Addams Family: Creepy and Sweet

Mixing gothic elements in a social satire, The Addams Family series may have had a short life when it was first aired between 1964 and 1966, but its afterlife has been proven eternal so far.

The series was based on the characters created by cartoonist Charles Addams for the New Yorker magazine, which was about an eccentric and rich family who lives surrounded by elements from the gothic imagery and is blissfully unaware of how different they are and the effect their bizarre lifestyle has on others.

The original single panel cartoons were published between 1938 and 1988, when Charles Addams died. In its posthumous success, the series was succeeded by TV specials in 1972, 1977, and 1998, 2 animated series in 1973 and 1992, 2 movies in which Morticia and Gomez were played by Anjelica Huston and Raul Julia in 1991 and 1993, and this year, a stop-motion movie is being produced by Illumination Entertainment.

The 30-minute episodes are very funny with their ironic tirades, and for our present standards, have a light innocent sense of humor. Dialogues like this one are very common:

Gomez: “What news, Tish?” Morticia: “The police are on their way over. Oh! Good Heavens, the neighbors will think we committed some crime.” Gomez: “Does make me feel like a fraud.” - (from the episode Wednesday Leaves Home)

Basically the Addamses make fun of stereotypes that were usual in sitcoms of the time, showing the ‘perfect American family’, only in their case, it was a bit twisted.

Gomez Addams (John Astin) is the head of the family, always enthusiastic about his plans, madly in love with his wife, Morticia, a dedicated father, who loves playing of wreaking toy trains with his son Pugsley.

Morticia (Carolyn Jones) is the aristocratic mother and wife, loves gardening her poisonous, carnivorous plants, she is always kind with everyone, and is a devoted mother to her two children Pugsley and Wednesday.

The Addamses’ children are quite amusing: Pugsley (Ken Weatherwax) makes his parents worried from time to time, because of his bouts of being ‘different’, which means playing baseball and becoming a boy scout, among other weird pastimes. As for Wednesday (Lisa Loring), she is very charming, and loves playing with her beheaded dolls Marie Antoinette, Mary Queen of Scots, and Little Red Riding Hood. She also has a pet lizard called Lucifer.

Complementing the Addams Family are the characters Lurch (Ted Cassidy), the sinister butler, who loves playing harpsichord and speaks in monotones and grunts, Cousin Itt (Felix Silla), whose body is covered in head-to-foot hair and chirps like a bird, Thing (Ted Cassidy), the servant hand in a box, always ready to help, Uncle Fester (Jackie Coogan), Morticia’s uncle, and Grandmama Addams (Blossom Rock), Gomez’s mother.

Much of the humor in the series is attributed to producer Nat Perrin, who was a close friend of comedian Groucho Marx and had previously worked as a screewriter for the Marx Brothers. There various subjects: politics, the legal system, Beatlemania, Hollywood, parenthood.

Below is one of their episodes, Wednesday Leaves Home:

Addams Family TV Series @ Wikipedia # Addams Family Cartoon @ Wikipedia # Addams Family Fan Site

Anorexia Nervosa: Illusionary Sense of Power

Eating disorders are epidemical nowadays, but Anorexia Nervosa together with Bulimia Nervosa are the most common ones. Anorexia Nervosa is a disorder in which someone fasts for long periods of time in order to look thinner or as a means to feel in control of their lives. Those suffering from it select the kinds and amounts of food they eat, and they get so obsessed with becoming thinner, they don’t know when they went too far.

Basic Facts

Though it is thought that people suffering from anorexia often see a distorted image of themselves as being fat, that is not always true, as blogger Emily Troscianko, a former-anorexic, tells in her account, which completes this article. According to her, she used to focus her thinning goals on parts of her body, like her belly and thighs, ignoring the rest, and when once forced to focus on her whole body, she was shocked.

It is considered as warning signs that someone is suffering from Anorexia Nervosa: practicing self-starvation with weight loss, unusual sensitivity to cold, excessive fear of gaining weight, excessive facial/body hair for lack of protein, compulsive exercise, no menses or intermittent ones, and hair loss.

