Monday, April 27, 2015

X-Ray Audio: Guest Post by Stephen Coates of The Real Tuesday Weld

Below is a guest post in which our good friend Stephen Coates of The Real Tuesday Weld tells the fascinating story of what he terms "X-Ray Audio," aka Soviet-era bootleg records made from second hand X-Ray plates and containing forbidden western music such as jazz and rock and roll; See images above for a few examples.

On Friday, May 8th, Coates and Aleks Kolkowski will teach us more about the subject in an image, film and sound filled presentation at The Morbid Anatomy Museum entitled The X-Ray Audio Project: The Incredible story of Bootleg Technology, Cold War Culture and Human Endeavour, sponsored by Art in the Age spirits. You can find out more  here. You can also find more about Coates' project--and see more images and hear audio!--on his X-Ray Audio project website by clicking here.
X-RAY AUDIO
They are images of pain and damage inscribed with the ghostly sounds of forbidden pleasure. They are fragile pictures of the inside of Soviet citizens overlayed with the music they secretly loved. I first saw one when I was wandering in a market in St. Petersburg a few years ago with Russian friends. It looked somewhat like record and somewhat like an x-ray. My friends didn't know what it was and the man who sold it to me seemed dismissive.  I brought it home and tried to learn more. My research was the beginning of journey that led to a strange and poignant story. It is a story of Forbidden Culture, Bootleg technology and most of all, of Human Endeavor.  
In the Soviet Union in the years after the Second World War, a lot of music was forbidden. Most Western music was forbidden just because it was Western. The official reason given might be that it was decadent or bourgeois, but really it was just because it was American or British and we were the enemy. A lot of Russian music was also forbidden. Anything made by emigres, those White Russians who had left after the revolution, was off-limits because by definition they were considered traitors, whatever their repertoire and even if they had once been approved of. And much domestic Russian music was forbidden, or at the very least deemed 'unofficial'. Why?
From 1932, all Soviet art, literature, poetry, film and music was subject to a censor. The ideologues of the Soviet Union determined that all the arts had to be in the service of socialist realism. Self expression was out. Much popular  music, especially those in the  'criminal' or 'gyspy' genres were deemed to be 'low culture' and would not pass the censor.  Perhaps it showed the dark side of Socialist Realism or portrayed violence, jealousy or the rough and tumble of love and lust and life.  Even certain rhythms such as the foxtrot and tango were forbidden as they were said to lead to lewd behaviour and general frivolity.
But people had a huge  desire to hear this music, it was their culture. They wanted to hear songs that were played in the gulag or sung by those who had returned; songs from earlier, less-controlled times; songs by artists who they had once loved  but were now forbidden, even songs they had heard played by a local singer at a secret concert. And of course there was a demand for the exotic, cool sounds of Western music: boogie-woogie; rock & roll or jazz. But official records of this music would be rare and very expensive. And so a bootleg culture arose.
We had such a culture in the West too once  - illicit live recordings of concerts made on vinyl or tape in the days before the internet changed everything. But even if illegal, these were relatively easy to make. In the Soviet Union after the war, it was not so easy. The bootleggers' first technical problem, obtaining a machine to record with, was relatively straightforward. Literature existed from the 1930s explaining recording techniques and various recording machines had been brought back from Germany as trophies after the war. These could be adapted or copied but a further problem existed. You couldn't just go and buy the discs to record on. The state completely controlled the means of manufacturing records.
But an extraordinary alternative source of raw materials was discovered - used x-ray plates obtained from local hospitals. And that is where this story begins. Many older people in Russia remember seeing strange vinyl-type discs when they were young. The discs had partial images of skeletons on them and were called 'bones' or 'ribs'. They contained ghostly music - music that had been forbidden. This practice of copying music onto x-rays got going in Leningrad, a port where it was easier to obtain illicit records, but it spread, first to Moscow and then throughout the Soviet Union. 
With the photographer Paul Heartfield, for the last couple of years I have been interviewing and collecting images for The X-Ray Audio project, an initiative to record the testimony of people who were involved in this incredible trade. As well as live events, an exhibition and a documentary, we will be publishing a book about the x-ray bootlegs and the people who made them with Strange Attractor Press in Autumn 2015.
And we are also making new x-ray records. At our live events, sound artist and researcher Aleks Kolkowski cuts new plates using a vintage analogue record-cutting lathe from music written especially for the occasion - or from live performances
X-Ray Audio is a story about strange skeletal flexi-discs for sure, but it is really a story of people. People for whom music held a value it probably never can for us. People for who the sound of the music they really loved was only available 'off the bone'.
Stephen Coates
www.x-rayaudio.squarespace.com
Images: X-Ray Records, Photos by Paul Heartfield

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Shocked and Amazed with Jeff Krulik, director of "Heavy Metal Parking Lot!" Torah Animal World Field Trip! Hannibal Lector, Book Collector! Upcoming Morbid Anatomy Events

We have many wonderful new events to announce this week, including a field trip to Torah Animal World museum (Sunday, May 17th, more here), a lecture on "Medieval Sex, Renaissance Death, and Romeo and Juliet" (Thursday June 11th; more here), a panel discussion on soldiers' souvenirs (Tuesday July 14th, more here), and a talk entitled "Hannibal Lecter, Book Collector" by Elisabeth Brander, Rare Book Librarian at Washington University (Thursday October 8th, more here).

We also have lots of great events taking place this week, including Shocked and Amazed: The Unseen Footage with Jeff Krulik, director of "Heavy Metal Parking Lot" (Tuesday, April 28th, more here); Victorian Hair Art workshop with master jewelery Karen Bachmann (Saturday, May 2nd; more here), and a night of drinking and drawing (Monday, May 4th; more here).

