Sam: Needful Things

by on Aug.19, 2019, under Syndicated from the Web

Reposted from | Go to Original Post

Instead of a lengthy introduction, I am cutting right to the chase for this summer edition of Needful Things!

Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab bath oil: Straight aromatic luxury, and I am so into the notion of soaking in my sins. I’ve said fuck summer and have been taking hot, relaxing baths with these, some candles and rose quartz lately. Morocco (a forever favorite), Luxoria, and Embalming Fluid are my current heavy rotations.

I romance TF out of myself (hi, Leo Moon).


I recently placed my first order with Glossier, and here are some reviews: (use this link for 10% off your order!)
Mega Greens Galaxy Mask: Keeper for sure, but I’ve been using the Drunk Elephant Babyfacial mask weekly recently, so this will be my back up when that (expensive AF) mask runs out.
Moisturizing Moon Mask: This is a super thick moisturizer mask, and will probably be amazing for winter months when my skin gets more dry.
Super Glow: I returned this serum immediately. It’s SO thin, it literally dripped off of my face and barely absorbed, and I had to wash my face about 20 minutes after applying it because I felt greasy.
Milky Jelly Cleanser: I expected to like this the least, but I was very surprised! I didn’t use any makeup remover or my Clarisonic, and it still dissolved even my mascara. Keeper! I’ve been using it as my travel face cleanser.
Solution: The website mainly promoted this as an liquid exfoliant treatment but the actual packaging prominently states its primary use is acne treatment. It has great reviews, but I returned it before even trying it out – it had a really harsh chemical smell, and my skin is super sensitive & I get hivey (and on occasion, swollen and/or leaky), so I didn’t want to take any risks.

I am SUPER impressed with Glossier’s customer service: you have to email CS with return requests, which was answered almost immediately (on a holiday weekend!), and processed the return for me very quickly with absolutely no hassle. Honestly, because of this, I’ll continue shopping with them and am looking forward to trying out other products.


I will never not get excited when Halloween season starts. Even though the kitch factor might be a little high for me at a lot of the shops, I still get giddy for the season & to see the overall Spook have its moment in the sun (moon? dark & stormy night?). I loved this ceramic container I found at Michael’s!

Sphere and Sundry: Astrologically imbued talismans, with offers devoted to various elections and deities. I am a HUGE fan of the assortment of oils, bath soaks, and intentional waters & sprays that I have been using from S&S this year.

Not necessarily a current favorite, or even a Needful Thing, but I am stuck on a The End is Nigh and Here Are Some Omens streak lately: earthquakes, floods, eclipses, and a swarm of locust around the pyramids (ok, grasshoppers around the Luxor in Vegas, but locust sounds much more ominous). Maybe it’s because I watched Good Omens last month, maybe it’s because we all got kicked into another reality a few years ago. A turtle fell out of the heavens onto my house in between the eclipses, and that’s close enough to raining fish or pigs flying for me.

Instagram Tarot Pulls: I’ve been doing one card Tarot pulls on IG this summer and I am SO happy to be doing this with you all. Truthfully, they are a *little* daunting, I was not expecting as many submissions as I received each round, but I will be doing my very best to answer each question that is sent in. Next round will be open in about two weeks, right around the New Moon. I’ve had a few requests for private readings, and I am working on getting past my imposter syndrome to start taking on clients.

Postcards From The Liminal Space: I’m SO into this oracle deck from the owners of Everyday Magic. It’s straight forward and gives no fucks, and frequently calls me out on my bullshit. It also shuffles better than any other deck I’ve ever used before.

Rompers – I have accepted my fate as someone that pees naked. I immediately ordered a backup of this one from Shein, and have a Haute Comfy plan for this one from Fox Blood. Rompers and kimonos are the aesthetic I’m going for this summer, and I know that Sarah Elizabeth is also down for it.

Honorable Mentions:

Buffy rewatch for the thousandth time // Obsessively organizing out of my closets (see Stacked) // Blobfish Emojis – this does exist, search the iphone app store // Biscoff Cookie Butter // Apres Nails because I decided I can commit but I’m not looking to put a ring on it // trimming the edges off of oracle cards that are too big for my hands (thanks for the idea, Jess!) // garden fantasies // Amy’s Vegan Pizza covered in Siracha // finding mixtapes from the 1990s


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Sam: Needful Things

by on Aug.19, 2019, under Syndicated from the Web

Reposted from | Go to Original Post

Instead of a lengthy introduction, I am cutting right to the chase for this summer edition of Needful Things!

Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab bath oil: Straight aromatic luxury, and I am so into the notion of soaking in my sins. I’ve said fuck summer and have been taking hot, relaxing baths with these, some candles and rose quartz lately. Morocco (a forever favorite), Luxoria, and Embalming Fluid are my current heavy rotations.

I romance TF out of myself (hi, Leo Moon).


I recently placed my first order with Glossier, and here are some reviews: (use this link for 10% off your order!)
Mega Greens Galaxy Mask: Keeper for sure, but I’ve been using the Drunk Elephant Babyfacial mask weekly recently, so this will be my back up when that (expensive AF) mask runs out.
Moisturizing Moon Mask: This is a super thick moisturizer mask, and will probably be amazing for winter months when my skin gets more dry.
Super Glow: I returned this serum immediately. It’s SO thin, it literally dripped off of my face and barely absorbed, and I had to wash my face about 20 minutes after applying it because I felt greasy.
Milky Jelly Cleanser: I expected to like this the least, but I was very surprised! I didn’t use any makeup remover or my Clarisonic, and it still dissolved even my mascara. Keeper! I’ve been using it as my travel face cleanser.
Solution: The website mainly promoted this as an liquid exfoliant treatment but the actual packaging prominently states its primary use is acne treatment. It has great reviews, but I returned it before even trying it out – it had a really harsh chemical smell, and my skin is super sensitive & I get hivey (and on occasion, swollen and/or leaky), so I didn’t want to take any risks.

