Pinup Couture: Christina Dress

Though it may very well still be Winter, there is plenty of blue skies and bright sunshine happening outside my window which gets me dreaming about all of the fun events coming up in Spring.  Of course anyone who has had to bundle up to run errands or hustle to work might agree that long coats and numerous layers have become stifling.  Many alternative fashion brands are ushering out their latest offerings, where sleeves and hemlines are getting shorted to show off skin that hasn’t seen sunlight in a while and soak up those warming rays.  A great example of a versatile garment is the Christina Dress by Pinup Couture, exquisitely constructed from comfortable stretch sateen that is tailored with a collared cross-over bustline and a double kick pleat for modesty and movement in the back.  It can be worn with the matching belt [sold separately] and comes in three other vibrant colors besides black, each of which have been paired with accessories in the guide below.

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A black dress is deceptively basic, as it can be transformed to fit any social situation while easily blending into a work environment.  When done with the daily grind, though, one usually wants to unwind and sometimes that is easier without having to make a stop at home to change.  Instead, slip into the restroom and dive into Iron Fist’s Love Me Night Overnight Bag, a stylish way to store a few extra things  for those who live spontaneously. Trade in those dull orthopedic flats for a pair of OMG pumps, an open toe platform with black and white graphic rose print  accented with a gleaming skull medallion, and then slip on a beaded white Corsage Belt by LAFrock for a touch of vintage glamour.  Printed with vintage images of skeletal hands framed in silver, the Anatomy Earrings have plenty of tiny details that reflect the tone of the outfit.  The simplicity of a Rose Necklace allows for other accessories to be the center of attention, such as a Cocktail Ring that has frosty roses etched against a black background, or a flexible Skeleton Bracelet by Vivienne Westwood that secures sterling silver bones around your wrist.  Get creative by pairing your favorite hair pieces together – here I layered Kreepsville 666’s famous Skeleton Hand Hair Clip with a simple Black Silk Rose for height and texture.

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The purple version of this dress will have every body size feeling radiant and royal, which is reflected in the styling by coordinating Iron Fist’s Havana Breeze print in an open toe platform wedge and trendy wallet that are both adorned with a silver studded bow, purple roses and colorful tattoo style swallows.  An elastic belt is a great way to create that ‘hourglass’ figure which is commonly associated with pinup bombshells, and that can be accomplished with one made of faux red leather and accented with silver buckles.  Bring the funky print to life by surrounding your neck with a silver Double Swallow Pendent, draping Victorian style Red Rose Cameo Earrings from your lobes, and securing a wreath of sterling silver Wild Roses around your wrist.  Finally, treat yourself to a little sparkle by way of a Large Bow Ring encrusted with irridescent rhinestones, and a Gatsby Hair Fascinator, a purple cocktail hat fitted with white netting and an elegant swarovsky crystal flower brooch.

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Creating an outfit infused with flamboyance can be done by taking the teal colorway and setting it up with Iron Fist’s Sugar Hiccup heels, a lush black platform heel that has sparkling sequin skulls dancing on the outside, while a bright teal leopard print peeks out from the interior.  For a night of rock ‘n’ roll, one would be wise to take along the Cruiser  Tote by Lux de Ville, a beautiful black vinyl bag that has tuck and roll detailing along with a white chevron design and plenty of storage for your personal items.  The silver rhinestone oval of this black Sequin Stretch Belt will help give the illusion of a drawn in waist, while the Black Dahlia earrings by Tarina Tarantino gives a bit of an art deco vibe.  Hanging from an antique silver plated chain is the Peacock Cameo, the ink black negative space interrupted with the delicately carved details of this tropical teal bird.  Commonly associated with Victorian mourning, this all black Rose Cameo Ring is versatile enough to wear for a number of occasion, as are the curves and curls of this Feather Bracelet, which make it seem as though it was plucked from some mythical silver bird.  As if there wasn’t enough exotic animals referenced, clip a zebra print Gerbera Daisy into any hairstyle and you are prepared for an unforgettable evening.

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Last but certainly not least, the rust version of the Christina Dress is what I would describe as close to the shade of petina one might find on a rustic rat rod.  Flexing my amazing Photo Shop skills, here one can see the drastic difference a belt can make to the silhouette, the triangular cut-outs of this Black Leather Corset Belt helping to create visual interest.  Admittedly an admirer of this Iron Fist t-strap pump because it coincides with my stage name, Lovelace is a peep toe platform that adds contrast to the dress with black flowers, hearts and skull-headed butterflies imprinted in a lace pattern across a creamy green background, accented with a matching bow and a golden interior.  The neutral tones and flat black vinyl accents of the Baby Lou Tattoo Handbag makes it a great accessory that is versatile without overtaking your outfit.  One again using the shoes to coordinate body adornments, I thought these Betsey Johnson Filigree Heart Earrings were a nice translation of those found on the shoe, the black glass designs studded with white crystals for a bit of extra shine.  Mixing white and yellow gold, this Swallowtail Butterfly Pendant has beautiful and delicate details that will make it stand out among your other jewelry pieces.  Simple yet elegant, the Shell Cameo Ring is hand-carved from the Cassis Rufia shell and laid inside a yellow gold frame across a bed of rusted coral.  Whether you want to wear one or stack them up, the Double Skull Head Bangle is made from yellow gold, the twisted bracelet wrapping around the wrist and ending in grinning skulls.  It should go without saying that I am fond of putting things in the hair, which is where bright, bold Butterfly Hairclips and Zebra Bone Hair Bows come in handy, each offering security for any ‘do you decide to rock.

