Flush or A Faunus

In 1930, after Virginia Woolf attended Rudolf Besier’s play, The Barretts of Wimpole Street, she began to reread Elizabeth Barrett Browning’s poetry and letters. Woolf’s fanciful biography of the Brownings, seen through the lens of their cocker spaniel, was published in 1933, with four drawings by Vanessa Bell.Pinka, the cocker spaniel that Vita Sackville-West gave Virginia Woolf in 1926, was photographed for the dust jacket and frontispiece of the first edition.

 

Virginia and Vita at Monk’s House in 1933 (as photographed by Leonard Woolf)

 

Virginia Woolf with Pinka

 

The original sketch of The Back Bedroom, on display, shows Elizabeth Barrett languishing in the back bedroom of her father’s house.

 

The Back Bedroom,Vanessa Bell, c. 1932. Graphite drawing for Flush

 

FLUSH OR A FAUNUS

 

“You see this dog. It was but yesterday
I mused, forgetful of his presence here,
Till thought on thought drew downward tear on tear;
When from the pillow, where wet-cheeked I lay,
A head as hairy as Faunus, thrust its way
Right sudden against my face,—two golden-clear
Large eyes astonished mine,—a drooping ear
Did flap me on either cheek, to dry the spray!
I started first, as some Arcadian
Amazed by goatly god in twilight grove:
But as my bearded vision closelier ran
My tears off, I knew Flush, and rose above
Surprise and sadness; thanking the true Pan,
Who, by low creatures, leads to heights of love.”

Elizabeth Barrett Browning

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The Boy Who Wouldn’t Grow Up

Cover of 1915 edition of J. M. Barrie’s novel, first published in 1911, illustrated by F. D. Bedford

 

Illustration of Peter Pan playing the pipes, by F. D. Bedford from Peter and Wendy (1911)

 

Peter Pan is a character created by Scottish novelist and playwright J. M. Barrie. A mischievous boy who can fly and never grows up, Peter Pan spends his never-ending childhood having adventures on the small island of Neverland as the leader of his gang, the Lost Boys, interacting with mermaids, Native Americans, fairies, pirates, and occasionally ordinary children from the world outside Neverland. In addition to two distinct works by Barrie, the character has been featured in a variety of media and merchandise, both adapting and expanding on Barrie’s works. These include an animated film, a dramatic film, a TV series and other works.

J.M. Barrie created his character based on his older brother, David, who died in an ice-skating accident the day before he would have turned 14. His mother and brother thought of him always as a boy. The “boy who wouldn’t grow up” character has been described as a variety of ages. It is also based on Pan, the Greek deity.

J. M. Barrie first used Peter Pan as a character in a section of The Little White Bird (1902), an adult novel.

He returned to that character as the center of his stage play entitled Peter Pan, or The Boy Who Wouldn’t Grow Up, which premiered on 27 December 1904 in London. The play was highly popular, running to 1913.

 

Following the success of the 1904 play, Barrie’s publishers, Hodder and Stoughton, extracted chapters 13–18 of The Little White Bird and republished them in 1906 under the title Peter Pan in Kensington Gardens, with the addition of illustrations by Arthur Rackham. Barrie adapted and expanded the play’s story line as a novel, published in 1911 as Peter and Wendy

 

Peter Pan ( Herbert Brenon, 1924). Silent film released by Paramount Pictures, the first film adaptation of the play by J. M. Barrie, starring Betty Bronson as Peter

 

Peter Pan (Clyde Geronimi, Wilfred Jackson, and Hamilton Luske, 1953), the American animated fantasy-adventure film produced by Walt Disney. A sequel titled Return to Never Land was released in 2002

 

Hook (Steven Spielberg, 1991), live-action sequel starring Robin Williams as the adult Peter Banning, Dustin Hoffman as Hook and Julia Roberts as Tinker Bell

Total Eclipse

Total Eclipse is an intelligent look at the relationship between Rimbaud and Verlaine and shows considerable insight into the bourgeois and artistic societies of the period as well as a moving understanding of homosexuality.

Christopher Hampton was only 22 when he wrote this play. He studied Rimbaud’s work at Oxford. Hampton became involved in the theatre while at that University where OUDS performed his play When Did You Last See My Mother?, about adolescent homosexuality, reflecting his own experiences at Lancing College. He is best known for his play based on the novel Les Liaisons dangereuses and the awarded film version Dangerous Liaisons (1988) and also more recently for writing the nominated screenplay for the film adaptation of Ian McEwan‘s Atonement.

 

 

Long before there were rock stars, there was rock star attitude, as displayed with spectacular insolence by the teen-age French poet Arthur Rimbaud. Rimbaud’s long shadow reaches not only into academe, where the writing he did before abandoning poetry at 20 is still much admired, but also into popular culture, where Bob Dylan, Jim Morrison or Patti Smith would not have been possible without him.

