tainted Love” music video (featuring partner John Balance as a dying man, and Marc Almond as the Angel of Death) to acknowledge its existence.

Coil’s Scatology single Panic/Tainted Love was, in fact, the very first official AIDS benefit music release, with all profits from sales donated to the Terrence Higgins Trust. Coil’s following full-length release, Horse Rotorvator, is also steeped in themes and emotions engendered by several AIDS-related deaths in Christopherson’s and Balance’s circle of friends. (HR is arguably the most influential record Coil ever made– as bleak, fearless, and uncompromising as they could get… which is really saying something.)

Today, Coil’s “Tainted Love” music video is widely considered a creative and cultural watermark on humanity’s ongoing battle against AIDS, and has been put on permanent display at The Museum of Modern Art in New York.

It’s all-too-easy in 2011 to take it for granted that candid discussion of HIV/AIDS is not only acceptable, but encouraged. And yet, we’ve still got a long way to go.

On a more personally related note, a longtime carnival chum, supporter of Coilhouse, and fellow alt-culture editor (of the splendid Culture Flux Magazine), kSea Flux, is at this moment in the ICU of San Francisco General Hospital, fighting the fight of his life. Please keep him in your thoughts. (Should you feel moved to, you can also donate to kSea’s health-care fund by using PayPal: ksea@culturefluxmagazine.com.) Lots of love, kSea.

Our mutual friend Whitney Moses, whose name you may remember from this blog post, will be pedaling from San Francisco to Los Angeles in the 2012 AIDS/LifeCycle ride in honor of kSea and other loved ones, in memory of her father, and to raise more money and awareness in the ongoing battle against the disease. She says:

“Being a rider is a big challenge for me as I’ve never been much of a cyclist, but it’s worth it. This fight is important to me for so many reasons. From losing my father to AIDS as a child, to witnessing friends suffer now with this disease, it has been a major player in the lives around me for most of my life. Every little bit helps.”

She will ride with Coilhouse’s financial support, and hopefully that of some of our readers. Thank you, Whitney!

This Week in Anatomical Fashion

Beautiful hand-drawn coat by Jamie Avis. Jamie drew this using 10 felt-tipped pens. More images here. [via bloodmilk]

“Socks Anatomy” designed by Anton Repponen. Sadly, this is just a concept design, but you can find real anatomical socks (not a impressive, but still cute) in the Haute Macabre comment thread, where this was found.

And finally, these socks could go nicely with this Gaultier Anatomical Bustier, currently on display at the Dallas Museum of Art.

BTC: Gunther von Häagen-Dazs

From the profoundly sick ‘n’ twisted punsters innovative educators behind Art of Bleeding comes this morning’s “anatomy lesson” in the form of a extended satirical mashup that riffs off the name of Body Worlds creator Gunter von Haagens and the moniker of a certain time-honored, faux-Scandinavian brand of ice cream.

This video is not safe for work, nor the squeamish, nor the lactose intolerant. TASTE DEATH.


Thanks, as ever, for keepin’ it real strange, Al.

Behold! Zello, The Nasenformer

How many of us are truly happy with the shape of our noses? Judging by the number of rhinoplasty procedures performed in this country every year, not many. Fixing your abominable proboscis with surgery can be expensive, and in an economy like this, most people don’t have that kind of money. Instead, I say we bring back the Zello, a wondrous piece of medical equipment/fetish gear/torture paraphernalia designed to sculpt your unsightly schnoz into shape. At only 20 marks it helps you avoid the long recovery from surgery, but does make you look as though you’re on your way to a midnight screening of the newest installment in the Hellraiser franchise. Such is the cost of convenience.

Via Vintage Ads

Hail To The V: A Vaginal Journey Through Time

There are, on this staff, any number of people who are, without a doubt, more well spoken and better qualified to comment on this subject than me. Many of them are in possession of the biological equipment that this product is, uh, aimed at. One of the staff has even commented on this brand’s questionable advertising only a few weeks ago. I must apologize in advance then. In the end you are not getting the insightful, well-reasoned and well-informed commentary that you, the loyal and erudite Coilhouse reader, deserve. Instead you are getting the blathering of the Catacombs’s most puerile and juvenile prisoner occupant.

