Aural Fixation: March 2018

by on Apr.04, 2018, under Syndicated from the Web

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S. Elizabeth

Dead Magic by Anna Von Hausswolff 
Anna Von Hausswolff’s music, has, to me at least, always sounded like the decadent pipe organs from Catholic mass that have somehow gone a bit weird and spacey and menacing. There’s more of of that sort of thing on Dead Magic, along with gloomy incantations, raw, rapturous wails, and guttural groans–intimate and extreme human passions penetrating the infinite and unknown silences of our short, pathetic human existences. Dead Magic is a nocturnal, candle-lit, ritualistic listen for invoking beings beyond our realm, but whether you’ll wind up with angelic energies or demonic entities, who can know?

Everyone Afraid To Be Forgotten by Ionnalee 
If I had to sum up Swedish singer, songwriter, producer and filmmaker, Jonna Lee’s offerings in a succinct, digestible nugget for a new listener, I might call it, overall, “enigmatic electropop” but I think that might do a deep disservice to her music, a beguiling mixture of the irrepressibly catchy and the otherworldly-eccentric. I first became aware of her through her electronic music and audiovisual project, iamamiwhoami, which began as a series of mysterious, dream-like music videos in 2009, went massively viral, and which quickly gained a cult following. Her unconventional structures paired with irresistible beat and bass combinations and anthemic choruses, and that eerie soaring nightbird of a voice drew me in from the very start, and I’ve been breathlessly following her each successive release with feverish glee. Everyone Afraid To Be Forgotten is a work encompassing new compositions, while hearkening back to her earlier sounds– marking both a connection with the artist’s beginnings and the evolution she’s been through since. An evocative album that raises questions about what drives an artist to create in a milieu brimming with people fighting to be heard and to express themselves in ways that would single them out from others, it “is a collection that concerns itself with what is the artist’s residual footprint, paralleled with people’s fear of oblivion.”

This sentiment is (for me) most clearly heard in “Samaritan”, in which she decries:
“I don’t believe in a god, let’s leave religion out of all this
I don’t remember promising my life and soul to bring you all bliss
If I am what you say, I expect to be hanging from a wooden cross
When all this is done, it’s done”

Intense, complex, and triumphant, but never dark, or heavy–even on my favorite track, “Harvest”:

“Come closer, my love.
Let’s drown in misery.
There is an ocean of possibilities”.

–one feels more hopeful than hopeless, and senses they may again float back ashore, if only to dance for a while longer in the euphoric dreams of ionnalee.


Maika

Every 4-5 weeks I drive from Portland to Seattle in pilgrimage to visit my hairstylist. When it’s just right, the relationship with one’s hairstylist is a sacred thing, something not easily surrendered, not even when one moves 3 hours away. I usually make these drives alone and I spend that time listening to audiobooks. So, while I haven’t any new music to share for Aural Fixation this month, I do have a few wonderful audiobooks to tell you about:

Believe Me: A Memoir of Love, Death and Jazz Chickens by Eddie Izzard
I was already a devoted Eddie Izzard fan before listening to this memoir, so it was highly unlikely that I wouldn’t enjoy listening to him simply talk about his life. But I wasn’t prepared for how very, well, Izzardish this audio book is. The thing is, there’s no “simply” when it comes to Eddie Izzard. I specifically seek out autobiographies and memoirs as audiobooks when they’re read by their authors because the experience of listening to them is like having these people sitting right beside you, telling you stories about their lives. When Eddie Izzard does this it means he doesn’t just read his book, it means he frequently launches into additional material, footnotes that often themselves have footnotes. Their numerousness reminded me of the 330+ endnotes in David Foster Wallace’s Infinite Jest. I’ve never listened to another audio book that was anything like this. On at least two or three occasions, Izzard stops reading (or extra footnoting) to switch on his phone so he can use Google or Wikipedia to look up the details of something he’s talking about. He also interacts with his sound engineers from time to time. In my experience, these things are unheard of in the audiobook world or at least get edited out in post-production. All these delightful occurrences are why the unabridged version of this audiobook clocks in at 14 hours, 39 minutes, but who would ever dare abridge Eddie Izzard? Granted, it took me two trips to Seattle and back to finish this book, but I loved it. It was fascinating, funny, inspiring, and very moving. I hope in 10 or 20 years he writes another one.

 

The Princess Diarist and Wishful Drinking by Carrie Fisher
I listened to these two books in succession because after the first I was hungry to spend more time with Carrie Fisher and her unique combination of candor, razor wit, and literary skill. The Princess Diarist is Fisher’s memoir of her life in 1976, the year she spent filming Star Wars: A New Hope, and an exploration of how being involved in what quickly become a legendary film franchise and becoming a pop culture icon impacted her life. For a taste of the latter, Fisher describes participating in autograph signings as celebrity lap dancing:

“I don’t remember exactly when I started referring to signing autographs for money as a celebrity lap dance, but I’m sure it didn’t take me long to come up with it. It’s a lap dance with out cash being placed in any underwear, and there’s no pole — or is the pole represented by the pen?”

Fisher was moved to write this book upon discovering the journals she’d kept in 1976. She describes the experience of auditioning and landing the role of Princess Leia Organa of Alderaan, reflects on being 19 years old while participating in the making of a movie that no one then knew would eventually become legendary, and falling in love and having a secret affair with her co-star, Harrison Ford. The journals themselves are read by Fisher’s daughter, Billie Lourd, and are very raw and vulnerable, full of heartache, poetry, and word play, and demonstrate that Fisher was already a gifted writer in her teens. It’s no wonder this audiobook won a Grammy. I can’t imagine how reading it from the page could possibly compare to listening to Fisher and Lourd’s respective readings.

