Thursday, June 24, 2010

your beauty will last for awhile

Happy Friday!

Marilyn Monroe as Sugar Kane in Some Like It Hot (1959). The Hotel Del Coronado is in the background.

Some Like It Hot - Tony Curtis, Marilyn Monroe and Jack Lemmon

Badly Drawn Boy - Once Around the Block

Sunday, June 20, 2010

never met a girl like you before

Eugene Von Bruenchenhein (1910-1983) was a self-taught artist from Wisconsin. He worked in a wide range of media, including painting, sculpture, ceramics, photography and poetry. Below are images of his wife Marie (Eveline Kalke Von Bruenchenhein - "Marie").

Eugene Von Bruenchenhein, Photograph of the Artist's Wife Marie, 1940s, 9 1/4 x 7 1/8"

Eugene Von Bruenchenhein, Montage Photograph of the Artist's Wife Marie, 1940s,9 1/8 x 7 1/8"

"Von Bruenchenhein met his wife Marie in 1939 during a visit to Wisconsin State Fair Park, located just a few blocks from his family's home. After a three-and-one-half-year courtship, they began a forty-year marriage that ended only with the artist's death in 1983. Beginning in the early 1940s, Marie became the subject of literally thousands of black-and white photographs taken by him. He developed the prints himself in their bathroom.

Inspired by the 1940s pinup aesthetic, Von Bruenchenhein's photographs are strangely erotic tableaux. They often feature Marie posed seminude before lush, floral cloth backdrops. She also appears enveloped in yards of bright satin or draped in imitation leopard skin and other patterned fabrics. In many images, she wears multiple pearl necklaces or dons a sparkling make-believe crown fashioned by the artist from a tin can and Christmas tree ornaments. Marie, transformed by her exotic costuming, assumed the fictional roles of seductress, ingenue, glamour queen, pinup girl, and movie star, all before the relentless voyeuristic gaze of Von Bruenchenhein's camera. During the 1950s, Marie enacted even more lavishly costumed charades for a series of over two thousand color slide images. She also helped her husband to hand color many of his earlier photographs of her."

Eugene Von Bruenchenhein, 35 mm Color Slide Image of the Artist's Wife Marie, 1950s

Eugene Von Bruenchenhein, 35 mm Color Slide Image of the Artist's Wife Marie, 1950s

"Marie! Marie!
I long for you thru the dusky,
Hollow, fading, years.
The memory of blossom lips;
Of starry eyes; of devine being,
Mingle to form a picture,
Where the sole joy of living
Manifests itself in the laughter
And lovliness of youth!
The tremor of a singing heart;
The whisper of a soft voice;
The movement of a summer blossom
In summers breezes;
Virtues that permeate the very
Charm of living!

Oh Marie! These and these alone
I would remember.
For these were you!"
(poem by Eugene Von Bruenchenhein)

Eugene Von Bruenchenhein, Eugene Thinks of Marie: Montage by Eugene, 1940s,
10 x 5 1/2"

(source for photographs, poem and quote: Eugene Von Bruenchenhein: Obsessive Visionary, published by John Michael Kohler Arts Center, Sheboygan, Wisconsin © 1988)

Looking at the photograph above, Eugene Thinks of Marie: Montage by Eugene, makes me think about sources of inspiration and creativity, and the role of the artist's muse, and Carl Jung's concept of the anima ...

"The anima is a personification of all feminine psychological tendencies in a man's psyche, such as vague feelings and moods, prophetic hunches, receptiveness to the irrational, capacity for personal love, feeling for nature, and-- last but not least-- his relation to the unconscious. It is no mere chance that in olden times priestesses (like the Greek Sibyl) were used to fathom the divine will and to make connection with the gods.

A particularly good example of how the anima is experienced as an inner figure in a man's psyche is found in the medicine man and prophets (shamans) among the Eskimo and other arctic tribes. Some of these even wear women's clothes or have breasts depicted on their garments, in order to manifest their inner feminine side -- the side that enables them to connect with the "ghost land" (i.e., what we call the unconscious).

One reported case tells of a young man who was being initiated by an older shaman and who was buried by him in a snow hole. He fell into a state of dreaminess and exhaustion. In this coma he suddenly saw a woman who emitted light. She instructed him in all he needed to know and later, as his protective spirit, helped him to practice his difficult profession by relating him to the powers of the beyond. Such an experience shows the anima as the personification of a man's unconscious.

...The most frequent manifestations of the anima takes the form of erotic fantasy..."

(source for quote: Man and His Symbols by Carl G. Jung, published by Dell Publishing Co., New York, NY © 1964)

Edwyn Collins - A Girl Like You

Friday, June 18, 2010

Pictures of Lillie

wishing you a happy Friday!

Below are images of the British actress and famous beauty, Lillie Langtry (October 13, 1853 – February 12, 1929) known as "the Jersey Lily". I selected these images from a 19th century album, compiled and created by Mrs. W. F. Graves.

