the magic shoot

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This is, hands-down, my favorite photo spot ever. Ever ever ever. I don’t use it very often, because variety and all, but every time I do, my shots come out looking baller and a half. Witness: here, here, and here. (Also witness: how long my hair has gotten! I stopped cutting it last year just before Halloween, and I can’t wait until it’s long enough for fancy Victorian updos.)

But seriously, this place. I live in an old mill town, and though most of the mills & attendant waterways have been refurbished, to serve as museums or shopping malls, a few have been left to crumble. This is one of them. It’s well enough preserved that I don’t feel like a bull in a china shop, but rundown enough to be interesting. There’s something ineffable here. The light is always perfect and the air is always crisp and I never get flustered or frustrated or drop my camera. Everything just…flows here.

My dress is vintage via Rusty Zipper. I’ve worn it on the blog before, but I’ve since modified it. I didn’t care for the original ’70s-tastic sleeves. My shoes are men’s loafers I dug out of a thrift-store dollar bin, and they are seriously the most comfortable shoes I have ever worn. You ever find something so comfy that wearing it in public feels like cheating, like you’re just waiting for everyone to notice you’re actually wearing pajamas? Yeah, these shoes. They’re practically slippers.

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Dress: vintage, via Rusty Zipper

Hat: old & beloved

Everything else: thrifted

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the devil’s carnival

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…is a movie I have not yet seen, and I am quite frankly surprised my goth friends haven’t disowned me yet.

Seriously, though, carnivals and circuses are so…unsettling. Without even trying. It’s not the “creepy clown” archeypte; that’s never really done much for me, honestly. I think it’s the fact that these whole worlds, these insular, glittering universes, can be packed up and whisked away at a moment’s notice. Makes you wonder why they’re leaving in such a hurry.

Incidentally, has anyone else noticed that a lot of bloggers seem rather, uh, fixated on Disney World? It seems to cut across genre lines, honestly: almost every “big” blogger I follow has done some kind of Disney post. I’m not sure whether “people who enjoy fashion blogging” and “people who enjoy Disney World” are categories with a lot of natural overlap, or whether it’s more of a status thing. Who knows?

I do know that I, personally, find Disney World more than a little weird. I read a lot of conspiracy theories and r/truecreepy, and while I’m not sure how much of it I believe, I certainly believe enough to put me off theme parks for basically ever.

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victoriana

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This was supposed to be a steampunk outfit, but it ended up more “1940s train traveler”. Ah well. I love it anyway. And what better to pair it with than this short story? It’s sort of based on Chekhov’s “The Bet”, which I read when I was 10 and which proved very formative to my literary sensibilities.

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Let me first whet your palate with the mention of Dr. Lucius von Schroeder. It is with a bowed head and a mist in mine eye that I recount his fate. Not I, nor the beings ingrained within this volume, shall pass judgment should you choose to turn your dear faint head away.

Von Schroeder was only a boy. I shouldn’t have nursed his whims so. Then again, bravado had thrilled him since his first beard. It was writ epic in his nature. Who was I to stand in his God (or whomever)-given way?

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Von Schroeder craved beginnings and feared their ends terribly. He spoke of new dawns and advances yet unseen with besotted rapture. I don’t think his early days in the seminary had ever really quit him. He spurned the Church too vocally, too frequently, as though expunging whatever kernel of faith yet remained. He swore fidelity to science through and through, but I knew better. One night, when the walls seemed thin as ash and wind whipped our meager quarters, I heard the young man pray.

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How life itself ran riot through him! “Ashes to ashes,” he crowed. “Why, you and I are naught but stardust. Think of all we’d accomplish by truly realizing such infinite life. What is a man but his insistence on his own humanity? O, but what wonders we could channel if we’d stop clinging so.”

Lucius lusted faithfully after the ends of the earth. His need for transcendence, for taxonomy greater than his in creation’s kingdom, seemed to dog him with equal parts arousal and anxiety. Were I an insect, carrying discernment in the pads of my feet, I’d have seen the struggle writ subtle on his keen face. The epic of a man who’d abandoned God wrestling his own desire for holiness.

I watched him grow fevered and fevered further. I heard his prayers that weren’t prayers, whispered below breath as he worked. I didn’t recognize his deities. I did not understand his crosses to bear. In his private moments, he stood at a crux between two worlds I would never know.

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I was blind to what truly lay before me until the day my ward summoned me to his bedside. He was pale, but far from enervated; he was lit, incandescent, by the same godforsaken stardust that gripped him so. It hit me: he’d been a little less man each day. A little more spirit. Lucius was ash and wind and his own corner of Armageddon. He wasn’t meant for this world.

“My boy?”

“Professor Crowe, I’ve long known what I have to do. When you return to work, you’ll find your arsenic depleted. Once I have gone, please replace it with any money my earthly possessions will fetch you. It’s the least I can offer. But in the time I have left, there’s one thing I need.”

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He paused. Theatrics always did run deep in Lucius. “Collect my final breath, Professor. Let it ferment. Let whatever cursed thing called me home finally show its face. I will not live to see what multitudes I truly contain.

