Shadow, Take Me Down With You

When Zeus secretly allowed the abduction of Persephone, trafficked from a flower field and dragged to the depths of the Underworld, the terrified Earth-Mother Demeter searched the lands in agony, leaving the crops without her nourishment and attendance. Realizing the err of this arrangement as the food supply withered, Zeus demanded his daughter’s return from Hades, but the Dark Prince had another idea. His offering of pomegranate, a sacred fruit of fertility for Early World Religions, sealed Persephone to the realm. Once she savored its seeds, she was bound to return to Hades’ Hell as his wife for part of the year. Thus the mythological explanation for the Autumn and Winter was lored.

Still from Waiting for Spring, a short film depicting “the pomegranate not as a punishment as in the Greek myth but instead for it’s healing properties to help her survive and re-integrate into the world”, by environmental artist Nicole Dextras

Further interpretations of Persephone’s plight as paramour to Hades are abundant. A kid-friendly version speaks of a mother without her sunshine, the indulgence of the pomegranate perhaps was willingly broken so Persephone could live her own life, be her own person. However, many versions suggest she was sexually assaulted by Hades. The idea that she is attracted to a toxic relationship, simply embracing her sexuality, to the chains that is the contract of marriage, are all possibilities. The article Rape or Romance? questions the use of retelling these horrors, including a critique of Nikita Gill’s beautiful (but indeed fluffy) poem (below): 

via Tumblr

The Autumn Equinox (and pagan holiday Mabon) land on Tuesday September 22nd, 2020 for the Northern Hem, shortly after Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year. Both Mabon and Rosh Hashanah are introspective, reviewing the behaviors of the recent past and preparing for the future ahead. The 22nd also closes out Virgo’s reign in the Astrological Wheel, a sign which is ruled by Mercury, of Earth and symbolized by the Maiden (much like Persephone). In a moment of perfect balance, Darkness begins to encroach on the Light, and we soon enter Spooky Season. Approaching the Fall/Winter season, we have chosen to pay homage to certain archetypes within a film genre that has been abundant with shadows and fog, dark and light, danger and dreams, and of particular analytical interest:  the Femme Fatale and Damsel-in-Distress.

Cinematiste

Bound (1996), Lana and Lilly Wachowski


With the chilly autumn air creeping in around the corner, the erotic 1996 feauture film, Bound, is a worthy thriller to warm the blood with. As soon as the shock wears off from learning the Wachowski Sisters (Matrix Trilogy) wrote and directed this sexually charged lesbian neo noir, the nostalgia starts to kick in at the sound of Jennifer Tilly’s voice seducing a greased-up ex-con played by Gina Gershon (Showgirls).

We begin with a sultry introduction of the two leading ladies. Violet, the deeply unsatisfied gangster’s wife, meets the Brando-esque handy woman, Corky, in an uptown elevator. Sparks immediately fly between the two mysterious creatures and after a very steamy couch scene you start to think “this is a softcore porn”, ‘til suddenly we descend into the underworld of a violent, shocking and, at times even, offensive puzzle of money, murder and paranoia. 

While the plot thickens to viscosity with 2 million dollars on the line and one faulty twist after another, the cinematography hauls masterfully through some brilliant sequences, creating a sumptuous air around the comically macabre. Consensus says, no matter how tight you may keep your proverbial halo, this piece of cinematic diablerie is bound to have you gripping for it.

Bound is free to stream on PlutoTV. – Soph

MuseMix

Isabella Rossellini in David Lynch’s Blue Velvet

Flirting with danger, portrayed too often from the male gaze, the Femme Fatale eyes a loophole out of an oubuliette, always somehow still a Damsel-in-Distress, even when this duality is dressed wanton and ready. Yet cagey, holding cards close, she lavishes in the role, entangled to save herself, or for someone else to save her, if only (t)he(y) could see her true self. Between the lines it is read:  fear lines her feminine wiles, desperation like invisible daggers against a skintight dress. Sometimes she lurks in the shadows, pretending she is not there at all, hoping to disappear into the fog, but there is courage there, too, for without it, there is no story.

Sean Young in Ridley Scott’s Bladerunner

The juxtaposition within the women of the noir genre allows depiction of grim realism (violence, objectification), flaunting men’s capitalization of women as objects… sexual, labored… and yet for the “hero”, women are objectified, too, romantically, to provide love, light, loyalty. The relation of femme to the men (and what role she serves) is a grotesque commentary of a woman’s context in industry, the home, ownership, subject. Yet the dreamy hopes to which these characters cling, to be seen, safe, are familiar. Any decent noir film contains these complexities with a yearn for freedom, even if she’s often crafted in relation to a man’s desires, serving the plot as a derailment, counterpart to a crime, an escape or a renewal in Love itself.