I am SUPER impressed with Glossier’s customer service: you have to email CS with return requests, which was answered almost immediately (on a holiday weekend!), and processed the return for me very quickly with absolutely no hassle. Honestly, because of this, I’ll continue shopping with them and am looking forward to trying out other products.


I will never not get excited when Halloween season starts. Even though the kitch factor might be a little high for me at a lot of the shops, I still get giddy for the season & to see the overall Spook have its moment in the sun (moon? dark & stormy night?). I loved this ceramic container I found at Michael’s!

Sphere and Sundry: Astrologically imbued talismans, with offers devoted to various elections and deities. I am a HUGE fan of the assortment of oils, bath soaks, and intentional waters & sprays that I have been using from S&S this year.

Not necessarily a current favorite, or even a Needful Thing, but I am stuck on a The End is Nigh and Here Are Some Omens streak lately: earthquakes, floods, eclipses, and a swarm of locust around the pyramids (ok, grasshoppers around the Luxor in Vegas, but locust sounds much more ominous). Maybe it’s because I watched Good Omens last month, maybe it’s because we all got kicked into another reality a few years ago. A turtle fell out of the heavens onto my house in between the eclipses, and that’s close enough to raining fish or pigs flying for me.

Instagram Tarot Pulls: I’ve been doing one card Tarot pulls on IG this summer and I am SO happy to be doing this with you all. Truthfully, they are a *little* daunting, I was not expecting as many submissions as I received each round, but I will be doing my very best to answer each question that is sent in. Next round will be open in about two weeks, right around the New Moon. I’ve had a few requests for private readings, and I am working on getting past my imposter syndrome to start taking on clients.

Postcards From The Liminal Space: I’m SO into this oracle deck from the owners of Everyday Magic. It’s straight forward and gives no fucks, and frequently calls me out on my bullshit. It also shuffles better than any other deck I’ve ever used before.

Rompers – I have accepted my fate as someone that pees naked. I immediately ordered a backup of this one from Shein, and have a Haute Comfy plan for this one from Fox Blood. Rompers and kimonos are the aesthetic I’m going for this summer, and I know that Sarah Elizabeth is also down for it.

Honorable Mentions:

Buffy rewatch for the thousandth time // Obsessively organizing out of my closets (see Stacked) // Blobfish Emojis – this does exist, search the iphone app store // Biscoff Cookie Butter // Apres Nails because I decided I can commit but I’m not looking to put a ring on it // trimming the edges off of oracle cards that are too big for my hands (thanks for the idea, Jess!) // garden fantasies // Amy’s Vegan Pizza covered in Siracha // finding mixtapes from the 1990s


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Stacked: July 2019

by on Aug.16, 2019, under Syndicated from the Web

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Sarah

Bad Gateway by Simon Hanselmann Ooooof. When you strip away the spiteful laughter and the uncomfortable chuckles of the previous Megg & Mogg books (one of which, Megahex, I have written about previously–don’t get me wrong, I adored it, and I laughed at that one, too) you’re left with the bare bones of depression and mental illness and addiction and self-harm and a bleak, unblinking gaze at your trauma and terrible behaviors. Where do you go once you’ve hit the bottom of the bottom? If anyone could fall further, it’s this gang, and yet, I am hopeful that is not the case. CW: everything.

A Hawk In The Woods by Carrie Laben Recommended as a “best of 2019….so far” by Jack over at Bad Books For Bad People, A Hawk In The Woods was described as a “Lovecraftian sister road trip,” and OK, yes please–sign me up! Abby and Martha are twins from a weird family with weird powers and are desperately headed to the family cabin after Abby breaks Martha out of prison. Are Abby’s reasons for rescuing her sister entirely unselfish? Absolutely not. As we follow the trajectory of their journey, the timelines slips from past to present and we get a glimpse of the reasons they each wound up where they did in life, and where that path will ultimately lead them. There was so much about this story to love: the sister’s relationship, the creepy family backstory, the powers that the twins possess (Abby uses people’s energies to bend those individuals to her will, and Martha can fold time) and the only complaint I have sort of spoils an important aspect of the story, so I’ll keep mum on that point. Just…pay attention to who the characters are, and what you think you know about them. Things can get a little confusing.

The Poison Thread by Laura Purcell. I won this book in a GoodReads giveaway! I swear I get emails from GoodReads every other day about how this, that, or the other book on my to-read list is now available and they are giving away 50 copies of it, or something like that. And honestly, you won’t catch me entering a lot of random internet giveaways, but it just seems like sooner or later between the frequency of them and the amount of stuff they give away, you are going to win something from GoodReads– so why not? Seriously, just enter them every chance you get; you’re bound to luck out at some point. The Poison Thread (aka The Corset; I am not sure why they changed the title) is the second book I have read by Laura Purcell and I was so very excited about it because I thoroughly enjoyed the first I’d read by her, The Silent Companions, a book which genuinely freaked me out last May. In The Poison Thread, the narrative is split between two women in Victorian England; Dorothea, a wealthy heiress, and Ruth, an impoverished seamstress imprisoned for the murder of her mistress. After the death of her mother, who contracted a bit of religious mania before her slightly suspect passing, Dorothea, or “Dotty” begins visiting women in prison, among other acts of charity– and I’m not quite sure if it’s to honor her late mother’s legacy or an excuse to practice her newfound fascination with phrenology. This seems an odd, throwaway theme in the greater scheme of this tale–I think you could swap in and substitute any faddish psychoanalytical nonsense from the era and it probably would not have made much difference to the story. Dotty becomes singularly obsessed with Ruth, who believes she has killed via transference of her malice and rage through the power of needlework. This is perhaps more “gothic suspense” than “gothic ghost story”, although that thread of the supernatural does lurk throughout, even it if may only be in Ruth’s mind. But it’s an utterly riveting and twisty novel and I’ve been recommending it to everyone I know. If you’ve read neither The Silent Companions nor The Poison Thread, grab them both as we head into September and I assure you that they will make incredible early autumn reads.


