Archive for John Waters

Happy Birthday, Frida!

Posted in Art & Culture, Art Lover, Goof & Glamour, Livin' La Vida Frida, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 7, 2010 by alphabetfiend

Today, on google, I was surprised to see Frida’s face. Was what Frida Kahlo doing on Google?, I wondered.

So I googled it.

I typed in “frida kahlo birthday???” and sure enough, it’s Frida’s 103 birthday this July 6, 2010. Frida was born in the sign of cancer and, like myself, on the auspicious sixth day of the month. (Mine is June 6.)

I love Frida Kahlo. I’ve loved her since I was a child. (My mother, also a painter, looks eerily like Frida.)

It’s interesting how she’s gaining a new kind of notoriety, what with Salma Hayek’s film Frida and now a Google tribute. I went to carnivale, just a few years ago, dressed as Frida. I piled a whole bouquet of flowers onto my head with braided loops and penciled my eyebrows together. I wore a velvet skirt w/tulle layers and a fringed shawl. I wrapped a tangle of faux barbed wire & bird around my neck. I stuck Diego’s face onto my forehead with eyelash glue. But the best part, by far — covering  my nipples — were the weirdest pasties EVER: big “EYES” with sequin irises and black plastic lashes.

"Diego and Me" by Frida Kahlo (Frida was married to famous mexican muralist, Diego Rivera)

My carnivale get-up — “Fleshpot Frida” — was surreal and beautiful and creepy. So Frida! The people who got it loved it, absolutely, but I was shocked at how many people had no idea who Frida Kahlo was, what she did or how she changed the art world. Frida Kahlo had always been akin to a catholic Saint in our home: Saint Frida!

It’s no wonder I love Vicki Berndt’s St. Frida painting! If I had an extra $1500 I’d snap that sucker up cause it’s still available for purchase and it’s so worth the money. (Berndt’s paintings are usually bought in a blink of an eye. If Frida were more well known, St. Frida would be sold by now.)

"Tree of Hope" by Frida Kahlo

Frida Kahlo was a surrealist who painted deeply personal almost religious paintings, often depicting physical & emotional pain in a gory realistic way.

No one had ever painted PAIN like that before.

But amidst all the pain was glorious joy, prolific creativity and a profound insight into life and love.

Like Frida, I live with chronic physical pain, but I also have a frida-esque joy and gusto for life. I’m reading Role Models by John Waters and so I’ve been asking myself “Who are my role models? Who are those people who have influenced or inspired or helped me to live my life on my own odd terms?” Kahlo is definitely a role model. She’s a hero of mine for many reasons.

When she was hurting, she painted in bed and when she was able, she danced her ass off.

I totally get that.

When people try to force me to “take it easy” during my good times or to get outta bed on bad days, I just tell ’em to fuck off already cause I’m livin’ la vida Frida.

Livin’ la vida, Frida, bitches!

***Happy Birthday, Frida Kahlo. I love you. Thank you. For everything.***

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The Mrs. Butterworth Book Club

Posted in Alphabetfiend, Art & Culture, Art Lover, Books & Writing, Cinema & Filmmaking, Goof & Glamour, I Heart Funny Fellas, I Heart My Love-Tribe, In Celebration of the Absurd, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 3, 2010 by alphabetfiend

“I’m one of the few who voted for Obama because he was a friend of Bill Ayers.” -JW    

I too am one of those few.    

 

     

My freaky filmmaker friend, Tim, and I recently started a two-person book club. We dubbed it “The Mrs. Butterworth Book Club,” after a surreal conversation we had in highschool in which Tim asked me, out of nowhere, “What would you do if you woke up and Mrs. Butterworth was at your bedside? She’d have to be on yer pillow cause she’s rather short.”    

I’ve always had a soft spot for the absurd and so I have a soft spot for Tim.    