Weirdness in the Woods

[Originally written on this date in 2005]

Since it was one of those days where the weather was particularly pleasant, I decided to go outside and explore this newly created park that is not far from the house.  Deviated from the main space to follow a trail that wound its way through the woods.  Apparently there are plenty of these all around this area, so long as one can find an entrance, and I really enjoyed being surrounded by all of those tall trees.  Might I add here that finding worn-out porn magazines along said trail made for good amusement.  The walk was quite refreshing, despite the fact that my large earlobes were very cold, as they are a hair shy of 1 1/2″ and no longer fit under any of my hats.

Getting back on track here, I found a bench to take a small rest before deciding to head into another part of the woods that did not have a trail.  There was no one around to tell me I could not go in there, and one never knows what can be found among the shadows.  Upon trudging through the leaves and sticks and thorny bushes, I discovered this odd cave-like structure that was fabricated out of bent-over twigs and whatnot.  The trees in front of it had been perfectly draped with ivy, and the general feeling of weirdness was definitely prominent.  To be honest I have no idea  who…or what…made that thing, but it certainly piqued my curiosity.  There was evidence of hunters having been there, by way of a tree perch and some shallow holes in the ground, but there are plenty of signs posed that tell you there is not supposed to be hunting in those woods.  The more I surveyed this strangeness, the less I could shake the feeling that whatever made these things was not human at all, and I wound up giving myself a case of the creeps so quickly that I walked back to the park.

It was late afternoon but still nice so I continued walking and was getting lost in thoughts of drinking.  When I was not focused on preparing for a show, I felt like I was just floating around waiting for the next one to come.  The intense high of being in front of an audience, seeing the looks on their faces and hearing their reactions as you manipulate your body in strange ways, was always short-lived.  It is followed by the extreme low of feeling like you do not belong in the situation you talked yourself into, yet doing your best because it is all you have at the moment and are making progress in the one thing that keeps you happy.  Without that happiness, all you can do is wallow in your own sorrow, and there is no better way to do that than by finding it in the bottom of a bottle.  Maybe it is just easy to use that an excuse, but you keep finding yourself emerging from the dead end street where you live, walking up a hill next to a busy highway and going to the liquor store for copious amounts of cheap whiskey.

This gets drunk in the bathroom at the supermarket before deciding to walk even more while I make a phone call to the one person I felt might have a shot at understanding what I was going through.  As coincidence would have it, James was at the diner and soon I was sitting at a table across from him trying to conceal my drunken state and likely failing.  It is comforting to know that I have a friend to rely on, but the fact is I know James from my days working at the Cove which I feel gives us this weird bond.  After many years of having our own lives, we met again at this diner when I was there with my partner who wanted to hang out with some of his friends.  Next thing I knew we were trading Cove stories and it felt like I had found a long lost brother or something.

James put me in a better mood immediately by doing something to make me laugh, which I really appreciated more than he realized.  Maybe it was the whiskey, but I ended up having a great time talking to him about various things.  Though I wanted to approach the topic of what was happening with Jon, my doubt of whether I could trust him yet with that kind of information made me hold my tongue.  Instead, I thanked him for the company, walked all the way back to the liquor store to get some more fuel [and maybe forgetting to pay for it], and then walked to the bowling alley.

As soon as I walked in the guy behind the desk of the shoe rental complimented my leather jacket.  Cold weather or not, I decided to take it out of the closet and wear it whenever possible because it is a valuable possession that was gifted to me by my best friend.  Recently I added the two inch spikes I bought from a shop in Cali to the collar, thus slowly transforming it into a deadly weapon.  He also inquired about the size of my lobes, curious of where I got my jewelry.  Resisting a laugh, I explained to him that it was just some PVC pipe I had picked up at Home Depot.

Commenced several rounds of solo drunken bowling and was surprised at how well I did considering the frequent trips to the bathroom to consume the booze I had stolen.  My arm got tired so I returned the shoes and was slowly making my way through the parking lot trying to figure out what I should do at two in the a.m. when someone I have often seen at the diner is cruising by and offers me a lift.  There I sit drinking coffee, playing cards and engaged in conversation with a bunch of people I know but don’t really consider friends, trying to have a good time though my heart aches.

Returned to the house somewhere after five in the morning, thankfully avoided disturbing anyone and altering them to my early a.m. arrival, and then promptly passed out.

