Hilarious Posts from Ayn Rand Dating Site

Anton LaVey, Scott Cunningham, Ayn Rand – oh, the follies of youth! I’d nearly forgotten my 14-year-old Objectivist phase until I stumbled on the hilarious “Free-Market Meat Market,” an article over at New York Magazine that features posts from an Ayn Rand Dating site, with precious gems such as this:

thustotyrants, Selden, New York
[I am] short, stark, and mansome.

You should contact me if you are a skinny woman. If your words are a meaningful progression of concepts rather than a series of vocalizations induced by your spinal cord for the purpose of complementing my tone of voice. If you’ve seen the meatbot, the walking automaton, the pod-people, the dense, glazy-eyed substrate through which living organisms such as myself must escape to reach air and sunlight. If you’ve realized that if speech is to be regarded as a cognitive function, technically they aren’t speaking, and you don’t have to listen.

Ladies… any takers?

Pink Things.

Yerim and Her Pink Things, 2005

The images above and below are just a few from JeongSee Yoon’s Pink And Blue Project, an ongoing set of images dealing with gender, consumerism, and globalization. Dozens of surreal, hyperdetailed images of mostly Asian boys and girls with their blue and pink things appear on Yoon’s page. The girls’ images are what strike me the most. “It looks like these little princesses vomited fairy-floss all over themselves,” observes Katie Olson at Lifelounge, then adds: “Fabulous.” Indeed!

It wasn’t always this way. The color pink, Yoon notes, was once considered the color of masculinity, a watered-down version of the virile color red. He quotes a 1914 American newspaper that advises parents to “use pink for the boy and blue for the girl, if you are a follower of convention.” The reversal of colors for boys and girls occurred only after World War II. Writes Yoon, “as modern society entered twentieth century political correctness, the concept of gender equality emerged and, as a result, reversed the perspective on the colors associated with each gender as well as the superficial connections that attached to them. Today, with the effects of advertising on consumer preferences, these color customs are a worldwide standard.” This is the first time I’ve ever heard the claim that the feminist movement is somehow even indirectly responsible for “pink for girls.” Some quick “say it ain’t so!” Internet research reveals that historians have been unable to pinpoint the reason for the post-WWII color reversal. Reasons for the reversal have been pinned on everything from the Nazis (who labeled the homosexuals in their camps with pink triangles) to a cultural desire on post-war America’s part to bury Rosie the Riveter and replace her with Susie Homemaker. A plausible theory – and I think I uncovered the missing link!

With stores like nANUFACTURE in Spain marketing to parents who wish to avoid the pink/blue dichotomy, it’s clear that color-coding your child’s life is increasingly being seen as unfashionable, even a bit creepy – though, as SocImages points out, this expensive store’s “Save the Babies” campaign may be “more about ‘saving’ kids from things these young, hip parents think are lame or uncool.” Even without the aid of hipster-kid clothing boutiques, parents have a myriad of choices for dressing their kids. As Yoon shows us, some skip out on the pink/blue thing altogether.

For parents of transgender children, on the other hand, the choices today are more complicated than ever. If your son insists, every day, for years, since the moment he can talk, that he’s a girl and not a boy, what kind of clothing do you buy? What kind of toys do you give them? A fascinating article in the current Atlantic examines this issue, focusing on the growing culture of parents who wish to honor their children’s wishes – and the difficulties that accompany such a decision. Delving into everything from children’s rights to Freudian therapy resembling scenes from But I’m a Cheerleader to the heartbreaking story of David Reimer (from the book As God Made Him), the article compassionately examines families on both sides of the fence, chronicling the paths of families who decide to go with their children’s wishes, and those who decide to fight against them.

Love on ya, Lev.


Now, I know it’s quite early in the morning and some of us are still a bit hungover and as greasily stuffed as vat-fried Turduckens, but it’s time we all gathered ’round and sang happy birthday to our darling Nadya, the magical grrrlchild who brought this entire Coilhouse venture into being by sheer force of will, prescience, and love.

Yes, you already know that she’s an engaging writer who emits a quiet sagacity one would not necessarily expect from so young and doe-eyed a dear. You’re well aware that she’s a phenomenal photographer. But just in case we’ve not made it clear to you already? Nadya Lev is the reason Coilhouse exists. Were it not for our scrumptious mastermind, none of this would be here, and Nadya is the one who continues to hold it all together like a tiny, sexy tube of superglue. So take a moment to send her some whelping-day well-wishing, won’t you? I’m sure it’ll mean more to her than my questionable decision to pelt her with obscure indie spaz rock.


