October 25, 2005

FOUR FLAGS WITH PEARLS

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Styling and Sewing by Catherine King. Photography by Jerome du Bois. All rights reserved. Do not reproduce in any form.

For background on this T-shirt, go to Introducing The House Of Not For Sale: Three Flags.

Posted by Jerome at 09:15 AM | TrackBack

October 21, 2005

TO MARKET, TO MARKET . . .

tomarket.jpg
Styling by Catherine King. Photography by Jerome du Bois. All clothes and accessories provided by the model. All rights reserved. Do not reproduce in any form.

Dedicated to Eugene and Marie von Bruenchenhein.

Posted by Jerome at 05:40 PM | TrackBack

October 15, 2005

Nobody Owns Green

by Jerome du Bois

If I object to the crescent on an Islamic flag because it reminds me of a bloodthirsty scimitar, and how much Muslims love to kill and kill and kill with this knife, where do I register my objection?

Right here on this blog.

Every time I see that deadly curve I think of Daniel Pearl and Nicholas Berg and Fabrizio Quattrocchi, the baker / security guard who leapt from his knees to his feet before the cowardly Muslim thugs who would kill him, tearing at his hood and shouting, ”VI FACCIO VEDERE COME SA MORIRE UN ITALIANO!”

I think of Theo van Gogh, murdered in the coldest blood on recent record while begging for reason, slaughtered by another "devout" Muslim coward with two knives after being brought down by the bastard's bullets.

I think of over one million Armenians murdered by Muslim Turks, who are now, barely a century later and barely improved in their behavior, knocking on the borderless European Union's door.

I think of pervasive and ongoing Islamic fratricide and sororicide, and the mutilation of their young.

But I can't do anything about that crescent image, on green flag after green flag after green flag, and the horrors it both reminds me of and precurses (because it isn't over, and won't be for years). I just have to live with it, and slam Islam with the abundant, dolorous, bloody facts, whenever I can stomach it.

Mark Steyn writes that British dhimmitude is beyond parody because of the recent pig-image ban in a British Council office for the sake of a single Muslim, and because they're actually debating about St.George's Cross on the British Flag (Crusades, y'know).

Islamic arrogance is not only beyond parody, it is beyond belief. They don't think they have to live with it. They think others have to change for their sake, even when Muslims are guests in foreign lands. In Kristiansand (think what it means), Norway, teacher Inge Telhaug has been forbidden to wear his Star of David because it might offend Muslim students. (He is not Jewish.) Robert Spencer's Dhimmi Watch quotes Aftenposten:

"I see it as the oldest religious symbol we have in our culture, because without Judaism there would be no Christianity," said Telhaug.

The principal of the school, Kjell Gislefoss, feels that the Star of David can also be interpreted as a political symbol for the state of Israel, and is afraid the star can provoke and offend students, for example immigrants from the Palestinian territories.

"The Star of David would be a symbol for one side in what is perhaps the world's most inflamed conflict at the moment. Many have a traumatic past that they have escaped and then we feel that if they are going to learn Norwegian then they can't sit and at the same time be reminded of the things they have traveled from," Gislefoss said.

Boo-hoo. Muslims, especially Palestinian Muslims, have got victimization down cold. They are the most sly and vicious operators of all. Does this mean if some little Muslim brat is walking down the street and here comes someone with a T-shirt with a big blue Star of David on it, he's going to curl up into a fetal ball and start to wail on and on about being oppressed? Yes, probably, with civil suits following.

Muslims want to make the world the ummah, where they control everything, down to the color green. It's not going to happen, of course, but I predict their demands will just grow louder.

Here in metro Phoenix we now have another Muslim K-12 school, with the taqiyya-toned name Arizona Cultures Academy. There is only one culture at this school: Islam. For a mere $6000 per year, traditional and affluent Valley Muslims can make sure their children are sheltered from the United States while in school.

