Category Archives: art

Bettie Page (Innocence courting the Dark)

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I have been a fan of Bettie Page since her resurgence in the eighties. She died in 2008, and was a sweet Christian little old lady. Bettie had an innocence even when posing completely nude and in suggestive ways. It is hard to get to the bottom of her appeal. There were many pinups in the fifties, but Bettie stood out. I think it is because when men looked at her nude photos it was as if they had violated Bettie herself. She seemed sweet and innocent, unaware of the lustful intents of her fans, and would have been shocked if she knew what men did as they viewed her photos. At least this is what men wanted to imagine. Women who no longer felt the slightest shame and viewed sex completely as a necessary commodity in order for them to live, in other words, whores, were not much of a turn on to men who wanted to dominate their women. Bettie seemed to invite such domination.

But of course all of this is nonsense. Bettie knew what she was doing, but it is true that she might have developed a split personality isolating the naughty Bettie from the God-fearing Bettie. She claimed to see nothing wrong with what she did, but I am not sure I believe her. She took her Christianity very seriously, perhaps too seriously. I don’t know any of the particulars of why she spent time in a mental hospital, but I suspect it may have been the conflict between her religious values and her livelihood may have sent her around the bend.

Bettie was sexy in a kind of effortless way. She seemed to keep a bit of herself hidden from view, pure and unsullied. We could lust over her lovely body but not her soul. Sex should never become ordinary and unremarkable. There should be a dark thrill at the sight of a woman’s pubic hair. It brings forth the desire to possess, to conquer, to rape and pillage. Pure naked lust married to aggression is the driving force behind the appeal of Bettie Page’s fetishistic work. It is disguised as playful, but this stuff is dark. It involves degradation and humiliation. Sexual pleasure becomes confused with these things, and with physical pain itself. It is curious that Bettie appeared to embrace this lifestyle, given her near obsession with Christianity. I am sure she claimed she didn’t really understand what all the bondage stuff was about, but I think that is disingenuous. She knew. She liked it. Then she could no longer accept this courting of the Dark, and reinterpreted her life to preserve her innocence. At least this is how it seems to me.

This still doesn’t get to the bottom of her appeal. She is naughty in a non-naughty way. She was a way of satisfying one’s prurient desire while pretending to have only an ‘artistic’ interest in Bettie Page. This is true even of this post. Is she really the icon of hip female sexuality? or is she the icon of the rape of the innocent and the subjugation and humiliation of women? Perhaps both. Bettie was the beginning of the metrosexual. A culture in which it is cool to find pleasure in pain, and that your body should be a banquet for all your admirers to feed upon. Having said all that I am still a fan of Bettie Page although I admit to having mixed feelings about it, as I have mixed feelings about any pornography. But this isn’t pornography, I can hear some of you saying. Sure it is. If you are getting a boner looking at it, it has excited your prurient interest. Not necessarily a bad thing. Do I feel some of you squirming as you contemplate your values. Good. I have achieved my purpose.

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Cock Culture

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WARNING: THIS POST COULD BE CONSTRUED AS PORNOGRAPHIC BY THOSE WHO ARE OFFENDED BY THE SIGHT OF MALE GENITALIA. I DO THIS TO INJECT SOME HUMOR AND TO GET THE READER TO THINKING ABOUT HIS OR HER REACTIONS TO THE SIGHT OF A PENIS. IF YOU ARE OFFENDED BY PENISES I SUGGEST YOU CLICK OFF OF THIS POST AND FIND SOMETHING MORE TO YOUR TASTE.

The penis has played such an important role in American history it should be given it’s own stamp.

The penis is a much disparaged organ. It is blamed for the appalling state of our popular culture. If only men were dickless then perhaps things would be better. I think that kind of thinking is wrong. I feel sexuality should be celebrated, while recognizing how it’s misuse leads to sickening abuse and worse. I love my own penis, other guy’s jolly organ I tolerate. I can certainly understand why women (and men) would consider the penis to be quite ugly. It is just a tube after all. It serves it’s function and that is pretty much it. It isn’t even particularly good design. Urination and procreation performed by the same tube? Bad idea. But I already posted my thoughts about the penis. Here I want to write about Cock Culture. I don’t even like the word ‘Cock’. I don’t like ‘Cunt’ either. That ‘k’ sound is so unpleasant, not sexy at all. I prefer penis because it is a silly name, at least the name is unoffensive even if the organ isn’t. Actually it is the person attached to the penis that is offensive, don’t you think?

