Bad American Blood.

Hervé Garnier poses with a bottle of wine from Beaumont. Courtesy of Hervé Garnier.

Hervé Garnier poses with a bottle of wine from Beaumont. Courtesy of Hervé Garnier.

A story of an illicit wine, one with a history of a hysterical hunt to destroy these vines with bad blood in them. This wine is still illegal, and I have to say after reading the story, that I’d love to get my hands on a bottle, it sounds delicious.

“This cuvée hails from the tiny, remote village of Beaumont, where it’s been perfected by five generations of local winemakers,” whispers Borel. For the past 84 years, the French government and, most recently, the European Union, has sought to eradicate Beaumont’s grapevines due to their American “blood.” Although the vines are French-American hybrids, they are more than 140 years old. Beaumont’s Association Mémoire de la Vigne makes just 7,000 bottles a year.

[…]

“This wine should be celebrated as others are,” says Hervé Garnier, the 66-year-old Association Mémoire de la Vigne president and founder. Garnier loves Beaumont, which is situated in Cévennes National Park along France’s highest mountain range, and is home to groves of chestnut trees, wild boar, and high rocky cliffs. Its centuries-old stone buildings have terracotta roofs and rocky terraces, and are etched into the hillsides overlooking the Beaume River. Since its founding in the 11th century, sheepherders have practiced transhumance—moving herds to summer in alpine meadows—by way of traditional paths. They are some of the last in the world to do so.

“What wine do you think they carry when they go?” fumes Garnier. “For 150 years, the Cuvée des Vignes d’Antan is the taste of this land. And yet, a ridiculous archaic law tries to destroy it!”

Indeed. If it wasn’t for Garnier and a group of unruly older winemakers, Beaumont’s wine would be lost to history.

The village of Beaumont; it’s location in a national park makes its wine a nationally protected folkway. Courtesy of Hervé Garnier.

The village of Beaumont; it’s location in a national park makes its wine a nationally protected folkway. Courtesy of Hervé Garnier.

You can see and read much more at Atlas Obscura.

Medieval Sex Tips.

A brand new translation of Symphorien Champier’s The Ship of Virtuous Ladies is now available, and it sounds most intriguing. I’ll be ordering.

First published in 1503 in Lyons, Symphorien Champier’s The Ship of Virtuous Ladies helped launch the French Renaissance version of the querelle des femmes, the debate over the nature and status of women. The three books included in this edition include arguments for gender equality, and a catalogue of virtuous women modeled on Boccaccio’s Famous Women and Jacobus de Voragine’s Golden Legend. Titled “The Book of True Love,” book 4 is especially important in gender history, importing and transforming the male-centered Neoplatonic philosophy of Marsilio Ficino for pro-woman ends.

Medievalists has a look at some sex tips from the volumes.

1. The Right Age

Following Plato, Champier declares that the perfect age for women to marry is 16-20, and for men, 30-35. Any younger, and you might marry a girl who will be sick forever – “So instead of being served by them, [you] must serve them”, Champier warns. The only exception is if the young woman is tall. If she is short, you should definitely wait until she’s 21. And if both man and woman are over twenty-one, you’re in the clear: “the children will be attractive and have good temperaments, with well-proportioned members and will have good minds.” Be sure to wait, if at all possible, because if you have children earlier, “they will be imperfect and short.”

2. The Right Time

People should not have sex at just any old time of the year, Champier says. If you want to conceive, make sure you have sex in the spring, because it’s “warm and moist”, which is the best kind of humour. “Next after spring,” if you can’t manage it then, “winter is the season most conducive to conception, while summer is bad and autumn is the worst of all.” As for time of day, it can’t be right after eating. As we’ve always been told about swimming right after a meal, the consequences would be dire:

If a man, when he is full and has eaten, enters the world of the carnal, he weakens his body and his nerves and causes pain for himself in his legs and knees. He also causes obstructions all throughout his body and causes thick humors in his body; and if he does this regularly, his body parts retain too much water, he has great difficulty breathing, and his limbs start to shake.

