Posts Tagged ‘art’

Daily Batman: The worst of my faults … a profound duplicity of me

September 30, 2011


Photograph by Sylvain Norget.

The worst of my faults was a certain impatient gaiety of disposition, such as has made the happiness of many, but such as I found it hard to reconcile with my imperious desire to carry my head high, and wear a more than commonly grave countenance before the public. Hence it came about that I concealed my pleasures; and that when I reached years of reflection, and began to look round me and take stock of my progress and position in the world, I stood already committed to a profound duplicity of me.

(Robert Louis Stevenson. The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. 1886. p. 81.)

Fight Club Friday — Daily Batman: Punching toupees off edition

July 22, 2011

Friday night’s all right for fighting.


Another from when Batman gets clocked and thinks Bruce Wayne is his secret crimefighting identity.

…And the eighth and final rule: if this is your first time at Fight Club, you have to fight.

Bruce Wayne knocked that guy’s toupee off.

Heinlein Month: Rodin and the merciless hours

July 22, 2011


“Old Courtesan”/”Celle qui fut la belle heaulmièr”/”She who was once the helmet-maker’s wife”/”Winter”. Auguste Rodin, 1885.

Anybody can look at a pretty girl and see a pretty girl. An artist can look at a pretty girl and see the old woman she will become. A better artist can look at an old woman and see the pretty girl that she used to be.

But a great artist — a master — and that is what Auguste Rodin was — can look at an old woman, portray her exactly as she is, and force the viewer to see the pretty girl she used to be, and more than that, he can make anyone with the sensitivity of an armadillo, or even you, see that this lovely young girl is still alive, not old and ugly at all, but simply prisoned inside her ruined body.

He can make you feel the quiet, endless tragedy that there was never a girl born who ever grew older than eighteen in her heart, no matter what the merciless hours have done to her.

(Robert A. Heinlein. Stranger In A Strange Land. 1961.)

Talk nerdy to me — Heinlein Month: This is the greatest event in all the history of the human race

July 20, 2011


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This is the great day. This is the greatest event in all the history of the human race, up to this time. That is — today is New Year’s Day of the Year One. If we don’t change the calendar, historians will do so. The human race — this is our change, our puberty rite, bar mitzvah, confirmation, from the change of our infancy into adulthood for the human race.


And we’re going to go on out, not only to the Moon, to the stars; we’re going to spread. I don’t know that the United States is going to do it; I hope so. I have — I’m an American myself; I want it to be done by us. But in any case, the human race is going to do it, it’s utterly inevitable: we’re going to spread through the entire universe.

(Robert Heinlein. Interview with Walter Cronkite. CBS News. July 20, 1969.)



Is it gauche to use a Clarke cover in a Heinlein entry?

Happy forty-second birthday to the Apollo 11 mission (Hey, 42!). Which was apparently for nothing since we’re not going to colonize it even at all. Not under the aegis of organized government-funded scientific think-tanks, at any rate, which it seems are going the way of the Betamax and Karen Carpenter*. Privatizing space travel/exploration is about as dicey an idea as any I’ve heard in this life. There will be a Wal-Mart on the moon before a fucking hospital. Depend on it.

(I’m just bitter because I have always wanted to live on the moon. Sorry. This is not a joke: my ultimate fantasy would be to make love on the back lawn of my terra-formed moon house — by EARTHLIGHT. Picture it, you look up and the planes of your lover’s face are illuminated by light from Earth. HOW AMAZING WOULD THAT BE? Crazy amazing. Crazy. Plus outside sex.)





*Oh, my god, why would you even make that joke? Because I am a terrible person.

Teevee Time: Powerpuff Girls

July 19, 2011

I’m still not clear: what did he do with Professor Utonium? And was the professor on board with it?

Daily Batman: Ceci n’est pas …

July 19, 2011


more.

Another for my “treachery of images” running gag. Is it weird that I have created personal memes for myself on my own blog? It’s like an inside joke with … me, which is pretty sad. Isn’t it? But then, isn’t all blogging just baying at an uncaring moon?

No, I just asked my imaginary friend and he said I’m good. Phew. We’re going to go watch Adventure Time now — I better hurry or he’ll take the good spot on the couch. Catch you on the flip, jive turkeys.

