Lucille Bogan: Shocking Your Great Grandparents

Born in 1897, Lucille Bogan first began recording in 1923, singing vaudeville songs. By the 1930s she had established herself as a blues singer and her oeuvre was slanted decidedly toward the raunchy. In songs like “Sloppy Drunk Blues”, “Tricks Ain’t Walkin’ No More”, and “B.D. Woman’s Blues” (the B.D. stands for bull dyke) she focused on themes like gambling, drinking, lesbianism, and prostitution; themes that featured prominently in the juke joints she had worked in early in her career.

One of her last recordings, “Shave ‘Em Dry” in March 1935, had two versions, one that kept to the tamer innuendo of most blues songs and an unexpurgated version, featured above, which does away with subtlety altogether. An interesting little piece of historical titillation, if only for a retort to the “music today is morally bankrupt” argument often favored by the familial old-guard.

Mister Graves’ Nuclear Landscapes, Life-worn Faces

Mister David Graves does many things, but this post is about his gorgeous photography, and about his charity walk across Oregon in support of the Oregon Food Bank. More on that in a moment. In fact, this post is just about two aspects of his photo-repertoire, while there are several. For instance, Graves has taken plenty of photos of beautiful women and forgotten cemeteries, but today I’d rather show off his nuclear landscapes and life-worn faces.

The shot below is titled “They Make Milk Here”.

Arresting, yes? This is one of a series of vertical panoramas, another one of which is below the jump. Uncle Tarkovsky would approve.

Much of Graves’ work explores nature – sometimes coexisting in contrast with civilization, other times wild and exceeding all, with objects of human development becoming lifeless artifacts, left behind by an environmental revolution.

Dead House

Another dimension of Mister Graves’ work takes on cities, society, and its casualties. His photos of the homeless are, to me, among his best. On Flickr, these portraits are often accompanied by short blurbs of how the shot came about. This is Sally, captioned, “She asked for change, I asked for a picture in trade. She showed me her tattoo.”

Graves is far from a spectator with a camera. After years of working for various non-profits and going through a number of skin-thickening experiences like hitchhiking across parts of America, he’s decided to spend ninety days walking for charity. He leaves next week. On his website,, David Graves states:

I believe that access to real food is a basic human right. This philosophy is in line with the work the Oregon Food Bank does, and therefore I have chosen them as my charity for this event. All donations, minus personal expense, will be given to the Oregon Food Bank to support their efforts throughout the state. It is my hope that through the kindness of individual donors, and aided by numerous radio interviews/newspaper articles, I can raise $40,000 for the Oregon Food Bank.

My walk will begin and end at the State Capitol building in Salem. The event is planned to last anywhere from 80 to 100 days, with a scheduled start date of April 5th. My planned rate of walking is 15 miles per day, but I am leaving room for various setbacks, such as sickness, closed roads, and theft/robbery. My walk will begin heading east from Salem until I reach John Day. From John Day, I will walk north to Umatilla, and back west to Portland. From Portland I will walk to the coast and continue south to Coos Bay. The final leg of my walk will take me from Coos Bay to Springfield and back north to Salem. Many of my nights on the road I will be camping, in an attempt to keep my personal expense as low as possible. Any couches/hotel rooms that can be offered along the way will be of great help.

David is taking his cameras along for this journey, and he’ll be documenting his adventure online, which I’m really looking forward to. You can follow his progress on the Walking Oregon Facebook page.

Click the jump for some of my favorite shots by Mister Graves.

Children by the Millions Wait for Alex Chilton

In honor of Alex Chilton’s passing, we’d like to publish this article written by Joshua Ellis. This article appeared in Coilhouse Issue 04. You can also view a PDF of this article, by a strange twist of fate, over at the official Pixies website. It’s not an article about him, or The Pixies, per se. However, we’ve been wanting to publish this article on our blog for a while now, and this feels like the right moment to do so. This article speaks to the heart of why we’re all here together. What’s that song? / I’m in love / With that song…

I have this memory, and I’m not sure if it’s even real–or if it’s real, if it’s cobbled together from a half-dozen memories, fragments of things that happened over the course of a year or two that began the summer before I started high school, in 1991.