If you thought it was safe to have sex before eating, think again:

If he acts carnally when he is hungry or thirsty or when he has an empty body or when his body has been bled … he damages his body and dries it out, and its natural heat dissipates, negatively affecting his sight, and sometimes he becomes paralyzed.

(Same goes for if you’re just been bled, bathed, worked, fasted, or been sad.)  You’ve been warned. Best to play it safe and just have sex first thing in the morning, “after a [good] night’s sleep.”

You can read the rest of the tips at Medievalists.net.

Fairy Tale Art.

A wonderful site, full of enough fairy tale art to keep a person quite busy, sent along by rq: Art Passions. Fairy Tale art and artists encompass so very many styles, and the illustrations are crucial to the stories, they inflame the imagination, and illuminate the stories from within. In this particular case, serendipity strikes, as I brought home a book of short tales by Leigh Bardugo yesterday:

The first story, Ayama and the Thorn Wood, is a grand story which I enjoyed very much. I do have one noisy complaint however, and it has to do with the fairy tale art. In the story, Ayama is described thusly:

“Ayama was clumsy and apt to drop things. Her body was solid and flat-footed, short and round as a beer jug.”

Given this description, why in the fuckety fuck is Ayama drawn like this?:

This never should have gotten a pass from anyone, let alone the author. It is not a crime to depict characters correctly, and all girls do not need to be tall and thin with a teeny waist. FFS, seeing this sort of thing is infuriating, and it went a long way to souring a very good story. In the story, Ayama is strong, courageous, imaginative, and thoughtful. In the drawing, she’s just another generic pretty, skinny girl. That’s not doing anyone any favours. We all come in different shapes and sizes, and that’s a message all kids need. What they don’t need is yet another cookie cutter shape to try and stuff themselves into, regardless of fit.

A Sad History of Monopoly.

Elizabeth Magie's 1904 board design.

Elizabeth Magie’s 1904 board design. Source and Credit. Click for full size.

 

Source.

It’s a right pity that Monopoly didn’t turn out the way Elizabeth Magie envisioned. Just goes to show that greed always wins. (I couldn’t get the twitter video to play; if you also have such problems, head to Required Reading, and scroll down to the bottom. That one works fine for me.

No. That’s Just Wrong.

I was happily lost in The Public Domain Review the other day, and came across High Frequency Electric Currents in Medicine and Dentistry from 1910. I know there was great excitement over electricity, and there were phases of “miracle cures” where it was concerned, but in this case, it was the photos which got my attention, including one which just about had me screaming, and I’m not even a parent:

The text reads:

Plate XXII. – This beautiful picture (as exquisite as Manet’s “Boy with the Sword” which is one of the classics of the Painting Art), sets forth this boy bringing his pocket “Tesla” for the enjoyment of his beloved tonic. His sturdy strength at the age of three is a tribute to the efficacy of high frequency currents, for at the age of three days, when his treatment with them was begun, he was an illy-thriving and frail infant with but the feeblest hold on life. Look at him well, and think how many myriads of pallid children – of all ages – need the same remedy.

There is So. Much. Wrong. there, it just leaves me sputtering. Applying electrical currents to a three day old infant? All I can think is how very easily that could kill said infant. As for the photo being as exquisite as Boy with a Sword, let’s see:

L'Enfant à l'épée'' par Edouard Manet, 1861.

L’Enfant à l’épée’ par Edouard Manet, 1861.

Yeah, I don’t think there’s any honest comparison there at all. There are other questionable and frightening photos to be seen with the magical Tesla wand, but have a care, there’s some nudity, so NSFW.

The Philosophy of Beards.

Thomas Gowing felt the mighty yet fragile English Beard to be threatened with extinction by an invasive foreign species, the Razor. So he set out to defend the furry face mammal in every conceivable way. The resulting lecture was received so enthusiastically by a bushy-faced audience in Ipswich that it was soon turned into The Philosophy of Beards (1854) — the first book entirely devoted to this subject.