This testosterone driven culture that we inherited from the British enabled us to almost conquer a continent. We raped and pillaged our way across virgin territory, driving out the native Americans. Because we could. That is the ethos of Cock Culture. If you can’t eat it, then fuck it. Spreading our seed without regard for the feelings of the fucked was our manifest destiny. We felt we could always manage to achieve an erection and push ourselves onto the rest of the world. We shoved our cock into the mouths of Vietnam, and today we are attempting to do the same in Afghanistan and it isn’t working so well. Of course it failed miserably in Vietnam. Many still reason that we lost that war because we just didn’t keep on thrusting until we achieved orgasm. We committed the cardinal sin of Cock Culture. We pulled out. We continue to force the rest of the world to take notice of us. We shove our cocks into the unwilling faces of the rest of the world, with little regard for the indigenous culture. We have to have the largest and longest cock, the greatest nation in the world!! This is our sickness. Our politicians jerk us off every four years with their patriotic talk of America’s greatness. As you undoubtedly know (provided you are a man), your judgement is impaired when you are caught up in a lustful frenzy. Ooops! I just assumed she wanted it. Of course she did, look at how she is dressed. She is begging for it. And of course the penis, being a mere tube, has no scruples.

Come on and ride the Penis Train! It will be a long hard ride, but when you get to your destination you will be so satisfied!

But make no mistake, Cock Culture built America. When we built the railroads and sent these phallic engines charging across the landscape asserting our economic will, this was one of our grandest erections. Many men today look back fondly on that spectacular orgasm. Back in those days men stroked their cocks with pride. They were doing the lord’s work! Of course it wasn’t until Sigmund Freud explained it to us that we recognized how important a role the penis played in all aspects of civilization by the sword. It is all about sex, Freud said, and he made a good point. But that proved to be the beginning of the end for Cock Culture. It used to be, and still is to a large extent, that the penis was forbidden. You didn’t talk about it, think about it, you never played with it, and you certainly never presented it for perusal in mixed company, or any company for that matter. It is perfectly ok to display the vagina for this helps to dispel the mysterious hold this enclosure has over our male psyche. But displaying the penis is sick. Why? Because it amounts to the same thing as pulling back the curtain to reveal the little old wrinkled man pulling the levers, pretending to be this magnificent monster, the Cock!! It helps to dispel the myth of the penis, the myth of forbidden sexuality. I view with considerable trepidation my posting photos of the penis. WordPress may punish me dearly for this transgression. What if children saw this? I doubt any children check out my blog anyway, but if they did, it might just (oh my God!!) lead to questions. Why is the penis bad, daddy? Ask your mother. Why is the penis bad, mommy? Ask your dad. And on it goes, until finally they get something along the lines that it is nasty and private. Such ideas really make for a lousy time of it when these children attempt to come to terms with their own penises or vaginas. I say that is nonsense, people are nasty, penises are not. I would like to print t-shirts with a penis on them saying “Chill out! It’s just a tube!”

The penis plays such a central role in San Francisco’s culture that the city should place the head of a penis atop Coit Tower, as a celebration of San Francisco’s perpetual hard-on.

So anyhow I push the limits of acceptable blogging once again and if this causes my blog to suffer, I will remove the offending posts and do my penance. Forgive me for my outrageousness. (have you ever noticed how when something really bad happens, especially if it is sexual, it is called ‘outrageous’. I always thought that being outrageous was a good thing. It is the root of artistic creation and innovation. The popular media has hijacked this word!!! and made it offensive. Is being bland and inoffensive a sign of mental health. I think not. If this offended you, I gave you fair warning and you looked at it anyway. Why is that??

OMG!! What will Russellpop do next????

Dick Clark and Levon Helm

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Two very different men died recently. Dick Clark and Levon Helm were almost opposites. One epitomized pop culture’s star making machinery, the other a pop culture which avoided the star making machinery. Both are important, and have left an indelible mark on our culture.

