japonisme: 4/4/10 - 4/11/10

08 April 2010

st george & the dragonet

[Narrator:] The legend you are about to hear is true. Only the needle should be changed to protect the record.

[St. George:] This is the countryside. My name is St George. I'm a knight.

Saturday, July 10th, 8:05 pm-- I was working out of the castle on the nightwatch when a call came in from the Chief. A dragon had been devouring maidens. Homicide. My job, slay him.

[St. George:] You call me, Chief?

[Chief:] Yes, the dragon again, devouring maidens. The King's daughter may be next.

[St. George:] Mmm-hmm. You got a lead?

[Chief:] Oh, nothing much to go on. Say, did you take that .45 automatic into the lab to have them check on it?

[St. George:] Yeah, you were right.

[Chief:] I was right?

[St. George:] Yeah, it was a gun.

8:22 pm-- I talked to one of the maidens who had almost been devoured....

[St. George:] Could I talk to you, Ma'am?

[Maiden:] Who are you?

[St. George:] I'm St. George, Ma'am. Homicide, Ma'am. Want to ask you a few questions, Ma'am. I understand you were almost devoured by the dragon, Ma'am. Is that right? Dragon?

[Maiden:] It was terrible! He breathed fire on me! He burned me already!

[St. George:] How can I be sure of that, Ma'am?

[Maiden:] Believe me.I got it straight from the dragon's mouth.

11:45 pm-- I rode over the King's Highway. I saw a man. Stopped to talk to him.

[St. George:] Pardon me, Sir. Could I talk to you for just a minute, Sir?

[Knave:] Sure, I don't mind.

[St. George:] What do you do for a living?

[Knave:] I'm a knave.

[St. George:] Didn't I pick you up on a 903 last year for stealing tarts?

[Knave:] Yeah, so what do you wanna make a federal case out of it?

[St. George:] No, Sir. We heard there was a dragon operating in this neighborhood. We just want to know if you've seen him.

[Knave:] Sure, I've seen him.

[St. George:] Mmm-hmm. Could you describe him for me?

[Knave:] What's to describe? You see one dragon, you seen 'em all.

[St. George:] Would you try to remember, Sir? Just for the record. We just want to get the facts, Sir.

[Knave:] Well, he was, you know, he had orange polka dots...

[St. George:] Yes, Sir.

[Knave:] Purple feet, breathing fire and smoke...

[St. George:] Mmm-hmm.

[Knave:] And one big bloodshot eye right in the middle of his forehead and Uh, like that.

[St. George:] Notice anything unusual about him?

[Knave:] No, he's just your run-of-the-mill dragon, you know.

[St. George:] Mmm-hmm. Yes, Sir. You can go now.

[Knave:] Hey, by the way, how you gonna catch him?

[St. George:] I thought you'd never ask. A Dragonet.

3:05 pm-- I was riding back into the courtyard to make my report to the lab. Then it happened. It was the dragon.

[Dragon:] Hey, I'm the fire-breathin' Dragon! You must be St George, right?

[St. George:] Yes, Sir.

[Dragon:] I can see you got one of them new .45 caliber swords.

[St. George:] That's about the size of it.

[Dragon:] Ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha! You slay me.

[St. George:] That's what I wanted to talk to you about.

[Dragon:] What do you mean?

[St. George:] I'm taking you in on a 502. You figure it out.

[Dragon:] What's the charge?

[St. George:] Devouring maidens out of season.

[Dragon:] Out of season! You'll never pin that rap on me. Do you hear me, cop?

[St. George:] Yeah, I hear you. I got you on a 412 too.

[Dragon:] A 412? What's a 412?

[St. George:] Over-acting. Let's go.

[Narrator:] On September the 5th, the Dragon was tried and convicted. His fire was put out and his maiden-devouring license revoked. Maiden devouring out of season is punishable by a term of not less than 50 or more than 300 years.

[listen to the irrepressible stan freberg do this live!]

and thus our sojourn into the realities of george barbier, and back into the lap of the calendars!

