Monthly Archives: October 2009

Vampire Killing Kit

For Halloween, a bit of  news from KOVELS:

Vampires on TV today are lovable, not dangerous, so there seems to be no need for vampire-killing kits. Killing kits were needed when people were threatened by vampires. Kits have been sold at five or more auctions over the last several years. Each kit was assembled, so the contents varied. Prices ranged from $1,000 on eBay years ago, to $12,000 and $20,300 in 2003, to a claimed $35,000 asking price for a kit eBay wouldn’t allow. Last year a kit in an American walnut case sold for $14,850. It held stakes, mirrors, a gun with silver bullets, crosses, a Bible, holy water, candles, and garlic.

This Saturday, October 31, 2009, another kit will be auctioned. It’s in a rosewood case with mother-of-pearl inlay in the shape of a cross. The required pistol and silver bullets are in a small coffin-shaped case. There are also holy water vials, a prayer book, a cleaver, and a mirror. Wonder how these things protect you from vampires? Hold a mirror in front of a person and if there is no reflection, that person is a vampire. Religious items, garlic, and candle flames scare vampires and chase them away. Silver bullets or a stake through the heart kills vampires. Most vampire kits probably were made after 1897, when the novel “Dracula” was published and made people fear vampires. The kits were made as souvenirs sold at hotels in Europe.

vampire_killing_kit_small

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Nice Story About Community Life

October 24, 2009
GREENPOINT JOURNAL
A Place to Worship, and to Jam, Shop and Feast

By RACHEL GRAVES
The mostly empty pews at the Lutheran Church of the Messiah spoke of a dying congregation. But as the 17 worshipers returned to their seats after communion on a recent Sunday, they faced a more encouraging symbol: guitars, keyboards and drums poking up from the choir loft, hinting at the church’s double life.

The instruments belong to two rock bands that, along with many other artists and local food enthusiasts, consider the church in Greenpoint, Brooklyn, a secular home.

“It’s a great reminder of the duality of the space,” said the Rev. Griffin Thomas, pastor of the church, gesturing at the instruments. “The creativity and the art nurtured here make the space more sacred and holy.”

The church will mark its 110th anniversary on Sunday, celebrating its founding as one of the first English-speaking Lutheran churches in New York.

Once bustling with 500 parishioners at Sunday services, the church has seen its congregation wane as the neighborhood has changed.

By the time he took over as pastor in 2004, the church was “like a tomb,” Pastor Thomas said. “Maybe three hours a week the church was being used out of seven days, and the rest of the time it was just sitting here, completely locked up.”

Pastor Thomas thought the lack of activity was bad stewardship of the congregation’s main asset, its building. His favorite part of the church was the choir loft, nestled near the vaulted ceiling and rose-tinted because of a pink, violet and green stained-glass window.

Mr. Thomas cleaned out the loft with the idea that perhaps an artist or writer could work there. He advertised it on Craigslist, calling it a “unique space.” Instead of the quiet artist he was expecting, a rock band responded to his ad.

The members of the band, Penelope, arrived at 129 Russell Street to meet with Pastor Thomas and were stunned to find a century-old brick church decorated for Christmas, complete with a Nativity scene.

“It was like, ‘Say what?’ ” said Allen Wilcox, who plays synthesizers and bass in the band, now reincarnated as Friends Academy. They were intimidated but intrigued by the hallowed space.

Pastor Thomas was worried about noise, but he agreed to let the band rehearse in the church. Friends Academy also brought in another band.

A neighbor did complain about noise, but even that turned into a positive part of the church’s transformation: The neighbor was Brooke O’Harra, a co-founder of the Theater of a Two-Headed Calf. When she learned about the band, she asked if her group could rehearse in the church’s humble green basement. Pastor Thomas eagerly agreed.

Soon, other theater groups were giving performances in the basement, and the pastor was also working with the well-known concert organizer Todd Patrick, or Todd P., to put on rock shows there.

Beyond the arts, the church hosts a community-supported agriculture program, allowing customers to buy directly from local farmers. As they pick out their cherry tomatoes and garlic bulbs, they often hear drumming filtering down from the choir loft.

And the help goes both ways: Instead of renting the space, the groups generally donate part of their proceeds.

For the anniversary celebration on Sunday, the worship service will include Bishop Robert A. Rimbo and many of the artists who use the space.

