(Totnesmartin photo/Wikimedia Commons)
San Francisco’s gorgeous Conservatory of Flowers is hosting an exhibit titled “Wicked Plants,” all about poisonous plants and their place in history, from the lethal ricin-producing castor bean, to hemlock — aka “dead men’s oatmeal” (above), to white snakeroot, the weed that did in Abe Lincoln’s mom. The exhibit is named for Amy Stewart’s book “Wicked Plants: Botanical Rogues & Assassins” that tells true tales of these fearful flora. For example, in 1978, Bulgarian dissident journalist Georgi Markov was assassinated with a poke to his leg from an umbrella tipped with ricin. From the Conservatory of Flowers:
As visitors enter the exhibition, they find themselves in a mysterious, untended yard behind a ramshackle old Victorian home. Peeking through the window, it’s clear that a crime has just taken place. A man is slumped over on a table, a goblet in his lifeless hand, as the lady of the house flees in the background. Crows caw, and a rusty gate creaks. In the overgrown garden, moss covered statues rise up out of an unruly thicket of alluring plants. Beautiful flowers and glistening berries bewitch the eye, but consider yourself warned – these plants have names like deadly nightshade, poison hemlock and white snakeroot. Here lurk some of the greatest killers of all time.
“Wicked Plants: Botanical Rogues & Assassins” (Conservatory of Flowers)
We had both always wanted to build a Rube Goldberg machine but never had a good reason to and we could also never find anyone else interested in spending a lot of time and energy building a machine that is basically pointless. This was the perfect opportunity! We spent about 30 hours building it and the result is a process that lasts about 30 seconds. Time well spent, I believe.”
“Rube Goldberg Photobooth” (Thanks, Mathias Crawford!)
Vice’s Electric Independence visits the home studio of BB pals Chris Carter and Cosey Fanni Tutti, pioneering electronic music makers who have bled musical creativity since co-founding Throbbing Gristle more than 35 years ago.
Here is a delightful digitized collection of Record Guild of America Childrens Picture Records, c. 1948.
(Laura Levine photo)
New York Magazine published an interesting slideshow showing the Manhattan apartments of some well-known artists, from Robert Rauschenberg’s loft in 1953 to William S. Burroughs’s bunker, c. 1978. Flavorwire riffed on the slideshow with their own, combining their faves from the New York Magazine piece with a few from outside the Big Apple. Above, Keith Haring and Juan Dubose in their Broome Street apartment, 1983. Left, fashion designer and photo book collector Karl Lagerfeld’s living room.
The New York Apartment: The Perpetual Garret (New York Magazine)
“Creative Habitation: Inside Artists’ Living Spaces” (Flavorwire)
While visiting Ben “Bad Science” Goldacre‘s flat in London recently, he played me some fantastic cuts off a compilation LP titled “London Is The Place For Me: Trinidadian Calypso In London, 1950-1956.” This incredible music hit the global scene during the massive Caribbean migration to the UK starting around 1948. I know next-to-nothing about Calypso, but one signer I was somewhat familiar with is the famous Aldwyn Roberts, aka Lord Kitchener. (Indeed, the record Ben played me was named for Kitchener’s best-known song.) Kitchener emigrated to London from Trinidad, via Jamaica. Amazingly, just as Kitchener’s boat, the Empire Windrush, pulled into the British harbor on June 22, 1948, a journalist interviewed him about his fledgling career as a singer. As Ben said when he sent me this clip, “It’s such a great and improbable thing to have on film. Some guy, getting off a boat, who is shortly to become massively famous, singing into your BBC microphone.”
Imaginary Foundation‘s Nick Philip just IM’d me: “Would you turn your house into a billboard to be free of mortgage payments for a year?” He’s referring to the marketing gimmick/PR stunt of Ad firm Adzookie, who are looking to pay people’s mortgages in exchange for turning their homes into giant advertisements for the company. (Mock-up seen here.) They haven’t painted a single home yet, but the campaign seems to be working anyway. (Ahem.) According to CNN, the company only has $100,000 budgeted for the whole thing, so I’d imagine chances of getting chosen are slim. Anyway, to answer Nick’s question… No. I would not. “Turn your house into a billboard, get free mortgage“
Friday Freak-Out: Donovan peforms “Hurdy Gurdy Man” at L’Olympia, Paris, 1970.