Weekend links 80


Niels Klim’s descent to the planet Nazar from the 1845 edition of Nicolai Klimii Iter Subterraneum (Niels Klim’s Underground Travels) (1741) by Ludvig Holberg.

BibliOdyssey posts illustrations from different editions of Ludvig Holberg’s satirical fantasy, appends the usual informative links and draws our attention Stories of a Hollow Earth at The Public Domain Review. I’d not come across the latter site before but it’s now bookmarked.

• While the economy of Europe continues to circle the toilet bowl it’s good to know that our Prime Minister is focusing on the important issues such as…limiting access to internet pornography. “Look at the implementation, and no matter where you stand on porn, I think you’ll see this plan is going to cause a lot of problems on its way to the eventual fail bin,” says Violet Blue. I was wondering how the four targeted ISPs would feel about a filtering plan that would drive many new customers elsewhere. The Register reports their response which comes down to offering guidelines rather than attempting the difficult and contentious task of filtering millions of websites.

• Related: Won’t you fuck off, Reg Bailey, in which the report by the small Christian pressure group that started all the fuss is eviscerated. | Elsewhere: Porn is good for society says Anna Arrowsmith, while Tristan Taormino asserts that “writing and publishing erotica, especially for minorities, is a political act.” Then there’s Pornsaints, “an artistic approach to porn, a pornographic approach to art, a pornartistic approach to religion.”

• In the music world: Richard H Kirk and Peter Care discuss Cabaret Voltaire and Johnny YesNo, Roy Harper talks to Alexis Petridis, and soundtrack composer Cliff Martinez is interviewed (and pictured playing a Cristal).

Witch’s Cradle at Strange Flowers (Maya Deren, Marcel Duchamp and Peggy Guggenheim), The Ghosts of Senate House, London, and Aleister Crowley’s Abbey of Thelema as it is today.

• RIP Frank Kameny, co-founder of the Mattachine Society, and a tireless gay rights advocate from the early 1960s on.

Bruce Weber photographs some of the dancers from Matthew Bourne’s Dance Company.

Terry Gilliam says “I used to think I could will things into existence. Not any more.”

• Charts at Business Insider: What the Wall Street protesters are so angry about.

Five From…: assorted wit and wisdom in the Tumblr labyrinth.

• Glass art by Jasmine Targett.

Ballard Geocoded.

Porno Base (1982) by 23 Skidoo | Kylie Minogue (2003) by Satanicpornocultshop | Tantric Porno (live) (2009) by Bardo Pond.

Matthew Bourne’s Dorian Gray


Dorian (Richard Winsor) photographed by Bill Cooper.

Matthew Bourne‘s new dance version of Dorian Gray opens today at the Sadler’s Wells Theatre, London, and I’d have been interested in this production even without visions like the ones above and below; the eye candy merely adds an additional frisson and, let’s face it, there’s always been an erotic component to dance and ballet however high-minded the intention. Bourne famously gave the world the a Swan Lake with male swans and in Dorian Gray updates Wilde in a very contemporary manner (following Will Self’s Dorian: An Imitation and Duncan Roy’s recent film adaptation) with the gay subtext made an overt text.

Set in the image-obsessed world of contemporary art and politics, Matthew Bourne’s ‘black fairy tale’ tells the story of an exceptionally alluring young man who makes a pact with the devil. Amongst London’s beautiful people, Dorian Gray is the ‘It Boy’ – an icon of beauty and truth in an increasingly ugly world.

The destructive power of beauty, the blind pursuit of pleasure and the darkness and corruption that lie beneath the charming façade; the themes behind Oscar Wilde’s cautionary tale have never been more timely.


Richard Winsor again, photographed by Murdo Macleod.

Dorian Gray continues the gender-reversals with Lord Henry becoming Lady H, while Sybil Vane is transmuted to Cyril. I like the stage design detail where the customary nightclub glitterball becomes a version of Damien Hirst’s diamond-encrusted human skull, the expensive artworld bauble finding its own level at last as a piece of decoration. Updating stories in this way often provokes a feeling of ambivalence—removing the subtext can have the effect of diluting the tension which lies at the heart of the work—but the continual refashioning of Wilde’s fable has confirmed its status as a contemporary myth, something I’m sure he’d be very pleased about. In that respect, it gives the creator the immortality through art which his creation, in the closing pages of the story, is denied.

Because Wilde’s worth it | Matthew Bourne discusses the production
Review in The Independent
Bill Cooper’s production photos
Wilde at heart: Matthew Bourne’s Dorian Gray | Another photo gallery

Elsewhere on { feuilleton }
The Oscar Wilde archive