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. An opportunity to return to your old room, to dig through your old stuff, to admit that you’re glad to be outta there. And then it’s late at night and the whole house is snoring, except for you. You find yourself wide awake, 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:

Your middle-school tormentors. Still living in that town you left behind. Wait, are they still living with their parents? Ha! Their top friends – your other tormentors from junior high. You think of all the people you’ve met in your life – on a train in London, at a gig in Rome, on the playa at Burning Man, on a photoshoot in Portland, in class, at a roller derby, on LJ, that time you volunteered – and you wonder, is this tiny slice of the world the only thing they know? Yes, you decide for them. It is. With great delight, you page through photos of their greasy significant others, and their babies, with their stained bibs, who look so heavy. A sense of poetic justice settles on the story you’ve been playing in your head, in which you’re the main character in the universe. Yes – the boy who put garbage on your desk grew up to be a garbage man. You won. They lost. And you all deserve everything that you got. It’s so simple, after all.

After a while, you find that the schadenfreude has an aftertaste, and it’s not something you expected. You begin to feel melancholy, and somehow very alone. Why are you clicking on their pictures, by yourself, in the dark? You try to tell yourself that you only wanted a laugh, but there’s something there. “Does what they did still hurt me, after all these years? Why else would I need to look up their crappy pictures?” What would happen if you suddenly found one of them in a wheelchair? Is it right to laugh when maybe they lacked something you had – say, a nutruring upbringing that made you succeed? And finally, what does this impulse to raise ghosts from the past say about you?

Readers, if you’ve ever engaged in this type of “research,” fess up. What did you find – and how did it make you feel?

Better Than Coffee: 8-Bit “Angel of Death” by Slayer

Bear with the somewhat sluggish posting schedule, folks. We’re slogging through last-minute corrections to the final proofs of Issue 02 and losing our minds in the process. I do mean that literally. Earlier tonight, poor Nadya sneezed and a big chunk of her frontal lobe fell out. I called her just now to discuss a kerning issue and the conversation went a little something like this. Meanwhile, Zoetica’s delicate alien grey matter has liquefied entirely from overexposure to laptop radiation. As for me, well, I’m having flashbacks of that one time I accidentally took ‘shrooms laced with bathtub LSD and ran out into traffic on the I-580 yelling “FLESH TETRIS, FLESH TETRIS, EVERYTHING FEELS LIKE MATH, FOR THE LOVE OF GOD STOP THE FLESH TETRIS, STOPPIT, HNNNGH” until someone threw a tarp over my head.

It certainly doesn’t help that this 8-Bit version of “Angel of Death” has been lodged in my noggin for several days now.

Good morning, by the way.

(More musical 8-Bit sillypants after the jump.)

It’s a Coilhouse!

You know how, as a child, you have that one vivid dream that you remember for the rest of your life? Mine was about this snail house. This exact one. I must have been about five or six. I dreamt that I was lost alone in the woods, in a very eerie Hedgehog in the Fog kind of way. Wandering through the hazy forest, shivering as the twigs creaked underneath my feet, I came upon a little house that was shaped like a giant snail, with windows illuminated by old-fashioned kerosene lamps. There, a kindly lady with white hair and a hunched back waited for me. She was the innkeeper, and the snail house was her inn… or maybe it wasn’t an inn, maybe it was some sort of safe house for lost wanderers. I don’t remember. At any rate, she sat me down and served me buttered pierogi, tea and warm milk. She asked me to help her run the house, I gladly agreed. The longer I stayed, the more a part of me the house became; physically, and mentally. For example, I could make the house move from place to place with my mind. When I woke up in real life, I kept shutting my eyes and wishing I could go back. It was the most comfortable place I’d ever been.

I never thought I’d see that place so clearly again, so imagine my shock when I stumbled across this lovely dollhouse by Russian-born, Helsink-based artist Ilona. Ilona, who has no site, only a modest LJ, sculpted every detail of the tiny house, from the shell exterior to the tiny paper magazines on a shelf inside. She was apparently inspired by this image, which she found on a Russian LiveJournal community “for people who love snails.” (Oh, and here’s a totally inappropriate picture from this community to totally ruin the mood of this nostalgic post. Enjoy!). But I digress. This dollhouse is completely magical to me. I love the images of the snail-house by day, but I love it even more by night, because that’s when it most resembles the snail-house in my dream. But what really stopped me was the title. It’s called The Boarding House “At Snail’s.” It sounds better in Russian because the word “snail” is a very soothing, gentle word – ulitka.

Tonight! Mer Perfoms with Ragwater Revue

San Franciscans, tonight you are in for a special treat. Mer is performing with the Ragwater Revue at The Stork Club! If you have never seen Mer perform, let me tell you: it’s an experience. I’ve seen her twice, so far. One time, she played violin with The Dresden Dolls, and the other time, it was at our launch party, rockin’ the theremin. And let me tell you people – people faint when she plays. She’s that good.

