Friday, September 26, 2008

5 Creepy Cannibalism Themes in Classic Fairy Tales That Will Give Your Children, and You, Nightmares



This is a guest post by Sher D Fly

The fairy tales that we used to read when we were children are quite terrifying, with elements of violence and even cannibalism in them. Most of these tales now have been revised to suit the young readers. Nevertheless, these fairy tales with cannibal characters could really scare your children and give them nightmares.

The Juniper Tree
(German fairy tale, compiled by Brothers Grimm)





Cannibal character:
The stepmother who served her husband her a special homemade black pudding made from her stepson's body.

The story: A man lost his wife after giving birth to a son. He remarried and together they had a daughter. However, the stepmother was jealous of the son and somehow tricked him to death and blamed her own daughter. The stepmother then convinced the daughter that it was her fault and turned the stepson's dead body into black pudding, which was served to the husband. The daughter then buried the stepbrother's bones under a juniper tree. A magical bird flew out of the tree and dropped a millstone, which killed the stepmother. The bird then transformed itself to become the boy.

Hansel and Gretel
(German fairy tale, compiled by Brothers Grimm)



Cannibal character:
The witch who loves to eat kids. She enticed children using her house made of sweets and candy.

The story: Due to poverty, Hansel and Gretel were abandoned several times by their own father (after being persuaded by their stepmother). They both managed to come home by following pebble trails left by Hansel. However, they could not go home one day after Hansel left trails of breadcrumbs, which were eaten by animals. Lost in the woods, they reached a house made of sweets and candy. They ate the sweets and candy without knowing that an evil witch owned the house.

The witch caught them and put Hansel in the cage to fatten him up before baking him up, while Gretel became her servant. The witch checked on Hansel daily by touching his finger to ensure that he is fat enough to be baked. Due to poor eyesight, the witch could not see that Hansel had actually tricked her by giving bones instead of his own finger. Meanwhile, Gretel had an idea and somehow tricked the witch to get into the oven and killed her. They left the place and managed to get home.

Jack and the Beanstalk
(English fairy tale, compiled by Benjamin Tabart)



Cannibal character: The giant who loves to eat English men.

The story: A poor boy called Jack met a stranger who offered him magic beans in exchange of the family's only cow. He traded the cow with the magic beans. His mother was very angry and threw the beans out of the house. The next morning, a huge beanstalk grew outside their house. Jack climbed up the beanstalk, which extended up to the clouds, and reached a house owned by a cannibal giant. The giant can sense the presence of human and would say:
Fee! Fie! Foe! Fum!
I smell the blood of an Englishman.
Be he 'live, or be he dead,
I'll grind his bones to make my bread.
Jack went there several times to take gold coins, a hen which laid golden eggs and a magic harp. One day, he was caught for stealing and managed to escape. The giant chased Jack down the beanstalk but Jack managed to reach down first, chopped the beanstalk which then fell and killed the giant.

Snow White
(German fairy tale, compiled by Brothers Grimm)



Cannibal character:
The stepmother who demanded to eat her stepdaughter's heart.

The story: Snow White was a princess who had a very cruel stepmother. The stepmother (or the queen) owned a magic mirror. She would ask the mirror on daily basis on who is the most beautiful person in the world - the answer would always be the queen herself. However, one day the mirror told the queen that her stepdaughter, Snow White is the most beautiful person. She got really angry and asked one of her guards to bring Snow White into the forest and kill her without the king's knowledge. She demanded the guard to bring her Snow White's heart as proof.

Nevertheless, the guard released her into the forest and brought back the heart of a boar. The heart was prepared by the cook and consumed by the queen. Later, the queen was informed that Snow White was still alive in the woods, living with seven dwarfs. The disguised queen went to see Snow White and gave her a poisoned apple. The dwarfs found her unconscious, but were not able to revive her. They thought that she had died and put her in a glass coffin. A prince saw the coffin and managed to revive Snow White in the end. The queen was later punished to death.

