Krewe of Eris – Lux et Voluptas

by angeliska on March 1, 2011

Last year, the annual Krewe of Eris Parade fell on Valentine’s Day, making for a mighty romantic
and randy procession. The official theme was Lux et Voluptas, or Light & Pleasure – but I think most
of us couldn’t help getting a little crazy with the love + hearts. I mean, when else do you get to parade
for such an occasion? Our mini-krewe within a krewe took the maxim All’s Fair in Love and War as our
inspiration and Love is a Battlefield as our anthem. We wore armor and battle-gear in shades of blood-red,
white and incarnadine, brassy helmets and bows with glittered heart-tipped arrows. Zing! Our beautiful
procession wended its way through the French Quarter, and had nearly reached the terminus, when an
evil wind blew up and brought a nasty torrential downpour with it! Having never actually had rain on my
parade, I can say that it was a stone cold bummer, especially because it made the post-parade festivities
rather more difficult. Not only that, but we had a whole box of juicy ribs we’d hoped to gnaw on later, but
in the flurry to find shelter, they got left in our float, which was also abandoned somewhere along the road.
I’ve got my fingers crossed that we have no such inclement weather for this year’s fiesta! Knock wood!

There are no rules! The Strauses + Mlle. Alisan tearing it up on Royal St.

Eris and her golden apple of discord.

Lining up the troops for battle

Guarding the float, and preparing for war.

The seadragon puppet was unbelievably lovely and ethereal.


My valentine.

Francesca was a very sassy cupid!

All kinds of naughtiness and deviltry took place in the streets and gutters!

Alix Hotpants!


Be mine?

Right before the rain, reveling with the ladies!

Dangerous Frannie!

A wee cupid riding on the float – beware! His darts are tipped in heady poison!

krewe of eris 2010 (1) from k.b. on Vimeo.

krewe of eris 2010 (2) from k.b. on Vimeo.

krewe of eris 2010 (3) from k.b. on Vimeo.

These videos from my beloved Oola give the best idea of what the parade is like (on a bar break!)

You can see some of our cupcake krewe from 2009 at the beginning of the video.
Krewe of Eris 2009 – The Feast of the Appetites!
Krewe of Eris 2008 – Release The Swarm

Big Blessings Poppin' – The Devil Can't Stop It!

by angeliska on February 25, 2011

It’s almost that time, y’all… My mind is already there, steeped in chicory, dusted in powdered sugar.
Hungry for those sweet faces I ain’t kissed in so long. My heart quickens up when I think of riding down
my old bumpity streets, turning onto Piety and seeing my favorite tulip magnolia shivering with blossoms.
Ready for sweat, for sequins, for dancing on the bar. Even for looking over my shoulder, walking quick,
head held high, senses sharp and canny. Time to get back to the Delta where I learned how to breathe
underwater, back to that fertile crescent where I left my heart. Let’s go, let’s go. Come on! Come on!

Me + Randall Buckthorn Chili Frangelico outside the All Ways Lounge on St. Claude.

Drewzilla displaying his characteristic babyface witch-finger beard.


R.I.P. Magnolia Shorty – she was so mighty.


Corinne + Frannie


Monique + Ponyboy – just another night at the Dragon’s Den.


Alisan rockin’ a bit of Prince flair.


Alisan + Fran out in the soft light on North Rampart St.


Big Blessings Poppin’ – The Devil Can’t Stop It!


Joe Power on the steps of the monster-face church.

Bean Dress!

I forgot to include the back of her dress! It sez:
“If you like it then you shoulda put a BEAN on it!”
I came upon this marvelous bean krewe one afternoon…
Their ensembles were stunningly bedecked in various varieties of the magical fruit.
(The more you eat, the more you toot – the more you toot, the better you feel!)
I always fall in love with the creole cottages + shotguns of New Orleans.
We carry on illicit affairs, and I whistle at them, and shoot smoldering glances
as I ride by. Oh, if only I could sit on your stoop, baby. I’d be hangin’ half naked
off your balcony every night… You know I’d treat you right, get you insured, get
your shutters greased with butter, your floors waxed and gleaming. You know I would.

I fall hard for paintjobs, bits of gingerbread trim, stained glass – all that.
I’m a sucker for the lonely, quiet looking ones. I think how lively I could make them.

See you soon, baby.

