Re: the Decline and Fall of Halloween in the Castro ....
I haven't actually gone to the Castro's Halloween thing in years. Used to go every year back in the early 80s, but as I've gotten older (and more cantankerous -- or perhaps just lazy or something), I've come to realization that I generally just don't like celebrations involving big crowds and all. So, these days I usually avoid most types of big street fairs and other assorted crowd-bashes.
Still, hearing year after year about the various changes to the Castro Halloween bash and how every year it seems to become more and more a controlled commercial event, I can't help but feel a bit of a loss. Of something.
This article Corpy seizes Castro Halloween Bash! has the details about the corporate "hostile" takeover of the Castro Halloween bash. A little excerpt:
City officials have reported that more than 300 police officers will roam the streets of the festival to enforce the drinking ban. The event's website cheerily announces, "As you arrive at the event, you will pass through gates where you'll be checked for alcohol and/or weapons and volunteers from one of our community partners will be collecting donations. Once inside, four exciting stages of entertainment await. Featuring live performers, DJs, costume contests and much more, there's something for everyone this year."
Oh, yeah, party down .....
I came across this article about Halloween a few days ago when I was indulging in a little general reading. I just couldn't resist clicking on the link when I saw its title -- Halloween: Not just for 'hoodlums and morons'! The first line makes a pretty good and concise point: "A controversial and resilient holiday, Halloween has long had to fend off criticism."
The article goes on to describe quite a few historical instances of the kinds of tugs-of-war over Halloween that have happened between various so-called "reformers" and revellers.
It mentions this particularly interesting (and mostly forgotten) one:
In 1950, the Judiciary Committee of the United States Senate recommended Halloween be reformed. They argued it should be renamed "Youth Honor Day" in order to help "direct the activities of young people into less-destructive channels on Halloween day of each year."
I remember hearing of this one before and what this article doesn't include about this attempt of the Senate to reform the holiday is that the "honor" part of this proposed new holiday was not to honor youth, per se, as the title would seem to imply, but that youth were supposed to pledge an oath of honor to behave and be good model citizens on this day.
Uh-huh. I would hope the youth of the time honored Halloween productively and tp-ed a few Senatorial mansions -- thus, showing they understood how to be good American citizens already by a little honorable dissent by tissue.
I don't actually happen to know the whole history of that particular Senate legislative attempt, so I do not know how the Senate's proposal failed. It'd be interesting to know, really.
Just am glad they did.
So, in a way, the fact that the Castro bash has been subjected to "reform" is no modern travesty, but rather a very traditional turn for Halloween revelling. And it doesn't mean the revel must stop. It just means the revellers will move elsewhere.
As it seems, they always will. As that is, mayhaps, the spirit of Halloween!
It is the day before Halloween but celebration and costume madness has already begun here on the Gulf Coast! In the French Quarter alone, I have a multitude of theme events to choose from.
What seems to be all the rage in terms of themes for events for everyone else this year? Here in New Orleans, there is a strong Post-Apocalyptic Future slant to many events a la Blade Runner, Mad Max, Fifth Element, Gattica, Underworld, Matrix and so on. UV Reactive clothing is also highly encouraged for many of these. This futuristic slant is also coupled with fetish fashion, comic book characters, sleek (as opposed to mainstream) superhero types, and Japanese anime concepts. Veddy interesting indeed. Tonight is Zombie Thriller night at the 80's retro club, 1984 and I finally decided my costume is going to be ghostly Cathy from Wuthering Heights. I have no idea which of my other costume ideas I will settle on for the next four days of debauchery! Most of the bars and clubs here are open 24/7 anyway, and some are doing continuous Halloween events. Sleep? What's THAT?! Anyhow, I will have throw-away cameras with me and I assume Le Marquis will have his digital with him, and we shall regale you all with pics in the very near future.
But enough about New Orleans - What's all the rage in in other regions this Halloween? How about San Fran?! Are they REALLY going to close off the Castro area and CHARGE ADMISSION?! How very Republican of them. Give us the scoop in Comments, people! What are your costume ideas, party themes, etc.
And where the HELL is my Heathcliff,
The Last of Old Halloween.
On the first real brisk day of Fall (we had 90 degree weather over the weekend) myself and the Mister went down to a pumpkin patch near the Bay Marshes in Berkeley and picked up our pumpkins. We looked at every last one til we found the perfect pair, loaded them in the truck and scurried home (along a circuitous route via Target & sushi).
This is causing a bit of a hullabaloo, apparently on both sides of the socio-political spectrum.
Barbie The Hot Pagan Witch/It's the bimbo blond doll's latest Wicca-like
incarnation, ready to "poison" young girls' minds
By Mark Morford, SF Gate Columnist
She got purty eyes.
K. Who's goin' booze shopping tonight? Mr. Head picked me up a bottle of Godiva likker, I bet we could whip something up.
Am I going to have to mention "Secret Spells Barbie"?
