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‘Ghostly fossils’: Beautiful, detailed paper sculptures of cells and microbes
08:24 am


Rogan Brown

Rogan Brown’s paper sculptures of cells and microbes are an exploration and representation of “natural organic forms both mineral and vegetal.”

I look for patterns and repeated motifs that run through natural phenomena at different scales, from the microscopic to the macroscopic, from individual cells to large scale geological formations.

I am inspired in part by the tradition of scientific drawing and model making, and particularly the work of artist-scientists such as Ernst Haeckel. But although my approach involves careful observation and detailed “scientific” preparatory drawings these are always superseded by the work of the imagination; everything has to be refracted through the prism of the imagination, estranged and in some way transformed.

Each sculpture is painstakingly crafted and the process is (obviously!) time consuming and labor intensive. However, all this work is “an essential element not only in the construction but also in the meaning of each piece.”

The finished artefact is really only the ghostly fossilized vestige of this slow, long process of realisation. I have chosen paper as a medium because it captures perfectly that mixture of delicacy and durability that for me characterizes the natural world.

You can see more Rogan’s beautiful paper sculptures here.
Via Nerdcore

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Discussion
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Citroëns make great hovercrafts
08:08 am



Citroën hovercraft
When I think of Citroëns, I think of the vaguely-VW-bug-like 2CV model, known in France as the “deux chevaux.” (It looks like this.) But just like Volkswagen, naturally Citroën has all sorts of models in their stable, and a few of the older models are quite sporty, lending themselves perfectly to Swedish artist Jacob Munkhammar‘s Photoshopped experiments in retro-futurism. He took a bunch of handsome photos of Citroëns and turned them into gee-whiz flying automobiles of the most adorable type.

The most poignant nostalgia is for a future that never was or will be, as these amusing photos definitely prove.
Citroën hovercraft
Citroën hovercraft
Citroën hovercraft
Citroën hovercraft
Citroën hovercraft
Citroën hovercraft
via Fubiz
Thanks Alex Belth!

Posted by Martin Schneider | Discussion
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‘Presidents with Boob Faces’ is perhaps the most important artistic movement of our time
06:16 am



George Washington
Emily Deutchman is the Picasso of people who do watercolors of US presidents with boobs on their faces. I mean it! I cannot fathom her equal, much less envision a successor to her artistic idiom. Her Presidents with Boob Faces series is 44 canvases of commanders-in-chief with mammaries fused to their mugs. For Lincoln, it’s the beard, for Reagan, the neck sag—it’s all very intuitive. All the paintings are based off of official presidential portraits except for Obama, which uses the Shepard Fairey graphic. And what is the purpose of her work? From her website:

Presidents with Boob Faces takes the tradition of presidential portraits and, with wry humor, subverts the solemnity of these iconic figures by transforming their faces with schoolboy “boob doodle.”

The work twists the historic grandeur of portraiture and national pomp with this lowbrow interjection. While enjoying the comedic potential of George Washington with boob cheeks, Deutchman also engages with a painterly series and the ready-made both provided by the presidential portraits. The use of the series explores the permutations of one concept played out 44 times and the possibility of diversity found in that idea.

Sometimes Deutchman uses photographs of actual boobs to append her portraiture, leaving the viewer wondering if they’re admiring a legit tit. Personally, I’m partial to the Gerald Ford—is it the smile that draws me in, or the fullness? Maybe it’s just my insatiable desire to discuss the oft-overlooked Ford administration? Should you be taken with the beauty and vision of Deutchman’s work, you’re in luck! All paintings are for sale, and she asks that you contact her at for inquiries!

George W. Bush

Ronald Reagan

James Madison

Abraham Lincoln
More Presidential boob faces after the jump…

Posted by Amber Frost | Discussion
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Beautiful photographs of the shamans of Lima, Peru
08:48 am



Photographer Andrea Frazzetta‘s “Urban Shaman” series captures a strange array of commerce, tradition and mysticism. The faces and rituals of the curanderos are documented with an eye for intense beauty, but the photos still manage to feel educational, and not voyeuristic—the series is very intimate. Frazzetta provides a context for the shamans of Peru on his website:





Writings such as there are ever present, hanging on the streetlights in Lima. Peru’s capital is full of shamans and ”curanderos” who compete with doctors and psychiatrists. The Peruvian parliament even discussed a controversial law proposal that equates curanderos to doctors.

