Hannibal and Demostenes both wore poison rings. Although uncommon, these rings were not rare. Not only could they be used on “friends,” but on oneself if the circumstances warranted. Cesare Borgia was noted for his lion ring. The lion’s claws contained a poison that could give a very lethal handshake.
Link: A Jewelry History
“Self Portrait” by Marvin Franklin
Franklin, who worked for 22 years underground on the subway tracks of New York City, would make sketches of life on the trains on his way home. Franklin had been studying at the Art Students League in Manhattan for more than a decade.
…a highly gifted artist, generous student, and natural teacher who was respected by both his instructors and colleagues at the League.
Instructor, Art Students League
Franklin died in April at the age of 55 after he was struck by a train in Brooklyn while working on the tracks. He left behind a wife, three children, and an oeuvre of works.
An exhibit of Franklin’s works is on display at the New York Transit Museum, two blocks down the street from where he died.
A collaborative project by Afke Golsteijn, Ruben Taneja and Floris Bakker, Idiots works reflect their varied education and background is in fashion, design, handicrafts, and art in an unusual mixture of sculpture, handicraft, jewellery, and taxidermy.
The idea is that stuffed animals undergo a transformation, and while it is difficult not to think of death when looking at them, here the morbid is transformed into something beatuful.
In their work, actual animals are combined with materials such as glass, silver, textiles, and embroidery with which the animals are decorated and adorned.
“The poetic titles and the combination of material creates an emotional contrast which oscillates between the melancholic and the beautiful.”
“Idiots seeks to investigate the border between fantasy and reality with their works…Their work is like three-dimensional daydreams of sorts…The animals are treated like people and remind us of fables or verses from sagas. But they are not illustrations themselves. The sagas arise rather within the works.”
So…Gilding received an interesting comment earlier today. Grant it the screenwriter posted the comment in my “About” section rather than with any of the posts on the subject to which his post was concerned, and there are many of these posts he could have chosen from. However, his comment intrigued me so that I have decided not to be an uber-bitch and berate him for it. Rather, I’m going to repost his comment here as a post and let those who read this blog cash in on how they feel about his project. As for Gilding…well, she sits on the fence on this one and at the end of this post she shall tell you why.
And with that, let me formally introduce you to JR Chase. He has written a screenplay for a thriller movie that centers on the deaths of Theresa Duncan and Jeremy Blake. The Synopsis goes a little something like this:
Two very angry, brilliant, and edgy lovers grasp onto perceived professional, personal and political injustices when they find their careers in jeopardy. When Duncan and Blake intensify the vitriol against their ‘enemies’ on their web-blog, they attract the attentions of a drug dealer and a priest; both men want to use them for their own personal, political and religious agendas.
After Duncan and Blake are found dead, A. Rodriguez, a knockout female Puerto Rican detective is charged with navigating through the all the truths, lies and conspiracy theories. Rodriguez presses on the street, at home, and in blogosphere before arriving at a surreal and explosive conclusion –another worthy ending in memory to the complicated talents of the recently deceased Duncan and Blake.
So, I’m going to go on a limb here and speculate that the drug dealer is Jim Cownie, whom Duncan notoriously accused of being a mob boss on her blog in a May Post along with accosting fellow artist Anna Gaskell of being a sell out, only climbing the art world ladder because of Cownie’s money and not on her talent.
As for the priest, I suppose it could be any one of the umpteen Scientologists out there. Her blog is rife with her opinions on the cult.
And yes, it is a cult. Read the American constitution. A belief system is not recognized as a religion until it has reached a certain level of membership and has to have maintained that membership or more for a certain period of time, at which the belief may be given the tax bracket of an institutionalized religion and then, and only then, is the belief no longer considered a cult but a religion. Though Scientology has on-again-off-again-on-again been recognized by the IRS to be a church and given the tax exemption status granted religions, it was made quite clear in the United States Court of Appeals for Ninth Circuit, though the decision was against the appeal being decided on, Judge Silverman stated:
“An IRS closing agreement cannot overrule Congress and the Supreme Court. If the IRS does, in fact, give preferential treatment to members of the Church of Scientology—allowing them a special right to claim deductions that are contrary to law and rightly disallowed to everybody else—then the proper course of action is a lawsuit to put a stop to that policy.”
Read this tidbit in Wikipedia about Scientology’s state recognition as a religion.
Pure and simple, the Church of Scientology didn’t earn their tax-free status, they extorted and bribed for it. Some countries in Europe have regarded Scientology as a potentially dangerous cult, or at the very least have not considered the local branches of the Church of Scientolgy as having met the legal criteria to be considered a religion.
