La Befana is my new favorite winter holiday figure; somehow it is not surprising that across the world, Italy would be the country to have a benevolent winter holiday witch. Over at GoEuro there is a tidy little article on Christmas traditions around the world.
Aaaaaaaaaand, Spain has a seriously strange and hilarious tradition of feeding a log with a painted face until Christmas and then children beating all the ‘poo’ (presents) out of it on Christmas eve. I kind of want to see the kids in action. I think I wouldn’t be able to stop laughing.
Invariably, when I shop for clothes I always come up with ideas for clothes that I’d like to find, but cannot.
Richard Dadd was in a psychiatric institution when he painted the Fairy Fellers Master Stroke over the course of nine years. The painting is remarkable for the layering technique that lends the figures a type of bas relief. In 1865, after stopping work on, what he considered, the unfinished painting, he wrote a poem that accompanies it called “Elimination of a Picture & its Subject – called The Fellers’ Master Stroke.”
The poem, and the painting really, give me the impression that there is a secret communicated within that is yet to be uncovered. Perhaps it does this to a lot of people, since it does hold a secret in The Witches of Chiswick by Robert Rankin – one of many pieces of literature that refer to it.
Available now in my Etsy shop are my witches trading cards. Each of the 42 cards features the portrait of an accused or admitted witch or witch collaborator. Card backs feature biographical information and trivia.
Also newly available in my Etsy shop is Levi Levi and the Time Machine, the second chapter of Levi Levi.
Behold, the playasax, a beautiful and strange musical toy from the beginning of last century. The Musical Box Society has a recording of what these strange instruments sound like. I have to admit, for something as strange and fantastic as the Playasax looks to be, I’m kind of bummed that it just sounds like a harmonica. If you, like me, have an affinity for strange and unique instruments, then check out the Rosenberg Library Museum post on these instruments.
Ya’ll knew, right? That Levi Levi is back! New comics are posting on his very own comics site: http://theleemsmachine.com/comics/levilevi/. If you view the Bean in it’s natural state you will see a combined feed of comic pages on the right.
Pretty soon, print versions of Levi Levi and the Time Machine will be available in the shop; stay tuned…
**just in case it doesn’t load for you either: http://www.hark.com/clips/nhlhzkvkgh-wyatt-i-am-rolling
put on a record the other day and heard this…of all the lovin’ spoonful that I have heard, why had I never heard this?
A bachelor’s degree in English Literature and a career in libraries almost killed my fiction consumption. I’d read a story here and there, but mostly, I was reading articles, and nonfiction manuals and analyses of library services, assessment and copyright.
Then, one evening, I walked into our dining room-library-office and looked at the shelves full of interesting books that we had, for various reasons, picked up over the years. I reached out and I grabbed one. Probably by design, I grabbed one that I knew wouldn’t be to hard to get through – an Agatha Christie Poirot mystery. I followed it with another Poirot, then a young adult ghost story, and then, the spine of the Conjure Wife winked at me from a short stack of books on the shelf one down from the top.
It was a book that Richard had picked up, probably because of the cover or the ‘Gothic Horror’ emblazoned on the front. Everybody has their own method of selecting unheard of literature…pleasure reading. My method is to allow the title, cover and description to grab me, then to open the first page of the first chapter and read. If what I read doesn’t grab me, I open to a random page in the middle and read. If what I read the second time doesn’t grab me, I put the book down. This is a luxury of selection that I was not able to enjoy while getting my English Literature degree, and am not able to enjoy while researching and studying for my work. When I picked up the Conjure Wife from our shelves and tried my method on it, I found myself standing in a dimming room, facing the corner of books, while I read several pages without being able to tear myself away.
It was fascinating and timeless, set within an envelope of academia that seemed so familiar and yet different from what I experience every day. Fritz Leiber writes so that you know every corner of a room and every freckle on a person’s face without tediously focusing on any one thing or bloating his work with never ending descriptions. The scene is laid out like the action, so that they are both one thing, inseparable. In the same way, Scriabin’s Sonata No. 9 was so tied to the emotional state of the character/narrator that I wasn’t always sure which was being described; that I was propelled to seek out the music to hear the story in another way.
But, I can’t tell you any more about the story because Richard hasn’t read it yet.