Mermaid Corpseflower Honey

by angeliska on July 16, 2010

✸ One of my favorite films ever, I Am Dina, is available for your viewing pleasure
on Hulu right now
, and though it’s not the ideal medium to watch something so
incredibly beautiful and powerful – it’s free! Also, I’m not sure that this film is at
all available widely (I had to order my DVD from Canada when it came out)
and that’s a damn shame, because it really is so wonderful. I came across some
information about it before it was ever released in the States, and managed to
catch it at a movie theatre when my Grandfather and I were in Copenhagen.
It just happened to be showing at a little art-house a few doors down from our
hotel (across from Tivoli Gardens!) So, it was everything I had hoped for and more:
a gorgeous, sweeping period drama set in Norway at the turn of the century
with wolf-wild, filthy snarling half-orphans, tragic deaths, cellos, and incredible
cinematography, set and costume design. The casting is superb, from Gérard Depardieu
to Maria Bonnevie (who I loved in the role of Dina). Not only that, but two of my favorite
actors, Christopher Eccleston and Hans Matheson have roles as a foxy Russian anarchist,
and sexy stableboy, respectively. Swoon. If you’ve ever wanted to ask me about my who
my dreamboat crushes are, well there you go. Also, Ralph Fiennes and Tilda Swinton.
So now you know, just in case you wanted to send me a singing telegram from any of
those people. Right. So – I went right out to a bookstore after we saw the film and bought
two of the trilogy that inspired the film, by Herbjørg Wassmo. Sadly, these are hard to find
in the States as well, and my copies were lent out and lost – so if anyone in Scandinavia
would be willing to send me English translations of Lykkens sønn or Karnas arv (which
I don’t even think was ever translated, actually. Damn it.) I’d be so grateful! Let me know!

Rima Staines of The Hermitage recently made a fantastic post about
Old Women Who Paint On Their Walls. These magic self-taught crones
channel their passion, fears, hopes and joy into maniacally beautiful
paintings that cover their homes from floor to ceiling. The remind me
a bit of Nita and Zita, the burlesque acrobats from New Orleans. Their
house on Dauphine Street was painted everywhere too! Nita and Zita
are my patron saints, and number one fashion and lifestyle inspirations.

“What fascinates me about these women is the obsessiveness in their painting.
Perhaps because they’ve kept a lid on their creativity all their lives, and it boils
over dramatically in their later years, we see wild, imaginative, otherworldly art
produced lavishly beyond the boundaries. There is a difference about it.
But the interesting thing is that it is not “Art” but paintings, all over the walls
of these women’s houses. This transgresses any staid assumption of social
boundary – i.e. what is or is not acceptable in one’s dwelling place.
It is too much. It is mad. And it is marvellous!
They are peasant frescoes, and are utterly truly-wrought I think.”

Rima Staines, on Old Women Who Paint On Their Walls
“Those works created from solitude and from pure and authentic creative impulses –
where the worries of competition, acclaim and social promotion do not interfere –
are, because of these very facts, more precious than the productions of professionals.
After a certain familiarity with these flourishings of an exalted feverishness, lived so fully
and so intensely by their authors, we cannot avoid the feeling that in relation to these works,
cultural art in its entirety appears to be the game of a futile society, a fallacious parade.”

~ Jean Dubuffet. Place à l’incivisme (Make way for Incivism).
Art and Text no.27

✸ Dagnabit, but wouldn’t you know I went and missed the Annual Coney Island
Mermaid Parade again this year? Well, Tod Seelie Suckapants was there,
and he took lots of great pictures, which you can peer at in the following sets:

Also, I highly suggest you develop an addiction for his blog, because not only
does he regularly post amazing photos of my friends making art, making music,
making out, or making giant messes but he always does fun giveaways, and he
usually posts great music for you to check out. He’s introduced me to a lot of stuff
I might never had heard otherwise, including my top heavy-duty rotation summer
anthem of the moment, which is Lissie’s cover of Kid Cudi’s song Pursuit of Happiness.
It’s my get to it music right now. I’m normally not turned on by folky girls covering rap
songs ironically (barf)
, but this is just really good. Also, on that note – if we’re gonna
get cute, let’s not fuck around right? Who knew the Carebears were Ice Cube fans?

(Photograph by Madi Ju)
✸ I just discovered The Ladies’ Guide to the Apocalypse
tonight, purely by chance (if you believe in that!) and am blown away.
I need to go eat nachos with Summer Burkes real soon, and I think we
all need to be reading about her experiences doing cleanup in the Gulf.
Read her writing on the I Ching, and prepare to knocked on your ass.
I was just explaining what the I Ching was to someone earlier tonight,
and this makes me want to get some yarrow stalks. My dad taught me
how do it with quarters when I was 11, and though I feel far more
connected to the tarot, the hexagrams are so elegant and powerful.
Welcome to East Austin! from The Hipstercrite
This is my neighborhood: sweet little alleys with junkyard dogs and magic
and also ridiculous modern condos that stick out like sore thumbs. Strange mix,
for sure – but here we are. A lot of them are just standing empty now. It’s be nice
if some families came and brought all their car parts and kids and cats and just
filled them up with life and barbecue and loud tejano on the radio. Fingers crossed!
✸ On the subject of hipsters, Alan Moore expounds on
his definition in an excellent interview in The Quietus by John Doran.
JD: “You’re proud of your status as a hipster. Do you regret
the way it’s become a disparaging, pejorative term now?

