Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Anarchy at Forty

I remember being in ninth or tenth grade when a girl I was friends with invited me over for a girls night. We chatted, ordered Chinese food, lounged around in our pjs, and watched movies. One of the movies we watched was called Pecker. Marlow, the girl that brought the movie, was talking about her undying love for this film. She said she had even bought the soundtrack. I can still remember her driving around with "Happy Go Lucky Me" blaring from her busted old car that was more like a boat than something meant for the small roads of our neighborhood. I don't know if this was the night that ignited the flame in my heart for John Waters, but it definitely didn't put it out. There was something about Pecker that made me happy. I don't know if it was the collection of strange characters that were odd, but lovable or my school girl crush on Edward Norton, but this movie became a quick favorite.

Soon after I saw Pecker I had my mother rent it from Block Buster Video on VHS (I know what you are thinking... Rentals? VHS? Mommy? Don't judge me!!!!!!).  She recognized the directors name and before I knew it we were renting all of the John Waters movies that we could get our hands on. Lucky for me, Cecil B. Demented came out shortly after my obsession sparked.

There were lots of movies that I had seen previous to this obsession, but I didn't know they were John Waters films. I remember being a kid at my grandparents home in Delaware, sitting on the living room floor watching Hair Spray when my mother told me that Tracy's mother was played by a man who was also playing the television station manager and that his name was Divine. I also remember my sister and I at my Dad's house talking about the movie To Wong Foo Thanks for Everything, Julie Newmar (a movie about three drag queens). next thing I know, our Dad talking about a man who dressed as a woman in a film and at the end ate a big, steaming pile of dog crap. Years later I finally saw this notorious film. Right now my friend Adam is singing the word notorious as if it were a Duran Duran song and if he wasn't before he is now ;) Anyways, this infamous scene is from the film Pink Flamingos.

When I was a teenager, I went on a mission to own every single John Waters movie ever made. I didn't read too much into what they were about or what happened in them, I just knew I loved John and his work and wanted to own it all! The first job I ever had with the first paycheck I ever worked for bought me a copy of Pink Flamingos on VHS (it hadn't been released on DVD yet).

When I bought this movie I really wasn't sure what I was in for. Previous to watching it the oldest film made by Waters that I had seen was Hair Spray. Now, for those of you who don't know why this is a big deal I am going to take a second to explain this to you. Most people know John Waters for his film Hair Spray. It was and still is an amazing movie that was turned into a musical and then made into a movie adaptation of the musical. It is cute, it has serious parts, it makes you smile, and it's a freaking musical! Previous to this Hair Spray madness, Pink Flamingos was John's most talked about film and it wasn't because it was filled with good family fun.

Pink Flamingos was originally a midnight movie and was filled with some of the most obscene images a movie can have without being a horror film (though it may as well have been one). This film shows the following: murder, a rape scene with a chicken, nudity, incestual acts, bright blue pubic hair, kidnapping, a singing rectum, an obese lady in a play pin, and at the end a man playing a woman eating dog shit FOR REAL! I will never forget the first time I watched this. I was seventeen and my mother and I went into our basement rec room to watch it. When it was over we were speechless. We weren't sure if we loved it, wanted to barf, or both. I don't know where my sister was, but when she came home we watched it for a second time with her. At the time, my sister was only fourteen and was surprised I paid money for this.

Since then I have seen Pink Flamingos as well as every other Waters movie under the sun, and Pink Flamingos is probably my favorite. Why? The more I read about it, the more I heard John Waters talk about it, and the more I learned about the actors involved the more I fell in love with it. I know this may be a bit hard to understand, but it's how I felt. This film was groundbreaking and no one really knew it at the time. It pushed so many limits, even for a cult/midnight movie. To this day this film is noted as being one of the best gross out and shock films ever made. I think a lot of people watch early John Waters film like Pink Flamingos and are too repulsed to really think about any messages this film is sending out, and that is assuming they made it through to the end. I've seen it more times than I can count and have heard so much about the making of this film that I see this film as not just poking fun at pornography and symbolizing anarchy, but I also see it as art. If art and exploitation had a love child, it was Pink Flamingos.

