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‘A Christmas Story’ leg lamp string of lights
12.05.2017
08:36 am
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Probably the most memorable from scene from a A Christmas Story is the infamous leg lamp. Now you can decorate your entire tree (or string them anywhere, really) with the leg lamp light set. They’re kind of adorable in a weird way.

The string of lights come with ten legs and is available here.


 
And if you’re feeling more adventurous, you can buy a a 20-inch replica leg lamp for $39.99 here.

Below, the leg lamp scene:

 
via Boing Boing

Posted by Tara McGinley
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12.05.2017
08:36 am
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Dainty insult teacups and saucers ‘For the lady who speaks her mind…’
12.04.2017
01:59 pm
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“An injury is much sooner forgotten than an insult.” -Lord Chesterfield

Rusty Blazenhoff over at Boing Boing turned me on to these lovely insult teacup and saucer sets by Miss Havisham. The teacups and saucers start at around $60. I’m digging these big time!

According to Miss Havisham’s site:

We are still accepting orders but due to overwhelming demand, please note that any order placed after 1pm Pacific time 11/29 cannot be guaranteed to arrive in time for Christmas. Those placed prior will be shipped in time for the holiday. Our evil cat army is packing as quickly as they can.

Even if I were to get this after the holidays, I’d still be super stoked. The “Witch!” set is by far my favorite.


 

 

 
More after the jump…

READ ON
Posted by Tara McGinley
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12.04.2017
01:59 pm
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A guide to all the gorgeous old guitars Neil Young is selling
12.04.2017
11:27 am
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It’s a busy time to be Neil Young. He just released a new album, The Visitor on Friday, with a new single called “Already Great,” a mockery of MAGA. On that same day, he performed an intimate show in a small theater in his childhood home of Omemee, Ontario. That show was live-streamed to Facebook, where it still resides, or you can watch it right here on Dangerous Minds, at the end of this post. On top of that, he announced the full-resolution digital release of every song he ever recorded for 100% free-of-charge streaming on neilyoungarchives.com. Note—it’s every song he recorded, not just every song he ever released, so there is an incredible wealth of unreleased music to be enjoyed. Have fun getting nothing done today!

On December 9th, Julien’s Auctions—notorious for once auctioning one of William Shatner’s kidney stones—are brokering the auction of a huge amount of Neil Young’s property. Over half the lots, to the tune of about 250, are model trains; I imagine there are surely Neil Young super-fans out there who knew this was a pastime of his, but I was kind of astonished by the sheer number of toy trains he was making available! There are clothes and some personal effects on offer as well, but of course, Young is a guitarist, and there are a good three dozen brilliant guitars (and some dross, of course) to be had by the tenacious bidder. We’ve gone through the auction and rounded them up for you. We’ve excluded doubles, and we may have elided an acoustic or two—after combing through three dozen guitars, a lot of those can tend to run together. Should you choose to bid, best of luck to you, any of these would make a great score.
 

 
This is pretty amazing—it’s called “The Whizzer,” and it’s a set of footswitches that activated servos connected to the knobs on Young’s amp—effectively, a pedalboard that altered amp settings on the fly. The auction catalog states that this was used on the 1975-1976 tour, which means the amp in question was almost certainly a 1959 tweed Fender Deluxe.
 

1935 Martin F-7 acoustic guitar, serial number 60204.
 

A 1957 Gretsch Country Club 6182 guitar, in sunburst, serial number 27466.
 
Many, many more after the jump…

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Posted by Ron Kretsch
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12.04.2017
11:27 am
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Get stoned with Santa and the Grinch! Awesome Christmas-themed bongs and pipes
12.04.2017
10:41 am
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A massive Grinch bong made by Smoking Peppers in Durango, Colorado.
 
If your life’s dream has been to get stoned using a pipe that was fashioned after everyone’s favorite Christmas bunny, Ralphie from the 1983 classic holiday film A Christmas Story, then I have great news for you. Such a pipe exists, and it can be yours just in time to meet Santa under the tree so you can smoke a sweet bowl of full of Bruce Banner (one of my preferred strains) together. Christmas is SAVED!