Or perhaps the priest is that of Father Morales, the priest spoken of in The Villager, who claimed a close relationship with the couple as well as expressing that the couple’s “anxieties” probably extended past that of simply being harrassed by the Church of Scientology, “and justifiably so.” If this is the case then Gilding is interested to know what political and religious agenda the screenwriter sets out for this character plot and from whence did he discover it.
Now, back to Mr. Chase’s screenplay. I am intrigued to see what this “explosive conclusion–another worthy ending in memory” is. Is this an author who is truly a fan, a staircasean child, who wishes to commemorate the memory of the brilliant duo, or is this yet one more piece of written material meant to cash-in on the hype surrounding the scandal of their deaths. One hopes it is the former and not the latter.
And yet, Gilding can’t help but to get hung up on one particular detail. While Duncan was open about women’s sexuality, their inherent right to be beautiful and sexual and still retain brilliant minds–and was in fact quite often refered to as one of the most intimidating females to ever be met as her beauty stunned you and her intelligence cut through you like a knife, bleeding you yet leaving you crying like a masochist for more–she wasn’t a feminist, but she was an abdicator that females are more than the milk sacs and the backward balancing table stands the misogynistic world often potrays women as. She broke through the male dominated gaming world with a game of her own invent designed for little girls growing into women when the industry standard were games like Grand Theft Auto which abdicated the abuse of women, and what girly games were out there were little more than “Daddy’s little princess” fluff. Duncan’s game was so much more than that, it was an education in sophistication and abdicated intelligence, not submission. A reader of Duncan’s blog would be very aware of that.
Then you come across this line: “A. Rodriguez, a knockout female Puerto Rican detective…” Yes, read that again if you must. A. rodriguez isn’t “a brilliant, top of her class detective,” or “a female detective known for her street smarts,” or “any smarts” for that matter. The one desriptive word we have to go on is “knockout” and such a word conjures images of “hot Latin sex pot.” Now, this conjuring may be incorrect, but to think otherwise would need more descriptors than are given so Gilding can only go on what she has.
Gilding’s other quandry as to to sincerity of the screenplay reverence for the duo is the synopsis reference to “their careers in jeopardy.” Jeopardy? Blake was on the fast lane, a rising star, in the art world, and was only weeks away from his art opening at Kinz, Tillou and Feigen, an exhibit that is still scheduled to show according to their website. Duncan was working on the production of her own screenplay having gotten the backing from a studio. Where is the jeopardy in their careers. Gilding does recall an article in which such an accusation was written, and was so quoted–along with accusations of the couple being paranoid–by a “friend” of the couple, who was later outed by a fellow blogger as being a former employee of the couple who had been let go; both women are accused of holding serious grudges against Duncan. (Read Gilding’s shortened synopsis of this, or Read the actual battle of words between the blogger and the accusee.) True, it is also said in Father Morales article that it is speculated that Duncan had had recent setbacks to the production of a couple of her films, while Blake’s career was “poised for a breakthrough.” However, this subject is also mentioned in the Blogger Battle and subsequently rebuked.
So, Mr. Chase, Gilding’s question to you is this: Is your screenplay meant to be a plausible explanation into your theory of what truly happened? Or is your screenplay a mostly fictitious tale with a few facts scattered in along the way? Are your designs to crack into the world of Duncan and Blake, to dispel myths strewn about the blogosphere, or to add to them? This is an open invite, come play with me…
Link: Duncan and Blake–A Movie Thriller, by JR Chase
Madeleine L’Engle, author of the novel “A Wrinkle in Time,” which has captivated the minds of children and adults alike since the 60′s, has died, Friday, Sept.7, at the age of 88.
L’Engle wrote more than 60 books, including fantasies, poetry, and memoirs, and was most notably known for her Newberry Medal winning novel “A Wrinkle in Time” and its sequals, “A Wind in the Door”, “A Swiftly Tilting Planet”, and “Many Waters”.
L’Engle was often labeled a children’s author, though such a publishing classification was never an intent in her mind:
“In my dreams, I never have an age,” she said. “I never write for any age group in mind. … When you underestimate your audience, you’re cutting yourself off from your best work.”
“The Mrs. Astor of the Gilded Age led by exclusion. A hundred years later, the Mrs. Astor of our age, who died on Monday at 105, led by inclusion. She had none of the old snobbery against the new rich, inviting them into the inner sanctum of philanthropy.
For her 100th birthday luncheon, when she was asked whom she wanted as guests, she replied without hesitation: “One hundred librarians.””