But you will.”

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I buried a man half my age with a heart twice as heavy. I drafted notes to his family only to remember he had none. The hastily corked bottle containing his final earthly statement dogged me all the while.

And then, my friend, my dear blameless boy, I let it go.

That little carafe exhaled your remains into a world never meant for them. I felt the air itself recoil. And I hung my head in shame.

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But what else would I have done? For all my dedication to this world’s more sordid wonders, I was cowed by something so ineffable. You see, I hunt the darkness in corners long forgotten. I was not prepared to find it in man.

~

Dress & jacket: vintage, via brick-and-mortar store

Boots: vintage, via eBay

Everything else: thrifted

mabon queen

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Late summer/early fall is my absolute least favorite time of year. There’s something so…I want to say “dysphoric” about it. The mind has already rocketed full-steam into Halloween!space, but the matter is slow to follow. All I want is a huge sweater and a cauldron full of squash. Is that so much to ask?

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Despite the punishing temperatures, though, my beloved Nightmare Vermont is holding auditions tonight, so I had to dress for the occasion. It’s so strange that the Halloween season is just beginning for the general public, while my cohorts and I have been working since, oh, April.

I’m not auditioning for an acting role, though. Not this year. I’m already doing costumes for both Nightmare and its new sister production, Spookyville, plus helping write the script for the latter. This year I’d like all my work to be done ahead of time, so on show night I can actually maybe relax a little. And not get the flu like last year.

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apples & (righteous?) rage

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Yesterday I was informed by someone on tumblr that creative anachronism (encompassing vintage fashion, historical reenactment, Gatsby parties, etc.) is “intrinsically bigoted, mainly racist. This seems pretty obvious to me. Like white people romanticizing the Jim Crow era? It’s disgusting.”

First of all, I know, I know: I brought it on myself by frequenting tumblr. (Shut up, there’s good fanfic there.) But seriously, I could not let this go un-debunked.

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I, as a lover of ‘20s and ‘50s aesthetics, am not romanticizing the Jim Crow era. I’m culling specific aspects of those decades to take pleasure in, and that is a very salient difference. I’m baffled by the argument that merely existing adjacent to oppression is enough to damn a particular art form. “These clothes/this food/this style of entertainment was popular in a time when people believed messed-up things about race and gender; therefore, appreciating them is tantamount to expressing those beliefs yourself.”

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No. It doesn’t work like that. First of all, that’s called the fallacy of association, and we all know how I feel about logical fallacies. But more importantly – by that logic, I can’t very well enjoy anything at all, can I? Every era, including this one, has had its despots, its bigotries, its injustices of every size. Everything is tainted by some hand or another. But every era, including this one, also has real beauty and wonder and pockets of progress.

Just as I refuse to take the bad with the good, I also refuse to throw away the good along with the bad. Think about how culturally barren we’d be if we tossed everything of less-than-pure origin. Henry Ford was a Nazi apologist, but I’m still gonna keep riding in cars.

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And if I’m being even more cynical, it just feels like another way of telling people, especially women, that our physical appearance is all you need to know about us. That you can effectively gauge my worldview, my values, my desires, my aptitude for social progress based on what I’m wearing. A miniskirt doesn’t mean I’m asking to be assaulted; a medieval dress and liripipe don’t mean I want to own serfs; a garish Victorian hat doesn’t mean I shouldn’t be allowed to vote. You’d know that if you bothered to listen to my words rather than letting fabric speak for me.

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autumnalia

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We’re having a 90-degree Labor Day, but I’ve already dyed my hair, so that officially makes it autumn. I don’t care that the actual weather stubbornly refuses to bear it out; seasonal change must run on my sartorial schedule. I am officially sick of summer outfits, so it’s autumn when I say it is, dammit.

Plus, the fair had a Haunted House ride, so of course I had to take pictures there. I did not go on it, however, because I am an adult-sized baby and I hate rides. I don’t see the point in feeling physically uncomfortable for fun.

This is the second reproduction dress I’ve bought recently. I’d mentioned a while ago that much of my beloved vintage is simply falling apart, and it’s time to invest in some repro. This dress, like the cherry one before it, is from Maggie Tang, and I’m quite impressed. Both dresses are soundly constructed for their cost, and the customer service is excellent.

Oh, and my friend Kristina had her baby!! I’ll be guest-posting for her on the 9th while she takes maternity leave, so keep an eye out for that.

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cherry bomb: nymphcore edition

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So, um, as you might have noticed, all three of my cameras are currently out of commission. I swear I haven’t lost interest in this blog. Quite the opposite, in fact – I’m slavering to take pictures again. I really miss capturing myself. Every time this happens, I realize how much of my life really is conducted through snapshots. I sort of forget what I look like without outfit pictures. I forget how to live in my body. (And I got a couple of really really awesome new[old] vintage dresses that are crying out for the camera’s eye. That too.)

Luckily, I’m taking the whole lot of them into the shop today, so I should be back up and running within a week. In the meantime, have these shots that Holly took of me back in May, down by the river in the fledgling summer.

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