Talk nerdy to me — Teevee Time: The Simpsons, Just in time for the big week

July 19, 2011

#uncomfortabletruths

Take Two Tuesday — Per mi amico: Liberated Negative Space o’ the Day, “Happy birthdohs, Jonohs” edition with brief bookfoolery

July 19, 2011

This post originally appeared on July 19, 2010 at 5:05 pm. Congratulations on another trip around the sun to you, my good true friend, and I hope you have many more to come.

Happy birthday to the one and only Jonohs Danger Welchos!


Nolite te bastardes carborundum.

This encouragement is doubtless unnecessary because I doubt that you ever would. I’m sure you would talk the bastardes around to your point of view and you’d all have Fin du Monde and play Beatles Rock Band and they would vow never to carborundum again. I’m finishing Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter shortly and I’ll be starting next on my yearly Atwood. How nice to know this year when I re-read it that you will have just done so recently too. Last year I knew you, and was re-reading Handmaid’s Tale as always, and you had not read it yet. This time it will be different and I’ll know that I’m reading words that yet another of my friends has also enjoyed. See the interstitial power of the shared unconscious experience of reading? That’s impressive shit. If that is not impressive enough, I will buy you some sushi the next time we are both in town. But really, dude — the gift of reading. Come on. Be excellent.

But just in case you ever do feel down, remember that you are an awesome friendoh and I’m so glad to have gotten to be friends, and that I know great things are going to happen for you like in a perpetual motion engine powered by amazing karma for all your kindnesses and good humor to others.

And, of course, be prepared for whatever befalls you on this, the day of your birth —


A very recent addition to the pantheon of inside jokes via uglyxdutchling on the tumblr.

Hope you’re off work and having a great birthday, Mr. Welchos! But do try and hold it together.

I will be thinking of you!

Liberated Negative Space o’ the Day: Eventually

July 16, 2011


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I hate the “alright” spelling but I like the message. It gets a check-plus.

Heinlein Month — Do not let the past be a straitjacket

July 16, 2011


Whatever you do, do not let the past be a straitjacket.

(Robert A. Heinlein. The Moon Is A Harsh Mistress, 1966.)


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Hey. The pre-scheduled entries caught up with real time, and then I was too lazy and depressed to write more. But I’m fixing that now. Even got a Girl of Summer in the pipeline, because, hey, man, life goes on, and my dead friend liked boobies. (Hath not a short joyful EMT eyes?) So. The rest is personal. Dip out whenever you’re done.


“Jo Champa, Hotel Chealsea.” Helmut Newton, 1988.

Yesterday were the services. Sweet fucking Christ. I have been to some rough funerals in my life. I really have. But I’ve never been through any shit like that. That was some fucking shit. My lord. And now the most recent two entries in my journal have giant cusses right at their start, when I’ve been trying really valiantly this year to cut back (first for my daughter, as an example, and also because vulgarity is so often a refuge of a weak writer attempting cheap authenticity).


Photographed by Dara Scully.

Big Ben and I agreed to attend together. He got to my place an hour earlier than planned and announced he’d left his wallet in Fresno — a town I notoriously hate, like it’s a joke among my friends how much I make fun of it. I had an idea we’d end up making the longish drive to get it back later in the day, but I didn’t say anything because I wasn’t sure what the was going to hold: what if I wanted to go back to a reception and stay for a long while? What if friends had an impropmtu wake? We didn’t know what to expect. We slid down to C-town and got to the church about twenty minutes before Mass was scheduled to start, thinking that was prudently early enough.


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Besides being friends with one another in our own right, B-dubs and I moved in a lot of similar circles. It’s not a big area when you get right down to it. Even if you only joined The Party in the last 15 to 20 years, you’ve pretty much met everyone your age by now, at least with whom you’d have a dime in common, in one way or another. There wasn’t time enough or, in some cases, inclination (willingness to engage in a lot of catch-up and mutual depression) to say words to everyone I knew, even just as we walked through the parking lot and up to the church. In the very, very long line to sign the guestbook before entering, there was this crowd of EMTs and firefighters in front of us in uniform, and I started tearing up. I’m not an overemotional person, and it caught me off guard.


Art by TheSweetMachine on the tumblr.