Dick Clark, at first glance, seems trivial and unimportant. Just a talking head introducing the latest teen idols. A pleasant voice, face, and demeanor calculated to not offend, unless of course you found that very inoffensiveness offensive. But this isn’t fair. Dick Clark cared about popular music. At a time when rock n’ roll was being derided by Frank Sinatra as a vile aphrodisiac Dick Clark showed that this new music wasn’t about crime and immorality, or at least, it didn’t have to be. Dick Clark saw that if teenage music was to survive it had to change, lest it be driven underground where it might just fade away into oblivion. He also loved rhythm and blues, and although he is remembered for Fabian, Frankie Avalon, Bobby Vee and other vanilla squishy soft rockers, he also contributed to the success of Sam Cooke, Smokie Robinson and the Miracles, Chubby Checker, and other black artists. If Dick Clark had been as conservative as some believe, he would have allowed rock n’ roll and r & b to die, leaving us with the rat pack. I think Dick Clark wanted to be hip, but he just couldn’t make it work. That actually added to his charm. He remained the upbeat dj with the perfect teeth, perpetually young until his death. His message was simple. Pop music is good clean fun. He was never taken seriously by anyone, and that is the way he liked it. You couldn’t really knock him because he had no pretensions. He knew he was just a familiar face introducing us to the imaginary world of pop music. That is the key thing to understand about Dick Clark, American Bandstand, and Rockin’ New Years Eve, it is all a show. It is a pop music version of Disneyland. None of it is serious. It is selling us the modern American myth of malt shops, drive-in’s, fast cars, and a sweet innocence. None of it was real and almost no one was fooled. Of course not all of it was imaginary. Teenagers had the opportunity on American Bandstand to watch teenagers just like themselves dancing to the same songs they listened to. You could root for the song you wanted to see make it to number one. It provided a shared experience which really doesn’t have a contemporary equivalent. Pop music today tends to be fragmented, and the whole idea is to celebrate decadence and irony. Innocence? It never really existed except in the imaginary universe of places like American Bandstand. It is true that by today’s standards Dick Clark seems bland, but his blandness made a revolutionary new trend in music acceptable to the parents, and the moguls of the music industry. Because of that, the way was prepared for the arrival of the Beatles and everything that followed. For that, we owe Dick Clark a debt.

Levon Helm has a very different story. Levon is the real deal. He was a musician and songwriter who lived to create. He was the drummer for the Band, for which he sang songs which feel as though they had always been there. ‘The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down’, ‘Rag Mama Rag’ and ‘Up On Cripple Creek’ are timeless pieces of Americana. He didn’t care about commercial success. He wasn’t looking to be famous. He was the Everyman. He sang for all the nameless men who populated the American landscape from it’s very inception. You can hear Daniel Boone, Davy Crockett, Jesse James, Mark Twain, and James Dean in his voice. He managed to achieve that universality, that anonymous timeless quality that Johnny Cash and Willie Nelson aspired to but whose vivid personalities prevented. Levon Helm is a ghost. He was totally devoted to the music and evoking the spirit of America with his work. Levon Helm wanted to blend into the background and be remembered by other musicians. He could care less about anything more than that. He will be missed because the honest ones come along infrequently. Most artists are swayed by the star making machinery, and it affects their artistry, Levon Helm stayed true to his muse.

We need both kinds of men. We need people like Levon Helm to keep us honest and remind us of what true artistry is about, and we need people like Dick Clark to prevent good music from fading into obscurity. For any of us to hear the good stuff we must endure the superficial and realize that nothing gets heard if it isn’t promoted. Dick Clark was the master at promotion, at letting you know about music. His taste was mainstream, but he still managed to put some major talents on the map. Some artists kid themselves that they don’t need to play the game, but a certain amount of that is required if you want to make a difference, and help steer the course of popular music.

Why I Don’t Watch TV

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Stone me if you like, but he just isn't all that funny. 30Rock and the Office come off as not particularly good SNL skits, and not the funny SNL, the almost never funny SNL.