Wishful Drinking was written 8 years before The Princess Diarist, but I read them out of order so I’m reviewing them that way too. This book is a broader autobiography of Fisher’s life and based on her one-woman stage show of the same name, which I’m now sorry I never experienced. After undergoing ECT (electroconvulsive therapy) to treat her crippling depression, the resultant memory loss found Fisher needing to reacquaint herself with her own life, to get to know herself again. With her trademark self-deprecating frankness and wit she talks about everything from growing up as the child of a beloved and later scandalized celebrity couple (Debbie Reynolds and Eddie Fisher), a phenomenon she describes as “Hollywood in-breeding,” her close relationship with her mother (who lived next-door to her), her marriages, her daughter, making the Star Wars movies, struggling with addiction and depression, and being a heavily merchandised pop culture icon.

Much like the experience of listening to Eddie Izzard’s memoirs, I was already very fond of and full of admiration for Carrie Fisher before listening to these audiobooks, but damn, did they make me miss her even more.


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Stacked March 2018

by on Apr.03, 2018, under Syndicated from the Web

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shelfie via @samanthamacabre

S. Elizabeth

Difficult Women by Roxane Gay
I’m interested by Roxane Gay’s choice of words with regard to the titular “difficult” women. These are stories of complex, complicated women, for sure. Traumatized women in most, cases, if not all. Violence, abuse, betrayal; agony, anger, helplessness, hopelessness–these themes weave throughout the stories, a rope thick at your throat, strangling. You literally cannot breathe when inhabiting the skins of Gay’s characters, you find yourself laying the book down frequently, harshly panting in rage and fury, your eyes wet with heartbreak. Perhaps to call them “difficult” then, gives breath and power back to the victim. To utter the phrase, “I’m difficult,” is, to me, an act of defiance. There is a streak of defiance, or a scintilla of unpredictability, or a spark (or even a raging fire) of wildness in each of these characters, and it’s both emboldening and utterly, terribly gut-wrenching. In “Break All the Way Down,” a mother grieving the accidental death of her son begs her husband to hit her; when he won’t, she finds a man at a bar who will. “You’re stronger than I thought,” her husband says at one point. “You have no idea,” she replies. Even as a massive fan of Roxane Gay, I had no idea what I was getting into with this collection; readings like these often trigger your own personal past traumas (which are generally not far on any given day, just simmering below the surface, on the verge of a boil, not far from a burn, awaiting a change in pressure, in temperature, the wrong hand jiggling the handle at just the right angle or degree for a spill, and upset, an explosion or total obliteration.) Difficult Woman reminded me how close to that explosion I am every day of my life, and to hold compassion for myself, as someone who reigns in my difficult feelings; to display even greater kindness and understanding for those whose difficulty has evolved into a shell, a shield, an armor for which to save themselves from a brutal, killing world.

Pachinko by Min Jin Lee
A rich, beautiful saga spanning four generations of a Korean immigrant family struggling to belong and striving to build a life for themselves in Japan. I have a soft spot in my heart with regard to reading about folks eking out a meager, hardscrabble existence; stretching meals, collecting crusts and crumbs for survival, eating roots and berries (see also The Road by Cormack McCarthy which I just read, but am still at a loss to talk about.) It recalls for me reading books like The Boxcar Children when I was younger, or maybe Island Of The Blue Dolphins. Young people in precarious living situations who had to learn how to fend for, and feed themselves. I guess it’s pretty awful that penniless, starving characters populate the plots of my comfort reading, but I suppose it’s the resource gathering that I enjoy (which is kind of funny, because I hate resource gathering board games. Don’t even get me started on Settlers of Catan, ugh.) Pachinko is brimming with sacrifices and suffering and tragedy, but it’s also beautiful, all of the small victories along the way of this life the family is building for itself. This book was recommended by Roxane Gay, who if you don’t know by now, I love with my whole heart and soul. And now I am recommending it to you.

We Were Eight Years In Power: An American Tragedy by Ta-Nahesi Coates
For years and years I have read for entertainment as opposed to education or enlightenment, but since 2016 I’ve made diligent attempts to rectify that. In doing so, I’ve realized the well of my ignorance is so deep I can’t even see the bottom. I don’t even know what I don’t know, and that’s a daunting place to start. We Were Eight Years in Power is a dense, urgent book that’s left me with more questions than answers, but at the same time it’s illuminated a great deal of things for me. A collection of essays on race and our collective failure to confront the history and legacy of White Supremacy, Barack Obama’s presidency (the before, during, and after) and the author’s personal reflections and revelations regarding the election of our 45th president–there is nothing in this book that is not deeply thought-provoking and desperately troubling.

The Strange Case Of The Alchemist’s Daughter by Theresa Goss
This is a charming character mash-up novel that pays homage to the eighteenth- and nineteenth-century works of speculative fiction; the story is a collaborative effort between “sisters”–Mary Jekyll, Diana Hyde, Beatrice Rappaccini, Catherine Moreau, and Justine Frankenstein, the daughters of monstrous men who have been brought together by extraordinary circumstances and are investigating a murderous cabal of power-crazed mad scientists. I found the story’s structure a bit peculiar and a little annoying at first–one of the women is penning their adventure and the others are continuously chiming in and interrupting and talking over one another to ensure that both they–and their tale of danger and intrigue–are portrayed accurately, but as a woman with outspoken sisters of my own, I realize that this, too, is an uncanny accuracy. If you enjoy books along the line of Kim Newman’s Angels Of Music (which I reviewed in last January’s Stacked) wherein fictional and historical characters are thrown together in a name-dropping brew of supernatural mystery, then The Strange Case Of The Alchemist’s Daughter is definitely up your dark, grimy, gaslamp-lit murder alley-and if it is, there’s already a sequel slated for release in July, 2018! Bonus info: if you love the wonderful cover art and want to see more from this artist, it is illustrator and designer Kate Forrester, and you can find her here.