In this memory, I’m sitting in the basement of a girl named Sara, who pronounced her name “Saah-rah” and had purple hair and smoked clove cigarettes. I didn’t know Sara very well, but she was part of a small collective of freaks and weirdos that I had congregated to when I moved that summer from my ancestral home of north Texas to the small mountain town of Hamilton, Montana.

I’m sitting in Sara’s basement with my friends: Jeremy, the pretty guy who wears big black woolen overcoats and Jamaican tam o’ shanters in bright yellow and red and green, and seems to have unlimited access to the panties of every single girl in the Bitterroot Valley; Wade, who perpetually sports Birkenstock loafers that look like inflated bladders and drives a white Volkswagen Beetle covered in Grateful Dead stickers; Nate, who is one of the best guitarists I’ve ever met and is a huge aficionado of what will later come to be known as “extreme” sports, like bouncing down jagged rock faces on a beat-up skateboard deck; Sarah and her sister, Jenny, who are both fond of dropping random giggly non sequiturs into the conversation when stoned.

They’re all here, or some of them, or none of them. We’re sitting in the dark, talking bohemian bullshit, maybe smoking pot. It’s the kind of night that gets put on endless repeat when you’re young and strange and condemned to spend your adolescence in some far-flung desolate shithole like Hamilton, Montana, where you can’t lose yourself in the noise or happily become part of it, the way you can in New York or Seattle or Los Angeles or Chicago.

I’m not as cool as they are. I don’t know about cool shit. I’m just this uptight kid from J. R. Ewing Land who talks too much, still wears Bugle Boy button-downs and M. C. Hammer pants, and has only the dimmest idea that there’s some entire world out there of cool shit that I know nothing about. I own a Jane’s Addiction album and I’ve vaguely heard of the Sex Pistols.

And in this memory, Sara gets up and puts a cassette tape into her boom box. It’s a time traveler from 1984, beaten and scuffed, with the inevitable broken-off cassette door, so you just slap the tape in and hope that the tape head keeps it from falling out, which will cause the relentless motors to chew the tape and unspool it like the entrails of a slaughtered pig. Sara slaps the tape in and hits play.

This song comes out–a slow beat, big and echoing, then a bass playing eighth notes, and then a guitar, dreamy and vibrating. It sounds like what I imagine sunrise on a beach would be like, like what I imagine doing heroin would be like, like what I imagine sex in a dark room with that awesome girl you lie awake and dream of meeting would be like. I haven’t experienced any of these things–yet.

And then a voice, a high husky man’s voice, gentle over the music.

Cease to resist, given my good-byes
Drive my car into the o-o-sha-hah-hahn

You think I’m dead, but I sail away
On a wave of mutilation, wave of mutilation
Wave of mutilation


“What is this?” I ask. Sara shrugs.

“It’s the Pixies,” she says in this memory that may not even be real, or maybe didn’t happen this way at all. “The song’s called ‘Wave of Mutilation.’ This is the U.K. Surf Mix. The real version is faster and louder.”

“I’ve never heard of them,” I said. “I’ve never heard this.”

“They’re pretty cool,” Sara says. “I think they’re from, like, Boston.”

I nod. Pretty cool.

The Simpsons Opening By Way Of Estonia

To those of you who live in Estonia or are of Estonian descent: please pardon my ignorance. Not only do I know next to nothing about your fine country but I can only fill this void with ridiculous and completely false information such as that your population is 54, illness 640 and your main exports are rocks and sex slaves. This is terrible and I will do my best to amend this grievous lack of knowledge. For example, sovaldi Wikipedia informs me that you are a Finnic people, shop which means that you enjoy an unfathomably difficult language. Good luck with that.

