Tag Archives: vox hunt

Vox Hunt: Favorite Character from Alice in Wonderland – The Artful Dodgson

Lewis Carroll was born on this day in 1832. To celebrate his birthday, show us your favorite character from Wonderland.  (or Looking Glass World – aubrey's edit)

When I was very little, 'Alice in Wonderland' and 'Through The Looking Glass And What Alice Found There' filled me with delicious horror.  The words made no sense – they were blithe and mad, with twisted grammar and unheard of definitions.  And yet they were served to me as if I had to devour them like I would my every day words.  The unknown was suddenly so close:  confusing, alarming.

But I also fell into the darkness of the illustrations – as fast, as blindly as Alice did.  John Tenniel's characters were realistic, yet they were monstrous:  sneezing pigs, oysters with tiny legs, a beautifully drawn calf's head sprouting from a turtle's shell, a rabbit frantically searching for his gloves…the gallery of frights went on and on.

But the drawings were magnificent – I know that now, and I believe that I sensed it then.  The forests that housed the Jabberwocky, the Cheshire Cat…were created out of crosses and clashes of his pen, creating depths so absolute I felt as if I could reach into that page and pull one of those creatures out.

Yet, for all of these marvels, I needed to be comforted – I needed something familiar.  I think I was as relieved as Alice was when she met the Fawn:

 "Just then a Fawn came wandering by:  it looked at Alice with its large gentle eyes, but didn't seem at all frightened.  'Here then!  Here then!' Alice said, as she held out her hand and tried to stroke it; but it only started back a little, and then stood looking at her again.

'What do you call yourself?'  the Fawn said at last.  Such a soft sweet voice it had!

'I wish I knew!' thought poor Alice.  She answered, rather sadly, 'Nothing, just now.'

'Think again,' it said:  'that won't do.'

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Vox Hunt: Babe Up In Arms

Show us a picture of you when you were a baby.
Submitted by yuki.

I tweaked the title of the Hunt, so you will get some sort of idea of what kind of baby I was.  I was loud. I was demanding.  I would shriek until my face was an iridescent purple.  If I was carried out of a room leaving a single eardrum intact, it was considered a very stunning defeat.

I was fat.  I had a full head of dark hair.  And I believed in the morality of crawling:  as both expression and locomotion, it was a child's right. A right of passage, so to speak.  I investigated all aspects of crawling – backwards, forwards – until giving into society's demands and sense of shame and deciding to stand up on two legs.  I'm not sure how old I was – Mother claims I was nineteen, but I have not yet confirmed that fact.

Anyway, I will never ignore an opportunity to post my picture.  So here I am, Baby Aubrey:  demanding to know where the hell I am, and wondering if I could somehow use my eyes to get that Kodak Brownie out of my face:

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Vox Hunt: Give Thanks

Show us what you're thankful for.

 I am thankful for good times, with friends and family…

 …for fruit juggling, and pink Kool-Aid martinis.

If you don't celebrate Thanksgiving, well, on November 22 do as we do:  love your family, love your friends, and eat yourselves into a blind, stupid, stupor.

To my Vox friends – you know that if I could I'd invite you (and all pets) to the palatial Aubrey residence.  I have a feeling that we would have the most famous of times.

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Vox Hunt: Arts & Crafts – I Made Her What She Is

Show us something you made by hand.

Let me tell you about this girl.

She came from nothing.  Cardboard, glue, scraps.

She doesn't know how to behave yet.  She hasn't mastered a lady's craft.  She has no dignity.  All she wants is attention.  So she wears flamboyant colors – crimson and pink.  She demands that her seamstress, Mlle. Aubrey, use false roses, black (noir, or as she says, "no-ire') tassels and create feather headdresses and sequined camisoles.

She has no class.

But, rumor has it that she has recently come into some money, so as a result she went on some very unfortunate buying sprees.  Before Mlle. Aubrey could protest at the unfinished seams or the ragged lace sash,  she squealed with delight and tried the offending garment on:

She poses for all to see, thinking the gazes are of admiration.  No one tells her that the tastes and intuitions of an ex-chorusgirl simply won't do in proper society.  Stopping to pose in the middle of a street which is blackened and filthy, against a wall pitted with bullet holes and the skids of carriage wheels is simply vulgar.

Someone has to tell her.

Someone has to tell her that she owes her very existance to the hands-on brilliance of woofnanny and the thoughts she put into the head of Mlle. Aubrey, making her believe that she could create a lady out of a cone-shaped party hat, a xerox cutout, some stray sequins, a patch of velvet, and some paper flowers she bought at the flea market last Sunday.

But no one has to tell her that the base of her gown was purchased at 'Party Time America'.

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Vox Hunt: Photography – Favorite Photo Of Me

Show us your favorite photo of yourself.

Well, I surely like the one of myself inspecting the Christmas tree, which I posted a couple of stories away.

Then I thought of something else:

You don't see me?  I think I was hiding.

