Katelan Foisy is a multi-media artist, performer, and tarot reader. She has been featured in the NY Times, Bedford and Bowery an offshoot of New York Magazine, Time Out NY, and Italian GQ among others. She currently performs in “Speakeasy Dollhouse: The Bloody Beginning and “The Brothers Booth”.” She is known as La Gitana, is co-owner of London Conjure and co-producer of The Witches’ Compass a interactive monthly lunar circle in NYC. These are her good things.
Good things to read.
Michael Maier’s Atalanta Fugiens with a translation by H. M. E. de Jong. Michael Maier was a 17th-century alchemist and physician to the court of Emperor Rudolf II in Prague. During this time he wrote a number of alchemical texts but the Atalanta Fugiens remains the most impressive with it’s detailed prints by M. Merian. The the 50 emblems presented consist of a motto, print, epigram, and a three-part musical piece for each. H. M. E. de Jong translates the mottos and epigrams of the emblems and provides a summary of Maier’s work as well as her own findings such as sources, the importance and relationships between the emblems. The Atalanta Fugiens provide an important source in art history, science of the 17th century (Science changed drastically within 50 years of these emblems being published) and musical composition in association to alchemical texts.
Magic Circles In The Grimoire Tradition by William Kiesel. William Kiesel discusses various forms and function of the circle in magical traditions. The role of the circle in Western tradition is one of protection, divination, containing and concentrating energy, and discovering treasures. This is a valuable work that aids not only the ceremonial practitioner in understanding the significance of the circle in both historical setting as well as contemporary ones; but also those interested in the historical aspects of grimoires, design, philosophy, and the sciences. A beautifully written, printed, and designed book filled with traditional illustrations of the seals and circles of the grimoire tradition.
50 Drawings To Murder Magic by Antonin Artaud. Antonin Artaud spent nine years in and out of mental asylums. During this time the playwright, actor, philosopher, essayist, director, theorist, and poet filled exercise books with his experiences from the institutions dealing with magical worlds. Where as once he wrote of healing the space between the mundane and the magic, within the asylum walls he took a dark turn where deities took on demonic and vampiric qualities which he claimed were sucking his life force. He filled twelve books in all with his experiences from the asylum. The first eleven of these were filled with sketches and fragments of thoughts and experiences. The twelfth however became an incantation interspersed with totemic drawings. This would be the last book he wrote in a dissension into madness, a journey where one must forget the ideas of both reality and imagination but to experience the uniting of what was separated, the split between things and words. Two months later he died. An incredible piece of art inside the mind of both genius and madness.
Good things to watch.
Pull My Daisy by Alfred Leslie. This film was a personification of the Beat generation. Based on an incident in the life of Neal Cassady and his wife Carolyn, it’s the story of a railway brakeman whose painter wife invites a respected bishop over for dinner. The dinner goes south when brakeman’s bohemian friends crash the party. The way this was filmed seemed to be the way the whole Beat generation ran, disheveled, slapped together, but upon further inspection you realize it’s a masterfully done piece where each scene was rehearsed, repeatedly and filmed with professional lighting. Deliberately sloppy and intentionally slapstick. A brilliant piece including so many of that generations favorites.
A Streetcar Named Desire directed by Elia Kazan, written by Tennessee Williams. A gorgeous adaption of the play where a beautiful Southern Belle with delusions of grandeur visits her sister in New Orleans. Her behavior towards her sister and husband masking her madness and alcoholism as well as the reality that she has lost everything due to a sordid past . The acting in this is superb as most of the actors from the theater performance joined for the screenplay. The interactions between Brando and Leigh are intense and hard to watch at moments. The symbolism throughout the film is flawless. This piece is haunting and heartbreaking and one of the best films adapted from a theatrical performance.
Nosferatu directed by F.W. Murnau. Originally released in 1922 as Nosferatu, Eine Symphonie Des Grauens, director F.W. Murnau’s adaption of Stoker’s Dracula is a silent masterpiece. The beautiful quality of silent film is it forces you to interact and pay attention. The way this film portrays Dracula is one of the most if not the most terrifying depiction of the legend. During the filming of this names and other details changed because the studio could not obtain the rights to the novel. Dracula became Nosferatu etc. Stoker’s widow sued the director for copyright infringement and the courts ordered the copies be destroyed. One however managed to survive. Beautifully chilling and eerie, this film remains both an inspiration and a classic in cinematography and artistry.
The Color of Pomegranates – Sergei Parajanov. The Color of Pomegranates is a biography of the Armenian ashug Sayat-Nova (King of Song) that attempts to reveal the poet’s life through visuals and poetry during the time of Armenian culture being oppressed and persecuted . Each frame in this film was created as an art piece on it’s own as well as with the writing. It debuted in the Soviet Union in 1968. It was refused a license for export outside of the Soviet Union and was withdrawn after a two months circulation in the Soviet Union due to religious censorship. One of the most beautiful and symbolic films ever made.
Latcho Drom – Tony Gatlif. This film is one of the most beautiful honest depictions of Romany culture ever to be made. Latcho Drom (“safe journey”) is a 1993 French documentary film following the journey of the Romany people from north-west India to Spain. The visuals are breathtaking and the film relies on the music of the people to tell their story.
Good things to use.
Thrift store items as canvases. I’ve created some of my best pieces from throwaway items at thrift shops. I made a plastic elephant head into a timeless Ganesha altar. A cabinet I found at an antique store was sanded and made into a an art piece on Voodoo with the cabinet insides being transformed into an altar piece containing specific ingredients for a working. Both my Amy Winehouse and my William S. Burroughs pieces were built from wood headed to the scrap pile. By using pieces of furniture and other oddities you can create a fantastic and different form of art than just painting on a canvas which while fun, can sometimes get old.
Sauce and coffee cans, wine bottles, and cigar boxes. Nicely designed sauce cans, coffee cans etc to hold your supplies and pens in. Cans like Scalafani tomato puree and others have great vintage looking designs and look great on top of my old wardrobe trunk. I put all my pens and paintbrushes in them Cigar boxes work great too. I used to host a bunch of parties. I loved the look of absinthe bottle, wine bottle etc. I started to save them and use them as candle holders. It makes the house look a little more bohemian especially with the wax dripping down the sides.
ubu.com. If you are looking for films, interviews, writing etc. ubu is the place to look. UbuWeb is a completely independent resource dedicated to all strains of the avant-garde, ethnopoetics, and outsider arts. It has so many resources. Maya Deren films, music from Nosferatu, Interviews with writers, Lydia Lunch mp3’s. I adore it.
Connect with Katelan on Twitter, @KatelanFoisy.