Posts Tagged ‘grandma’

Take-two Tuesday — William Blake Month: the torments of Love and Jealousy

February 1, 2011

This entry originally appeared on June 12, 2010 at 11:14 a.m.


Why wilt thou Examine every little fibre of my soul
Spreading them out before the Sun like Stalks of flax to dry
The infant joy is beautiful but its anatomy
Horrible Ghast & Deadly. Nought shalt thou find in it
But Death Despair & Everlasting brooding Melancholy



Thou wilt go mad with horror if thou dost Examine thus
Every moment of my secret hours. Yea I know
That I have sinned & that my Emanations are become harlots
I am already distracted at their deeds & if I look
Upon them more Despair will bring self murder on my soul



O Enion thou art thyself a root growing in hell
Tho thus heavenly beautiful
to draw me to destruction

(William Blake, excerpt from “Part I: Enmion and Tharmas,” in Vala, or, The Four Zoas: the torments of Love and Jealousy in the death and judgment of Albion the Ancient Man.)

All photos are screencaps from a collaborative short film put out by Lula magazine and the ubiquitous UK-and-now-THE-WORLD clothing store Topshop. Here is a linky to the video, which is unusual and beautiful and freaky, but as you are watching this artistic short film remember it is designed to sell faux-Bohemian low-quality overpriced clothes that will be out of style in six months to impressionable and likely self-loathing young women with eating disorders and disposable income. The fashion industry is so cruel with its kindness that I go back and forth on appreciation and hate.

I’m sorry, I went to the mall earlier to pick up some comfortable summer shoes with my grandmother and now I’m in a low mood. Nothing puts me out of sorts like that snake nest. Like, everyone is slithering over the top of each other and accidentally biting their own tails and dropping money on shit they don’t need, finances they have gained from the jobs they keep specifically to make a weekend trip to a goddamned mall and drape shiny fabrics over the viper shitpit of the system so it looks all pretty and coordinated while they sip complacently from some kind of frapped coffee bullshit drink packed with sugar and empty calories that they store in the cupholder of their child’s stroller. Their kids are with them, of course, because children must be taught to want made-up food like chicken nuggets and aspire to own over three pair of shoes. Seriously, I want to watch it burn, burn, burn.

I know that my Emanations are become harlots.

I think I’m going to go take ten and paint with the kidlet or something.

William Blake Month: the torments of Love and Jealousy

June 12, 2010


Why wilt thou Examine every little fibre of my soul
Spreading them out before the Sun like Stalks of flax to dry
The infant joy is beautiful but its anatomy
Horrible Ghast & Deadly. Nought shalt thou find in it
But Death Despair & Everlasting brooding Melancholy



Thou wilt go mad with horror if thou dost Examine thus
Every moment of my secret hours. Yea I know
That I have sinned & that my Emanations are become harlots
I am already distracted at their deeds & if I look
Upon them more Despair will bring self murder on my soul



O Enion thou art thyself a root growing in hell
Tho thus heavenly beautiful
to draw me to destruction

(William Blake, excerpt from “Part I: Enmion and Tharmas,” in Vala, or, The Four Zoas: the torments of Love and Jealousy in the death and judgment of Albion the Ancient Man.)



All photos are screencaps from a collaborative short film put out by Lula magazine and the ubiquitous UK-and-now-THE-WORLD clothing store Topshop. Here is a linky to the video, which is unusual and beautiful and freaky, but as you are watching this artistic short film remember it is designed to sell faux-Bohemian low-quality overpriced clothes that will be out of style in six months to impressionable and likely self-loathing young women with eating disorders and disposable income. The fashion industry is so cruel with its kindness that I go back and forth on appreciation and hate.

I’m sorry, I went to the mall earlier to pick up some comfortable summer shoes with my grandmother and now I’m in a low mood. Nothing puts me out of sorts like that snake nest. Like, everyone is slithering over the top of each other and accidentally biting their own tails and dropping money on shit they don’t need, finances they have gained from the jobs they keep specifically to make a weekend trip to a goddamned mall and drape shiny fabrics over the viper shitpit of the system so it looks all pretty and coordinated while they sip complacently from some kind of frapped coffee bullshit drink packed with sugar and empty calories that they store in the cupholder of their child’s stroller. Their kids are with them, of course, because children must be taught to want made-up food like chicken nuggets and aspire to own over three pair of shoes. Seriously, I want to watch it burn, burn, burn.