It is Gowing’s ardent belief that the bearded are better looking, better morally and better historically than the shaven.

[…]

In the last section, Gowing gambols through the ancient and modern past, attaching a beard or lack thereof to thousands of years of heroism and cowardice, honour and deceit. Viewing history through the prism of the beard makes things nice and simple: “The bold Barons outbearded King John, and Magna Charta was the result,” … “Henry the 7th shaved himself and fleeced his people”. Napoleon I only allowed men in his empire to have an “imperial”, an upturned triangle of a beard, as a way of letting them know “that they were to have the smallest possible share in the empire”.

[…]

Finally, he dismisses as “a foul libel” the idea that ladies don’t fancy a beard. He declares, presumably without much survey data to hand, that “Ladies, by their very nature, like everything manly,” and cannot fail to be charmed by a fine flow of curling comeliness.”

You can read much more at The Public Domain Review, including the book itself. The book has also been recently republished by the British Library, for the first time since 1854. You’ll find a link at The Public Domain. I’d think the book would be a fine gift for anyone’s bearded friends and loved ones.

You might also be interested in Beards of Time:

Two photographs of the same unknown man, each taken at a different studio in Texas – Source: left and right.

Two photographs of the same unknown man, each taken at a different studio in Texas – Source: left and right.

Women’s Suffrage Mapped.

Click for full size.

Click for full size. Map created by Cuba Holidays.

The map above shows when women got the right to vote in each country around the world.

2018 marks the centenary of Women’s suffrage in the UK and even then only with several restrictions (had to be over the age of 30 and meet property qualifications).

You can read much more (with links) at Brilliant Maps: Women’s Suffrage Mapped: The Year Women Got The Vote By Country.

Cheddar Gorgeous: Let’s Get Visible!

Trump in Drag, credit: Cheddar Gorgeous / Facebook.

Trump in Drag, credit: Cheddar Gorgeous / Facebook.

Oh, I would give so much to be a part of this, it sounds absolutely fabulous and it has the added bonus that it will make the Tiny Tyrant squirm all over.

Queen Elizabeth won’t the only queen greeting Donald Trump when he visits the U.K. in July.

A thousand people have signed onto a Facebook invitation for a drag-queen protest to greet the president in London on July 13. Another nearly 7,000 people are interested in attending.

Manchester drag performer Cheddar Gorgeous and four other performers have issued the call to all drag kings, queens, queers and our allies.

“Due to the appalling way the Trump administration has regarded the rights and welfare of the LGBTQI communities in the U.S., the idea of a Trump visit to the U.K. is unacceptable,” the invitation says.

“Let’s get visible, stand with our sisters, brothers and others in America.”

You can read much more at LGBTQ Nation, and The Guardian. Cheddar Gorgeous on Twitter.  I wish all the attendees the very best, and I hope there are going to a ton of photos.

The Book of Exposition: The Secrets of Oriental Sexuology.

15th Century erotica! Oh my. This looks to be very interesting, and I do plan on reading it. Unfortunately I can’t do that right away, the day before chemo is always a busy one.

A decade or so after the famed Orientalist Richard Burton translated Muhammad ibn Muhammad al-Nafzawi’s The Perfumed Garden of Sensual Delight (1886), an anonymous translator became the first to critically assess and introduce for Anglophone audiences another of the Middle East’s more controversial and enigmatic texts — Kitab al-Izah Fi’ilm al-Nikah b-it-Tamam w-al-Kamal, or The Book of Exposition — a collection of fifteenth-century erotica. Despite there being much dispute over the authorship of the work, from both Western and Middle Eastern scholars over the centuries, The Book of Exposition is nowadays credited to a fifteenth-century Egyptian polymath called Jalal ad’Din al-Suyuti (1445-1505). Although perhaps best known for his co-authorship of Tafsir al-Jalalayn (Tafsir of the Two Jalals), a classical Sunni exegesis of the Quran, al-Suyuti was also a prolific erotologist, writing at least twenty-three treatises on various aspects of the sexual arts.