Maika

As you can see from the photo above, I spent the month of July with my face buried in books and, really, they were the best places for me to be. I didn’t go out. I didn’t write much. I just read. And it was good. Very good. However, because my own list fatigue is very real, I’ve no doubt at least some of you suffer the same, so I’m going to keep most of these reviews very, very short, except for this first one:

Carmilla by Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu, edited by Carmen Maria Machado – Even if you’ve read Carmilla before, which I had, a couple times, you’ve never experienced it like this. Carmen Maria Machado edited and wrote the introduction for this edition of J. Sheridan Le Fanu’s OG gothic vampire novella. But saying that belies the significance of what she’s done with this story, which is so much more than editing. Her touch was light, but so very thoughtful. Her footnotes are spare, but damn, they matter. When all is said and done, between the intro and the editing, Machado actually, well, mended this tale, which isn’t something I realized I needed until I started reading this edition. She magicked it into the version of my dreams that I didn’t know I’d been dreaming of since I first read it years ago. Such a gift.

Machado also agreed to a Perfectly Normal Interview about her edition of Carmilla for Electric Literature, which immediately became one of my all-time favorite interviews. Really, I wish this interview could’ve been published in the back of the novella, because the two belong together, just like Veronika and Marcia.

When I Arrived at the Castle by Emily Carroll – The month I reread Carmilla was the perfect month to also finally read this delectable treat of a graphic novel, which has been patient waiting in my stacks for ages. My only complaint is that I wish it had been longer. I wanted to spend more time in that castle.

Sooner or Later Everything Falls Into the Sea by Sarah Pinsker – For me, 2019 seems to be the year of outstanding short story collections, and this is my new favorite. Fantastic, strange, creative, poignant, diverse, and queer. I loved every single story and wish several of them could be books of their own.

Mongrels by Stephen Graham Jones – How am I only now learning about Stephen Graham Jones? This coming-of-age story is an in-depth, modern day reimagining of the werewolf mythos. There’s no aspect of their intense lives that Jones didn’t carefully consider. It’s a brutal story, quite violent at times – these are wolves we’re talking about, after all. But it’s also oddly tender, even funny at times. For all their inherent monstrousness, this is a very human tale. I’m surprised it hasn’t already been adapted as a TV series.

Lanny by Max Porter – This book came to me by way of Warren Ellis’s Orbital Operations newsletter. He shared a quote and I was hooked. Lanny is a modern day Green Man folktale set in a tiny village outside London and it had me under its spell from the first page.

What Should Be Wild by Julia Fine – I was one of those kids who watched Disney’s The Little Mermaid and was furious with the ending, much preferring the ending of the original Hans Christian Andersen fairy tale. What Should Be Wild was very readable, but the ending disappointed me in the same fashion. Pity.

Fever Dream by Samanta Schweblin – Reading this wonderfully eerie story felt like dreaming and hooked me on the work of Samanta Schweblin.

Mouthful of Birds by Samanta Schweblin – Another fantastic collection of incredibly strange and vivid short stories. The acute oddness and unsettling nature of these tales continues to haunt me. Schweblin is another author I’ll be sure to follow closely from now on.

Without Protection by Gala Mukomolova – Our very own Sonya already featured this remarkable book in a previous edition of Stacked in which they described it as, “beyond powerful.” I couldn’t agree more, so I’ll simply add that, much like Sonya’s first book of poetry, Salt is for Curing, these are poems I didn’t know I needed until I found them in my hands, but oh, how profoundly I needed them.

Lenz by Georg Büchner – This 19th century novella fragment also found me by way of Warren Ellis. It’s a fictional retelling of an 18th century writer’s descent into madness and the first description of schizophrenia in German literature. But it’s also so much more than that, philosophically and poetically. It’s powerfully, beautifully written and reads like experiencing an increasingly dark and distressing dream.

Stumptown, Vol. 2: The Case of the Baby in the Velvet Case by Greg Rucka (author) and Matthew Southworth (artist) and

Stumptown, Vol. 3: The Case of the King of Clubs by Greg Rucka (author) and Justin Greenwood (artist) – After reading volume 1 last month, I continue to enjoy Greg Rucka’s tales of the Portland, OR-based adventures of private detective Dex Parios. As someone who couldn’t be less interested in sportsball, that one of these stories is about soccer yet still held my attention feels like a testament to the quality of these characters and their lives.

By Night, Vol. 2 by John Allison (author) and Christine Larsen and Sarah Stern (artists) – Forever and always reading anything and everything John Allison decides to write. No exceptions. By Night continues to be delightful and weird little yarn with this second collection. More, please.


Sam

Marie Kondo: The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up 

Throw away all of your non-joyous items, but, wait, no, how can I possibly get rid of that dress I bought on Depop that doesn’t actually fit very well and that book I bought for a few cents on Amazon that I didn’t really like anyway and left no impact on me at all so I never included it in a Stacked? What does it mean to spark joy, and aren’t my items a part of my identity? However, if I do not organize out my closets and dresser, and make my boyfriend fold his t-shirts so that they stand up on their sides (for this I had to consult the illustrated edition of the book & rewatch the YouTube videos more times than were probably necessary). my life is surely to fall apart.

Having my wardrobe arranged in an ascending line from left to right sounds much more pleasing than the current Black Void In Various Lengths, so I have since ordered a new closet organizer and 200 velvet hangers, which are all waiting very impatiently for me to experience Joy Sparks.