A large percentage of the Peruvian population habitually visits curanderos and shamans to solve a very wide array of issues: health, work, business, travels, etc. Curanderos, on their part, offer a lot of different healing methods.

In Lima, where more than half of the population is the result of migrations, it’s possible to find any type of curanderos. The chaotic and overpopulated capital of Peru assures shamans a very large quantity of patients.

Many, unfortunately, exploit the people’s trust and it is estimated that about three quarters of those so called ”healing masters” are fakes.

But there are others who have inherited a tradition, and a popular knowledge, passed on from father to son for decades.

It’s strange to think of shamans being divided into frauds versus bona fides, but there’s a distinct sense of training and tradition involved that at the very least suggests some kind of “pedigreed” expertise. From Frazetta’s further exposition, we learn that animals are used to absorb illness (then they are killed and their remains are “read” for health indicators), a doll is the artifact of a love ritual, and that one of the most popular curanderos in Lima has his own daily TV show.











Via Feature Shoot

Posted by Amber Frost | Discussion
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Insane illustrators to invade Cleveland this 4th of July weekend, leave trail of bleeding eyes
07:20 am


Dima Drjuchin
Homeless Cop

NYC-via-Moscow painter Dimitri “Dima” Drjuchin and Indianapolis’ Jason “Homeless Cop” Fennell will be the subjects/stars of a two-man show, “Mutually Assured Destruction,” at the newish gallery BUCKBUCK in Cleveland, OH, bringing all the colors at once to that fabled grey city. The show’s opening reception is on Saturday, July 5th.



Mutually Assured Destruction (MAD), is a doctrine of military strategy and national security policy in which a full-scale use of high-yield weapons of mass destruction by two or more opposing sides would cause the complete annihilation of both the attacker and the defender.

Summer is here, but nuclear winter has just begun! Celebrate your independence (again), and come watch the heavens open up as we blast BUCKBUCK into oblivion with an arsenal of paintings and music by Dima Drjuchin and Homeless Cop. If you haven’t been reduced to a shadow on the sidewalk, crawl your ass home with a piece of history (and I’m not talking about radiation poisoning). We’ve been waiting longer than the second coming for this show, so cram your gullet with leftover potato salad and fold up your star-spangled vinyl lawn chair, because if you’re not at this show, you’re probably messing yourself in a concrete bunker.

Fans of Reggie Watts, Marc Maron and Eugene Mirman will recognize some of those comics’ album covers as Dima Drjuchin illustrations. His best-known cover was the piece done for Father John Misty’s Fear Fun album. The Brooklyn-based painter also boasts a large portfolio of concert posters, all on view at his Tumblr.

“My work channels different points of reference from my Russian background, to pop culture, to comic books, to fine art, to spirituality, to the occult. I can’t truly say that it’s a commentary on anything, because I am not interested in judging anyone or anything. I believe it’s more of a reflection of multiple influences that get filtered through my mind and come back out all at once on my canvas redefined to my own liking. That said, I also try not to take anything too seriously and on some level I believe I still paint in a similar mind set I did as a child scribbling on a piece of paper. Most of my ideas are on the spot and I let how I’m feeling at that moment guide me to what happens next in the piece. I think ultimately I’m just trying to entertain myself.”




Homeless Cop’s work is likely best known to most of us from his bump animations on the Adult Swim cable network. His paintings strongly resemble vector illustrations, but are in fact rendered in oils.

“I’ve always painted things I like. People, places, and things. My whole life I’ve been drawing and painting, and I really feel like I was born to do this. I think my work evolves in terms of subject matter, but the execution just stays true to my style. My paintings look look like a robot made them, and I get a lot of pleasure being able to say I made them with my hands. My favorite artist is Jean-Michel Basquiat, and my favorite band is Nirvana. I also like pizza.”






