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The strange allure of decayed daguerreotypes
06.18.2018
07:01 am
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Emma Gillingham, circa 1851-60.
 
Nick Cave has often said he likes Elvis Presley during his late, fat, drug-addled period because those “final concerts were absolutely riveting and incredibly moving just because of his psychological and physical pain.” Presley’s whole life experience as a performer was condensed into those two-hour shows, where he often forgot his words, but never lacked passion.

There is something similar going on with these decayed daguerrotypes taken by Mathew Brady sometime between 1840-60. Daguerrotypes were the first commercially successful photographic process invented by French theater-designer Louis-Jacques-Mandé Daguerre in 1839. Each picture was made by exposing a small sheet of polished light-sensitive silver-plated copper to capture an image. Taking a portrait took time, which meant sitters had to be clamped into position so no movement would blur the image. This image was then made visible by allowing fumes of mercury vapor to the coat the copper plate. The resulting picture was fixed with chemicals then rinsed and sealed in glass. Daguerrotypes were easily marked and as the fixing process was unstable it meant the pictures decayed and changed thru time and handling.

I grew up in Edinburgh, a city rich with history and filled with old buildings whose original functions have changed but their structures maintained until, for some, they become too worn or dilapidated and were demolished. Old buildings like fat Elvis or decayed daguerreotypes become, and are changed by, use or experience. The faces on daguerreotypes become lost, like features reflected in a misted bathroom mirror. The body shapes and small fragments of skin are recognizable but their function or meaning has been usurped by organic patterns of decay which alter the image into strangely beautiful and alluring works of art open to imagination.
 
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William C. Bouk, ca. 1844-59.
 
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Unidentified woman, ca. 1844-60.
 
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Unidentified woman, ca. 1844-60.
 
More after the jump…

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Posted by Paul Gallagher
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06.18.2018
07:01 am
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Who was the real ‘Girl from Ipanema’?
05.23.2018
10:21 am
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“The Girl from Ipanema” is one of the most covered songs of all time—second only to “Yesterday”—and an “elevator music” cliché the world over. The story behind the bossa nova standard is so well-known to most Brazilians that our readers there might find this a really obvious thing to write about, it’s not so well-known anywhere else, I don’t think.

Ipanema is trendy, beach district in south Rio de Janeiro. Near Ipanema Beach was Antonio Carlos “Tom” Jobim’s favorite hang-out, the Bar Veloso. Every day, the married musician would await the arrival of a “tall, and tan, and young and lovely” young girl who would pass by the bar on her way to the beach, never making eye contact with the bar’s patrons, even when she came in to buy cigarettes for her mother.

Jobim invited his friend, a writer and poet named Vinicius de Moraes to come by the Veloso to see this girl.  Eventually, after several days had passed, she walked by. Jobim said to his friend, ““Nao a coisa mais linda?” (Isn’t she the prettiest thing?) and de Moraes replied, “E a coisa cheia de gracia” (She’s full of grace).  Moraes wrote their banter on a napkin and this exchange became the seed from which the original Portuguese lyrics of “A Garota de Ipanema” (“The Girl from Ipanema”) grew.
 

 
A few years later, “The Girl from Ipanema” as performed by Astrud Gilberto, João Gilberto and Stan Getz, from album Getz/Gilberto became one of the top-selling records of 1964. Only the Beatles outsold the song and it was nominated for, and won, several Grammy awards.
 

 
But who was this beautiful girl from Ipanema?

From Stan Shepkowski’s “The Girl from Ipanema”:

Heloísa Eneida de Menezes Paes Pinto was a born and raised Rio de Janeiro girl – a true carioca.  The daughter of an army general from whom her mother divorced when Helô was 4, she grew up on the Rua Montenegro, some blocks up from the Bar Veloso.  At age 17 she was shy and quite self-conscious: she had crooked teeth, she felt she was too skinny, she suffered from frequent asthma attacks, and she had an allergy that reddened her face.  And on her way to and from school and on her treks to the beach, she had to walk by the Bar Veloso.

Although the song had been around since 1962, it wasn’t until 1964 that Helô learned the truth.  Friends introduced her to Tom Jobim, who still hadn’t worked up the courage to talk with her.  But with the ice finally broken, he set out to win her heart.  On their second date, he stated his love for her and asked her to marry him.  But she turned him down.  Two things got in the way.  Helô knew Tom was married and that he was “experienced,” whereas she was inexperienced and would not make him a good wife.  The other was that she had been dating a handsome young lad named Fernando Pinheiro from a prosperous family in Leblon since she was 15.  Undaunted by her refusal, Tom told her that she was the inspiration for the song.  This confirmed the rumors she had heard from others and, of course, thrilled her beyond imagination, but she still turned him down.

