Love Bomb Blog-a-thon

This blog entry is in answer to Final Girl’s call: “HEY, INTERNET, STOP BEING SUCH CYNICAL EFFING DOUCHEBAGS BLOG-A-THON!” Click here to visit her site and see the post that inspired this blog entry.

My goal during this post is to deliver a love bomb about Louis Feuillade’s “Les Vampires.” IMDB link here. Netflix link here. Shot in 1915, this is a series of short silent films chronicling the (mis)adventures of the notorious Parisian criminal gang Les Vampires. Here’s what I love about it:

* I love how when one of the villains is struck by a new opportunity to do evil, that they gloat over it. For a long time. Visually.

* I especially love when Irma Vep does it.

* Speaking of Irma Vep, I love Musidora as the evil Irma Vep. In this screen cap the background supplies her with an Art Nouveau halo while she plays the part of an angelic maid. Look at her. We are almost fooled.

* I love how Mazamette (the sidekick) is such a natural comedian, and how he breaks the fourth wall and hams it up to the audience.

* I love it when a heated two minute conversation between GuĂ©rande and Mazamette (our two heroes) with tons of gesturing, pantomiming, and making faces ends up being something like, “Mazamette confesses he got lost.” in the intertitle (intertitles are where in silent films a frame is displayed which has some dialog or narrative information in writing.)

* I love making up what they’re actually saying in my head.

* I love how the film is tinted to denote dark or light. Having a character in a scene walk over to a light switch and turn the tint of the film from blue (denoting dark) to sepia (denoting light) is really delicious.

* I love how naive these films are. A person could say that the worst thing about these films is that they were working in an exciting new artform, and the best thing about these films is that they were working in an exciting new artform.

* Mmmmmmmmmmm. Poisoned pens, sleeping gas, secret passageways, hypnotized dopplegangers, and an ill-fated ballerina in a bat costume.

* I love the sense of composition in the cinematography.

* I love that we live in a world where people care enough about this art form to preserve, restore, and distribute something like this that has an admittedly small audience.

I love old films, and I love very odd things. Les Vampires is both. If you like old films you will love “Les Vampires.” You will also love “Ella Cinders” with Colleen Moore. Now STOP BEING SUCH CYNICAL EFFING DOUCHEBAGS, YOU INTERNET!

Fun Art Class

My friend Lorna has been teaching art classes at Collage on Alberta Street. On Sunday I took one of her “Child’s Play” classes where you sit down with 15 post card sized blank pieces of canvas and spend four hours doing something creative with them.

It was fun. One great thing about the class is that all the materials you need are provided. Of course if you want to show up with your suitcase full of paints you can, but you can also just show up in your studio grungies and paint. Lorna did a great job instructing, and everybody in the class made some nice pieces. Two pieces I made are shown above.

Lorna’s website is here. Class schedule can be found here.

The Dire Fern

Dearest L_________,

I have enclosed for your consideration the cover from one of those degenerate pieces of dime literature. I recently stumbled upon a large collection of such volumes in a shop and felt moved to share one or two with you for your amusement. The pictured lady is no doubt a poet, as she appears to be a lady of some refinement. My dear friend Mr. L_____ has noted that poets have the most remarkable lips (although I must note here that when he says “remarkable” he means “a little strange” or “perhaps bizarre” or “somehow unsettling.”) This may be a too rough or unkind appraisal of the lady, but I do say that her lips are that of a poet.

What is that she is leaning upon?

Oh dear look at the time. Ta ta!

Kindest Regards,

Mr. D_____ S______

February 7, 1908

——– o ———
The reply to D.S. from L. has been lost.
——– o ———

Dearest L_________,

What a pleasure it is to hear from you. I am doubly gratified to learn that you took a moment of your time to consider my trifling missive.

I must confess that I had forgotten about that miserable fern which belonged to poor Constance. I hope that this statement will not shock you, as my affection for Constance (though please consider it always took the form of friendly affection) can only be said to have been the equal of my consternation over her fern. In short, I blame her untimely end on that dastardly pteridophyte. More properly, we may wish to refer to that plant as a vampire. It simply refused to brighten a room no matter where the poor dear placed it, and equally, no matter how much Constance tried to beautify it. That dire, black fern! To see her worry and fret over it while coughing consumptively. And after it had finally broken her heart, she relegated it to the foyer, a place of honor! I hope this does not worry you, but I really must confess my suspicions to a friend.

Perhaps that’s why I forgot all about the pedestal. I am picturing it in my mind’s eye and indeed agree with your assertion that she kept that dire fern upon it.

As for the lady, I had not considered her from this vantage. How droll! Hmmmm. I can only say that I would find her a bit intimidating.

Sincerely,

Mr. D_____ S______

March 14, 1908

Recent work

hoichi's guide

On the topic of what I have been up to lately, I’ve finished (I think) the series of drawings that I started last year to go along with a story I wrote. Above is a piece titled “Hoichi’s Guide” which sold at the Portland Art Center in December. For those unfamiliar with Lafcadio Hearn’s Hoichi the Earless, click on the link to read the story. You’ll be glad you did. Right now I’m working on some more stories but also struggling with a general lack of direction.

Ladies Rowing Club of 1891

Dearest L______,

In case you have never been given a copy, I have attached for your consideration a photograph of the Ladies Rowing Club of 1891. Although I daren’t say that I am any more than acquainted with any one of them, I do consider this a very fine photo. Observe how Miss Beatrice has framed her composition. I can hear her now, calling to the ladies. “Petunia! Please don’t look so glum! Winnifred! We cannot READ the 91 on your oar! Will you please turn it a bit? Yes. That is fine.” I am sure there were plenty of groans before Miss Beatrice warned them to hold still for the shutter.

Notice how well Miss Myrtle has posed on the chair. I detect a great deal of prompting from Miss Beatrice. Unfortunately, Miss Petunia still looks glum. And who can blame her? I confess to being unaware of the events which led to her departure from Whelmsley, but her departure was sudden enough that I dare say something must have been bothering her during this shoot.

Kindest regards,

D_____ S______

March 10, 1908

1929 Jung’s Anima and Six Gun Law

A few years ago I had a series of very powerful and symbolic dreams which I discussed with someone who was familiar with the works of Jung. When I mentioned that the star of these dreams was a dream person who has been in dreams I’ve had over the course of my life, the person suggested that this was probably my anima (click the link for a Wikipedia page on the subject.)

Both of these drawings are very dream-like to me, and there’s something about the woman in them that reminds me of my anima.

Besides the fact that they are from a serialized western story which appeared in a 1929 newspaper, I don’t know much about these pictures, although I asked the original scanner if he could find any more info (such as the artist) on them.