Rachel Brice and Illan Rivière Duet, Tribal Fest 12


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Reports are coming in fast and fervent from several friends who attended this year’s Tribal Fest in Sebastopol that the following duet between Rachel Brice (featured many times on Coilhouse) and Illan Rivière (also featured here previously) was one of the most electrifying performances at the diverse and thriving event:

Illan’s solo performance and Rachel’s group piece with her PDX troupe Datura are inspiring to watch as well. In fact, the entire video list for Tribal Fest 2012 over at YouTube is chock full of beauty and splendor and kinship. It would be easy to lose hours watching all of these wonderful dancers.

By the bye… a reminder that print Issue Six of Coilhouse Magazine features a beautiful in-depth feature about Brice and the modern tribal belly dance movement. We still have copies available for sale in the online shop, and when you buy that way, you also get a free, high quality download of a Rachel Brice music video that was produced for Coilhouse by the wonderful folks at Purebred Pro.

“Athena’s Curse, Medusa’s Fate” — Created by Jessica Rowell, Nina Pak, and Elizabeth Maiden

Sometimes, when creative and inspired people get together to collaborate on making imagery in a specific vein that no one’s attempted before, a special kind of magic happens. Case in point, this elaborate photo series independently produced by Jessica Rowell of J-Chan Designs and photographer Nina Pak in cahoots with model Elizabeth Maiden:

Κατάρα της Αθηνάς, η μοίρα της Μέδουσας
Αθηνάς: Elizabeth Maiden
Μέδουσας: Jessica Rowell of J-Chan’s Designs
Photography: Nina Pak
Costume Design & Styling: J-Chan’s Designs
Location: Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

Ancient Greek lore and steampunk culture clash, titan style, in a sumptuous mythos-meets-modernity photo series depicting the Goddess Athena (Elizabeth Maiden) and the Gorgon Medusa (Jessica Rowell).

According to legend, the once ravishing Medusa was cursed with a monstrous appearance after “seducing” Poseidon, Lord of the Sea, under the roof of Athena’s sacred temple. Hence, this series title (which, translated into English, means) “Athena’s curse, Medusa’s fate.”

Rowell pulled “inspiration from Desmond Davis’ 1981 film Clash of the Titans, then put an atemporal spin on things by incorporating several contemporary ingredients that “also felt industrial and familiar to alternative culture.”

Brooklyn NextLevel Squad, Shot by YAK FILMS

YAK FILMS strikes again! (Coilhouse <3s YAK a lot.)


(Via m1k3y/BoingBoing. Music is “Zilla March” by B’ZWAX.)

Recently, the street dance documentarians ventured deep into the NYC underground (literally) to document the Flexing prowess of the Brooklyn-based NextLevel Squad.

Flexing (also called Bonebreaking) is a relatively new and potently individualistic fusion dance form that evolved in NYC out of Jamaican bruk-up, and incorporates popping, gliding, contortion, as well as various moves gleaned from martial arts, jazz dance, ballet, gymnastics, and whatever else looks damn good.

There are many, many things to love about this video… not least of which is watching a burgeoning subculture breathe new life (so to speak) into ye olde gas-mask chic!

LONG LIVE RUBULAD. (Keep the Party Going!)

“I had some kind of epiphany about not chasing something in the above-ground world. Something happened in me that I no longer wanted to be in a band that wanted to be famous and go on tour. I just wanted to do something that was ours. I guess it was firmly planting myself in the underground, not after some kind of success that my parents would like.

…In the olden days of New York they had bands and dancing. Dancing and performers of every kind — spoken word, circus, whatever — in the same venue. Places like the Mud Club or Danceteria had a lot of different spaces and a lot of different installations and all kinds of different people went.

And then this weird thing happened when it suddenly became all giant discos and little rock bars. And those people never went to the same place anymore. It seemed like when we started doing Rubulad that people really wanted to be in the same space. They wanted to watch a band and go dance. And be happy.”

~Sari Rubinstein, co-founder of Rubulad, interviewed by Nonsense NYC


Photo via the Essentialist.