Aesthetic Autopsy: Strongman

Historically just about every circus employed a strongman to astonish audiences through physical feats.  The image that has become synonymous with the term is that of a muscled man with a curled moustache clad in a leotard made of leopard skin, lips curled into a smile as he elevates a pliable barbell high into the air.  While the displays these men offered fluctuated between marginally humdrum to vastly remarkable, at the pinnacle of competition from numerous colleagues there was a challenge for one to push further in order to garner the most fame.  Such an innovative individual was born October 29, 1845, though John Holtum had a rather unexciting life until enlisting as a sailor when he was 15, where working on deck and in the shipyards formed the brawny body he would be known for in due course.  He held a job as a professional strongman in San Francisco, where he studied and rehearsed the rudimentary feats, but it was upon his return to Europe in 1870 that he developed the plan to catch a cannonball.  Following two years of intense preparation, Holtum refined the act and went on to build both a successful fortune and reputation.  Standing on stage, he would use a pair of gloves and chest pad to cradle the deadly projectile after it was shot out of a cannon.  Though a reward of 3000 francs would be given to anyone who could duplicate his efforts, none accepted the challenge and it was clear the death-defying feat was one only he could perform and fearlessly pioneered.

Friederich Wilhelm Mueller, more commonly known as Eugen Sandow, was presenting strongman stunts in sideshows at age 19, recognized for extraordinary barbell routines as well as the ability to split a chain that had been fastened around his chest.  The allure of his protruding muscles overshadowed the large quantities of weight he could lift, which led to Sandow established a display of poses that are a precursor to what is seen in bodybuilding competitions today.  The combination of his physique and these routines rapidly made Sandow a popular marvel often likened to a Roman god.  Inspired by the sculptures he had viewed in Greece and Rome as a child, his passion to mold his body into these same forms was sparked.  When he finally fostered his body to the precise proportions, Sandow also became one of the first athletes to deliberately remodel musculature to pre-determined dimensions and is regarded as “The Father of Bodybuilding.  Sandow went on to perform all across Europe and came to America in 1893, where his exhibition at the World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago involved being displayed in a black velvet lined box with white powder covering his body to convey the appearance of a marble statue.  A cultured appearance, high intelligence and well-mannered disposition coupled with dressing well, a charming European accent and hearty laugh were all traits that only increased his popularity.  Reported to be perceptive businessman, Sandow authored five books, owned a mail-order physical instruction/exercise equipment, invented a unique spring-loaded dumbbell and weighted resistance band training system, produced and promoted Sandow Cigars, Sandow Health & Strength Cocoa and a magazine dedicated to physical culture, and opened a Physical Culture Studio in London which was one of the first health clubs which starkly contrasted the ‘sweaty’ gyms at the time.  He also organized the first ever bodybuilding competition in 1901, and in recognition of his contribution to the sport, a bronze statue of Sandow has been presented to winners of Mr. Olympia since 1977.

the-mighty-atom-joseph-greensteinThe man revered as ‘The Greatest Strongman’, Yosselle Greenstein was three months premature when he was born to the poorest family in Suvalk, Poland in 1893 and lucky to have endured such an early hardship.  Though he was small in stature as a teenager, he retained an enormous amount of resolution, heart and purpose.  Drawn to the depiction of chiseled Russian strongman Champion Volanko who was in town with the Issakoff Brothers’ Circus, Greenstein attempted to sneak into the show because he had no money, but was caught, beaten and left for dead.  It was then he encountered Volanko in the flesh who helped him overcome physical limitations and two years later, had a body as firm as his determination.  The beginning of his career as a strongman began in 1914, when he was shot in the head in Galveston, Texas yet was able to leave the hospital the same day, citing his physical conditioning for saving his life.  He became The Mighty Atom and was able to: snap apart chains with his hands or by expanding his chest, bend iron bars or horseshoes with his teeth, curve half inch rolled steel rods into heart shapes, and drive nails through wood with his bare hands.  The Mighty Atom was also a true superhero, known for fighting intolerance which resulted in the hospitalization of six longshoremen after a dramatic fight in 1936.  During another incident that occurred after he tore down a sign that said “No Dogs or Jews Allowed”, it is reported that defeated twenty men, and while he was arrested, he was subsequently released without charge due to the court refusing to believe he acted alone.  During World War II Greenstein volunteered his time and demonstrated his strength which in turn sold hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of war bonds, and also assisted in the recruitment of New York City’s Police Force without asking for compensation.  The Mighty Atom continued to perform well into his eighties, with a final appearance at Madison Square Garden in 1977, but remains as the “mightiest little man to have ever walked the earth.

Though the choice to be tattooed or a strongman was not a rare sight by the time Rasmus Nielsen accumulated his own collection of ink, he still managed to concoct an act that was virtually unheard of in order to set himself apart.  His septum, tongue and nipples were subsequently pierced, and was able to lift anvils from these piercings through strengthening elasticity and pain tolerance.  It is believed that he also had a surface piercing in his chest, though there is not much information to confirm how, when or where it was done.  An image of him hanging his anvil from this piercing was one he became well known for and was used as a pitch card that Nielsen often signed the back of.  These feats were an instant sensation and his fame quickly rocketed as people came to see the “Tattooed Wonderman”, who went from lifting anvils that weighed 50 pounds to those that weighed up to 250 pounds, allegedly able to lift 115 pounds with one nipple and a 25 pound hammer with his tongue.  He also had a piercing in the back of his neck that was used to pull a cart loaded with spectators or sledgehammers.  Sadly this amazing pioneer who certainly set records few have been able to beat dwindled into oblivion following his retirement in the 1950’s, though he has certainly earned a place in both body modification and sideshow history a memorable and remarkable figure.