This month marks the fortieth anniversary of Pink Flamingos! Forty years of filth! Forty years of grossing out viewers! Forty years of people asking if Divine really ate dog shit at the end of the movie! In case I didn't make it clear, yes, Divine really eats dog shit at the end of this movie. There are no cuts during the scene and you even see Divine gag a little while trying to choke it down. As much as I have learned about this film I am always learning more about it.

This months issue of Fangoria features an article paying tribute to the forty year old cult film. The article mostly focuses on an interview with John Waters about the film. Waters talks about some of the details of what went into filming this, reactions it received, and some commentary on changes going on in movie showing that allowed this film to be possible. In the article it is mentioned that during the time this film was coming out, Deep Throat had hit theaters becoming the first "penetration-packed" film to hit the big screen legally. In the interview Waters says, "We were making fun of the fact that pornography was legal and trying to imagine what could be worse. What couldn't they have a law against yet? Well, they did not have a law against eating shit."

As much as I could say about this film I want to keep it short and try to leave some surprises for those who wish to see it that haven't. However I will leave you with my final thought. From what I understand, anarchy is the absence of control.  It is confusion, chaos, and disorder and what screams all of these things if not someone eating shit not because they have to, but because they can?

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Cute. Recycled. Edgy. Classic.

When I describe my taste and style I call it Sweet and Twisted. When I make a flower hair clip it isn't enough to have a plain flower, no, not at all. I need a spider on a petal or an eyeball for the center. I like things that are creepy and cute; something that will stand out and make a statement. One accessory that is wildly understated, and rarely seen outside of the steampunk world and movie adaptations of Jane Austin novels, is the top hat.  Luckily the burlesque scene and goth culture are making this accessory a fashion do without making its way into mainstream fashion where the top hat would probably become played out and go to die for the next twenty years. That sounds a bit extreme, I know, but I have two words for you: bell bottoms! I recently was introduced to a girl from Texas who is helping bring top hats to the next level. Her hats are amazing to say the least. They are cute, recycled, edgy, and classic. So pull up a chair and meet the lady behind the shop Muerto Marie.

My name is Rowan Marie. I am 18-years-old and I live in central Texas. My mother passed away four years ago and now I bike over to my father's house once a week to visit him, help him make marmalade, etc. I've been home schooled my whole life, I've never even been in a school other than when we rented a room in a middle school for girl scout meetings. I currently work for a western clothes designer, Patricia Wolf as a painter, milliner, and seamstress. Check out her Website.

In my free time, I go on bike rides around town with my boyfriend, bake cookies, play the bass guitar and work on personal art projects (stuff I make for me, rather than my business) like knitting an octopus hat, painting, sewing a leather vagina purse, whatever strikes my fancy.

1. What sorts of items do you make and sell in your shop?

I make hats, masks and hair clips. I do my best to make everything out of recycled materials.

2. How did you get started in making hats?

Three years ago, I made my first hat on a whim as a gift for my boyfriend for Christmas. A year after that, I thought up a "Mad Hatter" persona and fell in love with the idea of being a recycled milliner.

3. Where do you get your inspiration from?

When I was four years old, a woman handed me a glass drop that she had painted a cat eye onto the back of. That gave me the idea of how to make the eyes that I attach to my hats and hair clips. The first hat I made was a top hat with elephants painted on it, but I think the inspiration still came from the Mad Hatter in Alice in Wonderland.

4. What sort of demographic do you think you attract and why?

Women ages 9 to 40 usually. I attract members of the burner community as well (Burning Man, Burning Flipside, etc). I think the burners like my stuff because top hats are common among the community, and the items being dark/creepy isn't a turn off for them, generally speaking.

5. In the past year and a half I have fallen in love with the burlesque scene and these girls wear some great head and hair pieces. Have you ever considered doing more work with mini hats and fascinators that would be more geared towards people that love and are involved in burlesque?

I would absolutely love gearing more items toward the burlesque scene. I am also a huge burlesque fan.

6. I noticed that a lot of your items are made from materials that you have chosen to recycle to make something new. What made you decide to reuse old items to make something new? Do you think this attracts more people to your items versus something you could find at a local retailer?

Being environmentally responsible is very important to me. I hate throwing things into landfills, so instead I do my best to reuse materials. Many items I use I purchased from thrift stores, such as the fake flowers, ribbons, and t-shirt material. Another part of my reason to reuse materials is that I want to put my money towards non-outsourced companies as much as I can. I use feathers from friend's pet birds that were naturally shed and collected cruelty free. I choose this for my own happiness. I think that it does not benefit me when it comes to marketing/sales.