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Vox Hunt: Cold, Folded & Beautiful. And Old, Too.

Show us something (or someone) old and beautiful. 
Submitted by falcon.kmc.

And you thought I'd include a picture of myself here.  Sorry.  This evening wit takes a holiday.

I wanted to present two examples of beautifiul age.

One is from a warm city, the other stands in a cold country.  One is folded and was meant to hang from a dancer's wrist.  The other is built of cold stone and is anchored into the grouond.  One can fade and be torn.  The other can only be torn by gunpower, and if anything, as the years pass the color deepens – from standing in cruel weather, from allowing moss and ivy to encroach its walls and empty windows.

One is in my house:

 

The other is thousands of miles away:

The first item is a dance card from what must have been a simply frantic ball, held in New Orleans, on Fat Tuesday, 1915.  Thte cover is endearing:  lifelike masks meant to be held fast with ribbons of lemon silk.  A king's crown and scepter placed on a plush blue cushion.  Flowers.  Owls.  Jester's caps.  It must have been a madcap evening – what did it matter that there was a war in Europe?

Inside, the names of the committee members are telling:  J. Eugene Pierce ("Duke of Amusements"); W. McL. Fayssoux ("Duke of Trouble"); Geo. W. Clay ("Duke of Futures"); Uriah J. Virgin ("Duke of Flowers"); the Hon. Chas. O'Conner ("Duke of Chinamen").

Despite the colored ink that is begiinning to dull, and the edges showing signs that it is beginning to travel the distance of all ephemera, this card is beyond lovely.

The second item was created for war, not for dance.

Scarborough Castle was begun around 1140, when the kingship of England was still a topic of a very bloody discussion, indeed.  This fortified keep was meant to keep its lonely vigil over a threatening sea.  Rooted in the stony cliffs, who could tell if the rocks and granite of the castle walls yearned to return to the earth?

Over 500 years later, Scarborough was one of the many buildings 'slighted', as part of Cromwell's policy of disembowelilng any structure which could possibly offer protection to any Royalst intent on avenging the death of his king. 

Castle ruins represent a type of fierce fragility.  Though fire and gunpowder exploded their walls, the thousands of bricks are exposed like layers of pastry.  The cracks, the chips, the fractures are dainty details which are marvelous. 

Small, ephemeral.

Blocking out thte sky; solid and unyielding.

Some things are just ageless.

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Vox Hunt: In Costume: The 1930’s and Sher-lock and Load

Video: Show us some amazing costumes from a TV show, film, music video or performance.

I could have gone in so many directions here.  Elizabeth R., The Six Wives of Henry VIII (no leather wife-beater either, thankyouverymuch, Showtime), Upstairs, Downstairs (couldn't find Hazel's ca. 1916 black and pink gown), The Bucaneers (saw nothing of interest – sorry, Tampa Bay), Poldark (I only found video montages set to songs by Oasis and Kansas…quite blindly grotesque), The Forsythe Saga (Irene's Madame X-style red gown was too badly lit)…where to turn?

The question is WHEN.  To 1934, my babies: 'The Thin Man'.  Where everyone was dapper and divine.  William Powell in his Oxford bags, Myrna Loy in any damn thing she pleases.  There were tweeds, silks, velvets, flounces, lace and ruffles…ladies were packed into their skirts, and men's ties were knotted tighter than a hoodsman's noose. Dolly Tree, Aubrey salutes you:

Anything else?  SO much else.  Jeremy Brett and Sherlock Holmes.  The Sherlock Holmes series was Victorian perfection:  in decoration, speech and clothing – even in the historical tidbits providing illumination throughout.  Fashion details were accurate and much appreciated:  the gradual change in women's dress from the late 1880's to the teens was recognized and reflected.  Corsets and brocades gave way to blouses and the whalebone-induced S-shaped silhouette.

Jeremy Brett was a slim, taut figure of eccentric grace in his streamlined black suit.  But when in the country, fabrics were heavier, colors were lighter, the stiff tophat gave way to the soft cap and…well, I hope I've built up enough of an excuse to post my favorite Sherlock Holmes clip…ever. 

And remember, a gentleman always uses the straight left:

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Vox Hunt: Show and Tell: A Pavilion In A Million

Show us a picture of where you'd like to live and tell us why you want to live there. 
Submitted by Warhead.  

It was always my dream to live in a palace created from the mind of an overweight Prince who understood the Lush Life:

Why would I want to live there?  First, location, location, location.  The Royal Pavilion is in Brighton, East Sussex, England.  It's near the coast – you can smell the sea air, that salty spark that enlivens creativity and madness.  It's no wonder that this extravagant expanse of whimsy was built here.

