Category Archives: At home with…

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Places: a Turin trinity

A stroll through good and evil, light and shadow, life and death, genius and madness, heaven and hell.

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Places: a Turin trinity

A stroll through good and evil, light and shadow, life and death, genius and madness, heaven and hell.

M. P. Shiel

At home with Prince Zaleski

“The hall was constructed in the manner of a Roman atrium, and from the oblong pool of turgid water in the centre a troop of fat and otiose rats fled weakly squealing at my approach.”

M. P. Shiel

At home with Prince Zaleski

“The hall was constructed in the manner of a Roman atrium, and from the oblong pool of turgid water in the centre a troop of fat and otiose rats fled weakly squealing at my approach.”

D'Annunzio's Höhle

D’Annunzio’s Cave

The hand-held camera makes constant scything motions as if trying to slash through the pomposity, pausing every now and then to leer in contemptuous close-up, offering up some decorative detail for mockery.

D'Annunzio's Höhle

D’Annunzio’s Cave

The hand-held camera makes constant scything motions as if trying to slash through the pomposity, pausing every now and then to leer in contemptuous close-up, offering up some decorative detail for mockery.

Herbert

Huncke Burning Ghat

Neither was an actor by either training or instinct, but this miniature is still a rare and wonderful thing with the gamey savour of lived reality.

Herbert

Huncke Burning Ghat

Neither was an actor by either training or instinct, but this miniature is still a rare and wonderful thing with the gamey savour of lived reality.

MontesquiouCasati

Places: Palais Rose, Le Vésinet

Montesquiou first laid eyes on the house in 1908 and announced that he would die if it were not his the following day. Well, it took two days to secure a sale agreement but the silly old drama queen somehow managed to cling to life.

MontesquiouCasati

Places: Palais Rose, Le Vésinet

Montesquiou first laid eyes on the house in 1908 and announced that he would die if it were not his the following day. Well, it took two days to secure a sale agreement but the silly old drama queen somehow managed to cling to life.

Jack Parsons

The man in the moon

It’s been 60 years to the day since occultist/rocket scientist Jack Parsons blew himself up while mixing chemicals, in an accident which numerous conspiracy theorists claim was anything but.

Jack Parsons

The man in the moon

It’s been 60 years to the day since occultist/rocket scientist Jack Parsons blew himself up while mixing chemicals, in an accident which numerous conspiracy theorists claim was anything but.

Marie Menken

Look back with Anger

We saw Kenneth Anger yesterday, kicking around the semi-ruin of Aleister Crowley’s Abbey of Thelema. He’s also been on my screen in Martina Kudláček’s brilliant 2006 documentary Notes on Marie Menken, which I’ve watched twice over the last few days.

Marie Menken

Look back with Anger

We saw Kenneth Anger yesterday, kicking around the semi-ruin of Aleister Crowley’s Abbey of Thelema. He’s also been on my screen in Martina Kudláček’s brilliant 2006 documentary Notes on Marie Menken, which I’ve watched twice over the last few days.

Edward James

At home with Edward James

What wonders this journey brings! James describes the travelling menagerie that was his life in the high, piping voice which contemporaries always remarked upon. His irascible temperament and bitterness are also much in evidence.

Edward James

At home with Edward James

What wonders this journey brings! James describes the travelling menagerie that was his life in the high, piping voice which contemporaries always remarked upon. His irascible temperament and bitterness are also much in evidence.

Alfred Kubin

At home with Alfred Kubin

This footage shows Alfred Kubin in the very space where his nightmarish visions originated, greeting the camera with a grandpaternal smile and flicking through his terrifying images as if leafing through old family snapshots.

Alfred Kubin

At home with Alfred Kubin

This footage shows Alfred Kubin in the very space where his nightmarish visions originated, greeting the camera with a grandpaternal smile and flicking through his terrifying images as if leafing through old family snapshots.

P_11Nov_Vendome

Places: Place Vendôme

One of the countess’s most notorious public appearances saw her arrive at a ball in a sheer dress, slashed at the sides, decorated with hearts. The Empress caught sight of one such strategically placed ornament. “Your heart seems a little low,” she commented coolly.

P_11Nov_Vendome

Places: Place Vendôme

One of the countess’s most notorious public appearances saw her arrive at a ball in a sheer dress, slashed at the sides, decorated with hearts. The Empress caught sight of one such strategically placed ornament. “Your heart seems a little low,” she commented coolly.

