Loads of Links 3/20/15

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image via Junior Scientist Power Hour

Back in October, Jennae from Green & Gorgeous wore an all-gray-everything outfit and it reinforces my feeling that gray is the coziest-looking color.

Brand KTZ had a line at this year’s NYFW that suspiciously resembled designs by Northern Cheyenne/Crow designer Bethany Yellowtail, which follows basic fashion history of Native artists being co-opted by others.

The Shark Lady, Eugenie Clark, passed away in February, and she was an incredible scientist; I’m sorry I wasn’t familiar with her work before her passing.

Cartoonist Abby Howard made two comics about being fat and they are, of course, excellent.

This recipe for baked-in-their-shells eggs with mushrooms from The Furious Pear Pie is going on my breakfast list BUT QUICK.

What happens if you put placenta-based beauty masks on your face? Writers Jaya Saxena and Jazmine Hughes bravely found out over at The Hairpin.

Speaking of Jaya Saxena, she wrote about how to be comfortably naked in naked-in-public spaces!

Here’s a brief history of plagiarism in YA over at Bookshelves of Doom.

There are some comments disputing how representative of each era the looks are, but the North and South Korean edition of “100 Years of Hair and Makeup” is still a super interesting one minute of maybe-history.

If you’d like something a little more in-depth to distract you from the impending heat death of the universe, here’s a longform history of Harlequin Romance.

Alex’s best photos of 2014 at Delayed Missives are so, so beautiful. As per uzh.

Loads of Links 1/9/15

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image via Naturalist’s Cabinet

Thrift-o-Rama’s “lady friendships” post from last October makes me smile every time I read it, I swear.

Naturalist’s Cabinet makes some of the most stunning nature-inspired jewelry I’ve ever seen. I mean, this Bird’s Nest Fungus necklace? WOW.

Why not take an hour to enjoy this supercut of Jessica Fletcher’s epiphanies?

Merritt Kopas makes some really thoughtful, unusual games, like the transgender-identity-and-family-themed Conversations with My Mother, that are worth checking out.

Ytasha Womack and her work on Afrofuturism are inspiring and amazing.

“Sandra is one of Australia’s unofficial experts on the living aspects of death”: read about how an Australian trans woman started her own trauma cleaning business.

Whether or not Stef Conner’s album The Flood is an accurate approximation of ancient Sumerian and Babylonian singing, her music is gorgeous and eerie and very haunting.

I’m pretty hopeless at knitting, but if I were better, I would absolutely pounce on my friend Kit’s gorgeous handspun yarns in her Etsy shop, Trillflower Fiber Arts.

I really enjoy Kasmira’s breakdown of her best/worst/cheapest/priciest purchases for all of 2014 at What I Wore 2Day–the way she keeps track of what she buys is something I’d like to do myself this year.

Man, Kiah and her daughter KILLED IT with their outfits at Fashion X Dallas back in November. That hat! That necklace!

Outfit Post: 11/21/14

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Hey, pals. I’m gonna share some links for helping re: Ferguson and police brutality across the United States.

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Communities United Against Police Brutality.

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The National Bar Association–an association of predominantly Black lawyers campaigning, among other things, against police brutality.

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The National Lawyers Guild, which is doing on-the-ground work in Ferguson.

And lastly: look up who represents you in Congress and send them a letter calling for mandatory body cameras on law enforcement officials in your area and nationwide. Do what you can.

Loads of (Eerie) Links 10/30/14

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image via The Hairpin

Who’s in the mood for some Halloweeny links? (Spoiler alert: it’s me!)

Over at the Toast, Emily L. Stephens has an article about horror movies The Haunting (1963) and May (2002) and their late-blooming protagonists. (I participated in her live-tweet of The Haunting on Saturday and was completely fascinated by the amount of barely-“sub” queer subtext.)

I am loving The Ghost in My Machine’s multi-part haunted road trip series. Part 1: “Scaling the Ruins of Bannerman Castle.” Part 2: “Chasing the Ghosts of Clinton Road.”

Emily Carroll’s horror comics are always a perfect creepy read for the midnight hour, and “When the Darkness Presses” is no exception.