Oh, loves. We cover a lot of micropatronage drives on da ‘Haus, but the Rubulad Kickstarter project is especially near and dear. They have been an indescribably huge inspiration to many, many people involved with Coilhouse.

What is Rubulad? Back in 1993, two lovely souls named Sari Rubinstein and Chris Thomas took out a lease on a 5,000 square foot basement in south Williamsburg. Maybe a dozen other people got in on that initial deal, mostly artists and musicians in need of a cheap communal space where they could spread out and work. They all started building up and decorating the space communally. Soon, it became a fun, subterranean hang-out location that drew all sorts of kindred spirits together for dinners, readings, rehearsals, etc.

After a while, Sari, Chris, and their cohorts started throwing parties to cover each month’s rent. Over the course of the next few years, Rubulad (cleverly named with touch-tone letters that corresponded to the space’s phone number)’s space began to evolve, to literally bloom (with vibrant paper flowers, glittering murals, rope vines, colored glass, paper mache sculptures), and the parties developed into these elaborately themed bohemian blow-outs. They. Are. Fucking. AMAZING. For seventeen years now…

(Hang on, let’s take a moment. Seventeen. YEARS.

Yeah.)

…Rubulad has been instrumental in planning and throwing all kinds of events. They’ve already had to move their main warehouse space twice, but their warm, inviting DIY ethic has never faltered or changed; it’s only grown stronger.

Breathing New Life into Dead Men’s Patterns: An Interview with Artist Hormazd Narielwalla


From the “Fairy-God, Fashion Mother” series by Hormazd Narielwalla.

Born in India of Persian-Zoroastrian ancestry and now living London, artist Hormazd Narielwalla forages for patterns in historic tailoring archives to use in conjunction with his own photography, sketches and digital compositions, giving their forms new life as whimsical narrative works of art.

You can see some lovely examples of Homi’s unique work in our Issue Six feature devoted to Klaus Nomi. The puppet-like pattern collages are taken from Narielwalla (nickame Homi)’s series A little bit of Klaus…a little bit of Homi. Each Nomi figure contains elements extracted from the vintage bespoke pattern blocks of Savile Row tailors, made for customers now long-deceased. We could not have found a more deeply fitting serenade to the operatic, avant-garde style icon than Narielwalla’s work, with its deft mixture of affection, craft, and thoughtfulness. (Thank you again, Homi.)

In the following interview, Narielwalla tells Coilhouse a bit more about his work and his life. His current show, Fairy-God, Fashion-Mother, which features a series of paper collages inspired by cult curator Diane Pernet, will be viewable at The Modern Pantry in London until January 7th.


From Hormazd Narielwalla’s “A Little Bit of Klaus, a Little Bit of Homi” series.

How did you get started making art, and what eventually drew you to this very specific and personal form of creative expression?
I was pursuing a Masters degree at the University of Westminster, aiming to become a menswear designer specializing in alternate ways of communicating fashion. During one of many research meeting with William Skinner (the Managing Director of Savile Row tailors Dege & Skinner), I acquired a single set of bespoke patterns belonging to a customer, now-deceased.


From the “Dead Man’s Patterns” series by Hormazd Narielwalla.

The tailors no longer needed the patterns, as they were made for a shape that no longer exists. With the support of my mentors British designers Shelley Fox and Zowie Broach (from Boudicca), I followed my instinct to divorce the patterns from their original context, viewing them as abstract shapes of the human body instead. That is when and where my first publication, Dead Man’s Patterns, was conceived.

A Time Lapse View of Earth From Space

These incredible time lapse sequences are pieced together from thousands of photographs taken aboard the International Space Station by crew members and photographers of Expeditions 28 & 29 (August through October of 2011) at an altitude of approximately 217 miles above sea level.

