Season of the Squid

"It ain't no sin, to take off your skin and dance around in your bones" -Tom Waits

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"Trapeze Disrobing Act," 1901.  Starring the strongwoman Charmion.

There was no Age of Innocence… merely a time in which the moral crusaders had the upper hand, and the average person was more naive than most are today. One of my favorite pastimes is debunking the assumption that there was this squeaky-clean past that we gradually soiled over the course of the twentieth century. Perpetrators of this myth are often left in charge of writing our schoolbooks, and they have a tendency to infer that this Golden Age was golden because men were men, browns were invisible, women knew their places and the closets were bolted shut. It is also inferred that men can’t be men now because all the various cats are out of the bag, as though, somehow, masculinity is so weak it can only exist if women, etc. are subjugated. But the truth is, men were men because man-children were neither condoned nor catered to. And many women weren’t content with their second-class status. And many people of color saw a future where they would not keep their heads down. And many closets were wide open.  And guess what?

 They all enjoyed having sex.

We can blame the Victorians for most of the myths to the contrary. And yet much of the evidence debunking their own claims comes from Victorian times and shortly thereafter. Stripping was a known thing by the turn of the century; it was a lot more innocent and exuberant than a fully-nude woman grinding on a pole, but it existed. There are early pornographic photographs, many of which are as explicit as anything available today. The nude body was celebrated before and during Victorian times, even when confined to an artist’s salon. Sex and eroticism are not something to be reclaimed; they never left us.  Yet we still feel that something is missing.

Modern sex has left us with a number of interesting dilemmas: there are those still lobbying to take sexual freedom away, while others insist that Their Way of sexuality is the only way, and still others for whom sex has lost all sense of fun.  This has left many looking to the past: for a sense of masculinity seeking to supersede the cult of the modern man-child; for a celebration of classic femininity that is unburdened by dated gender roles; for a playfulness of courtship and sexuality that may have existed primarily in entertainment, yet still serves as a viable inspiration to those who have the power and freedom to put those ideals to work. The solitary, pleasureless and often mean-spirited sensibilities of sexual dialogue, gender relations, and pornography have proved to be profoundly alienating to these people, and their escape is to a time in which it seemed that everyone, at least on the surface, dressed (and undressed) well, and seemed to be having a good time.  No one, save for the most misguided and reactionary among them, would wish to bring those times back to the present; the point is in realizing that we threw the baby out with the bathwater, and in struggling for our freedom, became angry, frustrated slobs unable to appreciate what we have earned and fixated on what we have yet to achieve.  That is, if we think about it at all.  

To achieve unprecedented sexual freedom in the Western world, only to find ourselves unable to enjoy it due to a toxic stew of social dysfunction, entitlement, fear, detachment, desensitization, and narcissism? Is this what we wanted? And no, Jesus won’t save us by taking our sexual freedom away. The Man won’t save us by taking women’s rights away.  If people had been truly happy back when Jesus and the Man lorded it over all, we wouldn’t have fought for change.  

We will save ourselves by having some class in a mercenary world where the sordid is presented as the norm; we will wring joy from life even though society virtually demands we be miserable; we will continue to fight because some people insist that Christ’s love is not unconditional, and because the Man is actually a child who never learned to cook his own meals or do his own laundry and resents it to this day.

There was never a Golden Age, but that doesn’t mean that we can’t each make our own.

Filed under vintage burlesque sexuality victorian edwardian pin-up silent film feminism manliness class

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fozmeadows:

scienceofsarcasm:

Evening Post: August 12, 1899.
"She immediately alighted, caught hold of the astonished youth, and gave him a sound thrashing, using her fists in a scientific fashion…”

I would love to know what this means.

I think that might be code for “punched him in the balls with devastating accuracy”.

(via countess--olenska)

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Front Porch Sessions: Rev. Peyton performs Falling Down Blues by Furry Lewis.

Our fellow (Indiana) countryman The Reverend Peyton in his natural element.

A great deal of old-time music made for the soundtracks and even occasionally snuck into the narratives of The Bearkeeper and the stories of Night Music. This is part of our heritage of the Midwest and South, and talented musicians such as the Reverend here help keep it alive.

