Friday, November 11, 2011

Decadent Paris Weekend (with Complementary Absinthe!): Morbid Anatomy Presents at Observatory Tonight and Tomorrow Night!

This weekend, you are cordially invited to join Morbid Anatomy at Observatory for a "Decadent Paris Weekend" comprised of two amazing lectures devoted to cornerstones of fin de siècle Paris--Grand Guignol horror theatre and diabolical liquors--augmented by complimentary absinthe (!!!) provided by our weekend's sponsor La Fée Absinthe.

Night one--Friday November 11th--of our weekend will feature one of my alltime favorite rogue scholars and public speakers, Mel Gordon, delivering an illustrated lecture on The Grand Guignol: Parisian Theatre of Fear and Terror 1897-1962. Copies of his out-of-print and groundbreaking book by the same name will be on hand, substantially discounted and available for signing.

Night two-Friday November 12th--will bring many time Observatory lecturer (1, 2, 3) and Midnight Archive creator Ronni Thomas back to Observatory for an ode to "Absinthe and Other Liquors of Fin de Siècle Paris" in the form of an illustrated lecture, a screening, and a liquor tasting.

You wil find full information below for both events, followed by a list of newly announced events including a lecture on postmortem photography by Stanley Burns, the man who literally wrote the book on the topic; a class by the amazing Laura Splan on Dissection as Studio Practice; a lecture on the cultural history of 3D images in full 3D (glasses provided!); and an Oddities season launch party and viewing marathon MCed by the ever charming Lord Whimsy.

Hope to see you at some or all of these fantastic events!

The Grand Guignol: Parisian Theatre of Fear and Terror 1897-1962
Illustrated lecture/booksigning with author and scholar Mel Gordon
Date: Friday, November 11th
Time: 8:00 PM
Admission: $8
Presented by Morbid Anatomy

Complimentary absinthe provided by our sponsor La Fée Absinthe, the first traditional absinthe distilled in France since the 1915 ban and is the only absinthe endorsed by the Musée de l'Absinthe, Auvers-sur-Oise
***Signed copies of Gordon's long out-of-print Grand Guiginol will be available for sale at $30 (copies generally go for $60-150)

Decadent Paris Weekend Event # 1 (For Decadent Paris Event #2, Click here)

Hidden among the decadence and sleaze of Pigalle with its roughnecks and whores, in the shadows of a quiet, cobbled alleyway, stands a little theatre... --"Grand Guignol: The French Theatre or Horror," Hand and Wilson

From its beginnings in turn-of-the-century Paris and through its decline in the 1960s, the Theatre of the Grand Guignol--literally "grand puppet show"--gleefully celebrated horror, sex, and fear. Its infamous productions featured innocent victims, mangled beauty, insanity, mutilation, humour, sex, and monstrous depravity in a heady mix that attracted throngs of thrill-seekers from all echelons of society. By dissecting primal taboos in an unprecedentedly graphic manner, the Grand Guignol became the progenitor of all the blood-spilling, eye-gouging, and limb-hacking "splatter" movies of today.

Tonight, join Professor Mel Gordon--author of Grand Guiginol: Theatre of Fear and Terror--to learn about the largely forgotten history of the Le Théâtre du Grand-Guignol in this heavily-illustrated and highly engaging lecture.

Mel Gordon is the author of Grand Guiginol: Theatre of Fear and Terror, Voluptious Panic: The Erotic World of Weimar Berlin, and many other books. Voluptuous Panic was the first in-depth and illustrated book on the topic of erotic Weimar; The lavish tome was praised by academics and inspired the establishment of eight neo-Weimar nightclubs as well as the Dresden Dolls and a Marilyn Manson album. Now, Mel Gordon is completing a companion volume for Feral House Press, entitled Horizontal Collaboration: The Erotic World of Paris, 1920-1946. He also teaches directing, acting, and history of theater at University of California at Berkeley.

Image: Grand Guignol Poster, from the collection of Mel Gordon


Absinthe and Other Liquors of Fin de Siècle Paris: Lecture and Tasting
Illustrated lecture and liquor tasting with film maker Ronni Thomas
Date: Saturday, November 12th
Time: 8:00 PM
Admission: $10
Presented by Morbid Anatomy

Complimentary absinthe provided by our sponsor La Fée Absinthe, the first traditional absinthe distilled in France since the 1915 ban and is the only absinthe endorsed by the Musée de l'Absinthe, Auvers-sur-Oise

Decadent Paris Weekend Event # 2 (For Decadent Paris Event #1, Click here)

On Saturday November 12th, join Ronni Thomas and Observatory for an exploration of the exotic and often diabolic liquids of France's antiquity featuring absinthe, a liquor known in fin de siècle Paris as "the green fairy" for its bewitching allure and poetically transporting nature. Among history's most infamous and romanticized liquors, absinthe became a symbol of decadence and was drink of choice of such bohemian luminaries as Oscar Wilde, Charles Baudelaire, Vincent van Gogh, Alfred Jarry, Édouard Manet, Henri Toulouse-Lautrec, and Pablo Picasso. By 1915, it was widely banned after having been publicly tied to sensational stories of madness, murder and degeneracy; recently re-legalized, it has developed a passionate contemporary fan base.

Tonight, absinthe devotee Ronni Thomas will deliver an illustrated lecture on the history of absinthe and other great elixirs of fin de siècle Paris--such as green chartreuse, armagnac, and ricard--complete with artwork and video excerpts; he will also screen his own contribution to the absinthe mythos: a promotional video he produced for contemporary absinthe maker Le Tourment Vert. Liquor samples for tasting will also be available throughout the evening, including complimentary absinthe from our sponsor La Fée. There will also a Francophile music-filled after party. It will be a night straight out of Brassaï's Paris right in the heart of Brooklyn.

Ronni Thomas filmmaker and creator of The Midnight Archive web series is an avid drinker who appreciates both the history of antique spirits and the effects they have on his self esteem. Incidentally, his favorite absinthe is tonight's sponsor La Fée.

Image: "La Muse Verte" (The Green Muse), Albert Maignan, 1895

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