"Born on the Isle of Jersey, (Lillie Langtry) arrived in London in the mid-1870s with her alcoholic husband Edward Langtry and promptly entered society despite having little money. While her beauty at first created a mild interest, it was her attendance of social events clad in the same black dress that created a stir. When someone finally commented on her continuous use of that dress, she arrived at her next engagement wearing a white dress of similar fashion. This provocation created a furor and suddenly, artists wanted to paint her, hostesses vied to have her on their guest lists, and people (even the most fearsome dowagers!) even stood on benches in Hyde Park, or chairs at balls, to catch a glimpse of her. So great was her fame that her greatest wish–to be presented to Queen Victoria–was granted (some say at the instigation of the queen herself!). Coached by the highest in the land (the Prince of Wales, soon her lover), the wittiest (Oscar Wilde), and the most talented (James MacNeil Whistler), she cut a swath through aristocratic society. Frank Miles, one Lillie’s earliest acquaintances, capitalized on the increasing voraciousness of people for pictures of society beauties, and these women, subsequently dubbed “Professional Beauties” or, P.B.’s for short, took not only London at large by storm, but the known world."

(source for quote: Edwardian Promenade - click on The Professional Beauty to read the entire post)

Lillie Langtry as Miss Kate Hardcastle in Oliver Goldsmith's play, She Stoops to Conquer

Monday, June 14, 2010

you only gotta dance with me dawg

Our local weather forecast? Highs should reach 99 degrees, with a heat index of 115, today in Savannah. Same thing tomorrow. The dog days of summer have arrived early.

My Morning Jacket - Lowdown

Star Cluster

The Dog Star, Sirius, and it's tiny companion (source:
Bad dog!

Friday, June 11, 2010

Happy Friday

(The Unhappy Hippopotamus story by Nancy Moore, pictures by Edward Leight, The Vanguard Press, New York © 1957)

Sonic Youth - Teenage Riot

Dinosaur Jr. - Budge

Sunday, June 6, 2010

a pairing: Charlotte Perkins Gilman and Francesca Woodman

This post pairs an excerpt from the short story, The Yellow Wallpaper, written by Charlotte Perkins Gilman (July 3, 1860 – August 17, 1935) with photographs by Francesca Woodman ( April 3, 1958 - January 19, 1981).

The Yellow Wallpaper is a story about a woman "(the narrator) and her husband/physician (John), who have rented an ancestral house for a summer. John prescribes for the narrator a "rest cure"... Isolated in her room and completely inactive except for her writing, the narrator becomes transfixed by the grotesque wallpaper that surrounds her. She projects herself into the patterns of the paper and imagines a feminine figure... The feminine shape escapes from the wallpaper's intricate web and is seen "creeping up and down" in the courtyard. In the final scene of the work, the narrator, who has seemingly lost her mind, tears off the wallpaper and crawls and "creeps" ... across the floor and over John, who has collapsed lifelessly after seeing his wife wriggling and writhing on the ground." (quote)
"I really have discovered something at last.

Through watching so much at night, when it changes so, I have finally found out.

The front pattern does move - and no wonder! The woman behind shakes it!

Sometimes I think there are a great many women behind, and sometimes only one, and she crawls around fast, and her crawling shakes it all over.

Then in the very bright spots she keeps still, and in the very shady spots she just takes hold of the bars and shakes them hard.

And she is all the time trying to climb through. But nobody could climb through that pattern - it strangles so; I think that is why it has so many heads.

They get through, and then the pattern strangles them off and turns them upside down, and makes their eyes white!

If those heads were covered or taken off it would not be half so bad.

Francesca Woodman, House 4, Providence, 1975-76

Francesca Woodman, House 3, Providence, 1975-76

I think that woman gets out in the daytime!

And I'll tell you why - privately - I've seen her!

I can see her out of every one of my windows!

It is the same woman, I know, for she is always creeping, and most women do not creep by daylight.

I see her on the long road under the trees, creeping along, and when a carriage comes she hides under the blackberry vines.

I don't blame her a bit. It must be very humiliating to be caught creeping by daylight!

I always lock the door when I creep by daylight. I can't do it at night, for I know John would suspect something at once.

And John is so queer now, that I don't want to irritate him. I wish he would take another room! Besides, I don't want anybody to get that woman out at night but myself.

Francesca Woodman, Then at one point I did not need to translate the notes; they went directly to my hands, Providence, 1976

Francesca Woodman, From Space2, Providence, 1975-76

I often wonder if I could see her out of all the windows at once.

But turn as fast as I can, I can only see out of one at one time.

And through I always see her, she may be able to creep faster than I can turn!

I have watched her sometimes away off in the open country, creeping as fast as a cloud shadow in a high wind."

source for quote from The Yellow Wallpaper by Charlotte Perkins Gilman: That Kind of Woman: Stories from the Left Bank and Beyond, edited and introduced by Bronte Adams and Trudi Tate, published by Virago Press Limited, London, © 1991; source for photographs: Francesca Woodman: Photographic Works, the Woodman Estate and Shedhalle Zurich, published by Distributed Art Pub Inc © 1992.