Monthly Archives: October 2011

Halloween who, what, and how

creepy baby at Chelsea Market

creepy baby at Chelsea Market

It’s nearly too late now to get a costume together but I have a few last-minute ideas:

The woods at night. Black unitard covered with pairs of googly eyes of various sizes. Better get started on this one right now so the glue will have time to dry.

googly eyes

Yayoi Kusama dots obsession. Red unitard covered with white pompoms or felt circles, or white with red, or white with multicolor, or yellow with black. I kind of want one of these for wearing around the house this winter. It would improve just about all of the things I do around the house.

Yayoi Kusama self-obliteration by dots

Yayoi Kusama red and white dots obsession

Yayoi Kusama multicolor dots obsession

Lunar Camel Co.-size bucket of pom poms

Noosha Fox. A good closet-shopping costume. Have you (or your girlfriend, if you’re a guy and not too burly) got velvet hotpants and a satin cape, or maybe a pink vintage dress and raspberry tights like she wore on that album cover? (I’ve got these Falke ones in rose and can vouch for their perfection, but surely others would do). Not having to shop for a costume leaves you more time to curl your hair. I’m including a photo for reference but the best way to get a sense of Noosha’s style is to spend some quality time at YouTube. Here she is on Top of the Pops in 1975, and here she is in the cape you see below on Australian teevee in 1976, and here she is on Top of the Pops again in 1976 wearing a straw hat.

Noosha Fox bow and cape

You know, screw Halloween, I think you should dress like Noosha Fox pretty much all the time. It’s tricky in cold weather but you’ll just have to line your cape with something warm. Here’s a very Noosha-esque contemporary look from the Guardian for further inspiration. Click on the photo to be taken to a slideshow of more.

so Noosha-ish

Somewhat-pretentious non-costume for a group of friends arriving at a party sans costumes: Friedensreich Regentag Dunkelbunt Hundertwasser, Vali Myers, Wolfgang Hutter, and Mia and Hubert Aratym in Vienna, 1952. OK, it is more than somewhat pretentious, but I think they look great — warm, too — and all you need is sweaters and black eyeliner.

Vali Myers and co.

Vintage anatomy guide. This requires only a flesh-colored unitard — so versatile! — and some fabric paints. Like Slim Goodbody, but you haven’t got time to paint yourself a whole suit, so you’d better focus on just the sex organs or the digestive system or whatever parts you fancy. There are some amazing illustrations over at 50 watts to inspire you. Click on the ones below to see loads more from Le Livre de la Sante, a 1967 French anatomy book. Don’t forget to attach, to your unitard, an index card that says les organes genitaux. If you’re ambitious you can identify each part.

Le Livre de la Sante manparts

Le Livre de la Sante ladyparts

Morgellons sufferer. It’s cruel to poke fun at the diseased but few people know what Morgellons is, so think of this as educational outreach. It’s a condition that causes terrible itching as mysterious, possibly alien, colored fibers emerge from the skin.

morgellons close-up

close-up of Morgellons fibers by Vitaly Citovsky/SUNY Stony Brook via the Guardian

No one knows what causes it or how to cure it, but if you dress as Morgellons, pretty much everyone at the party is going to learn what Morgellons is by the end of the evening, and that can only be a good thing. You’ll need a flesh-colored unitard — see, they are super-versatile — and some colorful bits of yarn and lurex thread and holiday ribbon and whatnot to attach to it. Joni Mitchell has Morgellons so if you have long blonde hair you can be Joni Mitchell suffering from Morgellons.

Bed-in. An ideal costume for a couple. Hair peace, bed peace! I’ve written about my enthusiasm for bed-ins before. Being a bed-in for Halloween requires much less of a time committment than an actual bed-in and all you really need is a sheet to wrap yourself in and a sign.

hair peace bed peace

Mathématiques Modernes

I’m still pretty into icy French 80s synthpop, which I was just getting into when I started this blog. It goes with all the striped tops I wear like le beurre de cacahouètes et confiture. This is Mathématiques Modernes, “Disco Rough.” I have this on 12″. Production: Jacno!

Mathematiques Modernes info

your moist little brain

Birgit Jürgenssen little fur

Photo (untitled self-portrait?) by Birgit Jürgenssen.

From Emma Markiewicz’s “Matters of the Head” in Cabinet issue 40, which is still laying around my apartment:

In the eighteenth century, hair was conceived of not only as an external indicator of a person’s well-being but also as a part of the body that could itself be affected by ill health. In either case, hair in the medical literature was rarely seen as a separate entity and was commonly discussed in conjunction with other body parts and physical conditions. Some considered it a primary marker for the humoral condition of the head, the intellectual seat of the human body. For instance, Aristotle’s New Book of Problems, Set Forth by Question and Answer, a 1725 volume . . . attempted to answer the question ‘Why does hair grow on the head more than any other body part?’ by asserting that hair is ‘an excrement’ that grows primarily on the head because of the moistness of the brain, and is therefore more likely to grow longer in women whose brains are more moist than men’s.

