It must be tough to take a festival like Austin City Limits and truncate it into 2 hours. It must also be tough to be a pretty much headling band like The Flaming Lips and to be playing in the middle of the day when your cool stage stuff is probably less impressive (but good for them for going all out!).
Some fun things to see during their set: the camera mounted on Wayne Coyne’s microphone (huge close-ups of his face); the guns that shoot streamers, Cliph the drummer makes the sample sound effects that you need to make during the songs, tons of back up dancers (who I believe are fans that won a contest or something), the amazing multi-instrumental skills of Steven Drozd.
This broadcast only showed two Lips songs (criminally underrepresented, but I understand). They played ”I Can be a Frog” which is a wonderful audience participation song even if it’s nowhere near their best song.
And “She Don’t Use Jelly” which I understand as it was their hit and the crowd (and even the band) always seem into it, but that song is like twenty years old and they didn’t play any other bands’ old singles. I won’t complain to hear that song, but there are just so many good ones to choose from that it seems silly to play that one.
[READ: November 6, 2011] “The Mermaid of Legend and Art”
A while back I read a few old articles that I got from JSTOR, the online archiving resource. This month, I received some links to three new old articles that are available on JSTOR. So, since it’s the holiday weekend, I thought it would be fun to mention them now.
I wrote the review of this article before I realized that I had only read part 3 of 3. There were some clues (like the start mentioning “the first few lines of my opening chapter”), but since the link I was given went here, I assumed that the other chapters were not available (until I saw the tiny footnote that said this was continued from pg 172).
So, I’m including my original post at the bottom for history’s sake, but I’m going to write the revised review here.
I don’t quite understand why this article was broken up into three sections. This is especially egregious because of the figures included in the articles. They do not really correspond to the sections where they are written about. So, for instance he mentions Figure 13 on the last page of the article when we are already up to Figure 36 (and Figure 13 is fifty-some pages away). For most of the other figures, he always seems to be a few pages behind, as if they needed to put the pictures throughout the article rather than where they are mentioned–it was bad enough having it in three sections (in my print puts) but imagine having to flip back thirty some pages to see what the hell he’s talking about! Of course, this was 1880, they had more free time.
So, anyhow, the beginning of this article talks about the history of the mermaid in folk tales and the Bible. Evidently Brahma visited Menu (Aka Noah) in the guise of a fish–which is how he was able to build the ark. There is also a lengthy discussion about the importance of fish in the Old Testament. In addition to the whole IXTHUS thing, fish were a very useful form of currency. So it is nor surprise that they used representations of fish and sea creatures in ancient Rome and Greece.
More interesting is the shape of the fish as depicted in various art through the years–emblems and carvings and even tiles–the simple half circle that looks like a fish has been around forever. As has the image of a mermaid with a comb and a mirror (I wish he’d explained what the symbolism of that was).
And so, by the end of the article, when he moves into literature, it makes a lot more sense that he is no longer talking about the engravings and monsters that litter the article. (You can see below for some honest appraisals of that section). But now that I see that I have all of the article I’m surprised that there are no depictions of Mary Queen of Scots as her section of the article is quite extensive and there are many drawings alluded to.
So, I am obviously far less critical of this article than I was earlier. I guess reading the whole thing DOES make a difference.
Here’s what I originally wrote:
This article has a pretty promising title (especially if you have a 4-year-old daughter who loves mermaids and you know that mermaids in the history or art were scary-ass creatures). But it’s pretty dull (not surprising given its 1880 date) and refers to a lot of historical literature (A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Hamlet, which are really odd to see quoted about mermaids, as well as Alciato’s “Book of Emblems” printed in 1551 which is in Latin, with no translation) rather than images.
Most of this article [remember, this is only Part 3] is about Mary Queen of Scots (!) and how there are many clues throughout these citations that the mermaids in question are indeed M.R. (her initials). Evidently she was a much hated woman.
There are figures throughout the article though and they are creepy. And when he finally gets to explaining them the article picks up. Sadly, it’s only the last three paragraphs.
And he seems to rush through them. I could have read a whole 6 pages on just these pictures, but instead, we get only a couple of sentences about: a merman captured in 1531 and sent alive to the King of Poland!; exact “portraicitures” of the animals themselves; And a few comments about volume called “Monsters of the Deep” from which the included engravings came.
The images are quite cool. They are “olde” engravings and illustrations so they are very detailed and often very creepy. Especially the Mermaid exhibited in London (who is even drawn under glass!). And the Mermaid from the Leyden Museum who is shriveled and spooky.
I thought that this might be a little more of an exciting article, and perhaps it was more exciting in 1880. But I did enjoy the end. Maybe I need to look up “Monsters of the Deep.”
So that’s what I originally thought.
I’m changing my tone. The Mary Queen of Scots stuff works better knowing about the history of the images and, of corse seeing all 36 of the Figures (some creepy, some just historically cool) makes it well worth it (even if those long block quotes are kind of dull).