Full list of upcoming events follows; hope to see you at one or more!

The Morbid Anatomy Museum is a non-profit, andlike most non-profits, we do not cover our overhead with revenue alone, but depend on donations and memberships to survive. If you appreciate what we do, please consider becoming a member or making a fully tax deductible donation today. Donations can be made here, and you can become a member--with assorted perks such as discounted admissions and free museum entry by clicking here.

IMMEDIATELY UPCOMING EVENTS
  • Shocked and Amazed: The Unseen Footage with Jeff Krulik, director of "Heavy Metal Parking Lot" 
    Tuesday, April 28th, 8pm, $8, Tickets (and more info) 
    here
  • DELVE Networking: DEATH + ART
    Wednesday, April 29, 7pm - 9pm, $10, Tickets (and more info) here
  • Victorian Hair Art Workshop with Master Jeweler Karen Bachmann
    Saturday, May 2nd, 11 – 6 PM, $150 (Includes admission to The Morbid Anatomy Museum), Tickets (and more info) 
    here
     
  • Morbidly Drawn Anatomy: A Night of Drawing and Drinking 
    Monday, May 4th, 8pm - 10pm, $15, Tickets (and more info) here
NEWLY ANNOUNCED EVENTS
  • Torah Animal World Taxidermy Museum Field Trip
    Sunday, May 17th, 1:45pm - 3pm, OFFSITE: 1605 41 Street, Brooklyn, NY (Ditmas Ave, F train), $15, Tickets (and more info) here
  • Capulet Gynecologist, Montague Onanist: Medieval Sex, Renaissance Death, and Romeo and Juliet. An Illustrated Lecture with Lois Leveen
    Thursday June 11th, 8pm, Tickets (and more info) here
  • Stolen Armor, Bullet Sculptures, Photos of the Dead: Soldiers' Souvenirs, or The Things They Carried (Home). A Panel with Joanna Scutts, Lauren Walsh and Susan Harlan
    Tuesday July 14th, 8pm, Tickets (and more info) here
  • Hannibal Lecter, Book Collector, An Illustrated Lecture with Elisabeth Brander, Rare Book Librarian at Washington University
    Thursday October 8th, 8pm, Tickets (and more info) here
ALL UPCOMING EVENTS
  • Shocked and Amazed: The Unseen Footage with Jeff Krulik, director of "Heavy Metal Parking Lot" 
    Tuesday, April 28th, 8pm, $8, Tickets (and more info) 
    here
  • DELVE Networking: DEATH + ART
    Wednesday, April 29, 7pm - 9pm, $10, Tickets (and more info) here
  • Victorian Hair Art Workshop with Master Jeweler Karen Bachmann
    Saturday, May 2nd, 11 – 6 PM, $150 (Includes admission to The Morbid Anatomy Museum), Tickets (and more info) 
    here
     
  • Morbidly Drawn Anatomy: A Night of Drawing and Drinking 
    Monday, May 4th, 8pm - 10pm, $15, Tickets (and more info) here
  • Anatomy, Religion, and English Late-Medieval Carved Cadaver Sculptures with Dr. Christina Welch, senior lecturer at the University of Winchester, UK
    Thursday, May 7th, 8pm, $8, Tickets and info 
    here
     