Maika

Burial Rites by Hanna Kent
Sonya wrote about Burial Rites in their 2017 staff favorites roundup, so this little review might be redundant, but that’s okay. I’m happy to simply emphasize how wonderful this book is. Not only is Burial Rites impressive as Kent’s first book and as a “speculative biography,” this tale of the final year in the 19th century life of Agnes Magnúsdóttir, the last woman excuted in Iceland, is one of the most thoroughly haunting and atmospheric books I’ve ever read. As the readers, we go into this story completely aware of how it’s going to end, there’s no changing history with this sort of book. But by the time that ending arrives, the vivid journey we’ve undertaken with Agnes and the feeling of Iceland that now permeates our bones and feels tangible behind our eyes even if we’ve never set foot there, means we’re as unprepared, distraught, and full of disbelief as Agnes herself. It’s gut-wrenching. It’s heartbreaking. It’s also completely worth it. And now I want to travel to Iceland even more than I already did.

The Strange Bird: A Borne Story by Jeff VanderMeer
Jeff VanderMeer’s novel Borne was one of my favorite books from 2017 and The Strange Bird is a novella set in the very same world. So allow me to begin by reminding you about my impressions of Borne:

“Some books read too quickly. Or is it that some books end too soon? One hopes that an author gives us only as much story as they need to tell their tale, simply because extra might detract from the quality of the plot. But with my favorite books I wish I could pause the tale to spend more time with the characters and explore their world like the sandbox of a video game. Such was the case with Jeff VanderMeer’s The Southern Reach Trilogy.  That spellbinding series was very much about an uncanny place and how the people who encountered it were affected by it. And now the same is true for me once again with VanderMeer’s latest novel, Borne, which is instead about people, animals, personhood, and how one’s identity is affected by trauma. It’s about survival in a post-apocalyptic world forever altered by advancements in biotechnology. Here all survivors have become scavengers among the ruins of a city now ruled by a tyrant in the form of a gigantic flying bear named Mord (which sounds incredibly silly but is actually anything but). Here technology masquerades as life and the line between technology and life increasingly blurs. Borne is a post-apocalyptic, weird, science fiction fable. It’s relentlessly creative, fascinating, and poignant. I kept trying to slow down while I read it, but the end arrived all the same. And just like it did for me, Borne will break your heart, as only the best books can: beautifully.”

The Strange Bird is no less heartbreaking and every bit as beautiful as Borne, but in its own unique way. This tale doesn’t simply drop us back into Borne’s world, it enable us to experience it anew through the eyes of a startlingly strange and beautiful character. If you’ve been reading my book reviews long enough, you might be wondering what my deal is with heartbreaking books. What can I say, there’s something wonderful about completely surrendering yourself to a well-written story and vicariously experiencing emotional highs and lows that have nothing to do with yourself, yet, because of the magic of reading, feel as though they’re part of your life too.

Veniss Underground by Jeff VanderMeer
I’ve had an unusual amount of trouble lately finding a book that holds my attention. I’ve started at least 4 novels as well as collections of short stories and poetry in recent weeks and can’t seem to stick with any of them. Nothing feels like what I want to be reading. So, after watching the Annihilation movie and reading The Strange Bird I decided to delve into some of VanderMeer’s older work, which I’ve been meaning to catch up on for ages. Veniss Underground hearkens back to Orpheus & Eurydice and Danté’s Inferno as VanderMeer takes us on a harrowing journey through the eyes of three distinct yet powerfully connected characters in a vividly realized weird fiction world. Here “Living Artists,” with one in particular one venerated as a neo-god, treat human and animal bodies alike as their chosen medium for remaking existing beings or creating entirely new ones. This wasn’t my favorite VanderMeer novel, but it was thoroughly engaging from the start and is easily one of the strangest and most grotesque stories I’ve read in a long long time. It’s also very interesting to see how VanderMeer has grown as a writer, developing and refining his style since he published this debut novel in 2003.


 

Sam

I’m playing a little bit of catchup with my contributions here, as I realize it’s been months since I’ve participated.

The Grip of It by Jac Jemc
This was the first book I’ve read in one sitting in ages. Fast paced, immensely readable, and a perfect Sunday night bathtub companion. The basic synopsis is that a couple, trying to save their marriage, moved from the Big City to a Small Town into a House-of-Leaves-esque house (yes, the author’s influences are obvious throughout the story, but who cares?), and a haunting – for lack of better word – ensues. I’ve been having a difficult time the last few months finding fiction that holds my attention, but this kept me rapt for 2-3 hours.

Ideal Suggestions: Essays in Divinatory Poetics by Selah Saterstrom
This was the perfect balance to sitting in a jury pool waiting room: it removed me completely from the windowless, basement room I was awake much to early for, and for that I am exceptionally grateful. My attention at the time was too fragmented to have been able to absorb anything more than its poignant stand-alone sentences and paragraphs, each constructed perfectly.

The Last Days of New Paris by China Mieville
In retrospect, I adored this novella. In practice while reading, I kept getting distracted and would forget about it for weeks at a time. I’m not entirely sure where the disconnect occurred, as this book read like a dream you don’t want to wake from: A surrealist historical fiction, where exquisite corpse composures come to life, the Nazis are working with the legions of Hell, set against a Parisian cityscape in the ruins of an occult war. It’s composed of everything I love in a story, and one day I’ll revisit it with the attention it deserves.

Her Body and Other Parties by Carmen Maria Machado
I feel slightly left out for not falling in love with this collection of stories. Did I hate it? No, not at all, but I also didn’t feel compelled to finish it. One story that struck me was a tale of unfolding apocalypse told via the narrator’s sexual encounters & partners, and the 60 page ode to Law and Order SVU was a fun, supernatural fan-fic, but truthfully, I feel the collection had a better overall response than it was worth.