It was a harbinger of things to come. A bossy aunt came out not long after and told the crowd that we’d all better grab a seat inside and sign the book later, because it was getting very full in there, and we entered the church. I’d never been to St. Jude’s. It’s not by any means the smallest church in which I’ve ever heard Mass, but it wasn’t large. But it was not at all equipped, I’m proud to say, to handle the number of people at my friend’s funeral. It was literally SRO. People could’ve probably crowded the pews a little more, but a lot of the EMTs had to stay in the back near the doors because they were still on call.


“Losing My Religion” by Mrs. Colbert on the da.

Right away, on entering the church, I was up against old, old friends, serving as B-dubs’ pallbearers. So we started crying. I think, in the back of your mind, or perhaps only in mine and some of my friends’, maybe more macabre than others? or just realistic?, there is the knowledge that you will pass from this earth and enter in to whatever, if anything — I believe and hope a very real something — comes next. Sometimes you discuss it loosely with friends, like your burial/cremation wishes, songs you want involved in your memorial, etc. But you don’t take it terribly seriously. To see our old friends standing at the back of the church with white gloves and red carnation boutonnières, guiding the elderly and close relatives to seats was a profound jolt, following on the heels of the uniformed contingent reminding me of what a life of service my friend left … I basically cried for the next hour. Standing for the casket’s entry made me cry. My strong, broad-shouldered, stalwart old male friends crying as they walked that casket toward the altar made me cry. The readings made me cry. The priest’s homily made me cry. The only thing that didn’t leave me shredded was the Eucharistic prayer, maybe because I’ve had it memorized since time out of mind and it gave me time to catch my breath.


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But then my friends gave their eulogies and it was all over. It was pointed out what a remarkably, not just bullshitting like people do at funerals, but a remarkably live wire and loving spirit he was, how he literally lit up rooms and took care to take care of everyone he met. It grew as a theme that B-dubs lived his whole life, essentially, to protect and make at ease everyone else, and that we could only honor him by trying to keep taking care of each other. That’s how it ended. Everyone in the church was just in pieces. So we exited on that, this horribly emotional note. Like I said, I have been to some rough funerals, but I’ve never heard free, open weeping from so many people at a service. It was some shit, honestly, I’m not describing it well enough. God. Harrowing. Big Ben agreed it was the worst thing he’d been to so far, too. I think the priest put it best when, during his homily, after speaking about Brandon’s faith and dedication to serving others, he simply spread his hands and said, “He was too young.”


Photographed by Logan White.

After stunned chat outside the church, we caravanned to the cemetery for the graveside service. The priest said the very familiar words about dust to dust, and the valley of darkness, etc, that have always held a ritualistic comfort to me. One by one, the pallbearers came forward and placed their gloves and their boutonnières on the casket. But then — then — B-dubs’ cousin began to speak. I have very few friends, and dear they are, as specifically faithful as I am, and I am 1000000% okay with that. I’d say a majority of my friends do not believe in any god nor afterlife, and I’m truly all right with that. If they got questions about how I roll, I answer them, but I really don’t try to suggest religion to them unless I am asked. It’s been the source of debates between me and many of the people who were in attendance at these services, the idea of the co-existence of intellect and faith (hey, college).


via my pandaeraser.

This cousin began by saying that Brandon’s completion of the sacraments of the Catholic faith did not qualify him for salvation, but rather his loving relationship with God did. I was fine with that. Then, he moved forward in praise of a relationship with God and Jesus, with a format very familiar to me, that of his personal testimony about his journey to salvation. Okay. Cool. I’ve heard that lots of times and, though I sort of cringed at first, thinking, “Normally I’d be more receptive, but, come on: is this the right place — like, what has this to do with today?” I was still tentatively on board, willing to see where it lead. I’m sorry and angry still to say that it lead only to more of the same. He spoke for some easily fifteen minutes, asking everyone to read the Word (okay) and pray about it (okay), but also to repeat a personal prayer he wrote, out loud along with him. Afterward, he had us close our eyes and then said, “Raise your hand if you really repeated the prayer.”


Photograph by William Gedney, via the collection at Duke’s online library.

