Gail Potocki's Regal "Freaks" Portraits

In recent years, the most heart-achingly beautiful booth in all of San Diego Comic Con’s grand exhibition hall has consistently been that of our friends at Century Guild, a Chicago-based art gallery and publishing house.

Since 2007, they’ve been bringing the lion’s share of their astonishing collection of Art Nouveau, Symbolist, and Cabaret-related prints, lithographs, castings, and original artworks (Klimt! Mucha! Schiele! Szukalski!) to Con to be offered up for sale to discerning buyers… as well as to deliciously torment covetous, grubby urchins like myself. (Oh, but it hurts so good!) Century Guild also deals in a drool-inducing selection of contemporary artists –many of whom often make it out to SDCC for signings– Jeremy Bastian, Dave McKean, Michael Hussar, and Gail Potocki, to name a few.

Gail Potocki, specifically, is on my mind tonight, as I peruse my modest stockpile of last July’s SDCC bounty…

Portrait of Daisy & Violet Hilton by Gail Potocki

An emotive modern Symbolist painter, Potocki melds her mastery of classical 18th/19th Century technique with a profound and compassionate love for her unique array of portrait subjects. (A few years ago, Century Guild produced a lavish hardcover collection of her work called The Union of Hope and Sadness: The Art of Gail Potocki. Highly recommended. And you can read more about her impressive body of work here, here, and here.)

It was at the Century Guild booth that I discovered one of the most gorgeous and exquisitely produced print objects at all of SDCC 2012: a Century Guild-crafted series of  Victorian carte de visites-reminiscent trading cards featuring Potocki’s “Freaks” paintings. Lovers of Tod Browning‘s controversial-yet-inarguably humanizing 1932 film by the same name will be sure to appreciate the elegant, thoughtful historicity of Potocki’s renderings of these five well-known early 20th Century vaudeville/sideshow performers: Daisy & Violet Hilton, Pip, Flip, Jo-Jo the Dog-Faced Boy, and Annie Jones the Bearded Woman. Fellow paper fetishists should be impressed as well, as each card is handmade and letterpressed– a sumptuous tactile experience! They’re affordable, too, in spite of being a super limited edition. (I snatched them up immediately.)

Having just checked the Century Guild website, I see that they’re still available for purchase here. Had to share. They are so lovely, and lovingly done.

"My Way" Drummer Steals the Show

Regrets… we’ve all had a few.
Watching this video until the drummer kicks in? Probably not gonna be one of them.

(via M. S. le Despencer)

Jeff Noon and ChannelSK1N: “I’m a celebrant of the future – Bring on the void.”

Who among ye has not read the spectacular sci-fi tome Vurt by Jeff Noon? Highly recommended. In 1994, the Manchester native’s debut novel earned him an Arthur C. Clarke award, as well as kindly comparisons to Anthony Burgess and William Gibson. Vurt is one of the most gorgeously and utterly bent, feather-suckin’ subcultural fables of the ’90s, or any other decade. (Noon’s entire bibliography from ’93 through 2002 is quite resonant, perhaps especially –though not exclusively– for those of us who found ourselves falling down various cyber/raver/club kid rabbit holes during that time!)

In more recent years, Noon has been challenging the boundaries of online social networking sites. In addition to regularly posting character fiction on his official Twitter, he previously spent a span of time updating an account called @temp_user9 with haunting lyrical shards. There’s also his Microspores Tumblr, where select units of his micro-fiction are offered up with visual and sonic accompaniment, all crowd-sourced from Noon’s readership.

Apparently, Noon’s been grokking a lot of reality television lately as well. Last month saw the self-published release of his first full-length novel in ten years, ChannelSK1N. It’s available in digital format only, which makes a certain poetic sense, given its darkly rasterized plot:

In the infotainment ‘n’ plastic-surgery-addicted near-future, a fading pre-fab pop star called Nola Blue discovers that her relevancy has rallied thanks to an unexpected mutuation: her skin has begun receiving and broadcasting television signals. Intimations of Frankenstein, nods to Cronenberg and (of course) Orwell abound as Noon reels out the trials and tribs his characters in brilliant, sometimes brutal parodies of current popular culture.

In the novel’s press release statement, Noon gamely states “I’m a celebrant of the future – Bring on the void.” And ChannelSK1N certainly is a leap through the dark; this is not staid fare by any stretch. Back in February, he spoke with Cult Den about his ongoing desire to push forward, and how that influenced his decision to self-publish:

I looked around for a publisher, almost went with one, but decided in the end to self-publish. The reasons for this are two-fold: firstly, they wanted to publish it in March 2013. That’s way too late for me. As I mentioned, I was in real need of connecting with an audience once again. And secondly, I really wanted to be free to put out what I wanted, when I wanted, including, alongside narrative based works, lots of more experimental stuff. Basically, I wanted to just write, and not have to wait. Just do it. See what happens. That’s my current attitude, and self-publishing gives me that freedom. I think you’ll see a whole bunch of works coming from me, over the next few years, each one placed somewhere along the avant-pulp borderline.