I know that my Emanations are become harlots.

I think I’m going to go take ten and paint with the kidlet or something.

Spring Fever!: Felicia Atkins, Miss April 1958

April 19, 2010

I was feeling down, but I’m pulling myself out of it. I need to have more faith that things will work out for the best, for one thing, and for another, holy cannoli, is it ever a gorgeous day out there! I’ve been sitting on some of these shots for just about forever. I love this shoot. Lots of red clothes, cute hats, and opera-style makeup? Yes, please — I am a big These Pictures Guy from Way Back! Miss April 1958 is the lovely and talented Felicia Atkins.


Photographed by Bruno Bernard and Bill Bridges.

An awesome vintage brunette wonder from Down Under, Ms. Atkins still holds the record today for being the longest consecutively-employed showgirl in the history of the storied Folies-Bergère Revue at the Las Vegas Tropicana. Get it, girl!


Felicia Atkins: Pussy Magnet. Ow!

I find the history of Old School Las Vegas really interesting (mainly a result of the intersection between my undying love of The Godfather movies and the fact that I’m perpetually interested in the persistent concept of the fast-and-loose, fancy-free frontier “west” in the American mind especially as it played out in increasingly swift travel methods available to the middle class seeking recreation in the twentieth century — first, trains to national parks, then big steely cars on the new highways roaring along state routes dotted with crummy roadside teepees and Bob’s Big Boys by the mid-century; that interests the shit out of me, seriously), so I’m going to reproduce Ms. Atkins’ original write-up in its entirety and then go in to some historical Las Vegas points of emotional interest as far as the Folies-Bergère goes (went).


Gone are the drear, dread days beyond recall when we were led to believe that showgirls had a pretty bad time of it in the sunshine-and-health department — late hours, smoke-filled rooms, nightclub pallor, and other offenses to God and man. Today, tongue-clucking do-gooders would find it a tough task convincing us that the life of a showgirl (in Las Vegas, anyway) is anything but Reilly. Look at Felicia Atkins, if you haven’t already.

(“Showgirl in the Sun: A Vegas Venus Mixes Vitamins with Va-a-voom.” Playboy, April 1958.)


She spends her nights in the chorus line of the sumptuous Hotel Tropicana, gladdening the eyes of all beholders with her finely fashioned five-feet-seven-and-a-half-inches.

(Ibid.)

By day, she sleeps late in a swank suite of the same hostelry, eats a mountainous breakfast, then squeezes into a bikini and slips out to soak up a skinful of Vitamin C and splash about in a cool pool until it’s time to dry off the corpore sano andfoi get ready for the evening’s extravaganza. For this, mind you, she gets paid. Another nice thing that’s happened to felicitous Felicia is her appearance as our Playmate for the month of April. It’s nice for us, too. (Ibid.)

/End drivel. Phew! Before I go in to more about the show for which she famously worked, a few notes on Ms. Atkins — from what I can gather, after leaving the Folies, she went to work for the MGM Grand, which buffs know was bought by Bally’s. Sometime between the Bally’s acquisition, some bartending gigs at what is now the Crazy Horse, and the revamping of Vegas in to a family destination in the 1990’s (darkly pleased to see it returning to its roots after that failed experiment — boo to themed roller coasters, yay to sequined pasties), Ms. Atkins retired back to her native Australia.


The “Folies-Bergère” opened at the Tropicana Hotel in 1959. Famous for its Cancan girls and statuesque showgirls the “Folies-Bergère” has outlived many hotels as well as shows. The longest continuous running production show in Las Vegas has been updated many times over the years to keep its status as a sophisticated Parisian spectacular.

(“Folies-Bergère: We Can-Can,” Hooper, R. Scott. vegasretro.com.)

When you hear “showgirl,” and automatically picture a leggy glamazon in ostrich-tail and resplendently over-the-top headdress, you are picturing a girl from the Folies-Bergère, the hip grandma of all Vegas revues. As VegasRetro reported, it was the longest-running show in the history of the City, and Ms. Atkins, here, was its longest-running performer. That is really something!


Folies-Bergère, known the world over for gorgeous dancers is not just a show … it’s a legend. The theme of “women through time” beginning in the 1800’s to present day has gone unchanged, but the new interpretations enhance the Folies-Bergère experience.