Total Eclipse is a 1995 film directed by Agnieszka Holland, based on a 1967 play by Christopher Hampton, who also wrote the screenplay. Based on letters and poems, it presents a historically accurate account of the passionate and violent relationship between the two 19th century French poets Paul Verlaine (David Thewlis) and Arthur Rimbaud (Leonardo DiCaprio), at a time of soaring creativity for both of them.

River Phoenix was originally attached to the project, but the part of Rimbaud went to Leonardo DiCaprio after Phoenix’s death. And John Malkovich was initially attached to play Verlaine, but pulled out. This movie has Leonardo Dicaprio’s first onscreen kiss (with costar David Thewlis).

A Symbol of Non-Violence Ideology

Man putting flower in National Guard gun

 
 

Flower power was a slogan used during the late 1960s and early 1970s as a symbol of passive resistance and non-violence ideology. It is rooted in the opposition movement to the Vietnam War. The expression was coined by the American beat poet Allen Ginsberg in 1965 as a means to transform war protests into peaceful affirmative spectacles. Hippies embraced the symbolism by dressing in clothing with embroidered flowers and vibrant colors, wearing flowers in their hair, and distributing flowers to the public, becoming known as flower children. The term later became generalized as a modern reference to the hippie movement and the so-called counterculture of drugs, psychedelic music, psychedelic art and social permissiveness.

Flower Power originated in Berkeley, California as a symbolic action of protest against the Vietnam War. In his November 1965 essay titled How to Make a March/Spectacle, Ginsberg advocated that protesters should be provided with “masses of flowers” to hand out to policemen, press, politicians and spectators. The use of props like flowers, toys, flags, candy and music were meant to turn anti-war rallies into a form of street theater thereby reducing the fear, anger and threat that is inherent within protests. In particular, Ginsberg wanted to counter the “specter” of the Hells Angels motorcycle gang who supported the war, equated war protesters with communists and had threatened to violently disrupt planned anti-war demonstrations at the University of California, Berkeley. Using Ginsberg’s methods, the protest received positive attention and the use of “flower power” became an integral symbol in the counterculture movement.

 
 

George Harrison, Pattie Boyd, Derek Taylor and others in San Francisco, 1967

 
 

Hippies in Haight Ashbury

 
 

The iconic center of the Flower Power movement was the Haight Ashbury district in San Francisco, California. By the mid-1960s, the area, marked by the intersection of Haight and Ashbury Streets, had become a focal point for psychedelic rock music. At the end of summer 1967, The Diggers (a street theater group who combined spontaneous street theater with anarchistic action and art happenings) declared the “death” of the hippie movement and burned an effigy of a hippie in Golden Gate Park.

To Have Done With The Judgment Of God

Charles Bukowski claimed Artaud as a major influence on his work

 
 

kré   puc te
kré   everything must   puk te
pek   be arranged    li le
kré   to a hair  pek ti le
e    in a fulminating    kruk
pte   order.

 
 

I learned yesterday
(I must be behind the times, or perhaps it’s only a false
rumor, one of those pieces of spiteful gossip that are circulated between sink and latrine at the hour when meals that have been ingurgitated one more time are thrown in the slop buckets),
I learned yesterday
one of the most sensational of those official practices of American public schools
which no doubt account for the fact that this country believes itself to be in the vanguard of progress,
It seems that, among the examinations or tests required of a child entering public school for the first time, there is the so-called seminal fluid or sperm test,
which consists of asking this newly entering child for a small
amount of his sperm so it can be placed in a jar
and kept ready for any attempts at artificial insemination that might later take place.
For Americans are finding more and more that they lack muscle
and children,
that is, not workers
but soldiers,
and they want at all costs and by every possible means to make and manufacture soldiers
with a view to all the planetary wars which might later take place,
and which would be intended to demonstrate by the over-whelming virtues of force
the superiority of American products,
and the fruits of American sweat in all fields of activity and of the superiority of the possible dynamism of force.
Because one must produce,
one must by all possible means of activity replace nature
wherever it can be replaced,
one must find a major field of action for human inertia,
the worker must have something to keep him busy,
new fields of activity must be created,
in which we shall see at last the reign of all the fake manufactured products,
of all the vile synthetic substitutes
in which beatiful real nature has no part,
and must give way finally and shamefully before all the victorious substitute products
in which the sperm of all artificial insemination factories
will make a miracle
in order to produce armies and battleships.
No more fruit, no more trees, no more vegetables, no more plants pharmaceutical or otherwise and consequently no more food,
but synthetic products to satiety,
amid the fumes,
amid the special humors of the atmosphere, on the particular axes of atmospheres wrenched violently and synthetically from the resistances of a nature which has known nothing of war except fear.
And war is wonderful, isn’t it?
For it’s war, isn’t it, that the Americans have been preparing for and are preparing for this way step by step.
In order to defend this senseless manufacture from all competition that could not fail to arise on all sides,
one must have soldiers, armies, airplanes, battleships,
hence this sperm
which it seems the governments of America have had the effrontery to think of.
For we have more than one enemy lying in wait for us,
my son,
we, the born capitalists,
and among these enemies
Stalin’s Russia
which also doesn’t lack armed men.

