Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Steampunk photoshoot

On October 15th I joined my friend, alternative model Joan V, for a steampunk themed photo shoot. I was honored that she asked me along, as I've never done a shoot like this before. The photographer Ailisa Dyson is very talented, and not afraid to climb over things or get down on a dusty floor. Check out her excellent work Here, and Joan V's work Here.
The shoot was at an antique store located in a turn of the century building. The first floor was the main shop, but we decided to shoot on the second floor which was filled with chairs and tables. One room appeared to of been an old masons lodge, with strange paintings on the wall. We had a great time, and I was pleased with the results. My fave photos are below. :)

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Friday, October 21, 2011

Halloween in the Victorian Era

With one of my favorite holidays fast approaching, I thought I'd write a bit about Halloween in the Victorian era. (In this present era, I am somewhat prepared with candy, but cannot decide on a costume).

Halloween has it's origins in the ancient Celtic holiday of Samhain. For the Celts the new year started on November 1, and it was believed that the night before this, was a time when the veil between the worlds of the living and the dead were the thinnest. It was a night when the spirits of the dead would wander about and one could communicate easier with them to divine the future. The holiday was celebrated with bonfires, and parades, with people dressing up as animals or wearing masks, to trick the wandering spirits. Food and a lit candle were also left on doorsteps to feed the visitors from the other side.
Later the church tried to Christianize the holiday by turning November 1 into All Saints Day and November 2 into All Souls Day. Instead of leaving food out as offerings to the dead, people were encouraged to give the food to the poor. The custom of giving out small cakes to the poor, called "soul cakes" was developed, and it is believed that this is the origin of trick or treating.

During the later half of the 19th century, many of the Victorians tried to de-emphasize the creepy or spooky aspects of Halloween and make it more cutesy, as you can see by these not scary at all costumes below.

There were still those that loved the scary side, but for most it was at time to hold parties with a harvest type theme, with parlour games and dancing. A popular game was the Halloween pudding. The host would bake a fruit cake with five objects hidden inside - a ring, a coin, a thimble, a button and a key. At 9pm the oldest person would cut the cake in silence and give out the pieces. It was believed that the first words spoken after the cake was cut would be prophetic for the year. Whoever got the piece with the ring would marry that year, the coin would be wealthy, the button meet their love, the key go on a journey, and the thimble be an old maid/bachelor.

Another game that had a few variations, was one where single women would go alone into a darkened room with a mirror and a candle. They would take an apple with them and try to peel it all in one piece, or slice the apple. It was believed your true love's face would appear in the mirror. If you were going to die that year, a skull would appear.
There was also a game where young women would go one by one into a dark room with a chest of drawers with boxes in them. They would be told that the room was haunted, and they would have to go into the room in silence and collect a box from the drawer without screaming (apparently women back then screamed easily). The box was filled with party favors for the guest. It doesn't sound scary to me, but maybe if you had a great ghost story it might be more fun.

So what are your plans for celebrating the most spooktacular holiday of the year?

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Sunday, October 16, 2011

Hanzel und Gretyl show

Last night I went out with friends (and a date - which lovely, by the way) to see industrial metal act Hanzel und Gretyl, who were playing at Ozzy's in Winnipeg. I was excited to see them in such an intimate venue! Last time I saw them was when they opened for Ministry, back in 2005.

Not only was the venue smaller, but the band had less people in it than last time to. It was just the two founding members performing, Kaizer Von Loopy and Vas Kallas. Not that I minded, but I still like the sight of a full band playing. Despite the smaller scale the show was excellent! I was happy they played my fave songs by them, including SS Deathstar Supergalactic, and Fikk Dicht Mit Fire. They band seemed to be having fun to, getting people to come drink out of a boot on stage
during Das Boot.

YouTube Video

I apologize for the quality, it's not the greatest camera phone. But still, it shows boot drinking!

YouTube Video

At the end of the show, they played a disco song and people got on stage and danced! Hilarious! The band was also kind enough after the show to take photos with fans and sign autographs. It was definetly A fun night!

Me, Phoebe, and Kaizer Von Loopy.

I have to send a big shout out to the Elysium Social Club for arranging the show. It's great we have such dedicated people in our local community!

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Thursday, October 13, 2011

Thanksgiving and pies!

This past weekend I went to my parent's place in the country to celebrate Thanksgiving. For those of you in the US I know your Thanksgiving isn't until the last Thursday in November, but in Canada it is celebrated the second Monday in October. This is because it is more of a general celebration of thanks for the harvest and is not connected to the landing of the Pilgrims which our friends in the States celebrate. And because our growing season is shorter (winter comes early up here my friends).

A Victorian Thanksgiving card

The first celebration of thanks held in Canada was in 1578 when the English explorer Martin Frobisher, who was looking for the Northwest passage, celebrated his safe landing. Later in the early 1600s and onwards, the French settlers celebrated autumn feasts giving thanks for the harvest, though there was no fixed date for this. It apparently was both a European and Native custom to hold these end of harvest feasts.

In the 1700s and 1800s thanksgiving feasts were held to celebrate everything from the 1763 English victory over the French in the Seven Years War, the uniting of Upper and Lower Canada in 1841 and the recovery of the Prince of Wales (who became Edward VII) from illness. Any excuse for a big meal I say!
It is also important to note that Americans also influenced Canadian Thanksgiving when many Loyalists moved to Canada after the American Revolution bringing their traditions with them.

In the early 1900s the government set the first Monday in November as Thanksgiving. With the celebration of the end of World War I, Armstice Day (later Remembrance Day) falling on November 11, many thought the two dates were too close. Thus in 1957 Canadian Thanksgiving was moved to the second Monday in October.

So above is my contribution to the Thanksgiving feast (I made two). Yes I did make the filling from scratch, though I did cheat on the pastry (thanks Pillsbury). It actually turned out pretty good! I have some extra pumpkin too, so I think I might make a loaf.
So what are your Thanksgiving/fall traditions?

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Sunday, October 2, 2011

Monthly Theme Post - Lace

Once again it's time to participate in Victorian Kitty's monthly fashion theme. Check out her blog and the other participants Here

This month the theme is lace. I must admit, I don't own a lot of lace items, but do enjoy the few I do have. I had the opportunity to get dolled up last night, so put my fave lace top on and my good friend Richel took some photos. I apologize for the cell phone picture quality. We went out last night to Nuit Blanche at the Winnipeg Art Gallery. It's an event where various galleries, museums, and cultural institutions are open all night. Basically, there's a bunch of artsy parties around the city. It's loads of fun. Plus Richel got a fab new job, and we needed to celebrate!

Top -heavy red, with corset from La Vie on Rose

Back view

Richel also me kudos on the stockings.

The evening was great fun. The place was packed and there were musical performances - DJs, a mariachi band, and activities. Plus wine food and art, how could you go wrong.

Richel and I made original artwork.

Some random people in costumes.

Me and the fabulous Miss La Muse. She's a super talented burlesque dancer and model. And an awesome person to boot. Check out her blog Here

Party on the WAG rooftop.

Mariachi Ghost - a mariachi band with a Day of the Dead theme.

All in all a great evening. Now to recovering. I'm looking forward to reading the other monthly fashion theme posts. :)

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