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07 April 2010

california girls, et al

Well East coast girls are hip
I really dig those styles they wear
And the Southern girls
with the way they talk
They knock me out
when I'm down there

The Mid-West
farmer's daughters
really make you feel alright
And the Northern girls with
the way they kiss
They keep their boyfriends warm at night

I wish they all could be California
I wish they all could be California
I wish they all could be California girls

The West coast has the sunshine
And the girls all get so tanned
I dig a french bikini
on Hawaii island
Dolls by a palm tree in the sand

I been all around
this great big world
And I seen all kinds of girls
Yeah, but I couldn't wait
to get back in the states
Back to the cutest girls
in the world

I wish they all could be California
I wish they all could be California
I wish they all could be California girls

I wish they all could be California
(Girls, girls, girls yeah I dig the)
I wish they all could be California
(Girls, girls, girls yeah I dig the)
I wish they all could be California
(Girls, girls, girls yeah I dig the)
I wish they all could be California
(Girls, girls, girls yeah I dig the)

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06 April 2010

serie du barbier • (the calendars)

george barbier evidently favored the series form. where yesterday we saw seasons, today we have the continents. these and others we'll see in the future were from annual almanacs that he illustrated.

these came out annually, beginning in 1917, and featured, along with calendars (unadorned), of course, poetry, blank but bordered pages for writing your secret thoughts, vaguely erotic romance stories, and more. profusely illustrated, they were clearly the perfect item with which to begin the new year.

in the early 1910s, following on the heels of charles worth's 'invention' of haute couture, the fashion magazine was born. barbier, then about 30, had found his shangri la.

The concept of the fashion magazine as a tool for defining style was in its infancy. Through these publications, Barbier reached thousands of women. With free rein to draw his own designs, as well as illustrate the gowns of established couturiers, Barbier began to influence the look of the day. As women sought new freedom in the form of shorter and nonconstricting dresses, Barbier's designs kept step with them -- or stayed a step ahead. 1

the wave of freedom-seeking, self-defining, celebratory and love-hungry women that spread throughout europe after world war one found its collective vision fulfilled in barbier's designs.

so who was this visionary? all his bio decry the lack of much about that, for which this new york times serves as an illustration:

Contributing to his disappearance [from the public eye after his death] were his own reticence and a surprising sparseness of biographical information. Born into a prosperous bourgeois family in the provincial town of Nantes, he lived a clearly very different lifestyle in Paris, where he frequented unmistakably, if not exclusively, homosexual circles - he was, for example, an intimate of the dandy and poet Robert de Montesquiou, who introduced him to Marcel Proust....

.... His library, containing many rare editions, was auctioned off and his collection of Japanese and European erotica was donated to the Bibliothèque Nationale, where it was placed in the restricted "Enfer" section, reserved for works considered threatening to public decency....

From the outset an ardent admirer of Diaghilev's Ballets Russes, he produced sumptuously colorful albums celebrating Nijinsky and Tamara Karsavina, and designed costumes for the ballerina Anna Pavlova. But he parted company with the Ballets Russes aesthetically and musically with the Cubist-style production "Parade" in 1917, which he condemned in print as "strange, noisy, eccentric" and "the apotheosis of the sneer."

A fashionable sapphic subtext is often present in Barbier's exquisitely composed fashion plates of highly feminine couples and trios, sometimes with companions in immaculate white-tie evening dress, who are either ambiguously epicene or clearly women in drag. "Real" males seldom appear in the artist's oeuvre....

His color plates for publications like the luxurious monthly "La Gazette de Bon Ton," published from 1912 to 1925, were produced using "pochoirs" or stencils, a technique criticized by some purists but vigorously defended by Barbier as a way to present "the artist's work in all its freshness without that often slightly cold transfer produced by mechanical means."

The hand printing process involved, inspired by the methods of the classical Japanese masters, produced a still-undimmed, jewel-like quality in the resulting images that testifies to Barbier's judgement in championing the pochoir technique. 2

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05 April 2010

the inventive arts • (the calendars)


Monks of the Years
for Zodiacal Ears

Actuary, Fritillary, Mush
Mandrill, Mace, Jejune,
Jelly, Aghast, Septic Ember,
Oak Toner, Remember, Distemper

Device to
Mesmerize the Monks

30 days hath septic ember
mandrill jejeune and remember
all the rest have 31 dyes
of different color:

Actuary: puce
Mush: buff
Mace: rose
Jelly: lime
Aghast: jade
Oak Toner: rust
Distemper: slush

except Fritillary which howls
28 cold tones of dust.

Colette Inez

“Mya Calendar” from
Getting Under Way:
New and Selected Poems
by Colette Inez
(Story Line Press, 1993)

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04 April 2010

light, reborn • (the calendars)

Maxfield Parrish:
the real painter of light

find it for yourself!

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