Also, unlike common knowledge, anorexics take excessive interest in food, are secretive or detached from the rest of the world, have little energy to do any extended physical or mental activity, though they feel hunger, they control it neurotically, and may justify their behavior as being a search for perfection. [1]

The numbers for Anorexia Nervosa are staggering:

  • 1 in 150 girls of age 15 have Anorexia
  • About 4 in 100 people, between age 10 and 39 get Anorexia each year.
  • For every 10 women 1 men is anorexic, however the numbers among men have been increasing.
  • Anorexia has the highest death rate of any mental sickness. [2]

There are two kinds of Anorexia Nervosa: the restricting type, in which people take a few calories a day or only drink water, and the binge-eating/purging one, in which they eat something they feel they shouldn’t have or they binge and then to compensate, they workout excessively or vomit.

Living with Anorexia

The greatest difficulty in dealing with those suffering from Anorexia Nervosa, and of course, of several other mental sicknesses, is that they don’t realize how sick they are. Until something happens to draw their attention to the seriousness of their situation, they feel empowered, enjoying the fake sense of control and superiority over those who don’t act like them.

For Emily Troscianko, her breaking point was when she looked at herself in the mirror and, after 10 years of anorexia, noticed how the ball gown she wanted so much to wear, highlighted the “Dachau contours” of her “spindle arms and scrawny neck and bony bust”, which made her cry; and also when her mother, who was moving away with her boyfriend, told her plain and simple “your anorexia is not welcome at our new house.” [3]

Her mother, writer Sue Blackmore, commented about her desperate last act of trying to recover her daughter: “It was probably more like selfishness and straightforward honesty. I'd had enough of all this misery. The books always tell you to try to separate the anorexia from the person who is suffering from it. The anorexic will tell you that she is her anorexia; that she wouldn't be herself if she ate like other people do, as "fat" and "greedy" people do. I had never tried to follow the books' advice, but I guess that was somewhere in the back of my mind. I wanted my Emily back!” [4]

With the help of a college friend, Emily went to see a doctor, started a treatment, and persisted on the long bumpy way back to health. Sue’s desperate curt words worked to raise Emily’s awareness, but that may not be the best method for everyone. For ways of helping those who suffer from anorexia and other eating disorders, check the previous article.

Emily Troscianko keeps a blog on Psychology Today (Hunger Artist), where she shares the main events of her life while she was sick, her recovery process, and addresses the myths about Anorexia Nervosa. Here are two excerpts from the articles on the site:

“This meant that changing - living a ‘normal' life - was something that I not only believed I could never do: I believed I could never want to do it, ever. Why on earth would I want to give up the magnificent, all-eclipsing pleasure of my nightly meal of bread and boiled vegetables and chocolate on my own in bed for the ‘pleasures' other people claimed to find in other things? It was completely implausible that anything could replace that ecstasy of sucking a great mouth-filling lump of milk chocolate and then falling asleep a little before sunrise (in winter, at least).

“This is why I want to write this blog: because for so long, and with increasing conviction, I was so sure that I didn't want to be ‘better', as everyone always seemed to assume I must. I could see all the things that were wrong with how I was living, of course; I wasn't stupid. But they couldn't see all the things that were right about it, and unrelinquishable. I read all the anorexia self-help books, with case-studies of girls who got better and looked back on their old lives with the marvelling incomprehension of someone who's come back from the dead. But I always thought I was different.

“I knew, from the other parts of those books, that I had all the unglamorous symptoms the other girls had, and indulged in the same warped behaviours (who'd have thought all we anorexics would want masses of salt on absolutely everything?), but I kept on thinking that with me it was something more special, or at least something redeemed by the things it let me be: thin (so my difference from everyone else was unmissable), hard-working (nothing and no one else in my life to keep me from reading and writing), safe, untouchable.

“For me, it was a little war of attrition: gradually, over the years, enough things amassed that made staying the way I was seem less possible, until the constellation of chance and will power and deathly tiredness was at last enough to make me change.” [5]

“Whether you sometimes check the calorie count on the back of packets, or worry when you've missed a gym session, or wish you could still get into the jeans you used to love, or buy low-fat yoghurt - whether you read up on nutritional theory or just panic vaguely when you've had too much ice cream for pudding - there is anxiety there, there is a sense of being slightly out of control.

“The anorexic sees these people and sees weakness, sees hypocrisy and the failure to act consistently: she or he, by contrast, takes this feeling of fear and decides to deal with it, and controls food, drink, and exercise more or less perfectly, and can then feel more or less contented, and safe. When anything at all goes ‘wrong', though, and ‘control' is forsaken for an instant, everything threatens instantly to crumble.” [6]

Come back tomorrow for the article on Bulimia, and on Wednesday, for the closing one on Media’s influence on our image of ourselves.

