Children by the Millions Wait for Alex Chilton
“And once you gaze into the abyss, the abyss gazes back at you, shakes its head, and gives you fashion tips. Whether it’s a hair shirt and self-inflicted whiplashes across the back for the militant fourth-century flagellant or bondage pants, polychrome hair, and household items punctured through the extremities for the twenty-first-century global party kid, the end result is the same: you are explicitly marking yourself as outside the norm as being the Other. There’s no going back.” A fulminating essay on alternative culture –then and now– from Joshua Ellis.
The Haus of Coil has been honored to interview a diverse assortment of exquisitely talented and gloriously weird individuals. Standouts include: David J, Melora Creager, Nick Harkaway, John Coulthart, Kris Kuksi, Carisa Swenson, Sveta Dorosheva, Larkin Grimm, Jessica Joslin, John John Jesse, Laurie Penny, Molly Crabapple, Hormazd Narielwalla, Princess Hijab, Kim Beaton, Justin Simian & Lena Waithe, Jack Terricloth, Michael Gira, Mark Mothersbaugh, Andy Julia, RiotClitShave, Jessica Rowell & Co, and Mia Mäkilä. Click the link above to peruse our full Interview category.
“I am so goth, I was born black.”
“While there’s still never been a black model on the cover of Gothic Beauty Magazine … and while most spooky fashion designers still prefer white models for their branding, a host of blogs dedicated to multicultural dark fashion are bringing greater visibility to the people that these venues ignore.” A discussion of race in gothic subculture.
What Made You Weird?
“For many of us there is an event, a circumstance or a series of both that altered us in a specific way, making us strange, odd, whatever you want to call it enough to seek lives less ordinary. It’s different for everyone.” What made you weird?
Diaghilev Gets His Due: The Golden Age of the Ballets Russes
“The Théâtre des Champs-Élysées in Paris seems an unlikely venue for a riot. Yet almost one hundred years ago, on May 29th, 1913, fist-fights broke out in an audience made up of socialites, musicians, and artists. The institution in question was one that by today’s standards seems chaste and predictable: the ballet.” A 3,000-word feature by writer and dancer Sarah Hassan.
First of all, Coilhouse loves the latex. From Japan’s most elaborate latex fineries to inflatable rubber alien eggs to face-melting latex Wonderlands to inflatable fucking poodles to a history of the legendary fetish magazine Skin Two, we’ve got you covered. But there’s so much more! Lt. Uhura in Ballet Boots, Monica Cook’s food fights, 1950s inflatable bras, Bob Flanagan, shoes that look like insects and whips, erotic falconry… the “Fetish” tag has it all. And for the bravest/most masochistic souls among ye, there’s always the faptacular “Stroke Material” category…
Top 10 Most Preternaturally Beautiful Men
“READERSHIP ADVISORY: This following post contains very subjective opinion, frivolity, and the shameless sexual objectification of highly respectable people. In other words, we are about to go totally alt-Cosmo on your ass. You have been warned.”
The Praise of Motherfuckers
“Motherfuckery was all over America in the late 1960s and early 1970s. No, not literally, of course. The phrase was, however, in conspicuous currency among New Leftists in a way it had not been before or has been since. On that fated afternoon in 1968, Rob Tyner of the MC5 had, indeed, shouted his shibboleth – “It’s time to kick out the jams, motherfuckers!” – to ignite his band’s performance, as he did for nearly every show…” Jeff Wengrofsky’s essay exploring intergenerational warfare and the use of the word “motherfucker” in counterculture.
Kowloon Walled City: The Modern Pirate Utopia
“Sunlight comes only rarely, with a sliver slicing down between the ramshackle towers. The light here is fluorescent and the people packed sardine tight amongst twisting corridors. Some of the lower levels are widely considered uninhabitable due to trash. Up the street (if it can be called that) there’s a drug parlor with an unlicensed “doctor” open for business upstairs. They exist openly: there are no police because there is no law…”
Modular Pooch: A New Life Awaits
Featured Category: “Crackpot Visionary”
Just because you’re paranoid doesn’t mean they aren’t after you. And just because they call you mentally aberrant doesn’t mean you’re not also, quite possibly, a genius who will one day save the world… or blast open an inter-dimensional portal with magick/mercury fulminate. This time-honored Coilhouse category celebrates a vibrant array of beloved wingnuts, iconoclasts, and outsiders.