(“Les Folies-Bergère.” PCAP, Las Vegas Lesiure Guide, 2003.)


The Dressing Room number gives the audience a behind-the-scenes feel of how the gorgeous showgirls prepare for their nightly appearance on stage. Each scenario flows seamlessly into the next such as in La Vedette where male dancers present a stunning showgirl who materializes through smoke with giant butterfly wings on her back.

(Ibid.)


Another popular scene is fashioned in the 1920’s where “women of darkness” were known as vamps. A private boudoir moment, black silk and velvet dressing gowns accompanied by tassels used as erotic props emphasize the sexual natures of these women.

(Ibid.)


The Las Vegas Folies-Bergère, which opened in 1959, closed at the end of March 2009, after nearly 50 years in operation.

(the wiki.)



The Folies-Bergère showgirls have been entertaining audiences at the Tropicana Resort and Casino in Las Vegas for 49 years. In the show’s heyday in Vegas, “The Trop,” where they performed, was considered the “Tiffany of the Strip,” attracting stars like Sammy Davis Jr., Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin. Patrons came to rub elbows with stars and with the Folies’ showgirls, who would “dress up” the hotel bar after performances.

But times are tight in Las Vegas, and the Tropicana can’t afford to produce the Folies-Bergère anymore. The showgirls’ last performance will be March 28, 2009 — just a few months shy of the show’s 50th anniversary.

(“Folies-Bergère to close in Las Vegas.” Meraji, Shereen. 23 February 2009. NPR.)


Coupl’a’fine-ass kittens chillaxin’.

These days, Felicia is, like I said, back in Oz. She now lives in a senior care facility where you can write to her at 4 Muller St., Salamander Bay, New South Wales, 4317. Be respectfully advised she has recently started being treated for advancing dementia and may not now recognize photos and autograph requests.

Speaking of these kinds of subjects, I need to go because I am being summoned to have a conversation with my grandmother, who is hot to tell me for probably the sixth time today about how her brother Alvin got the first Model T in Priest River when she was a kid with graduation money from their grandmother and he took all the kids in town for rides in it, and they were speeding and hit a bump and he had to jerk her back down on to his lap at one point because she flew up in the air and almost out the window of the car. She loves that story. He was her favorite brother. I don’t mind when she gets stuck in a groove for a day on the really sweet and good memories. It’s a wonderful break from the Bad Days, plus the repetition ensures that now I will hold on to the memory for awhile. And that’s what we’ve all got ears and got voice boxes for, most likely. Right? It happens. Catch you later!

Music Moment: The Zombies, “This Will Be Our Year”

March 12, 2010

The Zombies – This Will Be Our Year

The warmth of your love
is like the warmth of the sun
and this will be our year
took a long time to come

I haven’t been writing much lately, not because I have nothing to say, but because I have had too much to say, and too little free time in which to say it. But thankfully I’ve had the chance to talk things over with good friends both in person and on the telephone this week, and that’s released a tremendous amount of pressure.

Don’t let go of my hand
now darkness has gone
And this will be our year
took a long time to come

Besides the counsel of Miss D, which is always uplifting, I also got to hang out with Panda Eraser, Mr. Kite, and the Mister earlier this week. Lady K called several times and I also got to talk to the o.g.b.d., who was again surprisingly encouraging, kind, and thoughtful. They all really helped me clarify the things that were on my mindgrapes and squeeze some goodness out of them.

And I won’t forget
the way you held me up when I was down
and I won’t forget the way you said,
“Darling, I love you,”
You gave me faith to go on

My grandmother has been staying with us. It was a move that was supposed to be a brief visit but is now most likely going to be as permanent as possible. While her physical health is still great, her mental decline is staggering. She had always had a sharp tongue, a quick mind; if I had ever dreaded her visits or had negative feelings about her in the past, it was because we had equal minds and could clash over things (especially her daughter, my mother, of whom I was defensive and felt she was too critical). That mercurial and impish figure of my youth is gone. My grandmother now is a million miles from the Dorothy that I thought would be living with me. I am so glad she’s here, and that I’m able to have with her even those few minutes of a time where she has drifted “in,” but the pain of the remainder of her waking hours, her confusion and fear, her redundancy and pacing, is sometimes breathtaking.