7. If you were asked to make a custom hat for a lady, specifically for Halloween and were given a $100 budget for supplies, what would that hat look like?

I have thought about making a top hat that is wrinkled and covered in painted eyes. I would put insulation on the inside of the hat, install a container to hold dry ice with a redundant reservoir beneath it to catch any liquid that may spill, and make the lid of the hat open able so the dry ice can be replaced. I'd leave vents around the top of the hat and near the eyes for the fog to escape. I would also install a pale blue light inside of the hat so the light would leak out from the vents as well.

8. What is your favorite part about Halloween and why?

I've loved Halloween all my life and have never stopped loving it.
For one, I adore pumpkins. I love the way they look, the way they smell, and I love carving them. Last year, I carved an anatomical heart into my pumpkin. I don't enjoy being scared, but I enjoy scaring. My mother and I used to go out and decorate the house every year and I loved going out with friends trick-or-treating. I always wore homemade costumes, never store bought. In 2010 and 2011 I volunteered 150+ hours each year to a non-profit haunted house called Scare for a Cure, we made all of our own props, blood, slime and squibs (things that launch guts at the guests from an actor's chest).

9. Who is your most favorite horror movie villain of all time and why?

Frank-N-Furter. The first time I saw Rocky Horror I was 3, I know all the lyrics and I was in a production of it recently. I played Janet Weiss.

10. And since you can't have evil without good, who is your all time favorite hero/heroine from a horror movie and why?

Hmm. I'm almost always rooting for the bad guy, but I think that Tallahassee from Zombieland is my favorite hero. Why? Because he was so fixated on killing zombies in the supermarket that he walked right past a Twinkie, the thing he came in the building to look for.

If you would like to learn more about Rowan Marie and her work please check out Her Facebook Page, Her Website, and Her Tumblr Page

Friday, October 26, 2012

A Chat with Wonder Diva

I have worked in a bookstore for a little over six years now. It's my nine to five, though it is more of a seven to three. I am surrounded by books five days a week and I think that is kind of awesome. One big change that I have encountered is the increase in people purchasing e-books versus physical books that have been printed on paper. You know, the ones you can actually hold and smell and get paper cuts from... Yes, I sniff books! There are worse vices to have and it's not like I run around huffing them all day, it is just something I find myself doing from time to time. Anyways, I'm getting off track. It's weird to think that one day, not any time soon, but one day physical books may not be as easy to come by as they once were. So many books are no longer in print, are print on demand books (don't get me started on those!), or are only being published as e-books. It's sad, but it's a fact. What's even more strange is that books I once read as a child are now considered antiques and collectors items... and I'm not even thirty yet! Have you ever tried to find a a kids book from the 80's that was about Masters of the Universe, or Fraggle Rock? No, well if you try you will find they are now antiques. Rainbow Brite - vintage. Cabbage Patch Kids - vintage. That Little Gold Book called Turn on the Dark - vintage. I knew at some point this was destined to happen.

I never realized how soon my childhood would become filled with memories of toys, clothes, furniture, and books that would become antiques and vintage. It feels like this came out of no where. However, now that I am at the age where this is happening, I completely understand why people freak out over antiques and vintage items. When I think of all the good times I had playing with my Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle action figures I would go ape shit if I ever found April O'Neil action figure I would always play with (I was one of the few girls in my neighborhood growing up and the boys made me be April).

I recently met a girl through Etsy that has a shop that is all antiques and vintage items. If anyone knows what it is like to find something that was once new and brought joy into someone's life and thirty years later have that same item, now older and worn from love, bring that same joy to another person, it's this lady. Her name is Jeanne and she is the proud owner of Wonder Diva on Etsy. I was able to ask Jeanne a few questions and got to know her a bit better and now I am going to share with you what I have learned about this awesome lady. Enjoy!

My name is Jeanne and I've been working around politics for years, but my head is also really into the arts and humanities, and most lunch hours you'll find me at a boho coffee house, reading and regaining my sanity. I'm married with a houseful of animals (3 dogs, 3 cats, 3 birds.) That alone is enough to keep me busy and amused!