Sam’s Honorable (and other) Mentions :
Karyn Crisis’s Italy’s Witches and Medicine Women : I’ve been slowly meandering through this the last few months, as it is incredibly interesting but also incredibly heavy material, something I’d rather slowly digest than swallow whole.
• The Chick and the Dead by Carla Valentine : Three chapters in, I completely abandoned this, finally acknowledging to myself that just because I start a book, doesn’t mean I’m obligated to finish it if I’m not enjoying it.
• Gilles & Jeanne by Michel Tournier : A fast (fictional) read primarily focusing on how the devotion of Joan of Arc impacted Gilles de Rais. I honestly don’t remember the book very well, even though I only read it a few weeks ago.
• Everyday Psychokillers : Sonya recommended this over the summer, and she’s spot on with her description.
Ravenous Zine Vol 1: Craft  : I truthfully didn’t read this cover to cover, skipping some of the more Home-Ec articles, but especially enjoyed the interview with Kier-La Janisse, author of “House of Psychotic Women: An Autobiographical Topography of Female Neurosis in Horror and Exploitation Films” (and promptly added that to my to-read list). The zine is basically a smarter Bust magazine,  minus the celebs and Brooklyn.
Many Moons Workbook  : This lives on my nightstand for reference a few times a month. Read the in-depth interview with author Sarah Faith Gottesdienner that Sarah Elizabeth posted and you’ll see why.
Cutting the Cord by Marcella Kroll  : a zine describing “how to radically reset your whole psyche, using baseline magic”. Glad to pull this off the shelf right now, I need to add it to my bedside table for a revisit. I was introduced to Marcella Kroll via this publication, and love the message she puts forth into the world.
RitualCravt School’s The Serpent & The Crow zine issue 1: Cave   : a zine dedicated to the dark spaces within us all. Absolutely looking forward to issue 2.
• Delta of Venus by Anais Nin : I remember this being much more subversive when I read it at 16.

What have you been reading lately?


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Wendy Nichol Spring / Summer 2018: Death For Dinner

by on Mar.29, 2018, under Syndicated from the Web

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Getting outfitted to meet one’s maker is an intensely personal business, but I think that to we can do better than to begin and end with every mother’s insistence of a clean pair of underwear. If you are indeed to sup with the Grim Reaper before heading off into parts unknown, I think it better to leave a lasting last impression as you make your exodus.

It is to our benefit then, that designers such as Wendy Nichol give scenarios such as Death For Dinner such serious consideration. Why not greet Death in a quilted tuxedo jacket, an inky black velvet halter gown, a blushing, ruffled tulle slip? Clean underwear, or any underwear at all, optional. After all, you don’t really need them where you’re going.

Wendy Nichol Spring / Summer 2018: Death For Dinner

Clothing & Accessories Designer: Wendy Nichol
Production Assistant: Olivia Tricarico
Stylists: Wendy Nichol & Charlotte Perkowski
Photographer: Cheryl Dunn
Assistant Photographer: Sam Dahman
Makeup & Hair: Laila Hayani & Mischa Gobie 


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Wendy Nichol Spring / Summer 2018: Death For Dinner

by on Mar.29, 2018, under Syndicated from the Web

Reposted from | Go to Original Post

Getting outfitted to meet one’s maker is an intensely personal business, but I think that to we can do better than to begin and end with every mother’s insistence of a clean pair of underwear. If you are indeed to sup with the Grim Reaper before heading off into parts unknown, I think it better to leave a lasting last impression as you make your exodus.

It is to our benefit then, that designers such as Wendy Nichol give scenarios such as Death For Dinner such serious consideration. Why not greet Death in a quilted tuxedo jacket, an inky black velvet halter gown, a blushing, ruffled tulle slip? Clean underwear, or any underwear at all, optional. After all, you don’t really need them where you’re going.

Wendy Nichol Spring / Summer 2018: Death For Dinner

Clothing & Accessories Designer: Wendy Nichol
Production Assistant: Olivia Tricarico
Stylists: Wendy Nichol & Charlotte Perkowski
Photographer: Cheryl Dunn
Assistant Photographer: Sam Dahman
Makeup & Hair: Laila Hayani & Mischa Gobie 


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Exploration of the Archeological Reminiscence of Millet’s ‘Angelus’

by on Mar.27, 2018, under Syndicated from the Web

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Hauntingly Beautiful Scents At Seance Perfumes (And A Discount Code!)

by on Mar.26, 2018, under Syndicated from the Web

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I am that contrary sort of introvert who is both paralyzingly shy–I don’t want to talk on the phone, or go to parties, or even go out in public most days because human interaction is not just tedious, but genuinely terrifying–and yet. Yet. I don’t want to talk with people but I want people to talk about me. I want everyone to know who I am.  I want to be in people’s hearts, in their minds, my name upon their lips–but just don’t point those lips in my direction, or you’ll undoubtedly scare me off. I don’t want to be forgotten, but more than that–I want to be remembered. (Preferably for something good, but I will take what I can get.)

This weird, TMI confession is relevant.  Seance Perfumes is a collection of hauntingly beautiful scents created by Lacey Walker, “for those who want to be remembered,” and oh, how those words ensnared my timorous heart; oh, how I thrilled to that familiar, closely-held sentiment.

And as someone who believes wholeheartedly in the transformative, transportive power of fragrance, its ability to conjure memories and evoke dreams (and as someone who is in eternal lowkey pursuit of kindred spirits) I feel an almost super-natural affinity toward Lacey, when she speaks to her love of aroma and how it developed, “I believe scent is a truly powerful sense. It has always amazed me that a certain whiff of a smell can take you back to a time and place in your life- memories and nostalgia- I was fascinated with how a smell can leave its mark in history on you.  This is what inspired the stories behind each of my smells… each perfume has its own tale… I wanted to create a piece of art behind each perfume… take a sniff of your perfume and imagine this story behind it, these characters, these settings and environments.”