The world would not learn the truth until 1965.  Tired of all the gossip and particularly concerned that a contest was going to be held to select “the girl from Ipanema” Vinicius de Moraes held a press conference.  In a detoxification clinic in Rio where he was undergoing treatment (you’ve got to love poets), and with Helô at his side, de Moraes told the world.  And he offered her one more testament:

“She is a golden girl, a mixture of flowers and mermaids, full of light and full of grace, but whose character is also sad with the feeling that youth passes and that beauty isn’t ours to keep.  She is the gift of life with its beautiful and melancholic constant ebb and flow.”

 

 
Although Helô became an overnight sensation, Brazil was a very conservative country at the time and she did not take advantage of the modeling contracts and movie roles she was offered, opting instead to become a mother and housewife, marrying Fernando Pinheiro the following year.

That might have been the last the world would have heard of Helô Pinheiro, but in the late 1970s Pinhero’s companies fell on hard times and Helô gave birth to a handicapped son. Although reluctant to do so her entire life, faced with the situation she was in, Helô decided to capitalize on her identity as “the girl from Ipanema” and became a successful model, gossip columnist and television host. She endorsed over 100 products.“You move mountains, when it comes to providing for your children” she said.

In 2003, at the age of 58 and still quite lovely, Helô Pinheiro appeared with her own daughter, supermodel, actress and reality TV star, Ticiane Pinheiro in the pages of Playboy magazine, making her their oldest model, ever…

Continues after the jump…

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Posted by Richard Metzger
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05.23.2018
10:21 am
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Tricia Nixon’s wedding travestied by the Cockettes, 1971


via IMDb
 
Tricia’s Wedding, a 33-minute dramatization of the solemn rite that joined Patricia Nixon and Edward Cox in holy matrimony, was the first movie the Cockettes made. Per Kenneth Turan, it premiered at the Palace Theater in the North Beach neighborhood of San Francisco on the very day of the happy event, June 12, 1971. Not only is the Cockettes’ movie much livelier than the televised ceremony, it includes the all-too-brief screen debut of Tomata du Plenty, some five years before he formed the Screamers in Los Angeles.

Incredibly, the Cockettes’ movie was screened in the Nixon White House. In Blind Ambition, John Dean mentions watching it in the president’s bomb shelter underneath the East Wing, John Ehrlichman’s favorite spot for “monitoring” protests. There, Dean saw Tricia’s Wedding on the orders of H.R. “Bob” Haldeman:

I knew I wouldn’t use the shelter for monitoring demonstrations, although Haldeman had told me that that would be one of my responsibilities. The only time I ever returned there was for a secret screening of Tricia’s Wedding, a pornographic movie portraying Tricia Nixon’s wedding to Edward Cox, in drag. Haldeman wanted the movie killed, so a very small group of White House officials watched the cavorting transvestites in order to weigh the case for suppression. Official action proved unnecessary; the film died a natural death.

Continues after the jump…

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Posted by Oliver Hall
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05.10.2018
08:28 am
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Meet the priest who was Oscar Wilde’s lover and partly the basis for ‘Dorian Gray’

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The writer Max Frisch once wrote that an author does nothing worse than betray himself. In that, a work of fiction reveals more of a writer’s thoughts, tastes, and secrets than any work of biography.

This, of course, may not always be the case, but for many it is true. Like Oscar Wilde, whose novel The Picture of Dorian Gray (1891) revealed more about his tastes and thoughts and secret lifestyle than he ever ‘fessed-up to in public—as he once admitted in a letter to the artist Albert Sterner in 1891:

You’ll find much of me in it, and, as it is cast in objective form, much that is not me.

The parts that were thought to be Wilde—the story’s homoerotic subtext—led the press to damn the book as morally corrupt, perverse, and unfit for publication.

As for the parts that were not Wilde, they revealed some of the people who in part inspired his story, in particular, a poet called John Gray (1866-1934), who was one of the Wilde’s lovers. Gray later loathed his association with the book and eventually denounced his relationship with Wilde and was ordained as a priest.
 
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Wilde thing: A portrait of Oscar in his favorite fur coat.
 