Posted by Ron Kretsch | Discussion
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Why Francis Bacon destroyed his portrait of Cecil Beaton
10:41 am


Francis Bacon
Cecil Beaton

“Selfies” by Cecil Beaton and Francis Bacon

When I was young, I always enjoyed reading tales of the meetings between artists and writers and the creative impact their association brought. Whether Van Gogh and Gauguin, Morecambe and Wise or Kerouac and Burroughs. It inspired me to imagine my own speculative tales of fruitful encounters that mixed fact and fiction. One involved Sherlock Holmes returning from his final encounter with Moriarty at the Reichenbach Falls and making his way across Europe to Paris, where he chanced upon the exiled Oscar Wilde. I decided the two would team-up to investigate a series a bloody murders carried out across the city by none-other-than Jack (perhaps now Jacques?) the Ripper, who had escaped to the city from London. It could make an interesting book, the involvement of a fictional detective used as a cypher to give a biography of Wilde’s final days together with an investigation into the possible identity of the Ripper.

But one hardly has to look far for such inspirations—a three-act play could be written from the meetings between the celebrated photographer, designer and diarist Cecil Beaton and artist Francis Bacon.

In the late 1950s, Beaton asked Bacon to paint his portrait. He had liked his painting of Sainsbury, the art collector, and had always found the artist “most interesting, refreshing and utterly beguiling”.

Beaton had been good friends with Bacon for some time, first hearing of him through their mutual acquaintance, artist Graham Sutherland, who said:

‘[Bacon] seems to have a very special sense of luxury. When you go to him for a meal, it is unlike anyone else’s. It is all very casual and vague; there is no timetable; but the food is wonderful. He produces an enormous slab of the best possible Gruyère cheese covered with dewdrops, and then a vast bunch of grapes appears.’

Beaton described his first meeting with Bacon in his diary:

When I met Francis we seemed to have an immediate rapport. I was overwhelmed by his tremendous charm and understanding. Smiling and painting simultaneously, he seemed to be having such a good time. He appeared extraordinarily healthy and cherubic, apple-shiny cheeks, and the protruding lips were lubricated with an unusual amount of saliva. His hair was bleached by sun and other aids. His figure was incredibly lithe for a person of his age and occupation, wonderfully muscular and solid. I was impressed with his ‘principal boy’ legs, tightly encased in black jeans with high boots. Not a pound of extra flesh anywhere.

Of all the qualities Beaton most admired about Bacon it was his independence he liked best, “being able to live in exactly the way he wished.” He was also impressed by the artist’s “aloofness from the opinion of others.”

An arrangement was made for Bacon to paint Beaton’s portrait in 1959, at his London studio in Overstrand Mansions, Prince of Wales Drive, Battersea.

Francis started to work with great zest, excitedly running backwards and forwards to the canvas with gazelle-springing leaps—much toe bouncing. He said he how enthusiastic he was at the prospect of the portrait which he said would show me with my face in tones of pink and white. He did not seem interested in my keeping still, and so I enjoyed looking around me at the incredible mess of his studio—a converted bedroom no doubt: so unlike the beautiful, rather conventional ‘artist’s abode’ that he worked in in South Kensington when I first knew him! Here the floor was littered in a Dostoevsky shambles of discarded paints, rags, newspapers and every sort of rubbish, while the walls and window curtains were covered with streaks of black and emerald green paint.

Francis was funny in many ways, slightly wicked about pretentious friends, and his company gave me pleasure. The only slight anxiety I felt was that there might be some snag which would interrupt the sittings that were to follow. Sure enough, a telegram arrived putting me off the next appointment; indeed, for anyone less tenacious than myself, there would never have been another sitting.

Time passed, but no further mention was made of the portrait, until Beaton found an opportunity to ask Bacon “if he’d hate to go on with the painting?” A new date was settled for a return to the studio, where Beaton was placed in a kitchen chair and told to turn his his head this way, further, further, ah, yes, that’s it.

Francis started to work with energy, but he seemed to look harassed, not at all happy. I asked: ‘Would you prefer if I looked more this way?’ ‘No—it’s fine—and I think if it comes off, I’ll be able to do it quickly. The other [portrait] didn’t start off well—but this is fine.’ Would I mind his exhibiting the canvas as the Marlborough [Bacon’s dealers] were screaming at him for more pictures?