The uncomfortable, growing dissatisfaction I had pretty much burgeoned to full-blown dislike at that moment. At one point he threw down the Bible, but I’m not sure he noticed. He’d complained in his opening statements about not having a podium, so I’m sure that played a role, and I guess the important thing to him was what he was saying, not the source of the quotes he was citing in his very targeted proselytizing once he’d finished with them. I just know I wasn’t the only one to inadvertently have a sharp intake of breath on that one. But there was a general all-over shifting of feet and nervous sighs throughout, to be honest. This was not an issue of religious tolerance: it was an issue of inappropriateness.


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Like, dude, we are graveside. It is not an appropriate setting for a) your story; b) talking about Jesus actually very well, but relating it back to yourself again and again rather than to your cousin; and c) evangelizing to these bereaved friends of your cousin, when with a prayer for discernment it might be easily seen that now is hella not the time. Not to mention, just personally, I felt that if his argument that justification for salvation was by faith alone and not works nor acts, then why did we need to repeat his prayer and raise our hand, or not, over the issue of repeating his prayer, like guilty five-year-olds who were being asked who ate the green crayon? It all sat very, very poorly with me.


Photographed by Giasco Bertoli.

I’m Catholic, dudes. Do you just kind of always expect me to unload at some point about how you all should be, too? And how properly to do so? Because I was offended as all-git-out and I couldn’t believe how blasé some of my most atheist friends were about what to me was this needless and selfish diversion, as if they’d anticipated uncomfortable evangelistic pressure from the beginning. When Big Ben asked me in the car whether I was up to going to the family’s smaller reception after the other gauntlet points of brutal funeral and heart wrenching graveside service we’d passed, I said, “I don’t want to go anywhere that douche is going to be.” He replied immediately, “That was pretty bad. But everyone grieves differently. Would Brandon have been okay with it, since it was his cousin? Probably. He’d want his cousin to have that time.”

I wiped away my tears, started the car, and said emphatically, “Fuck that guy. If that’s how he grieves, he sucks.” We did not go to the reception.

A little under three hours later, we were in Fresno, retrieving Ben’s wallet. That joke which I am famous for is, “No one should go to Fresno. Not on purpose.” But it’s really a diverse town, like any. Anyway, after we got the wallet from his friend, the friend asked for a cigarette because his girlfriend had asked him to quit smoking and he knew we’d have one. As we stood outside, at our friend’s insistence safely behind his apartment building in case his girlfriend came home unexpectedly — yes, we ribbed him without mercy both for his dishonesty and for his paranoia — Ben described the scene at the graveside with the cousin. The friend, who’d said plainly that he did not believe in an afterlife but felt that funerals were important for the living, which I liked, asked questions about the mourners’ reaction to the cousin’s unnecessarily aggressive come-to-Jesus sidebar. I’d stayed silent about that part of the services, still steaming. Ben jerked his thumb at me and said, “She was pissed.”


“Don’t see the sorrow,” photographed by meninalua on the da.

The friend clucked his tongue but then said, “Maybe that’s how he needed to grieve.”

What the what, man? Am I the only one whose sense of outrage is not overshadowed by sorrow? Or am I the only one who is blindly seeking refuge in outrage instead of sorrow? Maybe? And not to mention, I found comfort in aspects of the funeral that were Catholic and so culturally and familially familiar to me, but what of my friends raised outside that tradition? Did not my “stand up, sit down, kneel, repeat after me, say this when I say that” comforts probably confound and alienate those friends who were not accustomed to it? What right have I got to judge which are off-putting and which welcoming religious behaviors? I was sooo mad. You should have seen me. Wet hen-style. Fairly? Not, most likely. Oh, angry, mixed-up me.


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But what I really want to say is good on those friends who gently chastised or tried to guide me back to zen-ness, for being yards more tolerant than I the alleged Christian witness of the bunch was evincing with my bitterness: they displayed a genuinely universal forgiveness for which I think many who recognize the love that bonds all things in this world without necessarily having an origin story for that love are seldom credited. I, on the other hand, wanted literally to point-blank fire a nail gun in to the eyeballs of my dead friend’s cousin’s head. Which is not at all loving. I know.

Now I’ve talked a great deal about one aspect of the day which was really not as big as I’ve made it out to be in this entry, and it’s not some hint of how repressed or larger it looms in my psyche than I knew by my writing it. It’s just that in a day so filled with grief, it was the thing I could describe with a more familiar emotion — outrage. The grief I will take a long time to get to know. The events of the day made me cry right away, as they happened, a big enough pain that I didn’t have time to push it down, it spilled over with me fully aware that I was unhappy. Most feelings don’t get that far in my cognitive process. So I know it’s going to be a journey to get cool with this dreadful shit.