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ATOMIC ADONIS

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Filling the proverbial shoes of such extraordinary figures is no easy feat, but as always I strongly urge to use inspiration as a jumping off point when it comes to translating it into wearable fashion while maintaining a prominent sense of self that allows your inner confidence to come forth.  The result combines vintage and retro designs with prevailing trends among alternative fashion to provide a comfortable base that one can add their personality to.  Since the strongman is all about showing off those hard earned muscles, that can be accomplished with a Nat Nast Shaken Not Stirred Camp Shirt, a long name for a short sleeved button down in a classic corvette red that has a unique all over dash pattern which compliments the vertical stripes on each side of the button line.  The high performance technology inside these ClimaLite Classic Plaid Shorts wicks moisture away from skin for quick evaporation to keep the athlete dry, and the colors reflect those of the shirt for a relaxed resort vibe.  No need for socks when you are wearing the Iron Fist Lounge Leopard Oxford, a closed toe brogue that has a tan background covered in orange leopard spots along with pieces of red flowers and blue wings, as it is flamboyant enough on its own.

Moving on to accessories, it was rather difficult to find ones that were quality and not something found on the discount rack for those who want to be categorized as ‘punk’ or ‘metal’ or that were too ridiculous even for my taste.  Minimalism and urbanity are reflected in the Ben Sherman Woven Belt, which is made from black cotton cord with leather trim that makes it both smart and efficient.  These days the strongman can be known for hoisting large amounts of weight with various pierced parts, most commonly stretched ear lobes, and I cannot think of anything better to showcase these anatomical anomalies than with a pair of Anatometal Bullet Eyelets, seen here in ASTMF-138 stainless steel with bronze bullet inserts and a crown of black princess cut CZ gemstones.  Continue to flatter body parts with severe jewelry such as a Black Onyx Ring in sterling silver carved with scrolling vine work, and a Twister Ring that is distinguished by a spiral of silver that cuts through the polished black titanium.  The stainless steel front plate of this Wide Leather Buckle Bracelet merges naturally with soft black leather to form a sleek, novel piece which is easily balanced by kitschy and colorful watch you can use to time workouts.  In fact, you can store your keys on a ring attached to anvil that actually has a bit of weight to it, while your ID, cash and various cards are tucked safely inside of Circus Strongman Case, the brilliant illustration on the outside serving as motivation.

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REVAMP RUCKUS

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If one is going to spend any amount of time working on the body, it is always important to treat your parts right to maintain health and happiness both inside and out!  Get on the right track with these amazing products from LUSH, hand selected for their fragrances and promised performance.

 

1 – Exotic essential oils inside the Ultimate Shine shampoo bar effectively balances the hair and scalp, while aromatic scents such as ylang ylang, violet leaf and elmi oil will soften locks, and a touch of golden glitter add a boost of shimmer.

2 – Rich and moisturizing without weighing hair down, Happy Happy Joy Joy is a vegan conditioner that has a base of almond mild with a mix of rose and orange water to make hair more pliable, leaving behind a cheerful perfume thanks to orange flower absolute, rosewood and grapefruit oils.

3 – While in the shower, revive skin with an invigorating scrub using Rub Rub Rub, an extra cleansing and exfoliating shower gel that uses mineral-rich sea salt, lemon juice and mimosa blossoms to leave you feeling refreshed.

4 – Afterwards reach for Angels on Bare Skin, one of the best-selling cleansers LUSH has to offer that removes all sorts of debris that has been built up in your skin.  Kaolin clay reaches deep to purify pores, ground almonds gently clear dead skin away, then rose and lavender kick in for a soothing finish.

5 – Suitable for all skin types, Gorgeous is an aptly named moisturizer made with quality ingredients like orange blossom honey, fresh pineapple juice, and extra virgin olive and wheat germ oils.  They melt together on your skin wonderfully, and you are sure to see an improvement within four to six weeks.

6 – For a strong hold to your hair style without that stiff, sticky feeling, The Big Tease offers versatility while keeping your mane moisturized and happy with cupuacu and cocoa butters, as orange flower, bergamot, lemon and jojoba oils naturally uplift both your roots.

7 – Combat bacteria that causes stinky sweat by using T’eo, a zesty deodorant that is packed with powders that absorb perspiration and essential oils which neutralize odors.  The fresh scent is powered by juniper berry, tea tree and lemon grass oils, with a touch of green grapes as a natural antibacterial defense system.

8 – Inspired by the mythology behind the Agglestone, the Devil’s Night Cap is part of LUSH’s new Gorilla Perfume line and invokes imagery of wandering through dark oak woods.  This is captured by bitter oakwood andoakmoss, with clary sage to sharpen perceptions and ylang ylang to befuddle the senses.

9 – Before getting dressed, dust with Silky Underwear, a luxurious powder that has been crafted from grated cocoa butter to keep skin supple and kaolin to absorb excess moisture; jasmine and vetivert surrounding you in an aphrodisiac fragrance.