Bacon was recovering from having a tempestuous time in Tangiers, where his lover had badly beaten him, knocking out one of his teeth, “My face is an appalling mess,” he said.

Occasionally Francis would sit down on a old chair from which the entrails were hanging and which had been temporarily covered with a few French magazines and newspapers. His pose reminded me of a portrait of Degas. He curved his head sideways and looked at his canvas with a beautiful expression in his eyes. His plump, marble-like hands were covered with blue-green paint. He said he thought painting portraits was the most interesting thing he could ever hope to do: ‘If only I can do them! The important thing is to put the person down as he appears to your mind’s eye. The person must be there so that you can check up on reality—but not be lead by it, not be its slave. To get the essence without being positive about the factual shapes—that’s the difficulty. It’s so difficult that it’s almost impossible! But that’s what I’m trying to do. I think I’m closer to it than I have ever been before.’

Bacon was becoming “even more renowned” and there was an incredible demand for his work. The sittings continued, until at last one day Bacon stopped, cocked his head, looked at the portrait and said, “I’m very pleased with this portrait. I think it’s going to be all right: one of the best things I’ve done. Next time you’re here, I’ll show it to you because it doesn’t need much more work on it. When they go well, they go very quickly.”

Francis opened the door, smiled and said: ‘The portrait’s finished! I want you to sit in that chair over there and look at it.’ I walked towards Francis’s degutted chair in the corner, not glancing at the canvas on the way. I turned round square and sat to get the full effect. It was as well that I was sitting, otherwise I might have fallen backwards. In front of me was an enormous, coloured strip-cartoon of a completely bald, dreadfully aged—nay senile—businessman. The face was hardly recognizable as a face for it was disintegrating before your eyes, suffering from a severe case of elephantiasis: a swollen mass of raw meat and fatty tissues. The nose spread in many directions like a polyp but sagged finally over one cheek. The mouth looked like a painful boil about to burst. He wore a very sketchily dabbed-in suit of lavender blue. The hands were clasped and consisted of emerald green scratches that resembled claws. The dry painting of the body and hands was completely different from that of the wet, soggy head. The white background was thickly painted with a house painter’s brush. It was dragged round the outer surfaces without any intention of cleaning up the shapes. The head and shoulders were outlined in streaky wet slime.

Francis expected that I would be shocked. He was a little disconcerted. He said it gave him a certain pain to show it to me, but if I didn’t like it I needn’t buy it. The Marlborough Gallery would want it. I stammered: ‘Well—I can’t say what I think of it. It’s so utterly different from anything of yours I’ve ever seen!’

Beaton thought the picture was “of an unusual violence” painted in a manner that broke all the rules. Sensing Beaton’s horror, Bacon was typically gallant and charming offering his friend to take it and if he didn’t like to send it back. Beaton was baffled at the offer, then asked if he bought it could he sell it again? “Of course!” Bacon replied, “It’s yours to do what you want with.”

Beaton returned home “crushed, staggered and feeling quite a great sense of loss.” No sooner had he written these very words in his diary, the telephone rang.

It was Francis. In an ecstatic voice he said:
‘This is Francis, and I’ve just destroyed your portrait.’
‘But why? You said you liked it? You thought it such a good work, and that’s all that matters!’
‘No—I don’t like my friends to have something of mine they don’t like. And I often destroy my work in any case; in fact, I’ve destroyed most of the pictures for the Marlborough. Only I just wanted to let you know so that you needn’t pay me.’

It seemed little to Francis to waste all that work. He seemed jubilant at not getting paid, at not finishing a picture. He said that perhaps, one day he’d start again, or do one from memory: ‘They often turn out the best,’ he said.

Bacon’s portrait may (sadly) no longer exist, but in 1971 a photographer directed a documentary on Cecil Beaton for ATV, which due to having its embedding disabled, can be only seen here.  However, another meeting of talent, when Cecil Beaton photographed (one of his favorite sitters) Marilyn Monroe, can be seen below.