Now we’re there
and we’ve only just begun
This will be our year
took a long time to come

What I am now fearing even more than the pressure of her moments of anxiety and loss now is when a physical declination in her health sets in; when I and, when she’s free, my mother are no longer adequately equipped to provide for her physically. I hate to picture her completely unaware of her surroundings, somewhere where no one knows her. I know places like that are full of loving and compassionate people, but what scares me is the times when Grandma has enough on the ball to know that she is in an unfamiliar place, and expresses fear and the sense of being lost.

The warmth of your smile
smile for me, little one
and this will be our year
took a long time to come

She told me several days ago when I came in to get her ready in the morning that she’d woke from a nightmare and been up for several hours, reading, to settle her nerves. “Bethy,” she said, “I dreamt I flew home and I didn’t know a single soul that was in my house. It didn’t look like my house. Other people lived there, people that I had never seen. It was all completely strange to me.” She said the worst part was that then she woke up here, and she thought her dream had come true until she saw a picture of my daughter and I on her nightstand and remembered she was here for what she thinks is a visit. (Given her nightmare, I suspect part of her knows this visit could be permanent.) She concluded by saying, “I don’t mind telling you — I’ve never been so frightened in my life.”

That’s what I’m scared of. That’s why I feel like no matter how hard it is, or how hard it continues to get, I can’t let her go.

You don’t have to worry
All your worried days are gone
this will be our year
took a long time to come

And that’s why I value so greatly all the kind ears of my friendohs right now. I am so lucky to have a support system to whom I can slip away and bitch and moan and noise my anxieties. Whether it’s over sushi, pints, the phone, or wherever, thank god for them. I had thought last year was going to be the most challenging of my life, but this year is shaping up to build on the growing I did then (to put a positive spin on it, rather than say, “this year sucks too”).

And I won’t forget
the way you held me up when I was down
and I won’t forget the way you said,
“Darling, I love you”
You gave me faith to go on

One of the things I’ve been doing to keep Grandma from getting agitated and restless during the day, which is when she paces the house and starts to worry about her money, her belongings, how she is going to get a plane ticket home, etc, is I’ve begun taking her on little day trips and out to stores and such. Even to just window shop, because a) to be brutally frank she does not know the difference whether we buy something or not, and b) it is not as if either of us is made of money and she is happy to people watch.

Tonight, I’m taking her to a vintage-through-the-present hair show at Panda’s cosmetology school, and she seems to be looking forward to that, because she keeps asking me when it is; if they will be videotaped or live models; and whether we have the tickets already. (“7:00 pm,” “live,” and essentially “yes.”) So that’s hopefully going to go well!

Now we’re there
and we’ve only just begun
and this will be our year
took a long time to come

This Sunday, after church, the o.g.b.d. is taking kidlet and I to lunch, and then much later in the day he and I are going to what is probably the last theater in America showing Sherlock Holmes right now. I’m looking forward to seeing it one last time before it leaves theaters. He had expressed interest in it last week after surprising me by suggesting we catch a movie sometime together when my mother was free, to give me a break from caring for my grandmother and have a fun night out, but he said that he was pretty sure it was no longer showing in our area. So he was super-pumped and surprised when I talked to him today to confirm our lunch plans with kidlet and told him that I’d found a nearby second-run theater that was still showing it through this weekend. The way Robert Downey, Jr. plays Sherlock as very herky-jerky, pugilistic, intense, and accidentally brutally honest really, really, really reminds me of the o.g.b.d.; I wonder if he will notice it, himself. I’m not going to say anything and we’ll see if he brings it up first.


Anna Karina with Jean-Claud Brialy.

Yeah, we only just begun
yeah, this will be our year
took a long time to come.

I had talked with Panda about how I am persona non grata with all the women in his life, and, just by talking about it, I started feeling less horrible about it. As Panda pointed out, even if I don’t understand it and it hurts me, the bottom line is I can’t change someone else’s mind, and I’ve done my best. And we agreed, as I had done last weekend with the LBC and Miss D before the drag races, that probably his wife will come around, and she is only acting this way because she is still hurting from whatever chain of events lead to their split (I have not felt it was polite to pry into any specifics about that). I pray that will be the case, but it’s good to know all my girlfriends agree on this, too. So I’m hoping to have the opportunity to talk to him about these revelations, because I really feel like we are in this cool new place where we are a simple team again, in our queer and broken way.

All in all, I’ve had time to adjust to these new turns of events and I think I am going to pull through. And thank god for it.