Archive for Carolina Hardigree

Swimming Pool Mermaid

Posted in Art Lover, I Heart Mermaids, I Heart My Love-Tribe, Sideshow Siren & Bearded Lady with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 22, 2010 by alphabetfiend
 
According to NPR the first official day of summer was yesterday. Tonight’s 6 o’clock news sez today’s the day.      

My body feels it — the summerness — and so I crave chlorine. That wavy blue scent crosses my mind in soaked zig-zags, activating that sparkly spot at the base of my spine… right above my ass crack, where my sequin-esque scales used to be.                

“It isn’t true what they say about mermaids not existing. I know they do for I’ve held one’s hand.” (Robert Fulghum)               

I’m a mermaid.               

Like how transsexual men claim to have a woman inside? Or how fat chicks claim to have a skinny chick whose trying to claw her way out? I have a mermaidy-ness that can’t be fought. She flaps her fins and I dive in.               

It’s always been that way. I’ve always mourned those missing scales, the mythic inside the human.               

I heard the siren song.               

I’d spend hours in the pool, ducking under and holding my breath, ticking away the mississippis until I could go for minutes without air. My cousin Autumn and I would play princess — spoiled mermaid princesses — with a doting Sea-King father and run of the ocean. We’d spin in the deep end, round and round and down like shimmering tornados. As the sun set, we were tired and smiley with skin like plump golden raisins.                

Unlike most kids — picky eaters who subsist on hot dogs and kraft mac n’ cheese — I gobbled raw oysters with abandon, slurping their salty-sweet meat & brine straight from the half-shell. I plucked the pink from the lobster’s red claw. I devoured scallops, mussels, mahi mahi, peachy fleshy salmon steaks. I sucked up the seaweed in my miso.                

My dad was amused by mermaid-me, cracking into my lobster and feeding me the buttery bits like he was tossing sardines to a circus seal.               

My mom, not so much. She grew weary of cleaning up my watery messes — sloshing over the tub with my tail, waves crashing onto the aqua marine tiles. She refused to make tuna fish when sloppy joes were on the stove. She struggled to twist my mop of tangled curls into elaborate french braids (more befitting of my mermaid fantasies.)               

Mom concedes that my inner mermaid came in handy the day I miraculously made it outta the deserted motel swimming pool, even though I was three and didn’t know how to swim. Over time I became a strong swimmer, self-taught and funny-lookin’ yet oddly capable. I could tread water for hours and I even swam across Stony Lake, and then around the perimeter, at Camp Storer. I was also the lone swimmer at the camp’s ass-crack of dawn “Polar Bear Swim”  — they even honored me for it with song & dance. Though I’m sure the lifeguard who met me daily, in the dark, would’ve liked that extra hour in her sleeping bag.                  

I’ve suspected the swish of a tail that wasn’t there and I sway with an unexplainable slosh in my hips.               

In Junior High, I was late for class and splashing down a long empty hallway, except it wasn’t so empty. Behind me, at least 20 feet back, was a loping skulking metal head named Lee. Looking a lot like Tommy of the same name, of Motley Crue fame, Lee was a campus legend. Rumor was, Lee drove a blue Camaro to his 8th grade classes. I was new to 7th grade when Lee called out from the distant shadows:               

If you shake that thing any harder, it’s gonna fall off!               

I was mortified — how dare this horny metal-head burn-out bum think for even one second that my mermaid moves were meant for him. It wasn’t about that for me — sex, seduction, show-offery — and so I tried to re-train myself. I tried to curtail my tail, as it were. Still, the scaly slither stayed with me. I’d pull it out in the safety of black streets or back alleyways. It was my secret mermaid strut. Not so secret after a few drinks, when I’m walking hand-in-hand to the ladies room with Lina or rushing the stage in all my rock & roll fineries. Platform boots, beat-up Stones tee and tiara. What can I say? Sometimes a Mer-Queen’s gotta get out & play.              