That freedom has worked in Noon’s favor with ChannelSK1N. This is Noon in high gear, showcasing his meticulous gifts as a wordsmith, his rebellious approach to storytelling, and his knack for multi-sensory invocation. Both brightly visual and highly sonic, the narrative is full of fine-tuned passages which, when read aloud, parse like complex music, syncopated by bursts of oddly catchy static. It’s restless Burroughsian cut-up ambiance– a bookish kind of scrying-via-late night satellite TV surfing. More adventurous readers in his audience are certain to tune in, and rejoice.

Поющий кот Сальвадор / Salvador the Singing Cat (?)

I have no idea what you’re talking about, so here’s a vaguely phallic thumb-faced thingy singing a duet with a vaguely labia majora-lipped pussycat. In Russian. Honestly, I have no idea what they’re talking about, either. Wheeee!

Hey, Nadya! Welcome back from the playa! We can haz translation?

(Via E. Stephen Weirdo.)

Old 9-Eyes Is Back In Town…

For several years now, artist/filmmaker/essayist Jon Rafman has been exploring the ever-widening gyre of Google Street View‘s wandering compound eye. His curation continues to give us access to a strange, diverse, and lonely assortment of digital windows into the world.

You can easily lose hours perusing Rafman’s Tumblrized site, 9-eyes (named after the nine lenses mounted on a Google Street View car), which presents, without commentary, some of the most captivating and unsettling and often inexplicable imagery Rafman has culled from GSV.

Several critics have remarked that Rafman’s 9-eyes collection is “museum-worthy”. No argument, here… although it’s potentially even more affecting when viewed in the context of its native environment of the World Wide Web. Haunting stuff.

(Via Dusty Paik, thanks! Several more images under the cut.)

One Giant Leap…

Famous photo of Buzz Aldrin by Neil Armstrong.

“The important achievement of Apollo was demonstrating that humanity is not forever chained to this planet and our visions go rather further than that and our opportunities are unlimited.”

Neil Armstrong (August 5, 1930 – August 25, 2012)

Still image of Armstrong walking on the moon, shot by the lunar lander’s movie camera.

Announcing Genderplayful

Our long-admired colleague Sarah Dopp –a compulsive mover/shaker/go-getter whose Twitter description aptly reads “Gets excited and poops out communities”– has just announced the official launch of Genderplayful, a new venture she’s running with several cohorts. Sixteen months in the making, Genderplayful is an online marketplace celebrating diversity in gender presentation and body types, and it is wonderful.

GENDERFUCKER Etched Copper Necklace, available at Genderplayful.

From their press release:

This is for anyone who can’t easily find what they’re looking for in a typical clothing store, with special support for androgynous, unisex, butch, dapper, femme, gender-bending, gender-transgressive, and gender-fanflippingtastic clothing solutions for all kinds of bodies.

Genderplayful cares about custom solutions, and the marketplace will host a lively community that finds and creates those solutions together. Vendors will include indie designers, crafters, clothing makers, tailors, and people selling things from their closets and local thrift stores. Community members will pool notes on what they’re excited about, and vendors will take cues from buyers on what to create more of. The goal is to create a culture-rich gorgeous Internet bazaar for the playful, the exquisite, and the just trying to get dressed in the morning.

Dopp further states, “It rallies a community to work collectively on the question, ‘How can we build wardrobes we love that fit our bodies well?’, and it offers extra encouraging support for trans, genderqueer, and gender nonconforming folks (an identity set that we define very broadly). The project was inspired by what we’ve learned in our work at”

IKE tee by Genderplayful vendor komsikomsi.

Hearty congratulations to Dopp and the entire Genderplayful family. We know how long and hard you’ve worked to put this community/interface together, and it’s really exciting.

Genderfuckery is fun! Let’s go shopping!

Interactive Skinfashion by Local Androids

“Like living organisms; a breathing artificial skin garment with pulsing veins (air is pumping through the veins to simulate a pulse), ambulance the pulse increases when you approach and the neckpiece deflates on touch as sign of trust.”

Designer duo Local Androids consists of Cor and Leonie Baauw. Their work is a stunning techno-chthonian amalgam of 2D and 3D, capsule traditional and digital imagery. With assistance from engineers Ralf Jacobs, unhealthy Daniel Schatzmayr, and Berend-Jan van Dijkhey, Local Androids created this “interactive skinfashion”  for the 2012 Technosensual Expo, which will be running until September 2 in Vienna.

Via E. Stephen of S.N.A.F.U., who says “Long Live the New Flesh!”

Gundam Style.

Paging Ross Rosenberg. Ross Rosenberg, sovaldi please report for doody.

, sovaldi sale

and 0,40,0″>
(Via Ariana, of course.)

Related tidbit, courtesy of Kittydoom:

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Anne Geddes: Beneath the Diaper

As has been previously discussed (albeit briefly) on Coilhouse, many of us are morbidly fascinated by the oeuvre of Anne Geddes, and quietly suspect she may be the devil incarnate.

Apparently, we are not alone:

You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, it’s better than Kinkade.

[via Jezebel]