Cygnet Honey

by angeliska on February 20, 2011

Farewell by john duncan
Heptu Bidding Farewell To The City Of Obb by John Duncan
An Interview With Roxanne Carter by David Hoenigman from Word Riot
I have long admired Roxanne’s work from afar, and this one question interview
only solidifies the notion I have of what an excellent person she is. One day, I hope we shall meet, and have tea!
✸ I’m joining the throngs of devotees who (j’)adore the majestic Catherine Baba!
I don’t have very many living fashion icons, so I’m very happy to have found one to inspire me constantly. What a wonderful woman!
Gala Darling put together a super piece on her for her Style Icons series
Casting Our Favorite Books: The Secret History
Casting characters from beloved books is one of my favorite fantasy games, and I’ve long imagined who I would cast in a film version
of The Secret History. I don’t disagree with most of the picks in the article, though I do think Cillian Murphy is far too pretty and delicate
to be Henry Winter. They needed Nick Cave for that, about 30 years ago. Oh, how I wish they would just finally hurry up and make it, though!
Julie Heffernan, Budding Boy
Q and A: John Seed Interviews Julie Heffernan
“In ‘Self-Portrait Setting Up Camp’ I’m imagining re-making the world where the only people who exist are the Builders,
the Buriers, the Mothers, the Healers, the Story-tellers, the Fishers, the Dreamers and the Growers. The trees are bedecked
with billboard size copies of paintings that have given me wisdom in my life. Others are there for protection from the sun.
The space is constructed as a gigantic spiral. As we end we begin again.”

In Remembrance: Kenneth Grant (1924-2011) from Coilhouse
Show The Monster Guillermo del Toro’s quest to get amazing creatures onscreen –
a fascinating piece on one of my favorite auteurs from the New Yorker.
Abraliopsis squid
8 Beautiful Bioluminescent Creatures From the Sea
At the Core of Traditional Witchcraft from Speculum Celestae
Spring maiden
Natural Dark by Lindsey Carr
Carnivorous Plant Feasts on Bat Dung
Fuck Yeah Altars – This is just wonderful. I was very happy to find one of my own included among the beautiful altars there!

Portrait of Madeline von Foerster: An interview with the New York based artist about “The Red Thread” –
the key painting of her 2010 solo show “Reliquaries” at Strychnin Gallery, Berlin. Von Foerster works in “mischtechnik,”
a mixed technique of oil and egg tempera used by the Flemish Renaissance Masters. Her current series is concerned
with endangered/extinct wildlife, and also inspired by the reliquaries of the Ursula church in Cologne, Germany.

Swan on Swan – Black Swan’s Sexy Tropes from the ever enchanting Jiz Lee
Interview with a Female Funeral Director By Susannah Breslin I really need to meet both these women.
The Pale Blue Door, Prinzessinnen Garten, Berlin. Pictures by Manuel Vazquez (Thank you for this, Mlle. Verhext!)
The planet Mars Observed September 3 1877 at 11h 55m P M
Trouvelot Astronomy from BiblioOdyssey
(Thanks for the tip go to Miss Patience Meliora Blythe – her real name, folks!)
Aurora Borealis As observed March 1 1872 at 9h 25m P M
“Frenchman Étienne Léopold Trouvelot (1827–1895) was primarily a portrait artist when he arrived in Massachusetts in 1852.
During the following 30 years that he remained in America his amateur passion for science would ensure a legacy that straddles
both fame and infamy. Trouvelot had a particular love for silkworms and he had a 4 acre plot behind his house where he cultivated
a native variety. To increase production he hoped to crossbreed the regular type with a species from Europe. He brought back Gypsy
Moth eggs from a trip home and so introduced a virulent pest that ravages forests in America to this day. To his (slight) credit, he realized
the enormity of the problem straight away when some of the introduced moths escaped. He made it publically known, but unfortunately local
entomologists did nothing at the time to eradicate them. Trouvelot turned his attention from moths to the stars and began illustrating celestial
phenomena. His drawings were so good that the Director of Harvard College Observatory put Trouvelot on staff where he gained access
to their powerful telescope.”