AM: Has it? Yeah, that’s probably true. It used to be a fashion statement,
but it was information as a fashion statement which is probably going to do
you more good than the clothing you wear. I got an incredible education starting
from the point at which I was thrown out of school. Now, I could probably hold my
own intellectually with most people who have had university or college educations.
And indeed some of them will have done courses on my books. So, despite the fact
my ‘education’ ended at 16, I had hipsterism, which was wanting to be hip, and that
led me to read this incredibly diverse array of books on science, mysticism, science
fiction, literature, art… I would find out about these movements that I had heard about,
and it’s given me a pretty comprehensive education. Now I am an autodidact,
which is a great word… I learned it myself.”

and this:
“Everybody is becoming [a superhero]. In the past I’ve tried to say,
‘Look, we are all crappy superheroes,’ because personal computers
and mobile phone devices are things that only Bat Man and Mr Fantastic
would have owned back in the sixties. We’ve all got this immense power
and we’re still sat at home watching pornography and buying scratch cards.
We’re rubbish, even though we are as gods. I think the idea that we can all be
superheroes if we want might still be contagious, like in V For Vendetta.
I’ve heard of urban superheroes springing up across the world.
I think there’s one in London called Angle-grinder Man…”

✸ Recently a caravan of friends went to go see Lois,
the Amorphophallus titanum blooming now at the
Houston Museum of Natural Science, but alas,
she was being shy that day! There have been quite a few blooms
here and there, and if you get the chance to experience it, you’re a lucky one
indeed. I hope at some point in my life, I will get to smell the corpse-tastic aroma!
FUNKWATCH: Corpse flower “On The Bloom”

Care and Feeding of a Mermaid – superb vintage footage from 1961 (found via Miss Swissmiss)
Inspired? You can make a mermaid tail of you very own! Finally!


Angeliska! Thanks for loving my outsider art post and for quoting me! Isn’t it amazing stuff 🙂 And thrice wow at Nita & Zita’s place too! I want it!
Your gazette is ever fascinating 🙂 That film looks right up my street, but alas us Brits cannot stream it from there 🙁
Happy inspired days to you!
Rima x

by Rima on July 16, 2010 at 3:46 am. Reply #

I will be in Norway soon so I downloaded ‘I Am Dina’ immediately! Thank you for the recommendation. Two of the books (‘Dina’s Book’ and ‘Dina’s Son’) came up on an Addall database search new and used, maybe this is of some use to you:
Nita & Zita are so very intriguing, I shall have to find out more about them.

by Noire et Blanche on July 16, 2010 at 4:06 am. Reply #

The stream didn’t work for me either so I downloaded the movie here, using Bittorrent:

by Noire et Blanche on July 16, 2010 at 4:11 am. Reply #

This post has all my favorite things! Nita + Zita, Corpse flowers, mermaids! I remember when you introduced me to “I am Dina” years ago. I will watch it again, now.

by Eliza on July 16, 2010 at 7:30 am. Reply #

I actually attended the mermaid parade this year and I HIGHLY recommend everyone to go – I was marching in the parade in a group called the Costume Cult – how AWESOME is that??!!
Wish you luck in finding your books – I know how difficult it can be to find obsure items!

by Bunnyguts on July 16, 2010 at 8:42 am. Reply #

We finally watched ‘I Am Dina’ a couple of weeks ago – such an exquisitely powerful and beautiful film … it left me in a perfectly balanced state of blissful melancholy! I think the pairing up of the landscape with the main character’s life is what spoke to me the most, and now I want to go to Norway (after Iceland, because that is my first wish for a northern adventure). Maria Bonnevie is an amazing actress – all the other performers, including the great Depardieu (who I will always love because of ‘Danton’!), paled next to her brilliance in the role of Dina! I was also touched by Amanda Jean Kvakland’s performance as the young Dina – there was something so agonizing and powerful in that child’s gaze, which set the stage so perfectly for the rest of the film.

by Susanne Lynette on July 16, 2010 at 10:57 am. Reply #

Oh gosh…I was so lucky to be able to chill in the Nita and Zita house back when Mo lived there a few years ago. It was amazink!

by Melissa on July 16, 2010 at 10:59 am. Reply #

‘I am Dina’ is on Netflix available both as a DVD and an instant watch/streaming video, for any of your readers who are lucky enough to have the wonder of Netflix available to them. It looks amazing, I may watch it later tonight.
I’d never heard of Nita and Zita before I read this. I always find the best things and people on your blogthingy here. Derp derp fangirling.
Also, going to the mermaid parade = one of my life goals. I haven’t been able to since I learned of it first a few years ago because I’m poor/in college and haven’t managed to scrounge up the time and resources but…I’m gonna keep trying until it happens, damn it.

by Christina on July 16, 2010 at 2:12 pm. Reply #

See Summer soon. She won’t be in town too terribly much longer. After her car is fixed she’s coming back out to my studio again for a bit before she journeys toward desert lands.
She definitely has much to say. Very interesting indeed.

by Bean on July 17, 2010 at 1:01 am. Reply #

Ha, I am quizzing S. about the amorphophallus he sent you & he’s like ‘yeah i sent them the konjac, the titanium is the biggest one and can make whole city blocks smell like dead horse meat!’ but he says this gleefully. okeeee.
that cover reminds of when this band from here called Battery (oh god i am so old) covered gangstas paradise. amusing.

by verhext on July 18, 2010 at 3:16 pm. Reply #

Bella Tamsin,
Dar! My whole original point of writing about the corpseflower was so I could write about the konjac corms y’all sent us! That’s what I get for writing late at night – a mind like an iron sieve! Well, I need to take photos anyway! Both spathes (is that what you call ’em?) have come up and are getting very lush indeed! Please give S. a giant kiss from us, won’t you?

by Angeliska on July 19, 2010 at 12:05 am. Reply #

It’s good to know I’m in such good company with Hipster Pride! He he.

by poutfits on July 19, 2010 at 2:04 pm. Reply #

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