The two dozen stories he presents in The Book of Exposition are an exploration of promiscuity and sexual taboos under the societal constraints of the Arab-Islamic world. In “The Strange Transformation that Befell a Certain Believer’s Prickle” a man is granted a “Night of Power” in which he is given three wishes to be fulfilled by Allah.

[…]

In his opening essay and commentary, An English Bohemian sets out to dispel Victorian attitudes to sexuality through the idolisation of the Oriental — setting up “Oriental Sexuology” as a mystical alternative for aspiring libertines/hedonists. He doesn’t just limit himself to the Orient in his examination of sexuality. He offers an insight into the sexual customs of other lands he claims to have travelled and researched extensively as a former practitioner of medicine: from Loango to the Aztecs, Paraguay to Samoa, Europe to Arabia. Despite his intentions, we perhaps end up learning more about Western attitudes to sex than the those of the non-European cultures he examines. His assertions, in their elevation of Orient over the Occident, appear to be motivated more by a desire to rebel against the prevailing establishment of his own culture than offering a nuanced picture of a foreign culture’s attitudes to sex.

You can read more at The Public Domain Review (the book is also available there), or go straight to the book here.

Indian Country Today Is Back!

Who Will Be Our First Founding Member? The new Indian Country Today is launching a membership drive and an auction. Top bid will be forever known as Indian Country Today’s: “First Founding Member.”

Who Will Be Our First Founding Member? The new Indian Country Today is launching a membership drive and an auction. Top bid will be forever known as Indian Country Today’s: “First Founding Member.”

Indian Country Today is back! The NCAI has taken over, and this is grand news.

From September through February I have heard about the importance of saving Indian Country Today. So many people across Indian Country had the same idea:

What if … What if we all contribute?

What if I step up to make certain Indian Country has solid, accurate, fair reporting?

Is it worth it to save this voice? A national media platform for Indian concerns?  And how much will it take?

Yes. Yes. And the answer is a lot  — or perhaps a few tax-deductible dollars if we all contribute together.

We are building a new Indian Country Today on a public media model. We will have some advertising, but most of our resources will come from members, tribes, enterprises, and non-profits.

We need you.

We are launching a membership drive and an auction.

The membership drive will solicit help from our “members” as $100 Founding Members, $500 Sustaining Members, and $1,000 for Premier Members.

Unlike public media we don’t have nifty gifts as a thank you. No t-shirts. No coffee mugs. Just a better news report. We want to use the money to build our news operation, a multimedia reporting platform about what’s going on across Indian Country. We’ll stretch your dollars by partnering with other organizations, and amplify our reporting by letting others repurpose our editorial content.

We will serve.

This is great news, but to work, ICT needs help from people. If you can drop a few dollars into the fund, please do, and if you can’t do that, please, please, spread the word, get it out everywhere! You can read more by Mark Trahant at Indian Country today, or go straight to the membership drive. This is so very important, it’s vital for Indigenous peoples to have a voice.  Also, be sure to check out the new edition, there’s all manner of interesting reading!

ETA: I should point out that it’s possible to donate $5.00 to the membership drive, which is all I can manage right now, but I’ll be dropping more fives each week.

Daniel Pešta.

Daniel Pešta, “Scream III” (2015-2016), acrylic on canvas, (all images courtesy of DOX Centre for Contemporary Art, Prague).

Daniel Pešta, “Scream III” (2015-2016), acrylic on canvas, (all images courtesy of DOX Centre for Contemporary Art, Prague).

Daniel Pešta is an artist with a lot to say, and he’s well worth getting acquainted with, to say the least. His work is deeply expressive, profound, and stirring. Many times it’s frightening, because people can be quite frightening, and Daniel Pešta has a good deal of insight when it comes to human nature.

