“First-Ever” Hello Kitty Maternity Ward Now Open

First, I’m going to meet this guy… no, wait, this guy. And he’s going to give me this ring. And on our wedding day, I’m going to wear this dress, and eat this cake. And on our wedding night, I’ll wear this, and hopefully these will work, but if not, it’s cool, because I’ve always wanted to put together one of these! We’re going to build this kind of home. With these couches, and this dog. And if anyone dares to break into our house to steal our our awesome toasterwe’re gonna blow them away with this AK-47. So when it comes time the birthing to commence, I’m gonna fly Hello Kitty Airlines to Taiwan. From the airport, I’ll be rushed to the new Hau Sheng Hospital in this car, and there, I’m going to give birth to one of these. And he’ll grow up to be this big!

But seriously, this new Hello Kitty maternity hospital that just opened in Taiwan is the place to be. According to Reuters:

Newborns get everything Hello Kitty but a set of whiskers, including pink or blue receiving blankets, nurses dressed in pink uniforms with cat-themed aprons, cot linen and room decor. In the lobby, a Hello Kitty statue in a doctor’s uniform greets patients, and twice a year people in feline costumes visit mothers and children. The cat’s likeness even shows up on birth certificate covers.

I wish I could get born there.

Larytta’s Living Kaleidoscope

Swiss laptop sampler pop duo Larytta call their schizotypal steez “Difficult Fun” and I couldn’t agree more. It’s smart, cheeky, surprisingly radio-ready electronica. You may find yourself simultaneously shaking your booty (with zeal) and your head (in consternation). This video for “Souvenir de Chine”, created by  Körner Union with the help of several dozen furry and feathered friends, has certainly left me feeling conflicted (“awww, those poor critters… OOOH, a living kaleidoscope!”) but I can neither stop watching, nor listening:

(Via Siege, thanks.)

Zo! Style Technician December 8, 2008

On Friday, agent Q and I took a trip to Huntington Library and botanical gardens. The newly-open Dibner Hall offers a permanent collection titled “Beautiful Science” that’s dedicated to some of humanity’s most significant discoveries in astronomy, natural history, medicine, and light. The exhibit features an astounding array of manuscripts and artwork. Early visual representations of the world and the body were my favorite aspects of the show. All that imagination poured onto paper, attempting to solidify what could only be imagined at the time was very inspiring. There is also an adjoining exhibit of Charles Darwin’s botanical exploits in relation to his ideas of evolution. Included are Darwin’s actual hand-written logs and sketches, along with plant samples he harvested on Galapagos Islands. The Huntington is an enormous estate, we were only able to cover about one third of the perimeter! I intend to return soon and check out the Greene & Greene exhibit. Some of my photos from the gardens, here.

And what’s to be worn for a trip such as this? December in LA is as mild as one can imagine, with occasional cool winds and sparse rain. And with the museum being rather warm inside, the natural answer was “layers”. As we made our way through paintings and gardens I gave Q a crash-course in photography and snapped some photos of him, as well. We took over a park bench for nearly an hour doing so, much to the confusion of other visitors. Admire his man-fashion skills! Check out the boots I’ve been wearing non-stop for months! My fashion mantra since dying my hair black has been “raincloud”, as illustrated by the endless shades of gray that have taken over my wardrobe. Must be the season! Without further ado, the pictures, below.

Better Than Coffee: Duke Gets Yiffy Wid’ It

Sometimes, the less exposition the better. I’m pretty sure this is one of those times. Let me just say: if you watch this entire video, I can just about guarantee you’ll be wide fucking awake with elevated blood pressure and an increased heart rate by the end.

Good morning, good morning, GOOOD MOOOOORRRRRNIIIIING…


Nicole Renaud, neosoprano

Photo by Umberto D’Aniello.

Nicole Renaud calls herself a “neosoprano” and it’s a fitting description. Her lovely operatic voice is coupled with a graceful, modest manner, fanciful handmade costumes, envy-making globetrotting lifestyle and a sparkling musicality. She sings a mix of original songs and operatic arias, accompanied by accordion or piano.

I first learned of her via Isengart’s Foreign Affairs cabaret party (more on him later) last Spring, where she wowed everyone in the room with her beauty and originality. I went twice. To see her perform is a captivating dream, even if she’s singing in French and you’ve got no clue what she’s saying. Second video after the jump.

“Shine On Me” Will Burn Out All Your Irony Receptors

Oh… my. Wayne just memed my ass out with the most astonishing OMGWTFBBQ music video of the year. Imagine what might happen if the rennies spiked your mead with DMT at Medieval Times. It is Epic. It is Über.

Meet Chris Dane Owens. He is here to fuck you, amigo. Fuck you earnestly, somberly, savagely, without the courtesy of a reach-around. For he is Legolas on a meth binge. He is Limahl with brass balls. His “Shine on Me” video is the prodigious, tumescent, chain-mail-piercing, pirate-booty-plundering, Adobe After Effects-abusing, alligator-exploiting, stock footage-pillaging D&D Destructo Dildo to the insidious butt plug of Brokencyde’s “Freaxx”.

Keep watching. Don’t click away. Follow that sparkly green Gretsch all the way to the finish line. Take it to the hilt, paladin.

4SJ FTW 4EVER (We’ll Miss You, Uncle Forry)

Dearly departed Forrest J Ackerman. Photo by Mark Berry from a series of portraits taken for Bizarre Magazine’s wonderful feature on the Ackermonster.

Forrest J Ackerman: literary agent, magazine editor, writer, actor, producer, archivist, curator, and so much more, too much to pack into a brief obituary. He was a crackpot visionary to the max, to be sure, and deeply loved by millions of fellow freakazoids the world over. Tip o’ the iceberg: he discovered Ray Bradbury, represented Isaac Asimov, Ed Wood and L. Ron Hubbard, founded Famous Monsters of Filmland and is widely acknowledged as the man who coined the term “sci-fi.”