The Picture of Dorian Gray tells the story of a distinguished young man, Gray, whose portrait is painted by the artist Basil Hallward. On seeing the finished picture, Gray is overwhelmed by its (or rather his own) beauty and makes a pact with the Devil that he shall stay forever young with the painting grow old in his place. In modern parlance, consider it Faust for the selfie generation. Gray then abandons himself to every sin and imaginable depravity—the usual debauches of sex, drugs, and murder, etc.—in order to “cure the soul by means of the senses, and the senses by means of the soul.” As to be expected, this has catastrophic results for Gray and those unfortunate enough to be around him.

Wilde disingenuously claimed he wrote The Picture of Dorian Gray “in a few days” as the result of “a wager.” In fact, he had long considered writing such a Faustian tale and began work on it in the summer of 1889. The story went through various drafts before it was submitted for publication in Lippincott’s Monthly Magazine. Even then, Wilde contacted his publisher offering to lengthen the story (from thirteen to eventually twenty chapters) so it could be published as a novel which he believed would cause “a sensation.”

It certainly did that as the press turned on Wilde and his latest work with unparalleled vehemence. The critics were outraged by the lightly disguised homosexual subtext, in particular, Wilde’s reference to his secret gay lifestyle:

...there are certain temperaments that marriage makes more complex…They are forced to have more than one life.

The St. James’s Gazette described the tale as “ordure,” “dull and nasty,” “prosy rigmaroles about the beauty of the Body and the corruption of the Soul.” And went on to denounce it as a dangerous and corrupt story, the result of “malodorous putrefaction” which was only suitable for being “chucked on the fire.”

One critic from the Daily Chronicle described the novel as:

...a tale spawned from the leprous literature of the French Decadents—a poisonous book, the atmosphere of which is heavy with the mephitic odours of moral and spiritual putrefaction…

While the Scots Observer asked: “Why go grubbing in the muckheaps?” and damned the book as only suitable “for the Criminal Investigation Department…outlawed noblemen and perverted telegraph boys.”

The last remark related to the “Cleveland Street Affair” of early-1890, in which young telegraph boys were alleged to be working as prostitutes at a brothel on Cleveland Street. It was claimed the government had covered-up this notorious scandal as the brothel was known to be frequented by those from the highest ranks of politicians and royalty.

Little wonder that when Gray was publicly identified by the Star newspaper as “the original Dorian of the same name” he threatened to sue for libel. Gray asked Wilde to write a letter to the press denying any such association. Wilde did so, claiming in the Daily Telegraph that he hardly knew Gray, which was contrary to what was known in private. The Star agreed to pay Gray an out of court settlement—but the association was now publicly known.
 
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John Gray: ‘The curves of your lips rewrite history.’
 
More on the life of John Gray, after the jump…
 

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Posted by Paul Gallagher
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05.02.2018
01:16 pm
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‘Mad Man in Waco’: The haunting rock ballads of cult leader David Koresh


 
Charles Manson wasn’t the only rock & roll cult leader. As you may have learned from watching the Paramount Network’s new miniseries Waco, David Koresh of the Branch Davidians was also known to pick up the axe from time to time…

In an era plagued by gun violence and incessant mass murders, the siege at Waco remains to be one of the most memorable shootouts in American history. As several sources have depicted the tragedy, the situation at Mount Carmel could have been handled more delicately by the ATF and the FBI, who conclusively relied on force as a method of negotiation. What began as a federal search warrant for a suspected cache of illegal weapons, erupted quite literally into a gun battle between religious cult zealots and the United States government. The standoff lasted 51 days, until the iconic conclusion on April 19th, 1993, when a tear gas attack by the FBI prompted a fire that would engulf the Mount Carmel Center. By the close of the standoff, a total of 76 people would die—including leader David Koresh.
 

 
The Branch Davidians arose in 1955 from a rupture within the Shepherd’s Rod, a derivative of the Seventh-day Adventist Church. The original sect was led by self-proclaimed prophet Victor Houteff who, twenty years prior, had established its headquarters at the Mount Carmel Center near Waco, Texas. When Houteff unexpectedly passed, many disagreements within the church brought about splinter groups like the aforementioned Branch Davidians, now led by the quasi-prophet, Benjamin Roden. Similar to the doctrines preached in the Shepherd’s Rod, the Branch Davidians believed they were living in the final period of Biblical prophecies, right before absolute judgement and the second coming of Christ.