More information and help centers:

ANAD # The Guardian article


Within Temptation: Line-up Changes & A New Album Coming

Compelling delicate vocals and a flawless combination of loud guitars, symphonic strings and heavy beat are the trademarks of Dutch band Within Temptation, which is presently one of the most successful Symphonic Metal bands in the world.

Within Temptation was formed in 1996, after Sharon den Adel contributed vocals to a song of guitarist Robert Westerholt’s band, The Circle. Of the forming members only Jeroen van Veen, besides Robert and Sharon remain in the band to date.

That same year, they signed with a label, and in 1997 released the album Enter, which has some great songs, like Pearls of Light and Grace. At the time, Sharon’s vocals were accompanied by Robert’s grunts, something that became less common in more recent albums.

Within Temptation’s success grew exponentially, from main stage at Dynamo Open Air in 1998, a #3 album in 2002 (Mother Earth) and a #1 in 2004 (Silent Force) in their home country, several awards, conquering the US market in 2008, and the astonishing sum of 10 million albums sold worldwide.

The band has many popular songs: Stand My Ground, The Heart of Everything, Aquarius and Memories are only a few. But it’s been 3 years since their last studio album, and though there has been much talk about a new release coming out later this year, nothing is certain. In an interview in October 2009, Sharon said that the new album would be released by that time this year, “and don’t shoot me if it’s a bit later”, but things seem to be a bit complicated for the band now.

After many line-up changes, Within Temptation just went through another one: drummer Stephen van Haetregt, who was first a studio technician for the band, did his last show on last April 29 in Antwerp. However, they posted a message on their site on April 30 about the end of their Theater Tour, adding that “after taking a very small break we're going back into the studio. After doing this tour, we really can't wait to get back on the road, hopefully we can tell you a bit more about that soon.” So, maybe a new album will be coming up by the end of 2010 or early 2011.

While we wait for their new release, here is one of the moments of this year’s tour:


Within Temptation @ Wikipedia # Interview with Sharon den Adel

Eating disorders: A Desperate Search For Control

The world is sick; not only nature but also people. Be that stress, ordinary sicknesses or those which aren’t officially recognized as such, like eating disorders, maybe all of us carry one form or another of sickness, either mental, physical or both.

This is the first in a series of articles about eating disorders, and how media, society and our present hectic way of life can destroy us from inside out.

First, here is some information on what are eating disorders:

The numbers are stunning. About 7 to 10 million women and 1 million men suffer from eating disorders in America, whatever their age, social class or ethnicity. The numbers throughout the world are equally distressing, and have been increasing.

The organization ANAD, whose site most of the contents of these articles about eating disorders are based on, reports that the most critical groups for developing the disorders are the one by the age of 20 and the one between the age of 16 and 20, which sum up to 86% and 43% of the cases respectively. Also the majority of the cases last from 1 to15 years, and there’s 50% of cure and 6% of death among them.

People who suffer from eating disorders have basically very low self-esteem and want to look thinner, either overall or certain parts of the body, even if in order to achieve that, they have to make the hardest sacrifices, such as spending the whole day without eating, eating only a few types of food, throwing up after eating, eating and not swallowing, etc. There are also cases in which people want to feel in control of their lives or dull inner pain.

Eating disorders cause many grave health problems, such as severe malnutrition, ruptured stomach, tooth/gum erosion, heart, kidney, and liver damages.

Despite all the harm it causes, there are few adequate programs and services to fight these disorders around the world, and few schools have programs to educate about the dangers, which is absurd when you take into account that most of those who develop them are still in school years.

Types of Eating Disorders

Anorexia Nervosa – people who suffer from this disorder spend long periods without eating, and when they do, seriously restrict the amount and kinds of food they eat. They may set aside a specific time of the day to eat and develop rituals for preparing food and eating. Contrary to common knowledge, not all of them have a distorted image of themselves as being fat, instead they tend to focus on parts of their bodies they want to be thinner. Some of them may practice severe fasting as a means to feel in control of their lives.

Bulimia – those who suffer from this disorder have constant periods of binge eating in which they eat excessive amounts of food in a short period of time, feeling unable to stop. Afterwards, they feel guilt or fear, and purge through vomiting, over-exercising or fasting.