“I didn’t have to worry about fitting in with a crowd I didn’t want to hang out with in the first place.” -JW    

 

Both fans of John Waters, we chose his new book “Role Models” as our first MBBC selection. “Role Models” — the latest of several memoirs by the filmmaker, writer and professional outcast — focuses on people who have inspired or influenced Waters. The book begins with >surprise!surprise!< Johnny Mathis then moves on to reformed Manson Girl Leslie Van Houten; later comes Commes des Garcons designer/deconstructionist Rei Kawakubo who crashes into various hillbilly heroes from Baltimore such as Ester the barmaid and Lady Zorro the lesbian stripper.    

    

“Nothing is more impotent than un unread library”   

John Waters writes about reading the way a junky waxes poetic over crack.  

I’ve just finished the chapter “Book Worm.” Love love! Waters is a notorious and obsessive bibliophile, owning nearly 9000 volumes of wordy goodness.I can’t wait until he writes a whole book like that chapter, where he’ll delve into one weirdo tome after another. That would be a fantastic book! Waters has smart, obscure taste in literature and continually surprises me with his thoughtful insights.    

The chapter on Little Richard is next. I can’t wait.    

I saw Little Richard not too long ago. It was a free show, just a few blocks from my house, in the U of TX quad, so we meandered over.    

   

I’ve seen many old greats and I’ve learned not to expect too much. I saw Hasil Adkins at The Continental Club, paid a penny too, he played maybe two longs and left the stage. I’ve seen Ramblin’ Jack where he’s talked all night tellin’ one great story after another but there was one raspy time where he sang a song, coughed, sang another song, coughed and took a bow. I think it was James Chance that left the stage in a hissy fit like he waz Fred Alan Wolf at a physics conference. (Wolf’s hissy fit worked out well for me. I chased him out and we chatted all afternoon. He set up his laptop in the shadows of a patio umbrella and semi-patiently explained to me his theory of the thalmus gland as rudimentary time machine. I Heart Fred Allan Wolf!)    

Little Richard did not disappoint.      

Little Richard glittered like an LSD rockstar. The old man rocker took that place down to the ground. Holy hell! I fuckin’ cried. Yep. I wept as Little Richard sent spasming waves of energy through a crowd of cheap, clueless college students.  Seeing Little Richard that soft summer evening was a spiritual thing. I had my own Little Richard religious experience.      

"Saint Richard" by Vicki Berndt

So far the Mrs. Butterworth Book Club mostly consists of gushing to one another on facebook about just how fucking great Role Models is and how much we love John Waters as a way of life, posting killer quotes as our status updates and generally annoying the rest of our facebook friends.    

Screw those less-enlightened folks whose only knowledge of John Waters is “he has something to do with that fat drag queen who ate dog shit in some movie that no one’s ever seen.” If that.     

Makes me wanna scream, “Divine ate the dog shit! The film was Pink Flamingos! John Waters was the director! Fuckface!”    

I’d throw in that fuckface at the end, just for extra measure, like the cherry on top of the sundae or the pretty that flatters please.    

No, I kid. Really. So what if they’re morons who wanna wait (who CAN wait) until Role Models comes out in paperback. Whaddo I care? I don’t, cause I kid, but it is funny how things have changed and yet stayed the same. Tim and I hung with different crowds in highschool. We might never have spoken if our inner freaks hadn’t had such magnetic pull and now, all grown up, I have so much more to say to Tim than to the gorgeous girls I once hung with (who are now smiling mothers posting owen mills portraits all over their facebook pages, with not one free moment to read and if they read they certainly wouldn’t read Waters’ odes to Manson girls, trannie derelicts or Johnny Mathis.)     

   

The Mrs. Butterworth Book Club has only two members but that’s more out of necessity than design, being that no one else has expressed an iota of interest.    

That’s fine with us, right, Tim? All the more dog shit for us!    