The Tarnished Beauties of Blackwell, Oklahoma
“Together, we mused and hypothesized. What were they thinking about when these photos were taken? Who was sweet on who? Which ones were popular? Who had been lonely?” A spontaneous visit to the Top of Oklahoma Museum’s Electric Park Pavilion results in an unexpectedly resonant and captivating atemporal experience.
5 Alt Photo Cliches to Avoid
“Today we sigh into the smoky Angel City sky a silent wish – please, let the badness end here.” Yes, Coilhouse make the funs! But not without earning our (Tim Burton-derivative) stripes.
The Flap of 1896-1897
“From late 1896 through early 1897, a full ten years before the flight of the first known powered dirigible, thousands of people across America claimed to see strange lights in the night sky, heard voices and music emanating from a mysterious airship…”
A Farewell to Sleepytime Gorilla Museum
The quintet has penned lyrics inspired by the Unabomber, James Joyce, madness, stroke-stricken baby doctors, love, death, cockroaches, and the end of the world. They have employed strange, esoteric contraptions from various folk traditions as well as several homemade instruments. They have developed stage shows with stark lighting and elaborate costumes. They have sung lilting post-modern folk melodies. They have delivered face-melting blasts of pure, untrammeled metal. They have rocked harder, more intelligently, and with more unabashed strangeness than anyone else around. They will go down in legend.
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. This blog post showcases 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.
The Incredibly True Adventures of Gerda Wegener and Lili Elbe
“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 Sublime Elegance of Assquatch Art
“Like Nietzsche who gazed too long into the abyss or Icarus who flew too close to the sun, I shall never be the same, for I have seen the cruel, implacable face of G*d…”
He Came From Outer Space to Save the Human Race
“Dear Mr. Nomi: We’ve never met, and your ashes have long since been scattered above Manhattan, so I guess it’s pretty weird for me to be writing you this letter. Then again, everyone always says you seemed to hail from another planet. Let’s pretend for a minute that you didn’t die alone in a hospital bed in 1983. It’s comforting to imagine that you simply returned to your home world and maybe, somehow, you can read this.”
Les Rita Mitsouko
“The lyrics speak of serpentine trains passing through the countryside, carrying children and grandparents ‘to the flames through the fields’. As the song reaches its climax, Ringer – whose father was an artist and a concentration camp survivor – trades the fixed smile of her Bollywood dance routine for close-ups that reveal tears flowing down her face while she continues to sing.”
Featured Category: “Better Than Coffee”
GOOD MORNING. WAKE UP. SRSLY. STOP HITTING THE SNOOZE BUTTON. WATCH THESE VIDEOS. THEY ARE FULL OF WIN. AND HIGH-PITCHED SQUEALING NOISES. AND WTF. AND ALSO CATS. YOU’LL LAUGH. YOU’LL CRY. IT’S BETTER THAN COFFEE.
Walter Schnackenberg’s Theater of the Strange
“Schnackenberg’s work is almost like Salvador Dali and Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec (whose work Schnackenberg admired) had a child, swinging wildly between the more traditional theater illustration and extremely surreal dreamscapes and oftentimes these two worlds collide.”
Nixa: The Kirk/Spock of Our Generation
Yes, Virginia. There is such a thing as Nick Cave/Blixa Bargeld slash. Of course! So what is that makes this celebrated pairing – affectionately titled “Nixa” by fans – so hot? Coilhouse goes full-creeper in our explorations of all things Blixa & Nick.