All this is very well,
but I didn’t know the Americans were such a warlike people.
In order to fight one must get shot at
and although I have seen many Americans at war
they always had huge armies of tanks, airplanes, battleships
that served as their shield.
I have seen machines fighting a lot
but only infinitely far behind them have I seen the men who directed them.
Rather than people who feed their horses, cattle, and mules the last tons of real morphine they have left and replace it with substitutes made of smoke,
I prefer the people who eat off the bare earth the delirium from which they were born
I mean the Tarahumara eating Peyote off the ground
while they are born,
and who kill the sun to establish the kingdom of black night,
and who smash the cross so that the spaces of spaces can never again meet and cross.

And so you are going to hear the dance of TUTUGURI.

 
 

TUTUGURI

The Rite of the Black Sun

And below, as if at the foot of the bitter slope,
cruelly despairing at the heart,
gapes the circle of the six crosses,
very low
as if embedded in the mother earth,
wrenched from the foul embrace of the mother
who drools.

The earth of black coal
is the only damp place
in this cleft rock.

The Rite is that the new sun passes through seven points before blazing on the orifice of the earth.

And there are six men,
one for each sun,
and a seventh man
who is the sun
in the raw
dressed in black and in red flesh.

But, this seventh man
is a horse,
a horse with a man leading him.

But it is the horse
who is the sun
and not the man.

At the anguish of a drum and a long trumpet,
strange,
the six men
who were lying down,
rolling level with the ground,
leap up one by one like sunflowers,
not like suns
but turning earths,
water lilies,
and each leap
corresponds to the increasingly somber
and restrained
gong of the drum
until suddenly he comes galloping, at vertiginous speed,
the last sun,
the first man,
the black horse with a

naked man,
absolutely naked
and virgin
riding it.

After they leap up, they advance in winding circles
and the horse of bleeding meat rears
and prances without a stop
on the crest of his rock
until the six men
have surrounded
completely
the six crosses.

Now, the essence of the Rite is precisely

 
 

The Abolition of the Cross

When they have stopped turning
they uproot
the crosses of earth
and the naked man
on the horse
holds up
an enormous horseshoe
which he has dipped in a gash of his blood.

 
 

The Pursuit of Fecality

There where it smells of shit
it smells of being.
Man could just as well not have shat,
not have opened the anal pouch,
but he chose to shit
as he would have chosen to live
instead of consenting to live dead.

Because in order not to make caca,
he would have had to consent
not to be,
but he could not make up his mind to lose
being,
that is, to die alive.

There is in being
something particularly tempting for man
and this something is none other than
CACA.
(Roaring here.)

To exist one need only let oneself be,
but to live,
one must be someone,
to be someone,
one must have a BONE,
not be afraid to show the bone,
and to lose the meat in the process.

Man has always preferred meat
to the earth of bones.
Because there was only earth and wood of bone,
and he had to earn his meat,
there was only iron and fire
and no shit,
and man was afraid of losing shit
or rather he desired shit
and, for this, sacrificed blood.

In order to have shit,
that is, meat,
where there was only blood
and a junkyard of bones
and where there was no being to win
but where there was only life to lose

o reche modo
to edire
di za
tau dari
do padera coco

At this point, man withdrew and fled.

Then the animals ate him.

It was not a rape,
he lent himself to the obscene meal.

He relished it,
he learned himself
to act like an animal
and to eat rat
daintily.

And where does this foul debasement come from?

The fact that the world is not yet formed,
or that man has only a small idea of the world
and wants to hold on to it forever?

This comes from the fact that man,
one fine day,
stopped
the idea of the world.

Two paths were open to him:
that of the infinite without,
that of the infinitesimal within.

And he chose the infinitesimal within.
Where one need only squeeze
the spleen,
the tongue,
the anus
or the glans.

And god, god himself squeezed the movement.

Is God a being?
If he is one, he is shit.
If he is not one
he does not exist.

But he does not exist,
except as the void that approaches with all its forms
whose most perfect image
is the advance of an incalculable group of crab lice.

“You are mad Mr. Artaud, what about the mass?”

I deny baptism and the mass.
There is no human act,
on the internal erotic level,
more pernicious than the descent
of the so-called jesus-christ
onto the altars.

No one will believe me
and I can see the public shrugging its shoulders
but the so-called christ is none other than he
who in the presence of the crab louse god
consented to live without a body,
while an army of men
descended from a cross,
to which god thought he had long since nailed them,
has revolted,
and, armed with steel,
with blood,
with fire, and with bones,
advances, reviling the Invisible
to have done with GOD’S JUDGMENT.

 
 

The Question Arises

What makes it serious
is that we know
that after the order
of this world
there is another.

What is it like?

We do not know.

The number and order of possible suppositions in
this realm
is precisely
infinity!

And what is infinity?

That is precisely what we do not know!

It is a word
that we use
to indicate
the opening
of our consciousness
toward possibility
beyond measure,
tireless and beyond measure.