**edited later to add, yes, I have embarked on this journey, and yes, closet clean out sales currently in effect.

The Windup Bird Chronicle by Haruki Murakami
I’m having strange synchronicities while re-reading this book that (like all of Murakami’s books) is about strange synchronicities :

narrator has left his unfulfilling career
approaching the full moon & the narrator’s wife’s period – mine has recently synced back to the full moon.
All the horses died during the eclipse – although no horses died (that I am aware of), I read this sentence on the morning of one of our two eclipses last month.
“Fear the water”: dreams as of late including flooding, which is not entirely unwarranted, as it is storm season, and New Orleans has frequently been at least ankle deep a number of times this summer.

I have read a good portion of them, but am not hugely a fan of Murakami library. I feel he writes meandering tales (writes them very well, and very beautifully), but they mostly have no resolution and all follow a similar path: a single, ordinary young male is the main protagonist and there is an introduction of a strange event (usually accompanied by the introduction of a female character) that sets Ordinary Male Character into a series of borderline paranormal / magical realism adventures, where he constantly is saying “I’m just an Ordinary Male Character, I don’t know what I am doing here”.

Wind Up Bird was the first of his novels I recall reading, and I feel that I had been trying to chase the bird down in all of his other stories, only to find it again over a decade later, back where it had first began for me. I do love this book, and am glad I revisited it.

The Word Pretty by Elisa Gabbert

I did not like this book or how it made me feel like I was simultaneously being spoken down to and trying to be impressed. The author maintains a condescending tone throughout each essay, and for full honest, I put it down about halfway through. The cover is very nice, though. 

Sarah Elizabeth gave it a much better review in a previous Stacked, so I am now wondering if I need to give it a second chance.

Currently Reading and/or Meandering Through:
Dancing Barefoot: The Patti Smith Story
Susan Sontag: As Consciousness Is Harnessed to Flesh: Journals & Notebooks, 1964-1980
Margaret Atwood: Selected Poems 1965-1975


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The Demonic Feminine In Heavy Reverb: An Interview With La Femme Pendu

by on Aug.15, 2019, under Syndicated from the Web

Reposted from | Go to Original Post

I can’t remember the last time I tuned into new music that I’ve been really excited about. Ages ago, in another life when I had more time on my hands, I used to make a weekly ritual of making a playlist of new-to-me music, and I’d post it up over on 8tracks. I remember asking myself on more than one occasion, “hey, so, if you’re constantly roaming for new music…when are you going to settle down and listen to the stuff you know you already like?” Well, that happened in early 2018 or so, and ever since then, I’ve been in a bit of a rut, listening to the same two Lana del Rey albums over and over again. Maybe it was a cry for help. (I still love you, Lana!)

On the day of this year’s midsummer solstice, however, Sam shared a link with me to La Femme Pendu’s debut album, All Of Them Witches, and just like that, I was obsessed all over again with music and how a marvelous song can thrill my very soul. I have to say, I don’t think I’ve ever heard anything quite like La Femme Pendu’s sound. Described as “French lounge horror ballads” and the “demonic feminine in heavy reverb”, it evoked the feeling of sitting alone in an infernal coffee shop, drinking the most bitter espresso, and being the sole audience for a mysterious entity and her unholy instrument. Her eyes are piercing me until there’s nothing left but fragments of shadow and the phantom of her song.

I knew I had to find out more. For you! I did it all for you! My fellow lovers of music, and song, and dark-hearted devilkin! Also, okay, I did it for me because as you well know, I am nosy as hell. See our interview below, with the mysterious La Femme Pendu, whom you may know from other media and artistic roles…but I am not going to give too much about that away! Sometimes mysteries are nice, don’t you think? And it’s a lovely adventure to poke around and do a little digging and find things out for yourself. Hopefully below we reveal just enough to leave you wanting much more…

Haute Macabre: La Femme Pendu, or the hanged woman, is the twelfth card in the Major Arcana of the tarot. What is it about the essence of this card that speaks to you? How do these themes inform or influence your music and songwriting?

La Femme Pendu: Most interpretations of The Hanged One depict a sort of self-imposed purgatory, a discomfort we can’t help but learn from. It’s these periods that I’ve grown from the most; if I feel I’m twisting in the wind it’s usually time to look around. There is so much to be mined from our discomfort, and it’s usually from the heart of conflict that my songs like to emerge.

Speaking from personal experience, I’m still a baby when it comes to the divinatory power of tarot, and if I am being completely honest, I may be collecting them because I love the idea of portable prognostication + art more than I do actually learning to do anything with it. I am curious as to where you might be along your own journey?

If I could represent my relationship to the tarot with one of the cards, I’d say I’m somewhere around The Hermit. My practice is solitary as I develop a stronger literacy and relationship with my decks. All tarot is an invitation to reexamine the paradigm, a prompt to gain a new perspective. To me, a daily pull pairs well with my morning coffee.

An album of four songs–French lounge horror ballads–La Femme Pendu is inspired by women in horror cinema and created for “feminists, film freaks, and creatures of the night.” This is a powerfully bewitching pitch that speaks to my very soul! What can you share about your own, personal film freakiness and love of horror cinema?

For years I eschewed horror cinema because of my frustration with its prominent male gaze. This was when I conflated slasher with horror, and before I discovered prestige and folk horror and cultivated my preferences toward supernatural mythology. What I crave is a new genre of horror film that presents paganism and witchcraft with reverence instead of that same tired Christocentric villainy. Until that arrives, I’ll have The Witch on infinite replay.

My French is a little sketchy, and so I have my guesses, but can you fill us in on the women who appear in the songs of your album, and what it is about their roles or characters or experiences that fascinates you?

The characters referenced in each song are in some way repressed or restricted by the patriarchy. Rosemary by her deceptive marriage, Madame Blaylock from The Omen by her blind commitment to her young male charge, Tomasin by her struggle with puberty in a male dominated house, etc. Constriction by outside forces is the common thread among these characters; woman is free but everywhere she is in chains (until she chooses to go into the woods and levitate).

