Progressive American Architecture

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The architecture in Gilbert Bostwick Croff’s book of building designs may have been considered “progressive” in 1875 but seen today most of these buildings scream “haunted house”, or at least, that peculiar American variety of the same as popularised by Psycho, The Addams Family and countless other films and cartoons. Whether old or new, to European eyes these houses have always looked strange, being an exaggerated 19th-century variation of certain forms of Continental architecture that you wouldn’t find anywhere in Europe. Croff’s examples are more exaggerated than usual with their elongated verticals and barbed ornamentation. Seventy years later, with the ravages of time and neglect afflicting their splendour, those that remained standing would look distinctly sinister amid the neat suburbs that grew around them, hence their transmutation into the archetype of the haunted house. Croff even predicts the future status of the style in a note on one of his designs: “The Shadows are intense and the effect very striking.” His book contains almost 100 different plans and architectural details. Browse or download it here.

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Weekend links 438

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Seishu Hanaoka’s Wife (1970) by Awazu Kiyoshi.

Hoodoo, Conjuration, Witchcraft & Rootwork: a colossal new addition to the Internet Archive, being a 5-volume, 4766-page collection of folkloric material gathered by Harry Middleton Hyatt in Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Virginia between 1936 and 1940.

• Edward Gorey is the theme du jour, so here’s some more: Gorey’s 1977 appearance on The Dick Cavett Show is revelatory, especially if you’ve never seen him talking before. Meanwhile, Laughing Squid has a previously unpublished interview in which Gorey discusses his love for his disruptive cats.

• Jeff Nuttall’s mid-century survey of the aesthetic underground, Bomb Culture, receives a fiftieth anniversary republication by Strange Attractor. The new edition is edited by Douglas Field and Jay Jeff Jones, with a foreword by Iain Sinclair and an afterword by Maria Fusco.

I have always questioned identity politics with my work. I often have characters that engage in homosexual sex but do not identify as gay (hustlers, neo-Nazi skinheads, extreme left wing revolutionaries, gerontophiles, etc.). But my films have also always been inclusive in terms of race, class, and gender. I find that the new emphasis on identity politics has really narrowed creative expression. It demonstrates a profound ignorance about sexuality, history, and human experience.

My sexual identity is pretty much fixed—I’m a Kinsey 6, if not a 7—but I acknowledge that this means I’m sexually repressed. I believe, after Freud, that everyone has some bisexual potential, and the tendency to increasingly entrench gender identity as innate and immutable is really preposterous. It also leads to strict rules about sexual representation—how gays, lesbians and transgender people “must” be portrayed, the policing of representation, a kind of proprietary stance about who is allowed to portray these characters.

It really boils down to a naivety about sexuality, and a complete failure of the imagination. It discourages people who may have the potential for some kind of sexual fluidity to express themselves. I’ve always been a “bad gay,” but now this political correctness has made me feel even more alienated from the notion of “gay identity”—particularly since the new assimilationist model is so conservative and dull.

Filmmaker Bruce LaBruce discussing art, porn and politics with Hoçâ Cové Mbede

• “Who is Barbara Baranowska? Despite the so-called Polish Poster School’s fame, certain people were seemingly forgotten. Perhaps they even wanted it that way…” Daniel Bird on an elusive artist. Related: Selected works by Barbara Baranowska.

• “I don’t think I’m ever mean-spirited and I try to understand human behaviour even though it’s impossible,” says John Waters.

Nine Dimensional Synod Of Oblique Pleasures is a very welcome new release by The Wyrding Module.

Galerie Dennis Cooper presents…The Resplendent Illegibility of Extreme Metal Logos.

Apocalypse Burlesque — Tales of Doomsday Eros: a new book by Supervert.

Rare booksellers rallied against an Amazon-owned company and won.

B. Alexandra Szerlip on the 80-year history of the ballpoint pen.

Anjelica Huston: how we made The Addams Family.

• Mix of the week: Secret Thirteen Mix 270 by Okkre.

The Cabinet of the Quay Brothers

Hoodoo Man Blues (1965) by Junior Wells’ Chicago Blues Band | Evil Hoodoo (1966) by The Seeds | I Been Hoodood (1973) by Dr John

Weekend links 436

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Cover for the now-defunct Cthulhu Sex magazine, volume 2, no. 23. Art by Chad Savage.

• Revising Lovecraft: The Mutant Mythos by Paul StJohn Mackintosh. Mackintosh was interviewed at Greydogtales in 2016 where he made a point that certainly chimes with my experience: “…the English-speaking genre community seems to have far more trouble with certain sexual themes than the mainstream literary community does, especially in Europe. […] A pity, because, for example, if H P Lovecraft’s worldview did owe much to sexual repression, then more mature engagement with that could really benefit the whole cosmic horror genre.”

