Thrift Store Finds: So Cute It’s Freaking Me Out

19 Nov

Sometimes there are things (living and inanimate) that are cute,  preternaturally so, but which also have some aspect that is perturbing, or to use the popular vernacular,  an aspect that will cause you to, like, freak  out.

One good example of this phenomenon is a little episode which occurred recently, where an initially adorable scene was, upon closer inspection, revealed to be horrifying, in a kind of “Twilight Zone” -esque twist.  I was in my backyard around dusk when I heard the cry of a baby animal.  I knew that it must have been coming from the attic of a small shed that sits in a neighbour’s yard, which backs up right against our fence.  The attic area has a large hole in the back wall that various animals have chewed away, so that the inside of the shed, between a platform and the roof,  is visible, giving us a view into what has become a favored living quarters for different species of  mamas and their new litters.  The heartbreaking cry turned my attention towards the shed where I noticed there was a cute little baby raccoon, probably crying out for its absent mother, dusk being a natural time for raccoons to seek food.  I walked over to the shed to get a closer look at the little guy when the horror suddenly dawned on me; the baby raccoon had no eyes!  Nothing, not even closed eyelids or injured eyes.   Blindy, (as I dubbed him) just had smooth, unblemished fur across his face, with not even a hint of of a mark or indent where the eyes should have been.  The title of the post should give you a good idea what happened next; I kind of freaked out.  I felt so helpless and sad for Blindy.  Fortunately, its mother soon returned and they cooed and chattered happily upon their reunion. I never saw Blindy again.  But I’m still kind of freaked, though.

And so it is with that in mind that I present to you, my dear reader, a few things Ive purchased recently, that have had the same sort of effect.  These darling little objects reveal, upon closer examination, an aspect that is somehow off , like a sweet candy with an aftertaste of..the flavor is…it tastes like freaking out.

The first object is another cute animal that is freaky because of its eyes.  Only in this case, the odd part is not that the eyes are missing, but rather what their presence tells us.  It is a small vintage, ceramic figure of a dog, a dog that takes the expression “puppy eyes” to an  almost uncomfortable level:

What’s behind these puppy eyes?

Its cute, adorable even, but why is this dog so sad?  The look in its eyes is so heartbreaking as to suggest something  terribly wrong, am I right here?  Is this some sort of  a tchotchke of  an abused dog?  What kind of a person would want a figurine around that is this depressing?  Is it cold?  Hungry?  Scared?  Neglected?  Is this pitiful and pathetic expression just a cheap excuse for sentiment, the kind of pull at the old heartstrings, “Precious Memories” , “Hang in there Baby” ploy that guilts you into buying some trifle?  Because if it is,  it worked on me, and this little guy sits joylessly on my shelf, making me sad, every time I look at it.

Keeping with the theme of  freaky eyes, we will turn to another “cutesy” image with a dark side, only this time it involves that other category of little critters that will pee on your rug: children!  This is a sweet little set of  pencil leads I purchased at Value Village:

These pencil leads are freaking me out!

I picked these up because of the great graphics and colours on the package;  I love the peach background bordered by white dots, and the rosy-cheeked children holding a banner that says “pencil leads” is, to me, a marvel of graphic design.  But, look closer at the kids faces.  Was the artist that created these trying to make a comment on the dangers of lead exposure to young children?  Or am I grasping at straws here to try to create some esoteric connection between a bunch of crazy crap I bought?  Only time will tell.  In the meanwhile, lets take a closer look at what I’m blathering on about here:

They’re kind of funny lookin’.

They are pretty sweet, with their little bows at hat, but why are their eyes going lizard-like in two directions? According to the internet, mental retardation is one of the effects of lead poisoning in children.   This package seems to be covertly disseminating anti lead messages.  But this is one piece of propaganda those fat cats over at ” Big Lead” wont be able to suppress…because I’m hanging this little graphic masterpiece on my wall.

That last paragraph is a perfect segue into another item containing a cute representation of a deformed child.  The girl on the package for this  “Bath Glove” seems a rather cruel choice of subject, considering her anatomy would preclude her from even using this particular product.  In fact, the girl illustrated seems to be wearing a modified version of the product in question.  Also, although she is illustrated in a demure pose with her hands across her chest, she still somehow fails to preserve her modesty.  The sophisticated colour scheme and cute illustration will distract you at first from what I’m talking about:

Masterful colour choices!

But, wait for it…

Now really, what the heck is that supposed to be?