Now I’m all grown-up, with no desire to be 10 again, but I still slip into a bath and feel a fairy-tale release as the water rises over my slippery breasts. I’ve slept with 4 men but only 3 of them have seen me naked. Though I’m sure Mr. Three would object to my funny math; he may even have Polaroids to offer up as proof. Except it was a pretend camera the time I posed for all those imaginary click click clicks. (The Minolta in his mind took some really racy piks! Good thing there’s no negatives.) OK, I was nude around him, I confess… but he never held my buoyant body or tasted the salty sea on my collarbone or felt the powerful snap of my tail. So in a strange way, he never really saw me. Did you, fucker, did you ever really sea me? Sea, I told you so.               

Is my mermaid fixation a fetish? An obsession with otherness? A window into my soulful longing for all that lies below the surface?               

Sure, I’ll go for it, whatever rocks your boat. Maybe you think I’m just like those gals who played My Little Pony and grew up wanting to marry Mr. Ed. If so, then you’re wrong wrong wrong so don’t even think it.               

After my sister nearly drowned in Mexico, I taught my little sisters to swim — to overcome their fears and find their fins. Sometimes you just gotta yield to the mermaid. There’s truth in pretend and freedom in fantasy. Connecting with your own mythos is a tune in turn on thing.              

Still don’t believe in real-life mermaids?              

I gotta get me a tail like that! I’ve gotta get rich quick, maybe publish sleazy pulp under a pen name. I’ll crank out a best-selling bodice-ripper under the name Sirena Wave. I want my very own mold-to-my-curves mermaid tail. It’s not just for looks! You can swim in these suckers!  The Mer-Tailor or Merfolktails are just two of the companies making custom tails for freaks like me. They’re pricey, of course, but I’m gonna get one some day. I swear on my scales.               

               

Until that day, I’ll make do with my own jerry-rigged tails which I’ve proudly sported at the Coney Island Mermaid Parade. It’s always this week in June and New York is calling to me like a sea nymph. Alas, it wasn’t meant to be this year. It’s on the 26th, all you squids & sea monsters! Sea-monkeys and mermaids! Even if you’re just a gullible sailor out to gawk at the finned femmes, go go go thee to Coney.               

               

A word about the incredible mermaid art:              

The mermaid with the white hair is a new piece by Carolina Hardigree, whom we adore here at Cream Scene Carnival. Rightly so! She’s been experimenting with a looser brush stroke lately. I wasn’t sure about it at first (Hardigree has a bounty of technical skill and I love her stark mythic style) but it really works in this piece. It expresses the mermaid’s fluid nature. To see more of Hardigree’s magical artwork, hit the Carolina Hardigree tag or check out her studio site .              

The submerged swimming pool siren is a stunning Jaroslaw Kukowski painting. Kukowski, a polish surrealist, often paints mermaids. The Bettie Page mermaid is by the famed Olivia. The geisha is by J. Michael Walker. The folk art “X” mermaid is by Junker Jane. The mer with the tangle of curls is by Rustic Goth The sketchy scales are by Gretchen Kelly Studio. Doesn’t Kelly’s sleepy siren look like a mermaid trying to slither from her sleeping bag in time for the Polar Bear Swim? It was only after I began to fit the already chosen artworks into the text that I realized how well Kelly’s drawing illustrated the Camp Storer story. Hooray for happy accidents! 

Many of these pieces are available for purchase or as prints, so contact the artists if you’ve fallen in love. 

