It is Dylan Thomas 100th birthday today… or it would have been. I read ‘Do Not Go gently Into That Good Night’ at my local club to celebrate. Not sure if they were impressed, but it was important to me.
Taking authors and books…look at this, the latest item on my list of ‘Beautiful Things I Desire’:
The Library Chair was created by Alexander Love, in New York, and if you live in the USA and have 3k to spare, then you can buy one.
Now for the hardest part… the animal print or the pink?
I think I would like dusky pink velvet, like the stuff that is on the old Chaise-Longue, way down on the list of ‘Beautiful Things I Desire’ Yeah, this pink is a bit too…shiny… And maybe oak, or mahogany wood. It will need to go with the other coveted items, in my witch’s cottage in North Yorkshire. Yup – that’s on the list too.
The more I read and research the story of Little Red Riding Hood, the more obsessed I become, or is it the other way round? Anyway hunger begets hunting begets knowledge begets hunger begets…hunting begets…
A very strange and trippy movie that is supposedly the first one Walt Disney ever made, circa 1922. You can read more about the history of this 7 minute animated cartoon here.
“Little Red Riding Hood” begins rather badly. The scene is a kitchen where a zaftig mother is throwing dough into the air while a cat shoots at the dough with a rifle. As a result of the feline marksman, doughnuts get created. While this is happening, a laughing old bald man with a long white beard watches from a picture frame hanging on the wall. The man’s beard hangs out of the picture frame, which makes it unclear whether he is real or a bizarre three-dimensional image come to life.
The dough shooting seems to go on endlessly, until the cat decides to taste one of the doughnuts. He immediately gets sick and drops dead. Nine ghostly spirits parade from his body (complete with a numerical countdown in the corner of the screen) before two feline paramedics arrive to carry the corpse away.
The mother (seemingly unbothered by the death in her kitchen) calls to Red Riding Hood to deliver the doughnuts to Grandma. Our heroine goes to “Red Riding Hood’s Garage” (what?) and drives off in a car that is powered by a dog chasing sausage links hanging off a stick above his head. When the car gets a flat tire, Red inflates a doughnut with a few vigorous blows and uses it as a spare tire.
If that’s not weird enough, the wolf shows up. Forget the traditional canine villain – this wolf is a dapper male in a top hat who drives a fancy convertible. He stops and engages Red in conversation, and then he decides to take advantage of the fair lass. He drives off in a wacky short cut to Grandma’s house – at one point, his convertible careens off a cliff and the tires start flapping like wings! He gets to Grandma’s house and discovers a note on the door that says the old gal is at the movies. The wolf sneaks into the house, and when Red shows up the house literally begins to shake and jump in violent tumult.
The dog that powered Red’s car witnesses what happens and runs off for help. A handsome young aviator is standing by his airplane and the dog comes to him for assistance. The pilot and the pooch take off and lower a skyhook on Grandma’s house, causing the entire structure to become dislodged. The pilot swoops down to rescue Red while the wolf gets in his convertible to escape. However, the pilot lowers his skyhook on the wolf’s car and brings it into the air before dropping it in a lake. Red and her aerial hero begin smooching while the dog covers his eyes in embarrassment.
The people at Film Threat are pretty scathing of this movie, but it does have some interest and I dont think it should be so lightly dismissed! For example, flight was extremely new and I guess it was like the science fiction of the day. Today we have time machines, then they had a flying machine. The car that seems to changes it’s own wheels, well, we all want one of those. It’s like The Wrights brothers meet James Bond except he hasn’t been written yet. The grandmother is totally unphased by the cat that shoots and then steals the doughnuts, she seems very much in control, while grandpa is resigned to a picture on the wall. Red Riding Hood owns the garage too, a touch of feminism going on here maybe? And then Red appears to be playing with the faeries in the wood, the same faeries that seem to be hanging around in the garden when Grandma is calling Red. Or am I just being fanciful again…
This morning the Level 7 guys n gals came into our lowly space to join in with our critique. I love it when we all get together, sadly it doesn’t happen enough. Our group was rather low on numbers as three of the students were absent, (there are 57 varieties of bug going around at the moment), but it was still very cool.
I went for a cold read and the feedback was really good. Most of the group got the anthropomorphic angle, and none of them mentioned Little Red Riding Hood! I was pleased about that, as it means that my own story is coming through now. I had some interesting discussions about theorists too. I hope to have further chats with the 2 students from Level 7 particularly, as we had lots in common. My favourite comment from a Level 7 student was:
Oh my God, I wish I had a mind that worked like yours
I do feel blessed to have such a quirky outlook on life, I have to admit. But then how could I be any other way? It would be enlightening to swap minds with someone else for a day though, imagine that!! Anyway back to the critique…
All of the group loved my book: Wolves Are People Too, which gave me a buzz. I am always amazed when people enjoy and get my art, especially something like a book, which has to work on many levels. This book may not end up being part of my final work for this project, but I am carrying on with the theme next year and I may produce a series of books. I was thinking along the lines of picture books for bigger people.
No suggestions of improvement were out forward, so I will carry on and have more faith in myself, my ideas and my odd mind!
I am not sure if fairy tales make children intelligent, but it certainly gives them a basis for working out feelings. They are a wonderful way of comparing a situation in the child psyche, with a resolved story. The child knows it will all be ok. A great of this, is Maurice Sendak’s Where the Wild Things Are.
Image retrieved on 12/9/14 from: http://tinyurl.com/mjx39od
The Trials and Tribulations of Little Red Riding Hood by Jack Zipes, is an old favourite of mine… although it is a few years since I read it last. A Little Red Riding Hood Casebook, by Alan Dundes, is a recent find. Good reading for the obsessed.
I am currently reading both works and comparing the two. The Zipes book cover many versions of the tale, from it’s folk tale origins as an oral narrative, right through to contemporary tellings. He criticises Freudian interpretations of the symbolism in the story and points out several ironies in it’s interpretation over the years.
Alan Dundes book concentrates on two versions of the story; the most well known, by Charles Perrault and The Brothers Grimm. He has collected together a series of essays by respected scholars to give a variety of theoretical approaches to the tales. I have only just begun reading this book so will report back at a later date.
Every time I have a lecture in Visual Culture I get new ideas… and I feel like I could just do this forever… but then none of the ideas would eventuate, so I am sticking to my path. Happily the recent lectures on the feminists kind of tie in with what I am doing. Except I am more into the power of the matriarchy than in the feminist movement.
Somehow nature seems to fare better than political movements, no matter what the cause. But that’s just me, I sometimes think that life is far simpler than we are led to believe, but then I have been spared many of the atrocities of human existence, by way of being born in the Western world, and not during a world war.
Just a few of the books I am currently reading. I sometimes thing research is one of my favourite things of any project. So many pathways that twist and wind away from the main track, and then you meet the wolf, in the guise of having to make a decision!
I started painting another book right away, trying to get more abstract, but again I am going with the flow. I like how this has taken on the look of the wolf becoming more of a playful puppy. I am taking up wolves as a cause, in all of their guises. Watch out for the begging letter at Christmas for my new charity. My daughter said that some of my wolves remind her of Maurice Sendak’s Wild Things, and *that* is a very good thing.