Filed under Music and Writing old time music reverend peyton's big damn band furry lewis blues The Bearkeeper night music indiana Das Krakenhaus music Writing

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Due to the fact that my brain is broken and I have to take Topamax as a result, I’ve lost some weight since the above picture was taken.  It has since stopped (right at what I consider my normal weight…thank god. I am not meant to be Twiggy.) 
What is the point of this post?  It is an R.I.P. for my tits.  
I mean, seriously. Look at those things.
Sigh.
I’m going to go eat a cheeseburger now.

Due to the fact that my brain is broken and I have to take Topamax as a result, I’ve lost some weight since the above picture was taken.  It has since stopped (right at what I consider my normal weight…thank god. I am not meant to be Twiggy.) 

What is the point of this post?  It is an R.I.P. for my tits.  

I mean, seriously. Look at those things.

Sigh.

I’m going to go eat a cheeseburger now.

Filed under goth edwardian bewbs topamax pre-raphaelite circle city aerodrome

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Cards Against Humanity: Real Life Edition

A preface to this story: my husband and I are both of Native American ancestry (Miami and Shawnee, respectively), which is hilarious if you’ve ever seen either of us, and doubly hilarious considering my blue-eyed, freckled husband is legally a member of the Miami Nation of Indiana. He’s…a little bad at keeping up on the affairs of his tribe at times, so occasionally he’ll get a government “sorry for the attempted genocide” check, and won’t know why.

Preface II: I was at his parents’ house recently, and fell into slobbering love with his dad’s lever-action Rossi carbine.

Another check had showed up at his parents’ house, and we were driving a friend home after a nice dinner when Joe called his dad to arrange a pick up time. Smart-ass dad asked “If he was going to buy a cowboy gun with his Indian money.” Friend and I erupted into hysterics. (Ever the buzzkill, Joe insisted that he was going to fix the brakes on the truck. Sigh.)

Days later, there is a sale at Kroger, and Joe decides to stock up our bar, which is indeed in sad shape. So he comes home with half a dozen bottles of liquor. We’re nowhere near pay day.
"So you bought a bunch of liquor with your Indian money."
"I…hey!"
"Do you have a smallpox blanket in there, too?"
"I’m not talking to you anymore."

…And that, folks, is how we roll. Downhill all the way.

Filed under guns liquor cards against humanity indiana why we can't have nice things

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Music of The Bearkeeper, Part Two

Music of The Bearkeeper, Part Two

Video here: http://rose-streif.tumblr.com/post/96008637287/music-of-the-bearkeeper-part-two-tl-dr-this-is

tl;dr…this is the vielle, Ariel’s instrument. (Actually, Ariel’s instrument is a modified viola, but more on that.)

The full essay:

The medieval predecessor to the violin, the vielle (Fr. “fiddle”) was played either upright in the lap, or under the chin. Like many medieval instruments, it was…

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Filed under Early Music Medieval Music Music Music and Writing The Bearkeeper Writing

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Music of The Bearkeeper, Part Two:

tl;dr…this is the vielle, Ariel’s instrument. (Actually, Ariel’s instrument is a modified viola, but more on that.)

The full essay:
The medieval predecessor to the violin, the vielle (Fr. “fiddle”) was played either upright in the lap, or under the chin. Like many medieval instruments, it was gut-strung, typically possessing four strings with an added “drone string” running alongside the fingerboard; however, this arrangement could vary. It was one of the most common instruments of the Middle Ages, gradually giving way to the lira de braccio and the viols of the Renaissance. 

Instead of a reproduction instrument, Ariel Da Costa plays a modified viola; he also modifies his bowing style to help recreate the sound. Unlike his adopted brother, Daniel, he is lacking in raw talent, technical ability, and sometimes even the time in which to practice; some people might be surprised to learn that he is a musician at all. But when he takes up his instrument, his love for the music shows. He is unconcerned that he will never be considered a musical genius, for he knows that there are other paths to beauty: through mood, texture, grace, and most of all, the patience to keep working, perhaps all his life.

Filed under The Bearkeeper writing music and writing early music medieval music