The Robber Bridegroom
(German fairy tale, compiled by Brothers Grimm)



Cannibal character: The bridegroom and his band of robbers

The story: A poor father found a rich suitor to marry his daughter off. After being persuaded by the father, the daughter went to visit her suitor. Upon arriving at the suitor's house, a caged bird warned her that she was about to enter a murderer's house. An old lady who worked there hid the woman behind barrels while all of a sudden, a band of robbers (including the suitor) arrived at the house with another young woman. They killed the young woman and prepared the human flesh for a meal.

While preparing, the chopped finger with a ring of the dead young woman flew and landed behind the barrels. Because it was dark and they were dissuaded by the old lady not to search for it, the band of robbers ignored the finger and continued eating their meal. The old lady and the woman fled while the robbers were sleeping. On the wedding day, the woman revealed that the bridegroom was a murderer and produced the finger and ring of the dead young woman to the public. The bridegroom and his band of robbers were punished to death.

Image sources: Art of Victoria, Hobotopia, Deep End Dining, Relics of Childhood, CBSO, Manelle Oliphant, Lisa Evans, Jean Goff, Mama Lisa, Ashley Spooky, Cuckoo Comics, Adam Hart Design, Mondo

Sunday, September 21, 2008

7 Scary Ghost Towns: Eternal Remnants From Abandonment, Death and Destruction

7 Scary Ghost Towns: Eternal Remnants From Abandonment, Death and Destruction

A guest post by acecampillo

With Halloween creeping closer, an average haunted house may not give you the jitters like had before. This year, you want to observe the wicked holiday to its fullest. Bring the essential flashlight, Ouija board, a car low on gas and a cellphone with very poor reception to maximize the terror of being in the middle of nowhere. Following are seven places to spend if you want a truly freaky experience...

Elizabethtown, New Mexico



Elizabethtown was founded in the year 1866 as a gold mining town. This place became infamous on account of the serial killer known as Charles Kennedy. He would lure wandering travelers into his house for food and shelter, slaughtering them in their sleep. He may have been responsible for the brutal murders of 14 or more people throughout his lifetime. He was eventually killed by angry mob of vigilantes, led by Clay Allison. The population of the town was essentially wiped out, due to a widespread fire that destroyed most of it and the decline of the Goldrush era.

Helltown, Ohio



Also known as Boston, Ohio, many ghostly encounters have been reported in the cemetery and other sites located within the boundaries of the township. Satanists would sacrifice animals in an old Presbyterian Church off of Boston Mills Road, just to make it that much creepier. One of the many rumors that have been tossed around report a chemical spill, which lead to a huge python wandering around the woods of the area.

Bodie, California





The town was very known for its richness but later known for its lawlessness such as violence and lust. Everyday killings have been noted in result of the lawlessness. It is being said that the place is cursed, that even if you just take one pebble out from that town, you will be in bad luck for the rest of your life. The place was generally abandoned because of the many natural and man-made incidents that desolated the area of the town.

Ludlow, Colorado



Ludlow is situated at the entrance to a canyon in the foothills of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains, Las Animas County, Colorado. It became famous due to a large massacre that occurred in 1914, widely known as “The Ludlow Massacre”. Coal miners and their families were killed by the Colorado Coal strike. The Colorado National Guard attacked the 1,200 people on strike, which lead to said incident.

Tombstone, Arizona



One of the most well-known American ghost towns, Tombstone has been revived as a popular tourist attraction. The remnant of the Wild West nostalgia hosts some rather famous sites. Here was the home of the O.K. Corral, the Birdcage Theater, numerous midday gunfights, and the tombstones in the Boothill Graveyard of the Old West's most infamous characters. Stop by the former mining town for a remake of some of the great gunfights and a drink at the corral.

Dudleytown, Connecticut



Officially known as Owlsbury, but also named Dudleytown, this small Connecticut locale faced a striking decline, despite the hard work of many former residents. The town temporarily prospered, but after a series of problems that plagued the place, it only further weakened. There are many claims that Dudleytown citizens were prone to several suicides, mass hysteria, ghost sightings, and demonic contacts. Even Dan Akroyd has claimed the place is the scariest on Earth. It is currently privately owned, so permission is required to enter the property.