For some real-life unsettling reading, you could do worse than Will Storr’s article from March on the controversial maybe-disease Morgellons Syndrome.

Dinosaur Dracula is chock-full of vintage and contemporary Halloween-season food, toys, and commercials, and I can’t help reading about every single one of them.

R.L. Stine, master of my childhood, decided to write a story live on Twitter–unsurprisingly, it’s called “What’s In My Sandwich?”

Speaking of R.L. Stine: even though Blogger Beware hasn’t updated in over a year, it’s still my favorite repository for Goosebumps book reviews, and I reread the entire thing at least once a year.

Monica McLaughlin is BACK at the Hairpin doing Estate Jewelry posts, and last week she did a special Halloween-themed edition. Toadstones! Charivari! A disembodied penis made out of natural pearls!

For all my fellow white people out there: Mikki Kendall has advice for all of us on how to avoid wearing a racist costume on Halloween! You can do it, I believe in you.

Loads of Links 7/7/14

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image via Stacy Bias

You can read an excerpt from A.K. Summers’ comic “Pregnant Butch” here–if you’re curious about one butch lesbian’s thoughts on pregnancy and gender presentation, I recommend checking it out.

This Girl With Curves post is a couple of years old now, but hot dang, that wrap dress looks phenomenal on her.

Mary Hendrie’s post “Why I Don’t Want Your Compliment” is great, and the core of it can’t be repeated enough: unless you have explicit permission, please, please don’t comment on someone else’s body.

Grown and Curvy Woman is consistently great with her outfits, but, in particular, her styling of this skirt knocked me off my feet.

Nina Mitchell’s spoken version of her sneaking-out-of-the-hospital-after-a-stroke story is wonderful; she tells it so well and it lifts my spirits.

Big necklace, loose dress, cool boots: it’s official, Stef looks amazing.

Stacy Bias has a really incredible, thoughtful illustrated post on “Good Fatty” Archetypes.

Also illustrated and so, so good is Jana Christy’s diary comic about donating a kidney to her brother.

Jenny Trout wrote an article for the Huffington Post about wearing a bikini while fat, and then reflected on the article’s impact a couple of days later.

Stephanie at Chocolate Laced is cute as a dang button. And those yellow pants!!

I’m not sure I’ll ever stop being fascinated by the Somerton Man/Taman Shud case, and Lucia Peters’ writeup of the incident only further inflames my curiosity.

A Canadian sex worker (who is a really cool friend!) wrote this very no-nonsense response to Tasha Kheiriddin’s uninformed “prostitution is sexual abuse” opinion piece.

Over the weekend I saw some really shitty headdress-appropriating clothing in San Francisco, so this seems like a good time (actually, always is a good time) to link to Beyond Buckskin’s helpful how-to guide for non-shitty Native-inspired summer festival fashion.

Outfit Post: 6/26/14

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Top and pants: Thrifted — Flats: 6pm.com (Frye) — Earrings and bracelet: Gift, from Greece

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You might correctly guess that I have, uh, some strong feelings about the US Supreme Court ruling that came down today, but I’ll try to keep it lighthearted around these parts.

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So, what’s good in the world? This adorable baby bat is.

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This smartypants math kiddo is, too.

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Not to mention this video of the P-Funk Mothership being reassembled.

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What’s good in your world lately?

Guest Post: Walter Potter’s Curious World of Taxidermy

[Hi, folks! I’m off on a little-deserved vacation around Austria and Slovenia, so please enjoy a series of guest posts from my rad internet friends! This one is from Whitney; she holds a master’s degree in Northern Renaissance art history, but she will respond sincerely to any topic of conversation with, “I’m very interested in that.” -Mia]

I remember the first time I ever saw a piece of taxidermy. I was ten, and my class was visiting the Children’s Museum in Oak Ridge, Tennessee. I was standing at the back of the crowd in a dark corridor, listening to our guide describe the next room. One of my classmates looked back, snickered, and pointed behind me. I turned and found myself almost leaning against the knee of a fully-grown, male polar bear reared back on his hind legs, front paws raised, face frozen mid-snarl. He was more than twice my height. For a moment I could not speak or move. Then it hit me: This is real. He was alive, and now he is not. And then: I will never be this close to a polar bear again. I relaxed. I noticed the length of his claws and teeth, his massive height, and how long and shaggy his hair was—not white, like I expected, but a dirty yellow. If I had dared, I could have run my fingers through it.