Members of the congregation have accepted the changes with varying degrees of enthusiasm. Norma Dodenhoff, who has attended the church for 75 years, said she initially found it “overwhelming having all of these strangers coming in,” but now believed it had worked out well.

Asked about the bands, Mrs. Dodenhoff gets a mischievous smile on her face. “The young men are delightful,” she said. “Do I like their music? That’s another story.”

Pastor Thomas said his main concern was respecting the neighborhood and the church. “I obviously don’t want crowd-surfing, mosh-pit, stage-diving kind of people,” he said. “I like to have people who appreciate the space and want it to continue going rather than it being disposable.”

The scene on a recent Saturday night could not have been more different from Sunday services. The church basement was packed with about 250 hipsters eating soup, listening to live music and voting on which of 14 artists’ proposals should receive a grant paid for with participants’ $10 and $20 entrance fees, based on a pay-what-you-can model.

The event, Funding Emerging Art With Sustainable Tactics, or Feast, was started by Jeff Hnilicka, an arts administrator who got to know the church and Pastor Thomas by buying his vegetables there. After a night of barely controlled chaos, Mr. Hnilicka handed a bag of cash — $1,200 — to the winners, Elizabeth Knafo and Dylan Gauthier. Their project, Green My Bodega, plans to connect local farms with bodegas.

The church’s many uses have expanded Pastor Thomas’s pastoral duties considerably: arts impresario, composter, even bouncer, herding beer drinkers who spilled out of the Feast event off the sidewalk. “Not in front of the church,” he told them.

Copyright 2009 The New York Times Company

Crawdaddy Magazine

crawdaddy-history-issue_cov(1)

By an indirect route, I just came upon a mention of an article in Crawdaddy and had a nostalgia smackdown. Vol. 1, No.1, a step up from his Swarthmore mimeos, was published  – – or more accurately, assembled – –  by Paul Williams in my Cambridge, MA, living room, chez Truesdell.

Avenue Junot . . .

 

moulin montmartre

 

jean marais

Paris 10:08 upright

Paris.Oct.08.3

And Montmartre heights

montmartre stairs

Language Matters

Could we possibly call a moratorium among intelligent people on the casual use of Nazi this and Hitler that? (Yes, I know about the soup Nazi; I do not totally lack humor) but I’m sure I’m not the only one who cringes at these refs and name-calling in a political context.

<<<<<<<<<<>>>>>>>>>

Also this exchange about a Boston Globe book review:

BEHOLD MY FATHER

Posted by David Mehegan March 25, 2008 11:57 AM

I have not read Honor Moore’s book, “The Bishop’s Daughter,” about her father, Episcopal bishop Paul Moore, but did read the excerpt in the March 3 New Yorker. She reveals in some detail her father’s lifelong secret (though his family knew) that he had a gay life, in addition to being the married father of several children. On March 17, the magazine published a letter from two of the author’s siblings, deploring her act of outing her father, five years after his death.

“Doesn’t it matter,” wrote Susanna McKean Moore and Paul Moore 3d, “even when someone is dead, that his most fervently held private life, and the unnecessarily explicit details of his marriage, are exposed against his wishes?”

What is the answer to this question? It came up in the case of Anatole Broyard, who kept his African-American family history hidden from the world, even from his children. In that case, Henry Louis Gates Jr. wrote the first story — again, in the New Yorker — but Broyard’s daughter wrote the book (“One Drop”), and it was her story as much as her father’s.

I feel fairly certain that any one of us has things in our pasts, or facts about ourselves, that we might not happily see exposed to the world, even if they aren’t deep dark secrets. If we have chosen to keep them to ourselves, how much time are we allowed, after we die, before someone in our family rips the cover off and says, “Well, Pop, you didn’t want people to know about this, but now you’re dead and my need to tell a story, and be interviewed and go on tour, and earn royalties, is what matters to me”?

If I knew that my father had been ashamed of some things in his own past (and who doesn’t have such things?), chances are I would let them die with him, unless there were some wrong that needed to be righted. Even if he had been a famous man, I like to think that I would not treat his hurts as my raw material, to plunder at will.

After a certain length of time, to be sure, history does take precedence — no one deplores the public knowledge of Franklin Roosevelt’s marital infidelity or physical disability, though they were kept largely hidden in his lifetime. But it is odd, to me at least, that a member of a family would be the one first to turn a bright light on the hidden truth.

There were two responses; mine is the second:

1.