Resources: John Holtum, Eugen Sandow, The Mighty Atom, Rasmus Neilsen

Reading & Research: Oldtime  Strongman, Tattoo Archive, Sideshow World

Photo Credit: 1 – the Adrenalist, 2 – Fine Art America

Sideshow at the Rail – Act 2

[Originally written on this date in 2005]

Tonight was Electric Sideshow’s second performance of the month, and I could really get used to doing this every two weeks.  Despite everything that happened with Jon just a few days ago, my partner and I have been practicing and I obviously always look forward to having the opportunity to perform.  It would be a lie to say I was not distracted, but I also have a job to do and need to keep my head in the game if I want to do it well.  At least this time I drove up by myself and my partner rode with his friend, the one my friend James used to date, and I was glad because that meant I could focus on rehearsing my pitch so I could be less nervous.

There did not seem to be as many people there as the last time, but having a captive audience in general is good and I always put forth my best effort whether there is one or one hundred in the crowd.  During the sideshow intermission of karaoke night, I had the pleasure of lighting a cigarette off the flames in the other performer’s mouth and took a bow to applause that I am sure was meant for him because I was caught in a moment of showmanship.  Then it was time for Electric Sideshow and our Human Blockhead routine, which went very smoothly.  The act has been dubbed Dueling Blockheads, which is what I had intended it to be.

A brief description of how it goes:  we get up in front of the audience and after an introduction, I pitch the act  hen proceed to jab an ice pick into my head; the audience reaction is as expected.  Some even scream out “No, don’t do that!” and then groan when you defy them.  My partner then inserts a screwdriver into his head, gives it a few good spins and makes the joke about having a few screws loose.  Next I pick up the hammer and nail, the patter flowing at a good pace as I hammer the nail into my head, which looks mighty painful to the crowd.  Not to be outdone, my partner does the same; at this point I thought it best to give someone in the audience an up-close view of me doing this, and after driving a second nail into my other nostril, allow said participant to remove the nails.

The first show at the Rail we did the Human Drinking Straw, but I did not want to do the same thing again and went into the pitch for Pierced Weightlifting.  During my spiel I ran a chain through the handle of a generic clothes iron, secured the chains to my ears by way of clips [after taking the jewelry out], and thusly lifted the iron off the floor with little effort.  The audience was impressed and their encouraging applause caused me to start turning in circles, the iron swinging in the air as my skirt twirled.  After I set the iron down and we moved the props so that the second half of karaoke night could continue, the act was dubbed the Human Wrecking Ball and I was being asked if I though I could hoist heavier weight.

That is something I have not considered yet, so honestly replied I would have to carefully work on that but the iron was humorous enough that it would be fine for the time being.  While in front of that crowd I was desperately searching for someone who even remotely looked like Jon, though knowing his penchant for disguise and the ability to blend into a crowd combined with the fact there were bright lights in my eyes yielded nothing.

Sleep was interrupted with too many thoughts and when I finally got out of bed I decided I needed a distraction.  Scraping together all of my change, I walked up to the grocery store and cashed it at the CoinStar so that I could have booze money.  The absence of pot smoking has been filled with drinking, though it started off as a social and casual thing before evolving into the ability to polish off a liter of whiskey in two days.  At this point I have accumulated enough bottles to build a small pyramid and while I am not proud of these facts, it is difficult to fight the urge to be drunk.  Since I was already there, I decided to buy some food and DIY nachos so that at least there was some food in my stomach before assaulting it with alcohol.

After making and consuming said nachos, I put myself together, got in my car and drove out to a pool hall.  Drank whiskey in the parking lot and then headed inside, but I had to wait for a table so entertained myself with a video game, which I somehow wound up winning.  It was one of those shooting games and considering the whiskey was starting to hit me, I was surprised I could even hit the targets.  When a table open up I was escorted to it and was just going to knock a few balls around for fun when some guy came over and asked if I wanted to play a few games.  He wanted to bet, of course, and I wished Jon was there with me to hustle the fuck out of the rube.  Then I figured I had seen him do it enough I could try it out for myself.

Three games I got my ass handed to me, all the while this guy is laughing as he takes my money and makes some misogynistic comments that I just laugh off.  The fourth game starts and I drop the Dumb Girl act, concentrating on every shot even though I am drunk and manage to win all of my money back, plus some.

Hit up the diner on the way back to the house and James is there, which leads to interesting conversation that included fornication with my earlobes and how condoms are only useful for Mental Floss.

That was the extent of seeing each other, as I was tired from drinking too much whiskey and had to get back before I was too tired to drive.

Tears of a Devil

[Originally written on this date in 2005]

The last time I was down in Englishtown, I was wrapping up a successful run as a seller and had managed to rid myself of a lot of things that I no longer had a need for, eliminating much of the clutter that had been following me around for far too long.  Some of my best Sundays were spent sitting in that dirt, protected from the sun by a massive umbrella and amusing myself with the wide assortment of sellers and buyers.  My best friend was right beside me, flashing the Showman Smile and using his charming voice to attract attention and even persuade a purchase.  One can never tell who is going to buy what, and their appearance certainly did not dictate what item they might be drawn to.  Some of the most straight looking people were into the fetish magazines and spiked accessories, while tattooed bikers wanted a stuffed animal for their daughters.

Speaking of tattoos, we definitely saw a lot of them; some good and others not so great.  There were plenty of people to keep us entertained if none of the stuff was being bought, not to mention constant smoke breaks in the Chevy and engaging in lengthy conversations while listening to the drag races that took place right next door.  It was easy to find a good bargain if you knew how to haggle with the sellers, and it should go without saying Jon could do so to the point the salesman would be giving him money.