In addition to their sweet Ralphie pipe, California company Chameleon Glass also makes a pipe in the image of the Grinch, the abominable snowman Bumble from the Rankin/Bass’ Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer (1964), and of course Santa. I also dug up a Frosty the Snowman pipe for 45 bucks here, as well as a couple of cool snowmen bongs. If you’re a fan of Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas, there are a few bongs and pipes out there that pay homage to characters in the film like Jack Skellington and the Oogie Boogie.

The most covetable of the all of the bongs and pipes seen here, of course, is the bong pictured at the top of this post of our beloved grumpy Grinch which was made by a glass artist for Smoking Peppers in Durango, Colorado. The impressive bong was priced at $1200—though I’m unsure if it sold so perhaps you still might be able to give the greatest Christmas gift of all time to yourself or your favorite stoner.

I’ve provided links to purchase the various holiday-themed smoking devices under their images. Stay stoned my friends.
 

Another look at the Grinch bong.
 

The Ralphie pipe by Chameleon Glass. Get it here.
 

Frosty the Snowman glass pipe. Get it here.
 
More festive glass after the jump…

READ ON
Posted by Cherrybomb
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12.04.2017
10:41 am
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Listen to Paul McCartney’s ‘lost’ experimental Christmas disc for his fellow Beatles from 1965
12.04.2017
10:27 am
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Christmas 1965, Paul McCartney secretly recorded an “album” at his home in London as a present for his fellow bandmates John, George, and Ringo. There were only three discs ever made of this special festive recording, which have since either worn out or disappeared. This is how author Richie Unterberger described Paul’s Christmas album in his mammoth book The Unreleased Beatles: Music and Film:

Unforgettable

For years, it had been reported that Paul McCartney recorded an album at home around Christmas 1965 specifically for the other Beatles. Supposedly, it included singing, acting, and sketches, and only three copies were pressed, one each for John, George, and Ringo. In a 1995 interview with Mark Lewisohn, Paul confirmed this in some detail, explaining, “Yes, it’s true. I had two Brenell tape recorders set up at home, on which I made experimental recordings and tape loops, like the ones in ‘Tomorrow Never Knows.’ And once I put together something crazy, something left field, just for the other Beatles, a fun thing which they could play late in the evening. It was just something for the mates, basically.”

Continued McCartney, “It was called Unforgettable and it started with Nat ‘King’ Cole singing ‘Unforgettable,’ then I came in over the top as the announcer” ‘Yes, unforgettable, that’s what you are! And today in Unforgettable...’ It was like a magazine program: full of weird interviews, experimental music, tape loops, some tracks I knew the others hadn’t heard, it was just a compilation of odd things. I took the tape to Dick James’s studio and they cut me three acetate discs. Unfortunately, the quality of these discs was such that they wore out as you played them for a couple of weeks, but then they must have worn out. There’s probably a tape somewhere, though.”

If it ever turns up, it might be the earliest evidence of the Beatles using home recording equipment for specifically experimental/avant-garde purposes—something that John and Paul did in the last half of the 1960s, though John’s ventures in this field are more widely known than Paul’s.

Barry Miles in his biography of McCartney Many Years From Now notes the former Beatle had been regularly making experimental tapes for his then grilfriend Jane Asher which pips Lennon to the post as far as pioneering the avant-garde. As McCartney told Miles:

I would sit around all day, creating little tapes. I did one once called Unforgettable and used the Unforgettable Nat King Cole “Is what you are ...” as the intro. Then did a sort of “Hello, hello ...” like a radio show. I had a demo done by Dick James of that, just for the other guys because it was really a kind of stoned thing. That was really the truth of it.

This stoner recording has popped up on bootlegs but thanks to DM pal author, biographer, musician, and all-around good guy, Simon Wells we can share with you the whole of McCartney’s Unforgettable Christmas recording from 1965.
 

 
Thank you Simon Wells!
 