Brooke Astor (March 30, 1902 – August 13, 2007) was an American philanthropist and socialite who was the chairwoman of the Vincent Astor Foundation, which had been established by her third husband. She was also a novelist and wrote two volumes of memoirs.
Link: NYTimes.com– Brooke Astor
In the wake of Theresa Duncan and Jeremy Blake’s deaths, Gilding posted an excerpt on July 29, 2007 from the LATimes.com in which a “friend” to the couple, one Ms. Christine–or should I say “Christine” Nichols–speaks in an interview of the couple’s “paranoia” of the Church of Scientology. It is evident from the quotes of Ms. Nichols and the tone of the journalist who wrote the article, that both thought the dynamic duo had gone a little off the deep end.
Let me tell you, my little Gilded Lilies, there is soooo much more to this story than we ever knew. As has been posted by the blog, “Formerly Fooled and Finally Free from the Deceptive Cult Called Scientology,” there is an inner story that this “educated in insolence” blogger has the inside scoop too. Read this back and forth blogging battle of words between this brilliant blogger out for the truth and defense of Gilding’s idol against the above mentioned “journalist” of the LATimes.com article and the couple’s so called “friend,” Carol “Christine” Nichols.
Link: Message to Kate Coe
Via: LA Crone: Children of the Staircase
“In time everyone had a theory [about their deaths], a hypothesis, an eagerness to impose his own story line onto what had happened. To some the “double suicide,” as the newspapers called it, reinforced the quixotic fantasy that artists are somehow too pure for the harshness of the world. To others it was a Shakespearean tale of a love so tragic and potent that one person could not live, literally, without the other. According to the blog Dream’s End, the deaths were not suicides but murders connected to an “alternate reality game.” As more details emerged–about their troubles in Hollywood, their claims of harassment by Scientologists, and how many people they had thoroughly alienated in recent years–the narrative grew harsher. Now their deaths became a story of wrathful envy, of toxic ambition, of fame obsession, of a woman spurned by success, of a terrible conspiracy, of madness. People so quickly grew fixated on trying to define what Duncan and Blake represented in death that it became increasingly difficult to understand and remember who they had been when they were alive.”
Billionare, New York City hotel operator, and real estate investor, Leona Helmsley is most notably known for her 80′s iconic symbol-status of true greed, arrogance, and lving a lifestyle of opulent decadence…and for her 1989 conviction for federal income tax evasion and fraud.
Also known as “The Queen of Mean”, Helmsley, so dubiously dubbed for her flamboyant personality and reputation for being an absolute tyrant, died today in her summer home in Greenwich, Connecticut, at the age of 87. Her longtim spokesperson, Howard J. Rubenstein, released her cause of death as being heart failure.
“Ocean Coounty Prosecutor Marlene Lynch Ford announced today the body of a man that was discovered by a fisherman approximately four and one half miles off the coast of Sea Girt on July 22 has been positively identified as New York City artist Jeremy Blake.
Dr. Haskell Askin, the designated Forensic Odontologist for the Ocean County Medical Examiner has identified the man as Blake, 35. Blake was identified by dental comparison with records provided by a New York City dentist.”
Link: Asbury Park Press–”Body Found in Ocean Identified…”
“In her obituary in Women’s Wear Daily, Johnson’s White House style is described as stately and it is noted that she trimmed down to a size 10, learned to use flattering makeup, but never managed to keep her stockings from sagging at the ankles.
Lady Bird Johnson was not a favorite within the fashion industry, but she should have been. Not because of her style but for her philosophy.
She had an appreciation for beauty and its potential to instill pride in people, to comfort them and to bring them joy. Her focus was not on the rarefied world of museums and symphonies, but beauty in a far more democratic form: nature. The fashion industry should have championed someone who saw grace, allure and power in places that others took for granted or considered unimportant.
With her death at 94, much has been said about her dogged determination to see tulips and daffodils brighten the Washington landscape and to coax wildflowers to bloom along the country’s highways. Notice that she was entranced by wildflowers, not painstakingly cultivated antique roses or finicky orchids. She marveled at the kinds of flowers that often fade into the background.
Designers should stand a little taller each time a dour Washington intersection turns Technicolor in the spring. Lady Bird made beauty — the kind that is simple, familiar and accessible — important.”