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Discussion
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Jack Kerouac’s ‘On the Road’ turned into an illustrated scroll
06:09 am


Jack Kerouac
Paul Rogers

Jack Kerouac’s novel On the Road is currently being turned into a beautifully illustrated scroll by artist Paul Rogers.

Rogers is drawing one illustration for each page of the book, producing the work on one long scroll, just as Kerouac wrote his famous novel on one scroll of teletype paper—though he did it in “three coffee-soaked-benzedrine-fueled days.” .

A member of faculty at Pasadena’s Art Center College of Design, Rogers has painstakingly researched “cars, buses, roadside architecture, and old signs” to insure his drawings match Kerouac’s America of the late Forties and early Fifties.
Rogers has also added extracts from Kerouac’s text which he hopes “makes the series feel like a journal and not a carefully planned out illustrated book, and it seems to capture some of the spirit of Kerouac’s ‘this-happened-then-this-then-this’ writing style.”

You can scroll through Paul Rogers’ illustrated version of Jack Kerouac’s On the Road here.
Via Open Culture

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Discussion
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Naked lady perfectly blends into bookshelf
12:02 pm


body painting

Sadly, there’s only a single image of this body-painted woman who blends in nicely with a bookshelf. Since books have already been done, I’d like see nude people with body paint blend in with their vinyl shelves.  That would be awesome. Has anyone done that yet? Veruschka maybe? I’ve given you task pro-body painters… now get to it!

Photograph by Bill Waldman. Body paint by Adam DuShole.

Posted by Tara McGinley | Discussion
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Frank Zappa, John Cage, Patti Smith & others celebrate William S. Burroughs at the Nova Convention

Nova Convention
In 1978, after many years of living in London and Tangiers, William S. Burroughs decided to return to his home country. For a small group of artistic weirdos, this was a significant event, and a convention was held in his honor at the Entermedia Theater from November 30 through December 2, 1978, on Second Avenue and 12th Street in New York City (it’s no longer there). Much earlier, it had been announced that Keith Richards would be on hand, but after his heroin arrest in Toronto, his management calculated that it would not be wise to appear at a festival honoring the legendary deviant drug addict William S. Burroughs. Frank Zappa was enlisted to read the “Talking Asshole” section from Naked Lunch. Patti Smith, who wore “a glamorous black fur trench” in the words of Thurston Moore, objected mightily to having to follow Zappa and had to be placated by Burroughs confidant and organizer of the convention James Grauerholz, who explained to Smith that Zappa’s appearance was a last-minute necessity and not intended to show Smith up. You can listen to Smith’s contribution, in which she addresses Richards’ absence, here. At the “event party” for the convention, the musical performances included Suicide, The B-52s, and Debbie Harry and Chris Stein from Blondie. The inclusion of The B-52s is most fascinating, as they hadn’t even released their first album yet.
William S. Burroughs
Other participants included Terry Southern, Philip Glass, John Cage, Laurie Anderson and Allen Ginsburg. You can read a writeup of the event from the December 4, 1978, edition of the New York Times: “Of the other performers, Mr. Burroughs himself was the most appealing, and this had less to do with what he was reading than with how he read it. Although he has created some enduring characters, he is his own most interesting character, and he was in rare form, sitting at a desk in a business suit and bright green hat, shuffling papers and reading in his dry Midwestern accent.” An LP and cassette documenting the event were released in 1979 and they fetch top prices today at Discogs.

According to Ted Morgan in Literary Outlaw: The Life and Times of William S. Burroughs,

The Nova Convention took place on November 30, December 1, and December 2, 1978, with the principal performances being held on the last two days at the Entermedia Theater, on Second Avenue and Twelfth Street, which had in the fifties been the fabled Phoenix Theater. Attending were an odd mixture of academics, publishers, writers, artists, punk rockers, counterculture groupies, and an influx of bridge-and-tunnel kids drawn by Keith Richards, who made the event a sellout.


Saturday night the Entermedia was packed, largely with young people waiting to see Keith Richards. There was a small hitch, however, which was that Keith Richards had cancelled. He was having problems as the result of a heroin bust in Toronto, and his office convinced him that appearing on the same program with Burroughs was bad publicity.