Before I get lost in memories, the weather that morning was too damn nice to waste; since Winter can’t seem to make up its mind whether it wants to stay or go, whenever the temperature is unusually warm I tend to have a desire to take advantage of that.  There were a few things I wanted to pick up for future sideshow use anyway, and I couldn’t think of a better place to scour than the flea market.  Of course it’s still pre-season, so only the vendors that are there every weekend braved the slight cold to sell their stuff.  This was actually the first time that I went inside the buildings to check out the things that were available for purchase.

After that I went back outside and headed over to the mud pit, which is what the selling area had turned into due to the fact that the snow melted and saturated the dirt that is usually there.  That’s where I found a bunch of stuff that people have left behind for one reason or another, most likely because they were unable to sell it.  Picked up two leopard print lampshades, a tarnished tray thing that will come in handy at some point and a heavy black wool military jacket; I love free shit.

During my scavenge fest, I hear footsteps come up behind me and figured someone was just picking through the leftovers.  Then I see tattooed hands and I follow them up red leather clad arms, the late afternoon sun hitting me in the eyes as I try to adjust them on a face.  How is it that I run into Jon at the strangest times, especially when I randomly decide to go to a place and yet our paths cross?

Questions were set aside as he took me in his arms and we had a Hollywood Moment in the middle of the barren wasteland of Englishtown.  His face looks weary but he smiles anyway as he asks me what I was doing there, our fingers intertwining as he leads me towards the exit.  Soon I am talking fast, my words colliding with excitement as I tell him about Electric Sideshow and the Rail.  He listens intently as we walk across the parking lot and I slowly realize that he is following me to my car instead of the other way around, which brings me to inquire where it is.

Jon tells me that he has been hitching around, traveling up to NYC and down to DC with no real destination, just taking in the sights and enjoying the break from Jersey.  By this time I am navigating my way out of the lot, I happen to blurt out “Why would you need to do that?”

The car fills with silence and I can see that this has hit a sore spot because his expression changes instantly.  He quietly gives me instructions to pick up a highway, slips one of my tapes in and turns the volume up, rolling down the window as he lights a joint and tells me to just drive.  The music swells and the irony of the situation brings a tiny smile to his lips, but that is the extent of any positive emotion he shows, the furrowed lines of his forehead causing wrinkles in the aged tattoo etched there.

He points out a diner on the horizon and it feels like the chrome exterior acts as a magnet, drawing my car into the parking lot with nerves swelling in my stomach as everything goes silent once again.

“You know what today is?” he suddenly asks, turning to me so that the yellow beam of the light above catches his face.

“No.”

“Well, it happens to be the anti-holiday that we used to go out of way to celebrate,” he states, pulling a flask out of his pocket and wasting no time drinking some of the contents before handing it to me.

“Oh.”  Yea, great conversation there – I took the flask and hoped whatever was inside would help me relax.

“That was a nice show you put on the other day,” he says flatly with something in his hand that goes up his nose.  “What the fuck was that?  My replacement?”

My jaw drops slightly at the sting of the accusation and being totally unprepared for it.

“It figures you had no idea I was there,” he continues, snorting again and not even waiting for any answer.  “As much as I expected for you to keep performing, I didn’t realize it would be with a fucking gixauchixo.”

What the hell was going on?  This is what I should have said but he was more than entitled to his opinion, even if it was coming at a really awkward time.  “Well what else was I supposed to do when you tell me to keep performing but float in and out of my life as it suits you?”

We stared at each other for a minute before he snorts a final time, grabs the flask and chugs the remaining whiskey, a flash of anger dancing in his eyes as he tells me we are going inside for a talk.  We take a booth in the back corner, Jon shoving change into the tiny table top jukebox and punching a bunch of buttons.  He tells the waitress to give us some coffee and privacy, the later of which is bought with several bills folded up and tucked into her apron.  She seems too tired to argue and in need of the cash, puts on a cheery act and says she will be right back with the coffee.

“What is your beef?” I ask Jon before he gets the chance to launch into another verbal attack.

His gaze lowers to the table and he seems to concentrate on flexing the fingers of his right hand, mumbling something before bringing his eyes back to me.  There is sorrow pooling at the corners as the story begins with that night I saw him crash on the Wall of Death, where he felt his life end and begin again in a way that had haunted him ever since.  He confesses to hiding the extend of his injuries because he thought they were temporary, but after four months it is obvious that they are not going away.  Superficially he could still make people believe he was fine, but there was no denying the fact that he could not even make a coin disappear without it dropping loudly on the table.  This was his big secret – the fact that he had paralysis in his hand, which sometimes extended down to his leg, and the way he dealt with it all was to consume drugs and alcohol.

He admitted depression and that as much as he loved watching me perform the other night, it was a reminder of what he would never be able to do again.  Though insisting the physical challenges could be overcome, Jon said his mental state was suffering far too much and did not want that to affect any possible future I had.  Taking everything in was slightly overwhelming, and I was at a loss of how I could comfort him even though I knew that he needed me to be strong for a change.

