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Mutterings of a Mad Woman

Damned Dollies

on July 14, 2008 - 7:10pm

hand painted doll
Based out of Montreal, Dana De Kuyper creates 'Damned Dollies', a collection of plush little ladies who are all a bit off-kilter.

Yetch (my boyfriend) and I saw a stall for her at the recent Toronto Outdoor Art Exhibit. I've seen her things before at the Toronto One of A Kind Show (and was disappointed that all the t-shirts were long and slender, meaning I could possibly wear it as a headband or scarf but not an actual shirt). This time, she had simple black and white prints for sale at a very reasonable price. Yetch bought one that showed a doll with a yapping, vicious little razor-mouthed dog in her arms.

Julia Hepburn, Talented Toronto Artist

on July 12, 2008 - 6:54pm

sculpture of a tiny creature with a dunce cap in an abandoned building
Absolutely stunning. Dark. Beautiful. These are words that came to mind as I stumbled upon Julia Hepburn's display stall in the maze of artists at Nathan Phillips Square this weekend for the Toronto Outdoor Art Exhibit.

She creates miniature worlds inside boxes and lampposts (some of which you can actually plug in) that make you feel like some sort of omnipotent being peeking into a smaller universe. Hepburn describes her art on her blog:

"I attempt to reclaim the innocence and curiosity of childhood. Each compartmentalized piece displays a single scene with virtually no context. Viewers are encouraged to use their imaginations in order to develop a narrative explaining the scene.

Halloween on Facebook: Part 2

on July 11, 2008 - 5:36pm

As mentioned in the last blog post, I've been sorting through the array of groups on Facebook. I thought I would list 4 groups of different categories that may be of interest.

image of a skeleton in a casket

Halloween Home Haunters is my immediate first pick. It's a fairly active group of people with a certain degree of home haunting experience. It's much like being on a forum, only with less members. So far, everyone seems pretty friendly. And as an added bonus, most of them seem to be from southern Ontario, Canada which suits me just fine.

Halloween on Facebook: Part 1

on July 11, 2008 - 3:11pm

cartoon of a large cat opening the door to a trick or treater with a glowing cross between the two of themAh, Facebook. How you entertain me. The following is an overview of my dark journey through the spiralling depths of social networking.

I decided to join Facebook as Ghoul Friday (naturally). So if you are a fellow ghoulie, add me as a friend if you like. You can track which groups I think show possible potential or you can bring a group of interest to my attention (let me know in the friend request that you saw this post).

As of two days ago, there were 533 groups with the word "Halloween" in it. You should know that about 30 of those are actually fronts for a costume shop spammer who has created a collection of their own fake groups and has "commented" (read: pretended to be an innocent group member) on each and every Halloween-related site there is. Shame, shame on you.

The very first group at the top of the search list was a group (at first I thought it was Japanese, but I think it's Chinese) whose title was half in English, half in what I believe are Hanzi characters (*) which read "Oh my God,**Halloween ********". I was stumped since the group was labelled as being spiritual and had Christian links and posts (which made up the only bits of English available).

"The Worst Witch" is Perhaps the Best Kitsch

on July 9, 2008 - 8:33pm

cheesy image of Tim Curry with bad 80's special effects behind himHow is it possible that I can't remember this movie? I was a child in the 80's. I loved Halloween. I must have seen it. And yet...

While perusing Facebook Halloween groups (a tale I will share with you in the next blog), I came across one dedicated to "The Worst Witch", a British T.V. film made in 1986 starring Tim Curry and Charlotte Rae (better known as Mrs. Garrett from 'The Facts of Life').

Think 'female version of Harry Potter'. Based on a children's book about a young female witch who has gone to Miss Cackle's Academy for Witches, the plot centres around Mildred Hubble's inability to be a successful sorceress.

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.

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