And precisely what is consciousness?

That is precisely what we do not know.

It is nothingness.

A nothingness
that we use
to indicate
when we do not know something
from what side
we do not know it
and so
we say
consciousness,
from the side of consciousness,
but there are a hundred thousand other sides.

Well?

It seems that consciousness
in us is
linked
to sexual desire
and to hunger;

but it could
just as well
not be linked
to them.

One says,
one can say,
there are those who say
that consciousness
is an appetite,
the appetite for living;

and immediately
alongside the appetite for living,
it is the appetite for food
that comes immediately to mind;

as if there were not people who eat
without any sort of appetite;
and who are hungry.

For this too
exists
to be hungry
without appetite;

well?

Well
the space of possibility
was given to me one day
like a loud fart
that I will make;
but neither of space,
nor possibility,
did I know precisely what it was,

and I did not feel the need to think about it,

they were words
invented to define things
that existed
or did not exist
in the face of
the pressing urgency
of a need:
the need to abolish the idea,
the idea and its myth,
and to enthrone in its place
the thundering manifestation
of this explosive necessity:
to dilate the body of my internal night,

the internal nothingness
of my self

which is night,
nothingness,
thoughtlessness,

but which is explosive affirmation
that there is
something
to make room for:

my body.

And truly
must it be reduced to this stinking gas,
my body?
To say that I have a body
because I have a stinking gas
that forms
inside me?

I do not know
but
I do know that

space,
time,
dimension,
becoming,
future,
destiny,
being,
non-being,
self,
non-self,
are nothing to me;

but there is a thing
which is something,
only one thing
which is something,
and which I feel
because it wants
TO GET OUT:
the presence
of my bodily
suffering,

the menacing,
never tiring
presence
of my
body;

however hard people press me with questions
and however vigorously I deny all questions,
there is a point
at which I find myself compelled
to say no,

 
 

NO
then
to negation;

and this point
comes when they press me,

when they pressure me
and when they handle me
until the exit
from me
of nourishment,
of my nourishment
and its milk,

and what remains?

That I am suffocated;

and I do not know if it is an action
but in pressing me with questions this way
until the absence
and nothingness
of the question
they pressed me
until the idea of body
and the idea of being a body
was suffocated
in me,

and it was then that I felt the obscene

and that I farted
from folly
and from excess
and from revolt
at my suffocation.

Because they were pressing me
to my body
and to the very body

and it was then
that I exploded everything
because my body
can never be touched.

 
 

Conclusion

– And what was the purpose of this broadcast, Mr. Artaud?

– Primarily to denounce certain social obscenities officially sanctioned and acknowledged:
1.this emission of infantile sperm donated by children for the artificial insemination of fetuses yet to be born and which will be born in a century or more.

2.To denounce, in this same American people who occupy the whole surface of the former Indian continent, a rebirth of that warlike imperialism of early America that caused the pre-Columbian Indian tribes to be degraded by the aforesaid people.

3.- You are saying some very bizarre things, Mr. Artaud.

4.- Yes, I am saying something bizarre, that contrary to everything we have been led to believe, the pre-Columbian Indians were a strangely civilized people and that in fact they knew a form of civilization based exclusively on the principle of cruelty.

5.- And do you know precisely what is meant by cruelty?

6.- Offhand, no, I don’t.

7.- Cruelty means eradicating by means of blood and until blood flows, god, the bestial accident of unconscious human animality, wherever one can find it.

8.- Man, when he is not restrained, is an erotic animal,
he has in him an inspired shudder,
a kind of pulsation
that produces animals without number which are the form that the ancient tribes of the earth universally attributed to god.
This created what is called a spirit.
Well, this spirit originating with the American Indians is reappearing all over the world today under scientific poses which merely accentuate its morbid infectuous power, the marked condition of vice, but a vice that pullulates with diseases,
because, laugh if you like,
what has been called microbes
is god,and do you know what the Americans and the Russians use to make their atoms?
They make them with the microbes of god.
– You are raving, Mr. Artaud.
You are mad.

– I am not raving.
I am not mad.
I tell you that they have reinvented microbes in order to impose a new idea of god.

They have found a new way to bring out god and to capture him in his microbic noxiousness.

This is to nail him though the heart,
in the place where men love him best,
under the guise of unhealthy sexuality,
in that sinister appearance of morbid cruelty that he adopts
whenever he is pleased to tetanize and madden humanity as he
is doing now.

He utilizes the spirit of purity and of a consciousness that has
remained candid like mine to asphyxiate it with all the false
appearances that he spreads universally through space and this
is why Artaud le Mômo can be taken for a person suffering
from hallucinations.

– What do you mean, Mr. Artaud?

– I mean that I have found the way to put an end to this ape once and for all
and that although nobody believes in god any more everybody believes more and more in man.

So it is man whom we must now make up our minds to emasculate.

– How’s that?

