Saturday, February 20, 2010

Papins and Porcelain

Just recently watched Sister My Sister. The muted colors, the pointed black shoes and the constant rain set the perfect tone for such a Gothic thriller. Sister My Sister is a lose adaptation of the lives of the Papin Sisters who were two introverted maids that brutally killed their mistress and her daughter in 1933. I find this story so intriguing and sad yet so close to home for some odd reason.

The Papin Sisters circa 1933. I really want this photo on my nightstand.

Christine and Lea Papin stabbed their employers to death and ripped out their eyeballs and fingernails with their bare hands. Christine, the older sister was sentenced to death but was sent to an asylum instead (which was customary for death row females during that time) where she died from cachexia four years later. Lea, the younger one served about 8 years imprisonment and then worked as a chamber maid until her death in 1982, though some recent evidence points to otherwise. The Papin sisters never saw each other after their trial, though Christine reportedly begged for Lea often.

An actual photo from the Papin Sister's Trial. I'm sure you can guess who that is in the back with the long face.

Since the two sisters were found naked in bed together the night of the murder, there was speculation surrounding the nature of their relationship. Of course the movie played up the whole incestuous thing but I was less bothered by it than I thought I would be. To me it seemed that they were both developing sexually but had no one else to explore that with and so they became each other's outlet. They were really all they had. It did, however, make me think of stereotypes relating to "hysteria" and the sexually frustrated woman. Anyone who's seen High Tension might agree with me.

The Papin Sisters in bed together in Sister My Sister.

From Murderous Maids Another Papin Sisters adaptation.

A pretty ingenious Papin Sisters Halloween costume. I might have to borrow this idea! Try not to notice that weird bald guy in black.

I would have liked this movie a whole lot better had it not ended in a violent killing spree. I kind of wanted the girls to save up enough money to go purchase a farm and live long, healthy, and happy lives. But such is life...

Anyway, Watch it and tell me what you think…

On a side note I can't get this song out of my head:

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Books, Books, Books

I taught my Bookbinding Class a day ago and now I'm filled with the sleepy sense of relief one gets after successfully completing a final project. All I really want to do right now is laugh and sleep and lie down and it's moments like this that remind me of how much of a freak-out I'm capable of being. I triumphantly deleted all my class research files. Now on to the next thing!!

Since I was recently blessed with a large tax return, I got into an old habit of cruising Amazon for juicy reads and I came across a couple neat things.

The first thing I found (and am reading now) is Hello Cruel World by Kate Bornstein. Kate Bornstein is an activist, writer and performance artist who normally makes work relating to sexuality and gender identity.

The full title of the book (Hello Cruel world, 101 Alternatives to Suicide for Teens, Freaks, and Other Outlaws) is pretty self explanatory. Ze (Kate's preferred gender pronoun) actually goes down a list of things to do instead of killing yourself. What I'm interested in most are the topics around sexuality and desire that keeping popping up throughout the chapters... even though those two subjects vaguely remind me of this horrible philosophy class I took last semester...but I won't talk about that. I do wonder though, how different I would be had this book been around when I was in high school. I think the 15 year old me would have flipped over this! Not that I'm not enjoying it now but as the title states, it is geared toward a slightly younger crowd.

Kate Bornstein

Check out Kate's Blog!!

The second book I ordered (at the risk of soiling my good girl image) is an erotica book! It's called Enchanted: Erotic Bedtime Stories for Women.

I'm super excited about it because as the title suggests, it's a collection of rewritten fairy tales and I've always been interested in the subtly erotic things hidden in those stories. I bet you all think I'm just this pervert who thinks about love-making all day. I'm not, honest. Really.

Any suggestions for good books? I'd love to hear it.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

News and Reviews

I finally got around to watching Boys Don't Cry (about 10 years late) and I had a bitch of a time sleeping afterwards. Boys Don't Cry tells the story of the short life and brutal death of Brandon Teena, a female-trans-male living in Humboldt, Nebraska. The movie was phenomenal (minus Chloe Sevigny's wooden acting) and I couldn't take my eyes off Hilary Swank. It was almost alarming how in love with her I was during the whole movie but I often find myself incredibly attracted to people with affluent genders or who at least look like they can easily pass for both. (JD Samson, anyone?) Also, seeing Hilary dressed like a scrawny, awkward boy reminded me of a few people I used to date.

Hilary Swank as Brandon Teena. Yowza!!

Brandon and Lana (Swank and Sevigny) in a passionate embrace.

The actual Brandon Teena. You have to admit, the resemblance was uncanny.

I guess I was a little bitter once I found out the movie won so many Oscars. It seems like Hollywood takes horrifying stories like these and just milks them for all they've got. I suppose it's worth it though if it makes people more aware of these kinds of issues. It also makes me think that maybe having a school specifically geared toward LGBTQ youth isn't such a bad thing if it keeps a good amount of Brandon Teena and Matthew Shepard situations from happening.

You can read more about Brandon Teena Here.

My second Review is on Handmade Nation, a documentary about people who live crafty lives, based off the book with the same name. It was refreshing to see how some folks are able to sustain themselves by making and selling their work. The range of people interviewed in both the book and documentary was pretty diverse. Some were ex-writers who now owned zine shops, some were self proclaimed "craft-wannabes" who owned handmade boutiques, and others were painting majors who now embroider.

It's nice to be reminded that there are many ways to be successful and that success is a rather relative term. I have a bad habit of getting caught up in what I call 'Art School Tunnel Vision'. Handmade Nation was also a nice pallet cleanser after watching Boys Don't Cry...grrr...I can't stop thinking about Brandon Teena!!

On a related note (to Handmade Nation, not Brandon Teena) I will be teaching a short seminar at the Solarium, February 16 on D.I.Y Bookbinding. Come by if you're interested in making books from recycled materials!

I found this image at My Handbound Books.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

All is love.

It's days like this that make me wish it was raining instead of snowing and that I had a vintagey apartment to cozy up in with a locked door. Wouldn't you want to curl up in this apartment?? Bad floral pattern and all. I listen to Aikea Guinea almost non stop.

Anyway, I had a great weekend celebrating my dear friend's birthday and it was filled with vegan food and loooovvvvveee and nearly nude female performers with pasties over their breasts.

Varietease Cabaret is located at the Lake shore Theater which is kind of an old shit hole with an awful opening band (think middle aged men playing hair metal) but the actual cabaret show was phenomenal! One woman stripped out of her undies while hula hooping with various parts of her body! I cheered and clapped and tried to hide my red face!

We also made our way to Soul Vegetarian which is a soul food/home cooking vegetarian/vegan restaurant out by 79th street. Everyone was stuffed and sleepy by the end of our meal. I ate a metric ton of kale greens and heavenly vegan mac and cheese!

On Sundays everyone is served the same meal, which is pretty much the above picture save for the BBQ tofu and the glazed carrots. Instead there was Seitan roast with gravy, glazed sweet potatoes and cornbread stuffing. Dinner was followed by the most lovely Apple pie. Stop by there and experience it for yourself!! We all walked back to the train very slowly....

All is love.