Chromatics at David Lynch’s Twin Peaks Return premiere

Neon Noir showcases some of the moods and motifs of noir soundtracks, the music of smoky chanteuse, pacing mysteries, plot anxieties, dramatic seductions and tragedy. The persona of the Femme Fatale and Damsel-in-Distress has been prime in the works of David Lynch, exemplified thru the music of Julee Cruise and Chromatics. Rewind into the dark-laced synth pop that walks in rhythm with a “futuristic” future-past archetype.  The creation of robot women as political assassins or desperation alike, prominent as early as Fritz Lang’s Metropolis (1927), revisited in the romantic noir of Godard’s Alphaville (1965) (French New Wave all over the neo-noir reinvent), and furthermore into the sci-fi masterpiece of Blade Runner (1982). Queue minimal wave and beyond, a bit of drama club cadence for ushering in leather weather. – Sun

Like A Dream, Glides Away…

As known, full moons magickally function to release or heal, and the heavy Pisces haze, arriving pre-Autumn-Equinox in the harvest-season, is ripe for inner child work

Christy Lee Rogers

September’s Full Corn Moon snuggled up in dreamy Pisces early this AM at 1:22 EST tapping into our subconscious sleep sectors and creative cores alike. The deep waters of late have forced us to “go with the flow” or face an emotional pit, challenging our attachment to control and concepts around resistance and acceptance. All the more important to center oneself with solutions and kindness in mind. We are so hard on ourselves, obsessed with success and how others see us. Instead of emphasizing insecurity (a trait sprung from a wounded inner child), this is a prime time to revisit the sweetness of our true selves.

Christy Lee Rogers

As an unbiased core self that has existed since (surprise!) childhood, our creative kid selves can be a helper in the chaos. We often find our childhood dreams dismissed or diminished by social conditioning, the belittling and bullying of peers and, the biggest wound makers of all, our parents. This inner child entity exists within all of us, no matter how repressed, and usually plays out in our reactions, reluctance, shame and denial of our core joy. Quarantine has been prime time to return to our truest authenticity.

Christy Lee Rogers

Following the mysterious psyche of the feminine in 1970’s film (a la our past Museletter with 3 Women), we have another film review also set in the sweltering of summer, as we wind down the season, in the words of Sarah Helen Whitman:

“When summer gathers up her robes of glory, And, like a dream, glides away.”

Cinematiste

Picnic at Hanging Rock, Peter Weir (1975) Criterion Collection

To say Picnic at Hanging Rock leaves you in a state of bewilderment would be an understatement.                                        

Originally, the story was born as a published novel by the gothic satirist Joan Lindsay. The clever sheila neither denied nor confirmed whether the tale she scribed, involving the disappearance of five Aussie boarding school girls at an ancient geological site, had been based on true events. 

With Lindsay’s sun in Scorpio, she certainly understood the power a story keeps when an air of mystery is shrouded around it, not to mention the last chapter of the book only being released after Lindsays death.  Such a novel is ripe with potential for experimental directors such as Peter Weir, who actually had the privilege of meeting Lady Lindsay before the making of the 1975 mystery drama. While Russell Boyd’s cinematography glides us through the films epic exteriors in an artistically soft focus, Victorian fashion, the reel suddenly ends with a legacy that yearns for resolution. Certain arrangements throughout the film encompass the mystery of this antique world quite well without falling victim to the cliches of the horror genre; but a slight residue of the directors masculine “impression” of feminine expression can be felt in certain scenes. 

At first, the viewer assumes a detailed account of the haunting ordeal will reveal itself eventually, but you realize quickly the film leaves one with more questions than answers. For some, especially an American audience, the lack of an ending can seem rather off putting for the “solutions” mentality of our culture. Whereas the European arthouse crowds would possibly appreciate more the aloofness that leaves you contemplating. An element that stood out as reason to hang on was the significance of the Aboriginal origins of Hanging Rock; touching on concepts surrounding the intrusions of colonialism, the retributive forces that nature grants itself through mystical acts and the responsibility of man to accept the unknown. I recommend reading the book first and foremost, but this film is most definitely recommended as a thinkpiece to contemplate over a full glass of wine. – Soph

MuseMix

Strawberry Switchblade

Despite having an intense middle school love of The Cure, my years long musical obsession was knocked off its angelic pedestal-esqe cloud by one single song on a mixed tape by a proper LARPing corset-clad vampire goth named Victoria who so kindly wanting to educate me in the realm of Dead Can Dance and Peter Murphy’s solo stuff. Hearing “Cherry-Coloured Funk” by Cocteau Twins for the first time was some kind of freakishly ethereal awakening. Soon thereafter I acquired every single song by the group (including their Fruitopia commercials and the Christmas songs). When pressed, they are my “favorite band” even long past the teen girlhood of black eyeliner as lipstick and the most morosely goofy poetry penned at any available moment.

Book of Love

The tiptoe between goth and pop is something I’ve felt attached to regardless of age or time. Whether older (Book of Love, Strawberry Switchblade) or newer (Tamaryn, Light Asylum), the dreamy quality whether peppy or in yearn has sunk its teeth into my heart and is difficult to resist. As the Autumn approaches, SugarSpun Kisses is made of purple-pink sunsets, meddling into blazing coral, dancing in the fireflies, carefree and dreamy, with a hint of darkness as we inch towards Halloween. It is the dream in which to live romantically and fantastically. – Sun

Tamaryn from her self-directed “Angels of Sweat” music video

Late Summer Lioness in Leisure

Welcome to our Museletter, appropriately debuting alongside the 2020 Leo New Moon. 