Birgit Jürgenssen ohne titel / untitled

Ohne titel / untitled by Birgit Jürgenssen.

mid-week stationary field trip No. 3

This week’s stationary field trip chronicles an actual field trip: last Monday Mr. Lunar Camel Co. and I skipped work to go for a hike upstate. The first thing to do was pick up a Zipcar next door to this trendy urine spot.

OK, got it.

It doesn’t take long to get to THE COUNTRY and Route 22 is a nice way to get there.

out the car window

We stopped for lunch at McEnroe Organic Farm and left with bags full of apples and pumpkins and whatnot. Also a surprise pet — more on that later.

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We went to Rudd Pond State Park. I’m sure it gets crowded during the summer and on weekends but on a Monday afternoon we pretty much had the place to ourselves.

Rudd Pond State Park

Can you believe they’re using this gorgeous old cabin to store tools instead of letting me do arty things inside? If you live in NY please write a letter to your representative about this!

cabin, Rudd Pond State Park

In the woods we encountered trees living together in unconvential relationships.

trees in love

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Also several incongruous signs. Upstate NY humor.

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Best of all, we found a deserted cabin with a cozy look-out spot.

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A stoned tree guards the lookout spot.

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We returned to the small beach on the lake near the park entrance just in time to watch the sun set and we stopped in a crazy taco place on the way home, but by then my battery was dead, sorry. I would have been shy about taking photos anyhow because the taco lady had an intimidating face full of makeup.

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The next day I discovered I’d brought home a new pet, a snail living in my farm stand herbs. I thought it was dead from being in the refrigerator but after a few moments it was crawling around on my kitchen table. It now lives in my lavender plant. I showed my snail to my friend Ami and he was afraid it might have babies and eat all my plants — when he was a kid he brought home some cool-looking pods he found in a field and they promptly hatched and filled his bedroom with hundreds of baby praying mantises — but I looked this up and it takes two snails to make more snails. I also learned that they “will communicate to the other snail for an average of two to twelve hours.”

new pet snail

The snail’s name is McEnroe after the farm it came from. It isn’t a he or a she because snails are hermaphrodites.

souvenir potatoes farmstand herbs

Stationary field trip No. 1 is here and No. 2 is here.

hunger and its objects

In college I took a philosophy class called Art and Its Objects. We read a lot of Wollheim, but what I really remember is going to my professor’s office, him propping up a Modigliani print on his desk and talking to me with it sat there. So I am going to prop up some things on my blog for you.

Hungry Russian cats in stereo. Haunted by thoughts of having to slog through these to get to the coffee in the morning. Necessity of cat-tending intern and cat-free bedroom with coffee apparatus in it. Potential necessity of rules for intern prohibiting them wearing only tightie whities, socks and plastic sandals.

Tarako Japanese Kewpie pasta sauce.

Walker Brothers Japanese commercial for Look chocolate.

Year Round lion

Lion soup by Milton Glaser, scanned by me from The Year-Round Holiday Cookbook.

Solo Covtina

Women eating hamburgers, from RossoPiceno’s Flickr.

Yuzu, Calamondin, Finger Lime

Yuzu, finger limes, calamondin from ktepi’s Flickr.

relentless feeling

Teen dancing op-art freak-out: Rita Pavone, “Il geghegè”. Via Ouno Design a long time ago.

Non-stop psychedelic something. “Fantasy” by Vince Collins.

Manic cat flays and eats toilet paper probably all day long.

The Fall, “Blindness” (Peel session).

green and yellow books

Sometimes the easiest way to pluck things out of a ramshackle pile is this way.

The Woodlanders front cover

A 1961 Macmillan paperback copy of Thomas Hardy’s The Woodlanders. I bought this from the guy who sometimes sells books on 2nd Ave. in front of St Mark’s Church in-the-Bowery. I haven’t started it yet; the only Hardy I’ve read is Jude The Obscure. The pheasants & etc. are meant to evoke a rustic English village but I like how the woman’s face is perfectly of its time, as fictional faces so often are. She could be in a girl group called the Woodlanders. All with bits of brush in their hair, preceded by a series of 7″ singles woodcut like so. I think there could be a way to prevent them being twee but then I’m idealistic.

The Times Deceas'd cover

The Times Deceas’d: The Rare Book Department of the Times Bookshop in the 1960s by Timothy d’Arch Smith. A stoned impulse buy. (Now you know what I do when I am not having my mellow harshed by the fire department or watching France Gall DVDs in Lunar Camel Co. Towers). Do you know the bookshop I linked to there, Weiser Antiquarian Books? Their catalogues are good for browsing. I’ve always managed to look without buying but the subject matter of this book — “the place to go for unusual, eccentric, and censured books in 1960s London” and its associated “literary luminaries and lowlifes” — is apparently not something I could resist. I’ve only skimmed it yet but I doubt I’ll be disappointed; there are interesting tidbits of gossip about “ardent Corvinists,” and I’ve learned that young Henry Green and his brother “used to play a dangerous game of hide-and-seek, each one armed with a loaded shotgun.”