How’s that?
No matter how one takes you you are mad, ready for the straitjacket.
– By placing him again, for the last time, on the autopsy table to remake his anatomy.
I say, to remake his anatomy.
Man is sick because he is badly constructed.
We must make up our minds to strip him bare in order to scrape off that animalcule that itches him mortally,

god,
and with god
his organs.

For you can tie me up if you wish,
but there is nothing more useless than an organ.

When you will have made him a body without organs,
then you will have delivered him from all his automatic reactions
and restored him to his true freedom.

They you will teach him again to dance wrong side out
as in the frenzy of dance halls
and this wrong side out will be his real place.”

Antonin Artaud

 

Artaud’s last work was an audio piece called To Have Done With The Judgment Of God (Pour en Finir avec le Jugement de Dieu), and it proved to be equally unpopular, at least with some very important people. Commissioned by Ferdinand Pouey, head of the dramatic and literary broadcasts for French Radio in 1947, the work was written by Artaud after he spent the better part of WWII interned in an asylum where he endured the worst of his treatment. The piece is as raw and emotionally naked as you might expect –an anguished rant against society. A raving screed filled with scatological imagery, screams, nonsense words, anti-American invectives and anti-Catholic pronouncements.

Although the work remained true to his Theatre of Cruelty, utilizing an array of unsettling sounds, cries, screams and grunts, it was shelved by French Radio the day before it was scheduled to air, on February 2, 1948. Artaud died one month later.

Poet Allen Ginsberg claimed his introduction to Artaud, specifically To Have Done with the Judgement of God, by Carl Solomon had a tremendous influence on his most famous poem Howl.

How I Long to Be Like You!

Hungarian-American identical twin dancers and actresses Rosie and Jenny Dolly, known professionally as The Dolly Sisters

 

POEM TO A SUNFLOWER

(Fragment)

“…The beauty that within you is expressed,
Gives testimony to his greatness.

Sunflower, how I long to be like you!
Glorifying God in all I do.
Following the Son and His path of light,
To worship Him in His glory shining bright.

I can learn from you, my friend,
With every breath, praise to God, I might send.
With all of his creation telling the story,
Might I, with you, proclaim His glory.

Katherine R. Lane

April 19, 1995

Chanel on Stage

 
 

Coco is a 1969 musical with a book and lyrics by Alan Jay Lerner and music by André Previn, inspired by the life of Gabrielle “Coco” Chanel. It starred Katharine Hepburn in her only stage musical.

Theatre producer Frederick Brisson originally had optioned Chanel’s life for his wife Rosalind Russell, but Russell had developed acute arthritis, making it difficult for her to function. That meant another leading lady with star quality needed to be found. Irene Selznick suggested Katharine Hepburn, who initially scoffed at the idea of appearing in a musical but agreed to work with former MGM vocal coach Roger Edens for ten days. Following an audition in Selznick’s suite at The Pierre Hotel, Hepburn felt comfortable enough to mull seriously the proposition, and was further convinced to accept the offer after meeting Chanel.

 
 

 
 

Set between early autumn of 1953 and late spring of 1954, fashion designer Coco Chanel, after fifteen years of retirement, decides to return to the world of Haute Couture and reopen her Paris salon. With her new collection derided by the critics, she faces bankruptcy until buyers from four major American department stores – Saks Fifth Avenue, Bloomingdale’s, Best & Company, and Ohrbach’s – place orders with her. She becomes involved with the love life of one of her models, and flashbacks utilizing filmed sequences recall her own past romantic flings. Adding humor to the proceedings is a highly stereotypical rude gay designer who tries to impede Chanel’s success. The finale is a fashion show featuring actual Chanel designs from 1918 to 1959.

 
 

Photo by Cecil Beaton

Cecil Beaton confessed that he simply copied Chanel’s designs instead of interpreting them for the stage, they would have looked like something from a thrift store. Nevertheless, Beaton won a Tony award for Best Costume Design in 1970.

Setting Limits

“Commissions suit me. They set limits. Jean Marais dared me to write play in which he would not speak in the first act, would weep for joy in the second and in the last would fall backward down a flight of stairs.”

Jean Cocteau

 
 

Gabrielle Dorziat and Jean Marais in Les parents terribles of Jean Cocteau. Production of Alice Cocea. Paris, Theatre of the Ambassadors, November 1938. Photo by Roger Lipnitzki. Getty Images

Still Climbing Trees in The Hesperides

The Garden of The Hesperides, Frederic Leighton, c. 1892

 
 