1. What is it that appeals to you about antiques and vintage items?

Antiques and vintage are really soothing to me. They have a texture and quality that one can't find in modern merchandise (unless it is handmade,) and I'm really all about reusing things as much as possible. I love the patina and wear found on old things, it is so beautiful, but if you find a beautifully-kept old item, you then have to marvel at the care and appreciation given to it by past generations.

2. Do you have a favorite type of item to look for over the others? Books? Clothing? Home goods?

I mainly look for vintage illustrated books, but if something catches my eye, I am probably going to get it. I love quirky things & goofy things that start to spin a story in your head the moment you look at them. I also love vintage industrial style items, the kind of things you find in the garage at estate sales. My current personal weakness is vintage restaurant ware dishes and cups -- I don't sell them in my shop because I usually keep them for myself. I am convinced everything tastes better when it's served from restaurant ware.

3. What do you think the hardest part about selling vintage items and antiques and why?

I think the hardest part is trying to give a really good description so people truly understand what is is you're selling. I want to try to give buyers as much of an idea as possible on what things look like, feel like, and even smell like. Right now there are also a lot of people selling vintage because of all the TV shows about being pickers, ect, so there's a lot of competition in the vintage market.

4. I've heard the expression that the hunt is sometimes more fun than the kill. Do you think you have more fun looking for antiques and vintage items than you do knowing that you have that special item?

LOL. I love this question! I love the hunt because it's honestly very relaxing for me. I never know what I'm going to find and I go into it with an open mind -- so often I've discovered something that is new to me, something I never expected to find appealing. The other fun part of the process is doing research on the items and sometimes getting into a back story about an author or illustrator that leads me down other avenues of interest.

5. I noticed that you have a section for Edward Gorey in your shop. Is he a person favorite? What is it about his work that you enjoy?

I love Gorey's work and I know a lot of people enjoy it, so I try to keep his books in my shop when I can find them. I love his sense of humor and his illustrating style is a bit of a throwback to the early 20th century, with the very detailed pen-and-ink drawings. And this quote by Gorey may be the best excuse as to why I can't precisely describe why I enjoy him: "Ideally, if anything were any good, it would be indescribable."

6. Do you have a specific decade that you tend to favor as far as style, artists, literature, or fashion goes? Why?

I'm in love with Art Nouveau, the Arts and Crafts Movement and Art Deco styles, so basically the movements from the early 1900's to the 1930's. I really can't pick a favorite of those three styles. I love the 1920's in particular, and the Woody Allen movie "Midnight in Paris" is naturally one of my favorite movies, because I'd love to wander back into that decade. It's an interesting question to contemplate as to why eras in the past resonate so strongly with some people, but I've loved the 1920's since I was old enough to understand what that era was all about.

7. I also noticed that you have a pulp, sci fi, horror section in your shop. Which of those is your favorite to read?

I have pulp in my shop because it is so bad it is good, and the cover art is often hilarious. I have sci fi in the shop because I think there are some very notable midcentury sci fi illustrators that need appreciation, but I've never been a sci fi reader. I love HP Lovecraft and I'm increasingly enjoying Clark Ashton Smith -- again, I love the fantasy-horror writing from the early 20th century.

8. Since it is October, what is your favorite part about Halloween and why?

I love all the Halloween symbols that originate with the Celtic festival of Samhain, and my idea of a great Halloween would be to get a big bonfire going and stay up all night watching it while eating and drinking with a group of people. However, what I love more than even Samhain is the Dia De Los Muertos celebrations and imagery -- some year I am going to drag my spouse out to L.A. to get a taste of that culture in person.

9. What are your top five, must watch horror films for Halloween?

Honestly, I tend to go for humor around Halloween, and thus I must watch "Young Frankenstein" and "Beetlejuice." "American Werewolf in London" is a bit scarier, but still funny in places, and the werewolf transformation scene is still a favorite of mine. And because I love silent movies (naturally,) I will watch any silent horror movie, and the Louise Brooks classic "Pandoras Box" is not a horror movie, but it's dark, twisted and foreboding and is great to have running at Halloween. And this movie has nothing directly to do with Dia De Los Muertos, but "Like Water For Chocolate" is such a great Mexican magical realism movie that I like to watch it this time of year.

If you would like to see more of what Jeanne has in store, please check out her shop: Wonder Diva! You can also Follow Wonder Diva on Twitter!