• At Expanding Mind: Occultist and Aleister Crowley biographer Richard Kaczynski talks with Erik Davis about Jack Parsons, the “method of science,” the Agape Lodge, the women of Thelema, and the pluses and minuses of the Strange Angel TV series.

The Tell-Tale Heart (1953) is a short adaptation of the Poe story directed by JB Williams, and featuring Stanley Baker as the author. The film had been lost for 50 years but may now be seen on the BFI website.

• From July but more suited to the end of October: Paul Karasik on The Addams Family Secret: how a massive painting by Charles Addams wound up hidden away in a university library.

• Mixes of the week: Samhain Séance Seven: A Very Dark Place by The Ephemeral Man, Big Strings Attached, Oct. 2018 by Abigail Ward, and XLR8R Podcast 564 by Niagara.

• At Haute Macabre: Conjured from obscurity: lost, neglected and forgotten literature from Valancourt Books.

The Feathered Bough, a large-format collection of new fiction and art by Stephen J. Clark.

William Doyle on Music For Algorithms: in search of Eno’s ambient vision in a spotify era.

• The devils of our better nature: Daniel Felsenthal on Dennis Cooper and his new film.

Bone Mother, a short animated film by Dale Hayward & Sylvie Trouvé.

• “In Japan, the Kit Kat Isn’t Just a Chocolate. It’s an Obsession.”

Leigh Singer chooses 10 great films about the afterlife.

• “I am a haunted house,” says Sarah Chavez.

Psychedelitypes

Sex Voodoo Venus (1985) by Helios Creed | Sexy Boy (1998) by Air | Sex Magick (2002) by John Zorn

Weekend links 321

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The Addams Family In Kimonos by Matsuyama Miyabi. Via S. Elizabeth.

• “They’re not the men you’ll walk down the street and lock eyes with, or that you’ll spot at a bar casually. They’re a fantasy.” Michael Valinsky reviewing Tom House: Tom Of Finland In Los Angeles edited by Michael Reynolds. Related (and almost a polar opposite): Nick Campbell on The Life to Come and Other Stories by EM Forster.

Randall Dunn, musician (Master Musicians of Bukkake), producer (Sunn O))), Earth, etc), engineer, discusses making and recording music.

John Waters brings back Multiple Maniacs: “Of course I went a little too far.” he says. Waters also talked about the film at Gawker.

Q: Most cherished book on your shelves? Why?

A: Depends on the day. Today it’s Blood Meridian by Cormac McCarthy. Blood Meridian is an indictment of Manifest Destiny, the Westward Expansion, of Hollywood and its portrayal of the west; it’s confrontational and bellicose. The sheer brutality of it affected me like I’d swallowed poison or taken a shot to the liver that I didn’t remember. Blood Meridian is a reminder that literature isn’t always tame. It can bite you.

Laird Barron talking to Smash Dragons about favourite writers and his own fiction

• In East Tower Dreaming Howlround, aka Robin the Fog, processes the sounds of a former BBC office building.

• At The Headless Hashasheen: Magic Mirrors and Specters: Paschal Beverly Randolph, Hashish, & Scrying.

• At Dangerous Minds: The astonishingly beautiful three-colour photography of Bernard Eilers.

Samm Deighan on Gothic Film in the ’40s: Doomed Romance and Murderous Melodrama.

• On a scale from 1–100, Milton Glaser rates every single Olympic logo design in history.

• The overwhelming A/V experience of Paul Jebanasam and Tarik Barri.

Patrick Feaster describes how to “play back” a picture of a sound wave.

• Mix of the week: Secret Thirteen Mix 192 by Shadows.

COLLAGE—The London Picture Archive

Madrigal Meridian (1978) by Tangerine Dream | Meridian Moorland (1979) by Peter Baumann | Meridian (2009) by Espers

Carel Struycken’s panoramas

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The Bradbury Building by Carel Struycken.

An idle search for a panorama view of the interior of the Bradbury Building in Downtown Los Angeles fetched me up at my favourite panorama site 360Cities and this photo by Carel Struycken. Mr Struycken is better known as an actor whose great height has seen him cast as The Giant in the Twin Peaks TV series, and Lurch in the Addams Family films. 360Cities has a page of his panorama views most of which are taken in and around Los Angeles. The strangely ossified landscape around California’s Monolake is more familiar from this photo by Hipgnosis for Pink Floyd’s Wish You Were Here album.

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Urban Light by Carel Struycken.

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Monolake in Winter by Carel Struycken.

Elsewhere on { feuilleton }
The panoramas archive

Previously on { feuilleton }
Through the darkness of future pasts
The Bradbury Building: Looking Backward from the Future