David Koresh joined the Branch Davidians in 1981. Known then as Vernon Howell, the Koresh of his early-twenties seduced Lois Roden, the now-widowed leader of the commune, who was in her late sixties. The following year, Koresh declared himself to be the true prophet of the group and relayed that he had been instructed by God to bear a child with Lois, who would be considered the “Chosen One.” Upon Lois’ death, her son George Roden took over leadership of the Branch Davidians and exiled Koresh from the compound in fear of his rising influence. This was up until 1989, when Roden was convicted of murdering follower Wayman Dale Adair because he was believed to have been sent by Koresh. The former Vernon Howell then changed his name to that of celestial significance (after King David and “Koresh” being the Biblical name of Cyrus the Great) and he, along with his followers, raised enough money to buy-back Mount Carmel from the US government. From that moment forward, David Koresh became the final prophet of the Branch Davidians.
 

David and the Bros
 
Besides stockpiling weaponry, Koresh lived above the law through his teachings of the “New Light Message.” The men who practiced at Mount Carmel, even those who had committed alongside their wives, were to now lead a celibate life. The women, however, would be sexually and reproductively committed to Koresh, who insisted upon a harem of available women known as the “House of David.” The reasoning was, you guessed it, because of God’s commandments, that Koresh was to hold “spiritual weddings” with any woman that their Lord had instructed him to. Many of the women of the Branch Davidian cult became wives of Koresh, several of which had already been legally married—or were underage. At least one follower in particular, Michelle Jones, had her first child with Koresh when she was fourteen years old. The two had begun a sexual relationship years prior while her older sister, Rachel Jones-Koresh, remained the prophet’s only legal wife (whom she also married when she was fourteen). The parents of Michelle and Rachel Jones had been lifelong Branch Davidians and had given David permission to bed & wed their daughters.

It is believed that Koresh had fathered over fifteen children with the women of the group. He expected his children to be perfect and that they would eventually become the ruling elders after the apocalypse and the alleged second coming of Christ. The ideology of the Branch Davidians was heavily focused on Judgement Day and it was Koresh’s prophesy that only he could open the “Seven Seals” as foretold in the New Testament’s Book of Revelation. This action would bring about the calamitous end of times, wherefore those devoted “Koreshians” would be led into the heavens by their divine leader. Koresh and his followers’ reaction to the standoff at Mount Carmel was that the Seven Seals had been opened and mankind’s decimation was upon them.
 

 
Just a day before the initial raid at Mount Carmel, the Waco Tribune ran its shocking, multi-part expose’ on the cult of David Koresh titled “The Sinful Messiah.” Among the story’s heinous depictions of child abuse, statutory rape, polygamy, paranoia, and a heavy artillery, another persona of David Koresh had also been characterized—that of a rocker. At 22 years of age, Koresh was kicked out of his mother’s Seventh-day Adventist Church in Houston for trying to marry the pastor’s daughter. An aspiring musician, Koresh then moved to Los Angeles in hopes of becoming a rock star. His attempt was considered an “utter failure,” and this is what led Koresh to Waco, Texas.

It could be said that David’s rock ambitions were what led him to literally try to become Jesus Christ. Plenty of rock stars regard themselves in self-idolatry, so the career trajectory checks out.

Continues after the jump…

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Posted by Bennett Kogon
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04.13.2018
09:48 am
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Locked-up in chastity: Men’s anti-masturbation devices from a century ago

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John Harvey Kellogg invented Corn Flakes as a means to stop masturbation. Kellogg believed a bowl of crispy morning goodness would stop youngsters from the evils of self-pollution, disease, and possible madness. Kellogg was a doctor, nutritionist, inventor, health freak, activist, and shrewd businessman. He wrote the treatise Plain Facts for Old and Young: Embracing the Natural History and Hygiene of Organic Life in which he cataloged a startling array of side-effects caused by the “doubly abominable” “crime” of onanism. His list included poor posture, stiffness of the joints, infirmity, bashfulness, and even an unhealthy predilection for spicy foods.

Kellogg believed diet played an enormous part in why so many youngsters wasted their lives in self-abuse. He, therefore, insisted on a diet of bland food, a cleansing of the bowels through regular use of enemas, and a daily bowl of his tasty Corn Flakes.