The rest of the drawing was going so good, but it seems like whoever made this just gave up when it came time to do the hands, and just put a blob of a mitt on the end of one arm (remember, this is supposed to be a bath glove) and some weird flipper thing on the other.  Now, I don’t mean to be pedantic, and granted, there are five appendages there, but just scribbling them all in there does not make a hand.  But I guess the makers of this cheap “Bath Glove” did something right, considering I bought it, wrote about it, and will probably keep it for the rest of my life.

And so, to bring this post full circle, back to where we started, on the topic of raccoons, I present this last item, a photograph from a Snow White on ice performance, circa 1950s.  This was part of a set of  publicity photos depicting a revue containing a medley of popular stories, performed on ice.  This particular photo shows Snow White, surrounded by some performers in animal costumes, including a raccoon.

Snow White and her animal friends

And perhaps this is just some sort of psychological projection that reveals more about my paranoia than anything, but if you ask me, those animals look pretty sinister:

AHHH!

AHHH!

AHHHHHH!

AHHH! The eyes, they’re so cold, and dead.

It’s no wonder that children are often seen crying in pictures next to costumed characters like this.  And for us adults, I think the movie  Donny Darko has probably ruined us for ever again seeing people dressed in giant animal costumes as cute , especially rabbits.

Well I hope you have enjoyed another episode of picking apart commercial products and old ephemera down to the minutest of detail, Miss Lady Heart style.  Next time you see something cute, take a closer look, and if you think about it too much,  you can probably freak yourself out with it too!

Dog Figurine, Pencil Leads and Bath Glove purchased at Value Village, 6415 Victoria Dr, Vancouver, BC

Dear Diary Episode Three: Touch Me I’m Sick

25 Jul

And now, for your voyeuristic pleasure, I present to you, dear reader, another fascinating and sensational episode of Dear Diary, featuring the writings of two young women, one circa 1970s, the other circa 2000s, straight from their respective diaries, treasures which I have found through years of thrifting and garbage digging.

Our first entry, courtesy of a young girl named Valerie is extremely unusual when compared to the rest of the entries.  Most days, recorded in a five year diary spanning the years 1969 through 1974, reveal a very perfectionist and repetitious existence, often with very little change from day to day.  For example, take these two entries, written on consecutive days:

Day one, February 4th, 1969

“Went to school, to choir, watched TV, did homework, did dishes, got clothes ready, bed.”

Day Two, February 5th, 1969

“Went to school, watched TV, did homework, got clothes ready, went to bed.”

Not much is revealed about her inner life.

Valerie’s time is passed by cycling through the same mundane chores and tasks, much like the rest of us.

But in the later years of the diary, as she transforms from pre-adolescent to adolescent, she starts to spend more time with friends, and boys, and she attends parties and drive-ins and such.  But the following entry is a marked departure from her usual, innocent and responsible behavior, and she dutifully records the inevitable consequence.  This entry also marks the last time she would write in her diary, as her experience that night seems to delineate the place where she completely crosses over into the fraught world of the teenage girl, a place where a five year diary offering only four ruled lines per day is no longer enough to explain what has occurred.

July 8th, 1971

“Went dancing, got drunk, went swimming, kissed Bob, Barry, Jack, Rich, Mike, was sick.”

The rest of the seventies is left to our imagination.

Valerie’s five year Diary

Old diary entries always have a dreamy quality, I guess because memories seem pale and somewhat indistinct the way dreams do.  This entry, from the second diary, recorded by an unnamed author, details a dream that in its melancholy beauty evokes the kind of longing and loss that typifies reminiscence.

April 1st, 2003

“Last night my dream hurt me.  It started out at the Big Bop downtown. (The big Bop was an infamous, but now defunct punk venue that was in downtown Toronto.–Miss Lady Heart)  I was with a bunch of girls from my school and all these girl bands were playing L7 and 7 Year Bitch songs and stuff.  We left and went to a bar at one point.  And I think Devin was there.  (This seems to be the author’s boyfriend.  See Dear Diary Episodes One and Two for more on him.–Miss Lady Heart)  Something happened with Devin, but I cant remember.  I can see us standing in a snowy back ally, that’s all.  The part I mostly remember was walking around with these kids that were real hurt inside.  We didn’t say much, but I could tell they were sad.  I remember us going to this house and the guys just sat down in this room, but us girls 3 altogether, climbed out the window, and there was a beach outside.  These dolphins swam up to us, and they were bleeding, and they seemed like they wanted us to kill them, and that’s why they came.  I didn’t want to, but the other girls started throwing things at them and hurting them, and the water got bloodier and bloodier.  I was so sad, but they liked it.  The dolphins were beautiful before.  After they died, the girls sang this gorgeous song.  I almost knew it, but not quite, it was like dying and heaven.  I wish I could remember it.  After that all I can remember is me and these girls visiting a sick boy in a house down the street from mine.  He wanted me to hold him so badly and when I did he almost melted in my arms.  He was sleeping in my Strawberry Shortcake bed sheets.”

