Friday, October 29, 2010

Ghosts Hunting ......

 The Spirit of Halloween continues.... Celebrated each year on October 31, Halloween is a mix of ancient Celtic practices, Catholic  and Roman religious rituals and European folk traditions that blended together over time to create the holiday we know today. Straddling the line between fall and winter, plenty and paucity and life and death, Halloween is a time of celebration and superstition. Halloween has long been thought of as a day when the dead can return to the earth, and ancient Celts would light bonfires and wear costumes to ward off these roaming ghosts.
To conclude the Halloween theme, here is a selection of beautiful images of abandoned buildings.

Spooky, scary, haunting images

Corinne May Botz " Haunted Houses "

And the spirit of Halloween continues.....
Corinne May Botz is a photographer and chronicler of everyday spaces with secret, invisible histories. Her work has been exhibited internationally in solo and group shows. She is the author of The Nutshell studies of Unexplained Death and Haunted Houses.

" My venture into haunted houses began the summer following my college graduation. I was living in an old Baltimore apartment, where I passed the long hot days reading ghost stories by the female authors Edith Wharton, Charlotte Bronte, Ellen Glasgow, and Toni Morrison. I wanted to further understand the relationship among women, ghosts, and houses, but I didn’t want to escape into books like far too many women before me. Instead, I decided to use ghost stories as a means to voyage into the world, and embarked on a journey to photograph the interiors of America’s haunted houses. "

One need not be a chamber to be haunted,
One need not be a house;
The brain has corridors surpassing
Material place.

—Emily Dickinson 

Book cover

Franklin Lakes, New Jersey

La Posada Hotel, Winslow, Arizona

Mono County, California

Frankfort, Maine

Private residence, Cumberland, Kentucky

Private residence, Clinton, Maine

Vancouver, Washington

Images courtesy Random House and Corinne May Botz
Click here  to listen to oral ghost stories

Thursday, October 28, 2010

The spirit of Halloween: Marnie Weber's Costumes Forever

As you all know, Halloween is a holiday of costumes, pumpkins, wishes, ghosts, haunted houses and trick-or-treating. Today, dressing in costume is a very popular way to celebrate the spooky holiday, and the choice ranges from ghost and witch outfits to trendy costumes such as famous characters.

Marnie Weber is an American artist who lives and works in Los Angeles. Her work includes photography, sculpture, installations, film, video, and performances.
Much of Weber's visual art revolves around a recurring cast of characters. An animal often found in her work is the bear, which is linked to the Greek goddess Artemis. These characters, among others, are placed in "vividly colorful environment[s]", ornate, Empire style interiors or dark, dense, eerie landscapes. Her work most often focuses on the adventures of women, which sometimes take the form of half-human, half-animal hybrids with bodies cut from magazines, and other times, pale-faced, folksy ghosts known as "Spirit Girls." Working primarily with costumes, masks, and sets, she repurposes artifacts of the movie industry into a type of meta-tableaux vivant, or what she describes as suspended moments on a fabled stage set. "I try to use my costumes as stand-ins for actors [and] the films as stand-ins for landscapes," she says. "The sculptures are like subconscious equivalents of props."

Marnie Weber's most recent art project, Eternity Forever, features a film screening and exhibit of her collages at Mountain View Cemetery and Mausoleum (2300 N Marengo Ave, Altadena, CA 91001).

Photos courtesy Marnie Weber

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Fashion with Feathers

Back in the 1930s and 1940s, Hollywood divas Carole Lombard and Jean Harlow had already adopted the look, inspired feather dresses. Then in the 1950s, it was Marilyn Monroe. Today, the Spring/Summer 2011 feathers style trend echoes the old time Hollywood. Ostrich, pheasant, peacock or other bird's feathers are embedded in breathtaking evening gowns, sandals, accessories or adornments.

A look at the old Hollywood glamour
Carole Lombard

Jean Harlow

Marilyn Monroe

These pieces are one-of-a-kind. A selection of dresses, accessories and jewels whose craftsmanship borders on art.
Givenchy Couture 2011

Givenchy Couture

Alexander McQueen, Spring 2011
Pheasant feathers

Anna Sui's silver sequin-silk-tulle dress with feather-trimed

Roger Vivier Couture 2010

Manolo Blahnik, feather T-strap sandal

Valentino, satin, brass, and ostrich-feather clutch
Lanvin, pochette satin bag

Aurelie Bidermann, 18-karat-gold-dipped goose feather necklace
Pippo Perez, white diamond angel wing

Sydney Evan, feather on lotus seed beads

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

The Royal Monceau Revisited

After undergoing important renovation work since 2007, the hotel Royal Monceau in Paris has reopened its doors on October 18th. To recreate the luxury hotel, Philippe Starck, Alexandre Allard and one of the world's leading luxury hotel firms, Raffles Hotels and Resorts, have been embarked together on a great human adventure, to transform the Royal Monceau. Although it has been renovated from top to bottom, the hotel has kept its historic past, naming rooms for prestigious guests who once stayed there, such as Ray Charles, Andre Malraux, Josephine Baker among others. Today, the new Royal Monceau is an hotel reinvented, redesigned, a destination where art and culture are omnipresent. Artworks by emerging French and international artists provide a strong presence of contemporary feel in the hotel. In-house collection of photographs are exhibited throughout the various rooms and suites.
And not to forget Pierre Herme, the king of macaroons, who is in charge of concocting all the pastries and sweets for the new Royal Monceau.

Le Bar Long

A fresco by artist Stephane Calais " Jardin de Paris "

One of the several restaurants

La Fumee Rouge, the Cigar Bar


Dressing room


The lovely garden

The transformation

Images courtesy Le Royal Monceau-Raffles
37 Avenue Hoche
Paris, France