Previously on Dangerous Minds:
Who breaks a butterfly upon a wheel?: That time the Rolling Stones got busted for drugs
The lost Mod who may have inspired The Who’s ‘Quadrophenia’

Posted by Paul Gallagher
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12.04.2017
10:27 am
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The surreal nightmare that is ‘70s cult film oddity ‘Malatesta’s Carnival of Blood’
12.04.2017
09:45 am
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Poster
 
Released in 1973, Malatesta’s Carnival of Blood is a low-budget horror film, and a really weird one, at that. Unseeable for nearly 30 years, it’s developed a cult following amongst connoisseurs of off-the-wall ‘70s cinema.

Malatesta’s Carnival of Blood was directed by Christopher Speeth, and was his first feature film. Speeth recruited Werner Liepolt to write the screenplay for a horror film. Liepolt based his work on the legend of Sawney Bean and his family of cave-dwelling cannibals.

Exterior filming took place at Six Gun Territory, a run-down amusement park in Willow Grove, Pennsylvania. The interiors were shot in a warehouse in the Philadelphia neighborhood known as Germantown.
 
Vena
 
Most of the cast were unknowns, who had little to no film experience. One such performer was Denis Dietrich, who played Malatesta. Dietrich was the heir to a family fortune and independently wealthy, thus he didn’t require payment. One of his only other film appearances was in George Romero’s Dawn of the Dead (1978).
 
Malatesta
 
A few of the actors did go on to have careers in TV and film. The most recognizable figure is Hervé Villechaize, in a pre-Fantasy Island role as one of the carnies. He has only a few lines, but they’re amongst the strangest bits of dialogue in the entire picture, made more so due to his thick accent, rendering most of his speech unintelligible.
 
Herve
 
The production’s budget of $100,000 was pretty low to begin with, but as most of it went towards purchasing 35mm film, there was very little money for things like set design. The art directors used whatever they could get their hands on, including orange bubble wrap, which was obtained for cheap from an Army Surplus store.
 
Lizard
 
Malatesta’s Carnival of Blood brings to mind two previous low-budget pictures: George Romero’s groundbreaking zombie movie, Night of the Living Dead (1968), and the spooky art film made on a shoestring—which was also set in an amusement park—Carnival of Souls (1962).
 
Not Beetlejuice
 
The plot: Under the guise of needing work, the Norris family take jobs at a creepy amusement park to look for their missing son/brother, believing he disappeared while visiting the park. Before long, they are hounded by a horde of cannibalistic ghouls who live in a bizarre subterranean world under the park. The ghouls are controlled by the evil Malatesta,
 
Malatesta and Vena
 
Malatesta’s Carnival of Blood is far from flawless, but like so many B-movies, its imperfections add to the enjoyment. For example, the camera work is often great, with some interesting, unusually framed shots, but since the production could only afford single takes, some glaring goofs are captured on film. For many viewers, the main issue will be the lack of clarity—the script was abandoned halfway through filming—but, for me, that only enhances its dreamlike qualities. I think fans of weird ‘70s horror will really enjoy Malatesta’s Carnival of Blood. It’s undoubtedly full of amazing imagery, with some of the more color-saturated shots reminiscent of the sort seen in Dario Argento’s giallo films.
 
Red
 
In 1973-74, the film was widely distributed, but mainly played the southern drive-in circuit. Speeth wasn’t paid to make the picture, and was supposed to receive a share of the profits, but the distributor stiffed him. He never received a cent.

Believed for decades to be a lost film, a print was eventually discovered in an attic.

Continues after the jump…

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Posted by Bart Bealmear
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12.04.2017
09:45 am
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Behold the Christmas onesie that will make you look like a super sleazy version of Santa Claus
12.04.2017
09:34 am
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A look at the Christmas “Belovesie” from the Utah-based company, Beloved.
 