But not the Hardigree! That’s mine! OK, you can have the Hardigree cause I’m po’ but treat her right. Carolina Hardigree (my “Lina”) is more of a forest nymph than a sea siren. She prefers 100 year old pines to the crashing chaos of the ocean. I could see a mermaid coming to her though, after an obsession with snake skin, after she painted herself with bright green reptilian scales, and then there were the mermaid heels. “I tried to get a pair for you too, ” she said, as I fondled the faux fish-scale texture. “But you’re feet are too small! No 5.” I cursed my geisha toes cause there’s something oddly perfect about mermaid highheels — say she wanted to go out and see Soundtrack since they’re her favorite band but damn the no-legs thing and then she meets a briny hag who gives her legs for one night as long as she wears her scales via these magical highheels. When Carolina Hardigree fell for a pair of mermaid highheels, I knew it wasn’t long before a mermaid arrived on her canvas.               

Tails can be had too: http://www.merfolktails.com/ or http://www.themertailor.com/ Also if you balk at the price then renting is an option.               

To learn more about The Annual Coney Island Mermaid Parade, check out the official Coney site. Coney Island needs our love these days, Y’all!

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Sonic Youth’s “Sacred Trickster” (Sunday AM Punk Rock Gospel)

Posted in Friendship, I Heart My Love-Tribe, I Heart Tricksters, Lipstick Shamaness, Mythos, Spirituality & Religion, Sunday AM Punk Rock Gospel, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 13, 2010 by alphabetfiend

Last Sunday was supposed to be a special birthday-honoring trickster-themed double edition of  The Punk Rock Gospel, but you know what they say about the road to hell…        

Despite my good intentions, I wasn’t able to swing both Gogol Bordello’s “When the Trickster Starts a Pokin”  and Sonic Youth’s “Sacred Trickster.”        

I was too busy eating bon-bons and being spoiled by the Robot Boy. No biggie. The glossy bow-topped packages and the birthday cake carried over into the rest of the week so why not trickster anthems?       

        

The “Sacred Trickster” is the first track on Sonic Youth’s new record. “Eternal” was just released June 9. It’s Sonic Youth’s 16th album and their first album since 2006. “Eternal” — cover art by famous folk-artist John Fahey — is the band’s first album on Matador Records. “Eternal” finds SY creatively-charged and still rockin’ as they return to their old school indy roots and revisit past aural forays:        

Twelve tunes that are a fireworks display of Sonic Youth touchstones. From the primal no wave attack of its earliest days, to the radical chording and song structures of its 90s period, to the more focused and contemporary explorations of the last five years. (Amazon bio)        

   

    In the song, Kim Gordon refers to West Mass noise artist Noise Nomads and French artist/painter Yves Klein.       

        

Sacred Trickster, I want you to levitate me. Don’t you love me yet? Press up against the amp, turn up the treble. Don’t forget.        

   

Sacred Trickster makes me wanna light a cigarette and dance inside my own smoky tornado. I wanna build bombs! I wanna be a girl in a band! I wanna wear my fox-ears to church and bang chaotically on the church organ while reciting lines from Ani songs: I’m tired of being the interesting one, I’m tired of having fun for two. Just lay yourself on the line and I might lay myself down by you. I wanna draw chalk mandalas or fly kites fashioned from old love letters.        

Makes me wanna press up against the amp, turn up the treble.        

Makes me wanna make noise, trouble, love.        

Mostly it makes me wanna ask more of myself: to reach down into my own heaving, hurting place and to dig around in the sadness until I’ve recovered the sacred.        

"LadyFox" by painter, Carolina Hardigree

  

And when I’m done asking more of myself, I’m gonna turn around and ask more of you. And you and you and you.        

I’m going to want you to do for me and to come through for me. I’m gonna want you to make me dizzy when we’re just sittin’ around. I’m gonna want you to levitate me. Can’t you do that for me? Can’t you rid me of all the steely hardness that holds me down? Can’t you blow into me with your breath until I’m light as air? Can’t you lift me from the bed — from my bondage, my ache, my sorrow — and send me up up up with the soft shush of a pink balloon. Why won’t you levitate me? Don’t you love me?        

Or do you think I am asking too much?        

I want you to blow my fucking mind.         

Is that asking too much?        

