Bizart 32: Twin Peaks, The Brighton Fringe Festival And Social Media Hang Ups

Our podcast, Bizart, is back. We discuss odd things, art things and anything else.

Bizart: A Podcast Of The Odd, The Art And The Rest

And we are back! I (Madeleine Swann) chat with fellow weirdo arty type Stephen Waring about odd stuff, art stuff and anything else.

Timeline:

0.23 – Twin Peaks Season 3

3.00  – The Brighton Fringe Festival

22.55 – Religious cults and social media hang ups

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Short Films, Art And Writing By Women: The Fifth Sense, In Partnership With Chanel And ID

Bonjour my little balls of bellybutton fluff that are quite cute really so you leave them where they are. I’m madly getting everything ready for my reading in Brighton this weekend (for the Fringe Festival) so expect more on that next week.

In the meantime here are some short films, some on writing, some on art, some just creative, from a video, article and exhibition project called The Fifth Sense between Chanel (yes, the perfume/designers) and iD. Vice has more info.

I like Jellywolf because it gives you a really good insight into my life around age 19-24: lots of luminous clothes and clubs and a world not quite set in reality.

Here’s the director, Alma Har’el, talking about making films.

Photographer Harley Weir discusses her photography and film work.

Her final project became portraits of five different artistic women. The first is poet Zariya Allen.

Next is dancer Manthe Ribane.

Then artist Christine Sun Kim.

Then photographer Momo Okabe

Lastly actress Oulaya Amamra.

Finally, here is a video of the mirror sculpture exhibition by Es Devlin. See you next week!

 

Weird Fiction Short Story In Free Magazine

Hello my little bags of books accidentally bought in a language I don’t understand, how are you?

A little while ago my speculative/weird fiction/whatever you want to call it story Live and Learn was published in a very pretty and very free magazine from Oddville Press. There’s literary fiction, poetry, art, and a slab of weird from me.

Read my edition here

Visit their website hereoddville

Trash Cinema, Weird Travel And Freaky People: Bizarre Book Club Non-Fiction Special

Merry morning my little chimpanzees in the planning stages of taking over the world. I’ve been reading lots of weird things and here they are:

Death Confetti: Pickers, Punks and Transit Ghosts in Portland, Oregan, by Jennifer Robin death-confetti-510x801

This is, no exaggeration, one of the most beautiful books I’ve ever read. I follow the author on facebook as well and, seriously, her status updates are miniature masterpieces.

Jennifer charts her non-linear journey from reclusive childhood to Portland artist with description as biting as William Burroughs and prose as rich as Anais Nin, but also completely unique. Sometimes she just remembers a character from her past, sometimes a full anecdote, sometimes she’s just looking at people on the bus, but all are beautiful. How can you not be fascinated by an intro like this:

“My directives, as established at seventeen—to experience real emotion, real contact with other people, all of the things you only learn by sucking cock, smoking rock, climbing cliffs, sleeping in catacombs, getting pregnant, and making a lot of mistakes—were fully enforced at this time. Within a year of my arrival I was playing in an electronic noise band. On and off-stage, we made—or perhaps “were”—performance art.”

The Disaster Artist by Greg Sestero ohm

I have genuinely never laughed so loudly and consistently at a book. If you’re unfamiliar with Tommy Wiseau’s complete mess of a film The Room, first of all where have you been, and second please watch it right now. Our fascination with it is hard to explain to people who don’t love terrible films. Example conversation with a friend:

Friend: Are you coming to Ian’s later?

Me: Yep. I’m bringing The Room

Friend: What? Not again. I’ve got Lolita at home, I’ll bring that

Me: Noooo, I can watch a good film anytime. YOU DON’T UNDERSTAND MEEE!!!

And so on. Greg is the guy who played Mark (Oh, hi Mark) and he recounts the complete debacle from beginning to end including the first time he met Tommy and the events that led to his making the film. What elevates this above merely poking fun at an eccentric is the genuine level of affection – though sometimes tested – and desire to understand Tommy. He’s not a monster, he has real feelings and a desperate need to be an actor, and perhaps another reason we enjoy The Room is his sheer determination to make that happen. As Greg says, “The Room is a drama that is also a comedy that is also an existential cry for help that is finally a testament to human endurance.”