Finest of Flurries

by angeliska on February 16, 2011

Oh, hello! Do forgive the long absence from around these parts – for various reasons,
I have just found myself either too busy, otherwise preoccupied, hibernating, or utterly
confounded with archaic and sludgy-slow technology to muster up the moxie to get any
posts up lately! Sometimes it’s good to take a break, but I’m hoping my sexy new computer
machine will induce many late-nights of frenzied writing here. Winter has been all about the
breakdown for me, in lots of ways – both my cameras and both my computers have either died
or are so slow that they might as well be. Our pipes have frozen numerous times, it’s been bitter
cold – unreasonably so, really. I’ve been feeling mighty bearish and blue while it’s been so chilly,
and it’s taken every ounce of willpower not to just crawl back under miles of blankets and just
wait in my woolen and flannel cavern for spring. Every night lately, I’ve been dreaming of finding
flowers under the dead leaves, and my craving for tender green buds, for color, for warmth and life
is kind of out of control right now. This season of death needs to go, and make way for rising sap,
for honey-dippers, for flummywisters singing high in the branches of the lingering yisters, and
unbuttoning the long winter underwear of the baby flummywisters. I mean it. Winter, you’re evicted!
All the same, this winter has been full of flurries, both metaphorical and literal! I’ve had lots and lots
on my plate to pull me out of my blanket-cave: most excitingly, a bevy of events that I’ve been working
on (either organizing, collaborating, or helping out on.) These parties have been very exciting and encouraging,
and all of them have involved other ladies, which just feels extra good lately. Miss Amelia, my partner in crime
and Vintage Vivant, (our new endeavor!) has been such fun to work with. She is calm and together, yet also
enthusiastic and a go-getter! We’ve been having a ball working on this party, and have lots of ideas for the future.
Vintage Vivant
Vintage Vivant is a monthly celebration of Jazz Age culture, and a special night
for glamourous anachronists to dance, drink and delight at a bevy of 1920′s and 30′s themed entertainment.
Amelia and I had been discussing our desire to do such an event for quite a while, but were always confounded
by finding a venue with the right ambiance. The owner of one of our favorite dining spots, the East Side Show Room,
opened her own bar, we knew it would be just the spot. Mickie’s a genius when it comes to aesthetics, and she’s one of
the most hands-on, can-do kinda gals we’ve ever met. She does metalwork and sculpture, and designed and made all the
chandeliers and fixtures in both venues. The Swan Dive is the dreamiest bar ever – all pearly dove grays and white, tile
and wood. Old windows, milk bottles, white-painted instruments and old radiators somehow lend themselves to elegance
better than you might think – it’s as if a classy dame opened her idea of a fabulous nightclub during the Great Depression,
and used whatever came to hand to stunning effect. It’s simple and gorgeous and the perfect home to both our new parties!
Angeliska at Vintage Vivant
(This photo & the next by Devaki Knowles of Fun Loving Photos)
Amelia at Vintage Vivant
For our debut, we chose the theme PAPER MOON, since we felt it conveyed the necessary magic
and glamour to befit such a celestially auspicious evening. Mickey made us a wooden moon to
pose with in our fabulous photobooth (helmed by the delicous Devaki Knowles!) and we reenacted
our favorite vintage photographs. Isn’t it just the best thing ever? I think we must use it always!
Amelia compiled this amazing wealth of images, music and videos to get everyone in the mood:
Paper Moon Inspiration
There were so many great images from the night, that three separate posts were required just to
document all the fun – I believe there’s even more to come! People really turned it out for this one!
Everyone’s ensembles were truly great, and I’m really excited to get people inspired to dress up, and
give them a place to wear all their favorite gladrags that otherwise might not get taken out dancing.
Paper Moon I.
Paper Moon II.
Paper Moon III.
I’ve always been a devoted anachronist – always wished that everyone would commit to playing
the same big game of dress-up and pretend, and that just for one night, we could create the
illusion of living in another era, as seamlessly as possible. I went to a 1920’s themed party in
New Orleans years ago, that really inspired me to try and one day create an environment to
do just that. It was a birthday party at The Country Club (a gay bar in a gorgeous old house,
with a pool in the back – not a snooty white-people golf place) and I remember everyone
dressed to the nines, inhabiting their characters perfectly, drinking martinis and gadding
about. We all jumped in the pool at the end of the night, in our beaded gowns and tuxedos,
crazy fools that we were (must’ve been all those martinis!) A little while later, Chesley and I
started a low key evening where he would spin music from the 1920’s and 30’s, and we would
play gin-rummy and drink wine. Our chef friends would raid the pantries of the fancy restaurants
they worked at, and make incredible gourmet tidbits. It was such fun, and I’d long wanted to do
something like it again – so doing Vintage Vivant with Amelia totally satisfies that need – and then some!
Here are some snippets I dug up from those olden golden days:
Playing Canasta in Cold Rooms
Mumbley-peg and slithery-dee
Exquisite Corpse
The other project that’s been keeping me busy is Exquisite Corpse,
a dada-inspired cabaret, surrealist salon and old school goth dance
party. Imagine if David Lynch was a woman and had a nightclub, and
you’ll be close. Our first night was on one of the bitterest nights of
the year – it actually snowed! I can’t begin to describe how magical
and wondrous it was for this southern girl, who has only seen snow
a handful of times, and hardly ever so pristine and perfect as on that
night. All my frustration and glumness over the cold weather turned
to joy, watching those fat flakes blanket the city and my garden in white.
Talk about surreal! All the sweet people who braved the ice to come out
warmed my cockles right up, and made me excited for what’s to come.
It feels good to scale back a bit from the behemoth parties like Gadjo
Disko and Tranarchy, and to do something a bit more intimate. I miss
the extravagant insanity of of Cabarer Revoltaire Dada Balls in New
Orleans, but it feels right to go for something more subtle right now.
Here’s some old posts about those parties of yore:
Maybe one day, we’ll go for that again! They were glorious.
In the meantime, I’m excited about all that I have on my plate,
and will be posting more images soon! But now – the sun is out!