BEROWNE: Have at you, then, affection’s men-at-arms!
Consider what you first did swear unto:
To fast, to study, and to see no woman–
Flat treason ‘gainst the kingly state of youth.
Say, can you fast? Your stomachs are too young,
And abstinence engenders maladies.
O, we have made a vow to study, lords,
And in that vow we have forsworn our books;
For when would you, my liege, or you, or you,
In leaden contemplation have found out
Such fiery numbers as the prompting eyes
Of beauty’s tutors have enriched you with?
Others slow arts entirely keep the brain,
And therefore, finding the barren practisers,
Scarce show a harvest of their heavy toil;
But love, first learnèd in a lady’s eyes,
Lives not alone immurèd in the brain,
But, with the motion of all elements,
Courses as swift as thought in every power,
And gives to every power a double power,
Above their functions and their offices.
It adds a precious seeing to the eye:
A lover’s eyes will gaze an eagle blind.
A lover’s ear will hear the lowest sound,
When the suspicious head of theft is stopped.
Love’s feeling is more soft and sensible
Than are the tender horns of cockled snails.
Love’s tongue proves dainty Bacchus gross in taste.
For valor, is not Love a Hercules,
Still climbing trees in the Hesperides?
Subtle as Sphinx; as sweet and musical
As bright Apollo’s lute, strung with his hair.
And when Love speaks, the voice of all the gods
Make heaven drowsy with the harmony.
Never durst poet touch a pen to write
Until his ink were temp’red with Love’s sighs;
O, then his lines would ravish savage ears
And plant in tyrants mild humility.
From women’s eyes this doctrine I derive.
They sparkle still the right Promethean fire;
They are the books, the arts, the academes,
That show, contain, and nourish all the world;
Else none at all in aught proves excellent.
Then fools you were these women to forswear,
Or, keeping what is sworn, you will prove fools.
For wisdom’s sake, a word that all men love,
Or for love’s sake, a word that loves all men,
Or for men’s sake, the authors of these women,
Or women’s sake, by whom we men are men,
Let us once lose our oaths to find ourselves,
Or else we lose ourselves to keep our oaths.
It is religion to be thus forsworn,
For charity itself fulfils the law
And who can sever love from charity?

William Shakespeare

A monologue from the play Love’s Labor’s Lost

Failed Communication Between Lovers

“This photograph is my proof There was that afternoon,
when things were still good between us, and she embraced me, and we were so happy. It did happen, she did love me, Look see for yourself!”

Photograph by Duane Michals

 
 

THE DANGLING CONVERSATION

It’s a still life water color,
Of a now late afternoon,
As the sun shines through the curtained lace
And shadows wash the room.

And we sit and drink our coffee
Couched in our indifference,
Like shells upon the shore
You can hear the ocean roar

In the dangling conversation
And the superficial sighs,
The borders of our lives.

And you read your Emily Dickinson,
And I my Robert Frost,
And we note our place with book markers
That measure what we’ve lost.

Like a poem poorly written
We are verses out of rhythm,
Couplets out of rhyme,
In syncopated time

And the dangled conversation
And the superficial sighs,
Are the borders of our lives.

Yes, we speak of things that matter,
With words that must be said,
“Can analysis be worthwhile?”
“Is the theater really dead?”

And how the room is softly faded
And I only kiss your shadow,
I cannot feel your hand,
You’re a stranger now unto me

Lost in the dangling conversation.
And the superficial sighs,
In the borders of our lives.

Paul Simon

 
 

The Dangling Conversation is a song written by Paul Simon, first released in September 1966 as a Simon and Garfunkel single The Dangling Conversation/The Big Bright Green Pleasure Machine. The song only climbed to 25 on the US charts and never made it onto the UK charts. Simon was surprised that it was not a bigger hit and attributed the song’s lack of success to its heaviness. It was released a month later as a recording on the Simon and Garfunkel album Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme.

The theme is failed communication between lovers. The song starts in a room washed by shadows from the sun slanting through the lace curtains and ends with the room “softly faded.” They are as different as the poets they read: Emily Dickinson and Robert Frost.

Simon has compared this song to The Sound of Silence, but says The Dangling Conversation is more personal.

Joan Baez recorded a version of the song which is one of her greatest hits, originally released in 1967 on the Joan album. She changed one of the lines to “Is the church really dead?” and Simon insisted that a line be inserted on the album’s back cover that read: “Paul Simon asks Joan to note that the original line is, ‘Is the theater really dead?'”

Les Fradkin has a dramatic version on his 2006 album, Jangleholic.

 
 

To watch a scene of Frederick Wiseman‘s 1968 documentary High School related to this song, please take a gander at The Genealogy of Style’s Facebook page:https://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Genealogy-of-Style/597542157001228?ref=hl

The Little Man Who Wasn’t There

Photo by Chema Madoz

 
 

ANTIGONISH

Yesterday, upon the stair,
I met a man who wasn’t there.
He wasn’t there again today,
I wish, I wish he’d go away…

When I came home last night at three,
The man was waiting there for me
But when I looked around the hall,
I couldn’t see him there at all!
Go away, go away, don’t you come back any more!
Go away, go away, and please don’t slam the door…

Last night I saw upon the stair,
A little man who wasn’t there,
He wasn’t there again today
Oh, how I wish he’d go away…

Hughes Mearns

 
 

Inspired by reports of a ghost of a man roaming the stairs of a haunted house in Antigonish, Nova Scotia, Canada, the poem Antigonish (also known as The Little Man Who Wasn’t There) was originally part of a play called The Psyco-ed which Mearns had written for an English class at Harvard University about 1899. In 1910, Mearns put on the play with the Plays and Players, an amateur theatrical group and, on 27 March 1922, newspaper columnist FPA printed the poem in The Conning Tower, his column in the New York World.