Then he got up from the table and pushed of the diner without a word; I sat alone for a moment before I left as well, finding Jon smoking a joint in a dark corner of the parking lot.  When he turned to me his face was wet with tears though an apology dripped from his lips, the back of his sleeve wiping his nose.  “There is something I have wanted to say to you for a long time now.”

At that point the whole day no longer made sense and I was in no mood for games.  “What is it?”

Taking my face in his hands, Jon sighed deeply. “How long has it been?  Over five years?”  He paused to kiss my forehead, cheek and lips, lingering for a moment while holding me close.  “Angel, I am so in love with you it fucking hurts.  All my heart wants is you and I am fool because I keep putting my head first, loosing the battle against demons that should not even be there.  You are everything to me and I deny myself from having what makes me happy because I am scared.”  He paused again to laugh and discard the remnants of the joint.  “Me, the fucking devil who has dared to taunt death, yet cowers at the first sight of love, the only thing real in a world of shit.”

He kissed me again, with passion and for as long as he could before letting me go completely.  “Never forget that my heart is always yours, and keep your eyes open darling; I am always there for you.”

With that he walked away, glancing over his shoulder a few times to smile and wave as I was stunned and glued to the spot where I stood, otherwise I might have gone after him.  Instead I watched Jon wander out of the parking lot, scanning the dark highway before crossing over to the other side and sticking his thumb out.

The entire drive back to the house was filled with much blubbering, but I managed to compose myself before going inside to spend the night plagued with bad dreams.

Mode Merr: New Arrivals

Providing garments that have been hand tailored in the USA since 1989, the designs that Mode Merr has offered in the past are nothing short of polished and sophisticated with the right touches of glamour and subtle sex appeal which has made it a favorite among fans of the pinup style.  Their latest releases are all about sleek materials that hug curves in all of the right places, where dresses and separates are versatile and can be personalized with the right accessories.  This guide will highlight a few of my favorites and pair them with heels, bags and jewelry for complete looks suitable for every occasion.

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A part of the new Novelty Top Collection, Miss Ruth is a super flattering pullover that has 3/4 length tapered raglan sleeves, a graceful rolled collar and matching buttons.  It is defined as being ultra comfy and “a dream to wear”, having been made from a non-itch, lightweight Lurex Eyelash Knit that can be worn for any occasion from day to evening.  Fans of the Perfect Skirt can now get it in this lush Dove Gray, and as the name suggests this curve-hugging pencil skirt has enough options to ensure the right fit.

Create an hourglass figure by adding a wide belt, the Jade Stripe one by Vivien of Holloway will do the trick while bringing a bit of color to the otherwise neutral palette.  In fact, go ahead and slip on a pair of Iron Fist Crosswinds platform heels, a heart racing design with a teal and grey background topped by grey, black and white skulls and flowers.  While the weather remains chilly, choose black opaque Fully Fashioned Stockings from What Katie Did, which can also be worn by those who do not care for sheer styles.  For a bag that is flexible and chic, check out the vegan friendly Bonebreaker Tote, a stunning skull graphic on the front and solid double handle straps accented with black bows.  It also comes with a detachable, adjustable crossbody strap, zip pockets and enough space to make it convenient for school, work or even a day of shopping.

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Here we see the Perfect Skirt in an enchanting Moss Green that really stands out against the skin and harmonizes well with the Eye Candy blouse.  The black stretch velvet has a Peter Pan collar and keyhole neckline trimmed with black ric-rac and fastens with as grosgrain ribbon bow.  While it has been pulled over the skirt in the photo, for a more 40’s style I would suggest getting the raised waistline and tuck it in, snapping on a black two inch belt to really emphasize a small waist.

zombie-bat-purseThe silver skulls, green roses and studded strap of the Muerte Punk Princess platform heels give this outfit a royal touch, the sexy pumps defined by a nearly five inch stiletto and peep toe.  Though the name might suggest a tattered mess, the Ripped Net Pantyhose by Lip Service actually has an interesting pattern that just might have people checking out your legs.  Not every outfit has to be serious, and so one can always spice things up a bit with a kitschy Zombie Bat Purse, a black and white polka dot bag with kisslock closure that has an adorable green zombie bat with bow embroidered on the front.

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Dangerously gorgeous, the Vamp Dress is now available in a marvelous Ponte de Roma, a pliable and breathable medium weight knit that has abundant stretch.  The pink and black stripe sleeves are made out of a cotton lycra and can be worn either on or off the shoulder depending on how much skin you feel comfortable exposing.  Either way, the cut highlights your neck and collarbone, which is lovely if you are tattooed or like wearing statement jewelry.

lux-de-ville-sin-city-purseThis time opt for a Stretch Black Patent Belt to give the illusion of a smaller waist, while Stripe and Lace Pantyhose will make your legs look long and lean.  When a spectator style is joined with the classic features of a pump, the result will be Empire City by Bordello where baby pink patent brogue piping contrasts the shiny black body.  Get ready to take a gamble with Lux de Ville’s Sin City Purse, a combination of baby pink snakeskin and sleek black vinyl with plenty of room inside, which makes a great companion no matter where you go.  Since I mentioned jewelry, add a touch of creepy chic with a Skeleton Hand Necklace from Restyle.

