Parade of Oddities

Skulls embedded in the walls of the ossuary.

What do St. Petersburg, Paris, Rome, and Philadelphia have in common? You know, besides being metropolitan centers for the arts and the homeless? The answer lies in a smallish hall dedicated to the macabre. But, you may be saying, what of the Parisian Catacombs? Don’t you find miles of underground tunnels, which include a very well organized ossuary creepy enough? Well, yeah, you got me there. Walls lined with human bones and floors laden with bone dust is pretty messed up, but have you been to…

Exhibit A: Musee de Fragonard

Housed in the Alfort Veterinary School of Paris, the Museum is a single hall where rows of shelves containing dusty jars filled with formaldehyde and labeled in yellowing hundred-year-old French handwriting explain that you are looking at the two-headed fetus the occasional occurrence of which may have been the basis of Janus mythos. Or, perhaps, the lonely mermaid baby, a fetus with its legs fused and feet resembling the fins of a fish, floating calmly in its jar. The star of the collection, however, is just beyond some animal bones, in a glass cabinet, for it can certainly not be contained in a jar. This is The Horseman, Fragonard’s most impressive Ecorché. Both the horse and his master are flayed, but their flesh and veins are somehow frozen in time. At their feet are three skeletal fetuses, immobilized in festive postures, a gruesome dance of death. Continue reading

Wacken 2009: 20 Years of METAAAAL

Festival Dates: July 30 – August 1, 2009
Venue: Wacken Open Air, Village of Wacken, Germany
Bands Reviewed:  Airbourne, Bring Me the Horizon, Bullet for My Valentine, Endstille, GWAR, Heaven Shall Burn, In Flames, Machine Head, Motörhead, Napalm Death, UFO, Vreid, Subway to Sally

(via Youtube, via http://www.Wacken.com)

I won’t even pretend like this article has anything to do with music. The music is there, somewhere, far below the fraternity of sweating metalheads, the mud, the bipolar weather, the mead, the circle pits, the drunks curling up in the sun, the menfolk marking each foot of fence with a puddle of piss… I think you get the point. Wacken Open Air is united by music. Its existence is based on it’s line up, but that is not really what it is about. I learn this fact all over every year.

This year marks the 20th anniversary of Wacken Open Air. It has began as a few trailers and a few campers–an intimate collection of mostly German bands and folks who could drive over from neighboring towns and villages. Today it hosts anwhere from 70,000 to possibly almost twice that number of attendees, journalists, band members, hangers on, and of course villagers hocking goods. People come from all over the world to take part, especially since “Metal: A Headbanger’s Journey” has named this festival the mecca of metal in 2005. Continue reading

Tales of Monkey Island: A Pirate Tale in Five Chapters

Whenever an old game franchise is revived it is met with fan skepticism and nervousness. This is  especially true with games which have large fan bases. Over the years, I have personally seen a lot of old games updated to varying degrees of success. The most recent of those is a revival of one of my favorite series: Monkey Island. Telltale Games took the license from Lucasarts and released five episodes over the past 6 months. The  story of Guybrush Threepwood is continuing on and is still filled with plenty of puzzles and humor along the way.

The plot starts off with Guybrush once again trying to take down his nemesis, the demon pirate LeChuck. In the process, Guybrush messes up a spell, and sucks all the voodoo energy out of LeChuck, making him human again. Unfortunately, all that voodoo is spread throughout the Caribbean, infecting all the pirates, making them all sick and prone to fits of demonic anger. Those possessed include his wife Elaine, and like in Evil Dead 2, his own hand. So it’s up to Guybrush to find a cure for this demon pox by traveling all over the Caribbean in search of… a voodoo sponge to suck up the energy, obviously.

You can see where this might be a problem

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Photograph: The Other Side of the Lens

NY is a place where anything is possible. A city where there are surprises around every corner and where an event, that may be a little too out there for most places, is just another way for us New Yorkers to have fun. Newmindspace, created by Kevin Bracken in order to create bonding experiences among city dwellers, recognizes this. Thus “Photograph” was born.