There is a film coming out, called The Masterpiece, based on this book. I, for one, will be watching it.

Everything Wrong With The Room In 8 Minutes Or Less:

Dandy in the Underworld by Sebastian Horsley dandy

“Please allow me to introduce myself. I am a peacock without a cause, I am a piece of transcendent trash – a futile blast of colour in a futile colourless world.”

If Sebastian had been born in the 1800s he would be one of those sons paid by their wealthy family to stay away. He crashes through life like a mixture of Byron and Withnail, rarely likeable but always interesting, an artist who’s biggest art piece was himself.

On a whim he goes diving with sharks, has a fling with gangster Jimmy Boyle, bets on the stock exchange and becomes horribly addicted to heroin and crack. When he has money he doesn’t respect it, when he doesn’t he’s desperate. He makes no excuses for shoplifting and generally being a louche, entitled rich boy and if he did I probably wouldn’t have enjoyed reading him as much. He died aged 47 of a suspected overdose.

(Be warned, I suspect he says things because he likes to be ‘shocking’):

A Curious Guide To London by Simon Leyland curious

Yes, yes, there’s the Houses of Parliament and Trafalgar Square blah blah. Where are the corpses? A common cry, and one this book would like to answer.

Beneath the respectable layer of London’s past is a hidden world of information, such as the peculiar shrub in Chelsea Physic Garden that gave John Wyndham the idea for Day of the Triffids, St. Sepulchre’s watch house in Holborn (built to keep an eye out for grave diggers), the Haymarket cat opera (exactly how it sounds) or the leftover ‘snob screens’ in The Lamb pub which protected delicate wealthy eyes from the sight of the common man.

It’s separated into districts so you can have a flick through next time you go to London and see what’s about. If you’d like to see a bit more of weird London via a guide have a look at this spooky tour we embarked upon for Halloween.

Midnight Movie Madness by Ian Watson midnight-movie

A cavalcade of truly terrible films, this collection takes you from Maniac ‘director’ Dwain Esper‘s exploitation efforts, through fifties B movies to nonsensical modern day fare. Some of the descriptions made me chuckle out loud, particularly in the WTF section.

If monster movies are your thing, or perhaps overseas oddities, each film has been separated into categories ( I like categories, don’t I? I never realised that before), making it easier to dip in according to mood. Enjoy!

Believe It Or Not! 6 Scary, Creepy Or Weird Full Online Documentaries For Halloween

Doesn’t the air smell of faded leaves and over excitement?! I for one can barely wait to start digging up bodies and spoon feeding them cake and chocolate. That’s what you do, right?

The evenings are drawing in and what better way to relax than with a few informative, yet suitably weird, documentaries?

The Addams Family

These first three really count as one. I’m not sure what TV channel broadcast them first or if they were DVD extras, but it’s a 2007 look at the TV series and original cartoons of the Addams Family.

The Aswang Phenomenon

If you’ve seen bizarre cult classic Mystics of Bali you may have heard of the witch who separates her head from her body and floats through the air…her lungs and spine dangling beneath. Well, apparently they have a similar creature in the Philippines, the Aswang, who oddly seems to take many other forms according to whoever tells the story.

Ripley Believe it or Not!

Ripley’s Museum of Oddities will always hold a special place in my heart as Bill and I visited for our second date (my choice of course).

This documentary charts Ripley’s beginnings from cartoonist to global weirdo phenomenon, celebrating those who always felt a bit different on the way.

Frankenstein and the Vampyre, a Dark and Stormy Night

Two legendary horror monsters were created during the same holiday in Geneva, Frankenstein by Mary Shelley and the modern, aristocratic vampire by John Polidori. Also with them were poets Lord Byron and Percy Bysshe Shelley and Mary’s stepsister Claire Clairmont.

Their trip isn’t just famous for their creative output, however, there were also drugs, sexual confusion and scandal. Exciting!

If you’d like to see more documentaries on romantic gothic literature, including the Brontes and Edgar Allen Poe, toddle off to this link here.

Urban Legends

An atmospheric wander through urban legends that turned out to have some basis in fact, whether before or after the telling. Remember, Halloween wouldn’t be the same if we didn’t all think nice old ladies were trying to kill us with sweets (candy).