German tech wizard Michael König took the time to gather together all of the photos from the Image Science & Analysis Laboratory,  NASA Johnson Space Center, and The Gateway to Astronaut Photography of Earth, put them in sequence, and then “refurbished, smoothed, retimed, denoised, deflickered, cut, etc.” all of the footage, taking care to avoid any kind of color adjustment or other visual manipulation, so as to let this beautiful, surreal footage speak entirely for itself.

Ukranian Folk-Rock/Accordion Rendition of “Du Hast”


Via Jhayne, thanks!

This talented folk-rock outfit, called Subito, hails from Lugansk, Ukraine. At this time, Coilhouse is unable to confirm whether or not these musicians are also coal miners (as has been claimed elsewhere on teh interwubz), or just hanging out drinking with ‘em. Either way, this has gotta be the best Rammstein cover since Polkaholix‘s rendition of “Pussy“.

Previous gems from Coilhouse’s time-honored “\m/” category:

“Can We All Come Together?”

This week (in addition to other far less culturally sensitive holidays), National Coming Out Day is observed.


“Rainbow umbrella , Gay Pride 2007, Paris, France” photo © Olivier

Do you have an acquaintance who will occasionally say things like “I don’t have a problem with homosexuality, I just wish Teh Gheys weren’t, ya know, so… in my face about it“, presumably because they have mistaken your distraught Oh-God-I-Feel-So-Trapped-and-Small-Right-Now silence for tacit approval? Frightened into denying your sexuality or your gender identity when a gaggle of high school kids pull you into the bathroom to interrogate you? Tired of turning the other cheek when your church-bake-sale-organizing grandma makes decidedly unChristian comments about Chaz Bono during your dutiful seasonal phone calls back home?  Stung when someone rolls their eyes or accuses you of being hypersensitive after you voice disapproval of casual slurs? Tormented that you can’t be more forthcoming about your personal life at the office without it resulting in being ostracized from the unofficial-but-highly-influential social club that you know being a part of will ensure your career a more, well, straight-and-narrow ascending trajectory during these scary economic times? Heartbroken that your relatives require you to call your domestic partner your “roommate”, or to answer to an incorrect pronoun, when you’re around their Rotary Club friends?

Friggin’ sucks, doesn’t it?

No one should ever feel unduly pressured, strong-armed or bullied into coming out when they’re not ready, don’t feel like they have a safe environment in which to do so, or simply don’t wish to. But here’s a cheerful idea for everyone who’s feeling a bit stifled (whether out, closeted, or somewhere in-between): maybe, just maybe, today’s as great a day as any to randomly unleash some loving Kevin Aviance style glossolalia on the more backasswards, empathy-challenged weeniepoopers in our lives…

SRSLY. Even those of us who are not in a safe enough space to run our LGBTQA banner all the way up a social flagpole can observe today with more subtle gestures of acceptance, and honesty. Let us each consider bringing some bright “Din Da Da” DaDaism into the world!

Can’t say “I’m gay”? Say “DUN DUN DUN DUN DUN DUN DUN BRAAAAP. DOOKUH BRRAAP.” Can’t say “I’m bi”? Cry “BOOM BOOM BOOM BOOM. BOW. BOW.” Trans and can’t say “c’est moi”? Just say “MMMWAH” and plant a big, warm, hella non-”heteronormative” smooch on those sourpusses, then walk away. Think about it: even if they have no idea what the heck just transpired, it’ll probably the most exciting thing to happen to them in ages! Maybe they’ll get the message. Maybe they’ll recalibrate a few things. Even if they don’t, chances are that a spontaneous “RRREEE BOBBA BREEEE BUUPPAH” tinged outburst of voguing will, at the very least, lighten the mood.

“Can we all come together?” Can we all come out, free of fear? Coilhouse hopes YES. Maybe today’s not that day for all of us. But someday. Let’s continue working toward it. In the meantime, we can keep visions of super-out, super strong, super-gorgeous Kevin Aviance dancing in our heads in that florescent pink top hat.

And may today be full of friggin’ rainbows, damn it.

Jeff Wengrofsky Talks Punk Rock, New York, and Jewish History…and Announces a Film Premiere


Press photo courtesy of The Syndicate of Human Image Traffickers.