  • The X-Ray Audio Project: The Incredible Story of Bootleg Technology, Cold War Culture and Human Endeavour Lecture, screening and listening party with Stephen Coates of The Real Tuesday Weld and Aleks Kolkowsi
    Complementary cocktails provided by Art in the Age
    Friday, May 8th, 8pm, $12, Tickets (and more info) here 
  • Memento Mori: Book Launch and Lecture with Paul Koudounaris
    Saturday, May 9th, 8pm, FREE (limited seating), more info here 
  • The Mystique Boutique's Sideshow of Magic and Wonder "Ten-in-One" Variety Show. 
    Sunday, May 10th, 12pm - 6pm, $5, Tickets (and more info) here
  • The American Tattooed Ladies: 1840-2015 An Illustrated Lecture with Anni Irish
    Tuesday, May 12th, 8pm, $8, Tickets and info 
    here
  • Without Sympathy: An Evening of Goth / Industrial / Post Punk and Various Waves with Vinyl Dance Party Thursday 
    Tuesday, May 14th, 9pm - Wednesday, May 15 12am, $5, SOLD OUT
  • Amsterdam Anatomy Weekend at the Vrolik Museum
    Friday, May 15th – Sunday, May 17th. OFFSITE: The Vrolik Museum; Amsterdam, The Netherlands, €35 to €75, Tickets (and more info) here.
  • Anthropomorphic Mouse Taxidermy Class, One or Two Headed! with Divya Anantharaman 
    Saturday, May 16th, 12pm - 6pm, $110 for one, $125 for two headed (all tickets include admission to the museum), Tickets (and more info) here
  • Torah Animal World Taxidermy Museum Field Trip
    Sunday, May 17th, 1:45pm - 3pm, OFFSITE: 1605 41 Street, Brooklyn, NY (Ditmas Ave, F train), $15, Tickets (and more info) here
  • English Sparrow Taxidermy Class with Divya Anantharaman
    Sunday, May 17th, 12pm - 6:30pm, $195 (includes admission to the museum), Tickets (and more info) here
  • The Ragged Antique Phonograph Program LIVE on WFMU from Morbid Anatomy Museum 
    Tuesday, May 19th, 6:30pm - 9pm, $5, Tickets (and more info) here
  • Psychedelics and Death: A Brief Introduction: An Illustrated Lecture with Psychotherapist Dr. Neal Goldsmith
    Thursday, May 21st, 8pm, $8
    SOLD OUT
  • Mirror, Black Mirror: A Book Launch and Illustrated lecture with Artist Camille Rose Garcia 
    Friday, May 22nd,  8pm,  $5
    Tickets (and more info) here
  • Museums, Medicine, and Mesmerism: A Historical Walking Tour with Andrea Jane, Borough of the Dead
    Saturday, May 23rd, 3pm -5pm, OFFSITE: Meet at the southernmost entrance to City Hall Park (at Broadway & Park Row), $20, Tickets (and more info) here
  • Squirrel Shoulder Mount or Pedestal Mount Class with Katie Innamorato
    Sunday, May 24th 12pm - 6pm, $275 (includes admission to the museum), Tickets (and more info) here
  • A Desire for Dramaticism: Semiotics of the 1980s Goth Subculture: An illustrated lecture with Andi Harriman
    Thursday, May 28th, 8pm, $8, 
    SOLD OUT
  • H.P. Lovecraft Brooklyn Guided Tour with Jane Rose
    Saturday, May 30th, 10:30am, OFFSITE: Meet at Parkside and Ocean Ave, right outside Prospect Park Entrance, $20, Tickets (and more info) here
  • Psychedelics and Death: A Brief Introduction. An Illustrated Lecture with Psychotherapist Dr. Neal 
    Friday, June 5, 8pm, $8, SOLD OUT
  • Anthropomorphic Rabbit Taxidermy Class with Divya Anantharaman 
    Saturday, June 6th, 12pm - 7pm, $300 (includes admission to the museum), Tickets (and more info) here
  • Capulet Gynecologist, Montague Onanist: Medieval Sex, Renaissance Death, and Romeo and Juliet. An Illustrated Lecture with Lois Leveen 
    Thursday June 11th, 8pm, Tickets (and more info) here.
  • Anthropomorphic Insect Shadowbox Workshop with Daisy Tainton Saturday 
    Saturday, June 13th, 1pm - 4 pm, $75, Tickets (and more info) here
  • Tarantula Preservation Class Thursday with Divya Anantharaman
    Thursday, June 18th, 6:30pm - 9:30pm, $80 (includes admission to the museum), Tickets (and more info) here.
  • A Desire for Dramaticism: Semiotics of the 1980s Goth Subculture: An illustrated lecture with Andi Harriman 
    Tuesday, June 23rd, 8pm - 10 pm, $8, SOLD OUT
  • "Witchcraft Through the Ages” (Haxan) – Polka music! Butter Churns!! 16mm silent film screening with Victrola!!! Presented and choreographed by Joel Schlemowitz 
    Thursday, June 25th, 8pm, $8, SOLD OUT; ADDITIONAL DATE ADDED JUNE 26
  • "Witchcraft Through the Ages” (Haxan) – Polka music! Butter Churns!! 16mm silent film screening with Victrola!!! Presented and choreographed by Joel Schlemowitz 
    Thursday, June 26th, 8pm, $8
    Tickets (and more info) here
  • Psychedelics and Death: A Brief Introduction. An Illustrated Lecture with Psychotherapist Dr. Neal  
    Friday July 10th, 8pm - 10pm, $8, SOLD OUT
  • Anthropomorphic Mouse Taxidermy Class, One or Two Headed! with Divya Anantharaman
    Saturday, July 11th, 12pm - 6pm, $110 for one, $125 for two headed (all tickets include admission to the museum), Tickets (and more info) here
  • Chick Taxidermy Class with Divya Anantharaman 
    Sunday, July 12th, 12pm-6:30pm,  $185 for one, $200 for two headed (all tickets include admission to the museum), Tickets (and more info) here
  • Anthropomorphic Insect Shadowbox Workshop with Daisy Tainton
    Saturday, June 13th, 1pm - 4pm, $75, Tickets (and more info) here
  • Stolen Armor, Bullet Sculptures, Photos of the Dead: Soldiers' Souvenirs, or The Things They Carried (Home). A Panel with Joanna Scutts, Lauren Walsh and Susan Harlan 
    Tuesday July 14th, 8pm, Tickets (and more info) here.   
  • Jackalope Taxidermy Class with Katie Innamorato 
    Saturday, July 25th, 12pm - 6pm, $250 (all tickets include admission to the museum), Tickets (and more info) here
  • Rat/Guinea Pigs Taxidermy Class with Katie Innamorato 
    Sunday, July 26th, 12pm - 6pm, $200 (all tickets include admission to the museum), Tickets (and more info) here 
  • Chipmunk Taxidermy Class with Divya Anantharaman
    Saturday, August 1st, 12pm - 6pm, $185 (all tickets include admission to the museum), Tickets (and more info) here
  • Skunk Taxidermy Class with Divya Anantharaman
    Sunday, August 2nd, 12pm - 6pm, $450 (includes admission to the museum), Tickets (and more info) here
  • Evening Anthropomorphic Mouse Taxidermy Class with Divya Anantharaman 
    Wednesday August 5th, 6:30pm - 10:30pm, $110 (all tickets include admission to the museum), Tickets (and more info) here
  • Starling Taxidermy Class with Katie Innamorato 
    Saturday August 22nd, 12pm - 6pm, $275 (all tickets include admission to the museum), Tickets (and more info) here
  • Rat/ Guinea Pig with Wings Gaff Taxidermy Class with Katie Innamorato 
    Sunday August 23rd, 12pm - 6pm, $235 (all tickets include admission to the museum), Tickets (and more info) here
  • Hannibal Lecter, Book Collector, An Illustrated Lecture with Elisabeth Brander, Rare Book Librarian at Washington University 
    Thursday October 8th, 8pm, Tickets (and more info) here.
Image: Wound Man, From Hans von Gersdorff's Feldtbuch der Wundartzney (Strasburg, 1519)

Monday, April 20, 2015

Witchcraft Through the Ages on 16mm! Museum, Medicine and Mesmerism Walking Tour! Annual Gala! Upcoming Morbid Anatomy Events

We have many newly announced events this week, including an added date for the 1922 film Witchcraft Through the Ages (aka "Haxan, 1922) on 16mm (see still above)Museums, Medicine, and Mesmerismhistorical walking tour; and another walking tour devoted to H.P. Lovecraft. We also have tons of new taxidermy classes, a variety of wonderful illustrated lectures and pop-ups, and our first annual gala taking place in the days and weeks to come. Following is a full list of all upcoming events; hope to see you at one or more!