Magic Windows #21

by angeliska on January 24, 2011

the ring
The ring! Colin picked it out himself, (with input from Tamera!) I love it so much.
It’s Victorian – imperial jade and rose gold, all hand-fabricated with delicately-chased
swirling elements that resemble twining leaves or the tails of frolicking sea-creatures.
I’ve chosen to wear it on my center finger, because it looks best there, symmetrically,
and because it fits that one perfectly. I don’t want to have it re-sized, since it won’t
really want to share a finger with the wedding band. We’re planning to make our
rings in mokume-gane, with some ancestral diamonds and gold from a gaudy
ring that belonged to Colin’s grandmother Ruby. I’m not much for diamonds and
gold ordinarily, but it’s super special that they have been passed down, especially
since there’s nothing really like that in my family – plus I like the recycling aspect.
new shoes
Sometimes the only cure for the down and dirty blues is some giant glittery shoes.
At least that was my reasoning a few weeks ago, late at night, when my heart was
feeling so sorrowful for the state of the world, and for all my friends in New Orleans.
Silly, yes – but it helped, somehow. I feel cheered up just looking at them! They’re
very Diamond Dogs Biba-glam – which is an era of fashion that I have infinite love
for. Perfect for enacting Cockettes Fantasias, and actually remarkably comfortable.
They’re made by Jeffrey Campbell, and smell like really intense glue. Only downside!
Lots of altar-work lately. Home and hearth. Make the space for the sacred,
for the great work to manifested even in the smallest and humblest of ways.
Sweetgrass rope from my friend Sam, Lux Perpetua from Sienna. Love.
little goddess
She’s a sweetheart, little painted clay goddess. She reminds me to heal my own heart.
to love unconditionally, to forgive and let go, to see the good in people and try to help
them, and to take care of the moment.
Hard lessons. Lighting the candles, trying to do
the work, and asking for help with it from the universe. Little queen of roses, help me.
fox + ghostgirl
Cobwebby fox friend and wee ghost girl. Spirit-friends.
Magic egg and pyramid that was once my mother’s. My altar needs a dusting!
I can’t wait for springtime, when my garden is full of flowers I can adorn it with.
Do you have an altar? How do you work with it? What do you keep on it?

Cuckoo Honey

by angeliska on January 20, 2011

Artist Interview: Hush Clark
Hush Clark is my new secret best-friend art-crush, only he doesn’t know it yet.
Magic art that speaks to my heart.
Vietnam’s Mammoth Cave
Colin and I are both avid spelunking-fantasists, and are considering having our wedding in a cave…
Surely everyone will just fly to Vietnam, right? Well, maybe if we were into eloping –
only, we’d probably try and take up permanent residence..
✸ Jamie Livingston (October 25, 1956 – October 25, 1997) was a New York-based photographer,
film-maker and circus performer who took a polaroid photo every single day for almost twenty years.
Strange, sad and beautiful. – PHOTO OF THE DAY: 1979-1997, 6,697 Polaroids, dated in sequence
Stunning Vintage Photos from Sydney’s Police Museum – from COILHOUSE
These are beyond words. So elegant and haunting. Clear as glass, real as now.
Hestia, help me
A prayer for Hestia, Goddess of hearth and home from Drucilla Pettibone.
This helped me – I think we all could do with some calm and happy hearth wishes of late, don’t you?
Our power got shut off yesterday, for hours and hours (because we’re busy, and harried, and poor)
and the immense relief I felt when it finally came back on made me so thankful for all that I have.
My full refrigerator, the ability to wash and dry my clothes mechanically, my hot bathwater,
my clean drinking water, all the little space heaters I crouch in front of… It made me consider
what my life would be like if all that were gone. Think about it. Be glad for the comforts of your home!
Design Sponge had a great feature on Doctor Zhivago style
that makes my heart flutter and chime like a frozen chandelier.
(Muchas gracias to Mr. + Mrs. Leaf-Arrow for sending it my way!)

Mervyn Peake: A Centenary Celebration
I so wish I could go see this:
“British writer and illustrator Mervyn Peake has earned an international cult following
for his Gormenghast series of Gothic fantasies which were inspired by Arundel Castle.
To mark what would have been his hundredth birthday, Pallant House Gallery presents
a display of his most famous illustrations and prints as part of the major centenary
celebrations which will also include the publication of ‘Titus Awakes’, the final part
of the Gormenghast sequence recently completed by his widow.”

✸ Also this! Man, I need to get across the sea! Never been to the UK before, can you believe it?
Royal Shakespeare Company to sell thousands of costumes
“More than 10,000 items will go on sale next month, including shirts, hats, shoes,
Egyptian head-dresses and a variety of military uniforms, jewellery and other accessories.”

