(Belated) Better Than Coffee: Rachel Brice

It’s my pal Bricey’s birthday. In addition to being a bottomless font of warm fuzzy vibes, moral support and hilarious butt jokes, Rachel Brice is widely regarded to be one of the most accomplished and innovative belly dancers working in the Tribal Fusion style today. So, for those of you who are (like me) shamefully staggering out of bed just in time for dinner (hey, man, some of us were up ’til 11am copy-editing Coilhouse print edition #3) and in need of something awe-inspiring/energizing/exquisite to look upon, here’s an assortment of clips of Rachel Brice: Professional Belly Dancing Badass and Beloved Goofball.

Have a lovely day, homeslice.

Paul Komoda’s Syphilis Sculpture Up for Grabs

Whoooooo’s that laaaady?

This bust is the first in Paul Komoda’s highly-anticipated “Human Pathology” series. Paul, who previously brought you this cauliflower-tastic take on the Elephant Man, recently completed this sculpture of a woman suffering from Tertiary Syphilis (more images of the sculpt here). These busts were originally commissioned from Paul by the U. S. Department of Education – one for every classroom, placed squarely atop each health teacher’s desk, to scare students into finally taking the subject matter seriously. Unfortunately, the piece came out more garish than they expected, and the Department refused the final product. Well, their loss is your gain! Castings of this fine piece, titled La Pestilencia, are available from Artist Proof Studio for $160 a pop. What a fine thing to place on top of your piano, where you can serenade it every night – or perhaps you’d want place it on your bookshelf, betwixt your most rare leather-bound medical textbooks. It could greet guests at the dinner table, or look up at visitors mournfully from your office cubicle.

I’ve been watching Paul sculpt this thing for the past couple of months, and it still gives me the willies every time I see it up close. Paul chose to photograph the bust with some some light illuminating it from below, which I feel is a mistake. The harsh tales-around-the-campfire lighting makes the face look even more monstrous than it needs to be, and fails to show the humanity and sadness that Paul so carefully instilled into its features. For this isn’t some Hollywood ghoul – it’s a real person, based on this tragic and completely NSFL photo taken in 1973 of a syphilis patient. What a piercing photo – you can tell, by the eyes, by the cheekbones, the shape of the jaw – that this was once a beautiful woman, similar in appearance, perhaps, to Winona Ryder, but ruined by an unlucky life. She could still be alive today.

Mike Brodie’s Glimpses of the Under-Underclass

Photography can serve many functions. One of the most powerful is open up parts of the world we never see, reminding us that they are as viscerally real as our own lives. Humanity’s a huge thing and there are teeming cultures all around us — universes really — that we rarely glimpse from inside. Day by day, it’s amazing how much of it we file away as alien, content to leave it there.

That’s what struck me when I first saw this image of a slit possum splayed out for dinner in a homeless camp. The photo was unidentified, but the reality was jarring. Turned out it was by Mike Brodie, a.k.a. the Polaroid Kidd (thanks to Jonathan Welch for the ID). Brodie left home at 18 to ride the rails, armed at first with only an old Polaroid SX-70. Over the next three years, he proved an amazing photographer, documenting the travels and lives of his fellow squatters and vagabonds.

Brodie’s work has been justly praised, with exhibitions around the world and ecstatic comparisons to Dorothea Lange. However, he seems to have virtually disappeared during the last year: no new exhibitions, website down, the works.

Erik Lyle, a past squatter and rail-rider himself, writes that Brodie’s work provides glimpses of “a sort-of hobo-topia where packs of grubby kids (and dogs!) play music, share food, and forage in the ruins of post-industrial America together, while traveling together from town to town on freight trains and homemade river rafts.”

Yeah, that’s there. But, I also found his pictures — especially the jarring first image I found — to be an effective antidote to romanticizing the homeless. Yes, there’s vitality, fun and even a sense of grandeur here.

Yet a look at the missing teeth, the Mad Dog and the ever-present grime shows us a different side as well. This is still a group that remains nigh-illegal thanks to many a gentry-friendly law, is extremely vulnerable and are often plagued by mental and physical illness. The knife cuts both ways.

More glimpses below. Have a look.

Teddy Boys

The British Teddy Boy subculture is typified by young men wearing clothes inspired by the styles of the Edwardian period, which Savile Row tailors had tried to re-introduce after World War II. The group got its name after a 1953 newspaper headline shortened Edward to Teddy and coined the term Teddy Boy (also known as Ted).

So sayeth the neck-beards at Wikipedia in the entry for Teddy Boy, a sub-culture heretofore unknown to me. The article goes on to credit the Teddy Boys with helping to create a youth market in England, having been one of the first groups to identify as teenagers with a specific code of dress, perhaps only predated by the Scuttlers of mid 19th century Liverpool and Manchester. Scuttlers, as an interesting aside, were identified as wearing an eclectic get-up of:

[…] brass-tipped pointed clogs, bell-bottomed trousers, cut like a sailor’s (“bells” that measured fourteen inches round the knee and twenty-one inches round the foot) and “flashy” silk scarves. Their hair was cut short at the back and sides, but they grew long fringes, known as “donkey fringes”, that were longer on the left side and plastered down on the forehead over the left eye with oil or soap. Peaked caps were also worn tilted to the left to display the fringe.

