Apollonia Vanova: Striking Silhouette

I’ll admit it was my not-exactly-inner lecherous 13 year old that initially prompted me to look up Watchmen the movie’s Silhouette. I’ve always loved this character’s look and story. From the Watchmen wiki:

Ursula Vandt was a Jew who left Austria to avoid the Nazis. In 1939, the Silhouette made the headlines after exposing a crooked publisher who was trafficking child pornography, as told in Hollis Mason‘s book Under the Hood. The article stated that she gave a punitive beating to the entrepreneur and his two lead cameramen. Later that year she read the ad in the Gazette asking for other masked adventurers to step forward, and joined the Minutemen shortly after. In 1946, the press revealed that she was living with another woman in a lesbian relationship, as Mason stated. Laurence Schexnayder persuaded the group to expel her to minimize the P.R. damage.

The actress playing Silhouette was so striking with her severe hair, shiny gloves and stiletto boots that I couldn’t help myself. Of course much of the credit for her perfect appearance should go to costume designer Michael Wilkinson, but the feline grace in every second of Silhouette’s brief screen time is definitely the actress’ own.

I suspected Slavic roots – those cheekbones don’t lie! As it turns out, Apollonia Vanova is a Slovakian immigrant currently residing in Vancouver. She’s also an opera singer, sculptor and a… Fitness model? Indeed. You might recognize her as the Wraith Queen from Stargate Atlantis – just one of a string of sci-fi and fantasy roles she’s played. Vanova has a degree in sculpture from Emily Carr Institute of Art and Design and uses everything from clay to leather, I just wish she had her artwork online! Looking forward for more from this lady, no matter what the medium might be.

Here are a couple of interviews, for those of you who are intrigued: 1, 2. And Michael Wilkinson has a behind the scenes video on his website, here. From the Entertainment Examiner interview:

Silhouette is never seen without a cigarette. While that is totally time and character appropriate, it is not exactly politically correct in this day and age. Any thoughts on that?
I have a cigarette in my hand.

I guess that answers that question.

The Ubermensch at Walgreens

Super Plenamins via Found in Mom’s Basement

I don’t talk about I much, but I have a sort of ongoing quest to become superhuman on the cheap using only willpower and widely available drugstore products. This is probably not as silly as it sounds. I do believe it’s entirely possible to level up my very being, if I can only find the right combo of stuff to ingest. In this quest, I’ve subjected my body to all kinds of experiments. Most of them have done nothing but I’ve discovered a few things that actually, shockingly, do what they’re supposed to do and make me a better, higher-functioning creature. What do you do to become a more efficient, better human?

B VITAMINS. Know why Red Bull makes you feel so peppy? It’s not just the caffeine, or you’d be getting the same sustained buzz from Coke and coffee. It’s the B vitamins, the lack of which in our systems leads to such symptoms as depression, anemia and sluggishness. While some critics claim the marketing of B vitamins is just a gimmick, I don’t believe it for a second and invite you to draw your own conclusions. Beginning a regimen of daily B complex supplements last year boosted my energy and pretty much kiboshed about 75% of my persistent battle with depression — kicked to the curb, to an astounding extent, a lifetime of feeling too tired and unmotivated to do things. The stuff is water-soluble and all excess B vitamins in your system will come out in the form of neon green urine, so don’t worry about taking “1000 percent of the RDA!” Just take a little and see what happens. THIS SHIT SAVED MY LIFE.

VALERIAN ROOT. I was introduced to this stuff by a Russian co-worker, who calls it “Valerianka” and claimed it made her calm and relaxed enough to deal with screaming clients and bosses, without the drowsiness of other tranquilizers. It’s also a natural product, available cheaply and without a prescription, with no harmful documented side effects. It’s been used to treat everything from insomnia, anxiety, depression and gastrointestinal disorders. I find it takes effect almost immediately, producing a detached, sardonic feeling and leaving me clearheaded enough to work productively without emotion—perfect for the office or working in a distracting environment. MIGHT MAKE ME A BETTER PERSON.

SLIM FAST OPTIMA. Though I’m not trying to lose weight, I thought I’d try this because having to eat when my body decides it’s hungry instead of when I decide it’s convenient is a huge pain in the ass. It claims to control hunger for four hours. Instead, this product removes appetite for about four minutes with its nasty, chalky taste. It is most definitely not food. AVOID AT ALL COSTS.

EMERGEN-C. These little packets of magic have been favorites of mine since middle school when we used to pour them straight on our tongues at recess and laugh at the weird bubbly tingly sensation and funny smell. The “champagne of energy drinks” comes in a million flavors and makes me feel nice and peppy for short periods of time. Sometimes I chug a packet with water first thing in the morning so I can make it to the bus stop. After all these years I couldn’t tell you if it’s the placebo effect or not. Maybe I should replace it with pop rocks one week and see if I feel any ill effects. Once I get a grant. FURTHER STUDY REQUIRED.

Psychobilly Godfather Lux Interior Dead at 62

The quintessence of Lux. (Couldn’t find a photo byline for this. Anyone know?)

