Friday, April 10, 2015

The Rocky Horror Picture Show is Coming BACK

One of the biggest trending news items today is that there is a television remake in the works of The Rocky Horror Picture Show. My first reaction was excitement, but then I thought about what that would mean...

First, the director attached is Kenny Ortega, who had a lot of success with High School Musical, but this show is an edgy, subversive, B-movie, adult theatrical piece. Also, FOX is the network bringing this along, a major tv network, so all the interesting things about this will no doubt be censored out.

What does that leave us with? Countless high school themed shows (like Fox's Glee) have had a toned down, family-friendly episode where its characters put on a production of it.  This might have been Glee creator Ryan Murphy's concession when he didn't get to do a real remake back in 2010.

On Broadway in 2000, I really enjoyed a production that had an all-star cast that included everyone from Joan Jett, Tom Hewitt, Dick Cavett, OITNB's Lea Delaria and Skid Row's Sebastian Bach. The music and talent were phenomenal of course, but seemed overly polished for it's source material (plus the first thing you encountered are the strict rules not to throw anything, touch the cast, etc.)

 There was a fun tribute concert performed at the Royal Court Theater in 2006 on tv that included Buffy the Vampire Slayer's Anthony Stewart Head and Amber Benson. Also featured Richard O'Brien, Patricia Quinn and Little Nell. 

Richard O'Brien himself has said to have penned a sequel, but has yet to see the light of day. Other sequels and remakes were announced countless times but also not surfaced. So how seriously should we take this one?

What started as a B-movie and subversive performance piece over 40 years ago is still playing in theaters around the country at midnight today. Can you thnk of another film that stays edgy and still playing today?

Who would your dream remake cast of The Rocky Horror Picture Show be?

Monday, April 6, 2015

Goths at the NYC Easter Parade 2015

Sunday morning in New York City was bright and sunny for Easter. The NYC Easter Parade is a tradition that dates back over 100 years. There was an abundance of pastels and brightly colored flowers as to be expected. However, the Courtesan did find a few brethren that outfitted themselves in gloriously Gothic style. 

Thank you for bringing the bunny to the dark style darlings! Chocolate cherry cordials for all of you...

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Cirque du Soleil Kurios Review

Cirque du Soleil's latest production Kurios on tour now is pure Steampunk heaven!  Before you even reach the blue and yellow striped tent, you encounter magical gears, old-timey photographers and a primitive penny farthing bicycle contraption.

You have your signature Cirque du Soleil artistic feats of acrobatics. Of course, they don't sell their tickets purely on technical skill. It's the artistic vision of how they present their acts that entice me to fly to another country just to catch the show at the beginning of the tour.

While Steampunk style encompasses a science fiction twist to a vintage aesthetic, the cultural history it pulls from is not defined. Cirque du Soleil pulls beautiful interpretations of Steampunk for their diverse, International cast. European, Asian, American retro styling is given an industrial age twist.

Just when you think you have the entire theme figured out or you think you can no longer be surprised, they surprise you again. There was an act that played out like a quirky tea party where the point was to see the acrobats stack everything higher and higher in a gravity-defying feat of balance and height. The basic concept has been seen though not as stylishly. THEN the lights panned up and you see that acrobats from the roof of the tent are creating the exact scene upside-down in a mirror image to connect to the original act. It was positively inspired.

If you are lucky enough to have the opportunity to visit a city on this tour, Cirque du Soleil Kurios is not to be missed!
photos by Mariana Leung and Cirque du Soleil 

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Death Becomes Her: Mourning Fashion at the Met Museum

Are you a big fan of Gothic fashion? Do those who don't follow the dark aesthetic always ask if you are going to a funeral? They would have never been considered en vogue during Victorian times. The Metropolitan Museum of Art's winter fashion exhibit examines the styles of this era.

Mourning fashion followed strict rules and etiquette in the Victorian era. There were detailed fashion publications noting the latest silhouettes for those who dressed to mourn that followed the most up to date style trends. The most luxurious fabrics were to be expected.

Social cues for public mourning were extensive, lasting past a year in some cases. However, aside from the cliche of the color black being slimming, it also indicated in society who might be "back on the market" for remarriage. The colors you wore, from black to grey to purple also indicated what stage of mourning you were in.

This exhibit also displayed beautiful mourning jewelry. There were ornate necklaces of jet and obsidian. Memento Mori jewelry was also made from the loved one's hair or had their names inscribed.

Death Becomes Her: Mourning Fashion Exhibit runs at the Metropolitan Museum of Art until February 1, 2015.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Beyond the Dark Veil - Victorian Post Mortem Photography

Beyond the Dark Veil – A beautiful, and beautifully macabre, collection of Victorian post-mortem photography
Beyond the Dark Veil: Post Mortem and Mourning Photography from the Thanatos Archiveby The Thanatos ArchiveLast Gasp2014, 200 pages, 7 x 9 x 0.8 inches$21 Buy a copy on Amazon
During the Victorian era, with the popular spread of photography, and before the emergence of a funeral industry, the practice of home post-mortem photography had its heyday. It was common to have your deceased loved ones photographed, not only while lying in state, but sitting in chairs, standing up (with the aid of special corpse stands), even posing with living members of the family. It was as though, given the advent of the photograph, people felt as though they could keep their loved ones alive longer by taking pictures of them. And those pictures weren’t hidden away, to be privately wept over in melancholy remembrance, but prominently displayed in the most public areas of the home.
Beyond the Dark Veil is a handsome new volume from Washington state’s Thanatos Archive, published by Last Gasp (perfect casting there!), exploring this fascinating, now seemingly macabre death practice. This is a gorgeously-produced hardbound book with an embossed, gold-foiled black leather cover and golden-edged pages. Photography comprises the bulk of the content here, but there are also essays from Jack Mord (owner of the Archive), author and death researcher Bess Lovejoy, artist Marion Peck, poet Joanna Roche, historian of photography Joe Smoke, and others.
The book contains 194 images, which include deathbed post-mortem photos, photos of dead children and families, adults, crime and tragedy post-mortems, and even photos of dead pets. The book also serves as a fascinating survey of late 19th century imaging technologies, with hand-colored photographs, albumen prints, ambrotypes, cabinet cards, carte de viste, daguerreotypes, gelatin silver prints, opaltypes, photo postcards, stereoviews, and tintypes, all from the extensive collection of The Thantos Archive.
Peppered throughout are also newspaper clippings, ads for funeral products, images of caskets, hearses, funeral trains, and other tools and ephemera of Victorian death and mourning. There is even a brief glossary of 19th century photography terms. – Gareth BranwynDecember 3, 2014

Victorian times, photography was trending. I don't know why there was such a fascination with photographing the dead in this era, but this is explored in a beautiful new book Beyond the Dark Veil: Post Mortem & Mourning Photography

The newly released publication compiles a beautifully macabre collection of images that range from post death bed portraits, exquisitely staged memento mori, newspaper notices, daguerreotypes,gelatin silver prints and more dating back to 1840. The images were curated from the Thanatos Archive which has been collecting this memorabilia since 2002.

Are you not familiar with this historical trend? Photos like this were featured as a key clue in the Nicole Kidman movie The Others. The Victorians took the culture of mourning very seriously, dictating their every day fashion.

Is it morbid? Is it beautiful? Is it sad or an artistic tribute to ones who were loved? 


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