Each girl writes of  a totally different subject, yet they both evoke the same sad, romantic, dizzy feeling, a feeling of being emotionally overwhelmed,a sense of the power and mystery of water, the sometimes fleeting nature of love, and the music that’s in the background.

the second diary

Convenience Store Treasures: Suburban Edition

3 Jul

The key hitting the old toy conienience store goldmine is to find a store that has been open for a long time, and which has not been renovated or sold between too many different owners, as these provide opportunities to rid the shelves of old, dusty merchandise.  Usually these types of stores are to be found in the city, where the neighbourhoods and commercial areas have been established much earlier than in the suburbs.  But sometimes, the suburban convenience store should not be discounted, as its presence in cultural hell can virtually guarantee that anything cool that they may have put on their shelves will still be there when you happen upon the store.  And with that in mind, I ventured into a Mississauga (a suburb of Toronto, Ontario) variety store looking for treasures, and I was not disappointed.  Here’s what I found:

Show Off Barrettes

There were a few different kinds of these” Show Offs” barrettes, each of which I purchased.  I love the ‘funky’ early 90s font used for the brand name.  This was the only type of barrette that was packaged in a way where you could see both the girls printed on the cardboard, showing off their barrette overkill hairdos.  In all the other packages, the white girl gets the shaft, her face obscured by the moulded plastic.  These were awesome barrettes too, they are like baby barrettes, but they have metal backings which make them much easier to use than the more common, all plastic baby barrettes, which only hold, like 5 hairs.  All the riot grrls out there know what I’m talking about.  But alas, despite the awesomeness of all of the Show Offs barrettes I bought, I cannot bring myself to open any of the packages, and ruin what I see as installative, readymade pieces of art.  And, due to the short-sighted thoughtlessness of the designers, the moulded plastic tray that holds the barrettes to the cardboard is glued across the innocent face of the little blond girl on the other packages, making the opening of the package fraught with anxiety and guilt, as the barrettes can only be accessed by tearing through her tiny, barrette decorated head.  But seriously though, it would toatally ruin the package.

Are you insane enough to rip the cardboard right through this girl’s face?

These are the other packages, where the blond girl has plastic glued to her face.  The barrettes are pretty sweet though.  Good colours.

Little plastic “‘jaw” clips with heart shaped grips.  And see?  Little blond girl: denied.

More heart gripped jaw clips. Note how the glue is so old it’s turned yellow.  This hasn’t happened on the above package, where both girls’ faces are visible.  Isn’t that facinating?  It could be…I guess if you…are a boring person or something.

There was also a couple of other sets of barrettes that I thought were cool, but lacked the flair and dramatic tension of the Show Offs.

Red and white bows

Colourful Flowers

I guess these are actually hair elastics with little plastic things glued to them.  The one on the left has the same jazzy-party-confetti early 90s look of the Show Offs barrettes, while the flowered elastics try for a more refined, fancy script logo look, an aspiration further hinted at, yet also confused by its brand name “Choice & Toy” a pairing of words that both fail to describe the quality and category of item contained within.  So close though.

And speaking of hair, they also had a number of hair nets, all of which I bought, which came in these great envelopes.  I loved the bold colours and the image of the woman, but the shape of the envelope, including the familiar back flaps, and the clear window in the front which could reveal an address, make them totally usable as mailing envelopes, plus they give the sender the added option to include the two old, totally useless hair nets already enclosed within!

Mirage Stretch Fashioned Hair Nets. You can see the hair net through the window in the centre.  Pretty gross eh?

The back of the hair net envelopes; just like a regular mailing envelope.

Despite the wonderful aesthetic of these hair net envelopes, I must say they are a tad misleading.  The woman on the package is meant to represent the invisible control of the hair net, and the confidence and poise that come with it, but there’s no way she’s wearing one of these hair nets over that hairdo.  When I tried one on all it did was flatten whatever volume I had while leaving the elastic fully visible around the hairline.  Plus, the hairnets are not even big enough to be lightly fitting around hair as long as hers, nor would they allow her hair retain that volume or shape.  This is what would really happen if she wore one of the hairnets:

I also picked out these things, which are apparently called “Balloon Squawkers”.  I’m not really sure what that means, but they appear to be plastic straws with feathers at one end.  I mostly just got them because I’m a sucker for things that are installed/packaged under clear plastic, not to mention easily pleased by pretty colours.

The pretty pretty colours of the Balloon Squawkers

Plus, I was also into this little guy, who appears on top of the “Fun Fair” logo:

Seems like a pretty chill guy overall.