St. Elmo, Colorado



Originally settled in the year 1878, people were drawn to settle in St. Elmo by the promise of silver and gold. The village suffered from a large fire that destroyed most of the business establishments. The only family that is said to have survived is the Stark Family, whose own Annabelle Stark's ghostly presence still lurks around the town.

Image sources: Google Maps, Flickr Creative Commons, Ohio Ghost Hunters Assoc., Prarieghosts, Forgotten Ohio, Legends of America. Top image: Dave' s Travel Corner

Monday, September 1, 2008

4 Contemporary Art Projects Exploring Women: Heroic. Liberated. Classic. Erotic.



From the ultimate enigmatic look of La Gioconda in Da Vinci's masterpiece to Anna Karina in Godard's Vivre sa vie who abandons her family to become an actress – women soul has been the subject for some of the most fascinating and intriguing works in art history. The following are 4 contemporary art projects from different places across the globe. Though their origins, intentions and languages differ greatly, all of them explore womanhood, share similar fascination yet offer original and unique perspective.

JR: Women Are Heroes



Through the portraits of women for whom crime and violent loss of loved ones are part of everyday life, French photographer JR tells the story of brave modern women, testifying of their force, courage and noble struggle to exist in Kenya, South-Sudan, Sierra-Leone, Liberia and recently Favela da Providencia - the first squatter camp of Rio de Janeiro and the most dangerous and deadly of all Favelas.





Using a special technique, portraits are printed to large oversized posters and then pasted on the various parts of the neighborhood with the help of the community, including buildings, stairways and large asphalt spans. While each photo reflects a particular woman’s expression, the overall outcome is as a spectacular thought provoking mixture of earth, urban structures and people into a single slowly vanishing face.



To the limits of contemporary art, according to JR, Women Are Heroes aims to "underline their pivotal role and to highlight their dignity by shooting them in their daily lives and posting them on the walls of their country." Furthermore, by creating a media echo around the images in Western countries, the project encourages everyone to "feel concerned by their condition and connects, through art, the two different worlds."



During the rest of 2008 and 2009, JR plans to continue his project in India, Cambodia, Laos, Marcs and then return to Kenya, where the project has started. Here are a few more snapshots of JR's previous work in Africa.





Above: Liberia. Below: Sierra Leone





For more women heroes see project trailer below, download this PDF or got to the official project website at womenareheroes.be.



For another fascinating projects by JR such as Face 2 Face where Israelis and Palestinians portraits were past on the separation wall in March 2007, go to jr-art.net

LaVonne Sallee: Altered Barbie Dolls


I'm a Barbie girl, in the Barbie world
Life in plastic, it's fantastic!
You can brush my hair, undress me everywhere
Imagination, life is your creation
Come on Barbie, let's go party!
(Barbie Girl - Aqua, 1997)

Nothing can stop the best-selling fashion doll and one of the most profitable toys ever made from keeping its figure and celebrating its 50th birthday next year. Not even the $100M Barbie-maker Mattel Inc. has been awarded yesterday in its copyright fight against MGA Entertainment, inventors of the Bratz doll. Inspired by a German doll called Bild Lilli, Barbie is remains a powerful culture icon, a major source of revenue, a desired collector item for hundreds of thousands and - also - a source of inspiration for many innovative artists. 60 of them have recently presented their creations at the Art 94124 gallery in San Francisco during the 6th Altered Barbie Show - an annual reuse celebration of three-dimensional art, photography, dance and music. The Altered Barbie Show also includes quilts, print making, poetry, film, workshops on altering Barbie and alternative wedding ceremonies described as "self-marriages".