“Ruffs! Why are they so intoxicatingly awesome? It’s just a ruffle of fabric on a drawstring, but whenever I see one, it still evokes an instant Pavlovian response. A ruff turns a person into a character: a creature that’s decadent, aristocratic, maybe even a little tragic. I marvel at ruffs the way I marvel at lush cake icing and delicate origami, and while there’s something very sensuous about the wrapping, ruffs also make people look very strong, armored, untouchable. In celebration of my tender relationship with ruffs, I present to you my favorite manifestations of these sumptuous adornments in fashion, photography, music and film.”
Franchised Goodies for the Children of Dune
Here, for your delectation, are scans and photos of various pages from the astoundingly age-inappropriate DUNE activity book series, published in 1984 to promote David Lynch’s movie adaptation of the classic Frank Herbert novel, produced by Universal Studios. You know, FOR KIDS.
In Search of Takashi Itsuki’s Robotic Amputees
Completed over 20 years ago and originally published a Japanese magazine titled Bizarre, these drawings fascinate “baby art” godfather Trevor Brown in that they predate the EGL style by at least a decade. They’re creepy and hot and haunting all at once.
Remembering Ana Mendieta
“It’s all too easy to scoff at raw, bloody, chthonic feminist performance art these days. Hell, it’s all too easy to scoff at just about anything that whiffs of pussy power. […] No need for histrionics, right? We’ve been liberated, reborn. We’re fierce and comfortable, right? We’ve seen it all a hundred times before… rrrriiiiiight?” A written vigil for one of the more influential, yet relatively obscure artists at work during the post-Happenings decade.
The Dancing Marquess Henry Paget
The subject of the “Coilhouse patron saints” comes up in conversation quite often. Henry Paget deserves a high rank on that list. He was the most outrageous of the English aristocrats, often seen gallivanting around London bedecked in jewels and silk, with a poodle under his arm or driving a custom car spraying perfume from the exhaust pipes. Zoetica Ebb lauds his praises.
Yulia Tymoshenko was once named one of the top 3 most powerful women in the world by Forbes Magazine. She remains a controversial and multi-faceted figure to this day. But the question on the minds of both Tymoshenko fans and detractors is this: behind all the party rhetoric, is there a secret goth agenda? Over the span of several years, Nadya Lev been keeping tabs on this fascinating political/sartorial figure. Standout posts include: Is Ukraine Prime Minister Secretly a Goth, Exquisite Tymoshenko Doll Helps Orphans, and the tragic conclusion, Yulia Tymoshenko Sentenced to 7 Years Behind Bars. Shout-outs to Tymoshenko’s mountain-dwelling, scythe-wielding, paramilitary Amazonian cult, Asgarda, and her faboo Qatari soul sister, Sheikha Moza.
Sunflower, the Centaur Disney Wants to Forget
“If Disney won’t make this right, the people will.” Arguably the best post to emerge from the spontaneous madness of Centaur Week on Coilhouse.
Mr. Crowley’s Rice
Aleister Crowley, known to many as The Great Beast and widely considered “The Wickedest Man in the World”, was an English occultist, mystic, ceremonial magician, and… amateur foodie? Coilhouse proudly presents this recently-unearthed recipe for “Riz Aleister Crowley”, a delectable rice dish redolent with aromatic herbs and spices, almonds and green pistachios (rendering it a “Poem of Spring”, Crowley raves!), meant to be enjoyed with a lovely curry. If this article appeals to you, definitely check out these other LOLeymass gems, as well as our various posts regarding Ishihara Gojin, Kenneth Grant, Jack Parsons, Aum Shinrikyo, Kenneth Anger, Da Grimston & Miss E, and Boyd Rice.
Flickr Flurry: Launch Party Photos
“I would rather be a cyborg than a goddess”
Gynoids. Pleasure models. Fembots. Bionic women. Borg queens. Stepford wives. Sometimes they’re hot. Sometimes they’re fierce. And yet sometimes, they all start to look the same. When’s the last time you saw a female robot who didn’t appear to have a waist-to-hip ratio of 0.7? Other than Rosie, the robot maid from The Jetsons. This powerful portrait of London-based plus-size model Bea Sweet by digital artist Benedict Campbell confronts that question head-on.