As Ani sang, I want somebody who can hold my interest, hold it and never let it fall, someone who can flatten me with a kiss that hits like a fist or a sentence that stops me like a brick wall.        

When did we stop expecting to be IN AWE?        

Why are we arrogant if we seek greatness in ourselves or greedy if we expect greatness in others? Why is it too much to want it all? Since when is the status quo enough for any of us?        

So I wanna rub elbows with the sacred, so what? So I expect you to levitate me, why not? Don’t you love me yet?       

       

The Sacred Trickster is that part of yourself that wants to steal the raspberries and chase the gingerbread man.     

The Sacred Trickster is the lover who makes you better by pointing to the bigness in you and saying Gimmee gimmee gimmee.     

The Sacred Trickster is the friend who cracks the secret code and then the nut and then a smile.     

The Sacred Trickster is the melody inside the noise, the meaning inside the poem, the puppet show theater inside a hallowed-out 1956 TV.     

The Sacred Trickster is the rock star who has you pressed against the throbbing amp… the writer who wrote that line (the one that kills you every time)… the painter who has convinced you to cuddle the sly white fox. You open up your cozy covers and Fox closes in tight, nestling, nuzzling, stinking like star dust.      

Who is The Sacred Trickster? He’s you and she’s me. That’s the way it should be.      

        

 Sacred Trickster        

I want you to levitate me        

Don’t you love me yet?        

Press up against the amp turn up the treble        

Don’t forget        

Getting dizzy sittin around        

Sacred trickster and the no tech sound        

I wish I could be music on a tree        

Noise nomads and me        

Levitating on the ground        

Uh huh uh huh        

Uh huh uh huh        

Uh huh uh huh        

Uh huh uh huh        

Whats its like to be a girl in a band?        

I don’t quite understand        

That’s so quaint to hear        

I feel so faint my dear        

Getting dizzy sittin around        

Sacred trickster and the no tech sound        

I wish I could be music on a tree        

Noise nomads and me        

Levitating scootin around        

   

Summon the Sacred Trickster! 

Thanks for tuning in to today’s Sunday A.M. Punk Rock Gospel. Enjoy this, the official Sonic Youth “Sacred Trickster” video as released by Matador Records. It’s ferocious fun in a Gossip Girl meets Guerilla Grrl kinda way.      

***The LadyFox painting (above) is by an extremely talented, emerging artist named Carolina Hardigree. We’ve featured Hardigree’s work on Cream Scene Carnival before and we will again; because she is brilliant, amazing and mythic-minded. My kind of girl! Carolina Hardigree’s work can be purchased via her own website @ Black Bird Fine Art.       

Sonic Youth’s Eternal is available on Amazon.

Autumn Leaves like a Hardigree Painting

Posted in Art & Culture, I Heart My Love-Tribe, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , on December 11, 2008 by alphabetfiend

But do people living in Toledo
Know that their name hasn’t travelled very well?
And does anybody in Ohio
Dream of that Spanish citadel?
–Elvis Costello

I never expected to miss Toledo. After all this is Ohio we’re talking about, not Spain. And in the winter, hell no I don’t (well maybe a little romp in the snow but not snow for four straight months until it’s black & crispy at the side of the road.) But come fall, I yearn for the crunch of leaves beneath my feet. Feet clad in boots the color of Turkish tobacco. For red, orange & yellow leaves be-dotting all the trees — and sweaters to match. Which is why I love this painting by Carolina Hardigree. For a southern girl, she sure managed to capture this Yank’s Autumnal nostalgia.

sycamore

In Austin fall happens in a flash. Blink and you’ll miss it. The leaves change overnight and drop just as fast. So imagine my delight when, about a week and 1/2 ago, I awoke to Hardigree’s painting in real life unfolding. My bathroom window looking onto my back yard might as well have been a canvas full of Hardigree’s dreamy evocative brush strokes. Oh it was lovely!