Ho ho ho and a bottle o' vodka. This is a funny article -- They drink this stuff? from the LA Times.
The Marquis will have to enlighten me as to how widespread the phenomenon is for these "black cocktails" in the bartending scene. I'm afraid I'm not familiar with this type o' vodka. I think you should "review" it for us!
Of the recipes printed with the article, I thought this one, however, sounds like the best -- they said it was basically a black Kamikaze. Ooooh, and we all know how suicidal (do forgive the pun) THOSE are. And the name. Oh, the name. Are you sitting down, Kallisti? I think someone came up with a cocktail for vous!
It's called the BLACK PLAGUE.
Here's the recipe:
1 1/2 ounces Blavod black vodka
1 ounce triple sec
1/2 ounce fresh lime juice
1. Pour the vodka, triple sec and lime juice into a cocktail shaker half-filled with ice. Shake and strain into a chilled old-fashioned glass.
The recipe notes it's served at some SoCal club called Ghoul Skool. Melusine, as you just visited LA not that long ago, have you heard of that one? Or did you see any of these nefarious concoctions when you were gadflying about?
I am reaching meltdown with the vast empire that is Sepulchritude.com and all its client countries, er, domains.
Not those of the other editors, but my own. All my projects are so scattered and fractured.
In the olden days, all my pages resided on The Chapel Perilous off of the main directory. And then I started registering domains for the more popular sections. Absinthe & porn, who'da guessed!
And then I started sections not depending on The Chapel Perilous at all, like Blastmilk.com & my miniatures.
And then I started these happy posting pages here and on Blastmilk.
And I look at the old pages and think "How fractured"! I want to scream.
Originally the idea of registering Sepulchritude.com was so that all four editors resided under one umbrella domain. It didn't really work out that way, and I've just made a mess of it.
So I think it might be time to retire "The Chapel Perilous" and move all my personal stuff to one of my existing domains, or register a new one.
Like Kallistiland.com! It could have a storybook fantasy land look to it... like my favorite tiny Kallisti haunt at Children's Fairy Land in Oakland.
There was an old woman, who lived in a shoe.
You know the story.
Is easily counted by domain registrations:
"I am lost. I am lost." - Raquel Welch in The Three Muskateers
Had two super book finds at Half Price Books in Berkeley today!
Finally found a copy of "Gamiani, or Two Nights of Excess" by Alfred de Musset in English translation. I've been dying to read it since I saw the illustrations from an 1830's edition in Erotica Universalis. I got this 1968 paperback edition for $.48. Here's a blurb from the inside flap:
"Two Voluptuous nights by a party of three..."
That was how Gamiani was described when it first appeared in 1833, Until an 1864 edition revealed otherwise, the book was widely believed to be fiction; but then it was labeled a true journal of pleasure, with its three main characters thinly disguised as models of real people.
The man called "Alcide" in the book was unmasked as Gamiani's author, the famous classicist Alfred de Musset. The course sensuality and lewd appetites of "Alcide" were described as archtypical of the celebrated French poet.
Gamiani's "Countess de C." was shown to be Alfred de Musset's sometime mistress--the Comtesse Morton de Chabrillon--whose ravaging nymphomania had shocked even the corrupt voluptuaries of 19th-century France.
And "Fanny B."--portrayed in Gamiani as a virgin whose seduction elevated both her mistress and master--was, in actuality, the famed female poet who wrote under the masculine name of George Sand.
Gamiani thus became one of the most important documents of its time. With its clever mixture of fact and fiction, it gave--and continues to give--true insight of literary France before the 20th century.
"Die Mode der Jahrhunderte"!!!
Translates to "The Fashion of the Centuries" or something. (must bug German speaking friends).
And yes, it is aaaall in German.
A gorgeous 1910 Art Nouveau bookie-poo of the history of fashion. Roughly 9"x12", it has lots of gorgeous little art nouveau things in it. Aside from the lavishly illustrated fashions, the second half of the book includes calendars and almanacs, ledgers for every purpose and a gatefold tear away notepaper pad that unfolds in the back, with little slots that presumably held envelopes.
I am absolutely squirming with delight. Did you see the Salome? I don't have that one yet! Also, loved the monkey header.
I know I was warned over a year ago. But it is WRONG, WRONGWRONGWRONG WRONG!
Waah. I cry.
How come they don't have wallpaper of her head in an oven?
On other, happier Lit Notes, Dorian Gray with George Sanders was on for Oscar's birthday the other night. And I LOVE young Angela Lansbury. So there.
The script even gives ole George Sand a nod, when Lord Henry is playing Chopin.
"Nowadays most people die of a sort of creeping common sense, and discover when it is too late that the only things one never regrets are one's mistakes." -- Oscar Wilde
I've re-resigned myself to public transit to ferry myself to and from the work place. The major benefit (aside from the lack of 3487 parking tickets) is that I get about 1.5 hours a day of uninterrupted reading time. Which means I get to recommend more books.