  • After reading the NYer’s excerpt of “The Bishop’s Daughter” by Honor Moore, I was struck, among other things, by the author’s first name. Did she truly “Honor” her father? Of course not. She violated his privacy and trust and exposed his secret life to the world against his and her siblings wishes for her own personal gain. Although I have no first hand knowledge of the author’s motives, I can’t help but think that she is driven by her need to cleanse her feelings of guilt and abandonment. She will have much to answer for if one day she meets him in the afterlife.

  • Posted by Charles Schwab March 28, 08 03:04 PM
  • ———————————–
    2.

  • Whoa! That was then, this is now. Only the most benighted among us would argue that same-sex attractions are shameful; the same goes for folks who would be put off by someone’s so called black blood.I hope you agree that Bishop Moore did nothing inherently wrong – – social mores forced him into the closet. Anatole Broyard’s racial identity was, in some quarters, what you describe as a fact that one “might not happily see exposed to the world.” Did you mean then or now?Your purple prose – – “hidden from the world,” “rip the cover off,” “raw material, to plunder at will” – – lends legitimacy to the idea that being gay or black still carries some stigma. Your innuendo suggests that Honor Moore is some tacky tell-all writer when in fact she’s an established and respected literary figure.Of course, some outings are better than others. When Senator Kerry’s Jewish roots came to light, they, rightfully, lent him a broader cultural context. But Eugene Robinson had to wear a bulletproof vest the day he became an Episcopal bishop. Your readers would welcome clarification of what, in the realms of race, culture, or sexual orientation, you still consider “deep, dark secrets.”Marilyn Richardson
  • Oct 16 Sesquicentennial of John Brown’s Raid on Harper’s Ferry

    John Brown
    Brown idealized

    John Brown of Osawatomie spake on his dying day:
    “I will not have to shrive my soul a priest in Slavery’s pay.
    But let some poor slave-mother whom I have striven to free,
    With her children, from the gallows-stair put up a prayer for me!”

    John Brown of Osawatomie, they led him out to die;
    And lo! a poor slave-nother with her little child pressed nigh.
    Then the bold, blue eye grew tender, and the old, harsh face
    grew mild.
    As he stooped between the jeering ranks and kissed the negro’s
    child!

    The shadow of his stormy life that moment fell apart;
    And they who blamed the bloody hand forgave the loving heart.
    And they who blessed the guilty means redeemed the good intent,
    And round the grisly fighter’s hair the martyr’s aureole bent.

    – – Whittier

    This event did not actually happen, Brown was led to the gallows ringed round by soldiers for fear of a rescue attempt.

    Brown burial plaque

    JOHN BROWN OF OSAWATOMIE
    HERE LIES BURIED
    JOHN BROWN
    BORN AT TORRINGTON, CONNECTICUT
    MAY 9TH, 1800
    HE EMIGRATED TO KANSAS IN 1855 WHERE HE TOOK AN
    ACTIVE PART IN THE CONTEST AGAINST THE PRO-SLAVERY PARTY.
    HE GAINED IN AUGUST 1856 A VICTORY AT OSAWATOMIE
    OVER A SUPERIOR NUMBER OF MISSOURIANS WHO HAD
    INVADED KANSAS (WHENCE HIS SURNAME “OSAWATOMIE”)
    HE CONCEIVED THE IDEA OF BECOMING THE LIBERATOR OF
    THE NEGRO SLAVES IN THE SOUTH AND ON THE NIGHT OF
    OCTOBER 16, 1859 AT THE HEAD OF A DEVOTED BAND OF
    22 FOLLOWERS HE SEIZED THE UNITED STATES ARSENAL
    AT HARPER’S FERRY, VIRGINIA WITH THE VIEW OF ARMING
    THE NEGROS WHO MIGHT COME TO HIS FORTIFIED CAMP.
    IN THE FIGHT WITH THE UNITED STATES TROOPS AND CIVILIANS
    WHICH FOLLOWED HE WAS OVERPOWERED AND TAKEN PRISONER
    OCTOBER 18, 1859, HE WAS TRIED BY THE COMMMONWEALTH OF VIRGINIA
    AT CHARLESTOWN, VIRGINIA AND WAS EXECUTED DECEMBER 2, 1859.