I adore the melancholic, moody 1960’s French feel of the album and how you’ve paired this style of music with these nightmarish concepts. It’s wildly unexpected; it’s a gorgeous sound and so much fun. How did the whole idea come about for you?

The lyrics were written by a Ouija board and the orchestration came to me through clairaudience. I wrote one at an airport and another in a post-surgical haze. The more I listened, the more the spirits spoke.

A little further exploration for fellow creatures of the night– if someone enjoyed any of the above-mentioned films or themes, what else might you recommend to them?

The music of Chelsea Wolfe and Kate Bush. The folk horror films of Jennifer Kent and Robert Eggers. Gothic fiction by Shirley Jackson and Rebecca du Maurier. The scent of tobacco. The taste of a sazerac. October mornings in New Orleans.

Ok, speaking of music and such….you may not realize, but I am a total Instagram stalker, and I see my longtime secret husband, Glenn Danzig showing in your feed quite often. What gives, lady? Just kidding! Sort of! But I feel we might be similarly obsessed and I’d love to hear more.

Danzig is the spiritual father of La Femme Pendu. Vampira may be her mother. Beneath the surface of the distorted guitars and shotgun percussion, Misfits and Danzig songs are perfectly constructed little romantic jingles that present a world of science fiction and horror. There’s something innocent and comforting about Glenn’s unerring commitment to his brand. Case in point: the decrepit Los Feliz house with stale Count Chocula in the kitchen cabinet.

Another confession: I heard your music before I realized I was familiar with your acting work, in series such as The Vampire Diaries and Warehouse 13, to name a few. (And now I’m a little bit starstruck, not gonna lie!) Did your music evolve from your time in the dramatic arts? Or was that a talent and an interest that you’ve nurtured from the very beginning?

I saw Phantom of the Opera on tour in New Orleans when I was a child and all my interests crystalized. Gowns, ghosts, gothic decadence, and the music of the night. I was a piano player and aspiring ballerina before television looked in my direction. A guitar was more portable than a piano, so that’s what came with me on the road to Los Angeles.

I have such stereotypical ideas about Hollywood and actresses. I’m kind of a hick, a real country mouse if I am being honest. And so when I peek at your social media and see things like references to cryptozoology, and photos with your Fluevogs, or posing with your goth ice cream cone, I guess I am just kind of blown away and surprised that movie stars can have the same interests that we do. (Please don’t laugh at me! Or you can, it’s ok.) I’d love to hear about some of your other interests and obsessions in this vein.

For as long as I can remember, my preferences have always leaned a little left of center. Trends are temporary, but intuition is enduring. Wear black, drink horchata, watch the moon, fold sheet music into paper airplanes and send them sailing into your neighbor’s window. People contain multitudes, and the more I lurk around the fringes of counter-culture, the more I find like-minded creeps who are kinder than you’d expect. They’re who La Femme Pendu writes her hymns for.

Find La Femme Pendu: website // bandcamp // instagram

Images: Top photo–La Femme Pendu featuring the Deviant Moon Triomphes de la Lune deck; all other photos– Jackson Davis Photography


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The Demonic Feminine In Heavy Reverb: An Interview With La Femme Pendu

by on Aug.15, 2019, under Syndicated from the Web

Reposted from | Go to Original Post

I can’t remember the last time I tuned into new music that I’ve been really excited about. Ages ago, in another life when I had more time on my hands, I used to make a weekly ritual of making a playlist of new-to-me music, and I’d post it up over on 8tracks. I remember asking myself on more than one occasion, “hey, so, if you’re constantly roaming for new music…when are you going to settle down and listen to the stuff you know you already like?” Well, that happened in early 2018 or so, and ever since then, I’ve been in a bit of a rut, listening to the same two Lana del Rey albums over and over again. Maybe it was a cry for help. (I still love you, Lana!)

On the day of this year’s midsummer solstice, however, Sam shared a link with me to La Femme Pendu’s debut album, All Of Them Witches, and just like that, I was obsessed all over again with music and how a marvelous song can thrill my very soul. I have to say, I don’t think I’ve ever heard anything quite like La Femme Pendu’s sound. Described as “French lounge horror ballads” and the “demonic feminine in heavy reverb”, it evoked the feeling of sitting alone in an infernal coffee shop, drinking the most bitter espresso, and being the sole audience for a mysterious entity and her unholy instrument. Her eyes are piercing me until there’s nothing left but fragments of shadow and the phantom of her song.

I knew I had to find out more. For you! I did it all for you! My fellow lovers of music, and song, and dark-hearted devilkin! Also, okay, I did it for me because as you well know, I am nosy as hell. See our interview below, with the mysterious La Femme Pendu, whom you may know from other media and artistic roles…but I am not going to give too much about that away! Sometimes mysteries are nice, don’t you think? And it’s a lovely adventure to poke around and do a little digging and find things out for yourself. Hopefully below we reveal just enough to leave you wanting much more…

Haute Macabre: La Femme Pendu, or the hanged woman, is the twelfth card in the Major Arcana of the tarot. What is it about the essence of this card that speaks to you? How do these themes inform or influence your music and songwriting?

La Femme Pendu: Most interpretations of The Hanged One depict a sort of self-imposed purgatory, a discomfort we can’t help but learn from. It’s these periods that I’ve grown from the most; if I feel I’m twisting in the wind it’s usually time to look around. There is so much to be mined from our discomfort, and it’s usually from the heart of conflict that my songs like to emerge.

Speaking from personal experience, I’m still a baby when it comes to the divinatory power of tarot, and if I am being completely honest, I may be collecting them because I love the idea of portable prognostication + art more than I do actually learning to do anything with it. I am curious as to where you might be along your own journey?

