Around the Web: Mary Shelley, Horror Literature, Fantômas

In addition to publishing two very different titles over the past month via my micro-publishing imprint Heretical Sexts, I’ve also been blogging for two excellent websites that have been kind enough to say “yes” when I pitch them ideas like “GIFs about silent movies” or “essays about female historical figures with a sexy twist.”

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Over at Slutist, you can read my latest installment of Great Moments in Historical Sluttery features Mary Shelley. For those of you who think of Mary Shelley only in terms of being the author of “Frankenstein” (no mean feat, mind you), prepare your brains to learn that she was also a prolific author and free thinker who was responsible for elevating her husband, Percy Bysshe Shelley, to the status of literary royalty after his untimely death. There’s also some stuff in there about graveside sex, because lurid historical details delight me to no end.

I’ve also started writing for Dirge Magazine, where I’ll be contributing a couple of posts a month on signature “lurid, weird, and fantastique” topics. Dirge is a great resource for articles on what I like to think of as Pan-Spooky-ist topics: movies, music, art, writing, and general creepy-sexiness.

I kicked things off in style with an essay on why you guys should be watching the Fantômas serials. It’s got rad GIFs like this:

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I also made a list of seven songs inspired by dark classics of literature and graciously provided links to where folks can read these wonderful books, because I am only capable of loving old, anachronistic things. A lot of people read that article, which is pretty cool. I hope they all listened to Toto Coelo’s “Dracula’s Tango” all the way through (I still think that song is woefully under-appreciated). Then again, if they just played The Velvet Underground’s “Venus in Furs” over and over again, I am comfortable with that outcome as well.

Photo by SylivieTheCamera.com
Photo by SylivieTheCamera.com

Finally, dear friend and fellow lover of weird, old things Mlle. Ghoul took some time out to interview me on her blog Unquiet Things. We chatted about Tinto Brass, Mensur, and Scooby Doo. I also reveal that Duran Duran’s “Girls on Film” was single-handedly responsible for getting MTV banned in my household.

Die Mensur – Handmade, Illustrated Book on German Academic Fencing

***Die Mensur is available for purchase in the Heretical Sexts store***

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I’m thrilled to announce that my first hand-made, limited edition book Die Mensur will be premiering this weekend at my table at the St. Vitus Halloween Flea Market in Brooklyn on October 25 from 1pm to 5pm. I’ve finally been able to get my arms around the topic of the Mensur by collaborating with Gilles de Rais of Porta Nigra, and the product is this 32-page, illustrated book.

Mensur, the ritualized fencing technique still practiced by German fraternities, is veiled in mystery and controversy. This hyper-stylized tradition that’s part character building, part blood rite, and part male bonding is practically unchanged in over a century. Mensur a topic that has fascinated me for a number of years now, bobbing up to the surface of my consciousness from time to time and offering a morsel of information from a book, movie, or article. Through Gilles, I was able to interview two current members of a fencing fraternity in Cologne, and their generosity and candor finally filled in many of the missing pieces in my understanding of the Mensur.

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Included in the book is a brief history of fencing fraternities, a discussion of the rules of the Mensur, an overview of equipment, and full-length interviews with fraternity brothers. There are eight full-page illustrations plus interstitials throughout (the result of essentially gluing myself to my drawing board for multiple weekends in a row–I have extremely patient and understanding friends).

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I’ve gone out of my way to give the book a traditional feel, hand-trimming and hand-binding each copy. Title lettering was drawn by The joey Zone, who created beautifully lettered artwork for the recent NecronomiCon H.P. Lovecraft convention this past summer. The covers have been screen printed in metallic gold on black textured paper by a small-run, local artist and interior pages are printed on 32 lb. soft white Arturo paper imported from Italy. Translucent chevron-printed endpapers complete the vintage feel.  Books are sewn by hand using black waxed bookbinding thread and spines are covered in black and gold handmade paper. I’m more than a bit of a fetishist when it comes to my materials selection and it’s entirely possible I went overboard here, but people of Taste and Distinction will appreciate the superior hand-feel on these books.