Ellen Harding Baker’s “Solar System” Quilt, made in 1876
“The design of Ellen’s striking and unusual quilt resembles illustrations in astronomy books
of the period. Ellen used the quilt as a visual aid for lectures she gave on astronomy in the
towns of West Branch, Moscow, and Lone Tree, Iowa. Astronomy was an acceptable interest
for women in the nineteenthth century and was sometimes even fostered in their education.”

Bees, Bees, BeesBy Maria Popova at Brainpickings
If you click on one link here, and have time to watch one video, let it be the TED talk
from apiarist Dennis vanEngelsdorp – he really lays it all out for us succintly, and
passionately. What an inspiration! I can’t wait to start keeping bees of my own.
Lynda Barry is my number one hero. The next time she does one of her writing classes,
I’ve promised to take myself. I hope it’s soon! In the meantime, I really need to get a copy
of her new book, “Picture This”. If you don’t know who she is, please fix that, immediately.
Read Cruddy. Today. I mean it. See also:
Interview with Lynda Barry in The Onion’s AV Club
Lynda Barry on ‘Picture This’ from The Paris Review
Russia has more occult healers than doctors
Drowning Beautiful – another excellent find from Two Four Flinching
Artist Jason de Caires Taylor creates life-size cement sculptures of people and submerges
them into the waters of South America. Magical, moving work. I’d love to go scuba down and see it
in situ one day! Totally enchanting. (Thank you for the tip, Mlle. Labry!)
See also: The underwater sculpture of Jason de Caires Taylor – on Boing Boing
Jarvis Cocker’s Sunday Service
How did I never know about this until now? Well, better late than never.
I could listen to Jarvis talk all day long, and he really does play the best music.
A great interview with Dawn of Faun Fables – I can’t wait to get my hands on a copy of their new album,
Light of a Vaster Dark, which is out now. There’s a good review of the album up at Pitchfork, also.

Alan Moore on Austin Osman Spare: “The greatest English magician of the 20th century”

Birthday Surprise!

by angeliska on January 11, 2011

I may not be able to muster the language to accurately express just how outrageously marvelous
my birthday extravaganza really was, and I wish that the few photos I managed to remember to
capture that night could really do it justice (let me tell you that they don’t even really come close!)
Dana + Raven
Dana and Raven were the most perfect winter maidens! Being surrounded by my beloved sistren,
family and friends and having the honor of sharing a birthday celebration with my lovely Dana was
beyond amazing, but little did I know that the best was yet to come! If I waited any longer to share
the news, I might just burst in a shower of crystalline confectionery, and that wouldn’t be any good, so….
We step like Plush,
We stand like snow,
The waters murmur new.