The Morbid Anatomy Museum is a non-profit, andlike most non-profits, we do not cover our overhead with revenue alone, but depend on donations and memberships to survive. If you appreciate what we do, please consider becoming a member or making a fully tax deductible donation today. Donations can be made here, and you can become a member--with assorted perks such as discounted admissions and free museum entry by clicking here.

IMMEDIATELY UPCOMING EVENTS
    • First Annual Morbid Anatomy Museum Gala with Honorary Chair Chloë SevignySponsored by Hendrick's Gin and Six Point Beer 
      Tuesday, April 21st, 6:30 pm, Tickets: $250/$500, Tickets and more here SOLD OUT
    • The Wilderness of Ruins: A Tale of Madness, Fire, and the Hunt for America's Youngest Serial Killer An Illustrated lecture with Roseanne Montillo
      Friday, April 24th, 8pm, $5, Tickets (and more info) here
    NEWLY ANNOUNCED EVENTS
    • Morbidly Drawn Anatomy: A Night of Drawing and Drinking 
      Monday, May 4th, 8pm - 10pm, $15, Tickets (and more info) here
    • Without Sympathy: An Evening of Goth / Industrial / Post Punk and Various Waves with Vinyl Dance Party Thursday 
      Tuesday, May 14th, 9pm - Wednesday, May 15 12am, $5, SECOND DATE: SOLD OUT
    • The Ragged Antique Phonograph Program LIVE on WFMU from Morbid Anatomy Museum 
      Tuesday, May 19th, 6:30pm - 9pm, $5, Tickets (and more info) here
    • Museums, Medicine, and Mesmerism: A Historical Walking Tour with Andrea Jane, Borough of the Dead
      Saturday, May 23rd, 3pm -5pm, OFFSITE: Meet at the southernmost entrance to City Hall Park (at Broadway & Park Row), Tickets (and more info) here
       
    • H.P. Lovecraft Brooklyn Guided Tour with Jane Rose
      Saturday, May 30th, 10:30am, OFFSITE: Meet at Parkside and Ocean Ave, right outside Prospect Park Entrance, $20, Tickets (and more info) here
    • Psychedelics and Death: A Brief Introduction. An Illustrated Lecture with Psychotherapist Dr. Neal 
      Friday, June 5, 8pm, $8, SECOND DATE; SOLD OUT
    • Anthropomorphic Insect Shadowbox Workshop with Daisy Tainton Saturday 
      Saturday, June 13rd, 1pm - 4 pm, $75, Tickets (and more info) here
    • A Desire for Dramaticism: Semiotics of the 1980s Goth Subculture An illustrated lecture with Andi Harriman 
      Tuesday, June 23rd, 8pm - 10 pm, $8, SECOND DATE: SOLD OUT
    • "Witchcraft Through the Ages” (Haxan, 1922) – Polka music! Butter Churns!! 16mm silent film screening with Victrola!!! Presented and choreographed by Joel Schlemowitz 
      Thursday, June 26th, 8pm, $8
      Tickets (and more info) here
    • Psychedelics and Death: A Brief Introduction. An Illustrated Lecture with Psychotherapist Dr. Neal  
      Friday, July 10th, 8pm - 10pm, $8, SOLD OUT
    • Jackalope Taxidermy Class with Katie Innamorato 
      Saturday, July 25th, 12pm - 6pm, $250 (all tickets include admission to the museum), Tickets (and more info) here
       
    • Rat/Guinea Pigs Taxidermy Class with Katie Innamorato 
      Sunday, July 26th, 12pm - 6pm, $200 (all tickets include admission to the museum), Tickets (and more info) here
    • Evening Anthropomorphic Mouse Taxidermy Class with Divya Anantharaman 
      Wednesday, August 5th, 6:30pm - 10:30pm, $110 (all tickets include admission to the museum), Tickets (and more info) here
    • Starling Taxidermy Class with Katie Innamorato 
      Saturday, August 22nd, 12pm - 6pm, $275 (all tickets include admission to the museum), Tickets (and more info) here
    • Rat/ Guinea Pig with Wings Gaff Taxidermy Class with Katie Innamorato 
      Sunday, August 23rd, 12pm - 6pm, $235 (all tickets include admission to the museum), Tickets (and more info) here
    ALL UPCOMING EVENTS
      • First Annual Morbid Anatomy Museum Gala with Honorary Chair Chloë Sevigny  Sponsored by Hendrick's Gin and Six Point Beer 
        Tuesday, April 21st, 6:30 pm, Tickets: $250/$500, Tickets and more here
      • The Wilderness of Ruins: A Tale of Madness, Fire, and the Hunt for America's Youngest Serial Killer An Illustrated lecture with Roseanne Montillo
        Friday, April 24th, 8pm, $5, Tickets (and more info) here
      • Shocked and Amazed: The Unseen Footage with Jeff Krulik, director of "Heavy Metal Parking Lot" 
        Tuesday, April 28th, 8pm, $8, Tickets (and more info) 
        here
      • DELVE Networking: DEATH + ART
        Wednesday, April 29, 7pm - 9pm, $10, Tickets (and more info) here
      • Victorian Hair Art Workshop with Master Jeweler Karen Bachmann
        Saturday, May 2nd, 11 – 6 PM, $150 (Includes admission to The Morbid Anatomy Museum), Tickets (and more info) 
        here
         