They're in for a rude awakening when they graduate. And if they start to whine and moan that life ain't like high school --well, welcome to adulthood. And if they think they're going to bend the laws their way, towards sharia, I think they'll be meeting the tidal wave that is only a groundswell now.

No dhimmis here. Ever. No sharia in the USA. Ever. Nobody owns green.

Posted by Jerome at 11:45 AM | TrackBack

October 10, 2005

Beauty Summons Its Nemeses From The Seething Hive Of Envy [Updated]

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The Psychedelic Leprechaun, dress by Catherine King, 2003-2005, detail of six-layered flounce. (Do you see those thin satin lines, reader? She laid each one down herself.)

by Jerome du Bois

Well, that didn't take long.

Some pseudonymous, cowardly, presumable fashon designer, who hides behind the moniker outofthered, tries to trash Catherine King and her latest dress on Angela Johnson's labelhorde discussion board, with pathetic results. Go read, and come back for further comments.

I was going to try to get that photograph off the forum website, but why? Leave it. Hell, enlarge it. I'm proud of it, and her. Go on, everybody, look at it; take as many minutes as you want, and later, when Catherine posts more about it, with photographic details, go find outofthered and see what he or she has been doing lately, creatively. Go now and compare it with anything Angela Johnson or labelhorde or anyone in the Valley has presented in the recent past.

In fact, here is the challenge to Angela Johnson and outofthered and every so-called fashion designer in the Valley who has access to this blog: send us the image of the dress that can stand up to, or beside, The Psychedelic Leprechaun.

You first, outofthered.

We're waiting, lightweights.

UPDATE (10/11): And now on that discussion board you can see the truth of my title. Apparently, outofthered is a photoshopper, not a fashion designer, otherwise he would have posted a photo of his own work instead of two photos of Catherine and her work. No chops at all; instead the lowest form of criticism, right out of third grade, which is about his intellectual and reading level. (By the way, if I'm wrong about his gender, so what?)

Again, as with the local art yokels, outofthered and Angela Johnson make the mistake of thinking we envy them, and want to join them. Why would we do that? We have made clear that it's The House Of Not For Sale. And it's Outsider Haute Couture. We don't want any part of the local fashion scene. We just outshine it, and will keep doing so.

Surprisingly to me, Susan DiStaulo, Johnson's partner, gets it:

i really liked that catherine king dress! i tought it was quite creative and interesting. as someone who does so much handwork ( so much so that my hands are in bandages now) i appreciated all the energy and handwork in that garment. looked like a labour of intense dedication and love of art.

Exactly.

Posted by Jerome at 04:20 PM | TrackBack

October 08, 2005

Catherine at Carmen

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Portrait of Catherine King in The Psychedelic Leprechaun by Jerome du Bois, October 8, 2005. All rights reserved. Do not copy in any form.

by Jerome du Bois

Exactly a year and a month ago, I published "The Fashion Designers' New Clothes," which featured the unfinished version of the dress you see finished above --The Psychedelic Leprechaun, Outsider Haute Couture created for and worn by Catherine King. (One photo detail lost in the earlier article will be made up later when Catherine herself posts about this dress, its background, its wider history, and its making. These are just my notional jottings for now.)

She wore it to the Arizona Opera's opening of Carmen Thursday night, and I couldn't have been more proud to have her on my arm. There we were, on the opening night of the cultural season in Phoenix, attending one of the half-dozen emblematic operas of the world, and she was bedecked as the essence of gypsy and flamenco, in a dress that began with a single ribbon's width --the width of life's fragility-- and never widened.

This dress was made in strips no wider than an inch-and-a-half; made of ribbons, and strips and circles from an outrageous voile dressing gown bought from a second-hand shop. And sewn together obsessively by both machine and hand. By her alone. Made with no pattern at all, and no comfortable wide swatches or bolts of cloth to begin with. And why did it take over two years to finish? I just told you: life's fragility. But we're here, all right, aren't we? bigger than life, as all of Phoenix's cultural cognoscenti saw Thursday night.