“Aw, look – it’s baby’s first pair of Doc Martens! They were oxblood steel-toes and I bought them on sale. I really wanted the tall 20-hole boots, but these were all I could afford on my three-dollar-a-week chore slave allowance. The rest I spent on clove cigarettes and LSD. Sorry ma + pa! I turned out all right, though!”
“Pony” by Tim Lewis, and the Kinetica Art Fair
“I think that when you first approach a piece of art, and you imagine it and draw it, there’s a sense that it will always remain somewhat in your imagination. Its only when you take the 2D object and re-work it into the physical 3D world that it becomes somewhat more real. It no longer just exists in your eyes and mind, but instead has to react with the floors and walls around it in the physical world. For me, kinetic art highlights the importance of bringing both inventions and imagination into a physical existence.” ~Tim Lewis
Digging Up Dirt on Thanksgiving Eve
“Thanksgiving. The time to visit your family, to give thanks for what you have; your loved ones, your health, your path in life. […] You find yourself dusting off a copy of your junior high yearbook, lit only by the glow of the MySpace welcome screen. You type in the first name, hit “Search,” and it begins…”
Harry Crosby’s Black Sun
Harry Crosby –self indulgent socialite, tortured poet, wealthy mystic, a playboy who lived his life with reckless abandon – was a man both adored and reviled. He has been described by some as “a representative figure of the so-called Lost Generation” of the 1920s. A godson of J.P. Morgan Jr., and decorated veteran of WWI, he once sent a telegram from Paris to his father, the quintessential patriarch, which read, “Please sell $10,000 worth in stock. We intend to live a mad and extravagant life.” And that they certainly did! Sarah Elizabeth discusses Crosby’s life and death legacies with playwright Erik Rodgers.
“It’s a weird hysteria – the loathing of the caged for the free. It got under my skin… these people basically saying ‘good riddance to gutterpunks’ and that they got what they deserved for choosing to live the way they lived.” Angeliska Polacheck’s poignant essay on modern, nomadic American youth.
The Making of a Magazine: Coilhouse Issue 01
Join us on our maiden voyage into the exotic world of independent publishing with this elucidating How We Made the Coilsausage post, full of sexy words like “ozalids” and “boustrophedon”. Yes, comrades, we learned them all, and so much more, during the process of putting together our first print issue of Coilhouse Magazine.
The Frantic Expressionist Art of Josef Fenneker
Inky backgrounds of blackest shadows. Murky, moody gloom wrought in stark contrast to bloodless facial expressions and vivid with violent emotion, whether delirious passion, or murderous lunacy. An examination of one of the more criminally undersung illustrative geniuses of the Expressionist era.
Fear of an Androgynous Model: Andrej Pejic Brings Out the Hyenas
Andrej Pejic, the beautiful, androgynous Australian model, has had an amazing degree of success for one so young. He’s graced the covers of Vogue‘s international editions and worked with such names as Marc Jacobs and Jean Paul-Gaultier. His very presence in so many high-profile fashion venues is hopefully evidence that, in spite of continuing phobia and ignorance, some things are changing for the better.
John Murray Spear Builds a Machine God
“We think of alternative culture as a modern phenomenon, but it’s as old as culture itself. The 19th century, like every other, wasn’t simple at all. It had its stew of Utopian schemes, parasitic hustlers and debates over authenticity…” David Forbes explores the whacked-out world of John Murray Spear, a middle-aged Universalist pastor in mid-19th century Massachusetts who claimed to be receiving messages from dead men through a machine he called “The New Motor”.
Hiroshi Hirakawa’s Floating Worlds
Ross Rosenberg’s feature on artist Hiroshi Hirakawa, a painter and printmaker endowed with that rare and delicious combination of ferocious talent tempered by a deep appreciation of historical techniques and precedent.
Kathy Acker: It’s All Up to You, Girls
Some of the most brain-scramblingly brilliant clusterfucks in the English language come to us courtesy of the late novelist Kathy Acker. She was a small and potent leather-clad, post-structuralist prose-styling, sex-positive slip of a woman who –according to loving friends and resentful exes alike– moved through the world with the social delicacy of a class F5 tornado..