I don’t watch much television. People start going on about tv shows and I am in the dark. So I tried watching more tv and you know what? It sucks. Not only does it suck, it sucks badly, really badly. Most of the tv shows I saw are embarrassments. What has happened to the fundamental tenets of plot and character? Now the whole thing is to be too hip for their pants, or whatever. I don’t know what the current lingo is and I don’t care. Fail!!! That’s fine. As for as I’m concerned you could stamp Fail across all of current network television. I like Jon Stewart most of the time, but the suckiness even creeps in there. I attribute this to just plain laziness. Why bust your buns trying to put together something of genuine quality when you can get by with crap. Hasn’t this been the problem with television from the beginning? When I was younger I was still entertained even though I knew it was crap. But now, I have less patience. I have only so much time left, you know? I don’t want to waste it. I watched the first twenty seconds or so of 30 Rock the other night and I couldn’t stand another second of this uninspired ‘look at me aren’t I hip and hilarious’ sitcom, which isn’t a sitcom really. It is just one liners that aren’t funny delivered as though they are the cutting edge of comedy. It made me want to gag. I saw the Office briefly too. Same thing. Cardinal lesson in comedy: do not point to the comedy!!! The audience does not need to be told that the program is funny, it either is or it isn’t. I have to admit, though, that I don’t get a lot of young humor these days. I thought I was missing out on something, but I’m not. It isn’t that I am out of touch, it’s just that none of that stuff is funny. It is trendy. It is faux cool. So I don’t bother with it. Somebody suggested I watch Grimm because of the crazy premise. The premise is interesting but the creators had no clue about how to be truly inventive. So they stuck with formula, make it a stupid thriller, designed to appeal to thirteen year olds. Sorry, I meant to say three year olds, I don’t want to insult thirteen year olds. This show might even insult the intelligence of a three year old. Most movies these days aren’t all that great either. Popular culture today is a wasteland of talent contests and reality show bullshit. I hate it. The music is mostly uninspired as well, You can find interesting exceptions if you try but I am talking about the general trend. Where is the talent? It’s not on television.

The Mysterious Scott Walker

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Scott Walker is probably one of the most influential singers of his generation, although he isn’t well known in the US. He belonged to a group called the Walker Brothers in the sixties, although his name was actually Noel Scott Engel. None of the members of the group were actually named Walker. John Maus and Gary Leeds were the other ‘Walker’ brothers. He had played in other bands, and started out in his teens as a protege of Eddie Fisher, modeling himself after other teen idols. But unlike other teen idols who may have resembled Elvis physically, but couldn’t sing anything like him, Scott actually had, and still has, a superb voice. In fact, one of the most remarkable voices in pop music history. David Bowie has been influenced greatly by Scott Walker. The Walker Brothers began in LA in 1964, but achieved their greatest success in England where they rivaled the Beatles in popularity. They had their first big hit with ‘ Make It Easy On Yourself’, and then achieved their greatest hit with the spooky, evocative hit ‘The Sun Ain’t Gonna Shine Anymore’. The video is also excellent for this song, Scott Walker, bearing a slight resemblance to Warren Beatty, smirks into the camera and conveys an enigmatic personality. But Scott Walker wasn’t made out for stardom. and the group broke up in 1967.  He hated dealing with all of the things that come with stardom. He cared about good music, and became a fan of Jacques Brel, and focused his attention on creating carefully crafted ballads which almost no one ever heard until the recent interest in Scott Walker engendered by the cult documentary, 31st century man. His voice has a haunting quality, full of mystery and drama. Check him out on youTube, you will develop an obsession with him, if you haven’t already. He kept experimenting with different forms, playing with techno, and strange soundscapes which defy description. His singing became more like a poetic recitation, the songs weren’t really songs any longer but avant garde compositions. Strange, but compelling stuff. I have included two songs from youTube, the excellent ‘The Sun Ain’t Gonna Shine Anymore’ and ‘Jesse’ from what I believe is his last album from a few years ago. This is my introduction to a repost of a more poetic treatment of Scott Walker I posted a few weeks ago. It captures the enigma that is Scott Walker.

Where Scott Walker doth dwell there may be spiders, I can’t tell. Although he has sung of it, in his deathly tones, many times I confess. I cannot tell the lamppost from the lie, the fractured fairy tale from the putrid meat in the cellar. Scott Walker beckons to me from too great a depth, I cannot fathom it. His longing, his longing,,,,I must go to sleep, it is getting late. Scott Walker grew up on a ranch, no!, ’twas in the heart of New York City, ah, no it is told he had a different name, but why bother? He is the night, he is the promise, he lifts his blood stained hands before the altar. Why? Why must this man force his way into my brain? His objectives are obscure, hammering softly the same refrain, you have a swanky suit, a very swanky suit. But it shall not save me.

He is old. He is young, this man of no certain hour. Where doth dwell this teenage idol, this mildewed tower? He lives in a forgotten magazine, songs you can’t quite hear, no matter how much you increase the volume. He doth dwell on abandoned staircases within forgotten movie sets. He knows the ancient whores gazing out the window beside the rotting wharf, cigarette dangling out of a grease stained mouth. Don’t ask this seraph to explain his evocation, for this is not his path. It is his to slam the freshly butchered lamb with mallets till he’s said…..it…..all. Such is the way of this mysterious man, whose weirding way is but by chance. Where Scott Walker doth dwell there may be a knowledge unprepared, wrapped in fading newsprint, like a fish.