The store had a few cute little pins.  The yellow rabbit kind of reminded me of the above balloon.  The stick pins were really tiny, like an inch long with animals on them not much larger than an apple seed.

The super tiny stick pins; from left: a butterfly, a seagull and two bunnies

And lastly, I found these awesome puffy glitter stickers that were very much like the “Happy Sticker” robot sets that I wrote about in my post “Convenience Store Treasures: Stickers”.  But these sets were even better, not just because they were glittery and had a better cardboard package tops, but also because the robots were even cooler!

I love the cardboard tops; the black background with the word “Glitter” in rainbow letters is just so great.

These sets had a mix of some of the same stickers as in the “Happy Sticker” sets, and some different ones.

Here’s the glitter version of an odd pink jester-like robot face, which I highlighted in my previous post:

Pictured here is the glitter pink jester-bot. He is next to his best friend.

This was my favorite from the set; its a big flying, pink and purple dragon kazoo. With a sparkly yellow belly.

The colours and geometric shapes of these robots make them very enjoyable. I like that this one has a green sword and a bent pipe or hockey stick or something.

I feel this spaceship is pretty cool.

I was pretty happy with my haul.  It was a good, colourful assortment of things, and I’m satisfied I got everything cool they had.  Yes, it was a good day in suburbia.  So be on the lookout for convenience store treasures when you are out in the middle of nowhere, it might be the only thing to do out there anyways.

All items purchased at Southdown Convenience, 1375 Southdown Road, Suite 7. Mississauga, Ontario

Dear Readers: Miss Lady Heart Heart’s Your Kind Comments

21 Jun

One of my favorite parts of doing all this free work for you, my dear readers, is the thoughtful comments and e-mails I get from fans all over the world.  It can be nerve-racking putting yourself out there, to be scrutinized and judged by the public, but your kind responses are what keep me at it.

Here’s a few of my personal favorites.

sexcontact writes:

“Wie wil het nou niet? Lekker sexcontact met honderden of zelfs duizenden vrouwen, mannen en stellen. Iedereen toch? Voor de lekkerste dates zit je dan ook goed bij ons. Sexdaten is natuurlijk helemaal gratis en anoniem!”

Oooh! Sexdaten is gratis en anoneim?  I’d certainly be interested in contacting some of these honderden of mannen you say you can put me in touch with.  I’ll keep that in mind for later!  Thanks for writing, sexcontact!

In a short yet deeply personal comment, a group of  “pest control specialists” write:

“Great Post!

Pest Management Services”

Just the fact that people out there are taking time out of their busy days to read my writing is very humbling.

I also value any constructive criticism you guys have out there on how I can improve my blog with more engaging and informative content.  Here is one such letter sent from Carl Mont Pharmacy:

“Have you ever thought about including a little bit more than just your articles? I mean, what you say is important and all. But imagine if you added some great photos or video clips to give your posts more, “pop”! Your content is excellent but with images and video clips, this website could definitely be one of the greatest in its niche and you could add more topics about female viagra dosage. Awesome blog!”

That certainly gives me some things to consider for the future.   I thank Carl, and all my other recent commenters; sexdatinggratis, sexdate, date-sex, and viagra pillen, it’s all for you.

With thanks,

Miss Lady Heart

I wasn’t able to find a recent picture of myself, but fortunately I was able to find a picture of this woman, who is pretty much my exact double.

Stickers: Backstreet’s Back, Alright!

19 Jun

I came across my old Backstreet Boys “Official Sticker Album” the other day and I was delighted.  It was one of those cheap, quick to market sticker books with pictures and info of the band interspersed with spaces to put specifically numbered, square stickers, which you could buy in packages of 10 or so, at convenience stores.  When I was actively buying stickers for this album I was about 12 or 13, and everyone at my school loved the Backstreet Boys and a lot of other girls had this album.  Because it was an all girls school we were afforded more opportunity  to obsess over teen heart-throbs, because there were no boys to be embarrassed in front of about it, and there were no boys to be…anything…in front…of.

And while we’re on the topic of embarrassment, have you ever seen someone or of photo of someone doing something that is so embarrassing and cringe-inducing that it makes you feel embarrassed yourself, like by witnessing that awful scene you are now covered in what should be that person’s shame?  These stickers have that type of quality to them, they just…these stickers are dignity destroyers.

When I was looking through the book I thought “Has enough time passed that this album is now ironically cool and I can show it to people?  Or has it not yet passed into “good” territory,  as in, “so bad it’s…,” especially considering I had pretty much all the stickers and had taped one of the card wrappers on to the last page as an envelope to put in duplicate stickers to trade with others?”

Well I will let you, my dear readers decide.  I was shocked at just how ugly these guys really were, and you will be too.  All of the pictures are horrifyingly cheesy in their own way, but they do provide more than 50 ideas on what to do with your arms and hands while posing for photos.

The cover of the Backstreet Boys “Official Sticker Album” What does it mean when something is “Official”?  You see that a lot in commercials, especially things to do with the Olympics, I notice. Like at the end of the ad the voice over narration will say something like “Davidson’s Hose Clamps; the official hose clamps of the 2012 winter Olympic games” like that’s supposed to mean something to me.

From the introduction on the inside cover, from “Your Backstreet Boys team”

Apparently, at the time the sticker album came out, (1997) the Backstreet Boys had just come off a “huge tour as DJ Bobo’s supporting act.”  Wow, can you imagine getting to open for the DJ Bobo?!  Never heard of him.

Each member got his own 2 page spread with a “Bio.” For example, on the Brian Littrel page one of the lines reads:  “Hobbies: Sports, reading, music, movies.”  And from the Howie Dorough page:  “Hobbies: Music, movies, television, reading.” Fascinating, no? You couldn’t make that stuff up, even if you had to rush some merchandise of a flash-in-the-pan band to market, as quickly and cheaply as possible.

First up in the 2 page spreads was Brian Littrel, who was my favorite at the time, though now I’m not really sure why exactly, but, the heart wants what it wants, I guess.

My 7th grade dream boy

There was one of these weird balloon heart stickers with a Backstreet Boys (BSB) member’s photo on it for each guy. I think the designers had some trouble with coming up with more than 160 different types of stickers for this book.

The second spread was of Kevin Richardson, the oldest member of the group.  He pretty much had the least personality of all of them and it shows in his photos:

After Kevin came Nick Carter’s profile, the favorite of most of the girls at my school, who is now most well known for dating Paris Hilton, his DUI’s and rehab stints, and for being such a loser that Paris Hilton decided that his younger brother Aaron was a more suitable man to date (his brother was like, 10 years younger than Nick and Paris at the time.)  He wins the prize for the most smouldering picture in the album, but in most of his pictures, he just looks…pretty.

What an awful, awful haircut.

Nick, in his “sexy, smouldering” pose

I guess it’s easy to see why Nick was the most popular with the young girls; he’s the most non-threatening, being so young and so pretty. Someone like Kevin, who was like 45 years old and who’s nickname, according to this album, was “Train,” was just too much man for us to fathom.

More androgenous Nick!

But I must say, Nick must have being doing something right, because I think Kevin took a few cues from him on how to look attractive in that non-sexual teeny-bopper way:

Kevin posing a-la-Nick

Howie Dorough’s 2 page spread came after Nick’s.  Most people liked Brian and Nick, but there were a few girls that liked Howie, and I thought they were masochists.  But looking at this album now, I think we pretty much all were.  Which Backstreet Boy you liked was a big part of your identity at my school at the time, and I always thought that the girls who liked Howie, many of whom were secret Howie lovers who publicly professed love to another Boy, were somehow “off” in some way.  I thought the only way they could possibly like Howie was if they had let their pity of him as being the grossest, ugliest and biggest loser member of the group, overtake them in some way, like a kind of Florence Nightingale syndrome type thing.

Have a look at Howie’s stickers.  It may actually be a close call between him and AJ (the 5th member of BSB, of which you will see many pictures of soon) as to who is the most off-putting.

Ewww, under “Distinctive Traits” it says “He loves to Flirt!” Barf

Howie’s heart balloon sticker. Barf

And then lastly there was AJ, who started off being sort of clownish, as evidenced by the following photos, but who later went on to find his identity within the group as the tattooed bad boy who wears a lot of heavy jewelry.  This guy did the same god-damned “looking over my sunglasses” pose in every picture.  Please also note that he had both his ears pierced, and for some reason her wore matching giant, thick hoop earrings all the time, like some sort of pirate.

AJ’s smouldering “over the glasses” look

AJ’s smiling “over the glasses” look

AJ”s head tilted to the side “over the glasses” look

AJ”s is-this-photo-shoot-done-yet “over the glasses” look

AJ”S my-heart’s-not-really-into-it “over the glasses” look

AJ”s Christmas time “over the glasses” look

AJ”s curl on the forehead “over the glasses” look

AJ’s smirking to the right “over the glasses” look

AJ would sometimes change it up by doing a few “sunglasses on the forehead” poses:

AJ”s pouting, “glasses on forehead” look. According to the makers of this album, this is a “romantic” sticker

AJ”s confused ape “glasses on the forehead” look

Here’s a few of those “dignity destroying” stickers I was talking about earlier.

Unfortunately,  I was missing the sticker for the upper left corner of this “Mega-puzzle.” There’s nothing like dressing up like Santa for a sexy photo-shoot with four other guys to leave your dignity in tatters.  And I must say, whenever an artist does a Christmas album I lose any and all respect I might have had for them. (Usually the type of “artists” who do that are hacks anyways, but I see it as a lame excuse for a cash grab and high billboard numbers when stores and people are looking for holiday music to play.)

Also in the “holiday themed no-dignity photo-ops” repertoire is the hideous matching sweaters option.

Pretty much any matching outfits will do, when you’re looking to diminish the dignity of grown men:

Matching vests for a German album cover

OOOH! Hockey Jerseys, and Kevin has gone wild and worn a hat!

I was also a little bit sickened by some of the photos, which were aimed at a very young fan base, in which the “Boys” were shirtless and all greased up:

A greasy Kevin.

An even greasier Howie. Gross.

But I guess the above photos were nothing compared to the “Quit playing Games With My Heart,”music video, a hit for the BSB that this sticker album miss-identifies as “Quit Playing Games With My Heat.”  In the video, the boys stand around in a park singing, and when it starts to pour rain, they passionately rip their shirts off in lovelorn anger, then writhe around in the rain sensually touching their chests and hair while pouting at the camera and waggling their hips around.

And now, as promised, here are some ideas, courtesy of the Backstreet Boys, on how to avoid looking awkward in photos by finding something natural and comfortable to do with one’s hands:

Idea: Flash gang symbols of gangs you are not affiliated with. They totally don’t mind

Idea: Make one “gun” with each hand, and point them at the camera.

Idea: Make one “gun” with your hand, stretch your arm towards the camera, and point it down

Idea: Cross your arms but squeeze one bicep with the opposite hand

Idea: Reach one hand out towards the camera, low in the frame.

Idea: Reach out with one hand towards the camera, a little higher this time

Those are just a few ideas to get you started, but there were many more.  If you get stuck, contact me and I’ll email you some more Backstreet Boys approved ideas for hand and arm gestures in photos.

I would love to know what you guys think.  Did any of you out there have this sticker book, or one of the many others like it?  I know that they had sticker books of this type for all sorts of things, animals, cars, Barbie.

Were any of you BSB fans who are still willing to admit it?  If so, who was your favorite?  I’d especially like to hear from you Howie or AJ fans out there.  What allowed you to see past their many obvious flaws, to find them a place in your heart?  Is this sticker album finally so bad it’s good or should I lock it away somewhere for another 15 years?

P.S, does anyone out there have doubles of sticker numbers, 77, 93, or 135?  A friend of mine needs them to complete her album.

Lady Heart’s Portfolio: Period Pin-Ups

18 Jun

I recently created a painting series/installation that juxtaposed the products, messages and imagery of both the pad/tampon companies, and the pornography industry in order to make a comment on the ridiculous, misguided, sanitized and patently false ideas that both have marketed to the public in regards to women’s bodies, sexuality and real experiences.  Though this is a serious topic, my intention was to use humour to highlight the common absurdity in what these two industries have created.  The following is a bit long, but I think the paintings need a bit of explanation in order for you, my dear readers, to see what a good artist I am.  No, seriously though, you should read it.

My work consisted of five paintings of pin-up type photographs of women painted onto the colourful,  and wonderfully smooth and matte  surfaces of menstrual pad wrappers.

This project was inspired by a few, seemingly unrelated things.  The paintings were inspired by and created in reference to a deck of  nudie cards I had that is from the 80s.  The pictures on the deck were laughable, consisting of  preposterous scenarios, (like taking a naked sponge bath while sitting bare assed on a bale of hay) and sexual cliches that have little to nothing to do with the true nature of women’s sexuality (laying on the ground in ecstasy while spraying one’s naked body with a hose, standing or sitting around topless squeezing one breast between thumb and fingers, and just awkwardly posing with no bra or panties, but wearing long gloves, pearls and/or brimmed hats.)

Let’s all take a look at what I mean here for a sec.  And keep in mind these are here for artistic purposes only, and I will not be posting anymore nudity or pornography.   I’ve already attracted some wierdies with that post about pantyhose packages I did a while back that gets multiple views everyday and is always in my Google search terms stats, which show the keywords people have used to get to this blog.

There’s really nothing more relaxing, or sensual that sitting naked in some hay, am I right? Ladies, I know you must be nodding your heads in agreement out there. Plus, the immaculate environment provided by animal bedding and feed creates an excellent opportunity to bathe, obviously.