      • Morbidly Drawn Anatomy: A Night of Drawng and Drinking 
        Monday, May 4th, 8pm - 10pm, $15, Tickets (and more info) here
      • Anatomy, Religion, and English Late-Medieval Carved Cadaver Sculptures with Dr. Christina Welch, senior lecturer at the University of Winchester, UK
        Thursday, May 7th, 8pm, $8, Tickets and info 
        here
         
      • The X-Ray Audio Project: The Incredible Story of Bootleg Technology, Cold War Culture and Human Endeavour Lecture, screening and listening party with Stephen Coates of The Real Tuesday Weld and Aleks Kolkowsi
        Complementary cocktails provided by Art in the Age
        Friday, May 8th, 8pm, $12, Tickets (and more info) here 
      • Memento Mori: Book Launch and Lecture with Paul Koudounaris
        Saturday, May 9th, 8pm, FREE (limited seating), more info here 
      • The Mystique Boutique's Sideshow of Magic and Wonder "Ten-in-One" Variety Show. 
        Sunday, May 10th, 12pm - 6pm, $5, Tickets (and more info) here
      • The American Tattooed Ladies: 1840-2015 An Illustrated Lecture with Anni Irish
        Tuesday, May 12th, 8pm, $8, Tickets and info 
        here
      • Without Sympathy: An Evening of Goth / Industrial / Post Punk and Various Waves with Vinyl Dance Party Thursday 
        Tuesday, May 14th, 9pm - Wednesday, May 15 12am, $5, SOLD OUT
      • Amsterdam Anatomy Weekend at the Vrolik Museum
        Friday, May 15th – Sunday, May 17th. OFFSITE: The Vrolik Museum; Amsterdam, The Netherlands, €35 to €75, Tickets (and more info) here.
      • Anthropomorphic Mouse Taxidermy Class, One or Two Headed! with Divya Anantharaman 
        Saturday, May 16th, 12pm - 6pm, $110 for one, $125 for two headed (all tickets include admission to the museum), Tickets (and more info) here.
      • English Sparrow Taxidermy Class with Divya Anantharaman
        Sunday, May 17th, 12pm - 6:30pm, $195 (includes admission to the museum), Tickets (and more info) here
      • The Ragged Antique Phonograph Program LIVE on WFMU from Morbid Anatomy Museum 
        Tuesday, May 19th, 6:30pm - 9pm, $5, Tickets (and more info) here
      • Psychedelics and Death: A Brief Introduction: An Illustrated Lecture with Psychotherapist Dr. Neal Goldsmith
        Thursday, May 21st, 8pm, $8
        SOLD OUT
      • Mirror, Black Mirror: A Book Launch and Illustrated lecture with Artist Camille Rose Garcia 
        Friday, May 22nd,  8pm,  $5
        Tickets (and more info) here
      • Museums, Medicine, and Mesmerism: A Historical Walking Tour with Andrea Jane, Borough of the Dead
        Saturday, May 23rd, 3pm -5pm, OFFSITE: Meet at the southernmost entrance to City Hall Park (at Broadway & Park Row), $20, Tickets (and more info) here
      • Squirrel Shoulder Mount or Pedestal Mount Class with Katie Innamorato
        Sunday, May 24th 12pm - 6pm, $275 (includes admission to the museum), Tickets (and more info) here
      • A Desire for Dramaticism: Semiotics of the 1980s Goth Subculture: An illustrated lecture with Andi Harriman
        Thursday, May 28th, 8pm, $8, 
        SOLD OUT
      • H.P. Lovecraft Brooklyn Guided Tour with Jane Rose
        Saturday, May 30th, 10:30am, OFFSITE: Meet at Parkside and Ocean Ave, right outside Prospect Park Entrance, $20, Tickets (and more info) here
      • Psychedelics and Death: A Brief Introduction. An Illustrated Lecture with Psychotherapist Dr. Neal 
        Friday, June 5, 8pm, $8, SOLD OUT
      • Anthropomorphic Rabbit Taxidermy Class with Divya Anantharaman 
        Saturday, June 6th, 12pm - 7pm, $300 (includes admission to the museum), Tickets (and more info) here
      • Anthropomorphic Insect Shadowbox Workshop with Daisy Tainton Saturday 
        Saturday, June 13rd, 1pm - 4 pm, $75, Tickets (and more info) here
      • Tarantula Preservation Class Thursday with Divya Anantharaman
        Thursday, June 18th, 6:30pm - 9:30pm, $80 (includes admission to the museum), Tickets (and more info) here.
      • A Desire for Dramaticism: Semiotics of the 1980s Goth Subculture: An illustrated lecture with Andi Harriman 
        Tuesday, June 23rd, 8pm - 10 pm, $8, SOLD OUT
      • "Witchcraft Through the Ages” (Haxan) – Polka music! Butter Churns!! 16mm silent film screening with Victrola!!! Presented and choreographed by Joel Schlemowitz 
        Thursday, June 25th, 8pm, $8, SOLD OUT; ADDITIONAL DATE ADDED JUNE 26
      • "Witchcraft Through the Ages” (Haxan) – Polka music! Butter Churns!! 16mm silent film screening with Victrola!!! Presented and choreographed by Joel Schlemowitz 
        Thursday, June 26th, 8pm, $8
        Tickets (and more info) here
      • Psychedelics and Death: A Brief Introduction. An Illustrated Lecture with Psychotherapist Dr. Neal  
        Friday July 10th, 8pm - 10pm, $8, SOLD OUT
      • Anthropomorphic Mouse Taxidermy Class, One or Two Headed! with Divya Anantharaman
        Saturday, July 11th, 12pm - 6pm, $110 for one, $125 for two headed (all tickets include admission to the museum), Tickets (and more info) here
      • Chick Taxidermy Class with Divya Anantharaman 
        Sunday, July 12th, 12pm-6:30pm,  $185 for one, $200 for two headed (all tickets include admission to the museum), Tickets (and more info) here
      • Anthropomorphic Insect Shadowbox Workshop with Daisy Tainton.
        Saturday, June 13th, 1pm - 4pm, $75, Tickets (and more info) here
      • Jackalope Taxidermy Class with Katie Innamorato 
        Saturday, July 25th, 12pm - 6pm, $250 (all tickets include admission to the museum), Tickets (and more info) here
      • Rat/Guinea Pigs Taxidermy Class with Katie Innamorato 
        Sunday, July 26th, 12pm - 6pm, $200 (all tickets include admission to the museum), Tickets (and more info) here 
      • Chipmunk Taxidermy Class with Divya Anantharaman
        Saturday, August 1st, 12pm - 6pm, $185 (all tickets include admission to the museum), Tickets (and more info) here
      • Skunk Taxidermy Class with Divya Anantharaman
        Sunday, August 2nd, 12pm - 6pm, $450 (includes admission to the museum), Tickets (and more info) here
      • Evening Anthropomorphic Mouse Taxidermy Class with Divya Anantharaman 
        Wednesday August 5th, 6:30pm - 10:30pm, $110 (all tickets include admission to the museum), Tickets (and more info) here
      • Starling Taxidermy Class with Katie Innamorato 
        Saturday August 22nd, 12pm - 6pm, $275 (all tickets include admission to the museum), Tickets (and more info) here
      • Rat/ Guinea Pig with Wings Gaff Taxidermy Class with Katie Innamorato 
        Sunday August 23rd, 12pm - 6pm, $235 (all tickets include admission to the museum), Tickets (and more info) here
      Image: Still from "Haxan"