I guess the most important thing about “Photograph” isn’t the where (South Street Seaport), the when (Sept. 19th), or the why (simply because). What’s most important is the “who”. Kevin noted the oft commented fact that Newmindspace events have such a large amount of photographers present that they almost outnumber the average participants! Why not, he thought, stage an event solely for them? Why not have a free for all where the main goal is to have photographers photograph photographers photographing photographers?! If this sounds somewhat confusing, allow the pictures to speak for themselves as they’re meant to. Continue reading

Audrey’s Door: Worth Opening?

audreys-doorAudrey’s Door, by Sarah Langan, is a very intriguing book. While it doesn’t shatter the horror/suspense genre, it sticks to conventions that work, provides us with incredibly believable characters, and deliverers a story that does not disappoint.

The story revolves around up-and-coming architect Audrey Lucas, a young woman who is plagued by a compulsive disorder and chaotic past. Having lived a nomadic existence with her mother Betsy, Audrey eventually decided to make it on her own by moving to New York City, applying herself in college, and landing a job at a prestigious firm. After having relationship issues with her fiancé, the gentle-but-lazy Saraub, she decides to find a place of her own and stumbles across the Breviary, which offers a surprisingly affordable apartment located on the Upper West side. However, the Breviary houses terrible evil, and it has been waiting for someone like Audrey to show up. Continue reading

Enter the Asylum: Long-Awaited Emilie Autumn, in NYC

(Editor: I screwed up the passes so our awesome photographer, Frenchie, with her DSLR camera, couldn’t take pics. These are shots with a regular handheld courtesy of Thomas. Thanks man.)

A long line stood outside the Highline Ballroom on the night of October 13th, 2009. They weren’t waiting for a concert, however…they were waiting to enter the asylum. Emilie Autumn fell upon New York City with all of the grace and costumed pageantry that one would expect of a young woman from the Victorian Era.

The stage was adorned with everything one would need for a tea party at the asylum. Cakes, cookies, tea pots, dolls, skulls, and rats, all lit by candle light, created the perfect atmosphere for the macabre performance still to come. As the lights dimmed the enthusiastic screams of dozens of wayward girls filled the Highline. Their long wait to see Emilie Autumn on her first ever North American tour was finally was over (this after a cancellation months ago).

A spot of tea and cookies with The Bloody Crumpets

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RyanAir: Hell on Earth, or Just a Cheap Way to Get Around Europe?

d42 is currently playing expat in Germany, and while there, she had the opportunity to try out RyanAir, the airline I always wondered about due to the fact that you can fly from one country to another for less than you would pay for a Greyhound ride to another state. They even offer free flights. “What’s the catch?” I thought to myself, and then d42 went to Stockholm…

RyanAirPlane

Here’s the article my boyfriend and I would love to write:

Everyone can easily summon a fairly detailed image of their conception of Hell On Earth(TM). In fact, for many, this is a serious pastime, and one they dedicate countless hours to perfecting. For some, it’s sitting in a boardroom listening to the droning of a middle-management lackey, for others, it might be toiling in the malodorous, dimly lit kitchen of a scummier-than-average White Castle. For me it is, without a doubt, languishing for hours in a flightless airplane with no hope of exit, rescue, or a decent tuna sandwich. Friends, this past weekend was like a delightful subclause, within the Dark Prince of Hell’s parenthesis. And that parenthesis’ name is RyanAir. We traveled for hours to an out of the way airport misleadingly named “Hamburg (Lübeck)”– Lübeck is only close to Hamburg by way of some mad cartographer’s artistic license. We waited in a tent– a tent!– for our decrepit spruce moose. We crammed ourselves into acrid-smelling pleather “seats,” wrestled with our seatbelts, […] Continue reading