But the show had to go on, and the composer Philip Glass, playing one of his repetitive pieces on the synthesizer, was thrown to the wolves. The disappointed kids who wanted Keith Richards shouted and booed. Then Brion Gysin went on amid cries of “Where’s Keith?” and found himself hoping that the riot would not start until he had done his brief turn.

In a last-minute effort, James Grauerholz had recruited Frank Zappa to pinch-hit for Keith. He volunteered to read the “Talking Asshole” routine from Naked Lunch. But as Zappa was preparing to go on, Patti Smith had a fit of pique about following him. James did his best to make peace, saying “Frank has come in at the last minute, and he’s got to go on, and he’s doing it for William, not to show you up.” Patti Smith retreated to the privacy of her dressing room, and Zappa got a big hand, because that’s what they wanted, a rock star.

From July 1 through July 13, the Red Gallery in London is putting on an exhibition dedicated to the Nova Convention. The exhibition is curated by Thurston Moore and Eva Prinz; Moore, who was present at the event in 1978, supplies a short piece called “Nova Reflections” to the exhibition catalogue; here are some snippets of that:

What I remember of the Nova Convention, in my teenage potted reverie, was a palpable excitement of the importance of Burroughs’ return to NYC. He had been living and working in London for some time, and before that, was residing in Tangiers. My awareness of the poets and performers on the Nova Convention bill was obscure, but I did realise everyone there had experienced a history in connection to the man. The poet Eileen Myles performed, and I have a hazy memory of what she has since reminded me was a polarising moment that night: She and a femme cohort came out on stage and performed the so-called William Tell act where in 1951 Burroughs tragically sent a bullet through his wife Joan Vollmer’s skull, killing her instantly. According to Eileen she was hence persona non grata backstage, and frozen out from the coterie of avant lit celebrities shocked at her “reminder” performance.


Glass’s idiosyncratic high-speed minimalist pianistics was natural, gorgeous and sublime. Zappa came out and read a Burroughs excerpt “The Talking Asshole” which seemed appropriate and was mildly entertaining. Patti hit the stage in a glamorous black fur trench, purportedly on loan from some high-end clothier. She rambled on a bit, brazenly unscripted, testing the patience of the long night when out of the audience some fan-boy freako leapt on stage and bequeathed her with a Fender Duo-Sonic guitar. She accepted it cooly and before long was gone. And we stumbled into the 2nd Avenue night.

In his catalogue piece, Moore leads with an anecdote about photographer James Hamilton, whose astonishing pictures of rock icons are collected in the book (Moore was intergral in putting that book together as well) You Should Have Heard Just What I Seen. Hamilton was covering the event for the Village Voice, and while it’s not stated as such, presumably many of Hamilton’s photographs, are featured in the exhibition.
Here’s Timothy Leary, Les Levine, Robert Anton Wilson and Brion Gysin engaging in “conversations” about Burroughs’ work:

And here’s Frank Zappa reading “The Talking Asshole” from Naked Lunch:

Preview video of the “Nova Convention” exhibition at the Red Gallery:

via {feuilleton}

Posted by Martin Schneider | Discussion
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The Far Side: Roland Topor’s cheerfully violent illustrations from ‘Les Masochistes’
06:29 am


Roland Topor

You may have read Richard’s post on René Laloux and Roland Topor’s surrealist animated short,The Snails—a weird little precursor to their most famous collaboration, Fantastic Planet. Like the aliens in Fantastic Planet, the snails are monstrously large, invoking both science fiction and horror—check out The Snails at the end of the post.

Topor’s 1960 book of illustrations Les Masochistes however, is a much more personable tongue-in-cheek kind of psychological intensity. Here are seemingly mundane human beings, engaging in what (at a brief glance) could be a mundane activity, but the sparse drawings show some really cringe-inducing acts of masochism. You smile, then you shudder, then you remember that Torpor wrote the novel, The Tenant, which was later adapted into the final installment of Polanski’s Apartment Series. It all makes sense in the larger Topor canon of discomfort.

They’re like B. Kliban meets Sacher-Masoch, no?




More after the jump…

Posted by Amber Frost | Discussion
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