In 1939, Antigonish was adapted as a popular song titled The Little Man Who Wasn’t There by Harold Adamson with music by Bernie Hanighen, both of whom received the songwriting credits. A 12 July 1939 recording of the song by the Glenn Miller Orchestra with vocals by Tex Beneke became an 11-week hit on Your Hit Parade reaching #7. Other versions were recorded by Larry Clinton & His Orchestra with vocals by Ford Leary, Bob Crosby & His Orchestra with vocals by Teddy Grace, Jack Teagarden & His Orchestra with vocals by Teagarden, and Mildred Bailey. Mearns ‘ Antigonish has been used numerous times in popular culture, including Velvet Goldmine (Todd Haynes, 1998) often with slight variations in the lines.

Similar lyrics can be heard in the song The Man Who Sold the World by David Bowie:

“We passed upon the stair
We spoke of was and when
Although I wasn’t there
He said I was his friend…”

All The World Is a Stage

Take a Bow is a midtempo pop ballad with a “Sukiyaki”-like Japanese touch, performed by American singer-songwriter Madonna. It was released as the Bedtime Stories‘ second single on October 28, 1994. The song also appears on her compilation albums Something to Remember (1995), GHV2 (2001) and Celebration (2009).

Following the release Madonna’s first book publication, Sex, the erotic thriller, Body of Evidence, and the album, Erotica, in the early 1990s, the media and public’s backlash against Madonna’s overtly sexual image was at a peak. Released in early March, 1994, her first musical release after Erotica was the tender ballad I’ll Remember from the soundtrack of the film With Honors. When Madonna appeared on the Late Show with David Letterman on March 31, 1994 to promote the single, her coarse language and behavior—which was provocative, seemingly random at times, full of double entendres (at one point asking Letterman to sniff her panties), profanities, and ended with a refusal to leave the set—caused yet another large public controversy. Following this, Madonna decided to tone down her image and move her career into a new direction. Musically, she explored new-jack R&B styles with a generally mainstream, radio-friendly sound. This new R&B sound was reflected in Bedtime Stories. For Take a Bow, Madonna wanted a more “romantic vein” so she worked with Babyface on the track because he had proved himself to be very successful in his previous works with smooth R&B, working with other artists such as Whitney Houston, Boyz II Men, and Toni Braxton.

The chorus expresses the theme of saying goodbye to a lover who had taken her for granted. The title plays upon the verse in the song “all the world is a stage and everyone has their part,” a reference to the line by William Shakespeare in his play As You Like It, “All the world’s a stage, and all the men and women mere players”. In his book Madonna: An Intimate Biography, J. Randy Taraborrelli describes the song as a “somber, sarcastic, all-the-world’s-a-stage song about unrequited love… [about a subject] whose phoniness might have fooled everyone else, but not her.” He goes on to say that in the song Madonna tells the subject of her unrequited love to take a bow for “rendering a great, transparent performance in life and love.”

The music video for Take a Bow was directed by Michael Haussman, and is a lavish period-style piece filmed from November 3–8, 1994 in Ronda and in the bullring of Antequera, Spain. It was outfitted by famed stylist Lori Goldstein who received the VH1 Fashion and Media award for best styling. The plot, set in the 1940s, depicts Madonna as a neglected lover of a bullfighter, played by real-life Spanish bullfighter Emilio Muñoz. Madonna’s character yearns for the bullfighter’s presence, with erotic heartbreak. A total of three different bulls were used during the production of the music video. It generated controversy with animal rights activists who accused the singer of glorifying bullfighting.

 
 

 
 

In the video Madonna wears fitted, classic suits by British fashion designer John Galliano. In an interview with MTV’s Kurt Loder on the set of the music video, Madonna said that when she was initially writing Take a Bow the inspiration for the song was an actor, but she wanted the male character in the video to be to be a matador instead because she wanted the video to be about an “obsessive, tragic love story that doesn’t work out in the end” and a matador would be more visually effective in expressing the emotion of the song. The style of the music video has been compared to Spanish director Pedro Almodóvar‘s 1986 film Matador, starring Antonio Banderas.  The music video for Madonna’s 1995 single You’ll See is considered a follow up to the Take a Bow music video, as Madonna and Emilio Muñoz reprise their roles. In that video Madonna’s character walks out on Munoz’s (bullfighter) character, leaving him behind in despair. Madonna’s character is then seen on the train and later on a plane, while Munoz’s character tries to catch up with her in vain.

Madonna requested that Haussman give the video a Spanish theme because, at the time, she was lobbying for the role of Eva Perón in the film version of Evita. She subsequently sent a copy of the video to director Alan Parker as a way of “auditioning” for the role. Madonna eventually won the role of Perón.