Masturbation was considered a very serious threat to the good health and clean-living of every young man and woman up as far up as the 1950s and even the 1960s. Some may recall Monty Python’s spoof advert in their Brand New Bok which displayed a naked Graham Chapman under the headline “Masturbation The Difficult One”:

Some people find it difficult to talk about. Others find it difficult to do.

The mock ad went on to explain how masturbation:

...does not make you blind
It does not make your hair fall out
It does not make you vote Conservative
It does not stunt your growth

 
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Mr. Chapman and that difficult one.
 
The writer, lawyer, and “champagne socialist” John Mortimer, probably best known for his fictional character Rumpole of the Bailey, recounted in his autobiography Clinging to the Wreckage a tale of one of his classmates, a boy called Tainton, caught masturbating by the school chaplain, the suitably-named Mr. Percy.

Mr. Percy was deeply shocked to discover Tainton playing with himself and admonished him by saying:

“Really my boy, you should save that up till you are married.”
“Oh, I’m doing that, sir,” Tainton answered with his rare smile, “I’ve already got several jam jars full.”

In a bid to stop such heinous behavior, various contraptions were invented to stop self-pollution. For young women, there was the chastity belt, and for men, well, a variety of painful devices including this one which was intended to lock the penis and testicles into a metal retainer to avoid any self-abuse.

This male chastity belt, or “surgical appliance,” was in use from the 1830s until the 1930s. The device may look like a novel fashion accessory or a variation on one of those “cock locks” favored by those into fetishism, cross-dressing, and a little S&M, but it was originally intended to put a stop to young men spilling their seed on stony ground, or rather in their hands or handkerchieves.
 
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A male antimasturbation apparatus ca 1871-1930. According to the Science Museum:

This metal device is one of a number of similar devices which were invented in the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries to prevent masturbation. A leather strap which would have kept it in place is now missing. Until the early 1900s, many people regarded masturbation as harmful to a person’s health, and it was blamed for a variety of ailments, including insanity.

 
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More male anti-masturbation devices, after the jump…
 

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Posted by Paul Gallagher
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04.12.2018
08:49 am
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Buy these creepy wax figures of Amish people that have been missing from your nightmares
03.30.2018
08:06 am
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The Lancaster County (PA) Wax Museum was opened in the late ‘60s by the owner of the Dutch Wonderland theme park. That theme park is still operating, but the adjacent wax museum closed in 2006. The museum was ambitious—it featured, among other things, a life sized diorama of the burning of the Wrightsville Bridge, an 1863 saving throw against a Confederate Army incursion, but its centerpiece was a tableau of an animated Amish barn-raising.

Most of the museum’s figures were sold off soon after the closing, but the figures from that barn-raising are up for sale now. Per the Philadelphia Inquirer the seller is one Dana DiCicco, whose uncle held on to the figures because the barn-raising was supposed to be reinstalled at Dutch Wonderland, which never came to pass:

“When I went to see them in storage, they definitely looked creepy,” she said. “It looked like a scene from the Gettysburg battlefield.”

DiCicco is putting them up for sale on behalf of her uncle, a longtime manager of the Amish Farm and House, a tourist attraction in Lancaster. The adult figures are going for $350 apiece, the children and dog for $250, and DiCicco said they’d like to sell them as a set.

“He would definitely love to see them used for historical reasons,” DiCicco said.

As is the case with most tourist-trap wax museums, the figures are massively goddamn creepy, and indeed, this sale echoes a sale from two years ago, when a set of forty predictably disturbing wax figures of Amish children were offered to the world. Dangerous Minds’ estimable Martin Schneider told you all about that Village of the Damned nightmare fuel. This sale offers a more diverse crowd—as diverse as an Amish population can get, anyway.

Varying sizes, ages and details on these figures. The wardrobe can be exchanged to suit your historical or theatrical needs. There are 5 female figures, 3 children figures, about 32 male figures and 1 dog. Five of the men are mechanical. The dog is mechanical as well. Varying conditions. The parts are removable and some are disassembled but can be assembled for viewing. $1500 for anamatronic figure, $350-For full-sized adults, $300-Children/Dog. Hoping to sell as a set. Only Reasonable offers and Serious Buyers Please.

 

 

 
More where these came from, after the jump…

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Posted by Ron Kretsch
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03.30.2018
08:06 am
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The Artist as Frankenstein ‘piecing together the sublime’: The paintings of Carrie Ann Baade
03.28.2018
10:42 am
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Carrie Ann Baade paints pictures that link “the power of historical masterworks with [her] own experience as a contemporary artist.” Her work is fragmentary using an image bank culled from Renaissance and Baroque art which is used to contemplate “the ageless issues of morality, politics, and the individual quest for self-expression.” She describes herself “as a kind of Dr. Frankenstein attempting to piece together the sublime.”