The Sun will never shine again as Scott pulls the azure garment close, and cries. The Sun will never shine again as Scott makes the ancient sign, and hopes. Gazing steadily with his youthful smirk, Scott Walker knows just how it works, stealth and guile, mirrors and smoke. Where Scott Walker doth dwell.

On a personal note for those of you that don’t follow my other blog, russell5087.wordpress.com, I reported in my latest post that I have finally landed a job. I haven’t had one since early January, and this one is only until October, but could become permanent if I do really well. I am very happy this happened given that I couldn’t pay rent this month, and will be late with it in April. I also have completed my Flash animation for Stock Photo Woman Fantasy, except for music. It is so long, including about 65 different photo collages. I might try to do it as a slide show instead, and find a music video you could listen to while watching my video. I still need to write the story for the next installment and do a couple of collages as just photos. I am very happy the animation is basically done. You will see it tomorrow or the next day. I am also very happy that my cataracts will be removed, probably in April. So things are looking up for me. I hope you are inspired to listen to more Scott Walker, he is worth getting into.


Margaret Cho’s Blog Post ‘Lost’: my thoughts

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 I just got through reading the latest post on Margaret Cho’s Blog, It is at margaretcho.com. The post is titled ‘Lost” and it is just her thoughts about people who are missing, lost, and how that makes her feel. She mentions ‘In Search Of..” the old Leonard Nimoy series on creepy things, including people who are lost. I’m not conveying the feeling of that post very well. You really need to read it. Margaret Cho is one of the most honest individuals I have ever encountered. She is beautiful, and powerful. She served as the inspiration for this blog. I wanted to produce a blog as brutally honest and wonderful as hers. She is generally thought of as a comedian who focuses on gay, lesbian, transgender issues. But there is a lot more to Margaret Cho than that. I hope that she realizes that herself, because as I read her blog it seems as though she hasn’t come to terms with herself and her incredible power and ability to influence others. She just wants to be an ordinary person leading an ordinary life. That fact alone sets her apart from a lot of people involved in show business. When I first became aware of her by watching her on youTube back in November I was mesmerized and kind of fell in love with her. That infatuation has since cooled down, although she can still touch my heart and does frequently. I fell in love with her truth telling, her vulnerability, her fearlessness. Yes, she is both, therein lies much of the fascination. So check out her blog! If you like me, you will like her, I guarantee it! I have no idea if she is aware of this blog, but I often leave comments on her blog. Perhaps someday I will meet her. I guess you could say I am a bit starstruck, except she isn’t (according to her) a star. So I guess I am personstruck. Oh! and I almost forgot! She’s funny too!

Now I’d like to add my bit to what she wrote. There are people, a lot of people, actually more people than I care to think about, that are lost. Forget the milk carton kids, that is just the tip of the iceberg. It is shocking how many people are unaccounted for in this vast forsaken world. Where are they? They may be dead, or living a different sort of life under different names. They could be sex slaves, or something even more horrible could have been their fate. Who knows? Although I am quite visible, not at all difficult to find, I nevertheless feel lost. How many people really know that I am here. They get a glimpse, nothing more. I am a ghost. So much of me is lost. My hold upon my nearly empty shell is tenuous at best. A few people know my mind, my emotions, and perhaps a slight hint of my soul. But it is temporary. Seventy years or so is only a moment, one flash of light within an ocean of eternal darkness. That is lost. That is what lost means to me. Margaret Cho was right to feel scared as she contemplates the lost, for it is terrifying true. We are all lost to a degree, separated from each other and our world by something we feel but cannot understand. But it does seem to be of our own making, this lostness. The literally lost serve as a metaphor for our unbearable loneliness. Elvis Presley once said he felt lonely even in the middle of a crowd. It’s that kind of lonely street upon which we all dwell. I can understand why this affected Margaret Cho so much. She wants to love everyone in a direct physical, overpowering way and is stymied by this loneliness. Now there are those who would describe this lostness as our unbearably painful separation from God, but I don’t feel qualified to offer an opinion about that. I prefer to stick to my own experience, than to philosophize with my keyboard. In my own experience I am plagued by ghosts. I see them in my dreams and sometimes they appear suddenly and shock me into lucidity. The past is lost, and this is where these ghosts dwell. As I grow older an entire world is lost to me, and becomes a poignant memory. Lost? Ask any elderly person about lost. Ask the mentally ill about lost. They know lost. They have lived lost. While I am frightened by lostness, I am also drawn into it. This is the essence of my nostalgia for a time before I was born. I would have loved to have been practicing magick with Aleister Crowley or painting with William Waterhouse. I’d have had a grand old time with Mark Twain. When contemplating the past, the distant past, like that of ancient Greece or Rome, I can be overwhelmed by what has been lost, and filled with a deep sadness. Lost is an inexhaustible subject for it’s depths lie beyond our reach. We can only shine our feeble torch into this abyss and report our meager findings.