So imaginging Mer with the Ragwater Revue – “a lethal concoction of booze-fueled swamp lust” – makes me want to hop on a plane to the Bay Area right now. Ragwater Revue combines elements of swampy blues, rockabilly and 1960s garage rock with lyrics that invoke alligator babies, glass eyes and cemeteries.  “Imagine an old seedy bar in the 1930s where women adorned in puffy mink shawls smoke using long Cruella DeVille-like cigarette extenders and dark-haired men in suits slowly tap their feet to some jazzy blues,” writes Artsweek California. “Ragwater Revue would be the band on the stage.” As an added bonus, tonight’s show also debuts Coilhouse’s own star commenter Gooby Herms on bass! This show is not to be missed.

21:00 at Stork Club: Death Rock Dive Bar!
2330 Telegraph Ave, Oakland, California 94612. Cost: TBA.

Sing Those Blues, Sita!

When I first heard about Sita Sings the Blues, my initial reaction was one of near-disbelief. “No, wait, you’re telling me that someone made a feature-length animated version of the Ramayana focused on much-put-upon Sita and if that wasn’t enough, it’s filled with musical numbers set to Annette Hanshaw’s inimitable jazz vocals? With sarcastic shadow puppets?! You’re kidding, right?”

No, Nina Paley‘s Sita Sings the Blues is very, blessedly, real. My next reaction was that something this eclectic and experimental in concept was going to either crash and burn or succeed brilliantly.

The result? Well here’s a glimpse:

After attending a sold-out showing at the Asheville Film Festival a two weeks ago, I was blown away. It is, without a doubt, like nothing I have seen on screen. There are very few movies anymore where one can gleefully proclaim, mid-way through “Wow, I’ve got no fucking clue what’s going to happen next!”

Sita‘s magnificence is a testament to the tireless hard work and innovative vision of Paley, a longtime alternative cartoonist, who made the whole film on her home computer over five years. The ideas for the movie stem from a particularly harsh break-up (that story’s also told in the movie). Her struggle still isn’t over either: her creation still faces numerous hurdles, both from Hindu fundamentalists and corporate music juggernauts. This thankfully hasn’t stopped it from tearing up the festival circuit across several continents, getting much acclaim at big name fests like Berlin and Tribeca.

So how did something like this come about? Paley was kind enough to talk about the movie’s genesis, its challenges and why audiences these days are doing more than just buying tickets.

COILHOUSE: Why make a feature movie out of the Ramayana, of all things?
NINA PALEY: Well, I was moved by the story and it seemed to speak so much to my life at the time, my problems at the time. It was cathartic to retell the story.

The tagline you use in the movie is “the Greatest Breakup Story Ever Told”
Which is a nod to the Bible movie, the Greatest Story Ever Told.

Weekly Ad Uncoiling: Russian Bear Vodka

Yes, we’re back in a public restroom! (Hi George Michael!) But instead of discussing your shit, this time we’ll be discussing your shit-facedness. Russian Bear vodka apparently placed this poster in some clubs and bars around Cape Town, South Africa. It’s a pretty damn cool idea, using fake Cyrillic lettering. Because when you’re a high-proof spirit presenting a “don’t drink and drive” ad message to drunks, doing so with a little fun and a wink strikes the right tone. But…yes, I have a problem with the execution. “Real Men…?” Really? You couldn’t come up with something better than that idiotic cliche? How bout simply “Comrade?” Or something like “Party Members Don’t Drink And Drive.” The Soviet propaganda-style art direction is begging for something else, right? (Image via adgoodness.)

Patricia Piccinini’s Human Animals

The Young Family by Patricia Piccinini

A friend and I were deep in the tunnels of late-night Internet mining when he sent me a link to the image above. Accidental discovery! Ten minutes later we were scraping our jaws off the floor while perusing Patricia Piccinini’s website. “Young Family” is part of a series devoted to genetic engineering, tradition and our potential metamorphoses as result of rapid scientific and social change.

These creatures are designed by Patricia and created by teams of sculptors, painters and upholsterers.  Beyond the mind-boggling technical aspects of her mixed media installations, Piccinini focuses on questioning science, humanity’s fading sense of acceptable reality and the discrepancies between physical and emotional beauty. From the essay about this pieces:

The sculpture puts on public display all the physical attributes denied in the days of plastic surgery, airbrushes and full-body waxes – fat, wrinkles, moles hairs and bumps. Their owner has her hands and feet curled up on themselves and lies in a semi-fetal position of defense and vulnerability, suggesting a kind of withdrawal from this display. At the same time, her humane demeanor and maternal generosity make these fleshly imperfections [for that is how we are socialized to see them] seem less important than acceptance and inclusiveness. Piccinni calls her “beautiful”, saying “she is not threatening, but a face you could love, and a face inlove with her family.

For all its grotesqueness, this sculptural tableau focuses on the loving, nurturing relationship of mother and babies that is fundamental to life This unifying quality – emphasized by the kidney-shaped enclosure of the group as a family unit – is at odds with the composite heterogeneity of the creature.

What I thought to be concept art for the Dark Crystal Pt. 2 turned out to be touching social commentary. I do still enjoy these sculptures on a purely visual level and come back to Patricia’s website to study every pore, fold and mystery orifice. A few more below the jump.