Monocle Monday: Cracker jack idea

July 11, 2011

Am I smoking banana peels or has it been, like, fucking forever* since we had a Monocle Monday?


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This card was found in undetermined vintage Cracker Jack boxes, along with the advertised Sport Monocle, I assume. Not to be confused with a formal monocle — god, can you imagine? Tea and crumpets, what a faux pas That would be.



*I’m sorry for the king-sized cuss, but the situation of “forever” being infinite, rendering me nowhere near correct, called for a modifier to distance myself from the hyperbole, and “fucking” was the best one. Skip the beating and just take my lunch?

Mean Girls Monday: Vivien Leigh is a priceless, timeless international treasure for ever and always

July 11, 2011

God, her expressions. It’s me and Vivien Leigh to the mortuary, I swar to gar.

Gone With the Wind (Victor Fleming, 1939).

Not my favorite of my Vivs-ohs’ films, but it’s a movie that’s totally up there on my general list of greatness, because of Viven Leigh and Clark Gable, not those above two or their characters. I think I’ve mentioned before that my love of GWTW comes from a weirder place than the traditional romantic little girl with collector’s plate of the burning of Atlanta standpoint.

As for that scene, the original lines are dangerously close to the Mean Girls script enhancement. Scarlett calls her a “simp,” not a slut — but you know she was thinking it. Besides, Melly is a simp, and Ashley is her cousin. It’s like, Jesus Christ, Scarlett, can you move to Atlanta any faster? Gtfo of Clayton County. Bush league down there.

I was searching my drives for another GWTW screencap and stumbled over the above, which I used in the first Mean Girls Monday ever. Synchronicity! But my lack of a wider range of stills from this movie is a scandal. I got a phat sexy remastered collector’s edition for my dad last Christmas, and as far as I can tell he hasn’t watched it. Six months on makes it fair game, right? I might nick it and screencap it. Maybe give it its own category. Big job, but it’s food for thought.

Question for discussion: Would you move to Atlanta if the boy you liked married his cousin? Explain.

Extra credit: Without looking it up, what was Victor Fleming’s less commercially successful film of 1939 which has come to gain iconic status?

(Stop looking it up. You know this.)

Daily Batman: Batman begins

July 11, 2011

This advertisement for Detective Comics No. 27, the debut of Batman, was featured in Action Comics No. 12 in 1939. The character grew so popular that one year later he got his own title.


Batman begins. April 1939. Action comics.

Girls like a boy in a cape.

I just find it interesting that Action sold DC ad space. I mean, I guess, thinking about it, like, why not? They probably weren’t worried about competition, and comics likely still felt like a who-knows-where-this-is-going gambit. Action ruled the roost with Superman, basically starting it all. Originally just to move toy catalogs, novelty companies would include little gimicky “Adventures Of ___” strips to entice boys to pick up the next catalog and beg their Depression era single mothers to buy them all the lovely needful things inside.


Aw. Boys’ own title. Advertisement for Batman No. 1. April 25, 1940. DC.

For an actual factual account of all this, try something like The Power of Comics: History, Form and Culture. But my heart belongs to the historically accurate (mainly) work of fiction, Adventures of Kavalier and Clay, by Michael Chabon. Oh, and Steranko’s History of Comics (foreword by Fellini). I’ll try to schedule something for later today to prove how rad Steranko is. Let them blow ya mind.

Daily Batman: Everybody sucks for Batman today

July 10, 2011

In Batman No. 303, Batman gets a nasty crack on the noggin and mistakenly believes that Batman is his secret identity, while Bruce Wayne is the Dark Knight. Malarkey ensues.


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Having been chased by gawking crowds for the crime of trying to eat a hot dog, resulting in a cop warning him that Batman wouldn’t like it if he knew some schmuck was impersonating him, the dejected and confused Caped Crusader wanders afield of his usual holding patterns. Wandering the streets, he finds himself looking for friends in a love-in-ing little bed of flower children, who he pretty much promptly discounts as viable companions.


Ibid.