No other woman even came close. (Details not in the photo above included lace stockings and lace fingerless gloves I call "the gauntlets" and a jet-bead choker.) We know this because we promenaded back and forth on the ground floor before the performance and during both intermissions, weaving our way among the crowds, looking in vain for style, me occasionally pointing the way with my new stick, the crown of which features a woman's head, her long silver hair blowing back in the wind.

Wait until you see Catherine's outfit for The Threepenny Opera. Marlene Dietrich weeps.

Looking good at living well is the best revenge.

Posted by Jerome at 07:15 PM | TrackBack

October 05, 2005

Ghouls and Fools

by Jerome du Bois

I follow the posts and comments at Franklin Einspruch's artblog fairly regularly, in the manner of one looking through a microscope. In the past, I'd be right in there with them. But this is a better way, at antiseptic distance; and with comments closed, no nattering, finger-waving rude jerks can bother us.

Franklin certainly has lively, frequent, and timely commenters. When he posts something, somebody's usually right there, and then the rest come in fairly promptly, staking out their positions, making their cases. Six days ago he posted about his trip to Montreal; 43 comments. Five days ago he posted about Henri Manguin; 47 comments, complete with Photoshopped examples. Four days ago he posted about more landscape painting; 98 comments and counting, intricate stuff about "experience" and "content."

Two days ago he posted enthusiastically about going to see an exhibition of plasticized actual human bodies, who may have been mainland Chinese political prisoners. Near the end of the post he wrote:

Is the exhibit art? No, it's an elaborate natural history display. Is it moral? Probably not. Am I going? Aw yeah.

Well, that stinks.

Fourteen comments. First, as usual, comes oldpro, some semi-famous artist whose name everybody is not supposed to mention. He objects, which is the right thing to do --but he's the same guy who makes a cannibalistic joke near the end of the thread. Go check it out yourself and see how only one person --China is Evil-- recognizes the truth; and note the conspicuous absence of all the other regular commenters. I guess arguing about human dignity is not as important as arguing about that "thingy" in the Manguin painting.

Everybody in mainland China is a political prisoner, no?

Yes.

Franklin Einspruch owes Asia so much, from the food he prefers to the martial arts he practices to the philosophy he espouses. Perhaps one of the "exhibits" will be in the lotus position.

But even if they weren't Asian, these are actual human bodies. I know, we live in the Rebarb, in the age when many --ghouls and fools-- enjoy the suffering of others, so this desecration hasn't stopped millions of people from filing through to see them. But it stops me. I strenuously object to this disgrace, and if I hear it's coming near Phoenix I'll see what I can do to thwart it.

Posted by Jerome at 06:50 AM | TrackBack

October 03, 2005

Tentative Fall Schedule

by Jerome du Bois

As I noted in the last post, we'll be laying off the local art scene for most of the rest of the year. We won't be missing anything, of course. Phoenix is stuck in a Randy Slack painting.

Instead, we'll be concentrating on The New Mango, and things in the larger world which catch our attention, and Catherine will also be developing a number of continuing sidebars, to wit:

The House Of Not For Sale. This will be a sidebar of fashion design, fashion writing, and fashion photography, where Catherine displays and explains her creations. For example:

· The Psychedelic Leprechaun, a custom-made flamenco dress; images coming soon.

· My GaultiQueen, which is the fusion of a Gaultier kilt and a McQueen pencil skirt.

· The Backward Shirt; the long-sleeved white business shirt re-reinterpreted.

· In The Beginning There Was Lots Of Lace; lots of garments embellished, altered, and improved with lace.

The Reaper's Gallery. Ghost Photo Art and Slideshows, including:

· Enchanted by Day/Haunted by Night

· Tree of Everlasting Life

· Little House in the Big Graveyard (interior shots)

Close Encounters of the Bird Kind. Nature photography and slideshows of parrots, quail, and hummingbirds.