Today I went to type out a few sentences on Tim’s fb page and try as I might it wouldn’t post. Old school friends were im-ing me and I was losing patience in fine Luddite fashion. The pups were barking to announce guests and the Robot was calling from the other room. Frazzled, I copied my note to Tim and stuck it into my open wordpress window under quick-post for safekeeping….which has me thinking….hmmm. I was gonna review the book for y’all anyway so why not post my thoughts here and then send the links to Tim? Maybe some of you are reading Role Models too and wanna pipe in? Maybe Tim and I can convince you to read Role Models? Even if you’re not reading the book, please join the discussion and tell us about some of your own role models, heroes & muses. What about an infuriatingly brilliant nemesis…anyone got one of those? (I sure do. Don’t I, Sugarbear?) 

Waters sez "Read this"

If you’d like to join our very informal Mrs. Butterworth Book Club, we’d be glad to take on new members with a taste for the odd in literature and in life. We’re keepin’ it simple. See!  Here’s my fb note to Tim:    

Hey Tim! Checkin’ in to the Mrs. Buttersworth Book Club… am just about to start the Little Richard chapter on p.183, had a houseguest for a couple weeks and fell behind.    

All that stuff about the Manson’s O-MY! I never knew they’d sneak into houses and move the furniture. So trickster, I love it, but stabbing someone 16 times? Nah, not for me.    

All the Baltimore stuff in the bar chapter was a riot. I have some these “artsy hillbilly” friends from Baltimore and they tell the craziest stories ever. Plus I loved The Wire and Homicide, both set in Baltimore. Homicide was brilliantly cast by Pat Moran, whom Waters mentions repeatedly as “My friend, Pat Moran”.    

That stuff about lunatic mothers and the craziness those kids grew up with? I found all that to be just waaaay too familiar. Great reading tho. Great writing!    

 Finally, while I consider myself to be a big reader, life-long, I must confess to not having read even one of his five recommendations. Have you? Guess we know what we’ll read next in the MBBC, huh? Which one do you suggest? The pervy kid or the deluded ladies? Or pages and pages of dialogue? I’m up for any and all!    

I’m not a huge fanatic as far as his films go but as a man, as a mind, John Waters is thrilling.    

He’s also a hell of a writer and a real storyteller.    

This book has been a treat. I’m loving it. I’m devouring it.     

“Tennessee Williams wasn’t a gay cliché, so I had the confidence to try to not be one myself. Gay was not enough. It was a good start however.”    

 ** The Saint Richard painting is by Water’s soul-sista Vicki Berndt whom we’ve featured before on Cream Scene Carnival. Role Models is available at amazon and so is the Waters pick: In Youth is Pleasure by Denton Welch, with a forward by William Burroughs.    

I Want Candy!

Posted in Alphabetfiend, Art & Culture, Books & Writing, I Heart Friends, I Heart My Love-Tribe, Mythos, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 5, 2010 by alphabetfiend

Oh yay hooray!  I opened my door today to find a package on my stoop. A gift from my beloved G*Word!!! I ripped it open like Little Chrissy trying to get at a chocolate bar.  (Remember Little Chrissy, from the John Waters film Pecker? Little Chrissy was cukoo for cocoa puffs!)

Unlike little Chrissy, I can’t stomach a sugar overload without a pancreatic surge of insulin that leaves me jangly and ready for a nappy-nap. Still, I’m nuts for nougat. I like to get to the gooey — not just in bon bons but always, in everything. I tore at those packages like I was gnawing my way to the nougat. Damn if I didn’t feel like a spoiled rotten sweetheart (xoxo, g*w!) Inside the ripped-up wrappings, I found not one but TWO books with the word “CANDY” in the title.

Which is fitting considering that I met G*Word after we took bites of one another’s gingerbread houses. Which is different than “brick house” as in “She’s got a brick house.” (Settle down, my kinksters.)

A gingerbread house is a dark-side construct built to tempt fate. It lures that which can’t resist. The telling architecture speaks to yearning, greed, giddy giving-in. It’s not about sex — or it wasn’t in our case — but it’s definitely about desire, voyeurism, exposure, and vulnerability. It’s about showing yourself to someone and they… grin like teens on tigermilk? Light up like lightbulbs? Lull like late-night radio? Ah. Ah-ha. A click and then a hum. They like what they see and they say so. They say, “I like what I see,” and then they commence to eating a hunk of your graham cracker door. They peer at you through a broken-off pane of butterscotch glass and then wink at you when you curtsy. 

