This is Us, Together / Illuminate Parkinson’s

This month, two Coilhouse photographers – Lou O’Bedlam and Allan Amato – launched two very different Kickstarter projects – This is Us, Together and Illuminate Parkinson’s. Both Lou and Allan have been contributing to Coilhouse since Issue 01, and each has a project that’s worthy of your attention and support.

Lou is good at photography and, it seems, bad at relationships. In the cute Kickstarter video, Lou’s ex-girlfriend appears to tell you all the ways in which Lou really, really needs help in the love department: apparently, he’s not a good communicator, doesn’t take criticism well, and thinks that the “silent treatment” is an effective way of talking about problems. To remedy these issues, Lou has decided to embark on a 30-day journey to visit 12 cities to interview as many couples as he can about what makes their relationship work. In the process, he will document the couples he meets, learn from them, and produce a beautiful coffee-table book. The Kickstarter has only 38 hours to go; support his efforts here!

When Coilhouse cover photographer Allan Amato learned that his friend Becky has had Parkinson’s Disease since she was 29, he was shocked. Like many, he was under the impression that Parkinson’s was something that only afflicted the elderly. Allan began to create portraits of other young Parkinson’s sufferers. Artists including Grant Morrison, Neil Gaiman, Terry Gilliam and Kevin Smith have teamed up with Allan to create a series of images to “illuminate Parkinson’s,” as can be seen above. He now hopes to take his portrait series of Parkinson’s sufferers on the road, and recently launched a Kickstarter page to help with the costs associated: making large prints, shipping, and creating a book.

Cabinet Cards / Storydress II by Christine Elfman

At first glance, this haunting collodion print looks like an aged Victorian carte de visite. If you look closely, you’ll notice something odd: the dress is trimmed with scraps of paper with typewritten notes. This is a papier-mache sculpture titled Storydress II, designed by artist Christine Elfman. The dress is made of stories recorded from her great-grandmother’s autobiographical reminiscences. On her site, Elfman elaborates on the process and motivations behind this piece:

Finding unknown relatives in my family photograph collection, and noticing old photographs of anonymous people in antique stores, I was taken by how many people were forgotten regardless of photography’s intention to “Secure the shadow, ‘ere the substance fades away.” The older the picture, the more forlorn the subject appeared to me. Holding their image, I was impressed with their absence. Storydress II tries to show this underlying subject of photographic portraiture. The 19th century cabinet card is turned inside out, revealing the presence of absence in a medium characterized by rigid detail and anonymity.  The figure of reminiscence, cast in plaster, parallels the poetic immobility of the head clamp, used in early photography to prevent movement during long exposures, aptly defined by Barthes as  “the corset of my imaginary existence”. The life size cast figure wears a paper mache dress made of family stories: recorded, torn up, and glued back together again.

via hypnerotomachi(n)a

This Crazy Stuff

Let me be honest with you, clinic dear, patient beloved readers: I have no idea what “Velvo Finish” is, nor do I care. No, this ad, from the nether regions of Popular Science circa 1958, is posted here solely because of the slick-haired, mustachioed gentleman, so prominently featured. It is because of this man, this unctuous huckster from a by-gone era, that I place this ad in full view, perched high on this hallowed home page in all its glory. Stare deep into his lifeless gaze and accept his wordless invitation to inspect his pubic hair collection.

via Vintage Ads

“Dark Girls” Documentary Explores Colorism, Racism, Self-Acceptance

here 0, rx 40, mind 0″>
(Via Siege.)

Some thought-provoking, intense, and intensely heartrending clips from Dark Girls, an upcoming documentary by Bill Duke and D. Channsin Berry that examines “the deep-seated biases and attitudes about skin color– particularly dark skinned women, outside of and within the Black American culture.”

The film is slated for an October premier at the International Black Film Festival in Nashville. Follow Dark Girls on Facebook for updates.

Birdwatcher Arrested, Subjected to Strip and Body Cavity Searches For Possession of… Sage?

Probably one of the more despicable leads you’ll read in American news this week, via the Orlando Sentinel:

Bird watcher wrongly arrested for possession of pot had sage in backpack. Deputy thought herb was marijuana; State Attorney’s Office ordered arrest without lab test.

Robin Brown was thrown in a Florida jail on felony charges of marijuana possession three months after sheriff deputy Dominic Raimondi mistook the sage she had in her backpack for pot. A field test had yielded a false positive, and after Raimondi filed his report, the State Attorney’s Office ordered for Brown’s arrest without ever conducting a crime lab narcotics test.

The 49 year old birdwatcher was taken out of her place of work in handcuffs and driven down to the station to be stripped, subjected to a body cavity search, and spend the night in jail. Such was Brown’s punishment for possession of a personal use-sized amount of marijuana plant… that wasn’t actually marijuana plant.

News of this story came to my attention via my friend Stephen, who comments: “Body cavity searches are getting to be a disturbingly common occurrence. Folks complain about sex education corrupting children, but when law enforcement wants to poke around inside your orifices, that’s just patriotic.”

There are many, many different ways in which Robin Brown’s story disturbs me. I’m not even sure what aspect to focus on; I just know that I owe it to myself to think actively and critically about what an increase in occurrences like this might mean, and that reportage of incidents like this should be shared as widely as possible.

