a small hiatus

well, it’s that time of year. the one where i try to finish everything in about 2 weeks. so, in honour of my sanity (and so that i DON’T end up with sticks up my nose and underwear on my head) i am taking a small break from the world of blogging.

don’t worry loyal fans (yes, that’s you mum) i will be back in april; we can only hope that it will be as a well-rested individual. cheers!

“wearing nothing but a fur coat”: lucia casati

while trying to figure out a theme for my upcoming birthday party (yes, i am actually five years old), i was scrounging around for pictures of 1920s women draped over things and found this one. who can resist the fur coat, jewels and cheetah on a leash combination??

Joseph Paget-Fredericks "La marchesa Luisa Casati" c.1940

Joseph Paget-Fredericks “La marchesa Luisa Casati” c.1940

given that my cat is not really cheetah sized and that putting her on a leash would probably be a supremely bad idea, i am going to have to skip the wildlife and settle for some serious sparkles. however, the whole point of this expedition was then to find out who this woman actually was. this LUISA CASATI… turns out, she was an italian marchesa who lived her life to “be a work of art” (sound familiar, LADY GAGA??). casati hosted the DIAGHILEV and the ballets russes, collected exotic animals and was generally pretty fabulous. unfortunately, being fabulous also cost a lot of money and by the1930s she was 25 million dollars in debt. whoops. casati went on to go where all poor nobility goes, LONDON, and died there in 1957.

interestingly, GEORGINA CHAPMAN’s fashion line, MARCHESA is named after her and apparently takes inspiration from our lovely , cheetah walking friend. you can also see CARINE ROITFELD, pre-baby, prance through vogue with a leopard here. obviously, it’s going to be as great birthday.

movie hunt: trying to find “generation war”

sometimes i love the internet, especially when it lets me watch GIRLS on a wednesday night, but when you’re trying to find new films its a real pain. you frequently find yourself rerouted through about 17 different file sharing programmes, with horrible names like “filesocker”, dodging continual demands for your credit card information and ads for “slutty asian girls”. truly the wild west out there.

“so hilft dein geld”, German c.1914-1918 image wikimedia.org

why bother?? well, to try and find the german war film series GENERATION WAR (unsere mütter unsere väter to be precise). i blame this entire saga on THE NEW YORKER, which tantalized me with its review of the trilogy this week. even though the review wasn’t all that steller, i can’t resist a good war film. the last german one i watched was the super A WOMAN IN BERLIN, which is also a brutal book; a very hard read to say the least. also out is the english production of THE BOOK THIEF, another great book about the war experience of the ordinary german during the second world war.

the proliferation of german films examining the second world war promises an interesting change in the presentation of the country during the war. unfortunately, the question of germany, and the role of its people in the rise and consecration of HITLER and his government , has been such a sensitive topic that it hasn’t really been discussed until after many survivors of the period are gone. while it is very good to see a dialogue opened, i can’t help but feel regret that it didn’t happen sooner, so that more people who lived through the period could comment.

a seussical campaign: dr. seuss and advertising

firstly, here’s to yet another move, as this rate i will have lived on every floor of my building at some point in my residency at the ivory tower. during this move i realised how many posters i have managed to amass under my bed. now that i have all this gaping and white wall space i’m practically forced to display them all, am i right???

courtesy of SWANN GALLERIES ltd. 2014

sufficed to say, one poster that i don’t have is the sketch above that recently went up for sale at SWANN GALLERIES last week, and (i am told by the lovely internets) sold for over 40 000$. aside from being the magician of children’s literature that he was, dr. seuss also had a pretty good career as a graphic designer, though i can’t help but think that his ads have some kind of subversive message that actually undermines the product. but that’s just me, ascribing meaning when there is none.

the problem with trying to find these is that they’re now exceptionally popular and unless you’re willing to give up that new car and several trips to belize, you’re pretty much stuck with repros. though, on paper stock of a good enough quality, even a repro is pretty good, especially if you frame it properly. (poster gods, please don’t strike me down, i don’t mean it !)

museum haiku: two weeks in my collections

i am a bad person and forgot to post last week. january, aside from being the monday of months, is also the month that seems to disappear down the drain. one freezing blink and we’re almost through it (thank the lord).

to sum up what prevented me from writing i have decided to go all contemporary art and make a word association list. bear with me. the last two weeks have whipped by with the following elements occurring: grenades in my desk, mannequin decapitation project, forms, forms, more forms, growing medal pile and unknown  bits of trench gear. perhaps the oddest of these is the decapitation project.

ryan the surgeon. cdotb 2014

ryan the surgeon. cdotb 2014

collections have tiny budgets, and ours even more so. when you’re faced with a room full of mannequins with disconcerting “model” heads and staring eyes, that look completely foolish in Great War gear, the creative solution is to enlist your shop helper to chop off their heads. yes. in a former life i may have been a columbian drug king pin or something.

i mean, why waste time covering their heads or buying new ones right?? the alberta girl waits for no budget.

identification problems: who was james bond

the problem with cataloguing memoirs from the post-war period is that everyone claims to be ian fleming’s inspiration for james bond. i mean everyone, women, men and small dogs (well, not really small dogs, but who knows??). apparently even the SOE spy peter churchill was some kind of inspiration. of course, none of these mentions the author himself, ian fleming.

as a member of wartime british intelligence, fleming was in contact with all sorts of strange people and has written that bond is a compendium of many of their most interesting traits.i assume this goes for the villains was well, though it’s kind of hard to imagine an actual person deciding to take over the american gold exchange using a high powered laser à la goldfinger.

i personally wonder where the idea for sean connery’s fabulous blue terry-cloth lounger came from, my favourite james bond moment. no one does terry-cloth like sean connery…

seeing off the year: otto dix at the glenbow museum

along with my traditional holiday cold, my trip back to sunny old alberta included a visit to the dusty dowager of museums; the glenbow. despite its wunderkabinet style storage area and interesting heritage, the glenbow just never seems to get it right. the last few years (well, who are we kidding? as long as i can remember) in the museum’s history have been marked by great shows, but a lack of vision as directors come and go, each bringing their own idea to the table and then quitting in the middle of implementation.

stormtroops advancing under gas. Otto Dix, 1924. etching and aquatint.

BUT the traveling shows booked by the glenbow are still great, and TRANSFORMATIONS was no different. i will admit that i went to for otto dix and not (as a most good canadians should) for the paintings by GROUP OF 7-er a.y. jackson. my companion and i both found ourselves mostly focused on old otto and his sketches of the Western Front. despite his creepy subject matter (the mord series is particularly awful), dix just grabs your imagination in way that no carefully stylized tree stumps can (sorry a.y. but i stand by my opinion).

other than that, my trip back to the motherland was pretty fun. i even managed to catch up on some reading (get donna tartt’s THE GOLDFINCH, people!!!). seems my new years resolution (terrible things, those) will be to clean out the paper drawer under my bed. its raging out of control…