Binge Eating Disorder (BED) or Obesity – about 30% of those who take part in weight loss programs are diagnosed for BED. It is present in 2% of the American population and is 1.5 times more common in women. Goals of the treatment include ceasing binge eating, improvement of concerns about weight and shape, weight loss, prevention of further weight gain, etc. Remission rates are high, about 50%, and the general projection is better than for those with bulimia nervosa.

Eating Disorder Not Otherwise Specified (EDNOS) – less occurring disordered eating patterns, such as switching between anorexic and bulimic behaviors, not so often episodes of binging and purging, orthorexia (people who eat normal amounts of food, but select foods obsessively), anorexia nervosa but with regular menses, starvation without substantial loss of weight, repeatedly chewing and spitting out -without swallowing - large amounts of food.

How to Help Those with Eating Disorders

Don’t expect those suffering from eating disorders to talk about their difficulties, as they are often secretive about their ways, and think they are well. However eating disorders are an indirect way of crying for help; those who develop them are in terrible confusion and vulnerability. No matter how hard daily life is around them, it is important to remember that, and offer them love and patience, otherwise recovery becomes almost impossible.

Also brace yourself for confrontation, as your friend or family member may feel angry at your interference. Still, try to talk to them in private, have some evidence prepared to use for persuasion, always try to keep yourself calm and in a non-confrontational attitude, and remind them of your love, and how you can’t simply watch and do nothing. Don’t let any worries and fears keep you from addressing the matter.

Be careful not to use the talk for causing conflict. Express your worries, exemplifying with specific episodes, without placing shame and guilt on them. Don’t make use of simple solutions either, like “if you stop, it’ll be alright”, as that will only annoy them. Disorders aren’t something that one can wake up the next morning without. It took them a long time to get to it; it will take them a long way to recovery.

Then explain the kinds of diagnosis and treatment available, and either make clear that you will seek help or help them do so, if they are ready. Stress the importance of treatment, which is essential to assess the symptoms, provide correct diagnosis and find other medical problems involved, and also determine any other condition, like depression, requiring treatment. In case your friend or family member is reluctant to see a doctor, ask them to get a physical, and offer to make the appointment or go along on the first visit.

There are several types of treatment, and often a combination of several ones, like nutritional counseling, therapy and group support is used. This page has more information on all the types.

The process of recovery is long and strenuous. Besides keeping to treatment plans, family therapy sessions, healthy menus and meal plans, avoiding binges or purges, family and friends have to be prepared to deal with emotional outbursts, to support the person with love and praise, and to always value the achievements despite any slips.

It is important that those who are caring for the ones suffering from eating disorders, take some time for themselves to relax and recharge their batteries. Do whatever makes you feel better, even if for a few minutes a day, and don’t isolate yourself. In addition to keeping contact with friends, support groups are great places to interact with those who are living through the same challenge. It is at least a useful way to be aware that your suffering isn’t unique, and to learn new ways of supporting those who suffer from the disorder.

Also be yourself a good role model. Avoid dieting and negative comments about your own body, educate yourself about eating disorders, learn to listen quietly to your loved one’s concerns and feelings, and try not to criticize.

And finally, these are some actions that must be avoided at all costs:

  • Eat or avoid foods solely to accommodate the eating-disordered person
  • Make mealtimes a battleground
  • Monitor someone else's behavior for them (even if you are invited to)
  • Be the "food police"
  • Try to play therapist
  • Comment about someone's weight and looks [3]

The next part in this series of articles is about Anorexia Nervosa. It includes not only basic information and sites where to look for help and support, but also a very informative and an emotional account by blogger Emily Troscianko, who was anorexic for 10 years. This part will be published tomorrow.

Besides these two articles, there will be others about Bulimia Nervosa and the part of media in all this mess, which will be published in sequence.

More information and help centers:

ANAD # Eating Disorders Research # Eating Disorder Expert


Ronnie James Dio: The Heavy Metal Master Has Passed Away

Ronnie James Dio, one of the creators of Heavy Metal, died yesterday, May, 16, at 7:45am of stomach cancer. Though this was the end of his struggle with this terrible disease, it is a great loss to the music world.

Aged 67, Ronnie James Dio had over 50 years of music career, and had taken part in some of the best Hard Rock/Heavy Metal bands of the 70's and 80's, Elf, Rainbow, Black Sabbath and Dio. Presently he had been a part of the band Heaven & Hell, which is the name of one of the albums Dio released with Black Sabbath in 1980.