Obsessed with perfume oils for as long as she could remember, Lacey was never able to wear traditional, mainstream perfumes, due to migraines exacerbated by the synthetic components contained in so many of these conventional fragrances. Challenged by her lack of options, she began dissecting her aromatic preferences and became a bit of a mad scientist, mixing and matching oils and teaching herself the art of perfumery along the way. She believes that perfume oils (as opposed to alcohol-based fragrances) are the purest way to wear a scent.

“You really smell each note,” she enthuses, “… it transforms on your skin and layers with your aroma, truly making it unique to you and your body’s natural chemistry…”

I’m forever intensely curious as to people’s “favorite stuff”, and so it was imperative to suss out Lacey’s favorite notes, along with her “must-haves” in the Seance Perfume collection. With woodsy musks and incense at the top of her list, she shares:

“I have always been a musk woman. I like my scents incense inspired. Woodsy and dark. My favorite creation thus far has been Natural History– the smells of old books, black tea, amber and leather. Its the perfect library scent. It was my mission to create one because of how romantic that picture was in my mind… this beautiful old towering library filled with rare wonders… to capture that in a scent is pretty special. I also love Dearly Departed… I just love florals… however they are so difficult to do, because they always end up smelling soapy. It took me a while to perfect it, but I did. Its floral bouquet, like you can smell the flowers and stems.. fresh dirt, and rose. It layers so perfectly… it creates this elegant and romantic scent. Crowley is my next go to… Nag Champa incense has always been my favorite smell. It was for many years my staple scent. I wanted to make a version that smelled like actual incense. I didn’t want it powdery… I wanted it to smell like the old occult shop, fresh burning resin… its perfect. I am usually wearing one of those three scents.”

With scents evoking occult imagery and mystical personalities ranging from Divination and The Medium, to Marie Laveau, to Aleister Crowley, it is apparent that Seance Perfumes draws a great deal of inspiration from the paranormal and metaphysical, and has cultivated these influences into a medium (pardon the pun) to facilitate –through fragrance– in finding, as she notes on the Seance Perfumes website, “… a place for those things that may only be felt”

Highly intuitive from the time she was a child, Lacey nurtured and expanded these abilities through courses on tarot, runes, tea leaf reading, as well as reiki classes, mediumship and meditation classes. However, she quickly learned that the more tools she had at her disposal, the more clouded the messages would become. “I learned to do readings without any assistance, ” Lacey reveals, “which lead me to doing Medium readings. I worked for years as a reader and developed a pretty good reputation for it. It all really baffled me because I am such a skeptic and such a lover of science and rationality. ”

“So I guess the short answer is my fascination came from all the really weird shit that has happened to me that I could never rationally explain. …There really is no good way to explain it other than it’s just there… you just feel it.”

One of Lacey’s offerings that I adore with a demented sort of glee is the Our Darling line, diminutive perfume bottles to be worn around the neck, a nod to certain Victorian mourning traditions. By now, of course, we all know the myth of those Victorian-era tear catchers. Writes our own Sonya Vatomsky on the custom: “During the Victorian Era, it’s said, the grieving would weep into the delicate containers which turn up now and then in estate sales and gloomy, cobwebbed corners of the Internet for quite a pretty penny. The grieving would weep and, when the tears dried up, well… it was time to move on.” Due to the dearth of information regarding those fanciful lachrymatory customs, however, we can conclude that many of those bottles were were not used for collecting the tears of melancholic mourners, but simple flasks for “scented vinegars, smelling salts, perfumes and toilet waters to scent handkerchiefs.” The tear catching belief was a great story–but a story is all that it was.

I can’t help but to admire this bit of fantastic marketing genius at Seance Perfumes–while Lacey is responsibly dispelling the the myth about tear catchers, she is also using the fiction as a selling point for the perfume bottles! In this regard, Lacey, a long-time collector of strange relics and peculiar antiques, remarks, “Thank you! I have been a collector of oddities for fifteen or more years…I love the history behind these things. And the folklore is often more romantic and dark then the reality- and that makes me love it even more… I knew that being a perfume line inspired by the victorian and macabre… I needed my ode to it!”

Offering perfume oils (full bottles and samples), candles, room and body sprays, and the above mentioned adornments. there are myriad ways in which Seance Perfumes’s ethereal vapors can eerily enhance your personal aura, as well as, the atmosphere in your home. And as lovely as being on the receiving end of these treasures for yourself can be, they make splendid gifts for other special people in your life, as well. Every scent comes beautifully packaged in a silky, black drawstring bag, and includes a small, shimmering piece of clear quartz, each stone cleansed for good energies before making its way into your hands, or those of a loved one.

My personal favorites so far? Dearly Departed, a gorgeous, grassy rose (and I am not much of rose-fancier, so this loveliness took me by complete surprise); Crowley, the most perfect warm, resinous, and dragonsblood-y nag champa; and Laveau, a gently musky scent with notes of sandalwood and bourbon, and which smells fantastic in candle form on an early spring night, with the breeze (or maybe ghosts)  softly ruffling the curtains. And The Medium: this is one of the most beautiful scents I have ever experienced in my life, and I promise, I’ve smelled a lot of them. A chilly, creamy white floral with a ghostly antique leather note that’s so soft and well blended you almost can’t tell it’s there, but which grounds this lofty fragrance so wonderfully

By now you may be curious and fascinated yourself with regard to these hauntingly unforgettable scents–and your timing, I must say, is perfect! Seance Perfumes is offering 15% off for Haute Macabre readers! Use code MACABRE15 at checkout to take advantage of the discount.