– Emily Dickinson
We’re getting married! Colin surprised me by proposing last night, after an exquisite birthday dinner, in our kitchen,
surrounded by the shining faces of dear friends. Holy moly. I think writing it just actually made it feel real…
I was so stunned at the moment he told me that he “would very much like for us to be wed”, I thought
I might just spontaneously combust with joy. I could only laugh with delight, and kiss him my answer, which I
truly gave him long ago: the first time we kissed. Everyone in the room was crying I think, and then there was
much celebration, but me – I’m crying with happiness as I write this, as I share this now, because telling it makes
it true, makes it hit home that I’m not actually dreaming. As I see it, having a wedding is a form of ceremonial magic
that solidifies a bond between two lovers, and also between their families, communities, their paths. We’ve been together
for five years, we have a home together, we create together, and in the eyes of Texas common-law, and for all
practical purposes, we are already married. But doing this thing together, the two of us, and everyone we
love – it makes magic. It brings all that energy together to send sweetness and strength along with us as we
travel on our shared path. Marriage ceremonies are the only form of ritual magic that are commonly practiced
by most people, and there’s a reason why we need them – and why we need a party, too – with lots of dancing
and merry-making! Being married isn’t just about the two people who already know they want to spend the
rest of their lives together – it’s about radiating that personal love outward, and making it manifest in our lives,
our lifetimes, and beyond. I can’t tell you how excited I am about that prospect, and about joining hands with
Colin, who is such an amazing person. We both got real lucky when we found each other, and we know it.
So, consider this a save the date of sorts! 11-11-11, it’s on – here in Texas! Folktale wedding in the country, y’all.
Get your fantastical ensembles together, and find me some deft elves to embroider seed pearls on a silver gown!
birthday girl
Yes, so – best birthday, ever. All I can do is glow.
I think I might be able to illuminate broken lightbulbs with
my little finger, I’m glowing so hard! This is the face of deep,
deep happiness. This is the face of a woman in love.
Oh yes, and there was a party! It was thronging with gorgeous ice nymphs (like Kitty, here), and strewn
with white lace, fairy lights, fir trees and white doves – unfortunately, I didn’t get too many pictures because
my camera seems to have finally bitten the dust! I was able to borrow one for the evening, but wasn’t too
familiar with it, and also enormously distracted by wonderfulness at every turn! Hopefully more photos
will emerge soon, and perhaps then I will have a moment to go into greater detail about the delicious feast!
The beautiful Sarah Killz on washboard. I love having friends make music in my parlor.
Nothing makes a house as warm, or as happy – many thanks to That Damned Band and friends!
Frannie played her musical saw – she’s really good at making it sound like a mermaid singing!
Miss Hailey Tuck, one of the prettiest, sweetest little ladies I have ever laid my eyes on.
I’m going to build her a gilded miniature castle in my backyard so we can drink rose-raspberry
gin fizzes all day and brush each other’s hair. She wore white with tiny red vintage heels, so perfect!
La Bella Seed Terranova, snow princess extraordinaire!
Melanie presented me with this astounding ram’s skull! I’ve always longed for one!
Maybe I should bronze it and have it mounted on the front of my car, eh?
Jason + Dominique
Jason Darling + Dominique Vyborny, professional wood-elves.
This is my fairy god-daughter Pearl! Isn’t she just so beautiful?
Mark + Dana
Mark and Dana being here for our birthdays made it the most special.
They are such beloved friends, and having them there when Colin proposed
was so perfect, especially since I performed their wedding ceremony! Dana
inspired me so much with her kitchen alchemy – she’s a trim little apron-wearing
hearth-goddess, whipping up flurries of salted caramels and beef bourguignon!
Silky + Sym
Silky Shoemaker + Sym Prole. Big love.
Miss Kelley in her magical moss hat!
Charlene is a bad-ass DJ! She set up in our Korean War disko-tent, where we had also installed a big old
wood-burning stove (upon which infused hot mulled cider and wine), and it was definitely the place to be!
Charlene is also an incredible massage therapist. She came over on my birthday and gave me a serious
massage in the kitchen because it was the only warm place! Then everyone came home and started peeling
potatoes and making birthday cake, and it felt like we were Transylvanian peasants in a one-room hut, with
everyone talking, laughing, cooking and doing healing work – all together, chaotic and beautiful!
Kitty doing her Stevie Nicks impression! Twirl, twirl!
birthday girl
More to come, soon – (ring pictures, as soon as I can do it justice!) Right now, I just really need to absorb
the magnitude of everything I’ve experienced over the last 48 hours, and to let it sink in that this is really
happening! I really do keep pinching myself… I had a feeling that this year was going to be good, but I
had no idea it get off to such a wondrous start! I definitely feel like 2011 is going to be incredibly auspicious,
and not just because I was born at 11:11am, on the 10th day of the first month! My friend pointed out today
that my birthday was a palindrome this year: 1-10-2011 and if that’s not lucky, than I don’t know what is!

Winter Wonderland Feast + Fairytale Fête

by angeliska on January 4, 2011

My whelping day once more approaches! A celebration is being
prepared! Grackle Grove is being scrubbed and groomed, and
much bustling and to-do is occurring to make way for the festivities!
This year, the theme was inspired by Paco Peregrin’s milk-white maidens:

It is to be a Winter Wonderland Feast, by way of the Balkans and
the Black Forest, to be sure – and then taking last year’s neglected
Trans-Siberian Express maybe up near Finland. I’m thinking Saami
princesses, a forest of white dresses, silver dowry coins and cuffs,
and an excess of wimples and other elaborate headdresses. If this
is too much for you, just wear all (or mostly white), and pile on the
tatty furs and buffalo robes, but it will probably be rather chilly!
Snowflake-dappled red apple cheeks, and frozen eyelashes.
Shivering towers of crystal and ice, antler and pelt, snow glitter!
Animistic fashions are always welcome, as are Mongol hordes.
These ladies are excellent inspirations:
Frozen Maidens in Folkloric Fantasyland

I missed out on having my birthday party at home last year, due to
inclemently cold weather, and and general sense of being overwhelmed.
Hostessing a party in a half-gutted house in the middle of winter is no
minor task, and considering that our abode currently looks like a bad
episode of hoarders, I definitely have my work cut out for me! I love a
real birthday party though, and nothing else ever seems to be quite as
much fun for me, so it’s worth the frantic hustle and bustle. I like creating
an environment wholly devoted to one purpose: celebrating and reveling
in fantasy, my magical life, and my wonderful friends! Also, going to restaurants
with a large group is always slightly awkward. I prefer to just have a massive
potluck, because it’s much cozier and loads more fun! Also: awesome leftovers!
We’re entreating guests to bring their favorite wintertime dish, treat or beverage –
Recipes from cold countries, cozy-making comfort-food and
copious arrays of exotic boozes + champagnes are always
sure to please, isn’t it so? Bring a musical instrument if you play,
or a performance of some kind, if you feel moved to.
There will be bonfires, cozy sherpa-tent lounging and hot Glögg.
I’m hoping for reindeer dancers, snow queens and Mr. Tumnus!