Also helpful is this wonderful parody for Estonia tv3, what I assume is one of at least three television channels in Estonia. It incorporates all the hallmarks of modern life in Estonia, like one room school houses, horse-drawn carriages, pigs heads, and toy stick horses. Of course it could all be a big ruse and, in fact, Estonia could be a nearly energy independent country with the most robust economy of the three Baltic states. Only the Estonians know for sure.

via The Daily What

Vikings, Sponge Balls, Pizza, FUN! (But No Fatties.)

Every once in a while, you’ll find a sparkling diamond of truth in the most unexpected of places, like an ’80s dating video montage, for instance:

Via Gala Darling, xox.

Check out the silver fox with a poetic streak at 1:28: “Who so binds to himself a joy, doth its winged life destroy.” Poignant and all-too-often true, no? Love will die if held too tightly, love will fly if held to lightly, and pal, love will most definitely elude you if you insist on bringing up that sponge ball incident EVER AGAIN.


A quick jaunt through the internet’s collection of blogs reveals a sometimes startling trend toward the spartan life; any number of sites dedicated to ridding one’s self of extraneous detritus like so many folds of fat. While I’m not entirely sure that it is singular to the generation of web connected, chic geek types it does seem to have embedded itself deeply in the collective conscious.

One is inundated with a myriad of ways to de-clutter one’s workspace, thereby improving productivity. How-Tos on creating furniture within furniture can be found in innumerable permutations; helping you create Russian nesting doll contraptions that can transform and unfold from bed to sofa to kitchen sink. Thousands of words are dedicated to hollowing out everything you own to mask, disguise, and camouflage the embarrassing traces of your unsightly possessions. Pages and pages and pages dedicated to those wishing to live in vacuous, tidy, Ikea showrooms; their work-spaces lone laptops seated upon vast expanses of desk.

No doubt this is an admirable pursuit, and I have gleaned very helpful information from such laser-like studies of militant organization. Yet, I am much closer to the other end of the spectrum. That is to say that I am more of a hoarder. I collect; I accumulate. Like Pigpen, my very existence draws stuff to it. My dream domicile is almost the antithesis of the sterile, productive space; lined from wall to wall with items and objects. A familial trait, passed down through a successive line of hoarders on both sides, it is firmly entrenched; oblivious to any and all attempts at change.

In that regard I can watch this short film by Martin Hampton and see some of myself in it. These people, surrounded by their things whose meaning and importance is only known and understood by them, is at once comforting and heart wrenching. The most startling realization may be that these individuals know that something is not quite right. They are aware that this is not “normal” and they are trapped by it. It is the idea of the things you own owning you made real.

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.

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

Cooler Than Us: Tibetan Nomads

A Tibetan Nomad. From National Geographic Vol.175 No. 6 – June 1989

I don’t want to trivialize the difficult complexities of the Tibetan diaspora by saying things like “this guy is cooler than we’ll ever be!” But – just this once, forgive me – this guy is cooler than we’ll ever be. I mean, look at him. He will hack your system, friends. With his mind.

This arresting National Geographic image of a Tibetan nomad on the Riotclitshave photo blog prompted me to search around for more information and images on Tibetan nomads. I found an incredible series of black and white portraits from 2001 taken by Daniel Miller, a story about the Tibetan nomads’ adoption of motorcycles on the NYT, and a great image gallery on BBC. Here are my favorite quotes from the BBC gallery, accompanied by images:

This unique community continues to dwindle under the Chinese regime. Government policy aims to settle more and more nomads into these faceless-looking settlements, and according to the BBC, the transition to this lifestyle is difficult for most.

Coilhouse Style Vanguard: Ryan Oakley

We’re reviving Coilhouse Style Vanguard, a column that spotlights stylish individuals from around the world. Previously, we featured Princest – you can read her segment here.