Find Seance Perfumes: Website // Instagram // Facebook

All photos courtesy Seance Perfumes


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Hauntingly Beautiful Scents At Seance Perfumes (And A Discount Code!)

by on Mar.26, 2018, under Syndicated from the Web

Reposted from | Go to Original Post

I am that contrary sort of introvert who is both paralyzingly shy–I don’t want to talk on the phone, or go to parties, or even go out in public most days because human interaction is not just tedious, but genuinely terrifying–and yet. Yet. I don’t want to talk with people but I want people to talk about me. I want everyone to know who I am.  I want to be in people’s hearts, in their minds, my name upon their lips–but just don’t point those lips in my direction, or you’ll undoubtedly scare me off. I don’t want to be forgotten, but more than that–I want to be remembered. (Preferably for something good, but I will take what I can get.)

This weird, TMI confession is relevant.  Seance Perfumes is a collection of hauntingly beautiful scents created by Lacey Walker, “for those who want to be remembered,” and oh, how those words ensnared my timorous heart; oh, how I thrilled to that familiar, closely-held sentiment.

And as someone who believes wholeheartedly in the transformative, transportive power of fragrance, its ability to conjure memories and evoke dreams (and as someone who is in eternal lowkey pursuit of kindred spirits) I feel an almost super-natural affinity toward Lacey, when she speaks to her love of aroma and how it developed, “I believe scent is a truly powerful sense. It has always amazed me that a certain whiff of a smell can take you back to a time and place in your life- memories and nostalgia- I was fascinated with how a smell can leave its mark in history on you.  This is what inspired the stories behind each of my smells… each perfume has its own tale… I wanted to create a piece of art behind each perfume… take a sniff of your perfume and imagine this story behind it, these characters, these settings and environments.”

Obsessed with perfume oils for as long as she could remember, Lacey was never able to wear traditional, mainstream perfumes, due to migraines exacerbated by the synthetic components contained in so many of these conventional fragrances. Challenged by her lack of options, she began dissecting her aromatic preferences and became a bit of a mad scientist, mixing and matching oils and teaching herself the art of perfumery along the way. She believes that perfume oils (as opposed to alcohol-based fragrances) are the purest way to wear a scent.

“You really smell each note,” she enthuses, “… it transforms on your skin and layers with your aroma, truly making it unique to you and your body’s natural chemistry…”

I’m forever intensely curious as to people’s “favorite stuff”, and so it was imperative to suss out Lacey’s favorite notes, along with her “must-haves” in the Seance Perfume collection. With woodsy musks and incense at the top of her list, she shares:

“I have always been a musk woman. I like my scents incense inspired. Woodsy and dark. My favorite creation thus far has been Natural History– the smells of old books, black tea, amber and leather. Its the perfect library scent. It was my mission to create one because of how romantic that picture was in my mind… this beautiful old towering library filled with rare wonders… to capture that in a scent is pretty special. I also love Dearly Departed… I just love florals… however they are so difficult to do, because they always end up smelling soapy. It took me a while to perfect it, but I did. Its floral bouquet, like you can smell the flowers and stems.. fresh dirt, and rose. It layers so perfectly… it creates this elegant and romantic scent. Crowley is my next go to… Nag Champa incense has always been my favorite smell. It was for many years my staple scent. I wanted to make a version that smelled like actual incense. I didn’t want it powdery… I wanted it to smell like the old occult shop, fresh burning resin… its perfect. I am usually wearing one of those three scents.”

With scents evoking occult imagery and mystical personalities ranging from Divination and The Medium, to Marie Laveau, to Aleister Crowley, it is apparent that Seance Perfumes draws a great deal of inspiration from the paranormal and metaphysical, and has cultivated these influences into a medium (pardon the pun) to facilitate –through fragrance– in finding, as she notes on the Seance Perfumes website, “… a place for those things that may only be felt”

Highly intuitive from the time she was a child, Lacey nurtured and expanded these abilities through courses on tarot, runes, tea leaf reading, as well as reiki classes, mediumship and meditation classes. However, she quickly learned that the more tools she had at her disposal, the more clouded the messages would become. “I learned to do readings without any assistance, ” Lacey reveals, “which lead me to doing Medium readings. I worked for years as a reader and developed a pretty good reputation for it. It all really baffled me because I am such a skeptic and such a lover of science and rationality. ”

“So I guess the short answer is my fascination came from all the really weird shit that has happened to me that I could never rationally explain. …There really is no good way to explain it other than it’s just there… you just feel it.”

One of Lacey’s offerings that I adore with a demented sort of glee is the Our Darling line, diminutive perfume bottles to be worn around the neck, a nod to certain Victorian mourning traditions. By now, of course, we all know the myth of those Victorian-era tear catchers. Writes our own Sonya Vatomsky on the custom: “During the Victorian Era, it’s said, the grieving would weep into the delicate containers which turn up now and then in estate sales and gloomy, cobwebbed corners of the Internet for quite a pretty penny. The grieving would weep and, when the tears dried up, well… it was time to move on.” Due to the dearth of information regarding those fanciful lachrymatory customs, however, we can conclude that many of those bottles were were not used for collecting the tears of melancholic mourners, but simple flasks for “scented vinegars, smelling salts, perfumes and toilet waters to scent handkerchiefs.” The tear catching belief was a great story–but a story is all that it was.

I can’t help but to admire this bit of fantastic marketing genius at Seance Perfumes–while Lacey is responsibly dispelling the the myth about tear catchers, she is also using the fiction as a selling point for the perfume bottles! In this regard, Lacey, a long-time collector of strange relics and peculiar antiques, remarks, “Thank you! I have been a collector of oddities for fifteen or more years…I love the history behind these things. And the folklore is often more romantic and dark then the reality- and that makes me love it even more… I knew that being a perfume line inspired by the victorian and macabre… I needed my ode to it!”