Baade developed her collagic-style of painting during grad school when she struggled to find a way to be more like her “dead art heroes, Bosch, Fuseli, Moreau, and Knopf,” but keeping her work relevant to today. She started at the beginning and “rediscovered the artists’ first gallery, the refrigerator door.” 

Upon the door were a sentimental photograph of my infant niece and the Christmas gift of magnets made from cut up discount art books.  By moving some of these magnets over the photograph, the child’s eyes were covered with those from a Northern Renaissance portrait.  A Boschian creature was placed on top of her head to serve as an ornamental hat.  Lastly, a Durer Christ child and a Madonna’s hand scaled perfectly to that in the sentimental photo were placed on the arms in the photo. 

The completed the transformation was far more interesting than reality.  After several attempts at turning the image into a painting, the foundation for understanding the difference between collage and pastiche occurred. 

Through research, I realized that the amalgam of images had precedence in the appropriation art of the 80’s which is described as the advent of the citation style in painting and other mediums.  “Appropriation art” stresses the intentionality of the act of borrowing and the historical attitude of the borrower.  By building upon this accepted practice, my paintings incorporate these purloined fragments and keep the physical identity of the different motifs preserved from the overall unity.

Baade describes her intuitive creative process as “part tarot and part advent calendar.”

I have questions in mind when I am composing, I am searching for a solution to say…this feeling I have about the correlation between women and snakes and the moon. I collect images, I dive into my piles of cutouts that I have been archiving for the past five years. The composition of the collage can be immediate or go through 15 hours of revisions.  It is like reading cards, the answer will come as I am searching and the answer is usually visually surprising.

The process begins with Baade covering her studio floor with images ripped from pages of books and magazines. Once the floor is covered, Baade looks for sets of images that have landed on top of each other in an interesting way. She describes this as a form of divination like reading tea leaves or tarot cards. Often Baade has a question she seeks to answer which she hopes will be answered by the chance arrangement of images. Sometimes this can happen very quickly, mostly it’s a long process of trial and error. When ready, Baade collects the images and binds them together with sellotape. It can then take up to 150 hours to paint a picture.

Baade was born in Louisiana in 1974 and was raised in Colorado where she first took an interest in drawing and painting. Baade received her BFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, studied at the Florence Academy of Art in Italy, and earned her MFA in Painting from the University of Delaware.  She currently divides her time between painting and lecturing as an Associate Professor of Painting and Drawing at Florida State University. See more of Carrie Ann Baade’s work here.
 
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More beautiful and surreal paintings, after the jump…
 

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Posted by Paul Gallagher
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03.28.2018
10:42 am
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David Bowie, Dion Fortune, and the occult history of soymilk
03.01.2018
09:52 am
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During the mid-Seventies, when David Bowie subsisted on a diet of cow’s milk and cocaine, one of his favorite books was Dion Fortune’s Psychic Self-Defense. It’s an instruction manual by a major-league Golden Dawn magician for diagnosing and guarding against attacks by other sorcerers.

Marc Spitz’s biography points out how one part of Bowie’s coke-and-milk diet violated a basic tenet of Dion Fortune’s program (“Keep away from drugs”), but the magician probably would have nixed the other staple, too. She didn’t invent soymilk, but she played an important role in its history as an advocate and experimenter. During World War I, while working in a laboratory for the Food Production Department of the Ministry of Agriculture, Fortune apparently discovered a means of making soymilk, as well as a method of turning it into soy cheese. In 1925, writing under her birth name, Violet Mary Firth, she published a book on the subject, The Soya Bean: An Appeal to Humanitarians.
 

David Bowie, 1969 (Photo by Brian Ward)
 
While I haven’t gotten my hands on a copy yet, a volume called History of Soymilk and Other-Non Dairy Milks (1226-2013) reproduces the table of contents and some of the foreword. Part I considers the ethical reasons to avoid animal products (chapter three: “Milk Is Not A Humane Food”), and Part II describes the wondrous properties of the soybean. She argues that commercial solutions to the problem of animal exploitation are more effective than “individual abstention from flesh-food.” The foreword begins:

The manufacture of a vegetable milk from the soya bean is a matter in which I was much interested during the war, and I think I may claim to be the first person, in this country at any rate, who succeeded in making a cheese from vegetable casein.