If I could represent my relationship to the tarot with one of the cards, I’d say I’m somewhere around The Hermit. My practice is solitary as I develop a stronger literacy and relationship with my decks. All tarot is an invitation to reexamine the paradigm, a prompt to gain a new perspective. To me, a daily pull pairs well with my morning coffee.

An album of four songs–French lounge horror ballads–La Femme Pendu is inspired by women in horror cinema and created for “feminists, film freaks, and creatures of the night.” This is a powerfully bewitching pitch that speaks to my very soul! What can you share about your own, personal film freakiness and love of horror cinema?

For years I eschewed horror cinema because of my frustration with its prominent male gaze. This was when I conflated slasher with horror, and before I discovered prestige and folk horror and cultivated my preferences toward supernatural mythology. What I crave is a new genre of horror film that presents paganism and witchcraft with reverence instead of that same tired Christocentric villainy. Until that arrives, I’ll have The Witch on infinite replay.

My French is a little sketchy, and so I have my guesses, but can you fill us in on the women who appear in the songs of your album, and what it is about their roles or characters or experiences that fascinates you?

The characters referenced in each song are in some way repressed or restricted by the patriarchy. Rosemary by her deceptive marriage, Madame Blaylock from The Omen by her blind commitment to her young male charge, Tomasin by her struggle with puberty in a male dominated house, etc. Constriction by outside forces is the common thread among these characters; woman is free but everywhere she is in chains (until she chooses to go into the woods and levitate).

I adore the melancholic, moody 1960’s French feel of the album and how you’ve paired this style of music with these nightmarish concepts. It’s wildly unexpected; it’s a gorgeous sound and so much fun. How did the whole idea come about for you?

The lyrics were written by a Ouija board and the orchestration came to me through clairaudience. I wrote one at an airport and another in a post-surgical haze. The more I listened, the more the spirits spoke.

A little further exploration for fellow creatures of the night– if someone enjoyed any of the above-mentioned films or themes, what else might you recommend to them?

The music of Chelsea Wolfe and Kate Bush. The folk horror films of Jennifer Kent and Robert Eggers. Gothic fiction by Shirley Jackson and Rebecca du Maurier. The scent of tobacco. The taste of a sazerac. October mornings in New Orleans.

Ok, speaking of music and such….you may not realize, but I am a total Instagram stalker, and I see my longtime secret husband, Glenn Danzig showing in your feed quite often. What gives, lady? Just kidding! Sort of! But I feel we might be similarly obsessed and I’d love to hear more.

Danzig is the spiritual father of La Femme Pendu. Vampira may be her mother. Beneath the surface of the distorted guitars and shotgun percussion, Misfits and Danzig songs are perfectly constructed little romantic jingles that present a world of science fiction and horror. There’s something innocent and comforting about Glenn’s unerring commitment to his brand. Case in point: the decrepit Los Feliz house with stale Count Chocula in the kitchen cabinet.

Another confession: I heard your music before I realized I was familiar with your acting work, in series such as The Vampire Diaries and Warehouse 13, to name a few. (And now I’m a little bit starstruck, not gonna lie!) Did your music evolve from your time in the dramatic arts? Or was that a talent and an interest that you’ve nurtured from the very beginning?

I saw Phantom of the Opera on tour in New Orleans when I was a child and all my interests crystalized. Gowns, ghosts, gothic decadence, and the music of the night. I was a piano player and aspiring ballerina before television looked in my direction. A guitar was more portable than a piano, so that’s what came with me on the road to Los Angeles.

I have such stereotypical ideas about Hollywood and actresses. I’m kind of a hick, a real country mouse if I am being honest. And so when I peek at your social media and see things like references to cryptozoology, and photos with your Fluevogs, or posing with your goth ice cream cone, I guess I am just kind of blown away and surprised that movie stars can have the same interests that we do. (Please don’t laugh at me! Or you can, it’s ok.) I’d love to hear about some of your other interests and obsessions in this vein.

For as long as I can remember, my preferences have always leaned a little left of center. Trends are temporary, but intuition is enduring. Wear black, drink horchata, watch the moon, fold sheet music into paper airplanes and send them sailing into your neighbor’s window. People contain multitudes, and the more I lurk around the fringes of counter-culture, the more I find like-minded creeps who are kinder than you’d expect. They’re who La Femme Pendu writes her hymns for.

Find La Femme Pendu: website // bandcamp // instagram

Images: Top photo–La Femme Pendu featuring the Deviant Moon Triomphes de la Lune deck; all other photos– Jackson Davis Photography


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From the Archives: Biblio-alchemy: The Liquid Library of Annalù Boeretto

by on Aug.13, 2019, under Syndicated from the Web

Reposted from | Go to Original Post

Here at Haute Macabre there’s no such thing as too many books. We each live surrounded by overflowing shelves and stacks of books, old and new, and exist between their covers. But some books aren’t made for reading, they’re made for aesthetic appreciation and today we’re coveting these dynamic book sculptures created by Italian contemporary artist Annalù Boeretto.

Annalu Boeretto Mizuko kuyo3

Annalu Boeretto Mizuko kuyo p3

Annalu Boeretto ice book 1

Annalu Boeretto ice book 2

Primarily made using epoxy resin, paper, and ink, Boeretto’s books look like treasures, perhaps even escapees, from a magical library. Their pages turned to liquid, they erupt from between their covers, frothing, splashing, and spraying out in every direction. Letters in turn lose their positions and spill out with the flow. As a further result of this biblio-alchemy, fragile objects such as butterflies, flowers, and paper boats appear at the edges of the spray, frozen in the very moment they’re about to break free of or sail away from their respective books.

Annalu Boeretto - Aqua

Annalu Boeretto Aqua II

Annalu Boeretto Aqua II detail

Annalu Boeretto libro tempesta

Annalu Boeretto - libro tempesta

These impossible tomes bring to mind the curious contents of the Addams Family library. Books which, when opened, release their weather upon the reader so that one basks in the radiant warmth of The Sun Also Rises or looses the fury of Hurricane Irene: Nightmare From Above.