But if you’re feeling left out because you’re not a hippie, don’t worry — the writers take time to throw out a bash on Comic-Con goers, too. Everybody sucks! Why are you wasting Batman’s time?? Kill yourself.

Liberated Negative Space o’ the Day: Are you doing this?

July 9, 2011


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Are you doing this? Are you taking this advice? I’m not. I need to work on that.

Daily Batman: The beauteous tracts below

July 9, 2011


I had gained the summit of a commanding ridge, and, looking round with astonishing delight, beheld the ample plains, the beauteous tracts below.

(Daniel Boone.)

Fight Club Friday: From the annals of XKCD by way of Big Ben

July 8, 2011

Big ups to my old friendoh for bringing this XKCD comic to my attention.

Flashback Friday — Advice: Marilyn edition, “The few remaining earthbound stars”

July 8, 2011

This post originally appeared on May 19, 2010 at 3:53 p.m.


I am involved in a freedom ride protesting the loss of the minority rights belonging to the few remaining earthbound stars. All we demanded was our right to twinkle.

(Telegram from Marilyn Monroe declining a party invitation from Bobby and Ethel Kennedy. June 13, 1962.)

You got to fight for your right to twinkle. It is difficult and discouraging and at times seems insurmountable, but in the end, you are raised up to the sky to shine forever. Please try to help each other out and let’s none of us lose heart.

Daily Batman: Phantasma-Gorey

July 6, 2011


Art by Jesse E. Larson.

Take-two Tuesday — The Way They Were: Egon and Wally

July 5, 2011

This entry was originally posted March 1, 2010 at 11:50 am.

Yesterday I was reminded that I had a bunch of these “Way They Were” entries planned and had only followed through on one (Jayne and Mickey). That’s cowardly. I’m going to try to motor through more in the coming months.


“Sitzende Frau mit hochgezogenem Knie”/”Seated woman with bent knee”, 1917.

Although artist Egon Schiele had been separated from Valerie “Wally” Neuzil and married to Edith Harms for two years by the date of this painting, most everyone agrees this is from an earlier study of Wally. It looks too much like her not to be, and he uses the colors that are associated with the Wally work. It’s my favorite work by him. It was on the cover of the Schiele book that my husband, who is a painter, had at our house in Portland, and was the entire reason I found myself opening and reading the book one day. I was interested in Schiele’s work, which is provocative and weird and has many shockingly modern features, all things I like, but, because his life was tragically cut short by disease, his career arc is brief. Coming away from the slim book about his life and art, I felt that his work was dominated by the chief feature of his life, which is to say in a nutshell his time with the real love of his life, which he royally fucked up, and it was the story of that, of Egon’s eventually jacked-beyond-repair relationship with Wally Neuzil that really sucked me in.


“Das Modell Wally Neuzil”/”The model Wally Neuzil.” 1912.

Artist Egon Schiele and his model, Valerie “Wally” Neuzil, were together from 1911 to 1915. He met her in Vienna when she was seventeen and he was twenty-one. Supposedly they were introduced by Gustav Klimt. Supposedly she had been Klimt’s mistress before she got together with Schiele. These things are all conjecture because everyone involved is dead, and they happened before the Great War, which so influenced the German-speaking art world in the years just following it that anything which contributed to or influenced an artist’s work before the War kind of fell by the wayside until later generations resumed their scholarship of turn of the century artists. That’s fair. Such radical changes happened during and after the War that I imagine it seemed crazy, outdated, and irrelevant to really consider too deeply the little emotional outbursts and criminal trials that came before the dramatic political events of the 1910’s and 20’s that literally reshaped the landscape.


“Rothaarige hockende Frau mit grünen Strümpfen (Valerie Neuzil)”/”Crouching figure with green stockings” (Valerie Neuzil).” 1913.

Egon and Wally left Vienna because they considered it too oppressive. They sought an inspirational, romantic, and bucolic lifestyle of freedom in the countryside, moving to Krumia — which also had the more practical benefit of much cheaper rent than Vienna — where, though Schiele’s mother was born there, they were summarily run out of town not too long after for being a little too inspirational, romantic, and bucolic: they’d been using the town’s teenagers as “models”. There’s a Schiele museum there now, so I guess that, like cream cheese, their hearts eventually softened to a spreadable cracker topping. That analogy got out of control in a hurry. It’s almost time for me to grab lunch, sorry.