Sacred Weeds: Henbane the Witch’s Brew

This was one of the oddest documentaries I remember from the 90s. It seemed to me that during that period everything went very sun and moon and incense, and to be honest I still secretly love it. There were four episodes in the series; Blue Lily, Henbane, Salvia Divinorum and Fly Agaric, but Henbane deals with Gothic folklore and witch trials.

The premise is what makes it so strange, two people turn up to a castle in the middle of nowhere so scientists in suits can watch them trip out of their tiny minds. The scientists argue before the trial and after, not a single one agreeing or changing their mind in the least. To be honest, though, fair enough if you’ve done the research and others clearly haven’t.

Watch out for the man who seems to have wandered in from some fetish dream, declaring with little to no evidence that witches definitely rubbed ointment on their vaginas and held naked sabbats.

Magical Russian Fairy Tale Photography

Uldus Bakhtiozina is a Russian photographer and visual artist who studied Photography at University of Arts, London, at Central Saint Martins College. She worked as a fashion and art photographer and is now back in Russia working from her own studio of visual arts.

Russ Land is a series of pictures inspired by Russian folk legends and fairy tales. Some of them remind me of stills from silent movies:russland10

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Things To Do, Places To Visit, Renaissance Art And Travel Tips For Florence, Italy

Dry your eyes and stash the kleenex at the back of the cupboard, I have returned! I didn’t bring you any presents, no. Is that all our friendship is to you? Well, I did kind of bring presents, this amazingly beautiful and helpful blog post. Next time I shall share with you the morbid delights of the anatomy museum but, for now, Florence’s (mostly) light side.

As our walking tour guide said, Florence is like a living history museum with buildings from the medieval period, the Renaissance and much more. This is true, but to me it also feels like the scene in a fantasy novel or film where the hero is taken through an alleyway in a city and emerges in a fantastical market. All pictures taken by Bill Purnell.

Aqua Flor is a perfumery operating the same way since the Renaissance. Not only is the inside beautiful but the back opens onto a large room with statues, paintings and columns. Plus there’s a poison cabinet, what more could you ask? DSC_0271

The Uffizi Gallery is in the Piazza Della Signoria surrounded by public statues. The inside is a mix of statues and paintings and, when you’re in Florence, always look at the ceilings – you don’t want to miss the frescoes which are almost everywhere. Make sure you reserve a specific time slot, it’s a very popular place and you won’t want to spend hours queuing.

Inside the Uffizi
Inside the Uffizi

Uffizi Gallery, Florence

The Piazza Della Signoria
The Piazza Della Signoria

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The Boboli Gardens is another place worth a visit. Again you can reserve which means you don’t have to queue. Unlike us, who reserved AND queued. Oh dear! The Boboli Gardens

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For any book lovers who can’t speak Italian, ie. me, there’s the Paperback Exchange. As well as a big range of new books including comics and graphic novels, students bring books back after lessons, so head for a room at the back and you’ll get them for around 5 euros. Hooray!

Me with my haul
Me with my haul

In the Piazza Della Repubblica is one of the prettiest carousels I’ve ever seen. Of course I went on it a few times and no, I didn’t care that I was the only grown up.carousel in piazza della repubblica

Our hotel, the Bernini Palace (beautiful, recommended definitely), was in Piazza di San Firenze and every morning I would step out in front of the building where Leonardo De Vinci began the Mona Lisa. where Leonardo De Vinci began the Mona LisaArt is everywhere, from street art like Clet Abraham’s hacked road signs to statues or painting on almost every corner. Florence art and statues

A beautiful Florentine street

Warnings: Along with the joy, however, are a few important things to remember. The street sellers by the Cathedral are not licensed to sell. As they’re desperate people from war torn countries it’s tolerated but if you’re caught buying from them you’ll be fined. It’s often knock-off goods and if you want a nice leather wallet it’s best to get it from a shop.

Also, Gelatarias (gelato ice cream shops) with high mountains of the stuff aren’t as good as those with tubs. Basically, if you see very tall mounds of gelato, avoid it and go for something with flatter piles.

Bene! We are almost at an end, but before you whisk yourself off into the night have a peek at a very short video of beautiful things I saw on my travels. In it are the Piazza Della Signoria, Aqua Flor, Santa Maria Novella Pharmacia (another stunning perfumery, this time started by Monks) and the carousel among others. Farewell!