Annalu Boeretto libro copernico

Annalu Boeretto libro copernico 2

I also can’t help but wonder if Boeretto’s books are partially inspired by her life in Venice, where water is a singularly constant part of life and the threat of flooding ever present.

Annalu Boeretto libro selene

Find Annalù Boeretto: Website // Instagram // Facebook // Twitter


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From the Archives: Biblio-alchemy: The Liquid Library of Annalù Boeretto

by on Aug.13, 2019, under Syndicated from the Web

Reposted from | Go to Original Post

Here at Haute Macabre there’s no such thing as too many books. We each live surrounded by overflowing shelves and stacks of books, old and new, and exist between their covers. But some books aren’t made for reading, they’re made for aesthetic appreciation and today we’re coveting these dynamic book sculptures created by Italian contemporary artist Annalù Boeretto.

Annalu Boeretto Mizuko kuyo3

Annalu Boeretto Mizuko kuyo p3

Annalu Boeretto ice book 1

Annalu Boeretto ice book 2

Primarily made using epoxy resin, paper, and ink, Boeretto’s books look like treasures, perhaps even escapees, from a magical library. Their pages turned to liquid, they erupt from between their covers, frothing, splashing, and spraying out in every direction. Letters in turn lose their positions and spill out with the flow. As a further result of this biblio-alchemy, fragile objects such as butterflies, flowers, and paper boats appear at the edges of the spray, frozen in the very moment they’re about to break free of or sail away from their respective books.

Annalu Boeretto - Aqua

Annalu Boeretto Aqua II

Annalu Boeretto Aqua II detail

Annalu Boeretto libro tempesta

Annalu Boeretto - libro tempesta

These impossible tomes bring to mind the curious contents of the Addams Family library. Books which, when opened, release their weather upon the reader so that one basks in the radiant warmth of The Sun Also Rises or looses the fury of Hurricane Irene: Nightmare From Above.

Annalu Boeretto libro copernico

Annalu Boeretto libro copernico 2

I also can’t help but wonder if Boeretto’s books are partially inspired by her life in Venice, where water is a singularly constant part of life and the threat of flooding ever present.

Annalu Boeretto libro selene

Find Annalù Boeretto: Website // Instagram // Facebook // Twitter


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Charging Slab Flash Sale Now Live

by on Aug.12, 2019, under Syndicated from the Web

Reposted from | Go to Original Post

TheHaute Macabre Instagram Flash Sale is now live, featuring a selection of fluorite, quartz, and selenite charging slabs.

Each piece available is has a flat surface to store your tarot cards, jewelry, or other treasures on.

Fluorite assists with mental clarity and focus, allowing for concentration on the task at hand while minimizing distraction. Extremely effective at blocking electromagnetic at computer stress, it may be one of the most important stones in your protective armor in this era of compulsive glances at notifications and endless scrolling. Fluorite Points are also currently available in the shop!

Quartz is an ultimate magnifier tool: it enhances any other crystal or tool that you are working with and is fully programmable to amplify your intention. Selenite works in a similar fashion, clearing and energizing auric fields, magickal tools, and other crystals. I frequently “recharge” my other crystals or tarot cards by placing them on one of these types of slabs to reset them after specific work (or in the case of my tarot decks, sandwiched between two slabs).

Each piece is now previewed on Instagram with a link to purchase, with a range in pricing from $12 – $88. Follow @HauteMacabre and check the profile and stories!


 

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Charging Slab Flash Sale

by on Aug.11, 2019, under Syndicated from the Web

Reposted from | Go to Original Post

Tomorrow morning the next Haute Macabre Instagram Flash Sale will take place, featuring a selection of fluorite, quartz, and selenite charging slabs.

Each piece available is has a flat surface to store your tarot cards, jewelry, or other treasures on.

Fluorite assists with mental clarity and focus, allowing for concentration on the task at hand while minimizing distraction. Extremely effective at blocking electromagnetic at computer stress, it may be one of the most important stones in your protective armor in this era of compulsive glances at notifications and endless scrolling. Fluorite Points are currently available!

Quartz is an ultimate magnifier tool: it enhances any other crystal or tool that you are working with and is fully programmable to amplify your intention. Selenite works in a similar fashion, clearing and energizing auric fields, magickal tools, and other crystals. I frequently “recharge” my other crystals or tarot cards by placing them on one of these types of slabs to reset them after specific work (or in the case of my tarot decks, sandwiched between two slabs).

Each piece will be previewed tomorrow on Instagram with a link to purchase, with a range in pricing from $12 – $88. Follow @HauteMacabre and check the profile and stories tomorrow morning!


 

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An Obscurum Of Secrets: The Lost Art Of Robin Isely

by on Aug.09, 2019, under Syndicated from the Web

Reposted from | Go to Original Post

I had, for a time, sadly shelved the idea of a feature on digital collage artist Robin Isely, aka sliplead. I first mentioned this artist in my 2017 Needful Things roundup and I was immensely thrilled at the opportunity to connect with them for an interview, but unfortunately, their gorgeous Tumblr-hosted gallery–an obscurum of secrets, elusive of precise description; a sensualist’s delight of surreal grotesqueries–had vanished into the ether in late 2018. This was due, in part, to Tumblr’s ridiculous censorship nonsense at that time, and– if that wasn’t bad enough– the artist’s URL had been hacked by some porny bots and their whole virtual salon of loveliness was eventually deleted.

Understandably heartsick at the loss of their body of work, as of today, they still have not found a new space on the internet for their creative portfolio. This left me with a dilemma, and I was hesitant to proceed; I generally try to be pretty scrupulous when it comes to sharing website/store/social media details regarding the artists I write about; but regrettably in this instance I would not have anywhere at all to direct those readers who may have been keen to learn more about this artist and see more of their work.