    HERE LIE BURIED WITH HIM
    TWELVE OF HIS FOLLOWERS
    WATSON BROWN (SON OF JOHN BROWN) OF NORTH ELBA, N.Y.
    OLIVER BROWN (SON OF JOHN BROWN) OF NORTH ELBA, N.Y.
    WILLIAM THOMPSON, OF NORTH ELBA, N.Y.
    DAUPHIN ADOLPHUS THOMPSON, OF NORTH ELBA, N.Y.
    JOHN HENRI KAGI, ADJUTANT
    WILLIAM H. LEEMAN, LIEUTENANT
    JEREMIAH C. ANDERSON, LIEUTENANT
    STEWARD TAYLOR
    DANGERFIELD NEWBY, NEGRO
    THE ABOVE TEN MEN WERE KILLED AT THE HARPER’S FERRY FIGHT
    AARON D. STEVENS, CAPTAIN
    ALBERT HAZLETT, LIEUTENANT
    THE ABOVE TWO WERE TAKEN PRISONERS AND HANGED MARCH 16, 1860

    On the bottom left:
    THE FOLLOWING MEN OF
    JOHN BROWN’S BAND ESCAPED BUT WERE
    CAPTURED AND HANGED DECEMBER 16, 1859.
    JOHN E. COOK, CAPTAIN
    EDWIN COPPOC, LIEUTENATN
    SHIELDS GREEN, NEGRO
    JOHN A. COPELAND, NEGRO
    On the bottom right:
    THE FOLLOWING MEN OF
    JOHN BROWN’S BAND ESCAPED.
    OWEN BROWN, CAPTAIN (SON OF JOHN BROWN)
    FRANCIS JACKSON MERRIAM
    CHARLES PLUMMER TIDD, CAPTIAN
    BARCLAY COPPOC
    OSBORNE P. ANDERSON, NEGRO
    JOHN ANDERSON, NEGRO

    THIS TABLET ERECTED THROUGH THE EFFORTS OF BYRON R. BREWSTER OF LAKE PLACID, N.Y. 1916
    DESIGNED AND CAST BY JNO. WILLIAMS INC. NEW YORK

    . . . and of course the famous Horace Pippin painting

    “Save your Confederate money boys, the South will rise again”

    HAMMOND, La. (AP) — A Louisiana justice of the peace said he refused to issue a marriage license to an interracial couple out of concern for any children the couple might have.

    Keith Bardwell, justice of the peace in Tangipahoa Parish, says it is his experience that most interracial marriages do not last long.

    Neither Bardwell nor the couple immediately returned phone calls from The Associated Press. But Bardwell told the Daily Star of Hammond that he was not a racist.

    “I do ceremonies for black couples right here in my house,” Bardwell said. “My main concern is for the children.”

    Bardwell said he has discussed the topic with blacks and whites, along with witnessing some interracial marriages. He came to the conclusion that most of black society does not readily accept offspring of such relationships, and neither does white society, he said.

    “I don’t do interracial marriages because I don’t want to put children in a situation they didn’t bring on themselves,” Bardwell said. “In my heart, I feel the children will later suffer.”

    If he does an interracial marriage for one couple, he must do the same for all, he said.

    “I try to treat everyone equally,” he said.

    Thirty-year-old Beth Humphrey and 32-year-old Terence McKay, both of Hammond, say they will consult the U.S. Justice Department about filing a discrimination complaint.

    Humphrey told the newspaper she called Bardwell on Oct. 6 to inquire about getting a marriage license signed. She says Bardwell’s wife told her that Bardwell will not sign marriage licenses for interracial couples.

    “It is really astonishing and disappointing to see this come up in 2009,” said American Civil Liberties Union of Louisiana attorney Katie Schwartzman. “The Supreme Court ruled as far back as 1963 that the government cannot tell people who they can and cannot marry.”

    The ACLU was preparing a letter for the Louisiana Supreme Court, which oversees the state justices of the peace, asking them to investigate Bardwell and see if they can remove him from office, Schwartzman said.

    “He knew he was breaking the law, but continued to do it,” Schwartzman said.

    According to the clerk of court’s office, application for a marriage license must be made three days before the ceremony because there is a 72-hour waiting period. The applicants are asked if they have previously been married. If so, they must show how the marriage ended, such as divorce.

    Other than that, all they need is a birth certificate and Social Security card.

    The license fee is $35, and the license must be signed by a Louisiana minister, justice of the peace or judge. The original is returned to the clerk’s office.

    © 2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

    Song and Poetry

    A fine song; a poem still gathering new verses, and a birthday while on tour . . .

    And a masterpiece: