and the Devil himself...

and the Devil himself...

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

NYC Photos by Kate Black at Hubert Sumlin's March Show and Dr. Sketchy's

Photo by Kate Black

Links to more amazing photos - from the Hotel Chelsea, Dr. Sketchy's on the Bowery, Hubert Sumlin and more:

Lonesome Liz listening to the Howling Wolf Blues at Iridium.

Katelan Foisy possessed by the Blues at Iridium.

Chelsea Hotel stairway with Katelan Foisy.

After Dr. Sketchy's with Katelan on the Bowery.

Follow Kate Black on Flickr.

Kate Black Photography

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

How to Begin Lucid Dreaming

There are 2 essential elements to starting lucid dreaming: 

1. Chose a reality check: asking yourself at random, throughout the day if you are dreaming and looking at your hands, a clock, anything you chose, just keep it consistent. 

2. It's also extremely helpful to keep a dream journal. This will help you become aware of the landscape of your dreams, (common places, colors, objects etc). The way this helps with lucid dreaming is that it sets visual cues in your mind that you can use to let yourself know you're dreaming. For example, I don't have a horse or a friend with one that I ride, so if I find myself horseback riding I can assume I'm dreaming. 

The journal also increases your general awareness of your dreams. As this happens while you're awake, you'll be come more aware of them when you're sleeping too. 

The best way to keep a dream journal is to not only include narrative but the following:
* Keywords
* People, places, objects that are central
* Who, what, where
* Mood or tone
* Colors
* Level of lucidity
* Date and a descriptive titile 

It can also be useful to: 

* Keep the notebook and a pen beside your bed and write down your dreams  before getting out of bed. 

* Wake up an hour earlier than usual, physically get up for 15 min - an hour, depending on how long you're able to fall back to sleep easily, then go back to bed. 

* Look at pictures of things that were in your dream, (a schoolbus, a pink house, a restaurant etc) 

* As you fall asleep, tell yourself that you will remember your dreams and that you will be aware you are dreaming 

* Focus on the dots at the back of your eyelids, allowing them to form pictures, (these are called hypnogogic images, and sometimes you can go straight from focus on them to a lucid dream). 

Next - maintaining lucidity and controlling your dreams so you can dream what you want!

How to Talk To Ghosts With Automatic Writing and Drawing

Automatic writing with a planchette, artist unknown.

Here is a basic overview of automatic writing and drawing from the recent seance workshop in Richmond, Va: 

1. You can use either cursive or print.
2. You may chose to look or not look at the page.
3. Some recommend doing something in addition to writing while you
practice to occupy your left brain, (have a conversation, watch t.v.,

To practice automatic writing:

Just put pen to paper and, without thinking about it, move your had as if you were writing. Some recommend that you do this as quickly as you can, I've had better result with doing it somewhat slowly or a little slower than normal writing speed, try both ways.

Stop when it feels natural to stop. If you catch yourself losing focus at some point/losing track or flow, choose a letter beforehand to then begin the next sentence with each time that happens. Always use the same letter so that you can identify where you did so later on.

Go back over what you've written and circle words that have formed. It  helps to have someone else look at it too. I've also definitely found (usually obvious) words each time I've looked back over it - so def. look at it again.

It's ideal to write the date, time, location and method of automatic writing at the top of the page each time you do it. (Method meaning whether cursive or print, looking or not, doing something else or not etc).

Automatic drawing works the same way, the difference being that you draw rather than write.

You can also do this with a computer keyboard, (for me that works better/it's what I've always done). I've also found that adding bibliomancy, (open a book at random, putting your finger on a word at a time without looking), is extremely effective. Write the words your finger lands on on a different page, noting that that's what you're doing.

After the first few times that you do this/once you've gotten the hang of it, start focusing beforehand on a specific person you would like to talk to. Write ____________ are you here? Then attempt to answer with automatic writing. You can then write a series of questions and seek answers the same way.

It is NORMAL for automatic writing sessions to sometimes be scary/ disturbing. If this happens, think of it as working in a similar way that nightmares do - they can sometimes be completely incredible, made up of images we would normally not even think of. Automatic writing is similar, words are coming from your subconscious to your conscious mind, just as images do in dreams. If you feel uncomfortable stop. The next time you try it, vary the method and see if doing it another way works better for you.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Today in History (According to Sarah Palin), June 4

Sarah Palin
1989 - The Emperor of China fired into a crowd of demonstrators in Red Square, (they changed the name from Yemin Square because so many demonstrators died there). The event led to his being the last Emperor of China.