“Hail to the V” is a new commercial for Summer’s Eve “cleansing wash and cloths”. It features an authoritative sounding voiceover by a woman with an authoritative British accent. (Which is redundant, really, because as any American and, of course, Summer’s Eve knows, a British accent is, by its intrinsic Britishness, authoritative. That is why it is in this commercial.) Anyway, this voice leads us through a number of different “historical” scenarios meant to illustrate just how gosh darn important vaginas are. Especially your vagina. Yes, you there, miss.

So, first we are shown a Neolithic woman, clothed in the skins of animals, holding aloft a neonate (also clothed in animal skins) while British Lady intones stoically about the cradle of life. Flashing forward in time, we are presented with another woman, costumed in order to suggest Egyptian royalty. Looking out over her subjects, she throws up her arms in a massive V (like the one in vagina) and British Lady refers to “it” (also, your vagina) as “the center of civilization”. Do you see where this is going, ladies? Do you? “It” (or, your vagina) is pretty damn important. But how important? Relax, we’re getting to that.

Now we come to the longest part of the ad. We find ourselves in a bamboo forest. There are two Asian gentlemen in this forest with us. One has a sword, while the other has a long, rubbery looking staff. They are fighting in a manner that Americans associate with Asia. There is also an Asian woman in the background, looking on, dressed in a manner that Americans associate with Asia as it was long ago. British Lady begins to pontificate on how, throughout history and all over the world (hence the excursion to Asia), men have “fought for it”. Quickly, we cut to Medieval Europe. There are knights on horses. They are jousting. They drive their horses towards one another, their immense, phallic weapons undulating angrily in front of them. There is a woman here, too, looking on. Some men, British Lady informs us, breathlessly, some men have even died for it. One of the knights falls, which pleases the woman who has been watching. As the victorious knight raises his visor to look at her, British Lady concludes with “One might say, it’s the most powerful thing on Earth,” which is true, I suppose; one might say that. But, then again, one might say all sorts of things when trying to market douche.

Finally, we are approaching our terminus, the payoff for this weird trip through time and space. We have, at last, been returned to the present. Inside a store, a woman is thoughtfully pondering a Summer’s Eve product. She nods her head and mutters to herself, presumably to signal her agreement with that last line from British Lady when, suddenly, American Lady — familiar, jovial, and friendly — cuts in and gets to the point, saying, “So come on ladies, show it a little love,” which, again, is something you might say when trying to market douche.

I’m just not sure it’s something you should say. I’m not sure how comfortable I am with a full minute of advertising that repeatedly references disembodied genitalia. “It” is the cradle of life, but isn’t “it” attached to someone? “It” is the center of civilization, but “it” isn’t the one throwing up its arms. But the strangest, most uncomfortable section is that last part, the longest part, the part where men are fighting for “it” — killing to possess “it”. That section is really weird because what I get from that section is that men have made war upon one another for your vagina. They have killed each other for your vagina. They have leveled cities and razed the land for your vagina.

The least you could do is ignore those damned health warnings and make sure it doesn’t smell.

BTC: “What is that ungodly thing?”

“We all saw it scrawled across the blackboard the second we stepped into Miss Lovecraft’s class…”

A  disturbing and darkly humorous commentary on burgeoning adolescence and coming to terms with “the other” that is the opposite sex, Craig MacNeill’s short film, “Late Bloomer“, devotes a horrific (and hilarious) thirteen minutes to the obscene revelations that stem from biological discovery.  Written and brilliantly narrated in true Lovecraftian style by Clay McLeod Chapman, this tale of a “7th grade sex-ed class gone horribly wrong”  chronicles the destruction of innocence in pulpy prose worthy of the old gentleman himself.

How to describe these grotesque mockeries of natural law? Clearly hovering at the edge of sanity, both awe-struck and terrified by the frenzied hormonal horrors to which he has become an initiate,  the film’s narrator recounts the events of that eldritch classroom in an eerie, quavering voice while a murky, droning soundtrack by One Ring Zero provides appropriate ambiance.  It is said that MacNeill was inspired to make “Late Bloomer” while shooting a documentary on the film’s writer; one cannot view the result without  imagining the horrors to which that pale, untried youth may have borne witness in the classroom.