Better Than Coffee: It’s Potty Time!

It’s Potty Time!
Tags: It’s Potty Time!

Once Upon A TimeTM and Long, Long Ago ® (1991 to be precise), a tiny enchanted prince came to rule over our dark and troubled kingdom. In this grand realm populated by porcelain damsels, excitable clowns, and shit-caked teddy bears with baleful button eyes, the omniscient Wee Potty Prince sees all, smells all.

Even as you read this, he’s waiting, perched on the rim of your bathtub in a jaunty red beret and suspenders. You might not see him, but he is there, I assure you. Swinging his legs, tooting on his maaaagic flute. Watching you.

Oh yes. Always watching.

And so is Ceiling Cat.

And Jeff Goldblum.

An Ovation for Zoe Keating, a Raspberry for NPR

Update, 02/24/09: Some good folks over at NPR (thank you, Andy Carvin and Bob Boilen!) are looking into the oversight written about here. They’ve since added proper credits to the piece. Also, Zoë is currently listed as the #2 seller on iTunes classical. All’s well that ends well.

Koko Theater, October 2008, London. ⓒ Polstar Photography.

I think my Coilhouse cohorts will agree that one of the very bestest things about being involved with this venture is being able to give props to lovable people who do lovely things. I’ve been meaning to sing the praises of cellist Zoë Keating for ages now. She’s a visionary artist with immense talent and soul… and a sweetheart to boot.

When we first met several years ago, she was playing second fiddle (so to speak) in Melora Creager’s honorable neo-Victorian outfit, Rasputina. At the time, I was astonished by Zoë’s incredible ear and deep, rich tone. As it turns out, I was only hearing select facets of what she’s capable of.

Zoë Keating opening for Amanda Palmer last year. Shot by AleXIXandra.

More recently, Zoë has been self-producing and releasing solo recordings of a project she calls One Cello x 16, in which she deftly uses live electronic sampling, looping and repetition to create lush, beautiful layers of sound. Zoë is classically trained but a swashbuckler at heart; her music builds a hypnotic, swaying bridge between the old guard and the new. Ambient, pop, and orchestral sensibilities trade off, with each distinctive element bolstered by her powerful musicianship and sensitivity.

Regretfully, the reason I’m finally getting around to writing about Zoë is a bit of frustration I’m feeling on her behalf. NPR’s show All Things Considered used a song of hers yesterday without permission or credit. Zoë’s been featured on NPR before –a great opportunity for her– but in my opinion, that’s no excuse for their programmers to assume she’d be fine with them arbitrarily yoinking her work and using it anonymously. NPR is supposed to support off-the-beaten-path artists, not exploit ’em, right?

Yuri Gagarin, Space Cadet Under the Sea

The ever-weird EnglishRussia just posted a rare collection of Yuri Gagarin photos. I’m used to seeing this hero of my childhood, the first man in space, smiling like Superman while decked in Soviet bling, so the image above of Gagarin posing with a skeleton and his creepy friend, Russian Crispin Glover, took me by surprise. There are so many things to love about this image. I love the expression on the skeleton’s face! I love the buttons on that coat! This is definitely the kind of pin-up I’d put on my wall.

And below, we have… well, I’m not entirely sure what we have there. It appears to be Gagarin dressed as Neptune for a play. But if he’s Neptune, then who’s the guy in the turban? And doesn’t it look like they’re in a gym locker room? Someone help me decipher this mystery.

Fashion Week During The Apocalypse

This week, guest blogger Molly Crabapple pops by to bring you the the Coilhouse Guide to Fashion Week During The Apocalypse. Below is Part One – In Praise of Odyn Vovk. After the jump, a quickie interview with Odyn Vovk creator Austin Sherbanenko and a Molly sketch of the Vovk afterparty. Yay!

Images of the Odyn Vovk show by Molly Crabapple

Despite being a New Yorker, I’ve never attended Fashion Week. I took pride in shunning the air-kissy white tents at Bryant Park. But the spectacle of Fashion Week before the Fall – the splendor of $50,000 cloth objets d’art in the months before the economic apocalypse was too much for me. “Zo,” I cried, “may I cover Fashion Week for Coilhouse?”

Fashion Week during our second depression is a considerably chastened affair. Alt Girl goddess Betsey Johnson ditched the tents. Celebrities are also conspicuously absent. Displays of excess don’t look so good these days. In their place are hoards of bloggers, who steal seats and swag-bags with Visigoth-style glee.

On Thursday morning, I stood on line for an hour with my fellow barbarians to pick up press passes. Getting passes to Fashion Week is deliberately confusing. You register on the Mercedes Benz website, but your press badge doesn’t guarantee you entry to any shows. You have to try to talk your way into each of those individually.