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Advertised to “mold to your curves with just the right amount of support as you slink across a crowded room looking like a million bucks”, the Fancy Vamp Peasant Dress combines a sexy form-fitting pencil skirt with a fierce feline print top that will certainly garner you a lot of attention.

too-fast-roses-and-leopard-knuckles-bagLayer with a cardigan such as the Cropped Keyhole Sweater, currently 25% off over at Too Fast along with the Rose and Leopard Mary Jane Heels and Diamond Net Tights.  The belt in the photo is not included, but Vivien of Holloway has enough three inch elastic belts like this snazzy black and gold number to create a nipped in waist.  Though it may be gaudy to some, the Roses and Leopard bag by Too Fast adds a bit of kitsch to the outfit, complimenting the colors in it as well as coordinating with those fabulous shoes.  The vinyl exterior is covered with tiny leopard print behind realistic red roses, the handle a faux set of brass knuckles that will help you keep a firm grip on your valuables.

Kung-Fu Shoes: See Spot Strut

There is something about the repetition of circles on a solid background that I find gleeful, as they add immediate interest to garments and accessories alike while invoking a variety of influences, some of which have been explored here in the past.  While some trends come and go, this one seems to remain prominent among contemporary fashions from the runway to street wear.  Personally I have yet to acquire a much coveted pair of polka dot shoes, though my aim is to find ones that not only can be easily incorporated into my wardrobe, but also offer comfort with long-term wear.  If all else fails, one could potentially create a stencil and add their own spots to their favorite pair of shoes, though I would suggest some practice before attacking footwear and making a mess instead of art.

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The sparse dots on Iron Fist’s Faunarama Wedge are accented by a bright turquoise halo that matched the print on the platform which depicts darling does, skulls, bunnies and bows, with a contrasting brilliant red interior that has been infected by smaller dots; a buckled strap with dangling skull charm keeps these babies on your feet while you are out and about.

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Another example of how polka dots don’t always have to be the center of attention, Posey is a great lace up platform boot with soft pink background covered in kisses, blue plants and plenty of skulls and cross bones.  The black and white polka dot print packs a punch to the heel and platform, as well as trims a few of the boots curves.

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Break out of mundane fashion ‘rules’ with the eye-popping Lolita Love, a hybrid of bold polka dots and realistic leopard print .  The large red flower is removable and perhaps could find a home in your favorite hairstyle, while the leopard print bow and secret interior illustrations are nice details not to be overlooked.

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Unexpected style strikes again where Lounge Days takes the Society Suicide print and mixes it with the same bold white and black polka dots we saw on the boot above.  This time dainty touches such as a matching bow, buckle ankle strap and skull charm along with a rounded toe and open top accentuate your feet, while a black and turquoise striped interior pulls all of the colors together.

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Here we have the original Society Suicide platform pump in all of its dazzling satin beauty, a floral print standing out against the black background. Though it might be difficult to see in this profile photo, there is a polka dot strap that reaches across the foot and ends in the big bow on the side.

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The Ink Polka Ruffle Wedge from T.U.K. is an innovated design for alternative fashion fans, featuring a black leather peep toe upper placed on a polka dot pedestal, ruffled detail along the top and bows accenting the vamp as well as the back heel.

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Though it consists of only two pairs at the moment, my Red Shoe Collection is something I take pride in because I enjoy having quality shoes that can really set an outfit off, and these are currently at the top of my Must Have List.  An updated Bordello style, the Big Easy is six inches of red and white polka dot beauty, a Mary Jane strap finishing off the top and ensuring your security for an adventurous evening.

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Cure those Winter blues by planning your Spring wardrobe around retro and vintage themes, which can be done with a snazzy little number named Shelly.  Surprisingly the design comes from Paris Hilton, which does not deter from the sophisticated polka dots on a peep toe pump that is set atop five inches of cork, a double-stacked bow accenting the vamp.

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Simply deceptive, these black and yellow pump are a collaboration between Louis Vuitton and Yayoi Kusama, where the choice of a perky primary produces distinct difference against the daring dark LV logo printed along the pump, which has been set off nicely with a patent vinyl polka dot bow.

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Hailed as a long time icon of alternative footwear, Dr. Marten never ceases to amaze and presents this delightful pair of Pink Polka Dot Boots, the candy pink color nicely set off by black eyelets and laces.

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A hodgepodge of four different types of polka dots in various color combinations, this peep toe wedge sandal by Pierre Hardy is not your average discount shoe store reject, but rather the future of fashionable footwear that comes with a high price tag.

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At first glance this shoe may seem like a lot to take in, but I simply love Aphrodite by Irregular Choice, footwear that was certainly made to feel anyone feel like a deity.  The platform is covered in a navy polka dot fabric accented by matching patent bows and trimmed with red piping.  The open toe leads to a cage style toe, where a cushion of red and white polka dot are waiting to spoil your feet.  The suede heel and metallic snake skin type interior round out the details that make this a truly fantastic shoe.  On the bottom is the real surprise, where you will find a turquoise wallpaper of tridents and flowers offset an illustration of a mermaid riding a seahorse.  These are perhaps the most decadent pair in this guide, but all are equally easy to wear when coordinated with the right dose of confidence!