Oof. Lux Interior, lead singer of The Cramps, died earlier today of a pre-existing heart condition, aged 62. He is survived by his maximumrocknroll wife of almost 40 years, guitarist Poison Ivy.

The Cramps’ genre-defining “psychobilly” sound was unlike anything else to originate from the late 70s NYC punk scene –sharp, savage, sexy, filthy, campy, goofy, sometimes just plain sick— and Lux retained his gritty, untamed edge until the very end. From their publicist’s official press release:

[The Cramps’] distinct take on rockabilly and surf along with their midnight movie imagery reminded us all just how exciting, dangerous, vital and sexy rock and roll should be and has spawned entire subcultures. Lux was a fearless frontman who transformed every stage he stepped on into a place of passion, abandon, and true freedom.

Oh, Lux, we’re gonna miss you so much. A eyeball martini toast to you and your fiery spirit, with loving thoughts for Ivy during this painful time.

An unforgettable clip of Lux Interior in action from URGH! A Music War.

Click below for more photos, blurbs and video footage of The Cramps from over the years.

Wedding Porn: The Blog of Offbeat Weddings

Mario, a magician, and his assistant, Katie, have a 1920s-themed wedding. Kate wears a headband bought on Etsy. Photos by Daria Bishop. More images here.

In Junior High, our Health class had a unit about “basic adult life skills”: how to pay your bills, how your car works & why you really do need health insurance, despite the fact that you think you’re indestructible. One of the final projects we had that quarter was to budget out $30,000 in one of two ways: it was to be either your funds for one year of single living, or your budget to plan a wedding. The teachers assigned this without irony, and kids took it very seriously: it was not a lesson to show us how excessive the average wedding seems when you consider how else the money could be spent, but a lesson in how a proper American wedding was to be done. I was horrified. Years later, the following passage from The Commitment, Dan Savage’s gay-marriage memoir, summed up my perception of The Great American Wedding perfectly. In the scene below, Savage and his boyfriend Terry find themselves at a wedding expo:

Each and every vendor, from the lowliest florist to the highest-end caterer, was selling the fairy-tale princess wedding, the wedding that almost all straight girls grow up fantasizing about. For the women in the room, this was their one and only chance to be the princess in the Disney movie and they were determined not to fuck it up – and “it” refers to the ceremony and the reception, not the choice of a mate, as divorce rates would seem to indicate. (The wedding industry rakes in billions annually at a time when one out of every two marriages ends in divorce. Isn’t it about time some trial lawyers slapped Brides magazine, Vera Wang, and the rest of “big marriage” with a class action lawsuit modeled on the ones filed against big tobacco?)

Back to the boys: As we worked out way up and down the rows of vendors, I caught sight of the same guys again and again. Every time their fiancées or future mothers-in-law looked away, the boys would send out subtle distress signals, like a kidnap victim in a ransom video, blinking messages in Morse code. “Oh my god, what have I done?” As they were dragged from florist to caterer to limo, they looked like pawns. No, it was worse than that: They looked like hostages. No, worse still: they looked like afterthoughts. You don’t need men to have weddings! You need women and their mothers and sisters and their best friends and container ships full of machine-made lace from China and towering ice sculptures and enormous white canvas tents and karaoke machines and stretch Hummer limos and bouquets and chocolate fountains and cover bands and garter belts and veils and trains and engraved champagne glasses and sterling silver cake knives and on and on and on … you need a boy at a wedding like you need a stalk of celery in a Bloody Mary: It looks nice, and it makes things official, but it’s not crucial and probably wouldn’t be missed if you left it out. But a wedding – as currently understood, practiced, and marketed in America – without a bride? Unthinkable.

Clockwise from left: pink-haired bride, casual Arkansas wedding, Lucifire & Dave Tusk’s bright red circus wedding, Han Solo & Leia cake topper

There are, of course, other ways to go, especially this year. More and more people are opting for crafty, creative weddings that either twist around the tired tiara-and-lace tropes, or toss them out altogether. And on the site Offbeat Bride, the Wedding Porn section chronicles the most unusual, inspiring weddings ever to be documented on the web.

These are the weddings of our generation: pixelated 8-bit wedding invites, space helmets, brides as officants, a special category on the blog just for black wedding dresses, a San Francisco bike wedding, and, of course “Wedding! The Musical.” There’s enough love and joy on this site to make you queasy if you’re in a “only stupid people have good relationships” kind of mood, but even then, something on the site will make you smile.  Like these Lego cake toppers, for instance.

Modular Pooch: A New Life Awaits

We here at Coilhouse are enthusiastic proponents of body mods. Be it through hair, fashion or tattoos, we’re all about the power of transformation! Sandy Paws Grooming Shop feels the same way.

If you’re in California and possess a large curly canine, you can call up Sandy Paws for a transformation of your pets’ very own. A cut, a color and a bit of vision go a long way, as these images prove. Why settle for a pedestrian poodle when you can have a blue peacock? Or, how about a camel, a ninja turtle, or even a dragon?

