The Hang Fire Books Blog

The rantings of a bookdealer in Brooklyn, New York.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Surreal + Erotic Marionettes (NWS)

Like Hans Bellmer and George Grosz drawings come to life! Not sure if these are technically marionettes, automata, or both. Damn cool though
Los Grumildos are automated puppets, miniature beings that skulk about a world somewhere between Victorian dollhouse and red light district. The brainchildren of Peruvian artist Ety Fefer.... this voyeuristic experience was inspired by the characters that inhabit the shady areas of downtown Lima, Peru. Fefer creates a kind of magical world that serves as a home for these marginal creatures that tend to be rejected and despised by society. The hyperrealist details of each plasticine puppet bring out their most intimate feelings, but the narrative is left to the viewers.
This was in New York at the beginning of August. Can't believe I missed it. That's what I get for letting my RSS reader grow wild.

(link via Daily Burlesque)

Model/Actress in Afrikaans photo-novels

A reader recently left a link and comment--on one of most unexpectedly popular posts: Die Swart Luiperd--about her experience working as a model and actress in the Afrikaans photo-novels.

Dianne (above, right) was featured in the "Tessa" books (among others) about a bikini clad...spy? PI? enforcer? These bikini-babe titles (particularly the Tessa books) were derogatorily referred to as "Poes Boekies" (which translates exactly as you'd guess) by the readers.

She gives this account of a typical shoot:
Most of the filming was done at Republican Press in Mobeni, Durban. They had a separate section which was used for photo stories and they had various "sets" arranged. We had a jail, operating theatre, doctors office etc.

On the whole, it only took a morning to shoot the entire book. We used to get there by 08h30 and were finished between 12h00 and 14h00 depending on your part in the book. [We would] bring 3 day outfits, 1 evening outfit and a bikini [and] all of us were quite adept at changing in the back of the Combi!.... It was a good laugh to go through the books when they were published and see all the mistakes that were made!
Visit Dianne's page. She also mentions an intriguing sounding documentary entitled "The Glow of White Women":
which looks at white women in the Dark Continent and focuses on the forbidden sexual desires of blacks and whites under Apartheid.... The film is put together using images from vintage magazines, the covers of pulp novels, anatomical drawings and family photographs, as well as archive news footage, South African tourism promotional films and commercials for skin whitening creams.
I'd be curious to see this if anyone can point me at a torrent.

Thanks for the info and pics Dianne!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Eaton Awful Food Jigsaw Puzzles

I was going through my game closet the other day--trying to make some room--and I pulled out my collection of Eaton puzzles. I hadn't looked at these in a while so I thought I'd share.

I found my first Eaton at a yard sale ("Good Morning!"). This was a jigsaw puzzle featuring fantastically bad photography of dangerously unrefrigerated food so, of course, I bought it immediately.

Putting it together I asked myself questions like "Is this part of the gristle near to that gluey milk puddle?" or "Should I sort out all of the mushy cereal pieces and work on those first?". I have a fairly weak stomach so this was a race between my gag reflex and compulsion to finish.

After "Good Morning!" I was hooked and tracked down 9-10 more on eBay (6 of which were classics).

There's "ethnic" food via 1980s mall food court ("Oriental Chow", "Chili Today-Hot Tamale!"), quaintly obscene melted pastel confections ("Oh Fudge!"), venereal potatoes ("Stuffed Spuds"), and train wrecks of meat ("Deli Fare").

("Deli Fair" even features a handy diagram on the reverse so you can tell that the block of...what looks like the stuff they cleaned out of the wood-chipper at the end of Fargo, is actually head cheese.)

Last night Alice and I sat down with "Oh Fudge!". We choose to do it with dinner for some reason and as always it was Eatonic. I was reminded that these are actually really well-crafted puzzles, lots of texture and color variety, thick board stock, and bizarrely-shaped pieces that break up the standard grid layout.

Anyway they're great fall weather fun and (now that I have all I want) any jigsaw and/or kitsch fans out there should track them down.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Artists with Issues

Numerous new items in the Pulp Fiction Cover Gallery, including this gem in the "Ugly and Bizarre" category labeled with my newly minted "Artists With Issues" tag.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

New Favorite Thing

Headed to the Upper East Side yesterday to pick up my Craigslist-find Paradigm surround speakers (which rock BTW), and stopped by a thrift store that I haven't visited in a while.

Last time there I saw a great vintage wooden toy but since it was pricey--and I wasn't sure I could eBay it for more than the sticker--I let it go. In the succeeding months though I couldn't forget the thing, so I took a long shot that it might still be there.

Went in. Looked around. Didn't see it. Deflated.

I noticed the same volunteer clerk from previous and asked her about the toy. She lit up, recognized me instantly and was overjoyed that I came back since the manager wanted her to throw it away. She knew how great it was though and just stashed it in the bottom of a stuffed animal bin.

Heart-warming, no? I even got a discount.

Here it is:

A child-size rotary-phone from the Brio Company in Sweden, founded in 1884 and still active today (in fact our friend's kid has a Brio toy crane that he has to fight me for whenever we visit). It's about 3 1/2" tall, 4" wide. I can't find date information but judging by the typography on the Brio label, I'd guess mid-60s. It has a nice weight, makes a satisfying light clunking sound when you replace the receiver, and the rotary dial is spring-loaded and returns to the start position when released.

Anyway I'm keeping it. I tried using a rotary phone a few years ago and it was exhausting. We were a hardier breed back then.

I love the idea of a toy representing something that has evolved into a new form. It's original purpose was to familiarize a child with adult tools, but now it would just be mystifying. Maybe when kids visit they can pretend they're in Madmen or something.