1942 - The Battle of Midway, which  marked the middle of our defeat of the Germans in World War II.

1919 - Senate passed the Womens Suffering Bill.

1917 - The first Pulitzer Prize was awarded by Lily Pulitzer.

1912 - Massachusetts passed the first minimum wage law and there's been no need to increase it since then.

1812- The Louisiana Territory was officially renamed the "Missouri Territory" because no one wanted to credit the Jewish people for Sacajewea's help. Mark Twain was one of the main proponents of the change and later wrote books about it.

1789 - U.S. Constitution went into effect (but they had everything but the gun rights part wrong).


1738 - King George III, who helped us form the 13 original colonies, mostly by paying taxes and sending us tea and guns.

Friday, June 3, 2011

It's National Donut Day! Ten Donuts I Want Now!

1. Bacon Donut

2. Bursting with Strawberries Donut

3. Sugar Donut Muffin

4. The Elvis Donut

5. A donut topped with donut holes

6. Cherry almond donut

7. , 8. Bittersweet Chocolate with Blood Orange Curd Donut,

Lemon Curd with White Chocolate Ganache Donut

9. Amish apple beignet

10. Raspberry torte

Thursday, June 2, 2011

More Paintings of Lucrezia Borgia

Lucrezia, Titian
Lucrezia, Titain

Rape of Lucretia, Titian

Venus and Cupid, Titian

Violente, Titian
Lucrezia Borgia, Dosso Dossi

Library of Congress

Artist unknown

Vanity, Titian
Lucrezia in Sacred and Profane Love by Titian
Lucrezia Borgia 
by Bernardino di Betto Pinturicchio
Lucrezia Borgia, artist unknown
Suicide of Lucrezia, Titian
Lucrezia Borgia, Duchess of Ferrara.
by Bartolomeo Veneto

Venus of Urbino, Titian 

More Art and Love, Paintings of the Loves of Lucrezia Borgia

I gave The Borgia's a try yesterday and, while a little disappointed, I'm delighted that it led to my reading more about the beautiful and scandelous Lucrezia.

Portrait of a Woman by Bartolomeo Veneto, traditionally assumed to be Lucrezia Borgia
Immortally beautiful, Lucrezia was married several times and, of course, had several lovers. We hear a lot about what she looked like but what did they look like?

Her first husband was Giovanni Sforza, when he no longer met her father's political ends, it is rumored that his execution was ordered and Lucrezia helped him escape to Rome.

Belinni portrait believed to be Giovanni Sforza
Her second husband, Alfonso of Aragon, (who unfortunately I cannot find a portrait of), was said to be very good looking. So good looking, in fact, her once attractive brother, scarred by syphilis, is said to have murdered him out of jealousy. Shockingly, her brother, Cesare Borgia, was rumored to be the father of her first child:

Ceasere Borgia
Thirdly, she married Alfonso I d'Este:

Alfonso I d'Este
In addition to her husbands, Lucrezia is believed to have been romantically involved with:

Her father's messenger, Perotto, rumored, along with Ceasere, to be the father of her first child. 

Her brother in law, Francesco II Gonzaga, Marquess of Mantua: 

Francesco II Gonzaga
The poet Pietro Bembo:

Pietro Bembo by Raffael
And Pierre Terrail, seigneur de Bayard:

Goya's Paintings of Maja and/or Cayetana de Silva

The Black Duchess, painted after Cayatana de Silva's untimely death
Francisco Goya is believed to have been romantically involved with Cayetana de Silva, Duchess of Alba and he painted her a number of times. It is also asserted that she was the subject of his 'Maja' paintings; more about her.

Clothed Maja
Nude Maja
The White Duchess
Maja and Celestina on the Balcony
Maja on the Balcony
Maja and Celestina
The Duchess Arranging her Hair
The Duchess and Beata

My Favorite Poems by Thomas Hardy, Happy Birthday to You T.H.

The Voice

Woman much missed, how you call to me, call to me,
Saying that now you are not as you were
When you had changed from the one who was all to me,
But as at first, when our day was fair.

Can it be you that I hear? Let me view you, then,
Standing as when I drew near to the town
Where you would wait for me: yes, as I knew you then,
Even to the original air-blue gown!

Or is it only the breeze, in its listlessness
Travelling across the wet mead1 to me here,
You being ever dissolved to wan wistlessness,
Heard no more again far or near?

Thus I; faltering forward,
Leaves around me falling,
Wind oozing thin through the thorn from norward,
And the woman calling.

Neutral Tones

We stood by a pond that winter day,
And the sun was white, as though chidden of God,
And a few leaves lay on the starving sod;
– They had fallen from an ash, and were gray.
Your eyes on me were as eyes that rove
Over tedious riddles of years ago;
And some words played between us to and fro
On which lost the more by our love.
The smile on your mouth was the deadest thing
Alive enough to have strength to die;
And a grin of bitterness swept thereby
Like an ominous bird a-wing….
Since then, keen lessons that love deceives,
And wrings with wrong, have shaped to me
Your face, and the God curst sun, and a tree,
And a pond edged with grayish leaves.

More poems by Thomas Hardy.
An overview of the author.  

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Things I Love Thursday

From Katelan Foisy's Tarot

The more we focus on the fabulous, the more of it we get. - Gala Darling

Inspired by Gala Darling's 'Things I Love Thursday' feature. Check out her blog by clicking the link above for more that's most marvelous.

Things I loved this week:

* Feeding a new fluffy orange stray kitteh. We've named her Clementine and think she lives under the porch.

* The way our black kitteh hangs on the window when she wants to come in and follows me to the store like a puppy. (The way she knocks things over when she wants something isn't anywhere near as endearing.)

* Automatic writing, we've done pages and pages in my seance workshop and they're kind of creepy.

* Deciding to write a murder ballad a day and turn them into a Roots Opera.

* Katelan Foisy's tarot in progress.

* The art of Travis Louie.

More Things I Love...

* my friends * The Borgias * Goya's Maja paintings, (including the ones revealing her real name) * Tweepi (still, lots) * burgers & stuff grilled over oak logs * strawberry ice cream * Tumblr * poetry  * biurnial rhythms (some of them... I think...) * the Amish * geeky scholarship on the Middle Ages * getting my mojo rising * dream catchers * the language of animals * Bryan Park * my guitar * my notebook * yesterday's new moon eclipse * June *

" There are always flowers for those who want to see them." - Henri Mattise ers for those who want to see them." - Henri Mattise 

From Belly to Back, a Naughty, Nasty Tale From the Middle Ages, (Cent Nouvelles Nouvelles)

From Cent Nouvelles Nouvelles


By Monseigneur De La Roche.