In addition, each room is an example of unbridled decoration.  I want to live in a building where a silver dragon will stare at me as I eat, from its perch on the dining room chandelier.  I want my home to feature carved palmtrees and bamboo staircases.  I want to sleep in the Yellow Bow bedroom,  the walls a screaming cadmium yellow and the bed a gilded four-poster looped over with royal blue curtains.  I know that Queen Victoria didn't like this, my future home:

"The Pavilion is a strange, odd, Chinese looking place, both outside and inside. Most of the rooms are low, and I can only see a morsel of the sea, from one of my sitting room windows".

Still.  There is such scope in such a place!  Should Aubrey feel meditative, she could stroll down the Long Gallery lit by painted Chinese lanterns, bordered with peach-colored walls, painted in blue with only the flora and fauna fit for the royal eye.

Should Aubrey desire entertainment, she could repair to the Music Room, dominated by a huge chandelier which glows like an illuminated rose hanging from the ceiling, edged in gold and red: 

'The Music Room' from Nash's Views

The Royal Pavilion was the fever dream of George IV; construction was built in 1815.  This King was not particularly likeable:  he drank too much – according to his wife, Princess Caroline of Brunswick, he spent his wedding night "under the grate where he fell and where I left him".  He ate too much – his manly curves provided ample food for the satirists of the Regency Period.  He womanized – when 'Prinny' married Caroline, he was already secretly (and illegally) married to a Catholic commoner, Maria Fitzherbert.

He wasn't perfect. But he understood comfort.  He understood fashion (Caroline again:  "I ought to have been the man and he the woman to wear petticoats … he understands how a shoe should be made or a coat cut, … and would make an excellent tailor, or shoemaker or hairdresser, but nothing else").  He understood luxury. 

And he built a lovely home just for me.

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Vox Hunt: My Made In The Shades

Show us your sunglasses.

I have many endearing qualities; a new one happens to be an inability – blatant, yet insidious - to hold on to my sunglasses.  It's possible that I lost 10 pairs last year.  Which is why it really behooves me to buy only cheap sunglasses, to sort of fall in with the self-fulfiling prophecy that I'll lose track of the wretched things within months.

My current pair is not special.  And since I sat on them a few weeks ago, their outlook seems even bleaker.

But there was a time, when my sunglasses required many things of its owner:  bravery, gall, nerve:

I can't explain the white spots.  Inconsistency in the film, dandruff flying upward (I went through a couple of years when I considered shampoo bourgeois), or sharpnel from a distant squadron under orders to obliterate my shades.  The 'curtains'  might be signaling the Russians (that'll date the picture for you).

This is the young Aubrey, reclining on a sandy beach at Lake Tahoe, getting in touch with her diva side.

I believe that I am nearly sneering at the camera.  Bless my disgruntled heart.

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Vox Hunt: Two Tragic Lives

Book: Show us a great biography or memoir.

World War One was a premature, savage and unnecessary harvest of, in Wilfred Owen's words, "half the seed of Europe".  So it's ironic, horribly so - as irony often is – that it was also responsible for one of the lushest flowerings of memoir-writing English literature had ever experienced.

The authors for the most part were University-educated, well-read and sensitive to the waste and laziness of their gilt, Edwardian lives.  They not only welcomed the chance to 'do their bit', but they welcomed the war itself.  They saw it as a purgative, a cleansing agent to purify a decadent country.

This explains the exquisite tragedy of these memoirs.  Suddenly a soldier, shell-shocked into reality, he saw sights that he had never imagined in even his most barbaric dreams. 

But through it all he retained some delicacy of thought, of expression.  Which is why these works are so beautifully written, so insightful, so heart-breakingly clear and unmerciless. 

And it was this lack of mercy which held back the publication of these books.  For the most part they weren't published until the 1930's,  sufficient time to keep the angry words and incriminating memories from doing their damage.

When Edwin Campion Vaughan left for France in January, 1917, he pitied the loved ones waving their boys goodbye – realizing that "the excitement of the venture into the dreamed of but unrealized land of war, eclipsed the sorrow of parting…"  In late August he was climbing over a pile of bodies shredded by shrapnel to get to HQ's entrance, "…as I did so, a hand stretched out and clung to my equipment.  Horrified I dragged a living man from amongst the corpses."

And in the final lines of the book:  "Feeling sick and lonely I returned to my tent to write out my casualty report; but instead I sat on the floor and drank whisky after whisky as I gazed into a black and empty future."

Guy Chapman, on the other hand, had no "…romantic illusions.  I was not eager, or even resigned to self-sacrifice, and my heart gave back no answering throb to the thought of England."  Months later that realism was pounded into despair:  "We descended to primal man.  No washing or shaving here; and the demands of nature answered as quickly as possible in the handiest and deepest shell-hole."

By the war's end, he had become bitter and angry:  "Our civilization was being torn in pieces before our eyes.  England was said to be a country fit only for profiteers to live in…England had vanished over the horizon of the mind.  I did not want to see it."

I think that both of these books are pure examples of how beauty and horror can co-mingle in one life and can also occasionally create a work of memorable art.  

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