The edition is limited to 45 copies, and retail will be $15. Copies remaining after Sunday will be available for sale in the Heretical Sexts storefront.

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Also: I’ll have a limited number of vinyls of Porta Nigra’s demo plus their debut album Fin de Siècle on CD at my table at St. Vitus. I recommend that anyone whose interests cross over between late 19th Century history and literature and sophisticated, extreme heavy metal swing by my table and grab some excellent listening accompaniment.

Playlist: It’s Bleak Inside the Artist’s Studio

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In the interests of sharing AND caring, I’ve put together a playlist of some of the music that’s been keeping me company in my Art Dungeon lately. I’m putting finishing touches on a chapbook that’s due out at the end of this month, but in the meantime please enjoy this musical offering.

Track listing (plus links to where you can–and should–buy the albums):

    1. Dernierè Volonté – “Je Tuerai Qui Tu Voudras:” I’m deeply frustrated by the fact that I can’t tell if this project is still active, but I will remain sustained by this delightfully disaffected interview with Geoffrey D in which the answer to so many questions is “no.” I love him with every sinew of my ossified heart.
    2. Lupi Gladius – “L’elogio Dell’alterità:” more martial pop, this time with accordions. Remember when accordions were a punchline? That’s some misguided shit right there. Accordions forever–they’re mournful and mournful is inherently good.
    3. Ghost – “Cirice:” still love these guys. Still not sorry.
    4. Novo Homo – “Sexual Panzer:” Bain Wolfkind’s mishearing of the name “Sancho Panza” is what led to the writing of this song and now I believe that magic exists in the world.
    5. Electric Wizard – “Time to Die:” you’re not getting out of here without Wizard.
    6. Lychgate – “A Principal on Seclusion:” loud screaming and pipe organs: just reading that, you should either be sold on Lychgate or not. To provide a little more evocation for the curious but stubborn: Lychgate is the soundtrack to being tormented by visions of your sins in the crypt of a Spanish cathedral in the 16th Century. It should therefore surprise no one that this is my runner-up for favorite album of 2015.
    7. Mgła – “Exercises in Futility VI:” so hot right now, but also a very good record.
    8. Eïs – “Im Noktarium:” the second black metal band in a row on this playlist that will force fellow English speakers to Google the pronunciation of the band’s name. I like the Germans–they’ve got melancholy down to a science.
    9. Der Weg einer Freiheit – “Requiem:” I’m still bummed out that their US tour got canceled due to visa issues, but my deep feelings on the shittiness of visa issues have surely been unpacked elsewhere. Listen and be sublimely bummed-out.
    10. Porta Nigra – “Der letzte Ton:” What more can I say about these guys that I haven’t already expressed thoroughly? Superb, intelligent, unorthodox heavy metal that you should listen to over and over again (lord knows I have).

New Zine: My Dream Date with a Villain Vol. 2

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I’m delighted to let you guys know that the second volume of My Dream Date with a Villain is now available from my zine imprint, Heretical Sexts. Copies are available for purchase in the shop now. I’ve also added a bundle deal that gets you ALL four zines I’ve put out plus a pack of buttons for your bag/battle jacket/hoodie/what-have-you.

There are some prrrettty seriously talented folks who agreed to play along with the self-insert fan fiction theme, including:

Heather Drain‘s date with Radu Vladislav from the Subspecies movies

Dana Glover bringing more Mordor romance to the HS world with her comic about life with Sauron

-Newly-minted Heretical Sexts staffer Jack Shear “Getting Head from Red Skull” (that title, guys)

-My blood-drenched and also very sapphic affair with Carmilla Karnstein

…Plus so very much more, including a Russian demon, the worst Beach Boy ever, and a New Wave James Bond villain.

***Click here to visit the Heretical Sexts store***