Bethalynne Bajema’s Black Ibis Tarot Deck

Nadya, Zo & Mer as the Star, the Moon and the Sun Tarot cards illustrated by Bethalynne Bajema

The Coilhouse editorial team is honored to be part of the beautiful Black Ibis Tarot Deck, conceived and illustrated by artist Bethalynne Bajema (previously on Coilhouse here and here).

The Black Ibis Tarot Deck is a companion to Bajema’s Sepia Stains Tarot Deck, and both decks exist to accompany a nine-book graphic novel series that Bajema is currently working on called The Black Ibis. Book I, The Secret London, will be available on May 27th. More about this project, from Bethalynne Bajema’s Kickstarter page:

The Black Ibis is a graphic novel told in nine books. Each book takes you a little deeper into a dark fairy tale that is based upon my own love of the idea that there exists a world beneath the world. This idea that sometimes a door is not just a mundane door but an entrance to someplace we reserve for our dreams. The story, at its heart, is a simple one. It revolves around one sister trying to find her sister who has become lost. She must follow the same path her sister has set out on going a little farther into this underground world of dark cabarets and strange theaters as she attempts to catch up to her sister, who is falling faster down this path in her desire to finally find a performer known as the Black Ibis. The story is absurd at times, illustrated in my particular style and filled with my legion of wonky characters and enigmatic performers.

Bajema has launched a Kickstarter project to support the printing of the first book and the Tarot Deck. Although Bajema has already reached her modest goal of $2K, the fundraiser still has 3 days left to go. Pledge rewards include signed metallic prints, graphic novels, decks, original sketches, handmade deck boxes, pages of artwork from the novel, and even a chance to appear in one scene in a cabaret scene in the final chapter of the graphic novel.

As the fundraiser continues, Bajema has been revealing more and more cards from the deck on Twitter. Follow her for the latest!

Suspended Disbelief: A TED Presentation by the Handspring Puppet Company

“Puppets always have to try to be alive. It’s their kind of Ur-Story on stage– that desperation to live.” ~Adrian Kohler

“[…] It only lives because you make it. An actor struggles to die onstage, but a puppet has to struggle to live, and in a way, that’s a metaphor for life.”  ~Basil Jones

In 1981, partners Basil Jones and Adrian Kohler co-founded the Handspring Puppet Company in Cape Town, South Africa, with two other graduates of the Michaelis School of Fine Art. Thirty years later, the two of them continue to run the company, staging theatrical collaborations in theaters worldwide with a cadre of downright empathic puppeteers.

The concerted group effort that goes into designing, building and performing these puppets ensures that they do live. In fact, the illusion is so complete at times, it would be almost frightening, were the creatures not presented so lovingly.

Via Lara Miranda, thanks!

The Handspring Puppet Co.’s inspiring TED talk brings “the emotional complexity of animals to the stage with their life-size puppets.” Their horse, in particular, is a miracle of engineering, art, and soulful expression.

The company’s latest production, War Horse, opened in New York at Lincoln Center last week. Are any of our New York readers going to go see it? Please, by all means, report back in comments!

Happy Birthday, Art Star.

Oh, HAI, gorgeous!

Our Creative Director, the indelible, unstoppable Courtney Riot, is a quarter-of-a-century old today. It’s been an eventful and revolutionary year for the Most Badass Graphic Designer of Her Generation, so let us take a minute to mark the occasion of her birth with solemnly raised fists, and this animated panda gif:

Should ye be feelin’ extra sinister, you can continue to celebrate Courtney’s relentless Reign of Amazingness with a Coilhouse-curated collection of Riotcentric YouTube clips, embedded below.

We love ya, Art Star. Can’t wait to show the world what you’ve got in the works for Issue 06. Have a fantastic day.

Arturo Herrera Revisits “Les Noces”

A still from the 1923 Ballet Russes’ production of Les Noces.

Les Noces, known as Svadebka in Russian, was a production ten years in the making. Originally commissioning the score from Igor Stravinsky in 1913, Sergei Diaghilev, creator and leader of the Ballets Russes, intended the ballet to be choreographed by Vaslav Nijinsky. The task was later handed to his capable and innovative sister, Bronislava, who was inspired by Cubism, Constructivists, and the relationship between body and machine as exemplified in the emerging Soviet Russia. More concerned with the dynamic quality of movement rather than the traditional posturing and composition of ballet, Nijinska’s choreography was novel and intensely physical.

With its premiere in 1923, Les Noces acted as a sacred drama that created a liturgy out of a wedding while exploring brutal peasant values through a modernist lens. The dancers, in their somber, simple costumes designed by Natalia Goncharova, were to resemble Byzantine saints leaving little room for expression or romance as they stabbed and spliced the air and stage with their rigid hands and feet. The result was one of the most enduring and influential ballets of the 20th century, still performed today.

Conductor Leonard Bernstein spoke of Stravinsky’s opening “cruel chord, made crueler with the lack of preparation,” and the unsettling score stays with you long after the final note has been sung. Influenced by the ‘folk orchestras’ of peasant weddings, Stravinsky employed only four pianos and soloist singers for his musical score, a far cry from the sweeping ensembles found in his compositions The Firebird, Petroushka and Le sacre du printemps. Now, New Yorkers and visitors to the famously noisy metropolis can get lost in the soundscape of Stravinsky as appropriated by the artist, Arturo Herrera.

On view at the Americas Society until April 30th, Herrera’s Les Noces (The Wedding) is an abstract homage to the classic ballet in the form of jumpy film projections, collage and sculpture. Take the time to visit the modest exhibit if only to experience the rattling pianos and piercing operatic vocals of the Stravinsky recording, haunting as any eulogy, juxtaposed against Herrera’s film of a world as bleak as Nijinska’s peasant girls all too aware of their fates.