However. Blog content across all platforms runs rampant with imagery shared out of context, sans artist credit or relevant source data (and no, I’m sorry, but “sourced from Pinterest” does not count!) I guess it must be hard to believe that artists as creative beings actually exist, right? You’d think most artistic content springs fully formed from the dashboards of microblogging “content creators.”  In addition to this particularly annoying form of artist erasure, many sites (I’m looking at you, Tumblr, Facebook, and Instagram) practice a puritanical form of censorship under the guise of “community standards”–especially when it comes to those wily and dangerous nipples on female-presenting subjects. Here today, gone tomorrow– sorry about your content, artists! Shoulda kept them titties covered! It’s absurd and infuriating and I hate it. This is in part what happened when Robin Isely’s work started to disappear.

Digital Archivist, Digital Curator, and Art Consultant Samantha Levin shared with me, “As Tumblr and other sites disappear or change over time, we’re looking at losing our history,” and I can’t even begin to tell you how distressing and urgent this notion feels to me (see my lamentations concerning the great Polyvore disappearance of 2018, for one example of this type of occurrence.) With this realization, it is more important than ever that we bolster and keep alive this conversation and the push-back surrounding these types of censorship, the lazy lack of artist sourcing and citing, and the responsibility of giving credit where credit is due.

…and so I concluded that regardless of whether or not Robin Isely has an online gallery for their work right now, it is of paramount importance to me to share both their work and their story, right here. While there is still a place for it, and a person who cares to tell it, and people interested in witnessing it and learning more.

As someone who writes about people and their artistic practices and processes, I probably ask a lot of dumb questions. But occasionally I get lucky and hit on some really good ones! And I’m always gratified when the recipient of my queries takes the time to provide me with some thoughtful answers. That’s not always the case, though, and I won’t lie to you–every once in a while I get a bit of a dud in terms of maybe one-word or canned responses. Is that unprofessional to admit? Well, maybe. But it happens and that’s the truth and I guess you’re not supposed to take it personally (but I do, because how else are you supposed to take things?) Also, I’m sorry, between this gripe and the tumblr thing, it’s become a bit of the old airing of grievances, whoops.

In a rare and unforeseen circumstance, though, the subject of my questions might not really answer anything I’ve asked them at all! Which is a little confounding! But in certain wonderful instances, what they’ve chosen to share instead serves to open a door to a completely different way of thinking about the artist and their work. Such is the case with Robin Isely, this dear human and extraordinarily imaginative creator whom, true, I don’t know very well, and yet of whom I have grown incredibly fond– and this fondness, I don’t mind sharing, lends an extra layer of tenderness to how I view their art.

In any case, I am ditching my questions and eschewing the traditional Q&A format to share with you Robin’s words, as they shared them with me.

Describing themselves a “something of a hermit, a completely unsocialized beast,” Robin wrote to me that they dropped out of art school to spend a life riding and training horses and dogs. Making art seemed stifling, they thought; they wanted to make something beautiful with other minds, animal minds. “It’s a more experiential, physical art form– dancing, if you will,” they divulged. Upon reaching a point in their career where they became physically incapable of working with and caring for animals, it was then that they were given the tools to access a new chapter in their life’s story, a portal to entirely new worlds:  an iPad!

Regarding their discovery and creation of digital art, and its strange and surprising similarities to a former life, they reveal: “I use a simple app and I much enjoy the feeling of my finger sliding across the glass; there’s a place on a horse’s mouth, you slide your finger there and they relax–and so it is with me.”

I had asked a convoluted question about themes involving frames and thresholds, pertaining to the notion of navigating between worlds in her art. In one sense, Robin candidly demurred to go there:

“You were asking about thresholds and frames, and that’s the thing with words, don’t you think? They force you to put a frame around an idea and leave out all the other possibilities. I must confess I like the idea of the pictures having the freedom to evoke any and all interpretations…after all, I do believe we see the world as we are.”

But they went on to illuminate most beautifully :

“The thing about art and thresholds is important…you have to cross over to that mind-place that forgets the names of things; remember Alice in the forest with no names? Of course, you have to surrender yourself, completely. It’s the being there and sometimes you come back with something of a bit of that place’s shine. That’s what you respond to in art, music, dance, really everything worthwhile: the resonance of the experience of that state of being.”

About their childhood and early life, Robin disclosed the following:

“I was an only child and lived in books. I memorized the Alice poems and was wont to recite them at inappropriate times. I absorbed the language and spoke like a proper Victorian child. Obviously, I had few friends of the human variety. My mother fed me a diet of Vogue magazines and Aldous Huxley. As a teen, I was quite prepared for the sixties in San Francisco and enjoyed dressing in thrift store velvet gowns and dancing at the Avalon Ballroom. I’ve shared a life with horses and dogs that a king would envy. Many nights have found me passionately debating the meaning of Meaning with the man who became my life partner. I lived a life and can highly recommend the experience to all of your readers.”

“So, for me,” Robin expresses in continuance to a previous thought, “the pictures are a memoir, a spiritual practice, and a way to quiet the tiresome narrative voice in my head. I was never afraid on a horse and if I can cross over to that place with the art-making, there is no fear there either. Most of all, as a child, I admired Alice’s bravery confronting the absurd, scary world she found herself in. If my pictures had any power at all, I would wish some of her courage to come through in them, to the viewer.”

And finally, a prescient and poignant conclusion to our communiqué:

I do not post the pictures beyond tumblr but I know they have wandered off on their own adventures. Perhaps one day I will find a more permanent home to provide them with.

I’d like to think that Robin Isely’s incredible art has a home here at Haute Macabre for a time and that there are those amongst you who wish to gather it all as close to your heart as I do, while we can. Continue scrolling for some of my personal favorites, and Robin, we wish you all the very best in your continued journey.


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