L. W. De Laurence has been called "the incorrigible reprobate of twentieth century publishing" but his extensive and well-written catalog, and the books he offered on subjects ranging from mind-control to Hindoo magic, had an immense influence over American voodoo and hoodoo, as well as Jamaican obeah. The general hatred for De Laurence seems to stem primarily from his plagiarizing of magic-related texts by other famous authors. While this sort of act was frowned upon, at the time that he was operating it was all perfectly legal; the only thing he did that was not, was the actual selling of occult products by mail. Carolyn Morrow Long's book Spiritual Merchants contains excerpts from the trial. The lawsuit didn't seem to stop the De Laurence company, however. They continued going strong for many years, even outlasting the companies that manufactured most of their original perfumes and incenses. The De Laurence Company is still in business but no longer produces the fancy catalog and appears to have turned its 21st century focus toward jewelry making.
Whether or not all cultural historians agree with the premise that Rom people came to Europe originally from India, or whether or not the portrayals of Rom musicians in the film are always *accurate* or *authentic* ones (some have indicated they're not, or are too heavily draped in over-stylized Exotica), there is surely no denying that the film is a treasure trove of fantastic musical performances. You've probably guessed by now that we're talking about Latcho Drom, which you can see it in its entirety here.
There’s a moment which comes every time Minh Ha enters the Hall of the Dead: a single, agonizing moment of hope when she sees the streets before the bombs extinguished the lanterns hanging in the trees—when she sees Mother and the aunts exactly as she remembers them, their faces creased like crumpled paper—when she hears them say, “Come to us, child,” in Rong, just as they once did, when handing her the red envelopes of the New Year celebration.
It never lasts.
After a few weeks of well-reported rumors that Lance Armstrong was going to confess, he publicly admitted to years of doping in the first of a two-part interview with Oprah Winfrey. [more inside]
Gerrit Thomas Rietveld was a member of the De Stijl group of artists along with Theo van Doesburg and Piet Mondrian. [more inside]
Bob Dylan famously "went electric" at the Newport Folk Festival in 1965. 47 years later, experts believe a woman in New Jersey has the guitar the Dylan played on stage that day. [more inside]
Atheism 2.0: Alain de Botton reviews some of the often-overlooked values that religion can have for secular society. [more inside]
Hurricane Irene is the worst hurricane to hit the northeastern US in 50 years. President Obama has signed Emergency Declarations for North Carolina, New York, Virginia, Massachusetts, Connecticut, New Jersey, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Maryland. At least 8 people are known dead, and 2 million are without power. [more inside]
Beautiful, elaborate, flowing dresses... made entirely of paper. "Belgian artist Isabelle de Borchgrave... forms trompe l’oeil masterpieces of elaborate dresses inspired by rich depictions in early European painting or by iconic costumes in museum collections around the world." Pulp Fashion: The Art of Isabelle de Borchgrave
To the public in the wide world, she may be known mostly from two short scenes (1,2) in Pulp Fiction. Maria de Medeiros, however, has also played in a number of American, Spanish, Italian, Brazilian, Portuguese, British, French and Austrian movies, and is a critically acclaimed director. Oh, and she sings. Rather well.
Sister Sue, tell me baby what are we gonna do. She said take two candles, and then you burn them out. Make a paper boat, light it and send it out, send it out now ... Willy DeVille (formerly William Dorsay), died of pancreatic cancer on August 6, at the age of 58. So much of his music evoked the languid heat of a city night. This might be a good evening to turn it up loud. [more inside]
Master of the hoax finally goes straight. Clifford Irving, author of the now infamous Autobiography of Howard Hughes, publishes his own autobiography, Phantom Rosebuds. Irving has already covered the story of that Hughes forgery pretty thoroughly in his earlier book, The Hoax, and Lasse Hallstrom retold the story in a film starring Richard Gere. Phantom Rosebuds though makes a case for the rest of Irving’s life - f for fake, the subsequent novels, the jail time and the dramatic consequences of the hoax which draw him into a world of espionage, renegade presidents, and rogue hitmen.