I have loved this Hardigree painting since I first saw it propped up in her bedroom half-done. Normally her paintings have to do with the spiritual link between human & animal but in “Sycamore” the tree is the star. The tree is the girl and the girl is the tree.

That sweater! I want its creamy goodness nestled in my nostrils.

And I could use it. Brr. It’s cold out. It snowed last night.Ah, the wonder of weather. Austin: Home of the weirdest weather ever.

I love you Carolina Hardigree!

I love you Austin!

I love you leaves. I love you snowflakes.

I miss you Toledo. It’s true. Sometimes I do.

Blondie & Kermit Duet: Rainbow Connection (Sunday Punk Rock Gospel)

Posted in Pure Sweet Chocolate Sense, Sunday AM Punk Rock Gospel with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 24, 2008 by alphabetfiend

Lina and I were just talking last night about connections that happen in art without the artist’s awareness. The subconscious strings beads, the conscious wears a perty necklace. The knowing inside the oblivious. We both agreed that it’s our favorite part of making art. She with paint, me with words. I had one of these moments recently. The RobotBoy and I had a nice hazy smoke and broke into a mile-a-minute conversation about racism and homophobia. Big issues for both of us; life themes. I confessed to three brief moments of ingrained racism as a child, flashes where an adult’s fucked up toxic mindset had made its way into me and I had to then kick it out. But, I told RB, I’d never experienced a moment of prejudice about homosexuality and had this innate calm understanding of it for as long as I can remember. My mom always says it doesn’t surprise her that while not gay my life is a gay cabaret. She tells this story of me casually referring to a friend of mine as gay and she asked “Do you even know what that is?” and I told her in great detail without a hint of judgement. That kid, by the way, came out 15 years later. I do however have an attitude about gay people who are prejudice against themselves. That riles. On that thought I was led to tell a story about my aunt/cousin showing up in our living room and begging my Dad to save her from her terrible situation — she’d come home to find her husband wearing a mask with lipstick & eyeshadow, in a dress, being ass-farked by a man. Of course I was sitting there rapt, being the nosy and non-sheltered kid that I was. And of course my Dad helped her and of course she farked him over. He ended up having to evict her after she completely trashed the place he’d let her live. It took him weeks to clean it up and one day he parked a pick-up truck in the driveway that was over-flowing with ephemera from the lives of these kinky relatives. Being, again, the nosy and unsheltered kid that I was, I began to sift through it all with an archaeologist’s precision and he let me (even left it for days until I’d had my fill.) Was it the choice that most fathers would make? No. Was it the right choice for that kid who would eventually grow up to be writer-me? Hell yea! I poured over piles of love letters, deflated mylar balloons, teddy bears that were far too tainted for me to introduce to my stuffed animals and — Jackpot! — the creepy as hell translucent rubber mask with red lips and blue-shadow eyes. The fact that it had been taken with her to the new place and then abandoned with bears makes me think she was down with the kink and had played up her boo-hoo to win my father’s sympathies. Not that it didn’t suck to then be left for a man and cheated on and betrayed. I’m sure it hurt terribly, enough to abandon love letters in a house filled with cat turds. But that mask was not the trauma she claimed, that mask meant something to her though I’m not sure what. The mask was my trauma! No such thing will ever find its way into my boudoir and I’m the experimental dress up sort. OK, here’s where it gets kinda funny and little kid absurd. When I’d had my fill of voyeurism, the one thing I took away from the bed of that pick up was a 45 of Kermit the Frog singing “Rainbow Connection” (“It’s Not Easy Being Green” was the B side.)