Fancy pants designers like BCBG and Nanette Lepore have little use for bloggers. However, being registered as press means I’m besieged with invites for Helen Yarmuk’s “FROM RUSSIA WITH LOVE- a showing of Winter White furs v Extraordinary jewels v sport luxe Separates And Exotic skin accessories.” Even more confusing? Most of the best, most innovative designers aren’t showing at Bryant Park at all. Case in point: Odyn Vovk.

Neutral-toned, face-obscuring, post-apocalyptic Odyn Vovk (Ukrainian for “One Wolf”) is the one designer Zo insisted I cover. They held their show at a crumbling theatre in the Lower East Side. The crowd, with their pokey cheekbones, tattoos and artfully deconstructed capelets, looked like it would cut you:

Odyn Vovk fan

What’s freaky about fashion shows is how theatrical they are. They start 30 minutes late, and you make your way to the seat in pitch dark, chatting with a stylist. Then, blinding lights shoot on, live violins spring into action, and beautiful human beings, as carefully bred as greyhounds, jut their hips down a catwalk.
Odyn Vovk’s clothes look like they’re from a Mad Max future where contagious diseases run rampant and people really know their leatherwork. Think dark. Think layers. Think practical basics (lots of zip-front jackets and hoodies) combined with a quixotic quest to bring back the dust mask. Odyn Vovk’s guys look the elegant and sinister, and – this is deadly rare in a fashion show – they look tough. These are zombie-slaying clothes.

Rise and Fall of the Nazi Dinosaurs

When I was wee, I didn’t play with Barbies. I preferred toy soldiers, plastic dinosaurs, Briar horses, Transformers, etc. Admittedly, I related to these objects a bit differently from my guy pals. I’d still knock my toys around as enthusiastically as the little boys who lived up the street, but at playtime’s end, something shifted in my psyche. A deeply ingrained maternal instinct compelled me to soothe and calm my action figures, tucking them into snug swaddling “nests” I’d make from stockings and underoos. The walls of my room were often lined with balled-up socks that had the heads of D-Day soldiers and T-Rexes sticking out of the top. I’d sing to my podlings, “flying” them slowly through the air to help them fall asleep. My parents looked on in confusion and dismay. (But hey, at least I wasn’t finding new and interesting ways to vivisect Malibu Stacy.)

This pointless and meandering trip down memory lane is brought to you by the discovery of Alex Poutianinen’s ridiculous short film Rise and Fall of the Nazi Dinosaurs, as well as my desire to bump that potentially libelous Danzig post down as swiftly as possible. Yay, internets!

Danzig Slated for New Season of Schlock of Love??

EDITOR’S NOTE, Tuesday, Feb 17th, 8:00 PM: Woops. Turns out this may all actually be a big load of hooey. A hoax. A flummox. A gaff. A fabrication. Serves me right for not examining my sources more carefully. Bad pseudojournalist! Bad! Mea culpa. Will investigate further in the A.M. WHAAAOOOO WHAAOOOOO…

Darque pussy.

Hey, folks! Ever shit yourself and projectile vomit simultaneously? No? Well, get thee to the nearest Port-O-Let before reading any further. Today might be your lucky day!

VH1 announced today that producers are now filming a new season of Rock of Love featuring metal/punk/horror-core legend, Glenn Danzig.

The new show, which will premiere this July, is called Rock of Love: Bride of Satan with Glenn Danzig. Danzig is well-known in metal and punk circles as one of the founding members of 1980s horror-core punk rockers Samhain. He went on to the form hard-rock band Danzig, which scored several top 40 hits in the late ’80s including “Mother” and “She Rides.” Both a singer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist, Danzig is also well-known for his interest in the occult and all things evil. [Anyone else notice the mysterious omission of the Misfits from this press material?]

Die Sonne by Gudrun Gut and Blixa Bargeld

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And now, time for a musical interlude by Gudrun and Blixa! At some points in the video above, the two appear to be lovers, but in all honesty, they just look like fraternal twins to me. Anyway, in my mind, Blixa has only one true mate. But enjoy the video, and the beautiful, breathy electronic lullaby. [Thanks, Kelly.]

Nursing homes and holodecks. Narrated by Emo Kitten.

In sixth grade, my class visited a Long Island nursing home. The experience was supposed be uplifting; back in the classroom we’d been studying Ellis Island, and the teachers excitedly informed us that we’d have the opportunity to gather first-person accounts of the immigrant experience, from people who’d been there! When we arrived at the nursing home, we were ready with our little pencils and notebooks and mini-recorders. We broke up into pairs and made our way around the room, each team spending about 5-10 minutes with each of the home’s geriatric inhabitants.