In my comments on her post, I told Margaret that I was listening to a very powerful piece of music by Leyland Kirby entitled “Don’t Sleep I Am Not What I Seem, I Am A Quiet Storm” (which I have been listening to while writing this post as well). It captures perfectly the feeling of lostness, that unbearable loneliness. If I succeed in finding it on youTube I will include it here. I haven’t figured out how or if I can post a song from my iTunes library. If you don’t find it here, look for the album “Sadly, the Future Is No Longer What It Was” by Leyland Kirby. This post by Cho came at just the right time for me, for I had been feeling particularly lost today. I still have no job, although I have an interview Monday. I feel adrift on the sea of the unknown. My thoughts are of long ago. I posted about the pre-Raphaelites and Oscar Wilde. I feel at home in their world. They certainly understood what it meant to be lost. I have also passed into and out of an entirely imaginary relationship and am at a loss where to take this story now that the romance is no longer really there. I am haunted by my own creations. Margaret Cho however is very real. I hope she continues to produce thought provoking pieces for her blog for many more years. A part of me is frightened for her. I don’t want anything to ever happen to such a talented woman. Not that I think she is in danger, I’m just feeling unsettled in general and this spills over into how I feel about people I care about. Lost. Unsettled. Plagued by Ghosts. Sadly, the Future Is Not What It Was.

The Harlot’s House

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Lady Lilith by Dante Gabriel Rossetti (face enlarged)

THE HARLOT’S HOUSE

by: Oscar Wilde

E caught the tread of dancing feet,
We loitered down the moonlit street,
And stopped beneath the harlot’s house.

Inside, above the din and fray,
We heard the loud musicians play
The “Treues Liebes Herz” of Strauss.

Like strange mechanical grotesques,
Making fantastic arabesques,
The shadows raced across the blind.

We watched the ghostly dancers spin
To sound of horn and violin,
Like black leaves wheeling in the wind.

Like wire-pulled automatons,
Slim silhouetted skeletons
Went sidling through the slow quadrille.

The took each other by the hand,
And danced a stately saraband;
Their laughter echoed thin and shrill.

Sometimes a clockwork puppet pressed
A phantom lover to her breast,
Sometimes they seemed to try to sing.

Sometimes a horrible marionette
Came out, and smoked its cigarette
Upon the steps like a live thing.

Then, turning to my love, I said,
“The dead are dancing with the dead,
The dust is whirling with the dust.”

But she–she heard the violin,
And left my side, and entered in:
Love passed into the house of lust.

Then suddenly the tune went false,
The dancers wearied of the waltz,
The shadows ceased to wheel and whirl.

And down the long and silent street,
The dawn, with silver-sandalled feet,
Crept like a frightened girl.
‘The Harlot’s House’ was originally published in The Dramatic Review (April, 1885).

Lady Lilith, 1866-68 (altered 1872-73)
Dante Gabriel Rossetti (1828-1882)
Oil on canvas, 38 x 33 1/2 inches
Delaware Art Museum, Samuel and Mary R. Bancroft Memorial, 1935

Lilith, the subject of this painting, is described in Judaic literature as the first wife of Adam. She is associated with the seduction of men and the murder of children. The depiction of women as powerful and evil temptresses was prevalent in 19th-century painting, particularly among the Pre-Raphaelites. The artist depicts Lilith as an iconic, Amazon-like female with long, flowing hair. Her languid nature is reiterated in the inclusion of the poppy in the lower right corner—the flower of opium-induced slumber.

http://www.delart.org/collections/preraph/lady_lilith.html  The Link is for the Delaware Art Museum

This is the first of my attempts to put together art, poetry, and music of the same period, in this case the late Nineteenth Century. The music is by Richard Strauss, Dance of the Seven Veils.