Doting front cover

Which brings us to. A sense of relief that frère Green (Yorke, actually) was apparently not an expert marksman. This 1952 Viking edition of Doting has been removed my pile and shelved in a bookcase because I read it a couple months ago, and what now? It was my last Henry Green. He didn’t write a ton of books and I’ve run out. Doting was not my favorite — I think Loving is his best work and it’s also the one I, hmm, you know, the most — but I wouldn’t tell you to avoid Doting. It is almost entirely dialogue and it’s about the confusing and sometimes miserable differences between doting on someone and loving someone. If you are new to Green please don’t let the unfashionable titles put you off; he’s relentlessly stylish on the page in the best possible way. It isn’t about literary calisthenics though. He was as observant as can be and he got people and the things they do and say vividly correct. Yet he does not sound like anyone else at all.

Witch Dungeon front cover

Witch Dungeon! I was drawn to this book at Housing Works because I was taken to the Salem Witch Museum when I was very small, maybe 6 or 7 years old. I had a great time and somehow or other it made a huge impression on me. I suppose it put a sinister edge on the annual making-of-the-hand-turkeys. It’s very dark in there. Or was. I hope it still is. At that time visitors to the museum gathered in the entrance at certain appointed times, in a pitch-black room with a red pentagram on the floor, and a guide / narrator explained the exhibits, which were (are?) dioramas depicting the horribly nasty things the Puritans and Pilgrims did to one another. Sort of like the Natural History Museum, but instead of mountain goats perched on a cliff here were loutish-looking people tormenting each another with the full panoply of American colonial torture devices: people being stoned to death, dunked in water, burnt alive, and otherwise prosecuted by religious nutters. I’m about half-way through this slim little book and I haven’t come across anything to change my impression that my New England forebearers were extraordinarily cruel people who delighted in mangling one another for the most trivial offenses. The book was published in 1986, just a few years after my visit to the Witch Museum. Author Robert Cahill explains in the brief introduction that in 1973 he “was elected High Sheriff of Essex County, Massachusetts, with added duties as Master and Keeper of the Salem Jail & House of Correction,” a “decrepid bastile” built in 1813 to replace a wooden structure known as “the Witch Jail,” and his position prompted him to dig into the records. He wrote many other little gift shoppe books about New England history (please let me know if you spot New England’s Naughty Navy or New England’s Mountain Madness) but having been Sheriff seems to have inspired in him a commendable passion for researching and exposing the idiocies of his predecessors.

early New Yorkers in stocks

Print depicting early New Yorkers in stocks via the NYPL digital gallery.

Of which there are many, obviously. The one that impressed me the most is small but so telling: “In Boston, the first person to sit in the stocks as a punishment, was the carpenter who built them. When the magistrates saw Edward Palmer’s bill for material and labor of one pound 13 shillings, they fined him five pounds ‘and censured him to be set an hour in the stocks.'” They just couldn’t wait to use it. Apparently the populace was as excited about this stuff as the judges were; Cahill also reports that people standing in one of Boston’s first pillories — stocks are the feet-holders and pillories are the head and arm-holders — were “exposed to gross and cruel jeers from the multitude, who pelted them constantly with rotten eggs and every repulsive kind of garbage that could be collected.”

the ramen, the ramen, the ramen is on fire

Here’s a rare bit of Lunar Camel Co. news-gathering for you, last night I was having dinner at Chuko in Prospect Heights and it caught fire.

Chuko ramen fire

Not flaming fire, but it got very smoky and everyone had to go outside. I think everyone else had finished their dinner but not us! We’d inhaled an order of grilled shishito peppers (so good with lime and flaky salt) and an eggplant bun (crazy thing, tasted like a McDonald’s burger; I have not eaten one of those in at least twenty years but the taste is unmistakable) and our ramen had just arrived.

Chuko ramen fire

Chuko ramen fire

Our waiter half-jokingly suggested that we take our ramen outside but the bowls were hot so we left them behind. A difficult thing to do. It was kind of late (we’d arrived just in time to order before the kitchen closed at 10) and it was cold outside, and we got there late because we’d just smoked a bowl, and here was steaming hot, seemingly-lovely ramen. Fuck!

Chuko ramen fire

What an interesting picture we would’ve made, resolutely slurping our noodles on the sidewalk while the second, third, and fourth firetrucks arrived. Alas, we tipped our waiter and took off for Chavela’s, where we had a second round of appetizers, a couple of margaritas, and, at last, dinner (chilaquiles x 2).

Chuko ramen fire

I took a sleep-break because I’m an old woman now but I awoke still in serious eating mode. Breakfast did not require planning because Party Lights played Montreal and brought back bagels from St-Viateur (délicieux!), but what am I going to eat for lunch and for tonight’s first and second dinner?

a Montreal bagel in Harlem