      Thursday, April 16, 2015

      The Paris Morgue as Portent and the Medical Museum as Threat in George du Maurier's Trilby, 1894

      A few days ago, Resident Film Programmer and Arcane Media Specialist Joel Schlemowitz screened the 1931 film Svengali at The Morbid Anatomy Museum. Although the film had many charms, it left me yearning for the novel on which it was based, George du Maurier's Trilby, an instant sensation upon its publication as a serial in 1894. A wonderful (if flawed) book and hugely popular in its time, it is little read today, probably because of the overtly antisemitic character of Svengali, the infernal Jewish mesmerist and musical virtuoso who drives much of the stories action.

      Despite this, there is much to recommend this strange and idiosyncratic book; although meandering and uneven, it is worth reading if only for the sequences which try to suggest the unimaginable and otherworldly beauty of "la Svengali's" voice. Also of note is the role played by the Paris Morgue, which acts as a kind of running theme and portent throughout the book, looming over the painters in their studio. At the time the action in the book takes place--the mid 19th century--the Paris Morgue was a popular tourist attraction, drawing crowds eager to view the bodies of the unclaimed dead which were laid out behind large plate glass windows, ostensibly for the purposes of identification. You can find out more about this phenomenon here.

      As if all this were not good enough, there is an incredible moment in the book where Svengali torments our hapless heroine with whispered threats of putting her bones in a handsome case at the museum of the École de Médecine; the quote is a bit long, but worth including here in its entirety.

      The quote follows; if you like what you read, I highly recommend giving the entire book a read! You can do so online by clicking here, or buy a copy of the book here.
      "Ach, Drilpy," he would say, on a Sunday afternoon, "how beautiful you are! It drives me mad! I adore you. I like you thinner; you have such beautiful bones! Why do you not answer my letters?... What do you know of Monsieur Alfred de Musset? We have got a poet too, my Drilpy. His name is Heinrich Heine... He adores French grisettes. He married one. Her name is Mathilde, and she has got süssen füssen, like you. He would adore you too, for your beautiful bones; he would like to count them one by one, for he is very playful, like me. And, ach! what a beautiful skeleton you will make! And very soon, too, because you do not smile on your madly-loving Svengali... You shall have a nice little mahogany glass case all to yourself in the museum of the École de Médecine, and Svengali shall come in his new fur-lined coat, smoking his big cigar of the Havana, and push the dirty carabins out of the way, and look through the holes of your eyes into your stupid empty skull, and up the nostrils of your high bony sounding-board of a nose without either a tip or a lip to it, and into the roof of your big mouth, with your thirty-two big English teeth, and between your big ribs into your big chest, where the big leather lungs used to be, and say, 'Ach! what a pity she had no more music in her than a big tomcat!' And then he will look all down your bones to your poor crumbling feet, and say, 'Ach! what a fool she was not to answer Svengali's letters!' and the dirty carabins shall—"

       ... Then Svengali, scowling, would play Chopin's funeral march more divinely than ever; and where the pretty, soft part comes in, he would whisper to Trilby, "That is Svengali coming to look at you in your little mahogany glass case!"  
      ... Besides which, as he played the lovely melody he would go through a ghoulish pantomime, as though he were taking stock of the different bones in her skeleton with greedy but discriminating approval. And when he came down to the feet, he was almost droll in the intensity of his terrible realism. But Trilby did not appreciate this exquisite fooling, and felt cold all over.