kermit

As a kid, I had to take my music where ever I could get it. My entire music collection was comprised of a few records pilfered from alley ways on trash day and Columbia House rejects from when my dad neglected to check “no thanks” on the little card that announced it would be sending him cassette tapes by Huey Lewis, Kenny Rogers or A-HA. Thus my eclectic musical sensibilities. I must’ve listened to that Kermit record 100’s of times over the years and still have it somewhere. I sang a few remembered lines for RB and he says “Never heard it.” Never heard it? The computer was on my lap because I’d been working on my book before getting carried away with smoke and talk, so we make our way to youtube and hit play. And then it hits me — my own personal RAINBOW CONNECTION. Here I am, taking a break from the book, chatting about totally unrelated things, and ending up right back at the damn book. In  Pure Sweet Chocolate Sense, one of the characters is a cop with “blue sense” who experiences psychic visions of a girl’s body trapped in a mine and the girl is wearing a jeweled rainbow around her neck. All of the characters are dealing with “knowing” and with the feeling that there is something more to be had, to be known. My characters and their maker/writer. The lovers, the dreamers and me! I did not recall the actual lyrics or think of “The Rainbow Connection” in relation to my book but connections were happening beneath the surface and I remembered every word some where. Kermit was poking at me no doubt.

RAINBOW CONNECTION
Kermit the Frog

Why are there so many
songs about rainbows
And what’s on the other side
Rainbow’s are visions
They’re only illusions
And rainbows have nothing to hide
So we’ve been told and some chose to
Believe it
But I know they’re wrong wait and see

Someday we’ll find it
The Rainbow Connection
The lovers, the dreamers and me

Who said that every wish
Would be heard and answered
When wished on the morning star
Somebody thought of that
And someone believed it
And look what it’s done so far
What’s so amazing
That keeps us star gazing
What so we think we might see

Someday we’ll find it
That Rainbow Connection
The lovers the dreamers and me

Have you been half asleep
And have you heard voices
I’ve heard them calling my name
Are these the sweet sounds that called
The young sailors
I think they’re one and the same
I’ve heard it too many times to ignore it
There’s something that I’m supposed to be

Someday we’ll find it
The Rainbow Connection
The lovers, the dreamers and me!

It’s the perfect Punk Rock Gospel for today because it has to do with the book and thus serves the gods of nanowrimo but is still a wonderful discussion of spirit and the search for something more. Plus Debbie Harry gives Kermie some punk rock props. Enjoy!

Carolina Hardigree — “Detail of A Spirit Animal”

Posted in Art & Culture, Art Lover, I Heart Friends, I Heart My Love-Tribe, Mythos, SPOOKY KABUKI with tags , , , , , , , , , on October 24, 2008 by alphabetfiend

 

Welcome to SPOOKY KABUKI, sweet Carolina, I see you are dressed perfectly. In your suede 40’s heels, with electric-eel brooch and Japanese fan. Come in, come in.

If you haven’t heard of Carolina Hardigree yet, well, hold out your pillowcase cum candy sac ’cause I’m about to toss you a moon-touched treat.

Hardigree’s exploration of psyche and spirit often collides with animal totems, which only makes sense since Hardigree herself is a mythical creature. She’s a white owl who has sly secret fox ears and red fur that she hides beneath a regal ruffling of white feathers. And then there’s her girl self, with sweet solid legs and a fretful brow. Her human intelligence and her animal simpatico are present in all her paintings. She’s a phenomenal talent and an old soul.

  

The above piece — titled “Detail From a Spirit Animal” — is sure to ring a deep chord, down beneath the rungs of your ribs, for those who have received a detail or a message or an odd whisper of knowing from an unlikely source. That flicker from the corner of your eye which settles everything in a second. That jarring jolt which sends the tea things a clatter. The smoky shape afloat in the open doorway. I swear I have been in this moment, in this place, a million times and yet I’m seeing it now for brand new. I love her black turtleneck and how the spot beneath her clasped hands is alight with a ghosty white. I totally get that. How can one artist paint both clothing and elusive spirit so well? It is no wonder that I love Hardigree. She shows me what I wish to see.

Keep your third eye on Carolina Hardigree — she’s going strange places. If you are watchful, she just may take you with her.

 

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