Longtime Coilhouse friend and contributor, Jeff Wengrofsky, was recently interviewed for a prestigious podcast series– Long Story Short, presented by Tablet magazine (a recent winner of the National Magazine Award). Two other two guests in the series are eminent writers Vivian Gornkick and Morris Dickstein.

The conversation topic: how punk rock relates to Jewish history. Jeff has been a footnote to the NYC punk scene since 1982. In the podcast, he puzzles about how Jews have made significant contributions to punk, but the same could be said for their involvement in DaDa, feminism, socialism/communism/anarchism/unionism, The New Left, ecology, and the civil rights movement.

Jeff –who has one of the most astounding original issue vinyl collections of punk on the planet– invited podcast host Liel Leibovitz into his Art Deco lair on the Lower East Side for a fascinating conversation. From Tablet’s writeup:

“…in the 1970s, a very different sort of Jewish artist emerged. Joey Ramone, Handsome Dick Manitoba, Sylvain Sylvain and the other founding fathers of punk rock were as disdainful of the culture as their predecessors were eager to help define it. Wearing leather jackets, singing about sex and drugs, and cultivating their status as rejects, they made music that was loud and fast and much more true to the traditional status of Jews as eternal outsiders. touching on how many young, disenfranchised folks of Jewish descent “the other founding fathers of punk rock were as disdainful of the culture as their predecessors were eager to help define it. Wearing leather jackets, singing about sex and drugs, and cultivating their status as rejects, they made music that was loud and fast and much more true to the traditional status of Jews as eternal outsiders.”

Listen here.

As the Director of the Syndicate of Human Image Traffickers, Jeff has been making a series of films at the intersection of art and life. Several of them have appeared on the Coilhouse website.  The sixth film in the series, “The Party in Taylor Mead’s Kitchen,” is an Official Selection of DOC NYC 2011, the documentary film festival of the Independent Film Channel. After reading Jack Kerouac’s On the Road, Taylor Mead, the scion of Michigan’s Democratic Party political boss Harry Mead, left his
Grosse Point home and Merrill Lynch sinecure for a life hitchhiking around the US. Upon arriving in San Francisco, his ability to write and perform clever, bawdy, homoerotic poems made Taylor an instant hit with the Beatnik scene. He soon came to personify the “Beatnik” ethic in Ron Rice’s classic film, The Flower Thief, in 1960. After meeting Allen Ginsberg at a poetry function, Taylor moved to the Lower East Side of New York, then the Beatnik capital of the world. Taylor was soon a Warhol superstar and came to be featured, most famously, in Tarzan and Jane Revisited…Sort of, and most notoriously, as the star of Taylor Mead’s Ass in 1964. He has since acted in over a hundred films, has acted for the stage, and has published books of poetry.

Fifty-one years after trading in upper-crust luxury for bohemian art stardom, The Party in Taylor Mead’s Kitchen finds Taylor still living the life of poetry, painting, partying, acting, homo-eroticism, gossip, modest living, and indifference to bourgeois notions of hygiene. We visit the octogenarian in his Lower East Side grotto to find him still brilliant, boyishly cute, and ready to party at noon. The film depicts the romantic beauty and squalid dereliction of the bohemian life while dishing the dirt on Andy Warhol, Jack Kerouac, Ron Rice, Woody Allen, and Tallulah Bankhead. At 85, Taylor Mead is an ambassador of bohemianism from a world without the internet, cable television, surveillance cameras, cell phones, global positioning systems, credit cards or roach spray.


As this film is short, it has been paired with a longer film that also deals with New York City artists of a bygone era: Girl with the Black Balloons.
They will be shown as a double-feature at these times and dates and locations:

  • 7:30 PM, Sun. Nov. 6, 2011 – NYU’s Kimmel Ctr. 4th Floor (Eisner Auditorium) – Buy Tickets
  • 3:45 PM, Mon. Nov. 7, 2011 – IFC Center – Buy Tickets

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.