Like it or not, onesies for adults are a thing and have been a thing for a while now. We’ve featured novelty onesies on Dangerous Minds before, but I don’t think I’ve ever seen one more terrifying than the one I came across today by Utah-based company Beloved. According to their website, Beloved calls their brand of onesies “Belovesies,” and they seem to sell a lot of them, including their super sleazy looking Christmas Belovesie with an all-over print of Santa Claus—but not the jolly traditional image of Santa in his red suit. Because what fun would that be?

The Christmas Belovesie from Beloved features a realistic-looking all-over print of Santa wearing a pair of skimpy red underpants which exposes his tattooed, hairy body. The image is further accentuated with a couple of round glass ornaments dangling from his nipples. To make matters even worse (or much better if you’re into this kind of thing) is that the getup zips up over your damn head making your transition into sleazy Santa complete. The terrifying one-piece will run you $129.95 and if you want one in time for the upcoming holiday season, the order deadline is December 7th. Good luck with that.
 

The back of the Christmas “Belovesie.”

Previously on Dangerous Minds:
‘Santa Claus vs. Satan’ with a festive soundtrack of lite-psyche & bubble gum music
Alice Cooper, Jimi, James Brown, Marc Bolan, Frank Zappa (and many more) do Santa
Horrifying full body spandex Santa Claus suit
Magical vintage photos of Hollywood Boulevard becoming ‘Santa Claus Lane’ in the 1920s and 30s

Posted by Cherrybomb
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12.04.2017
09:34 am
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Audio surfaces from a Nirvana acoustic gig that took place in a bar during the ‘Nevermind’ tour
12.02.2017
10:40 am
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Kurt
 
On December 1st, 1991, members of Nirvana played a stealthy acoustic gig in a Scottish bar. The group’s second album, Nevermind, had been released a few months prior and was steadily increasing in popularity. The “Smells Like Teen Spirit” video was all over MTV, and the band were consistently covered by the rock music press. It was in this moment that Nirvana were asked to play a benefit show in Edinburgh. Recently, after 26 years, audio has surfaced from this historic performance.

Nirvana was in the midst of a U.K. tour when they played Calton Studios in Edinburgh, Scotland on November 29th, 1991. Scottish group Captain America, led by Eugene Kelly of the Vaselines, and Shonen Knife opened. Kurt Cobain was ill, and the gig was nearly called off when a doctor advised Kurt not to perform. But Kurt blew off the suggestion and loaded up on painkillers prior to show time.
 
Calton Studios
Dave Grohl and Kurt during the Calton Studios gig.

Edinburgh band the Joyriders had asked Nirvana if they’d like to join them for a December 1st show, which would benefit a local children’s hospital. The event would take place at a nearby bar. The group agreed, and after Nirvana’s Calton Studios performance, the Joyriders passed out handbills for the upcoming benefit, noting the appearance of “very special guests.”
 
Handbill
 
The night of the show, a large crowd assembled inside the Southern Bar. Since it was only a rumor that Nirvana would appear, many eventually split, leaving less than 30 in attendance when the band walked in.

Kurt and Dave set up on the bar’s small stage for an acoustic performance. For reasons unknown, bassist Chris (now Krist) Novoselic didn’t take part, though he was present. Rather than play the drums, Dave borrowed Chris’s acoustic bass. The duo was introduced as Teen Spirit.

After some amusing pre-show banter with the rowdy locals, they launch into “Dumb,”  then an unreleased tune (it would turn up on In Utero), followed by a Nevermind number, “Polly.” The third and final song on the audio recording is the Vaselines’s “Jesus Wants Me for a Sunbeam”, which Nirvana had been opening their shows with, and would be played during their 1993 performance for MTV Unplugged (as would the previous two songs). Unfortunately, it fades out before completion. Witnesses have noted that they also played Shonen Knife’s “Twist Barbie,” (the band members were in attendance) and one or two more.