      Monday, April 13, 2015

      Amsterdam Anatomy Weekend! Walter Potter Documentary! Svengali in 16 mm! Upcoming Morbid Anatomy Events

      First off, at long last, we have the final details for our Amsterdam Anatomy Weekend at the Vrolik Museum (pictured above)! Festivities will include a wax modeling (moulage) workshop with sculptor Eleanor Crook; a walking tour including stops at the 'Waag’ anatomical theatre and the Funeral Museum;  demonstrations of liquid anatomical specimen restoration and skeleton mounting; a museum tour focusing on 18th and 19th century forensic pathology; lectures about the amazing Anatomical Venus, the 19th century private Museum Vrolikianum and other private and public anatomical collections and panoptica; and exclusive back stage tours of the Vrolik’s storage rooms. You can find out more, and get tickets, here.

      We also have two terrific events this very week; Tomorrow night--Tuesday, April 14th--we very much hope to see you at Svengali and the Sexual Anxieties of the Anti-Semite, featuring a screening of a 16 mm print of the 1931 film "Trilby" along with a short introduction by filmmaker Joel Schlemowitz; Trilby-themed cocktails; and pre- and post-screening 78 records on the Victrola. Tickets and more can be found here. And, this Saturday, April 18th, we hope you'll be able to make it to the New York City big screen premiere at Tribeca Film Festival of our film Walter Potter: The Man Who Married Kittens, written and directed by our filmmaker in residence Ronni Thomas, creator and director of The Midnight Archive. More on that can be found here.

      Also, please note that there are less than five remaining tickets for our upcoming Morbid Anatomy Museum Gala with chair Chloë Sevigny and sponsored by Hendrick's Gin, Six Point Brewery and Brooklyn Winery. It will also have food by Runner and Stone; performances by Play Dead's Todd Robbins; phonograph music by Mac of WFMU’s Ragged Antique Phonograph Program; auction items including an epic taxidermy tableau by Emily Binard as well as a behind the scenes golf cart tour of the Bronx Zoo; and floral arrangements by Emily Thompson flowers. You can find out more, and get tickets, here.

      Thanks so much to all those who came out to the opening party for our new exhibition Do The Spirits Return? From Dark Arts to Sleight of Hand in Early 20th Century Stage Magic this weekend! Those who attended got to enjoy liberal offerings from our friends at Hendrick's Gin, as well as surprise subcultural celebrity sightings. You can find out more about the exhibition, on view through January, here. You can also read a writeup on the exhibition in The New York Times by clicking here.

      On which note: congratulations to our two taxidermists in residence--Divya Anantharaman and Katie Innamorato--for their excellent writeup in the Metro section of yesterday's New York Times! You can read the piece by clicking here. 

      The Morbid Anatomy Museum is a non-profit, and, like most non-profits, we do not cover our overhead with revenue alone, but depend on donations and memberships to survive. If you appreciate what we do, please consider becoming a member or making a fully tax deductible donation today. Donations can be made here, and you can become a member--with assorted perks such as discounted admissions and free museum entry by clicking here.

      Following is a full list of upcoming events; very much hope to see you at one or more!

      IMMEDIATELY UPCOMING EVENTS
      • Svengali, and the Sexual Anxieties of the Anti-Semite: 16 mm Screening, with a short introduction by Filmmaker Joel Schlemowitz as well as Trilby-themed cocktails and pre- and post-screening 78 records on the Victrola  
        THIS Tuesday, April 14th, 8pm, $8, Tickets (and more info) here
      • Walter Potter: The Man Who Married Kittens at the TriBeCa Film Festival: The New York City big screen premiere of the Morbid Anatomy film Walter Potter: The Man Who Married Kittens, directed and written by our filmmaker in residence Ronni Thomas, creator and director of The Midnight Archive
        THIS Saturday, April 18, 5:30pm, OFFSITE: Regal Battery Park Stadium 11 (102 North End Ave, New York, New York 10281); more here
      • Anthropomorphic Rabbit Taxidermy Class with Divya Anantharaman
        THIS Saturday, April 18th, 12pm - 6pm, $300, Ticket (and more info) here
      • Anthropomorphic Mouse Taxidermy Class with Divya Anantharaman  
        THIS Sunday, April 19th, 12pm - 6pm, $110.00 (one-headed) / $125.00 (two-headed), Tickets and info here

      NEWLY ANNOUNCED
      • Amsterdam Anatomy Weekend at the Vrolik Museum
        Friday, May 15 – Sunday, May 17th. OFFSITE: The Vrolik Museum; Amsterdam, The Netherlands, €35 to €75, Tickets (and more info) here
      • Squirrel Shoulder Mount or Pedestal Mount Class with Katie Innamorato
        Sunday, May 24th 12pm - 6pm, $275 (includes admission to the museum), Tickets (and more info) here
      • Anthropomorphic Insect Shadowbox Workshop with Daisy Tainton.
        Saturday, June 13th, 1pm - 4pm, $75, Tickets (and more info) here

      ALL UPCOMING EVENTS
      • Svengali, and the Sexual Anxieties of the Anti-Semite: 16 mm Screening, with a short introduction by Filmmaker Joel Schlemowitz as well as Trilby-themed cocktails and pre- and post-screening 78 records on the Victrola  
        Tuesday, April 14th, 8pm, $8, Tickets (and more info) 
        here.
      • Walter Potter: The Man Who Married Kittens at the TriBeCa Film FestivalThe New York City big screen premiere of the Morbid Anatomy film Walter Potter: The Man Who Married Kittens, directed and written by our filmmaker in residence Ronni Thomas, creator and director of The Midnight Archive
        Saturday, April 18, 5:30pm, OFFSITE: Regal Battery Park Stadium 11 (102 North End Ave, New York, New York 10281); more here
         