Dio's unique tenor voice was strong, loud, thrilling, andperfect for the songs he used to sing about good and evil conflicts, such as Heaven and Hell, Rainbow in the Dark, and Time Machine. His performances were always fascinating and in his interviews, he was always kind and genial.

The most moving thing about his death is the amount of messages fellow musicians both young and old have written about him, which only say the best things about him. Here is a selection of them:

"I am at an absolute loss right now upon hearing that Ronnie has passed away... I swear to you he is one of the nicest human beings I have ever met, period. Many a night on that tour, Glen [Drover, then-MEGADETH guitarist] and myself would have amazing conversations with Ronnie about his career, etc. fully knowing he had probably told these stories 10,000 times to people and yet he answered every question I had with a big smile. I can recall so many times making eye contact with Glen sharing the exact same thought: 'Dude, I can't believe we are hanging with RONNIE JAMES DIO!!!!!'

"If you are lucky enough in your lifetime to actually meet one of your idols (let alone tour with them) and they turn out to be even nicer than you could have envisioned, that is something you would truly treasure. Lucky for me, I will cherish those memories forever." - Shawn Drover, Megadeth


"It is a very sad day today... I have lost a very dear friend.

"Ronnie was a true leader of heavy metal... an icon and a visionary... There will never be another like him.

"Ronnie gave me wisdom, and showed me great compassion when he was in ELF, all those years ago, when we were on tour together in my time in DEEP PURPLE. He was a beautiful soul, kind, considerate and a wonderful teacher.

"Some day I'll be bringing your microphone up there with me, and we'll sing a song, and share a Vindaloo together...

"I'll miss, you mate." - Glenn Hughes,former-Deep Purple/Black Sabbath


"Today the world has lost the greatest vocalist in the history of hard rock. He was also the nicest and warmest human being I have met in the music business.

"I had the good fortune to meet Ronnie on many different occasions throughout the years. He was always interested in what others had to say. He always listened. He never forgot a face and he would always have some wise words to impart. You always left his presence a little more enriched. He was always encouraging and he has been a tremendous inspiration in my life..." - Janne Jarvis, Warrior Soul

"Rest in peace, Ronnie James Dio... one of the greatest of all time.

"Looks like Dime [late PANTERA guitarist 'Dimebag' Darrell Abbott], Randy [Rhoads; late OZZY OSBOURNE guitarist], Cliff [Burton; late METALLICA bassist] and Bonzo [late LED ZEPPELIN drummer John Bonham] just scored the ultimate singer.

"This is one of the saddest days in metal ever." - Mike Portnoy, Dream Theater


"I've been in total shock; I just can't believe he's gone.

"Ronnie was one of the nicest people you could ever meet. We had some fantastic times together.

"Ronnie loved what he did, making music and performing on stage. He loved his fans so much. He was a kind man and would put himself out to help others.

"I can honestly say it's truly been an honor to play at his side for all these years.

"His music will live on forever.

"Our thoughts are with Wendy Dio [Ronnie's wife/manager] who stood by Ronnie until the end. He loved her very much.

"The man with the magic voice is a star amongst stars, a true professional.

"I'll miss you so much, my dear friend." - Tony Iommi, Black Sabbath

On last May 4, Ronnie James Dio issued the following statement for fans about the shows he had to cancel because of his health problems:

"I would like to voice my great disappointment on the cancellation of the HEAVEN & HELL summer tour. Wendy [Ronnie's wife/manager], my doctors and I have worked so hard to make it happen for all of you, the ones we care so much about, that this setback could be devastating, but we will not let it be. With your continued love and support, we will carry on and thrive. There will be other tours, more music, more life and much more magic."

Here are two moments, one from the past and one recent to remember him for. RIP.

Source: Blabbermouth


ReVamp: The Siren Has Returned

Floor Jansen is back! Little over a year since After Forever broke apart, Floor Jansen has a new band, Revamp, whose album is due for May 31, 2010 in the UK and June 15, 2010 in the US. [1] [2]

Revamp’s sound is similar to that of Floor Jansen’s previous band, the classic Symphonic Metal band After Forever, maybe because besides the singer, she had the contribution of former-band mate keyboardist Joost van den Broek. Another contribution was that of producer, composer and musician Waldemar Sorychta who has worked with several bands, such as Lacuna Coil, Moonspell and Tristania.