Offering perfume oils (full bottles and samples), candles, room and body sprays, and the above mentioned adornments. there are myriad ways in which Seance Perfumes’s ethereal vapors can eerily enhance your personal aura, as well as, the atmosphere in your home. And as lovely as being on the receiving end of these treasures for yourself can be, they make splendid gifts for other special people in your life, as well. Every scent comes beautifully packaged in a silky, black drawstring bag, and includes a small, shimmering piece of clear quartz, each stone cleansed for good energies before making its way into your hands, or those of a loved one.

My personal favorites so far? Dearly Departed, a gorgeous, grassy rose (and I am not much of rose-fancier, so this loveliness took me by complete surprise); Crowley, the most perfect warm, resinous, and dragonsblood-y nag champa; and Laveau, a gently musky scent with notes of sandalwood and bourbon, and which smells fantastic in candle form on an early spring night, with the breeze (or maybe ghosts)  softly ruffling the curtains. And The Medium: this is one of the most beautiful scents I have ever experienced in my life, and I promise, I’ve smelled a lot of them. A chilly, creamy white floral with a ghostly antique leather note that’s so soft and well blended you almost can’t tell it’s there, but which grounds this lofty fragrance so wonderfully

By now you may be curious and fascinated yourself with regard to these hauntingly unforgettable scents–and your timing, I must say, is perfect! Seance Perfumes is offering 15% off for Haute Macabre readers! Use code MACABRE15 at checkout to take advantage of the discount.

Find Seance Perfumes: Website // Instagram // Facebook

All photos courtesy Seance Perfumes


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Macabre Muse: Arran Shurvinton

by on Mar.22, 2018, under Syndicated from the Web

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The first time I encountered the wondrous creature that is Arran Shurvinton I was transfixed, but I had no idea who they were. Like many people, I’d simply found a viral video of someone wearing fantastic Nosferatu makeup and prosthetics, dressed in a shiny gold halter top and frilly ivory bloomers, dancing in a vintage clothing shop:

Instagram Photo

 

That all-too-brief taste left me wanting so much more. I had to know who this magical person was and what else they’d done. Sadly, the video I’d found was posted on Facebook without any sort of context. I traced it back to YouTube, but the mesmerizing dancer was unidentified there as well and reverse image searches turned up nothing useful (*shakes fist at the careless online masses*).

However when I shared it on The Spoodoir and then on Instagram (because I had to make sure others got to experience this sassy Nosferatu too), lovely Darla Teagarden identified the cheeky vampire as Shurvinton. Huzzah!

From the moment I first set eyes on Shurvinton’s Instagram account, followed by their YouTube channel, the world felt like a slightly better and certainly more magical place, and I felt a little more at home in my own skin.

Arran Shurvinton is a Brighton, England-based performer, “loveable monster maker and creepy creature impersonator. Spooky strutter and costume conjuror,” who brings Nosferatu to life in a whole new, entirely fabulous, and delightfully playful way. As soon as I found the source of that first video, I then found this performance of Nosferatu doing its favorite thing, calling its beloved on the telephone:

“In a final bid to reconcile with love interest Greta Schröder (Ellen Hutter) Nosferatu invests in modern technology to span time and space, the consequences are… upsetting.”

In addition to calling and serenading its lady love, Nosferatu also loves to play with unattended cameras:

I’m not exaggerating in the slightest when I say that I now need to travel to Brighton simply to experience Noss Noss in person. It needs to happen. It’s going to happen. And I’ll be sure to tell you all about it once it does.

“Nosferatu is the name, tragic humour is the game!”

Find Arran Shurvinton (and Noss Noss): Instagram // YouTube // Facebook // Twitter

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How To Wear The Vernal Equinox

by on Mar.20, 2018, under Syndicated from the Web

Reposted from | Go to Original Post

I’ll admit, I never had much of an appreciation for spring until I moved to New Jersey in 2004. Until that time, I had spent the last twenty years in the semi-tropics and spring was, at best, laughable. There were no gusty lions or meek lambs and April showers most certainly did not lead to May flowers. It was only the paralyzing heat on asphalt as soon as February passed. and the same line of palm trees as far as the eye could see, stretching to the horizon and beyond. Palm trees and heat death forever. The end.

In New Jersey, however, there was actual winter. With snow and ice and cold and itchy sweaters and people always stealing your parking spot that you spent at least an hour digging for your own damn self, and angst, oh the angst, of those miserable, eternal Februaries. I grew to dread the oncoming autumn, because I knew it heralded 3-4+ months of pure, unadulterated, shivering wretchedness.

But spring, oh my–spring! Spring became a wonderful time for me, brimming and bursting with surprising magics. Such little things, I suppose…but things, having grown up in the south, that I didn’t even know to look for– or expect. Each afternoon when I arrived home from work there would be something new blooming in the yard, budding and blossoming in the trees. Baby bunnies,  hopping willy-nilly across my path during morning walks! The coolest, most lovely breeze swishing and swirling through the house on an early April morning (the same morning, where, down south, the AC would probably already be running full blast). Awash in the glow of springtime aurora, my northern home then became a verdant wonderland, and for a time, I didn’t hate everything.

And thus began my infatuation with spring! And what to wear during this time of birth and renewal and the disappearance of winter’s ghostly remains? Well, even though I now live again in the swamps of Florida, I still take my cue from celebrated haiku master Matsuo Basho:

From all these trees –
in salads, soups, everywhere –
cherry blossoms fall

See below for a few ensembles showcasing riotous blooms and delicate blossoms, and yes–even color, bright explosions of it—hidden against and amongst a lovely sea of black, because let’s be real here. Also, folks often accuse me of putting together these little sets and including things I would never wear in a million years and I suppose they are either suggesting that my body type doesn’t fit their idea of who should be wearing such things (v. rude), or because they are assuming I can’t afford a 5K frock (you’re right about that, I guess.) The last ensemble I have put together is something I would and do wear, for I do indeed own most of it (or items very similar!)