How did she even hold that pose? Look at it, its a semi-squat in high-heels, each foot on a different stair, and you know that water is making the ground slick.

The cards weren’t really sexy, they were more just…confusing than anything.  Anyways, I got thinking about how the tampon and pad companies also portray women’s bodies and reproduction and sexuality in a distorted way.  I think we’ve all seen the commercials that have women cartwheeling around in white pants, or the ones where the whole message and design of the product is based around concealing one’s use of pads and tampons, and by extension, the occurrence and existence of one’s menstrual cycle.

I decided that the pad wrappers as a canvas would be a good way to bring together the two industries, the tampon/pad companies, and the pornography world.  The name of the product says it all, “Sanitary Napkins” , a product that is meant to sanitize, for the wearer, and the public, the realities of female reproduction, an issue that is also “sanitized” in pornography and the like, where birth-control, pregnancy and menstruation are completely out of the picture. I also liked the pad wrappers because the way they open, in three sections, is very much like the centre-folds in adult magazines like Playboy.

So many of the pad and tampon advertisements focus on cleanliness, freshness, like the white bleached cotton of the pads and tampons and the clean looking mystery blue liquid stand-in for blood, two things that don’t exactly match women’s experiences I’ll bet.

Another element that helped gel this whole concept was the following.  I laughed out loud when I saw this sticker on a truck stop bathroom tampon machine, which succinctly summed up the gist of the marketing message the companies try to sell women about the freedom and benefits of their products:

Large sticker from truck stop bathroom tampon dispenser. Are you seeing the hilarity?

The image at the bottom is of a woman in an old fashioned long dress with a scarf, standing on the edge of a cliff in front of the ocean, the breeze whipping at her face and through her scarf, the sea spray misting her face; the freshness must just be unbelievable for this woman.

Isn’t the sticker relatable ladies?  I mean, a new tampon while on pit-stop from a long car ride is about as refreshing as the ocean breeze, no?  I presented this sticker along with the series of paintings, to punctuate the disparity between tampon marketing and reality.

And now, finally, here are the paintings, which range in size from 5 to 12 inches:

“The Hose Pose” Girls: have any of you done this in an attempt to seduce someone? If you’ve answered “yes,”  I don’t believe you.

I always thought cold showers brought the sensuality down to zero, but perhaps this is some sort of hot water hosing.

I love that it looks like her skirt just blew forward.

“Ooops! Tee hee!”

I thought the card that the painting below was based upon, depicted a very odd pose.  I guess it was supposed to be sexy, the woman touching her breast in a come-hither kind of way, but it just looks stupid to me, like she’s squeezing her breast like “honk, honk!”

honk honk!

And this next one, check out the “outfit,” and why is she posing like that?  The only time a person might do that pose in their life, is with a bat in one hand while posing in the front row for the baseball team group photo.

She didn’t even co-ordinate her shoes to her clothes. God!

And lastly, there’s this one, which I guess is the least absurd conceptually:

I hope you have enjoyed another look at my eclectic art portfolio, and that you are pleased with these paintings and the accompanying sticker.   Laughs aside, I think we’ve all learned a lot today about the false images of female sexuality, bodies and reproduction.  This is a series that I hope to expand upon with more paintings.  The pad wrappers are a wonderful surface to paint on.  I love the smooth, velvety texture, and the white tabs at the top are perfect to hang them.  Try making some of your own feminist, political art today!  I think you’ll find feminism is a popular topic that everyone is always eager to hear more about!  Menstruation too.

Tip for budding artists: Take a picture of your work while it is installed in the gallery.

Bonus:  Two pictures of public art (ie: vandalism) found in the same public bathroom, weeks apart:

The bathroom tampon machine: A veritable roundtable for relevant political discourse

And here’s a statement I think we can all enjoy

Lady Heart’s Portfolio: Coney Island Colour

6 Jun

I recently spent a few days in NYC and while there I went to Coney Island.  I was so charmed by the old fashioned rides, games and amusements which must be completely unchanged since the 50s or 60s at least.  The colours, the food, the old fashioned aesthetic, it was beautiful.  I thought I had read somewhere that Disney has, or intends to buy Coney Island and Disnify it, which, if true would be a national, nay, international tragedy that must be prevented! Check out my photos, they show an amusement park that that has more charm, more authenticity and more artistic value than any Disneyland could ever have.

This is the sign they have at all of the park entrances

The fishing game. I used to have a miniature magnetized version of this.

The decorative top of an old fashioned merry go round

A picture of the giant Ferris wheel, dubbed “Wonder Wheel”

The “Wonder Wheel” and the corner of the sign that runs the top perimeter of the bumper car arena.

I took a number of pictures of the bumper car sign. I am very drawn to colour and I just loved this sign.