Link: WashingtonPost.com–”A First Lady’s Natural Beauty”
Currently a focus on Jim Wells Rigorous Intuition, Anna Gaskell, fellow artist and ex-girlfriend of Jeremy Blake, has found herself once again at the center of conversation concerning the couple. Gaskell had found herself a direct conversation piece on Duncan’s blog, Wit of the Staircase, when she wrote in her May post: “Stop accepting payoffs from [Des Moines businessman and guardian Jim] Cownie immediately, get your younger brothers away from him, get a lawyer using only your own money, and have the lawyer get Cownie to answer a few questions about your mother and father.”
Wells post, “Imitation of Life” not only delves into the accusations by friends of the couple that they feared they were being stalked by Scientologists as well as their recounts of harrasment by the religion the duo opened referred to as a fascist cult, but he also speaks at length through the artist bio of Anna Gaskell his theories regarding the couples’ death.
Its quite strange the connection he makes actually. I rather like the potography of Anna Gaskell. Guess there is something to say about geographic location because upon reading this I realize just how far removed I am from the loop of the art world so vibrant in New York.
Anna Gaskell’s Artist Bio from the Guggenheim catalogue:
Anna Gaskell crafts foreboding photographic tableaux of pre-adolescent girls that reference children’s games, literature, and psychology…. In untitled #9 of the wonder series, a wet bar of soap has been dragged along a wooden floor. In untitled #17 it appears again, forced into a girl’s mouth, with no explanation of how or why. This suspension of time and causality lends Gaskell’s images a remarkable ambiguity that she uses to evoke a vivid and dreamlike world.
Gaskell’s girls do not represent individuals, but act out the contradictions and desires of a single psyche. While their unity is suggested by their identical clothing, the mysterious and often cruel rituals they act out upon each other may be metaphors for disorientation and mental illness. In wonder and override, the character collectively evoked is Alice, perhaps lost in the Wonderland of her own mind, unable to determine whether the bizarre things happening to her are real or the result of her imagination…. Gaskell addresses this psychologically loaded subject matter with images of girls wandering in a gothic mansion illuminated by candlelight. Here the psyche in question has been fractured and fraught with terror by a perverse father’s look, a voyeuristic gaze.
Christine Nichols, a colleague and friend of Blake’s since 1998, produced two art exhibitions, two books and a record in conjunction with the artist through the New York art gallery she co-founded, Works on Paper Inc. Nichols dates the couple’s rising sense of “paranoia” to around 2004, two years after Blake created an album cover for alternative-rock star Beck, who is a practicing Scientologist.
“They thought Scientologists were really harassing them,” Nichols said. “They would say, ‘They are following us, harassing our landlord.’ I did not see any evidence of that.
“But it got to be something that was huge to them — a ‘You’re either with us or against us’ thing where if you didn’t believe them, you weren’t on their side. The story they had woven in paranoia and conspiracies took over part of their lives. A lot of us couldn’t understand that acting out.”
Two other art world sources corroborated Nichols’ characterization but declined to speak on the record out of concern that Blake may still be alive.
Beck was unavailable for comment, but his manager, through a publicist, let it be known that things were “extremely cordial” between the singer and the artist the last time they talked three years ago.A spokesman said the New York Police Department was not investigating any involvement by the Church of Scientology. Karin Pouw, a spokeswoman for the Church of Scientology, denied the allegations, saying, “Never heard of these people. This is completely untrue.”
Link: LaTimes.com–”The apparent double suicide…”
originally found on boingboing, a reader commented that “Theresa Duncan herself was an avid reader of Rigourous Intuition, and some of the details surrounding her harrassment were gleaned, seemingly, directly from this blog… The post “Imitation of Life” contains more info on the Theresa Duncan/Jeremy Blake suicides.”
The enigma continues…
While many of the friends of couple Teresa Duncan and Jeremy Blake as well as fellow peers have told the newspapers they were shocked by the turn of events of the couples suicides, others said Duncan and Blake had acted strangely in their final months.
Those same sources told the Times that Blake and Duncan had insisted that they were being stalked and harassed by Scientologists, a seemingly ever-present fear that soured friendships and hampered relationships with colleagues.
Their story just keeps getting wierder and weirder…
The body of a man found Sunday about 4 miles off the Jersey Shore might be that of Jeremy Blake, a rising star in the modern art world who was last seen wandering into the ocean off New York’s Rockaway Beach a week after his girlfriend had killed herself.
The Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office announced that suspicion Wednesday afternoon after a New York City police officer contacted investigators who have been attempting to identify the body since a fisherman found it four days ago.
Investigators ar asking for anyone who may know the names or the dentists or doctors who may have worked on Blake’s teeth as well as anyone who may have his dental records to come forward to help with the identification of the body.
Link: Found at sea, body may be artist’s