Though I didn’t realize it at the time, I had experienced why humans began practicing taxidermy as we know it back in the eighteenth century. Taxidermy is intimately associated with natural history. The preservation of animals both exotic and domestic allows for close observation and study not possible with live specimens. It even preserves some species after extinction, such as the Dodo and the Great Auk.

Today we might associate taxidermy with hunting, and perhaps with attendant issues of waste, poaching, extinction, or cruelty. Taxidermy also suggests issues of class, both high and low, from big game hunting and safari to subsistence hunting and American frontier traditions. It typified Norman Bates’ creepiness as early as 1960’s Psycho. Taxidermy almost always inspires strong reactions of either revulsion or fascination. Some people think it’s morally wrong, but many practitioners, collectors, and plain old enthusiasts like me consider it art.

Whatever your personal opinion on taxidermy may be, there’s no denying that from the Saatchi Gallery to the hipster bars of East Nashville, taxidermy is undergoing a renaissance. For a new generation of fans just discovering its historical appeal, it’s wonderful to celebrate the release of a book on an exceptional artist, Walter Potter’s Curious World of Taxidermy by Dr. Pat Morris and Joanna Ebenstein. Walter Potter (1835-1918) was an amateur taxidermist in Sussex, England, who created a collection of truly delightful, bizarre, and completely unique anthropomorphic tableaux, or scenes of animals acting like humans. His collection of tableaux, “freaks,” and local fauna became a museum in his hometown, and after Mr. Potter’s death his son ran the museum until his own death in the late sixties. I could describe the collection, but it’s really better if you see it for yourself. Here’s a British Pathé newsreel on the museum from 1955:

 

The museum and its contents were sold and moved from Bramber to Brighton and Arundel for many years before finally being sold again and reestablished in Cornwall. Though the museum remained fairly popular, its owners sold the individual pieces at auction in 2003, disassembling the collection forever. In 2008, Dr. Pat Morris, a biologist and taxidermy collector, published his first work on Walter Potter’s museum. In commemoration of the tenth anniversary of the auction, his book has been rereleased in a newly illustrated and expanded edition. The front matter sketches biographical information on Walter Potter and traces the journey of the museum. There is a wealth of information on the changing attitudes toward taxidermy throughout the museum’s history, which no doubt led to the museum’s (relegation) as a historical oddity and its eventual closure. Fans of Victorian culture will find plenty to interest them in the literary inspirations for the tableaux as well as the slice of life they preserve. The tableaux of social gatherings are especially fascinating as records of Victorian life embodied in an ideal Victorian medium.

The real heart of the book is its gorgeous full-page photographs of the collection’s finest pieces. Potter’s tableaux, like the Renaissance cabinets of curiosity they’re meant to evoke, require close viewing for full appreciation. You’re meant to walk around their cases, interact with them, and put your nose up to the glass. How else could you appreciate the painstaking effort of Mr. Potter’s hand-crafted musical instruments in the guinea pig band, the utensils at the Kittens’ Tea Party, or the brocade gowns of the Kittens’ Wedding, carefully stitched by Mr. Potter’s daughter? You are meant to quietly discover the subtleties of the Rabbits’ School, to delight and marvel in their fabricated society. Now that the collection is scattered in private holdings, most of us will never experience that joy in person. Walter Potter’s Curious World of Taxidermy is the next best thing.

 

Further Exploration

+ As of last week, the book is now available for purchase on Amazon.com

+ The book’s official website (with a great blog filled with behind-the-scenes production anecdotes and many, many guest posts by artists inspired by Potter’s work)

+ Morbid Anatomy blog (run by Joanna Ebenstein, co-author of the new edition)

+ Info on the Morbid Anatomy Library, in case you’re ever up Brooklyn way

+ A list of upcoming Morbid Anatomy lectures, most the New York City area

 

 Image Galleries

+ Taxidermy4cash.com’s image archive, lots of less popular works

Acaseofcuriosities.com’s image archive, not great quality but lots of supplementary info