We feel all Altered Barbies are really cute but we particularly fell for those from LaVonne Sallee, a 62 years old American artist from San Francisco who runs a website named ooakbarbies.com. Sallee says she feels sorry for Barbie because she has no nipples (ever noticed that??) so she became a Barbie nipple expert: "many of my Barbies are bare-chested, so I can give her a beautiful set of nipples. She likes that". This is clearly seen in items from the "Mermaid series" such as Barbie Mermaid Silver Tail on Blue Dolphin and Barbie Mermaid, Burgandy Tailw / White Seal (both shown above). You may also be interested with:



Barbie Finds a Mate with an Equal Body Fat Ratio




Dominatrix Barbie with GI Joe on a Leash



Electrified Barbie




Black Karate Barbie Sets on a 3 Headed Pit Bull


Lastly, while we are on the subject, we simply could not avoid this great bubblegum pop cult masterpiece, voted the fourth "Best Number One of All Time" in a VH1 poll as well as #32 on VH1's "Most Awesomely Bad Songs... Ever" and #27 in the top 50 Guilty Pleasures by MuchMoreMusic in 2007.



For more Altered Barbie art from LaVonne Sallee go to ooakbarbies.com. For more incredible Altered Barbies from other artists go to alteredbarbie.com or simply check on the Altered Barbie blog.

Bessie Potter Vonnoh: Sculptor of Women



Best known for her small domestic scenes bronzes and for her garden fountains, American sculptor Bessie Potter Vonnoh (1872-1955) is for may the leading sculptor of American womanhood of her time as well as a pioneer among female artists. Gladly, this coming fall, the Florence Griswold Museum in Old Lyme, Connecticut, will present the first ever (!) exhibition dedicated to Vonnoh's work. We think its just about time.



According to Julie Aronson, curator of American painting and sculpture at the Cincinnati Art Museum and organizer of the exhibition, Vonnoh’s women portrayals reflect "the contemporary social attitudes of her time" and the new exhibition provides a "perfect setting for all generations to converse about the woman’s role, how it has changed throughout history, and how artists have contributed to this global conversation."



The Bessie Potter Vonnoh: Sculptor of Women exhibition is accompanied by an illustrated catalog co-published with Ohio University Press and edited by Aronson. The 308-page publication is the first ever exclusively dedicated to Vonnoh's art and will be available from the Florence Griswold Museum Shop.



Photos: top - Bessie Potter Vonnoh: Sculptor of Women catalogue cover. Doubles, left to tight: (1) A Young Mother, 1896, Bronze; 14 x 12 1/2 x 15 1/2 in. photographed by Flickr user at the San Diego Museum of Art, California (2) Mildred, Cast bronze, 8.25 inches. Tyler Museum of Art (3) Fountain Figure, 1931, Bronze, Wikipedia (4) Enthroned, photographed by Flickr user (5) House Sparrows, photographed by Flickr user at the Burnett Memorial Fountain in the Conservatory Garden, Central Park (6) Burnett Memorial Fountain, photographed by Flickr user in the Conservatory Garden, Central Park.

Post Modern China Doll: Portraits of the Female Genitalia



From her studio in the center of Beijing, a Chinese-American artist nick-named Post Modern China Doll seeks women ("of all background and ethnicity") for a truly unique conceptual art project entitled Portraits of the Female Genitalia. Obviously, the identities of the models remain entirely anonymous but the models are also offered with nude photographs or portraits of their own as a form of payment. Portraits of the Female Genitalia will be edited into a book to be co-published by Minotaurus (Berlin) and Trolley Books (Berlin).



One of the axes of the Portraits of the Female Genitalia project we find particularly interesting, defined as "Face, genitalia", is the personification of the female genitalia utilizing an ancient theme known as BaubĂ´ - the mythical vulva. According to the artist "If we operate a 90° visual rotation of the photograph, we can see, by a visual contamination of sort, a face that superimposes on the structure of the genitalia. The face is often deemed the most human and the genitalia the most animal part of our being". Thus, according to Post Modern China Doll, this "visual confusion destabilizes established hierarchies".



The Female Genitalia Project was also featured in the popular Chinese magazine Hope in its March issue this year. "With the hypersensitive attitude of the government and with the coming of the Olympics" says Post Modern Doll. "I thought it would never make it". So did we, but what do you know - it did (scan above). More information about this project including a making-of video where the models talk about their experience and their views about the subject on chinchinwu.net

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