I met Ryan Oakley in Toronto lat year. It was during my exhibit at the Plastik Wrap boutique – Ryan had just purchased one of my prints and I was oohing and ahhing over his immaculate outfit. It was composed of a suit tailored so precisely it would stop fashion non-believers in their tracks and a shirt, tie, vest and socks all clearly chosen with expert care. He was a pinstriped vision, carefully treading the line between aristocrat and pimp.

Ryan Oakley with his print

The suit-as-hipster-gear has been around for a long time, but this guy looked like someone who truly understood and respected it. There was a certain je ne sais quoi… An air of “that’s right, bitches” about him that I found entirely justified. Last week Ryan put forth his suit expertise in an informative and hilarious post simply titled The Used Suit. In fact, Ryan writes about men’s fashion a great deal in his multi-faceted blog, The Grumpy Owl. From the About page:

Although Ryan Oakley began his career as a simple rake, he has since become Toronto’s most renowned flaneur and notorious dandy.  A composer of psychogeographic fictions, he is also a server of food, a tender of bar and a washer of dishes. While performing all these functions with efficiency and elegance, he has also found the time to publicly criticize books, theatre and the beleaguered women in his life. Mr. Oakley reserves some of his misanthropic vitriol for his own blog, The Grumpy Owl.

He’s also part of The Worldwide Culture Gonzo Squad, where he shares the blog-o-stage with several esteemed colleagues, including Coilhouse friend Jerem Morrow and Stylish Gent‘s M1k3y. So if Ryan’s masterful dandyism and tailoring insights aren’t enough to convince you that he’s one cool cat, check out some of his other posts, like Dinner With C’thulhu. It’s an instructional post where mister Oakley tells us how to entertain a precarious great old guest. Many topics are covered, from appropriate leather furnishing [“C’thulhu finds this comfortable as it allows ample room for Its tentacles but you will also be able to easily wipe any goo”] to dinner [“Human hearts are dreadfully difficult to obtain in today’s economy and the police tend to frown upon eating even the low quality, though well marinated, meat that can be found in your local hobo population”].

Without further ado, Ryan and his fashion philosophy, in his own words.

Tell us about the history of your look, its evolution.

I’ve been wearing suits since I was a child and, except for an unfortunate period during school, never lost the habit.  When I moved to Toronto I quickly discovered that everyone pays the wrong sort of attention to just another punk kid.  Since I was trying to drink underage and get away with a host of other ills, a suit and tie served me quite well.  These were simple black affairs, stolen from thrift shops, ran into the dirt, covered with blood, then replaced with another.

There’s a lovely mugshot of me wearing a grey pinstripe but, sadly, the police refused to give me a copy. The scum.

When I finally quit drinking and drugging, I discovered that I had money but no real outlet for what’s an obsessive monkey in my mind.   I dedicated myself, in earnest, to the vice of vanity.  Anything worth doing is worth overdoing and the money I may have put to some reasonable use is now going to my tailor.

What is your style philosophy?

Style is philosophy.  And I’m a logician.  I view clothing as being a system of syllogisms, paradoxes and axioms.  Like music or math, it attempts to be a pure expression of platonic reality.  Colours, patterns and textures must harmoniously combine to form an elegant truth.

Because this is my view, I pay no attention whatsoever to fashion.  Nor do I dress to express my office, my personality or my surroundings.  I wear a suit because I’m a western man and the suit is the single best item of clothing we have.

Aside from being a recognizable and well-governed medium, thus an interesting one to innovate in, it also appeals to and combines the fundamentals that every animal uses in its fur and feathers.  That is, the handicap principle, aposematism, cryptis and mimicry.

A suit is not a vulgar symbol of wealth, a display of superiority or an expression of bourgeois respectability.  It is a beautiful thing.  When I put one on, I hope for it to look equally normal and equally weird one hundred years in the past and one hundred years in the future.  That’s the meagre dimensions of the sartorial truth I aspire to.

Click below for the rest of the interview, a video and more photos, of course.