Help Fund “The Cicada Princess”

This looks incredible:

An overview of the project, courtesy of creator Mauricio Baiocchi’s website:

Cicada Princess is a short film based on a children’s book by the same title, both written and produced by Mauricio Baiocchi with illustrations and character designs by Steve Ferrera.

The book is a series of images based on miniatures and sculptures that follow the life cycle of the Cicadas and the party they attend at the end of their lives. When the idea to expand it to moving pictures came about, it was decided the best way to move forward would be through live action puppetry. Steve and Mauricio have worked on numerous creative projects over the years in different mediums and were very intrigued by the possibility of merging current imaging technology with strings and springs.

The film will run approximately five minutes, and is being shot in IMAX format, slated to be completed in 2011. As an independent production, both the film and the studio are self financed.

As of today, they’re already almost halfway to their ambitious (by Kickstarter standards) goal of raising 40K, with about a month to go. Got five bucks to spare? Ten? Twenty? An independent, handcrafted stop-motion pictures of this caliber seems well worth subsidizing! The Kickstarter page is here.

BTC Part II: Faith Healer Defeats Evil Buttock-Ravaging Eagle Spirit

Sometimes Mondays are an extra special pain-in-the-ass, so here’s an encore installment of BTC. Via the GreatDismals comes this sit-uplifting interaction between a cheeky young prankster, “Robin Cooper“, and an unflappable call-in gluteus maximus-mending spiritual master, Gilbert Deya.


Paper Theatre Brought to Life with Light: The Ice Book

The Ice Book (HD) from Davy and Kristin McGuire on Vimeo.

If one were to combine the magic of pre-cinematic optical illusions, the childlike wonder associated with vintage pop-up books and the aesthetic sense of both Russian fairy tales and eerie German Expressionist films, one might hit upon the luminous production that is husband and wife team Davy and Kristin’s McGuire’s The Ice Book.

Blending elements of film, animation, theater, puppetry, installation art and “good old-fashioned illusions”, The Ice Book is described by its creators as a “… miniature theatre show made of paper and light… An exquisite experience of fragile paper cutouts and video projections that sweep you right into the heart of a fantasy world. It is an intimate and immersive experience of animation, book art and performance.”

Says Davy:

“We created the show during a four month artist residency at the Kuenstlerdorf Schoeppingen in Germany. All we had was a 5D Mark ii, an old Macbook with After Effects, some builders lights and a green cloth that we improvised as a makeshift green-screen. Before we started we had no idea how to make pop-up books let alone how we could combine them with projections. With a lot of care, love and arguing the idea eventually came to life.

The idea for the Icebook was to create a miniature maquette for this dream – a demonstration model to show to producers and other funders in the hope that they would give us some money to make the full scale show. (And we still hope that this will come true one day!) The Icebook has since however, grown its own legs and turned into a miniature show all by itself. An intimate performance for small audiences.

We love the old pre-cinematic optical illusions, such as zoetropes and magic lanterns, and the magical way in which they can mesmerise audiences through basic mechanics. Rather than simply projecting images onto a screen, we wanted to create an object with a life of its own – a tangible and magical “thing” for an audience to experience.”

Check below the cut for various haunting vignettes clipped from the production, as well as a beautifully illuminating “before and after” montage which briefly highlights the steps taken to achieve the  icy, ethereal effects viewed in the final production. For more behind the scenes peeks, as well as touring information, see the following links:

BTC: Grandma and Baby – Day at the Park

Buy your own giant wearable latex infant head from HYPERFLESH. Three different moods to choose from! (Via BoingBoing.)

Good morning, drugstore good morning, GOOD MOOORRRRRNING.

Thoughts on the May 28th Jefferson Memorial Protest/Arrests?

This news is being reported elsewhere at greater length, in more detail, and with more inflamed passions. Still, events that occurred during the most recent silent dance protest inside the Thomas Jefferson Memorial in Washington, DC– “in celebration of the first amendment’s champion and in response to US District Judge John D. Bates’ ruling” that prohibits peaceful demonstration on memorial grounds– should be documented on Coilhouse as well. Whenever an incident like this takes place, the more space we create in our communities for rational discussion and analysis, the better, right?

In addition to affording us an opportunity to think more deeply about the ramifications of a ruling like Bates’, the circumstances surrounding the May 28th Jefferson Memorial protest give us the chance to critically examine and debate the most powerful forms of civil disobedience we have to choose from.

How, in the future, can American citizens most effectively protest the passing of laws that we believe to be unjust, even insidious?

Here’s an excerpt from a particularly interesting op-ed piece, “D.C. Circuit Opinion Banning Dancing at Memorials Deserves Very Close Scrutiny” by Forbes writer Ben Kerschberg, written shortly before the May 28th protest took place, in response to the galvanizing ruling against Brooke Oberwetter:

The D.C. Circuit states that “the government is free to establish venues for the expression of its viewpoint” and that “it is not obligated to allow other monuments expressing alternative viewpoints” It further states: the “Jefferson Memorial . . . was built by the government for the precise purpose of promoting a particular viewpoint about Jefferson.”

Respectfully, could the court please explain–it did not–what viewpoint about Jefferson the Memorial embodies? And did Oberwetter in any manner act in a way “expressing alternative viewpoints” antithetical to that embodiment?

Mr. Jefferson isn’t here today to weigh in on this matter, and quite frankly, given our separation of powers, his opinion neither would–nor should–have any bearing on the courts.

But I do think he would be disappointed with the D.C. Circuit’s opinion here.