Are You Somebody’s Daughter?
“Somebody’s Daughter is the title anthem for a Christian-funded DVD/CD set, detailing the trials of five individuals attempting to escape the sweaty clutches of pornography. It’s a sweeping ode to innocence, childhood, and the endurance of the human spirit. It is also unaware that the thought of the young, nude, nubile nymphet fellating a dozen men simultaneously being somebody’s daughter is a turn on for some.”
Remembering Gary Gygax
“Gary was an easy guy to like. He looked like a cross between Gandalf and Stan Lee, with a Lucky Strikes voice and a big laugh. He was a marvelous storyteller, an autodidact with wide interests, and, of course, the developer of an incalculably influential game system millions of people have been playing all over the world since 1974—including myself and at least 33% of this blog’s masthead.” Wayne Chambliss’ touching eulogy for the man who co-created Dungeons & Dragons.
Featured Category: KVLT
Featured Category: “Activism”
“If you’re not outraged, you’re not paying attention.” Subculture < Counterculture. “REVOLUTION GRRRL STYLE NOW.” The “Activism” category –in addition to the “Gender“, “Queer“, “Race“, “Native“, and “Politics” categories– are full of inspiring people, shocking events, helpful resources, and ways to get involved.
Featured Category: “All Tomorrows”
Political Poetry, of the Bard of Florida’s 23rd
“For some among us, the mere titillation of hearing the word ‘coprophilia’ uttered by an elected official may be enough, but that would merely be infantile and in all honesty, it is a sad statement on the depths of the depravity to be found in our modern Congress.”
Cardboard Dueling: Through A Series of Tubes
“As dust rose and danced in the July light, a tournament of warriors fought each other for honor and glory. It was an epic battle of worthy and agile opponents: children, grown men and women, and elderly paladins alike. The game stretched on for several hours. Competitors were eliminated after rounds of bludgeoning each other with swords, their broken weapons littering the ground…”
Harry Clarke’s Haunted Faces, Fragile Silhouettes
“Clarke, an accomplished turn of the century stained glass artist and illustrator, relished anatomy and minutiae, obsessively rendering every refined cheekbone, elongated toe, hair follicle and fabric fold…”
Rob The Rainbow And The Rainbow May Rob You
“He had endured the smirks and the sniggering for too long now, and it was wearing on him, eroding a great rut in his spirit. Who were these people to sneer at him? All he wanted was to make them gay, and the best way he knew to do that was to clothe them in the most resplendent fabrics he could find, which he also knew, as should any fool with half a brain, came from the rainbow. What was so funny about that? What was the goddamn joke?”
The Mysterious, Musical Megumi Satsu
“The striking French singer’s voice cascades like velvet and breaks like glass. Her hat collection is rivaled only by that of Grace Jones. The drama! The floorwork! The camp! It’s hard to say whether she’s exactly ‘known’ but the avant-garde underground clout can not be denied.”
BIRDEMIC and the Dichotomy of Ironic Hipster Fan Luv
Hipster culture: “fashionable nihilism”? Viewed from either side of a VICE “Do’s and Dont’s” column, that seems like an apt assessment. Is it true? Have the more insecure, over-saturated and jaded among us moved beyond shouting into the void to merely snickering at it? Or worse yet, shrugging? This is the way the world ends, not with a bang, but a “meh” in a mesh hat?
The Bunnies of Okunoshima Island
Between 1929 and 1945, Okunoshima Island was a chemical warfare production site for the Imperial Japanese Army that produced over six kilotons of mustard gas. But these days, it has become far better known as “Usagi Shima” (meaning Rabbit Island), a bunny paradise where robust leporids numbering in the hundreds roam freely and fearlessly…
Dictionnaire Infernal (Demonographia)
Did you know that in addition to vomiting flames and commanding forty legions (most of these dudes seem to command an awful lot of legions… or, alternately, inflict lesions), the Egyptian deity Amon has the power to reconcile differences between friends? Or that Ukobach the Inferior, a lesser minion who maintains the oil in the infernal boilers of hell, also probably invented deep-frying? Is that wild? That is wild! Did you know that? I did not know that. Weird, wild stuff.