Inspiration for boy guests:

In fact, all male guests must dress like this. It is by my decree.
Look at this debutante party that went down recently in New Orleans:
Snow White-themed bash was a deb party for the ages
Why am I not absurdly wealthy so I can make parties as extravagant as that?
Feh! I will make do with pennies and twigs! Wish I could’ve crashed it, though…
Past birthdees:
Trans-Siberian Birthday Wishes
Birthdee Glee
Black Forest Fashion
Black Forest Wishes
Black Forest Birthday!
Balkan Birthday!

A Bright Blue Wish

by angeliska on December 31, 2010

This is an invocation. Breathe in blue, breathe out black.
Throw the old wishes in the river, detritus of the old year,
burnt to ash, warped and transformed, buried on the land
where your ancestors spun in circles in May, plowed through
snow-drifts in winter. Here my great-grandmother stood,
under this tree that is now dead, posing for a photograph
in her faded feed-sack day dress, with her gentle pet doe.
Charge me up from the roots to my diamond crown, shower
me with sparks, my feet bare, toes dug in the sandy soil.
(Photograph by John-Paul Pietrus)
I am wrung out, but I still have an Mariana Trench worth
of tears – I squeeze dead seahorses and hagfish from
my tear ducts. Blackened crones beat their breasts and
begin the keening that signals the end of the this turning.
My biggest kodak moment
(Photograph by Ice)
I stand on the hill, I kneel in the dirt, I find myself flat on
the earth hours later, gasping – reaching frantically for
the moon to take my hand and pull me out of this dark
crevasse. Leafy waterdragons ripple under a glittering
membrane of sky, and the world is alight in blue and violet
prism fire. I am wrenched by their claws, shaking me like
a doll, pulling me up by my guts. The woman with the white
hair is coming with her birch broom to sweep me up, out to
sea. The oaks are alive, and straggle their witchfingers out
to trap tangles of cloud, moon-shadows. The next day I am
calm as glass, humbled, tabula rasa. Let me hold the hands
of those I love, let me look in their eyes and thank them for
all that they do. It’s time to shake awake, rekindle the heat,
dance like a manic child, unabashed. I’m ready for the stars
to swaddle me, to be blanketed in milk and wake in a field
of crystalline frost flowers. Sleeping in the hills and dreaming
for days. Let me come back to town with some wisdom in my
pockets, some release in my bones. Ease the passage of those
travelers, let their journeys be tranquil – but keep the others
close, don’t let any more slip out the back door before their time.
It’s never enough time, I know that – but please help me spend
it with more love. Keep me there, against your breast, my arms
encompassing each of my myriad darlings. Keep us safe, heal
our hearts, wash our eyes so that we might see. Please, please.
(Photograph by Minililimi)
Give us the memory of diving into fountains of petals, the knowing that there
will be green tendrils and rosy afternoons again soon. For now we have fairy lights.

(Photograph by Sofia Ajram)
May all of our brightest wishes be true, may our work be sweet.

(Photograph by Jostein Walengen)
Give us reverence for the night, for the winter, for death.
Remind us of the tiny wonders, mysteries, magic everywhere.

(Photograph by Kate Young)
Breathe in blue, breathe out black.
Whisper goodbye to this hard old year,
and stand tall to receive the tiny seed
that will be our new one. Open hands,
open everything. I wish all this for us.
New Year’s Redux
Stargazer Honey
Blue Moon
Lone Grove New Year
Pink Moons
The New Year
Lucky Stars and Garters
La Nouvelle Année