Masstransiscope Restored

In 1980, artist and filmmaker Bill Brand installed 228 panels in the abandoned Myrtle Avenue station in Brooklyn. Lit by fluorescent lights, the panels are viewed through carefully spaced slits cut in a special housing. Based upon the principle of the 19th century zoetrope, passengers looking out the right side of a Manhattan-bound B or Q train would be able to watch a short animation. Brand’s original idea was to change the panels on a regular basis to make one, epic film comprised of 20 second clips, but soon realized that this would be unfeasible.

In the intervening years the display had fallen into disrepair, the lights broken and the panels covered in graffiti, despite Brand himself regularly going down into the station with a key someone had slipped him to clean the panels. However, over the summer of 2008 Mr. Brand, with the help of volunteers and the transportation authority’s Arts for Transit program, restored the installation and in November of that same year restarted it without any announcement or fanfare; another hidden little gem inside the vast metropolis.

[via The New York Times : Brooklyn Based : Wooster Collective : Jason Eppink]

The Sinister World Of Amy Earles

I am a bit enamored with Amy Earles’s body of work. It is almost starkly divided into deceptively simple illustrations, excised from unwritten children’s books and delicate, vaguely unsettling paper dolls like the one pictured below who seems to have stepped out of a medieval painting; a dark stranger from another time, bat-winged and helmeted.

With the illustrations she has expertly achieved that balance — so vital to children’s book illustration — of innocence under the faint shadow of menacing danger. There is an air of malevolence in some of her pieces that I find delightful; the young girls hidden behind wolf masks playing games only they understand.

If you are a fan of her work she has a number of paper dolls available — quite reasonably — via her shop along with a few prints. I’d really like to see her expand the prints section, if only for my own print hording affliction.

[via Phantasmaphile]

Last Call for Indie Sellers to Advertise in Issue 03!

Folks, this is one final reminder that our closing date for all small-business ads in Issue 03 is this Friday, June 12th. We’re currently up to 18 advertisers – looking for a full 24 so that we can fill up 2 pages. The people who’ve responded so far have been amazing; we have a dollmaker, a gal who makes monster masks, a crafter of Victorian-inspired leather spats, a clothing collection inspired by Edgar Allen Poe, a lowbrow art gallery, and many more.

For those of you hearing about this opportunity for the first time, check out last week’s post about our Small Business Advertising Program. We must receive your ad by Friday if you want to participate. If interested, please email us ASAP. Thank you!

The Centaurs Of Ron Rodgers

Stitched together and strapped with machinery, Ron Rodgers’s creations delicately tiptoe over ruined landscapes on spindly legs; god-like alien centaurs traipsing across a desolate wasteland. Towering over the dusty bones of long dead buildings they roam the land, looking for what no one can be sure.

Rodgers’s work is by turns fascinating and mundane. I’m a huge fan of these centaur pieces; the stitched torsos, gas mask visages, and skeletal limbs make for beautifully bizarre pieces. It’s a shame, then, that a larger part of his portfolio — at least as it is represented at the site linked — is static columns, comprised of limbless torsos bedecked in a range of detritus. They lack the otherworldly qualities of both look and movement that make these such standout efforts. I can only hope that these, perhaps, represent a taste of things to come.

[via Super Punch]

To Build A Fire (A Most Grim and EPIC Fire)

Via the most brutal and unrelenting Ben Catmull. \m/

If a Speedo-wearing, paddle-wagging, KVLT AS FUCK individual and his demonic friend headbang in the forest, does it make a sound? Apparently not, save for the mesmerizing voosh voosh voosh of dewy black metal tresses sluicing through crisp mountain air (and some Attila-worthy bellowing at the very end, there).

Canadian YouTube user and Dark Overlord of the Perplexing Non SequiTORRR, esy87, explains: “the music is coming from a headset close to us but the camera hasnt picked it up. for natural perservation of the vid we didnt edit it to put the song on it, but for ppl interested it was ‘Decade of Therion‘ from Behemoth.”

Ah. Yes. That explains everything. Except the banana hammock. But in any case, well done, good sirs. I’d throw you some horns, but I’m still doubled over in hysterics.

The Sun, It Burnss Uss

Be it impossible heels, rib-crushing corsets or extremely tight pants, many beautiful items leave us suffering for fashion. While sadistic sartorial contraptions are a thing of the past for most, those of us from thee Darque Side continue to shun comfort and reason in favor of looking really fucking hot. Sadly, “really fucking hot” takes on a sinister literal meaning with the onset of summer. Only the very brave manage to find the strength to maintain their look in the face of nature’s merciless opposition, and Goths In Hot Weather – a new blog dedicated to “celebrating the Sunshine Goth” has noticed.

With events like Bats Day and costumed picnics popping up across the globe, goths are being continuously lured out and into the cruel, cruel sunshine. Alas, what to do but proudly brandish that parasol, cake on the SPF 75 and face the season in all its scorching ice cream and surfboard glory. I’m currently wishing I had a bit of extra time to dig through my photos for a worthy submission. If your moments of summer fashion victory [or defeat] get posted on Goths In Hot Weather, please link to them in the comments section here!

Vaguely related: Look At That Fucking Hipster