MMMMmmm. Little Chrissy likes. Rumrumrumrumrum. (My baby wookie makes that rumrumrum sound when he’s eatin’ something really good.)

There’s nothing in the world like new books!!! And my new books are both candy-dubbed contemporary art books so they are absolutely drenched in the syrup of yum. I can’t wait to gorge myself.

Rock Candy is a treat in the hands, oh boy. Lovely to the touch. Rock Candy celebrates the evocative work of dutch artist Femke Hiemstra. A valentine of a volume, it’s described by reviewer Julia Rothman – Book By Its Cover – asGorgeous.”

The cloth hardbound book has a nice die-cut cover and the inside is jam-packed with Femke’s works including tons of paintings and drawings alongside loose sketches…. The way the sketches are juxtaposed with the finished work in the book makes me feel like I’m getting an insider’s view. If you’re a fan of ‘pop surrealism,’ this is a book for you.

 Just the cover alone with that window cut-out — love it! Very gingerbread house.

In the Garden of Eye Candy is a delicious look at dolls and the fantasy world they hail from… as seen by artists such as Koralee and Lisa Petrucci. A reviewer from Juxtapoz Magazine asked a duh(!) question

Like dolls? Cartoon characters? I do. As a little girl I loved playing with dolls. As an adult I like Adult Swim. And painted dolls. But not art toys. (One’s taste does refine with age, of course). I digress. If you like dolls and alter egos and Id-driven characters and cartoons, buy this book. Cause it’s all about that. And it comes in a pretty box. The End.

I do love dolls, alter-egos & id-driven characters. It’s true. But a preliminary peek has me a bit perplexed — how can you have a book about dolls in art and ignore Miss Van? Miss Van even refers to her own creations as dolls, characters, her little “poupettes.”

 “Between the boundaries of fine and popular art and high and low culture, reside id-driven impulses and alter egos as toys, cartoon characters, and iconic images. From the whimsical to adorable, erotic to innocent, to the dark and gothic, they lure us into their lush worlds of fairy tales, dreams and inspiration.” (The Garden of Eye Candy.)

 

Lush worlds? Fairy tales? Hell yea! I’m in. See you there or wish you were here or whatever.

Thank you, G*Word! You’re the best. Now quit blowing bubbles with what used to be my brickwork.

Hello Kitty as Indian Trickster

Posted in Art & Culture, I Heart Tricksters with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on September 23, 2008 by alphabetfiend
I wish I owned this Kitty Krishna by Vickie Berndt

I wish I owned this Kitty Krishna by Vickie Berndt

I think it’s true what they say about not buying art to match your furniture but damn this baby would look bitchin with my light blue couch and my Babe the Blue Ox!   

Babe the Blue Ox would crish on Kitty Krishna

Babe the Blue Ox would crish on Kitty Krishna

But that’s not why I covet it.  I love the tongue-in-cheek goofiness, the meeting of minds between the trickster Krishna and the glamorous Hello Kitty.  Between spirituality and pop culture, the humorous & the holy.  It’s groovy.  I dig it.  Beat.  Plus that crown is FABULOUS!  Vickie Berndt has an amazing vision.  Clever and weird, cutsie yet penetrating.  Last week I dreamt that Berndt’s  “Divine Goddess” (Drag Queen Divine as an Indian Goddess) was stolen!  In the dream I realized that Berndt’s Divine was the new Mona Lisa. 

Another witty beauty by Vickie Berndt

Another witty beauty by Vickie Berndt

To see more of Berndt’s work:    http://vickiberndt.com/fs.html     Have fun!

Alphabetfiend is Dia VanGunten — a writer & wanna-be circus freak living in Austin, Texas.

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