“Wally in roter Blouse mit erhobenen Knien”/”Wally in red blouse with raised knees.” 1913.

Essentially fleeing the angry mob in Krumia, Egon and Wally moved again, this time north to Nuelengbach, where it was apparently same shit, different day, as they were not there even six months and Schiele was arrested for seducing a minor. Once in custody, they dropped that charge (apparently the young lady changed her tune when the absinthe wore off?) and an abduction charge the parents had insisted be levied originally, and instead tried and found him guilty of displaying inappropriate art in a place where minors could see it. He was released from prison after serving twenty-four days in April 1912 — are you getting the idea of what an awesome prince he was? such the lucky girl, that Wally — and they moved back to the Vienna area.


“Auf einem blauen Polster Liegende mit goldblondem Haar (Wally Neuzil)”/”Reclining female figure with gold blonde hair on a blue pillow (Wally Neuzil).” 1913.

Settled with Wally in Heitzing, a Viennese suburb, Schiele wrote to a friend in early 1915 that he was going to marry one of the Harms sisters, two locksmith’s daughters named Edith and Adele who lived across the street from his studio, for money. I guess running around for three years painting erotic pictures and pissing people off while sleeping with teenagers and doing jail time had not turned out to be the lucrative life of luxury he’d anticipated; the cash flow was getting low, and, despite that he considered Wally his partner and soulmate, marrying for money was Schiele’s timeless solution to their financial woes. He followed through on this, marrying the older of the daughters, Edith, on June 17, 1915, exactly 91 years before my own wedding day.


“Frau in Unterwäsche und Strümpfen (Valerie Neuzil)”/”Woman in underwear and stockings (Valerie Neuzil).” 1913.

A few days after his wedding, Schiele was called to the war, but managed to always serve in Austria, so he was able to continue with his art and stay close to his ties in Vienna. Wally had broken up with him when he told her he was getting married. Schiele wrote to friends expressing shock and grief: he’d actually expected her to understand and stay with him. He wrote a letter to Wally asking her to meet him at a billiards parlor that he liked to go to. There he gave her another letter, proposing that every year they go on an extended holiday, without his wife. She did not write back or respond positively to this. Instead, she left him and never saw him again.


“Frau mit schwarzen Strümpfen – Valerie Neuzil”/”Woman with black stockings – Valerie Neuzel.” 1913.

I was furious when I read this. I still remember sitting in my little house in Portland and my jaw dropping, and my blood boiling, all this anger and resentment simmering in me, directed at people I never met who’d been dead nearly a century, but I couldn’t help it. I hate him for marrying someone else, I hate him and I hate the story of how they were because it reveals that through all that time they spent together, Schiele must have considered Wally lower than him, and though she stood by him , asshole though he could be, he thought her to be the unimportant one, expendable and suppressable, and he literally threw her away like garbage even though she was the best thing that had happened to him; his drawings of her are the best things he did. But that is how some stories are, and I deserve to feel angry because I need to accept that, I have to work through my sadness about the fact that nothing and no one has ever been perfect not even for a day or an hour or a moment, every joyful thing is secretly riddled through with the knowledge that this is so good now because there will be pain later and every lucky penny has a tail side of the coin, and if I have to search my soul and see if there is any gold in the dross of this love story that I in my infantile understanding of human nature found so devastating than I guess I must say that I do love that Schiele really loved Wally in an incredibly broken way, and had that time with her in which there must surely have been good moments.


Photograph of Wally and Egon from the Schiele Museum online.

Schiele died only three years after his breakup with Wally, on Halloween 1918, in an influenza epidemic which had several days earlier killed Edith and their unborn child. He passed away completely unaware that Wally Neuzil had herself succumbed to death from disease around Christmas of the previous year. She’d become a nurse for the Red Cross and, stationed at Split in Dalmatia, she caught scarlet fever from one of her patients and died in the same hospital at which she’d been working for over a year.

edit 7/6/11. Question for discussion: on a large enough timeline, aren’t we and all our petty passions and tragedies truly sound and fury, don’t we signify nothing after all? I want to think not — likely only because of vanity and childish fear of my own meaninglessness — but it seems so true.