The gallery at the Americas Society is located at 680 Park Avenue, NYC and is open Wednesday through Saturday, 12-6 p.m.

Click here for more information on the exhibit. For further reading on Les Noces, visit Ballet UK.

David O’Reilly’s Creativity Masterclass

Someone asked sadistic Dada animator David O’Reilly (previously on Coilhouse) to give a talk on advertising. This is what happened. The most sincere advice for working in advertising that you’ll ever hear.

[via nicoles]

The Friday Afternoon Movie: Everything Will Be Ok

I cannot definitively say that, as the title suggests, everything will be ok. It is all together possible and, perhaps, probable — depending on your bent — that everything will not be ok. That’s not what this is about. No, this post is about Everything Will Be Ok, Don Hertzfeldt’s award-winning short, which celebrated its 5th Anniversary last month. The first of a planned trilogy (the last of which is set to be released this year), Everything Will Be Ok follows the story of a man named, simply, Bill. We see Bill awkwardly greet a man he recognizes on the street, Bill at home, Bill spending time with his ex-girlfriend, Bill having a dream about a giant fish head, eating away at his skull. Its a story that concerns itself mostly with pseudo-existential shoe-gazing, filtered through the twisted mind of the man who brought us Rejected, and it is wonderful.

A Whimsical, Alarming Resonance: Sandra Kasturi

In Sandra Kasturi’s first full length poetry collection, The Animal Bridegroom, one finds all manner of fantastical creatures –shapeshifters, changelings goddesses, and monsters– juxtaposed with the quotidian and the mundane.  Myth intersects with reality, resulting in outlandish dream worlds, unexpected bedtime stories, and everyday affairs elevated to the exotic and the surreal.

In his introduction to the collection, Neil Gaiman writes:

“…People forget the joy of story as they grow older.  They forget the joy of poetry, of finding the perfect word, of turning a phrase, like a potter turning a pot on a wheel, and they believe mistakenly that poetry is not pleasure, but work , or worse, something good for you but unpleasant tasting, like cod-liver oil.

Sandra Kasturi has not forgotten any of these things.”

Sandra has three poetry chapbooks published, as well as the well-received SF poetry anthology, The Stars As Seen from this Particular Angle of Night, which she edited. Her poetry has appeared in various magazines and anthologies, and her cultural essay, “Divine Secrets of the Yaga Sisterhood” appeared in the anthology Girls Who Bite Back: Witches, Slayers, Mutants and Freaks. Sandra is a founding member of the Algonquin Square Table poetry workshop and runs her own imprint, Kelp Queen Press.  She has also received several Toronto Arts Council grants, and a Bram Stoker Award for her editorial work at ChiZine: Treatments of Light and Shade in Words.  As an evolution of  ChiZine, ChiZine Publications (CZP) “emerged on the Canadian publishing” scene in 2009. To quote from their philosophy:

“CZP doesn’t want what’s hot now or stuff that’s so weird it’s entirely out in la-la-land—we want the next step forward. Horror that isn’t just gross or going for a cheap scare, but fundamentally disturbing, instilling a sense of true dread. Fantasy that doesn’t need elves or spells or wizards to create a world far removed or different than ours. Just a slight skewing of our world, handled properly, is far more effective at creating that otherworldly sense for which we strive.”

Sandra generously gave of her time  to talk with us about the slightly skewed otherworld she inhabits; very see below the cut for our recent Q&A.

Knitted Flora

Sophie Dalla Rosa’s portfolio of knitted objects deals mostly in natural shapes; aping the contours of stones or coral. My favorites are these strange flora — alien specimens in wool, kept under glass in the study of some interstellar naturalist.

Via who killed bambi?

Orson Welles and Jim Henson and Frank Oz Share a Too-WTF-For-TV Moment


“Things take an unpleasant turn at the end of Orson Welles’ interview with Jim Henson and Frank Oz… and stay tuned for Miss Angie Dickinson!”

Not really sure what’s happening, here, or whether this footage –all presumably taken from the unaired pilot for Orson Welles’ prospective 1978 talk show– has been doctored or edited in any way. (Does anyone who’s seen the bootleg have more info on it?) Whatever’s going on, though, watching these three geniuses sharing such a sublimely awkward moment has gotta be the best thing since sliced bread frozen peas.

[Via Jim Sclavunos, thanks!]

Genki Sudo and World Order Present “MACHINE CIVILIZATION”

In response to last month’s horrific earthquake and tsunami in Japan, and in an effort to rally people’s spirits, the music group World Order has produced this surreal and touching video, “Machine Civilization”. World Order is the brain child of Genki Sudo –a mixed martial artist, musician and choreographer– who had this to say [rough translation via Angry Asian Man]:

Many disasters are ongoing in Japan; earthquakes, Tsunami, and nuclear accidents. These unprecedented things may be able to change however from now. That’s why I expressed through World Order to convey some message to you on my own way. I see these accidents will become a turning point of civilization. I think the time of revolution is coming, where people in the world coexist with this planet against the system of modern society, economy and politics.

Any accident is neutral. Although we are straying around this deep darkness, I believe we can get through anything when each of us let go of our fear, and face things positively.

The world won’t change on its own. We do change one by one. That makes the world change. The darkness just before the dawn is deepest. So, we do rise up together to greet the brilliant morning truly coming for the human beings.


(On that note, big thanks to all who bid on the Coilhouse Care Package for Japan auction. You helped raise a donation of $122.50 to the Red Cross in support of disaster relief efforts.)

(World Order link via William Gibson. Arigatou gozaimasu!)