Don’t let your furry friends protest! After all – what do they know about beauty? Here is their chance to transcend their earthly shell and be born anew. This is no time for reservation, so don’t be shy. Let your fantasy run wild and they’ll thank you in the end. ..Right? You decide, while you check out some of my other favorites under the jump.

Ghostride the Whip Shoes


Laughter, careful consideration, disbelief and finally reluctant desire are the steps my brain took in reaction to these unique Bed Shoes. Endowed with whips at the tips, they would make a great addition to The Pervert’s Guide to Etsy! Custom handmade by the talented Isabelle Chiariotti a.k.a. Etsy seller Isakaos, these bad puppies are good for one thing only, and that ain’t walking.

Unlike the majority of fetish footwear out there, the heel itself isn’t that high. I assume this is to lower the already-lofty risk of the brave owner’s collapse. I suggest pretending you’ve got a pair on your feet right now, and all the ways you could make use of them. For extra fun, imagine you are trying to actually walk in them and all the elegant ways you’d smash your face as a result.

Seriously, though – if anyone here buys these and learns to walk, dance or [especially] do gymnastics in them, we want video. And a dark part of me still wants a pair.

“First-Ever” Hello Kitty Maternity Ward Now Open

First, I’m going to meet this guy… no, wait, this guy. And he’s going to give me this ring. And on our wedding day, I’m going to wear this dress, and eat this cake. And on our wedding night, I’ll wear this, and hopefully these will work, but if not, it’s cool, because I’ve always wanted to put together one of these! We’re going to build this kind of home. With these couches, and this dog. And if anyone dares to break into our house to steal our our awesome toasterwe’re gonna blow them away with this AK-47. So when it comes time the birthing to commence, I’m gonna fly Hello Kitty Airlines to Taiwan. From the airport, I’ll be rushed to the new Hau Sheng Hospital in this car, and there, I’m going to give birth to one of these. And he’ll grow up to be this big!

But seriously, this new Hello Kitty maternity hospital that just opened in Taiwan is the place to be. According to Reuters:

Newborns get everything Hello Kitty but a set of whiskers, including pink or blue receiving blankets, nurses dressed in pink uniforms with cat-themed aprons, cot linen and room decor. In the lobby, a Hello Kitty statue in a doctor’s uniform greets patients, and twice a year people in feline costumes visit mothers and children. The cat’s likeness even shows up on birth certificate covers.

I wish I could get born there.

Coilhouse Co-Editors Interviewed by Gala Darling!

Gala Lumière Darling:

I believe in being enthusiastic & passionate, & thinking big. I believe in turning the music up loud. I believe in celebrating every day, & getting dressed up for the occasion. I love life. I’m a candy-haired gangster with big plans.

We love Gala Darling. She’s a go-getting, effervescent font of optimism, practicality, wisdom and whimsy all in one stunning package. Gala’s been a supportive friend of our venture from day one, sending over one of our first (and biggest) bursts of readers when the blog launched back in October of 2007. We three lucky ladies are honored and tickled oh-so-very pink to have been interviewed by the fuchsia-tinted juggernaut about our Big Coilhouse Adventure thus far. Read it here.

Gala, dahling. We could just drown you in kisses and cupcakes. Thank you again.

Town in Oregon Elects Genderqueer Mayor

Silverton, Oregon has just elected Stu Rasmussen for another term, making Stu America’s first openly genderqueer mayor. After the harsh disappointment over the passing of Prop 8 this is welcome news. What’s especially wonderful is the support Stu’s town offered during the transition, even though he was first elected as a traditional male.

“Obviously, it was shocking to them,” Stu told Good Morning America “We all kind of went through it together. It was pretty obvious I was making a change, it had to happen in my head. They were ready before I was.”

Good work, Oregon. I feel just a little bit better now.

Cadaverous Amulets for the Modern Aesthete

How intricate a mechanism the body, how elegant the curvature of a clavicle! It’s no wonder so many artists find themselves inspired by the wondrous hidden framework of living creatures. Collected below, some curious work by three jewelers, adventurous artisans who believe in extending the life of anatomical construction well beyond the years of its original owners.

Fist up, Julia Deville. Miss Deville’s biography hints at an interesting character I’d love to have over for tea. She is a trained cobbler, silversmith and taxidermist enthralled with nature and its inner workings. Fusing these areas of expertise she created her line – Disce Mori. Inspired by Victorian mourning artifacts and jewelry, Julia’s beautiful website‘s dark clockwork theme is as entrancing as her pieces. Jet is paired with silver cast from animal bones among a selection of cuff links, buttonhole adornments and fob chains alongside necklaces and bracelets. Also here are less orthodox items – a brooch featuring a preserved mouse, for instance. Bold, yet far from costume fare, Disce Mori pieces are as timeless as they are macabre. The “Taxidermy” section is small, but shows a sense of humor with its “Kitten Rug” [exactly what it sounds like]. Viewing her works as reminders to enjoy the present, Julia makes a point to mention that the animals she uses have all died of natural causes.

Follow beyond the jump for two more purveyors of life-affirming adornments.