Ackerman cultivated one of the most enormous private collections of science-fiction movie and literary memorabilia in the world, cramming his hillside “Ackermansion” with 50,000 books, thousands more science-fiction magazines, and such priceless collectibles as Bela Lugosi’s cape, actual Star Trek tribbles, and original props from War of the Worlds.

He sold off quite a bit of his collection back in 2002 and moved to a smaller place, but schedule permitting, continued to open his home to strangers every Satuday afternoon to view his remaining treasures. He greatly enjoyed sharing his many colorful stories and anecdotes with fellow Hollyweird aficionados. Speaking to the AP during a lively tour of the Ackermansion on his 85th birthday, Ackerman said “My wife used to [ask] ‘How can you let strangers into our home?’ But what’s the point of having a collection like this if you can’t let people enjoy it?”

His health had been in a steady decline for months. He passed away at his home in LA yesterday, aged 92.

Skin Two: The Long Goodbye

In addition to the many magazines we’ve already mentioned, one of the biggest influences on Coilhouse was Skin Two, the legendary UK fetish mag that’s been around since 1984. Skin Two and the print version of Coilhouse actually share quite a few contributors. David Hindley, who shot the “All Yesterday’s Parties” story in Issue 01, also shot the cover of SK2’s Issue 42 (see below, bottom left). And Nelly Recchia, who appeared in Issue 01’s “People as Pets,” is actually an artist I first discovered in SK2 Issue 51. Other SK2 alums found in Coilhouse Issue 01 include Scar, Atsuko Kudo and Mother of London. Issue 01’s inside cover, conceived by Mildred, was a direct nod to Skin Two’s influence.

And now, the undeniable truth is out: Skin Two is folding. Everyone who’s been following the mag saw this coming from a mile away. Since Skin Two hasn’t brought itself to make a formal announcement, here’s their former editor, Tony Mitchell, spilling the beans (perhaps with a bit of glee) on his blog:

Skin Two magazine is ceasing publication. Information posted on the skintwo.com website states that a new product, the Skin Two Yearbook, is taking over from the legendary fetish journal. Speculation about the impending demise of the magazine was sparked two weeks ago by an e-mail revealing that Liz Tray, its only full-time employee, was leaving the company. Something about the low-key style of this announcement suggested that a bigger story might be about to break. Then, at the end of October, it became evident that all references to advertising in Skin Two magazine had been removed from the Skin Two website. The ‘advertising’ link from the main navigation menu leads to a page that lists all the Skin Two products in which advertising can be bought — and Skin Two magazine is no longer on that list.

Will the current issue 59 be the last, or will the mag carry on to notch up a full 60 editions — or more — before closing? And when will the first Yearbook actually appear? In familiar Skin Two style, no publication date has been given, though blurb on the website refers to it as if it is already in print.

Skin Two was the first truly alt magazine I ever stumbled on, at age 13 (for the fashion, at first), and it inspired me in ways I can’t even count. I still get inspired for Coilhouse, looking at my stack of old Skin Two’s. Having eventually worked with Skin Two, I got to experience the best and worst of it. At its best, this magazine was beautiful, subversive, sexy and strange. At its worst, it was sleazy, tacky and boring. What killed Skin Two? Could anything have saved it? A completely arbitrary, incomplete, biased and NSFW history of Skin Two (with pictures of my favorite and not-so-favorite covers!), after the jump.

Weekly Ad Uncoiling: queer-travel.de

Mount Assmore! This is truly one of the funniest ads (click here for closer look) I’ve seen in my 20 years in this fucked-up business. It’s for German website queer-travel.de, who for over 12 years, have made “gay and lesbian travel dreams come true…” according to the highly reliable Google translate function. This week, the Epica Awards, “Europe’s Premier Creative Awards,” announced that this cheeky execution had a won a silver in the press and poster category. I’m sorry, but it totally smokes the gold winner. I usually poo-poo this hackneyed ad visual technique of manipulating well-known landmarks (Rushmore has been abused many times), but this one is just so wonderfully bizarre, and apropos! So, to the Presidential asses! Teddy (second from right) has the roundest rump, but Abraham’s (far right) is the tightest tushy. Poor George (left) has the flattest … I wonder what the open-minded, DOMA (Defense of Marriage Act)-supporting South Dakotans (and the equable Bill O’Reilly!) would think of this sullying of their state treasure?

Dolphin – Indie Rap of the Motherland

There is a restaurant we three like to go to here in LA that plays current music videos from Russia. It was there, on election night of all nights, where my eye was caught by an odd music video. It stood out from the glittery, overly polished, collagen-peroxide-silicone blur that is Russian music TV. A Google expedition later I’m downloading everything by Dolphin, relieved that Stella Solieil isn’t a regular part of the configuration.

Andrei Lisikov a.k.a. Dolphin on the cover of Russian magazine Afisha

Dolphin has been making noise for over 10 years, has won several high-ranking awards but has yet to hook an international audience. The sound is something like The Streets on the last leg of a bender. Singer and former breakdancer Andrei Lisikov combines rap, soft singing and screaming over organic and electronic music. It’s not at all my usual cup of tea but after a few days’ worth of listening I still like it. The song below is called “Without us” and has some of the most misanthropic lyrics ever. It’s not my favorite but the video is neat.

Maybe Dolphin will become a guilty pleasure, akin to my secret love of George Michael? Only time will tell. While I sort through my conflicting feelings, I want to hear your thoughts on this stuff! There are several more completely different videos from Dolphin, after the jump. Has anyone heard of them before, while I was living under a rock? Does anyone dig it besides me?