Now, the past year has been a busy one, so while I've kept adding to my library, I haven't actually been reading any of it, until now. I've begun to tear through my hoard of books (and it is quite a hoard).
This one "An Underground Education: The Unauthorized and Outrageous Supplement to Everything You Thought You Knew About Art, Sex, Business, Crime, Science, Medicine, and Other Fields of Human Knowledge" by Richard Zacks is a doozey. It's one of those anthologies of thousands of nifty tidbits of information that will make you giggle and squirm... often uncomfortably.
Me and Richard go way back. I first read his "History Laid Bare: Love, Sex & Perversity" when I was living in New Orleans in the late 90's and working on the original incarnation of Sepulchritude & The Chapel Perilous. HLB had some great passages about Pietro Aretino, and Richard being one of the few authors to actually freely, willy nilly even, hand out his email address online, I wrote him for permission to include a passage on Aretino in my smut section, now Pornokrates.com. We got to chatting, one thing lead to another, and we began discussing decapitation, as I had just put up Decollete, and he was going to be including a passage about "The Heads of Auguste & Abel Pollet" and the Guillotine in his upcoming book.
Well, as it turns out "An Underground Eduction" is the book, and the lovely Auguste & Abel show their lovely mugs on the pages within.
In any case, if you like this site, and the crap we read, you'll love this book. I'm GLUED to it. I have to say I am impressed by Mr. Zach's restraint in some cases, and his research, not relying popular myth & hysteria because the story is cool. He even notably mentions that Lucrezia Borgia was not as bad as history has made her out to be. Thank you.
History, often, is better than fantasy.
Well, except where Tanith is concerned.
Melusine and I are both rabid Tanith Lee fans... so I thought I'd mention her latest has just arrived on my desk from Amazon:
Did I say rabid? I need a seperate bookshelf just to house my Tanith collection. I even have multiple copies of the same books with different covers. I reminded my stepmother recently that it was all her fault. When I was twelve she gave me her copies of "Don't Bite the Sun" & "Death's Master"... I've been rapaciously hooked ever since.
This will be my BART book next week, which reminds me, I meant to recommend my BART book from the last two weeks. Hrm, be right back...
Halloween is a joyful time of year. But this is scary:
Just testing really my ability to post on here. Although here's an amusing little link I stumbled across last week: Latin for Breakups (1 of 3).
The new season has begun!
I gave last weekend a miss (we're currently deep in the middle of a Sopranos marathon, trying to watch all 3 seasons in two weeks).
But this Sunday is "The Warrior Queen" by Andrew Davies (or P&P fame) based on the legends of Boudica, Queen of the Iceni, a Celtic tribe facing down the Roman's during the reigns of Claudius (yes, Claw-claw again!) and Nero.
As a teenager I was obsessed with Celtic history and mythology, and Boudica/Boudicca/Boadicea's story loomed large. She is the quintessential warrior woman, the original Xena, and as matter of fact, made an appearence in the Xena show played by Jennifer Ward-Lealand of Desperate Remedies .
In the Warrior Queen the insurmountable Boudica will be played by Alex Kingston of yummy "Moll Flanders" fame, also featured on Masterpiece Theater a few years ago.
Happy Boudica info from the Masterpiece Theater site...
For Morrigan: Halloween Lawn Goose Outfits
(Please note, my husband bought halloween spooky socks then cut off the foot so the flamingoes could have spooky scarves.)
On September 23rd 2003 I finally completed a four month long overhaul of the absinthe site at FeeVerte.net.
Sparked on by repeated plagiarism of the site and logo, I felt a complete overhaul with a design lacking one specific identifiable logo to steal was in order.
But because I added a brand new section on Absinthiana & Collectibles, and included a complete overhaul of the Buyer's Guide, the project took longer than I orginally thought. Not too mention alot of real life happening between the cracks (I got married and moved in August!).
So please, go visit: http://www.feeverte.net
I've also installed and set up brand new forum software that is very up to date and hip! Wow!
Just moved into a new house, complete with porch and front yard so the first weekend in October was dedicated to spookification.
I also picked up this book: "Death Makes a Holiday: A cultural history of Halloween" by David J. Skal which I had tried to pick up last year this season and it had been sold out. A yummy public transport read chock full o' October bliss.
"Modern, mass-media histories of Halloween -- the kind that proliferate, sound-bite-style, every October -- often leave the impression that the holiday has been handed down, more or less intact, from Celtic antiquity (similarly hollow claims are often made for the very modern religion of Wicca). In reality, contemporary Halloween is a patchwork holiday, a kind of cultural Frankenstein stitched together quite recently from a number of traditions, all fused beneath the cauldron-light of the American melting pot."
That said the cultural roots of the holiday aren't any less fascinating. I'll quote more from the book as I progress.
"The Manchurian Candidate"? Plagiarizing Grave's "I, Claudius"? Indeed!
Welcome to our news blog! For chitter chatter on what is going on with the site(s) and the wider world of being a Sepulchritudian. More later... I got fonts to putz with.