Her working single is Head Up High, which has her traditional strong and compelling melodic vocals, a heavy beat and strings, and other great songs such as Fast Forward, Million and All Goodbyes Are Said, which were presented in a show at Bevrijdingsfestival Zwolle on May 5.

Though we are in a seemingly endless fad of vampires in pop culture worldwide, Floor Jansen explained that the band’s name is not about it: “ReVamp with the capital V is just for the looks. To me it means a new start, nothing with vampires no, I'm not into that stuff. ReVamp literally means 'Give new energy to something'. I found that very symbolic for my career. The word vamp also makes a sexy association with woman. Nothing sleazy, just sexy :-)” [3]

In another interview, Floor Jansen spoke firmly about the differences between her former and new bands: “Revamp is not After Forever II. The instrumental and vocal versatility have remained diverse, but Revamp is heavier, less orchestral. I often change my opera voice with my rock voice, and there is more emphasis on guitars and less on the keys. Revamp is more direct, more Soilwork direction.” [4]

Revamp’s line-up is completed with drummer Matthias Landes (Dark Fortress), bassist Jaap Melman (Dreadlock Pussy, Pendejo), guitarists Jord Otto and Arjan Rijnen (Pendejo) and keyboardist Ruben Wijga (Insomnia). The band is scheduled to do a series of shows in the next few months.

Check the videos below to see Floor Jansen singing her soul out with Revamp:

Revamp's Official site

Tiarra: Light & Darkness from the Land of Dracula

Tiarra is a Romanian band from Bucharest, whose sound is both potent and melodious. Formerly a Black Metal band, their sound now is more Progressive and Gothic Metal.

They have a unique combination of Metal instruments and strings, due to the playing of their cellist Iulia, and violinist Diana. Also, all the musicians have academic training on classical music, which makes their sound very rich and fascinating.

Their main vocalist, Anda, has a delicate voice, which contrasts as light to darkness with the tenor vocals of Alex (Indianu). The other members who complete their special line-up are keyboardist Johann, guitarist Tudor, bassist Adi and drummer Gabi.

Tiarra underwent several line-up changes since their formation in 2004. The following year they released their first CD with 6 songs, which was called Drama Per Musica, including the excellent songs To the End of the Light and Dying Soul.

It took them 3 years to release their second album, Post Scriptum, in 2008. In an interview, Alex explained what happened then: “Mainly it was the changes in our line-up. We took the time of finding our identity along with a sound we can call our own. We are still working on that, but I think we have the best possible formula member-wise.

“Another reason is that both albums were recorded with our own resources, which I have to admit are very limited. Even though Omvina, the label that produced "Post Scriptum" helped a lot by taking care of mastering, production and world-wide distribution, it still took us a long while to do the actual recordings, which were already finished by the time the label approached us.” [1]

Tiarra is currently doing some shows in their homeland, and intends to take their act to other European countries, but in order to do that there some obstacles to overcome, as Alex comments: “If in the rest of Europe to make money as a young metal band is quite hard, in Romania it actually is impossible. Here, when you draw the line you discover that you actually have to pay to do music.

“Even if we have five years of existence as a band, we still are at the beginning of our career. If you add this to the fact that Romania is a grey area on most of the strong booking agencies' maps you realize that it is hard for us to have such opportunities.

“To do a tour on our own, without being invited and supported by some good promoters is virtually impossible. But we hope this will change in time we succeed in making a name for ourselves. We will most definitely welcome any opportunity to come and perform anywhere around Europe and we would be honored to accept any such invitation.”

Let’s root for them!

Below are two live videos:

Source: http://www.tiarra.ro/biografie.php

Tiarra's Official Site # MySpace Profile


VNV Nation and Epica Memes

I've posted two new artworks on my Deviant Art gallery. These are meme-like graphics for VNV Nation and Epica with their biographies, plus lyrics excerpts and pictures. It's a practical and quick way of learning about these two amazing bands.

Click on the pictures to view them.

Camille Rose Garcia: Weird Beauty with Social Criticism

The Lowbrow American artist Camille Rose Garcia is responsible for some of the most creative and intriguing alternative dark art out there. She has recently released an Alice In Wonderland book with her illustrations, which give a fresh acidic twist to the classic tale.