We are living in a strange time of conflict and chaos, under a reign of terror by abuse of power,  and finding the balances of our lives having shifted dramatically under the rearrangements that have taken place due to COVID-19. When the idea for this collective began, we never imagined we’d ever experience anything of this magnitude. Ironically, we have found that quarantine has solidified our need for creative expression, though not assuming it would be riddled with bullets, wake-up calls and war on the people… Our world is in pain. 

Perhaps our little corner is of escapism, eating glitter limes and strawberry-coated, rainbow-sprinkled fairy cakes, perhaps also the stringing silver bubbles in the forest trees. We were typically happy, most always content, but not unfamiliar to our own ails:  confessionals, ego bloodletting, medication, mental yoga. All happy femmes need outlets, all happy femmes have hatreds.

Let it be known, we are real. And by real, we are messy. We are not perfect. We may like our things raspberry or coffee-flavored and prefer heavenly or robotic sounds from one day to the next. Akin to the mysteries of the misters, we can wear a business suit under ballroom gowns. We make weapons of ballpoint pens, size 17 knitting needles or a 1960’s Asahi Pentax, shit brand guitar catastrophes, bouts of catty fatalism, lovechild optimism or a happy wok. We will likely infographic runes & then review The Penal Colony. That’s just how we roll. 

We like baking, sleeping, dreaming, collaging (and other such things involving scissors and glue), crafting head dresses and crowns, playlisting arrays of obscure music, parce screen printing, reading (especially children’s literature, feminist philosophy, fairy tales, satires and poetic goddess sprung pieces), design, film, vigilence, bedroom dancing, park visitation, friendships, bicycles, portrait taking…

Perhaps this little nook has been scratched out in the yard with a stick. This is us as a worm, snuggling into earth caves, not solely to drain inner disturbances, the lunacy of moon’s tide and heartaches heavier than brick (though non-elephantine). We want to share our exploration into the future with a heavy appreciation of and look into the past.

Please be aware of the ridiculous, the fresh, the sweet, the sting, the depressed, the embarrassing, & the joyous. A thanks to you who have arrived, who’ve taken moments to pause and view the material. There is much more to come.

Your grateful hostesses,

Sun + Soph

Review:  3 Women (1977) – Robert Altman

Starring Shelley Duval, Sissy Spacek, and Janice Rule

There is something to say about a film that can keep you fully creeped out with no overuse of blood and gore. Between the jarring tones of ominous flutes to the puzzling analogies of the feminine condition (water being a constant rune throughout the film), 3 Women leaves you in a state of unsettled daze. Rumor is the 1977 psychological thriller by the prolific Robert Altman is a script derived entirely from a dream. Not only was 3 Women manifested in the lucid kingdom, it was also never written into a proper screenplay, simply 50 pages of treatment filmed according to daily improvised scenes written by Altman and Patricia Resnick. 

Altman does an excellent job of connecting his audience to the human behavior of his characters through colors, strangely banal dialogue, subliminal choices in cinematography and most importantly through the casting of Shelley Duvall, Sissy Spacek and Janice Rule. Shelley Duvall walked away as “Best Actress” at Cannes for her role as the garrulous priss, but Sissy is hard to forget as she naturally transforms, so believably, from the sheepish, furtive teen to the sultry kitten and back again. Janice Rule awakens the beguiling spirit of the film, pregnant with a scoundrel’s child, yet portraying the strongest female energy of the 3 Women

If you’re looking to get lost in a peculiar vortex of ethereal feminine nuance while drinking a beer in your quarantine pants, this would be the choice.  – Soph

Spotifly

Since lockdown began mid-March, it’s been difficult to listen to sad songs. 

Continuing to observe safety measures/social distancing as we approach Fall, our music choices have HEAVILY leaned towards the cornball category. Queue Earth, Wind and Fire’s “September”. Amid the heartbreak of our everyday American news, the grooves of 1970’s mellow-pop offer only a temporary relief, but nonetheless have been of particular interest in our rotating playlists.

Mom & Pop Rock compiles the hits of the 1970’s, especially popular with Stevie Nicks margarita moms and boosting the genre best known as “dad yacht rock”. 

As the sweat and stench of late summer lingers, the weirdlings of “back-to-school” (ahem, Virgo) energies and a yearn for the Autumnal, turning towards the posi-nostalgic-wonder of slick soul, funk and folk pop mash-ups finds the zap of the Stupid Daystar (a.k.a. the Sun) much more bearable. Mom & Pop Rock is our primo playlist for these 1970’s smooth moods (not that we have ever existed within that decade). You’ll find plenty of boho-hits from the likes Fleetwood Mac to the lovey-dovey of the late Bill Withers, ushering in the remainder of the Summer season with a smooth groove. – Sun

Asmrtist

A great explanation of today’s Leo New Moon, especially as it relates to the upcoming Mars Retrograde, with a meditation + mantras by the amazing Alina Alive. Please check out her YouTube channel and Instagram for more amazing content.