And at the end of October Catherine will post a solid, sober piece entitled Sn*ff *rt.

Posted by Jerome at 04:31 PM | TrackBack

Suicide Is Painfull

[We don't rise to bait, certainly not rotten bait. Sometimes we receive what I call "rocket" emails, inflammatory or needling missives, entirely fictional and by anonymous authors, designed to get some kind of rise out of us, some post foaming with anger and indignation. Not long ago some bozo with a made-up name, which I'll change to Edsel Farkblather, harrumphed for a couple of padded paragraphs about my credentials as an art critic: did I spend the requisite three summers in Europe, for example? Well, I tellya, I nearly swallered my toothpick. That one was funny and pathetic, and I was tempted to have fun fisking it, but then I decided it was just elbow-jiggling designed to distract us from our larger interests, so I ignored it.

But this latest pseudonymous email cruelly exploits human death and Cuba, and it's probably by some local yokel, so I'll post about it, since we won't be writing about the local art scene for at least three months, and probably much longer. It's an appropriate sayonara.]

by Jerome du Bois

It isn't often you receive suicide emails. Never, in our experience, and that remains the case, because the one we received a couple of days ago is a crude, cruel fabrication, made more cruel since its crux is Cuba, the country with one of the highest suicide rates in the world (hat tip to Babalu). Over one hundred thousand Cubans have committed suicide on that island over the last fifty years; around 2,000 per year, though we suspect the graph describes an ascending curve, as despair overfills more souls.

Two days after we posted one of the most powerful sections of our Cuban novel so far, we got this tacky, sophomoric, lugubrious email about one of the Cuban artists we referred to in one post of our Cuban art series over a year ago, on April 7, 2004. He was an unfortunate young man named Pedro Alvarez, who killed himself in Tempe, Arizona, by jumping from his fifth-floor hotel balcony, while his paintings stood in a solo exhibition at ASU Art Museum across the street.

Then the author of the email, "Juan Huerta," (whose sitemeter hit traces to Bern, Switzerland, go figure) announces his own impending end --to us, total strangers. Riiight. This is a high-school level psych-ops outing by (a) someone jealous of our writing, or (b) someone who is angry that when you google "Kathleen Vanesian," we're still at the top. (The whole email is reprinted at the end of this post.)

But that post was not a review of Pedro Alvarez's artwork, nor a take on his death; it was called "Over His Dead Body: Kathleen Vanesian, Neo-Colonialist," and it was about liberals' attitudes towards the embargo, using Ms. Vanesian's own words. And the dead body in the title didn't necessarily refer to Pedro Alvarez. As I put it then:

. . . the prisons fill, the people die. Did you think my title referred to Pedro Alvarez's dead body? Maybe. Or maybe I'm talking about Lorenzo Copello Castillo, or Bárbaro Sevilla García, or Jorge Luis Martínez Isaac -- all three summarily executed for the nonviolent hijacking of a ferryboat. Maybe I'm talking about each unharmful, gentle soul, misplaced inside a jail, who killed himself or was murdered and nobody knows or will know as he rolls away unrevenged.

The whole point of the Cuban Art Series itself was to show the hypocrisy of Cuban artists and those who support them; and how their actions reinforce and try to legitimize castro's regime, and how they all pocket lots of what's green and folds.

Pedro Alvarez, every moment while here, was one step from freedom as well as from death. All he had to do was go ask for asylum --and then, if he needed it, therapy. (Fifty Cuban dancers asked for asylum earlier this summer, and they already have a new gig.) He was as dryfoot as he could be. While he was here breathing the free air of America, hundreds of innocent Cubans tried to breathe the thick, stinking, fetid air of their cells, their living coffins, teeming with insects and flies. He never said a word for them, as far as I know. He never stood up for them. At least, he did not go on record doing so.