Of a gentleman of Burgundy who paid a chambermaid ten crowns to sleep with her, but before he left her room, had his ten crowns back, and made her carry him on her shoulders through the host's chamber. And in passing by the said chamber he let wind so loudly that all was known, as you will hear in the story which follows.
A gentleman of Burgundy went on some business to Paris, and lodged at a good inn, for it was his custom always to seek out the best lodgings. He knew a thing or two, and he noticed that the chambermaid did not look a sort of woman who was afraid of a man. So, without much ado, or making two bites at a cherry, he asked if he could sleep with her?
But she set her back up at once. "How dare you make such a proposal to me," she said. "I would have you to know that I am not one of those girls who bring scandal upon the houses in which they live." And in short, for all he could say she refused to have anything to do with him "for any money."
The gentleman who knew well what all these protestations were worth, said to her;
"My dear, if fitting time and place were given me, I would tell you something you would be glad to learn; but as, perhaps, it might hurt your reputation if you were seen conversing with me, talk to my valet, and he will arrange matters on my behalf."
"I have nothing to say either to him or to you," she replied, and with that she walked away, and the gentleman called his valet, who was a clever rogue, and ordered him to follow her and win her over at any cost.
The valet, who was well trained, promised that he would perform his task, and, as soon as he found her, set to work to employ honied phrases, and if she had not been of Paris, and not the least cunning of the women of that city, his soft speeches and the promises he made on behalf of his master, would soon have gained her heart.
But as it was, after much talk between them, she cut matters short by saying;
"I know well what your master wants, but he shall not touch me unless I have ten crowns."
The servant reported this to his master, who was not so generous, or at least not in such a case, as to give ten crowns to enjoy a kitchen wench.
"Be that as it may," replied the valet, "she will not budge from that; and even then you must use precautions in going to her chamber, for you must pass through that of the host. What do you intend to do?"
"By my oath!" said his master, "I regret sorely having to pay ten crowns, but I am so smitten with the wench that I cannot give her up. To the devil with avarice! she shall have the money."
"Shall I tell her then you will give her the money?"
"Yes, in the devil's name! Yes!"
The valet found the girl, and told her she should have the money, and perhaps something more.
"Very good," she replied.
To cut matters short, a time was arranged for the gentleman to come to her, but, before she would show him the way to her room, she insisted on the ten crowns being paid down.
The Burgundian was not over-pleased, and as he was on the way to her chamber, it struck him that he was paying dearly for his amusement, and he resolved that he would play her a trick.
He stole into her room so quietly that neither the host nor his wife awaked. There he undressed, and said to himself that he would at least have his money's worth. He did marvels, and got as good as he sent.
What with jesting and other matters, the hours passed quickly, and dawn was near. He was then more willing to sleep than to do anything else, but the fair chambermaid said to him;
"Sir, I have heard and seen so much of your nobleness, honour, and courtesy that I have consented to allow you to take that which I hold dearest in all the world. I now beg and request of you that you will at once dress and hasten away, for it is now day, and if by chance my master or mistress should come here, as is often their custom in the morning, and should find you here, I should be dishonoured, nor would it do you any good."
"I care not," quoth he, "what good or evil may happen, but here I will remain, and sleep at my ease and leisure before I leave. I am entitled to that for my money. Do you think you have so easily earned my ten crowns? You took them quickly enough. By St. George! I have no fear; but I will stay here and you shall bear me company, if you please."
"Oh, sir," she replied, "by my soul I cannot do this. You must leave. It will be full day directly, and if you are found here what will become of me? I would rather die than that should happen; and if you do not make haste I much fear some one will come."
"Let them come," said the gentleman. "I care not, but, I tell you plainly, that until you give me back my ten crowns, I will not leave here, happen what may."
"Your ten crowns?" she answered. "Are you a man of that sort, and so devoid of any courtesy or grace as to take back from me in that fashion, that which you have given? By my faith that is not the way to prove yourself a gentleman."
"Whatever I am," said he, "I will not leave here, or shall you either, until you have given me back my ten crowns; you gained them too easily."
"May God help me," she replied, "though you speak thus I do not believe you would be so ungrateful, after the pleasure I have given you, or so discorteous, as not to aid me to preserve my honour, and therefore I beg of you to grant my request, and leave here."
The gentleman said that he would do nothing of the sort, and in the end the poor girl was forced—though God knows with what regret—to hand-over the ten crowns in order to make him go. When the money had returned to the hand that gave it, the girl was very angry, but the man was in great glee.
"Now," said the girl, angrily, "that you have thus tricked and deceived me, at least make haste. Let it suffice that you have made a fool of me, and do not by delay bring dishonour upon me by being seen here."
"I have nothing to do with your honour," said he. "Keep it as much as like, but you brought me here and you must take me back to the place from whence I came, for I do not intend to have the double trouble of coming and returning."
The chambermaid, seeing that she only made him more obstinate, and that day was breaking fast, took the gentleman on her back, and though sick at heart with fear and anger, began to carry him. And as she was picking her way carefully and noiselessly, this courteous gentleman, who after having ridden on her belly was now riding on her back, broke wind so loudly that the host awoke, and called out in his fright;
"Who is there?"
"It is your chambermaid," said the gentleman, "who is taking me back to the place from whence she brought me."
At these words the poor girl's heart and strength failed her. She could no longer bear her unpleasant burden, and she fell on the floor and rolled one way, whilst the squire went rolling the other.
The host, who knew what was the matter, spoke sharply to the girl, who soon afterwards left his house; and the gentleman returned to Burgundy, where he often gleefully related to his gallant companions the above written adventure.