The music video for Take a Bow inspired Justin Timberlake‘s video for SexyBack (Michael Haussman, 2006) and was later tributed by Britney Spears‘ video for “Radar” (Dave Meyers, 2009). Madonna won Best Female Video honors at the 1995 MTV Video Music Awards for the Take a Bow music video. It was also nominated for Best Art Direction in a Video, but lost to Michael Jackson and Janet Jackson‘s Scream.

To watch Take a Bow music video, please take a gander at The Genealogy of Style’s Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Genealogy-of-Style/597542157001228?ref=hlt

A Woman in July

 
 

The Stripper (1963) is a drama film about a struggling, aging actress turned stripper and the people she knows, played by Joanne Woodward. It is based on the play A Loss of Roses by William Inge.

This was the feature film debut of director Franklin J. Schaffner, and co-starred Carol Lynley, Robert Webber, and Richard Beymer. Also appearing as Madame Olga was real-life stripper Gypsy Rose Lee. It was the first Schaffner film to feature a score by prolific composer Jerry Goldsmith, who would later work with Schaffner on such films as Planet of the Apes, Patton, Papillon, and The Boys from Brazil.

The film was first designed to be a vehicle for two Fox contract stars, Marilyn Monroe and Pat Boone. Monroe had been considered for the part as early as 1961 co-starring opposite Pat Boone who turned the part down as his strong religious beliefs nor did he feel his fans would be comfortable with him in such a role. Monroe’s death had nothing to do with Woodward being cast in the film. In fact, the April 28, 1962 Los Angeles Times listed The Stripper as one of four films in production at the studio, including Monroe’s Something’s Got to Give. In fact, Woodward would perform the song Something’s Got to Give in the film.

For her role in The Stripper also known under the working title The Woman in July, William Travilla dressed Woodward in silk and other sheer fabrics that reveal her body movement. But as Joanne’s breast were small, they created “breast cards” that glued to her body and gave the illusion of a fuller figure. “I called in the studio sculptor to make some plaster casts of Joanne’s body. From these, they made another form and created several sets of clay breasts until I gave my approval…..nothing too much, just beautiful breasts that scoop up and move.” From that, thin foam pads were created and glued daily to the actress’ body. “It was a tribute to Joanne as an actress that she went through all this for the role.” Travilla was nominated for his last Academy Award for Costume Design in a black and white film, losing to Piero Gherardi for 8 1/2.

 
 

Woodward poses with Gypsy Rose Lee wearing one of Travilla’s creeations

 
 

Gifts To A High Class Ecdysiast

Photo by Fred Palumbo, 1956

 
 

The performer with stage name Gypsy Rose Lee was born in Seattle, Washington, on February 9, 1911, as Rose Louise Hovick. She died of lung cancer in Los Angeles in 1970. June Havoc was her only full sibling.

In response to a request from Gypsy Rose Lee for a “more dignified” way to refer to her profession, and trying to describe what she was (a “high-class” stripper), H. L. Mencken coined the word “ecdysiast” – from “ecdysis”, meaning “to molt”.

 
 

 
 

She was also an actress, author, and playwright whose 1957 memoir was made into the stage musical (Gypsy: A Musical Fable by Arthur Laurents) and film Gypsy (Mervyn LeRoy, 1962) starring Rosalind Russell, Natalie Wood and Karl Malden.

While she worked at Minsky’s Burlesque, Gypsy Rose Lee had relationships with an assortment of characters, from comedian Rags Ragland to Eddy Bruns. In Hollywood, she married Arnold “Bob” Mizzy on August 25, 1937, at the insistence of the film studio. Gypsy was at one time in love with Michael Todd and in 1942, in an attempt to make him jealous, she married William Alexander Kirkland; they divorced in 1944. While married to Kirkland, she gave birth on December 11, 1944, to a son fathered by Otto Preminger; he was named Erik Lee and has been known successively as Erik Kirkland, Erik de Diego, and Erik Preminger. Gypsy Lee was married for a third time in 1948, to Julio de Diego, but they also eventually divorced.

 
 

Gypsy Rose Lee, Max Ernst, 1943

 
 

The walls of her Los Angeles home were adorned with pictures by Joan Miró, Pablo Picasso, Marc Chagall, Max Ernst, and Dorothea Tanning, all of which were reportedly gifts to her by the artists themselves. Like Picasso, she was a supporter of the Popular Front movement in the Spanish Civil War and raised money for charity to alleviate the suffering of Spanish children during the conflict. “She became politically active, and supported Spanish Loyalists during Spain’s Civil War.

Channeling Carmen Jones

Theatrical poster for the film Carmen Jones(Otto Preminger, 1954). Design by Scott McKowen

 
 

Dorothy Dandridge strikes a pose in a scene from the film Carmen Jones. Costume design by Mary Ann Nyberg

 
 

Janet Jackson

 
 

-scura_1-700x501Halle Berry in the television film Introducing Dorothy Dandridge (Martha Coolidge, 1999)

 
 

Beyoncé Knowles

 
 

Rihanna