Instead, he jumped into a black hole and escaped from life and its responsibilities. And, like all suicides, he selfishly left a mess for others to clean up. Suicides always piss me off. I've lived twice as long as Pedro Alvarez has, I've scraped bottom more than once, looked lovingly into the abyss more than once. But just facing every damned day as it comes trumps every alternative, so here I am, kicking ass more than ever.

Then along comes this truly boneless, spineless gusano -- another anonymondo, weeping and moaning:

I am writing to you now because I am considering suicide myself and I am sure I am not far at all from a prompt and happy departure; however, I had to write to you before taking my own life just to tell you that you were not fair to Pedro Alvarez. You owe him one.

I already gave him one. I acknowledged his death, posted his photo, and wrote "another one done too soon." He should still be here, I made clear. Now, I had never even heard of the guy when he was alive, but my position on his hypocrisy doesn't change just because he's dead.

I wonder if the psych-ops anonymondo sent similar suicide emails to people like Kathleen Vanesian and Marilyn Zeitlin, who knew the dead man.

a prompt and happy departure

The Cubans who commit suicide do it promptly but not happily --"hanging, wrist-cutting, jumping out windows, a shot to the head"-- actually, I'm surprised at the latter: where do they get the gun, and then the bullets?-- because they can't afford pills, for example, or any kind of gas for a monoxide job. They can't lie back like Petronius in his warm-water, rose-scented marble bath, surrounded by his household gods, with a goblet of wine and a blade you can't even feel. No; they go out ugly, broken and twisted, and where?

anyhow in a corner, some untidy spot
Where the dogs go on with their doggy life and the torturer's horse
Scratches its innocent behind on a tree.

I don't care to speculate on the identity of the author of this cruel email. Too many in the Rebarb fit the profile. Hell, Catherine and I came up with list of about two dozen locals before we could finish a glass of wine. Local or wherever, such a cavalier attitude toward such a profound act reveals once again the sociopathic shallowness, the cackling laugh at sincerity, that marks the ragged end of Decadence.

But the zombie's laugh is always hollow. We work to silence it.

CODA:Here's that clown's email:

You wrote about Pedro Alvarez not too long ago and I just got disgusted with your lack of almost everything. I must say the only thing you have is a blog and a name that will pop up if you google it, which I know makes you really, really happy. I can actually picture you googling yourself several times a day just to make sure you're there.

You didn't give Pedro the opportunity to talk about his work. I don't know and I don't care about the what kind of grudge you're holding on to the folks that somehow got to do with his work. And let me tell you, you might be right or wrong about them ˆ but I don't care either.

I just think that you didn't give Pedro the opportunity to talk about his work, and his life.

You really wish your lousy drawings and pieces of writing were as good as Pedro's.

I read your article by mistake, about a year ago. I felt bad, but since I don't care about you, I didn't post any comments at the time. I do care about Pedro though; just thinking and smiling about the good ways in which, calmly, he would have put you in the right place with just a couple of words.

I am writing to you now because I am considering suicide myself and I am sure I am not far at all from a prompt and happy departure; however, I had to write to you before taking my own life just to tell you that you were not fair to Pedro Alvarez. You owe him one.

You owe him one because you know little about him, his art and Cuba. You think you know, but you don't. Now, go ahead and keep on talking and writing about things you don't know. Go ahead and keep on talking and writing about people who cannot talk back to you and give you the right answer. Go ahead and keep on showing your nature, what you are made of.

Juan

p.s.: Yes, just Juan, because I am trying to save you time from googling me, as you always do. I am not there dude, and I won't. By the way, consider me gone.

Of course he doesn't get the last word. Just one thing. People can talk to me anytime. Email is always open. Go ahead, as the dingaling said, and quote me big chunks of Pedro Alvarez's wisdom. Catherine and I have a novel to return to.

Happy trails, anonymondo.

Posted by Jerome at 10:40 AM | TrackBack