In Sane Occultism, however, Dion Fortune cautions against making “a religion” out of vegetarianism and says the practice is not for everyone, so maybe she would have just advised Bowie to lay off the yayo and put a few more sandwiches in his diet. Below, the Thin White Duke guzzles lowfat milk from the carton in a scene from Cracked Actor. (Maybe someday John Oswald will get around to making a Plunderphonics version called Lactose Cracker.)
 

Posted by Oliver Hall
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03.01.2018
09:52 am
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Medicine Women: Photographs of the pioneering students at the world’s first medical school for women
02.26.2018
08:42 am
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Though many women worked as nurses in hospitals and within the medical profession, it was deemed “inappropriate” for a woman to become a doctor. This changed when Elizabeth Blackwell (1821-1910) became the first woman to receive a medical degree in America and the first woman on the Medical Register of the General Medical Council.

Born and raised in England, Blackwell traveled to America to fulfill her ambition to become a doctor, where she privately studied anatomy under the tutelage of Dr. Jonathan M. Allen. As a woman, Blackwell faced tremendous obstacles in achieving her ambitions. It was suggested she disguise herself as a man to gain admittance to medical school or move to France where she could possibly train as a doctor. Blackwell’s mind was made up and she was determined to go through with her studies despite enormous opposition.

The horrors and disgusts I have no doubt of vanquishing. I have overcome stronger distastes than any that now remain, and feel fully equal to the contest. As to the opinion of people, I don’t care one straw personally; though I take so much pains, as a matter of policy, to propitiate it, and shall always strive to do so; for I see continually how the highest good is eclipsed by the violent or disagreeable forms which contain it.

The argument against Blackwell’s hope of a medical career was double-edged. Firstly, it was claimed women were inferior and therefore not up to the work. Secondly, if women were capable of becoming doctors then this would be troublesome and unnecessary competition for male doctors.

Blackwell applied to twelve different schools. In October 1847, she enrolled as a student at the Geneva Medical College (now Hobart College). Her admittance was decided upon by the male students who were told if one student objected to Blackwell’s admission she would be barred. The 150 male students voted unanimously in her favor.

On January 23, 1849, Elizabeth Blackwell became the first woman to achieve a medical degree in the United States. Her actions opened a door to which there was no way of closing.

The Woman’s Medical College of Pennsylvania was established in 1850 as a school solely for the training of women in medicine. The college was the second medical school for women opened in America but the very first medical school in the world authorized to award women the title of Medical Doctor or M.D. It would go on to become one of the most pioneering and inclusive medical schools in the country, accepting students from every ethnicity, creed, and nation. Students traveled from as far afield as India to study at the school.

The college was originally set up by Quakers who believed in a woman’s fundamental right to education. They also firmly supported full equality between the sexes and were understandably flummoxed by those men who vehemently argued against it. The idea for a women’s medical college had long been considered a necessity. Dr. Bartholomew Fussell argued the case in 1846, two years before Dr. Samuel Gregory opened the Boston Female Medical College, in 1848. Fussell was inspired by his dead sister, who he claimed would have made a brilliant doctor.

Originally called The Female Medical College of Pennsylvania, the school was situated at 229 Arch Street, Philadelphia. The college offered women the very rare opportunity to “teach, perform research, manage a medical school” within a hospital setting. This led to the establishment of the Woman’s Hospital in 1861. These were hard-won achievements. Rival men-only medical schools refused to accept many of the women students and doctors—on one occasion “cat-calling” and “jeering” women students in attendance at the Pennsylvania Hospital where they were to receive clinical instruction. But the blow had been struck and the forces of reaction inevitably crumbled.

The following selection of photographs show what life was like at the Woman’s Medical College for these young heroic women who fought and won the right to become doctors. The school went onto become active in the Feminist movement of the 19th and early-20th centuries. The college and hospital merged with Hahnemann Medical School in 1983, before joining Drexel University College of Medicine in 2003.
 
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Students came from all over the world: Anandabai Joshee, Kei Okami, and Tabat Islambooly, photographed at the Dean’s Reception on October 10, 1885.
 
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Inside the packed operating room, North College Avenue, circa 1890.
 
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Student life 1890.
 
More photographs of America’s first women doctors, after the jump…
 

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Posted by Paul Gallagher
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02.26.2018
08:42 am
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