The Vampire’s Wife Liberty Cotton Festival Dress // Alexander McQueen box bag // Domino Appliqué Elma Lingerie // Isabel Marant Adenn leather ankle boots // Stephen Webster Fly By Night’ Crystal Haze Ring // Simone Rocha Crystal earrings // Digby & Iona Dat Rosa Signet ring // Cathy Waterman Women’s White Diamond Hexagonal-Face Ring // Rituel de Fille Rare Light Luminizer: Solaris // Flowerhead Eau de Parfum by Byredo

Loewe X Paulas Ibiza floral-print crepe blouse //Top Shop Zip Through Mini Skirt // Samantha Change all lace bralette // Samantha Change all lace brief // Arlette Giant Silk Moth Velvet Clutch // Rochas mary jane ballerinas Bebaroque embroidered tights // Pyrrha bee symbol stud earrings momocreatura secret garden ring // Chloe Rose Quartz Black Rhodium Ring // Huda Beauty Obsessions Eyeshadow Palette // Deja le Printemps Eau de Parfum by Oriza L. Legrand

Black cotton-linen tunic //Thief & Bandit bralette underwear set Scarf Shop cotton giant scarf, “tide” // Tamar Shalem flats // Baba Studio De Morgan Unicorn bag // Flannery Grace Good moth necklace // theeth mushroom and stone ring // LAS Jewelry The Hare ring // Pamela Love Anemone Ring // OCC eye shadow // Living Dead Beauty Velvet Matte Liquid Lipstick, “Forbidden” // Hummingbird Extrait de Parfum by Zoologist // Alaïa Round-frame acetate sunglasses

featured image: Stranger Than Paradise/ W Magazine 2013 Tilda Swinton shot by Tim Walker

 

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How To Wear The Vernal Equinox

by on Mar.20, 2018, under Syndicated from the Web

Reposted from | Go to Original Post

I’ll admit, I never had much of an appreciation for spring until I moved to New Jersey in 2004. Until that time, I had spent the last twenty years in the semi-tropics and spring was, at best, laughable. There were no gusty lions or meek lambs and April showers most certainly did not lead to May flowers. It was only the paralyzing heat on asphalt as soon as February passed. and the same line of palm trees as far as the eye could see, stretching to the horizon and beyond. Palm trees and heat death forever. The end.

In New Jersey, however, there was actual winter. With snow and ice and cold and itchy sweaters and people always stealing your parking spot that you spent at least an hour digging for your own damn self, and angst, oh the angst, of those miserable, eternal Februaries. I grew to dread the oncoming autumn, because I knew it heralded 3-4+ months of pure, unadulterated, shivering wretchedness.

But spring, oh my–spring! Spring became a wonderful time for me, brimming and bursting with surprising magics. Such little things, I suppose…but things, having grown up in the south, that I didn’t even know to look for– or expect. Each afternoon when I arrived home from work there would be something new blooming in the yard, budding and blossoming in the trees. Baby bunnies,  hopping willy-nilly across my path during morning walks! The coolest, most lovely breeze swishing and swirling through the house on an early April morning (the same morning, where, down south, the AC would probably already be running full blast). Awash in the glow of springtime aurora, my northern home then became a verdant wonderland, and for a time, I didn’t hate everything.

And thus began my infatuation with spring! And what to wear during this time of birth and renewal and the disappearance of winter’s ghostly remains? Well, even though I now live again in the swamps of Florida, I still take my cue from celebrated haiku master Matsuo Basho:

From all these trees –
in salads, soups, everywhere –
cherry blossoms fall

See below for a few ensembles showcasing riotous blooms and delicate blossoms, and yes–even color, bright explosions of it—hidden against and amongst a lovely sea of black, because let’s be real here. Also, folks often accuse me of putting together these little sets and including things I would never wear in a million years and I suppose they are either suggesting that my body type doesn’t fit their idea of who should be wearing such things (v. rude), or because they are assuming I can’t afford a 5K frock (you’re right about that, I guess.) The last ensemble I have put together is something I would and do wear, for I do indeed own most of it (or items very similar!)

The Vampire’s Wife Liberty Cotton Festival Dress // Alexander McQueen box bag // Domino Appliqué Elma Lingerie // Isabel Marant Adenn leather ankle boots // Stephen Webster Fly By Night’ Crystal Haze Ring // Simone Rocha Crystal earrings // Digby & Iona Dat Rosa Signet ring // Cathy Waterman Women’s White Diamond Hexagonal-Face Ring // Rituel de Fille Rare Light Luminizer: Solaris // Flowerhead Eau de Parfum by Byredo

Loewe X Paulas Ibiza floral-print crepe blouse //Top Shop Zip Through Mini Skirt // Samantha Change all lace bralette // Samantha Change all lace brief // Arlette Giant Silk Moth Velvet Clutch // Rochas mary jane ballerinas Bebaroque embroidered tights // Pyrrha bee symbol stud earrings momocreatura secret garden ring // Chloe Rose Quartz Black Rhodium Ring // Huda Beauty Obsessions Eyeshadow Palette // Deja le Printemps Eau de Parfum by Oriza L. Legrand

Black cotton-linen tunic //Thief & Bandit bralette underwear set Scarf Shop cotton giant scarf, “tide” // Tamar Shalem flats // Baba Studio De Morgan Unicorn bag // Flannery Grace Good moth necklace // theeth mushroom and stone ring // LAS Jewelry The Hare ring // Pamela Love Anemone Ring // OCC eye shadow // Living Dead Beauty Velvet Matte Liquid Lipstick, “Forbidden” // Hummingbird Extrait de Parfum by Zoologist // Alaïa Round-frame acetate sunglasses

featured image: Stranger Than Paradise/ W Magazine 2013 Tilda Swinton shot by Tim Walker

 

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