      • Anthropomorphic Rabbit Taxidermy Class with Divya Anantharaman
        Saturday, April 18th, 12pm - 6pm, $300, Ticket (and more info) 
        here
      • Anthropomorphic Mouse Taxidermy Class with Divya Anantharaman  
        Sunday, April 19th, 12pm - 6pm, $110.00 (one-headed) / $125.00 (two-headed), Tickets and info 
        here
      • First Annual Morbid Anatomy Museum Gala with Honorary Chair Chloë Sevigny  Sponsored by Hendrick's Gin and Six Point Beer 
        Tuesday, April 21, 6:30 pm, Tickets: $250/$500, Tickets and more here
      • The Wilderness of Ruins: A Tale of Madness, Fire, and the Hunt for America's Youngest Serial Killer An Illustrated lecture with Roseanne Montillo
        Friday, April 24th, 8pm, $5, Tickets (and more info) here
      • Shocked and Amazed: The Unseen Footage with Jeff Krulik, director of "Heavy Metal Parking Lot" 
        Tuesday, April 28th, 8pm, $8, Tickets (and more info) 
        here
         
      • Victorian Hair Art Workshop with Master Jeweler Karen Bachmann
        Saturday, May 2nd, 11 – 6 PM, $150 (Includes admission to The Morbid Anatomy Museum), Tickets (and more info) 
        here
         
      • Anatomy, Religion, and English Late-Medieval Carved Cadaver Sculptures with Dr. Christina Welch, senior lecturer at the University of Winchester, UK
        Thursday, May 7th, 8pm, $8, Tickets and info 
        here
         
      • The X-Ray Audio Project: The Incredible Story of Bootleg Technology, Cold War Culture and Human Endeavour Lecture, screening and listening party with Stephen Coates of The Real Tuesday Weld and Aleks Kolkowsi
        Complementary cocktails provided by Art in the Age
        Friday, May 8th, 8pm, $12, Tickets (and more info) here 
      • Memento Mori: Book Launch and Lecture with Paul Koudounaris
        Saturday, May 9th, 8pm, FREE (limited seating), more info here 
      • The Mystique Boutique's Sideshow of Magic and Wonder "Ten-in-One" Variety Show. 
        Sunday, May 10th, 12pm - 6pm, $5, Tickets (and more info) here
      • The American Tattooed Ladies: 1840-2015 An Illustrated Lecture with Anni Irish
        Tuesday, May 12th, 8pm, $8, Tickets and info 
        here
      • Amsterdam Anatomy Weekend at the Vrolik Museum
        Friday, May 15 – Sunday, May 17th. OFFSITE: The Vrolik Museum; Amsterdam, The Netherlands, €35 to €75, Tickets (and more info) here.
      • Anthropomorphic Mouse Taxidermy Class, One or Two Headed! with Divya Anantharaman 
        Saturday, May 16th, 12pm - 6pm, $110 for one, $125 for two headed (all tickets include admission to the museum), Tickets (and more info) here.
      • English Sparrow Taxidermy Class with Divya Anantharaman
        Sunday, May 17th, 12pm - 6:30pm, $195 (includes admission to the museum), Tickets (and more info) here
      • Psychedelics and Death: A Brief Introduction: An Illustrated Lecture with Psychotherapist Dr. Neal Goldsmith
        Thursday, May 21st, 8pm, $8
        , SOLD OUT; STAY TUNED FOR ADDITIONAL DATE
      • Mirror, Black Mirror: A Book Launch and Illustrated lecture with Artist Camille Rose Garcia 
        Friday, May 22nd,  8pm,  $5
        Tickets (and more info) here
      • Squirrel Shoulder Mount or Pedestal Mount Class with Katie Innamorato
        Sunday, May 24th 12pm - 6pm, $275 (includes admission to the museum), Tickets (and more info) here
      • A Desire for Dramaticism: Semiotics of the 1980s Goth Subculture: An illustrated lecture with Andi Harriman
        Thursday, May 28th, 8pm, $8,
        SOLD OUT; STAY TUNED FOR ADDITIONAL DATE
      • Anthropomorphic Rabbit Taxidermy Class with Divya Anantharaman 
        Saturday, June 6th, 12pm - 7pm, $300 (includes admission to the museum), Tickets (and more info) here
      • Tarantula Preservation Class Thursday with Divya Anantharaman
        Thursday, June 18th, 6:30pm - 9:30pm, $80 (includes admission to the museum), Tickets (and more info) here.
      • "Witchcraft Through the Ages” (Haxan) – Polka music! Butter Churns!! 16mm silent film screening with Victrola!!! Presented and choreographed by Joel Schlemowitz 
        Thursday, June 25th, 8pm, $8
        Tickets (and more info) here
      • Anthropomorphic Mouse Taxidermy Class, One or Two Headed! with Divya Anantharaman
        Saturday, July 11th, 12pm - 6pm, $110 for one, $125 for two headed (all tickets include admission to the museum), Tickets (and more info) here
      • Chick Taxidermy Class with Divya Anantharaman 
        Sunday July 12th 12-6:30pm,  $185 for one, $200 for two headed (all tickets include admission to the museum), Tickets (and more info) here
      • Anthropomorphic Insect Shadowbox Workshop with Daisy Tainton. Saturday, June 13th, 1pm - 4pm, $75, Tickets (and more info) here.
      • Chipmunk Taxidermy Class with Divya Anantharaman
        Saturday, August 1st, 12pm - 6pm, $185 (all tickets include admission to the museum), Tickets (and more info) here
      • Skunk Taxidermy Class with Divya Anantharaman
        Sunday, August 2nd, 12pm - 6pm, $450 (includes admission to the museum), Tickets (and more info) here