Do you like “ruin porn”? That’s okay. So do we. But make no doubt about it: Detroit Thrives. A rich variety of local entrepreneurs, artists, musicians, urban farmers and prodigal shopkeepers of Motor City have been steadily reclaiming and reviving substantial portions of the urban grid, creating robust communities in a crumbling realm. They seem committed, fierce, and in fucking earnest. Check ‘em out.
Choice Cuts from “Night of the Lepus”
MGM laid this rotten egg in 1972 to a flurry of bad reviews and barely stifled laughter. Based on the 1964 science fiction novel The Year of the Angry Rabbit by Australian pulp writer Russell Braddon, the film depicts the valiant struggle of Arizona townies who are unexpectedly forced to defend their homes against an onslaught of deadly, gargantuan, carnivorous… fwuffy wuffly bunneh wabbits.
Respect and Love for Marlon Riggs
Filmmaker Marlon Riggs was a giant of public television during the late 80s and early 90s, and a truly inspiring force for positive change. “His camera traverses the country, bringing us face to face with Black folks young and old, rich and poor, rural and urban, gay and straight, grappling with the paradox of numerous, often contested definitions of Blackness.”
Triumphs and Tribulations of the Rock-afire Explosion
Many of our American readers may recall The Rock-afire Explosion animatronic stage show from their pepperoni ‘n’ cheese-drenched childhood. But! Did you know that, in recent years, one of the old Rock-afire platforms has been re-tooled into a custom-programmable animatronic jamboree for crowdsourced songs and private clients? You have not lived until you watch furry, anthropomorphized robots lip sync to “Pop, Lock, and Drop It.”
Misogyny in Industrial Music
“Once industrial music had fully transitioned from avant-garde venues into nightclubs, the stench of Axe body spray began to dominate the subculture as a certain douchey, bro-tastic vibe emerged. Where the goth/industrial scene had once existed as a safe haven for artists, weirdos, outcasts, geeks, dreamers and rebels, a disturbing trend of sexism, racism and anti-intellectualism is driving people out.”
Superstar: The Karen Carpenter Story
In 1987, director Todd Haynes shocked and moved unprepared audiences with this now-infamous and nigh-impossible-to-track down 43 minute film about the brief, troubled life of Karen Carpenter…as depicted with Barbie Dolls. More than two full decades after it was banned, copies of Superstar still remain very difficult to track down. Except, of course (somewhat dubiously), online.
How to Make Love to a Trans Person
The Bloop: Listen On Dry Land!
“That is some mind-rending, scary-ass, dont-think-about-it-too-hard-or-you’ll-shit-a-squid kinda stuff, people! Forget about alien invasion from outer space. Our destruction shall come from the depths. I’m telling you.”
Coilhouse Black and White and Red All Over Ball
In late July of 2011, we posted this clarion call: “Calling All East Coast Beasties! COILHOUSE FUNDRAISING PARTY IN NYC. Sunday, August 21st. Don’t miss it!” We were counting on our community to come together, get creative, and help us generate the emergency funds required to finally get our long-languishing Issue 06 to the printers. Oh, how you came together, and oh, what a creative and wonderful celebration it was! Hundreds of people traveled from across the country, gathering at the Lotus Room in Brooklyn to volunteer their time and their talents, or simply to dress fabulously and cut a rug and raise their glasses in endless toasts to Alternative Culture as we know it. Artists from all over the world donated work to the auction, and created elegant limited edition Coilmerch to mark the occasion. The Coilhouse Black & Red & White All Over Fundraising Ball was, without a doubt, the most diverse, most passionate, most joyfully sweaty and gratefully tearful experience in all of Coilhouse’s five-year history. We will never forget it, or any of the thousands of people who took part in some way. And we’ll never stop saying thank you.