P_11Nov_vittoriale

Places: Vittoriale degli italiani

Mussolini cribbed much of his style and many of his tactics from the older man but was disinclined to have the dangerously charismatic war hero around to challenge his authority. Il Vittoriale was generously-funded busy work for d’Annunzio, an al fresco manifestation of the creation myths of totalitarianism.

P_11Nov_vittoriale

Places: Vittoriale degli italiani

Mussolini cribbed much of his style and many of his tactics from the older man but was disinclined to have the dangerously charismatic war hero around to challenge his authority. Il Vittoriale was generously-funded busy work for d’Annunzio, an al fresco manifestation of the creation myths of totalitarianism.

P_11Oct_Augustus

Bohemian twilight

This newsreel footage dating from 1944 shows Augustus John at Fordingbridge, pottering around the garden, reading to a young boy and working with a model in his studio (and what a studio! A gorgeous, light, clean-lined Modernist construction on John’s estate).

P_11Oct_Augustus

Bohemian twilight

This newsreel footage dating from 1944 shows Augustus John at Fordingbridge, pottering around the garden, reading to a young boy and working with a model in his studio (and what a studio! A gorgeous, light, clean-lined Modernist construction on John’s estate).

P_11Oct_Berlin3

Strange Flowers guide to Berlin: part 3

The retro-revellers at Bohème Sauvage are responding to a particular idea of Weimar Berlin, a fragile, frantic golden age of sexual license and social mobility, lewd and doomed. The undying allure of the Weimar Berlin evoked by Isherwood’s books ensures that the reality of the city in that era can never be divorced from its fictional echoes.

P_11Oct_Berlin3

Strange Flowers guide to Berlin: part 3

The retro-revellers at Bohème Sauvage are responding to a particular idea of Weimar Berlin, a fragile, frantic golden age of sexual license and social mobility, lewd and doomed. The undying allure of the Weimar Berlin evoked by Isherwood’s books ensures that the reality of the city in that era can never be divorced from its fictional echoes.

P_11Oct_Berlin2

Strange Flowers guide to Berlin: part 2

At the Weisse Maus there’s a fine line between performer and prostitute, but Anita Berber leaves no doubt that she is not on the menu. She acts up and acts out, urinating on stage, breaking a champagne bottle over a punter’s head.

P_11Oct_Berlin2

Strange Flowers guide to Berlin: part 2

At the Weisse Maus there’s a fine line between performer and prostitute, but Anita Berber leaves no doubt that she is not on the menu. She acts up and acts out, urinating on stage, breaking a champagne bottle over a punter’s head.

P_11May_Harry

At home with Harry Smith

Harry Everett Smith checked out of New York’s Chelsea Hotel in 1991, forwarding address unknown, and like William S. Burroughs and Herbert Huncke, his face and voice advertised a life which by rights should have ended some time before.

P_11May_Harry

At home with Harry Smith

Harry Everett Smith checked out of New York’s Chelsea Hotel in 1991, forwarding address unknown, and like William S. Burroughs and Herbert Huncke, his face and voice advertised a life which by rights should have ended some time before.

P_11Apr_Wittgenstein

The house of Wittgenstein

Haus Wittgenstein is a Modernist white cube of such unornamented austerity that it’s like a splash of ice cold water after the whipped-cream architectural confections that dot central Vienna.

P_11Apr_Wittgenstein

The house of Wittgenstein

Haus Wittgenstein is a Modernist white cube of such unornamented austerity that it’s like a splash of ice cold water after the whipped-cream architectural confections that dot central Vienna.

P_11Apr_Evan

The double life of Evan Morgan

He was an occultist, yet chamberlain to two popes; gay, yet husband to two women. He was a friend to Augustus John, john to Denham Fouts, bogey-man to the Establishment. He mixed with royalty and rabble, and there was a Jekyll-and-Hyde polarity within his own personality.

P_11Apr_Evan

The double life of Evan Morgan

He was an occultist, yet chamberlain to two popes; gay, yet husband to two women. He was a friend to Augustus John, john to Denham Fouts, bogey-man to the Establishment. He mixed with royalty and rabble, and there was a Jekyll-and-Hyde polarity within his own personality.