Though she graduated from Art school, for the first few years Camille Rose Garcia didn’t want anything to do with art, preferring to join a punk rock band. But then after seeing works by the Clayton Brothers and Mark Rydens, she decided to start all over, as theirs styles were similar.

She and other alternative artists from Los Angeles define the Lowbrow style, which is an art movement that started in the late 1970’s, which have a lot of influence of comics visuals, street culture, punk rock, and other subcultures.

Describing her way of doing art, Camille Rose Garcia said: “I think I have always approached art making in the same way as a lot of my favorite bands.

“Bands like The Clash and the Dead Kennedy's make this really rad music that in some cases sounds really fun, but still has a social commentary…

“I always wanted to do art that people could relate to but also carry some social relevance. Like in art school it wasn't really about commentary, or if it was, it was really boring, so I really just wanted to create art that was not only super fun to look at, and if you’re 5 or 15 and hated art your still could like, and relate to it and understand and would still carry that whole social political commentary, which is kinda the same approach that a lot of my favorite bands were taking.” [1]

Camille Rose Garcia really has some strong points of view about present society. Commenting on global warming, the break of economy and other current problems, she had some provocative thoughts to share:

“To me it just seems that things are getting worse and worse faster and faster. As far as the whole machine of keeping people scared, they don’t rebel if they are scared, it’s just part of the control mechanism.

“Then there is all the stuff that is real. I don’t really think all the terror warnings are real, but the global warming is real, the huge deficit is real, the end of oil is real, all those things are real. But the terror alerts, I don't know how much of that is real and it’s an easy way for our leaders to blame them.

“I just think, on a very basic personal, spiritual level if every person would take some responsibility, ya know, as far as being cool with others and not being an asshole. That’s the only real revolution that I think is possible at this point.”

Besides having worked as a free lancer illustrator for magazines, she has published three books: The Saddest Place on Earth, (Last Gasp, 2006), The Magic Bottle: A BLAB! Storybook, (Fantagraphics, 2006) and Tragic Kingdom (Last Gasp, 2007). She also has works in permanent collections of LACMA and the San Jose Museum of Art.

Below are three of her artworks. Visit her site for more.




Camille Rose Garcia Official Site


New Art On My Gallery

In the last few weeks, I had taken a break from updating this blog, but today, as promised, I'm resuming work here, so be sure to visit it every weekend for new posts. Also check the new index pages for lists of all the posts on this blog. Some of them have been expanded and altered too.

Besides that, I've also updated my art gallery at the Deviant Art site, with the manipulations below. Please let me know your thoughts about them. Best wishes!

Spirit Orbiting The Earth

Ghost At Sea

Apocalyptica Wallpaper

Dark Angel & Northern Lights

Visit my Deviant Art gallery for more.

May Suggested Reading: Greywalker by Kat Richardson

The Greywalker novel by Kat Richardson is the first in a series of five books, the latest is due to be released in August 2010, which has a great paranormal detective story.

It tells the story of a private investigator in Seattle, Harper Blaine, who is clinically dead for about two minutes, and after that experience, she develops the ability to interact with the creatures of the Grey.

The Grey is the dimension between the physical and spiritual worlds, in which vampires, witches, ghosts and other magical creatures dwell.

Harper Blaine has to go on with her life though, and she is immediately faced with two cases, one of a missing student, who turns out to be a vampire, and of a mysterious artifact, which is a sort of time bomb. Though she is still groping with this new reality and her abilities, she is the only one who can keep the worst from happening.

The Greywalker is written on a first-person narrative, with terse sentences, but that doesn’t compromise the story, which is very interesting and rich. Kat Richardson’s writing seems to have improved a lot since then, having acquired a more fluid rhythm, as far as the excerpt of the last installment of the Greywalker series shows.

Kat Richardson told in an interview about how she created the character Harper Blaine. She said Harper was originally a male clichéd character of a tough PI with blazing guns, who never complained and never got hurt. She then started a long process of shaping the character into something more believable.

She said: “Making the character female was some immediate relief, but it still had that ‘man with breasts’ problem. The former military or spiritual martial artist trope has been done to death, too, so those were not options for developing the character and breaking her out of the cliché, so I considered the women I knew who were competent and physically tough and drew Harper based on them.