When we got back to the classroom the next day, nobody talked about what had happened. The teachers never mentioned the field trip again, and we weren’t asked to write a report. We turned to a new chapter in the textbook, and teachers hastened on to tell us all about how the U.S. had won the war and saved the rest of the world in the 40s. But we learned a valuable lesson that day, even if no one acknowledged it aloud. When we tried to interview the people at the nursing home, most of them they stared right past us. They drooled. They moaned and mumbled absently. The few who were actually aware of our presence spoke a little, but it was gibberish; no conversation lasted more than 2 minutes before the train of thought evaporated. The lesson we learned that day, completely not intended by our teachers, was to dread and fear the process of losing our minds with age.

Granted, we saw the worst-case scenario. It was a very poor nursing home that we went to, the kind of place where people with no loving/living relatives eventually end up in storage.  Still, that memory can’t be erased – not until the moment when all memories start to slip, as I learned the year my grandmother used Palmolive instead of olive oil when making eggs one morning. Within a couple of years, she didn’t remember who I was, and soon afterward forgot herself. The books she’d read, the places she’d been – they were all gone. Between that and the aforementioned school trip of doom, I developed what’s probably one of my biggest fears.

Then, there are people who give me hope, like Terry Pratchett, who got was diagnosed with a rare form of Alzheimer’s last year. Well, he didn’t take that diagnosis lying down; he donates to the Alzheimer’s Research Trust, cheerfully refers to his condition as The Embuggerance, participates in experimental programs to find a cure, and continues to work on Unseen Academicals, the thirty-seventh book in the Discworld series. It’s the opposite of how my grandmother approached it, and maybe the attitude makes all the difference. “My father always used to say you have to be philosophical about things, by which he meant stoical,” he joked in a Times interview last year. “The future is going to happen whether I’m scared of it or not so I do my best not to be. Around about five o’clock in the morning things might be different but you just have to face it.” He’s right, of course. I just hope that if the same condition strikes me, I’ll be just as brave. And keep my fingers crossed in hope that by that time, every old person’s home will have a Holodeck installed.

BTC: Peggy Moffitt, Muse of Mod

Revelation du jour: as much as I adore all things Ye Olde (read: stained, blanched, sepia-tinted, distressed, Dover-collagey… or just plain black) and will undoubtedly continue to incorporate time-honored neo-Victorian aesthetics into my decor and wardrobe, an internal plate has shifted. Lately I’m finding myself –possibly for the first time since I was a toddler cutting my teeth on primary-colored Legos and rubber balls– infected by an entirely different strain of retro: mod-futurism.

Rest assured, no one’s about to run out and buy some garish, orange one-piece pantsuit (though I’ll freely admit to a burgeoning obsession with the OVALIA “Egg Chair”). What I am doing is poring over every last Peggy Moffitt/Rudi Gernreich photo book I can find. Via FIDM:

Hers is the face that launched a thousand ripples through the fashion world when she wore the world’s first topless bathing suit. “Designer of the future” Rudi Gernreich considered Peggy Moffitt to be his muse and model of choice for his controversial designs. With her Kabuki-inspired face painting, Peggy created her own unique look in the Sixties. Gernreich collaborated with super hair stylist Vidal Sassoon to create Peggy’s trademark hairstyle. He gave her a short helmet haircut, with precise geometric bangs cut right to her eyebrows. She also created her own makeup style with heavy black and white eyeliner and long false eyelashes to exaggerate her huge dark eyes. She took the term “strike a pose” very seriously in front of the camera. She made Gernreich’s clothes all the more extreme with her striking presence.

Peggy Moffitt is an icon and innovator of fashion who didn’t just wear designs, she inspired them. Even super sixties model Twiggy said, “She taught me how much more a model puts in her work than just a pretty face.”

A few of those frocks look hideously dated now, but more often than not, Gernreich’s colorful, daring designs read to me like peals of laughter in a musty tomb. And Moffitt always looks smashing; an updated technicolor incarnation of Lulu Brooks; fearless and versatile. I don’t know that 95% of these pieces are something I would ever want wear, but they sure do make me happy.

Click below for more smile-inducing images of the Muse of Mod after the jump.

Gooey, Snorglicious, Fuzzy Wuzzy Lurve Bomb

Tripped out animated “Love is All” sequence from the vastly underrated rock opera, The Butterfly Ball and the Grasshopper’s Feast. (Arguably Ronnie James Dio’s finest moment.)

Yeah, yeah… we know. Whether you choose to call it Commercially Dictated Affection Day, Lupercalia, or Just Another Epic Lonely Fart-Sucking Excuse For a Personal Pity Party, Valentine’s Day can be full of fail. We’ve all done our share of hatin’ on it. But hey, know what? It really is a gorgeous world out there, and as the Troggs once said, Love is All Around.

Coilhouse Magazine & Blog feels a little bashful asking you this. Um. Don’t feel obligated or anything, but… will you be our Valentine? We think you’re pretty swell. It’s okay, you don’t have to decide right away.*

But tell us, who do you love?

Felted “Love is a Battlefield” Hand Grenade from NifNaks.

*Think it over! Who’s it gonna hurt… where ya goin’?