Wayfaring Strangers

by angeliska on December 30, 2010

The dark days are here to stay, it would seem – at least for all my friends in New Orleans.
It feels wrong to even try to write about it at this point, but I really don’t know what else to
do, and this heartbreak has to go somewhere. The night of Flee’s memorial Second Line
parade, eight of his friends and their dogs burned to death when their squat, an abandoned
warehouse, caught on fire from the barrel they were burning scrap in to stay warm. A few
names have been sussed out, but I’m still not sure who was in that place when it went
down, or if I knew them. Three women and five men between the ages of 19 and 30 died in the
inferno, all described as “accomplished musicians or artists – jolly, happy people.”
Apparently one of the girls who died had been jumped by a guy on her way back to the squat
recently, and had her face and arms slashed by his knife. She had been considering filing a
report, but never got the chance. This insane rash of random violence with little motive brings
to mind the shadow-play I saw performed at the Mudlark Public Theatre on Halloween, about
the Axeman of New Orleans, who terrorized the city from May 1918 to October 1919. My friends
are in a similar panic right now, though there’s no speculation that the assailants are possibly the
devil in disguise. Monsters, maybe. Disenfranchised young men, raised in poverty, abused, angry
and numbed to the violence and death that surrounds them, that they wreak. There is a bleak
miasma, a rotten swamp-funk of despair and fear that seems to be seeping up through the
banquettes and curling around every corner down there right now. This fire wasn’t part of
that crime-wave, no – but all this bad shit happening at once, without even giving people
a chance to catch their breath… It’s just brutal. What’s really fucking with me is the response
of “concerned citizens” who callously voiced their opinions about the kids who died
with nasty comments on a local news site. I should know better than to ever read that shit,
because it’s usually horrifying, and makes me feel very sad for humanity.
It got under my skin, though – these people basically saying “good riddance to gutterpunks”
and that they got what they deserved for choosing to live the way they lived. Unbelievable,
and so sad, that people would respond to the accidental deaths of eight young people with
such vitriol. Even the more compassionate news stories refer to them as “homeless” or “transients”,
and lead in to discussions about the pitiful lack of resources and shelters in New Orleans,
which is of course important, but not actually very relevant to who these kids were.
Here’s a couple comments from the thread which address it better than I can:
“You just assume that because they were squatting they don’t have jobs, but a lot of these kids do work.
They do bike delivery in the quarter or wash dishes or tend bar. They travel a lot, so often they don’t tie
themselves down to a lease. They sleep on the couches of friends or in abandoned buildings. It may not
be your choice of lifestyle, but it’s not malicious and it’s not lazy. It’s just different. Their lives matter
just as much as yours or mine. Grow a heart and some perspective.”

“Every human deserves a warm place to sleep and healthy food. I didn’t know those kids well, but I knew
that they were working on that building, that they had built lofts and had made more improvements to that
structure then who ever owned had in years. They weren’t homeless – that was their home and it burned down
and its a goddamn tragedy anyway you write it down, and if you think otherwise you are a cruel person who
needs to go back to whatever godforsaken suburb you crawled out of and stay there.”

Goddamn right.
I was one of those kids once, actually. I was an obnoxious spare-changing, dumpster-diving,
sidewalk beer-swilling gutterpunk brat. I was homeless because I refused to live with my parents,
in the middle of nowhere, in a situation where I was utterly miserable. I couch-surfed, and slept on
floors in houses where roaches crawled on my face at night. I met a lot of the friends I still love and
cherish at Project Phase, a free service for homeless kids where you could get tested for STDs and
clothes and food. Most of my friends were travelers, and some of them still are – though many grew
out of riding the rails, and came to appreciate a different kind of freedom, that of having a place to truly
call home. I respect and admire all my train-hopping friends, my hard-working, hard-partying, beet
harvesting, harmonica-playing, spray-painted butt-flap sporting friends. It fucks with me to see them
fucked with, treated as less than human. It makes me wonder what it is about their wildness, their
feral freedom that make them so threatening to people who have settled. Settled for banality, I mean.
All this reminds me of reading about my mom’s experiences in the 60’s and 70’s, when she and
her friends were treated like filth for having long hair and beards and for not wearing makeup.
It was a regular thing to see signs warning “NO DOGS OR HIPPIES” in restaurants, or to have
people not want to rent to you. It’s a weird hysteria – the loathing of the caged for the free.
Since I don’t have pictures or names to properly mourn the eight unlucky kids who died,
I’m posting instead these polaroids taken by Mike Brodie that have long captivated me.
Some of them are of friends, or friends of friends. All of these faces are familiar, beloved
somehow. Mike is one of them, and you can see the love and trust between him and the
people he photographs reflected in their eyes.
All taken by MIKE BRODIE . Collected from Internet
All taken by MIKE BRODIE . Collected from Internet
All taken by MIKE BRODIE . Collected from Internet
All taken by MIKE BRODIE . Collected from Internet
All taken by MIKE BRODIE . Collected from Internet
All taken by MIKE BRODIE . Collected from Internet
All taken by MIKE BRODIE . Collected from Internet
Farewell, farewell – Fairport Convention:

Farewell, farewell to you who’d hear
You lonely travellers all.
The cold North wind will blow again
The winding road does call.
And will you never return to see your
Bruised and beaten sons?
Oh, I would, I would if welcome I were
For they loathe me ev’ryone.
And will you never cut the cloth
Or drink the light to be?
And can you never swear a year
To anyone but we?
No I will never cut the cloth
Or drink the light to be,
But I’ll swear a year to one who lies
Asleep alongside of me.

All taken by MIKE BRODIE . Collected from Internet
More photos here: The Aesthetic Poetic – The Polaroid Kidd
Mike Brodie’s Glimpses of the Under-Underclass – by David Forbes at Coilhouse
✶ Also, this piece from New Orleans Slate – Just Kids moved me.