“I let her go ahead and acknowledge her discomforts, but do the job anyhow—just like most of the women I know.” [1]

The author Kat Richardson seems to be a very interesting and unconventional person. She has a degree in Magazine Journalism from California State University, and presently she lives in Seattle with her husband in a sailboat.

She has worked as a writer and editor in the computer industry, and has also written RPGs, film scripts and computer games plots and has experience in theater and music. She is a supporter of the California Ferret Legalization, which aims at making it legal to own ferrets as domestic pets, instead of considering the ownership illegal and the animals as wildlife ones.

About her working process, Kat Richardson said “I'm not a seat-of-the-pants sort of writer. Since the stories are structured like Mysteries, that makes timing and placement of clues very important, so I work out a lot of the details in the outline before I get a lot of the writing done and that eliminates a lot of heavy revision or re-writing later. At least so far it has.” [2]

Check the sites below for more information on the book and the author.

More info:

Barnes & Noble Greywalker Page # Kat Richardson's Site - About Greywalker & About the Author

A World of Fairies: Selina Fenech

Selina Fenech is a very talented Australian illustrator, who specialized in pictures of fairies. She has always had an interest in mythical creatures, and as a child loved illustrated fantasy books.

A professional artist since age 23, Selina Fenech had her artworks sold all over the world, and published in books and magazines. In her site, her beautiful illustrations can be acquired as posters, stationery, t-shirts and other products.

Her working medium is mainly watercolor and acrylics on paper, but she has also used other media such as inks, pencils and even digital painting.

Selina Fenech describes her passion for her work on her website: “I want to live my life like it's a fairy tale, and I want my artwork to make other people feel the same. I love that for a person of any age my fairies can bring back the magical memories and feelings of adventure from their childhood. I hope that they also create new memories and dreams of magic!

“As an artist, I paint because of a true, driving need to create beauty and magic. It is an inner need which I fulfill by putting brush to paper. But there is no magic there until it is shared, no joy to be found in the forms and colours until it is seen by another.” [1]

She has also published several articles on drawing and painting techniques, which are available on her site.

Here is a selection of Selina Fenech’s artworks. Visit her site for more.

Selina Fenech’s Official Site

Mystic Sounds: Irfan

The Bulgarian band Irfan is a great Ethereal band, with a sound reminiscent of Qntal and Dead Can Dance. Using instruments traditional to the music of Turkey, Egypt, Greece and the Balkans, Irfan’s sound is a blend of the Eastern, the Medieval and the Modern.

Talking about the band's mysterious and dark sound, vocalist Denitza Seraphimova said that “We believe that music is an act of the spirit… The vibration of the sound and the music has the "magic" power to create new worlds, to open gates to other space and dimensions. But this is also very dangerous because creating spiritual music is a big responsibility that needs a clear mind, intention and pure heart.” [1]

This concept begins in the band’s name. Irfan is a Sufi term from Persian and Arabian, which means gnosis, mystic knowledge and revelation.

The musicians of Irfan, Denitza, plus Ivailo, Kalin and Kiril joined together in 2002, and had their first album released in 2003, with the band’s name, and their second in 2007, named Seraphim. The line-up is made of Denitza Seraphimova vocals, Ivailo Petrov - programming, strings, Kalin Yordanov - vocals, percussion, Peter Todorov – percussion and Yasen Lazarov - keyboards, woodwind.

They have already done soundtracks for a Bulgarian documentary and a movie, and they have played all over Europe.

One of the interesting things about the Irfan musicians is that all of them work with archeology, history and culture, and have side projects as musicians. They also like to experiment with old folklore music and instruments like the daz, bodhran and tamboura.

As for the vocals, the songs seldom have any lyrics, they prefer to vocalize sounds in a Cocteau Twins-like way. When they do, the lyrics are in Church Slavonic, Latin and Medieval Spanish.

Their process of composition is very democratic. Denitza described it as “It is a common and collective process. In the beginning one of us (mainly Ivailo and Kiril) brings a primary idea and then all of us work in the building of the composition.” [1]

Throughout Europe they often play in Goth Festivals like Summer Darkness, and also Folk Festivals. Talking about the way their music seems to attract people from so many different cultural backgrouns, Denitza said: “We believe that the message of our music is universal and that it is for everyone who could understand it with his heart nevertheless his language, color, religion or music stream and preferences.” [2]

Check the videos below for samples of their fascinating music.

Source: Wikipedia Irfan # Irfan MySpace Profile