Daniel Pešta’s largest exhibition to date, drawn from his high-flying decade starting in 2007 , which has included three Venice appearances and Second Prize in Painting at 2017’s London Art Biennale, dominates Prague’s DOX Centre for Contemporary Art. Pešta’s work is timely, disturbing and profound. His extraordinary artistic range encompasses photography, video, assemblage, installation, sculpture, drawing and painting; his materials include wax, leather, resin, textiles, paper, plaster, wood, acrylic, latex, gum, paint, neon lighting, and stone. Two generative objects pull this exhibition together. One is red string, signifying blood, genetic coding, fatalism, or humanity’s endlessness, variously. The other is the mask. A central motif in Pešta’s practice, it is meant to evoke disguise, dissemblance, and anonymity.

Born in 1959, Pešta lived according to the larger Czech struggle for self-determination. He was painting as the Czechs stumbled out of the darkness of Communist rule in 1989. In the mid-1980s he entered into the underground music scene, anticipating what has been dubbed the “Velvet Revolution” — the demise of what former Czech President Vaclav Havel had called “post-totalitarianism” (in his 1978 samizdat essay “The Power of the Powerless”). After a trip to New York, in 1998, Pešta saw the possibilities of multimedia art.

You can read and see more at Hyperallergic.

Angry White Men.

LOS ANGELES — Judging from the paintings and drawings on view at Susan Vielmetter Los Angeles Projects, Nicole Eisenman has been thinking a lot about angry white men. They are almost the exclusive population throughout the expansive gallery. There is a large contingent of shooters, each confronting us from behind a firearm aimed directly outward, so that to look at the drawings is to stare down a gun-barrel. These shooter drawings are almost all from 2016, with a few from 2017 and one from 2018, elaborated in ink, charcoal, oil, acrylic, and pencil. This last is the largest, and the only one bearing a title, “The Shooter.” One of the untitled drawings, in pencil and blue ballpoint pen, shows a man pointing his gun at us with one hand while the other grasps his penis. Along the bottom margin Eisenman has written “BAMSPLOOSH.”

Nicole Eisenman, “The Tea Party” (2012–2017), ink on gessoed paper, 40” x 35″ paper size, 52” x 45.50” x 2″ framed (photo by Robert Wedemeyer).

Nicole Eisenman, “The Tea Party” (2012–2017), ink on gessoed paper, 40” x 35″ paper size, 52” x 45.50” x 2″ framed (photo by Robert Wedemeyer).

While there is nothing original about equating guns with penises, the full array of drawings in Dark Light reveals Eisenman’s mind ping-ponging through a number of visual rhymes, adding up to many of the show’s most compelling moments. The circle of the gun barrel becomes the end of a cigarette smoked by impassive men. In one case, smoke billows from a man’s right nostril; in another, a sooty cloud issues from a cigarette belonging to an African American in a drawing titled “A Moment of General Anesthesia” (2018), suggesting this man’s need for relief from pain of America’s continuous police shootings of black men. Further iterations of the black circle appear: in a small 2016 sketch it is a bullet hole in the middle of someone’s face, in others it is a darkened sun. A 2015 ink drawing titled “Black Sun” has the cheerless orb spewing fecal liquid that piles like a mound of pudding below, resembling a pipe depositing sewage in our waterways. Finally and inescapably, the circle is an anus.

Nicole Eisenman, “Heading Down River on the USS J-Bone of an Ass” (2017), oil on canvas, 127.25” x 105” x 1.75″(all images courtesy the artist and Susanne Vielmetter Los Angeles Projects; photo by Robert Wedemeyer).

Nicole Eisenman, “Heading Down River on the USS J-Bone of an Ass” (2017), oil on canvas, 127.25” x 105” x 1.75″(all images courtesy the artist and Susanne Vielmetter Los Angeles Projects; photo by Robert Wedemeyer).

Nicole Eisenman: Dark Light continues at Susanne Vielmetter Los Angeles Projects (6006 Washington Blvd, Culver City, Los Angeles) through April 21.

Fascinating viewing and reading, you can do more of both at Hyperallergic.