Listen after the jump…

READ ON
Posted by Bart Bealmear
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12.02.2017
10:40 am
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Andy Kaufman’s sublimely odd ‘Saturday Night Live’ audition reel
12.01.2017
10:56 am
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Now that the show has been around for more than forty years, the talent intake process at Saturday Night Live surely approximates an efficient, well-oiled machine, albeit one always tempered by Lorne Michaels’ inexplicable idiosyncrasies. But in those key first few years, the spirit of the place was so much more informed by actual generational rebellion against actual old-guard fuddy-duddies like Bob Hope. The continent (careful to include Canada for this part) was brimming with youthful comedic talent, to the point that anyone that would be likely to wander into 30 Rockefeller Plaza looking for a gig probably was a genius of some description or other.

Point being, in 1975, as the writing staff and cast was being assembled, NBC didn’t have a process in place, as much as a loose constellation of people who fit with their sensibility and could be relied upon to deliver bankably weird and resonant and funny material. Andy Kaufman, who was never a full cast member but was certainly part of the first crew in a general way, famously never fit any of the regular categories that existed for “entertainer” or “comedian,” even though he clearly was both, and as he matured into the key years of the mid- to late 1970s, his delicious bits tended to define a useful boundary between those who “got it” and those who never would.

Here is an impression of Kaufman in the context of the preparations for the very first show, which happened on October 11, 1975, from Bill Zehme’s 1999 book Lost in the Funhouse:
 

He became a fixture around the shows seventeenth-floor production offices in the weeks before the October premiere. He did not fraternize so much as lurk. Relatively few staff or cast members knew who he was or what he was or what he was supposed to do—although John Belushi had become an early true believer after having seen the conga-crying in clubs. Anne Beatts, a newly recruited writer, first encountered him slumping in Lorne’s antechamber—“I thought, Oh, man, is this the kind of person they’re hiring? I don’t know if I want to be part of this! He was so twitchy and weird and had bad skin. He looked very nerdy and geeky. I had severe doubts about the show from the beginning and my initial impression of Andy was the first of them.” Very late on the Friday night before the broadcast, however, her opinion changed when she saw him rehearse, which he almost didn’t because rehearsals dragged on interminably and he had yet to perform a run-through of Mighty Mouse for the crew and finally he said he had to leave. “And it was like––‘Wait, you can’t leave!” Beatts would recall. “And he said, ‘No, I have to go if I’m going to make the last train back to Great Neck.’ Lorne told him, “No Andy, we need you here.’ So he said, ‘Well, I guess I could get my mother to come pick me up….’”

On October 11, he meditated twice, locking himself in the office of Herb Sargent—once before dress rehearsal and again before the live broadcast. Both times he taped a note on the door—Please do not disturb me while I meditate, Andy Kaufman. All around him, panic and mayhem swirled as would become customary Saturday Night crucible.

 
Recently Netflix released a documentary with a gratuitously long title about Jim Carrey’s immersive process of pretty much “becoming” Andy Kaufman during the months in which he was shooting Man on the Moon, which is quite worth the time it takes to watch it. During the course of the movie the viewer gets a brief glimpse of Kaufman’s audition reel for Saturday Night Live, which I had never seen before.

In those early days, one of the staples of Kaufman’s act was a reading of the lyrics of “MacArthur Park,” the 1968 song that was first recorded by the actor Richard Harris…. except Kaufman did it as an elderly Jewish man from New York City. To understand why this is funny it might be necessary to see some of the impossibly winsome or lachrymose lyrics of the song. They are certainly distinctive:
 

Spring was never waiting for us, girl
It ran one step ahead
As we followed in the dance
Between the parted pages and were pressed
In love’s hot, fevered iron
Like a striped pair of pants

MacArthur’s Park is melting in the dark
All the sweet, green icing flowing down
Someone left the cake out in the rain
I don’t think that I can take it
‘Cause it took so long to bake it
And I’ll never have that recipe again
Oh no!

 
It’s worth noting that the word “striped” is pronounced with two syllables, as a reader of, ahem, poetry might do.