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Haunted Hair Candy

Keeping with the Halloween theme, I have another Etsy shop that I would like to share with you all! The shop is called haunted Hair Candy and it is owned by a lovely lady named Crystal. She makes amazing one of a kind accessories, many of which are Day of the Dead themed. Crystal recently took the time to chat with me about her shop, Day of the Dead culture, Halloween, and slasher films. Warning: I may be about to break into song because These are a few of my favorite thiiiiiiiiiiiiings! What? Can't a ghoul like The Sound of Music!?!! Okay, without further hesitation, here is my interview with Crystal of Haunted Hair Candy!

1. What types of items do you sell?

I try to focus on my skull and bone hair accessories, but I am always thinking up new items. Hand painted Skulls and Bones. I have Hand painted Skull earrings to match with clips.

2. I really love your shop name. It is sweet and twisted and stands out to me. I am always forgetting names of shops, even the ones I really like, but yours just stays with me. How did you come up with the name?

That means a lot! Thank you. I had a previous blog Misfit Housewife and that evolved into Haunted Hair Candy. Like you said "Sweet and Twisted", or "Spooky Cute", "Deadly Dame". I wanted something cute for girls to wear that dont like the "fru-fru" girlie stuff!

3. Why did you choose Sugar Skulls to create your one of a kind, handmade items? What is it about them that appeals to you?

I love skulls so I wanted to start out with skulls and naturally evolving into sugar skulls. I LOVE the bright colors and so many different designs you can create. I DREAM about all the possibilities!

4. What is your process like when you decide to create a sugar skull hair accessory from getting an idea to the final product? How long does it typically take you?

This might sound weird or odd, but most of my creations come to me in DREAMS!! The next morning I cant wait to wake up to try to recreate what I saw in my dream. I always do a test skull and then add or remove things that I think look good or bad. Takes about a full day to get everything perfect and ready for selling.

5. What other handmade items do you like to make? Are you working on anything new to sell in your shop?

I try to make everything that I pin to my Pintrest, I am obsessed and the ideas on that site keep my mind fresh and exciting! I have new hand molded Haunted Cupcakes and also a Frankenstien monster in the works!

6. The popularity of Day of the Dead culture and art has been growing the last few years more than ever. Do you think it's growth has to do with people becoming more aware of the culture and having an appreciation of it or more so the commercialism of it by retail stores and horror related culture becoming more mainstream? Do you think its popularity will continue to grow? Explain.

I have seen it grow so HUGE just in these past few years. I see sugar skull designs mixed in with tattoo design, which I love. Once people dig deeper and further then just commercial looks. You reveal a beautiful holiday that celebrates death, a natural process. The respect to never forget the ones who have passed.

7. Since it is October, I am going to ask What is your most favorite scary movie and why?

I have always loved A Nightmare on Elm Street. Watched it so many times you learn every word. Also, Faces of Death would get my skin creepy crawling.

8. What is your favorite part about Halloween and why?

Coming up with new fun decorations for the house and takin gmy daughter out with the family and trick- or - treat!

9. There have been a ton of classic slasher films that have been rebooted in recent times including A Nightmare on Elm Street, Friday the 13th, and Halloween and this upcoming March the reboot of Carrie will be hitting theaters. What is your opinion about all of the horror movies that have been rebooted in the past few years?

OH NO! Industry questions! My Husband works in the entertainment industry, so during movies I have to shut him up because he is always saying "I worked on that", "That's not real", and things along those lines. I love the originals so much I am scared to see the remakes because I don't think they are doing a good job at all! Some inside info, The Munsters is getting re-done and before it even comes out it has horrible ratings. They turned it into an Addams Family. One big reason is that Herman Munster is not a huge giant Frankenstein , he is just a regular man.. NO WAY.. see don't get me started!

Please Check out Haunted Hair Candy on Facebook

I am currently having a Dia De Los Muertos Giveaway on my Facebook page that ends Nov 3rd. Easy entry, just "like" Haunted Hair Candy and share the Giveaway photo. Get Current News, Freebies and Giveaways at my Facebook page!

If you saw anything that peaked your interest or maybe saw something that would make a great gift, Please Check out Haunted Hair Candy on Etsy

Entire month of October free Matching earrings with any OOAK Skull hair clip purchase!