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Mutterings of a Mad Woman

Misery Children: Kathie Olivas and Brandt Peters

on July 9, 2008 - 4:10pm

Last summer I was in Montreal at the Yves Laroche/L'Autre Gallery for "Second Hand Smoke and Mirrors", a showing that combined the talents of two artists.

art piece of a child in a conjoined twins devil-octopus costumeLet me introduce you to Kathie Olivas from Tampa Bay Florida. She is an artist, collector and curator of what is referred to (so inappropriately) as 'lowbrow art': the type of funky art you see in magazines, on record or book covers, on many an indie concert poster and in shops that sell Vinyl Designer toys (of which I am a collector). Calling it lowbrow is like saying all contemporary and pop-culture pieces aren't art at all, but just meant for key chains and bumper stickers. For some reason creators of what is, I suppose, commercial art tend to have a self-deprecating sense about them. But I digress.

Olivias (and Peters) creates images of children in costumes - often with multiple masks - that have a certain eerie yet cute feel about them. She pairs them with rabbits or other fuzzy creatures who equally produce a sense of uneasiness, whether they are reaching for the child's lollipop or simply standing in frame. And to my delight, she is involved with the launch of Scavengers Mini Figures Series 1, a collection of vinyl toys recently released that are high on my Christmas list.

You can see more of her work at Miserychildren.com, but before you leave let me tell you about another artist.

Classic Kitsch for A Dollar

on July 8, 2008 - 10:38pm

cheesy movie poster of a man-creature holding onto a screaming blonde bombshell

I broke from my usual behaviour of avoiding corporate chains who suck the life essence from all living things within a 100 mile radius, and found myself at Walmart with my boyfriend, Yetch. While I am still convinced this store is the secret portal to the inner circle of hell, I must admit I'm glad I went.

I found a double feature classic horror DVD for $1.00 amid all the mainstream-homogeny in the cavernous discount bins. Admittedly, they are not top quality films but considering it would cost me more than 50¢ to burn a movie to disc myself, how could I pass it up?

First is 'Atom Age Vampire' (1960) by Italian director Anton Giulio Majano. The original title was 'Seddok, l'erede di Satana' which actually means something like 'Seddok, Satan's heir'; where the vampire reference in the North American title came from is beyond me, since there are no vampires in the movie at all.

Zombie Zen

on July 6, 2008 - 10:40pm

cartoon zombie in a yoga poseIt started with a book. Eventually, it became a fantastic little adventure caught on film. First thing's first though.

Scott Kenemore wrote "The Zen of Zombie: Better Living Through the Undead", a not-so-normal take on how to approach life in a more peaceful way.

"Do you struggle out of bed each morning and sway lifelessly across the room, mouth agape, arms hanging slack, murmuring unintelligibly? Well, take heart: you’re not alone! But these other staggering, limp, perpetually drowsy folks just happen to be zombies — and it turns out they can teach us a lot about enjoying life. And only here, between the covers of this book, will you learn their secrets to happiness.

Terrifying Tortilla Chips

on July 6, 2008 - 10:00pm

Ghost cookie cutter and tortillasDon't just set out the usual chips this year. Get yourself some corn or flour tortillas and a Halloween cookie-cutter. These are great with your favourite dip or a nice cream cheese spread!

Personally, I found the flour tortillas to be a little bitter so I would encourage you to find corn tortillas. And use a bunch of different cookie cutters (I had bats, cats, ghosts, pumpkins, and witches).

To make chips, place oven rack in middle position. Preheat oven to 350ºF. Line a large baking sheet with aluminum foil.

Pure Evil: Working on Websites

on July 6, 2008 - 4:52pm

computer monitor with evil red eyesFor anyone who is not involved in building websites (for profit or pleasure), let me share a little known curse which afflicts those of us who do: you never get around to finishing your own site because you're so busy working on other people's.

I swore I would finish the fine details before I would blog again. That was 8 months ago. I still have quite a bit of work to do on this site before I am satisfied with it, but I've decided it's time to push forward with posts regardless of the missing tweaks and tidbits.

Post-Party Pack-Up

on November 5, 2007 - 10:24am

All the guests have left. Not a trick or treater to be seen for another year. It's time to take down the decorations. People don't realize that there is an art to packing up that can make your life simpler. Here are some tricks that I have incorporated into my packing ritual.

1. Ziplock The Small Critters
Put all of your spiders, bats, mice, and bugs into ziplock bags. This way you don't end up with tiny plastic critters spread throughout your boxes, and you can easily grab a bag of whatever nasties you need during next year's party set up.

Happy Halloween!

on October 31, 2007 - 12:57pm

It's Halloween morning, and I am adding some final touches to the front of the house. To decorate this year, I put all of my large monsters from the party out on the enclosed porch - Bubblehead in his crate, a demon and a hag. They are all looking out the window to the street.

Everyone is walking by, and I comment to my boyfriend Yetch that no one is looking up to take any notice of the evil creatures eyeing them.

Making Macabre Cupcakes

on October 26, 2007 - 12:38pm


I've been having a bit of fun this morning making cupcakes. You must understand, my devilish darlings, I don't bake. This was my first attempt at decorating cupcakes and I am pretty chuffed.

So I am not going to win any culinary awards for them, but it's a simple thing to do and I feel it adds just a bit of something spookily special to my party spread.

A Pasta Dish That is All About the Senses

on October 19, 2007 - 11:46am

Eyes and ears pasta. How absolutely, awfully, awesome is that? Mark Hill submitted this recipe on www.razzledazzlerecipes.com in their Halloween section. Though I never make pasta from scratch, it inspires me to create some creepy cookery. Perhaps one of you gruesome gourmets will give it a try as well.

"Evil Dead: The Musical" & Bruce Campbell

on October 18, 2007 - 3:20pm

Hello, dastardly minions. In August, we surprised a friend of ours with tickets to go and see Evil Dead: The Musical. As an added bonus, Bruce Campbell made an appearance for a question and answer period after the show.

The show itself is a blast. It's campy, funny, and has catchy tunes like "Cabin in the Woods" and my favourite, "What the F*ck Was That?". There are line references to the original movies, and tons-o-blood (the first two rows in the theatre are referred to as the 'splatter zone').

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