The corner of the little snack shop, which had delicious churros and popcorn, among other treats.

The candy apples from the above pictured snack shop. To me they were works of art, like plastic sculptures.

They had classic carnival games, like this one, where you shoot the water pistol at the clown’s mouth to pop the balloon above it. The clown heads were great, their pastel colours dreamily faded by the summer sun. This game was packed with players. At all of the games I watched, the person shooting at clown number 14 won.

It’s almost perverted when you think about it. Or is that just me? Scratch that last thought

These were some of the prizes you could win at the clown game, but everyone I saw who won picked the stupid smurf dolls or the other recognizable commercial characters. I was like “Nooo! You stupid, get the pink dolphin or one of the miscellaneous googly-eyed puffs above it.”

See, now isn’t that preferable?

After seeing these prizes the smurfs were dead to me.

They also had a few of those “strong arm” game machines that test one’s strength. This one was my favorite; it had some stupid frothing meat-head guy (not pictured) flanked by two girls, this blond one being my favorite.

I love her ecstatic expression and wild, tacky make-up. I also love that her pose makes it appear that she has plunged her hand inside her head. I wondered what they were made of. A composite material, I guess.

This was the girl on the other side of meat-head guy on the game. Good, but not as great as the blond because her expression is so mild.

This is the display of another strength testing game where the player squeezes together the horns of a bull head that protrudes below this scale. The hand moves up the categories written on the fan to give the player their rating.

The pink front of a pinball game

An old horse ride of the type you used to see outside grocery stores. I love its expression and ergonomic posture.

There was a second clown game, further into the park, but strangely it was empty where the other one was full. These clowns where much more garish.

This was the giant eye of a cyclops monster head that loomed large at the entrance to a spooky house type ride. The eye looked back and fourth ceaselessly, a red light flashing from within through a broken spot in the centre. I was charmed by the decay of the rides and displays, it made things seem sort of sinister, but also earnest and authentic, and I was glad they hadn’t tried to make everything perfect.

This was from a souvenir stand where you could have your picture taken and have it printed on a button, key-chain, mirror, or these colourful felt posters that had cheesy backgrounds. I had a pink sparkly plastic key-chain made with my photo on one side and this image in the back, accompanied by the words “You and I forever”, but what I really wanted was to buy some of the sample souvenir photos he had, which were so great.

I loved this girl’s photo. She posed with much more flair than I achieved. Your choice of background was either this wicker chair, or an airbrushed scene of a rainbow and waterfall, which I chose.

This girl was also looking good in the wicker chair. I thought she was really cute and I liked that it said “Girl’s just gotta have fun” at the bottom

This girl is pictured in front of the same background as I was, which was charming in it’s crudeness.

This couple’s poster was my favorite. See how years of being exposed to the sun has made their faces look extra colourful and almost iridescent? I should have asked, no, begged him to sell it to me. Just one of the many regrets I have to live with in my life.

My most favorite part of the visit though, was this automaton fortune teller. “What does Grandma say?” It invites you to find out. When you put in a quarter she sort of rocks back and fourth a little bit, and her hand sweeps across the table, over her tarot cards.

This thing must be very old. The detailing is amazing, her hoop earrings, the diamante pin the wears in the centre of her collar, and her wrinkled, weathered face. I was really magical and wonderful.

Look at her jewelry and old fashioned blouse. It was a little hard to get good pictures because it was under a partition that was lit, so there were many reflections on the glass.

This booth was actually right next to that “Zoltan” or whatever-his-face-is, the genie fortune teller booth seen in the movie “Big” with Tom Hanks.  When I saw that this awesome grandma one was right next to it (and was probably even there first) I couldn’t believe that the movie used that stupid Zeutroy or Zantam guy instead of Grandma!  This thing is way more mystical and magical that the stupid genie, and don’t you think that the female, especially the older female mystic seems way more powerful than some guy in a stupid feathered hat?  Look at the pictures of her hands, and you’ll see the mystery and magic that’s there.

Her delicate, wrinkled hands move across the cards…

And the best part was her eyes, which were both broken and rolling back into her head.  It was very spooky and unnerving, like she was haunted.  It was really strange and powerful to look at her and watch her move, it was like seeing a ghost, or a dead person come to life.

Her smile and crazy eyes…she has seen a lot inside that booth. There’s a wavelength of energy you can tune into at this booth, I’m serious. Not very many people seemed interested in her. I was able to stay and photograph and put coins in for a long time.

I hope you have enjoyed these photos of Coney Island, dear reader, I was a magical place, really magical, more so than anything Disney could ever create.  Go to Coney Island and see what Grandma has to say…