Continues after the jump…

READ ON
Posted by Martin Schneider
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12.01.2017
10:56 am
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Wearing a vizard kept women pale and interesting in the 16th and 17th centuries
12.01.2017
10:25 am
Topics:
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The other evening round at DM Towers, Glasgow, as I lay reclining on the chaise longue in my plus fours, smoking jacket, and fez, quietly puffing on my Meerschaum and idly fingering Roget’s Thesaurus, an unholy apparition appeared at the library door. It was my girlfriend. Yet, I would never have recognized her, as her whole countenance had vanished into a grotesque black hole from hairline to chin.

“What infernal magic is this?” quoth I (we do a lot of quothing round our house) in my best quivering voice from behind the chaise longue.

“Why it is only I,” rejoined my girlfriend.

And it was. But that face—what had happened to it?

As it, fortunately, turned out, my dearest was merely sporting an antique item of fashion called a vizard. That is a type of mask once worn by posh birds to avoid unsightly contact with the sun which could result in the unfortunate bronzing of the skin and the worrisome fear of being considered a lowly working-class woman who spent her days toiling in fields under the sun. (“Tanning” wasn’t considered a “thing” until beach vacations were invented for rich people.)

This was all rather serendipitous in a way, as I had, only that morning, been reading young Master Pepys’ diary about his visit to the Royal Theater where he had chanced upon Lord Falconbridge and Lady Mary Cromwell. As the public began to fill the house, Lady Cromwell “put on her vizard, and so kept it on all the play”. Pepys said the vizard had “become a great fashion among the ladies, which hides their whole face.” Meeting the fashionable Lady Cornwell encouraged Pepys to go to “the Exchange, to buy things with my wife; among others, a vizard for herself.”

Intrigued by my fair lady’s latest fashionable accessory, I decided to find some fine examples of the vizard from history with which to share. It would seem, the vizard was once very popular in England during the late 16th and most of the 17th centuries, roughly from the reign of Queen Elizabeth I to the Restoration. They were worn as sun protectors, and on occasion to keep a woman’s face wrapped from the biting chill of a winter’s wind. They were also a means to create coquettish mystery—just as the Venetians wore masks to flirt with each other. The vizard was large, spherical in shape, with a black velvet exterior and a silk lining. There was a small rectangular niche for the nose and two small oval openings for the eyes. The mask was held in by the wearer’s teeth, as it is described in The Academie of Armorie (1688):

A mask [is] a thing that in former times Gentlewomen used to put over their Faces when they travel to keep them from Sun burning… the Visard Mask, which covers the whole face, having holes for the eyes, a case for the nose, and a slit for the mouth, and to speak through; this kind of Mask is taken off and put in a moment of time, being only held in the Teeth by means of a round bead fastened on the inside over against the mouth.

Not everyone was so taken with the latest fashion, the writer Phillip Stubbes wrote in Anatomy of Abuses (1583):

When [women] use to ride abroad, they have visors made of velvet… wherewith they cover all their faces, having holes made in them against their eyes, whereout they look so that if a man that knew not their guise before, should chance to meet one of them he would think he met a monster or a devil: for face he can see none, but two broad holes against her eyes, with glasses in them.

The playwright John Dryden was similarly droll in the prolog to one of his lesser-known plays, The Conquest of Granada by the Spaniards:

[W]hen Vizard Masque appears in Pit,
Straight every Man who thinks himself a Wit
Perks up; and, managing his Comb with grace,
With his white Wigg sets off his Nut-brown Face;
That done, bears up to th’ prize, and views each Limb,
To know her by her Rigging and her Trimm;
Then, the whole noise of Fops to wagers go,
Pox on her, ’t must be she; and Damm’ee no:

The vizard was fashionable among the higher classes until around early 1700s, when it became the preferred disguise for prostitutes to sell their wares.
 
010visardAhorsemanwithhiswifeinthesaddlebehindhim.jpg
‘A horseman with his wife in the saddle behind him’ circa 1581.
 
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Pietro Longhi, ‘Rhinoceros,’ 1751.
 
More masked mystery ladies, after the jump…
 

READ ON
Posted by Paul Gallagher
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12.01.2017
10:25 am
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