What’s Here/Queer/Modernist: Weekly Reads #3

So it’s been a while–a looooong while–but we’re back!

Here’s what here/queer/modernist out in the world [wide web]:

Djuna Barnes Jezebel featured article

What a lovely and unexpected surprise to be scrolling through Jezebel.com last week and amid the usual ephemeral news items and celebrity gossip suddenly find myself accosted by the turbaned splendor and imperious gaze of Djuna Barnes. Laura June gives a detailed but accessible overview of Barnes’s life and career, and I particularly love the term “shocking modernist,” a most apt description for the divine Ms. Djuna.

The Modernist Studies Association (MSA) has launched the website for MSA 17, their annual academic conference. MSA 17 will be held this year in Boston, and take place November 19-22. One of these years I’ll manage to attend it myself, but in the meantime I’ll simply read in a longing manner about planned seminars such as the ones on “Modernist Jargon” and “Modern American Lit and Visual Culture.” Looking forward to the appearance of the full conference program.

The Beverley Hills estate owned by Countess Dorothy di Frasso (née American heiress Dorothy Taylor) and inhabited by Marlene Dietrich recently sold for $23.5 million(!), and the photos attest that the home has seen few changes since it’s 1930’s heyday. Designed and decorated by Elsie de Wolfe, the Art Deco-ish splendor is truly a sight to behold. In particular, I can’t stop staring at the photo of the living room below–I just want to sit on the couch, sip a martini or two, silently stare at the hand-painted wallpaper for a good day or so, and hope an apparition of Marlene eventually drops by. The Last Goddess Blog has a wonderful post of images of Dietrich inhabiting the home that I highly recommend as well. Alas, I can’t imagine that the home will stay with this way now that it has been sold, and that’s an utter shame.

marlene dietrich home elsie de wolfe

Elsie de Wolfe decor in Marlene Dietrich’s home

Indra Tamang, Charles Henri Ford’s artistic collaborator who runs The Charles & Ruth Project page on Facebook, recently organized a fundraiser to help victims of the earthquakes that have devastated his native Nepal. As well as Nepalese performers, Debbie Harry, Penny Arcade, and others contributed their talents to the evening.

andy warhol gold book“Almost as remarkable as Andy Warhol’s productivity, and ongoing ubiquity, is his variousness.” The Boston Globe surveys a number of recent exhibitions dedicated to Warhol’s prodigious and eclectic output (including the Montreal Museum’s “Warhol Mania” show I was able to catch several months ago) and spotlights “Warhol By the Book” currently running at Williams College Museum of Art until August 19. It reportedly showcases more than 400 objects, including unique and unpublished materials. I find A Gold Book by Andy Warhol (right) particularly arresting.

The Blue Lantern has a lovely consideration of les garçonnes, which “the French called them, using their gendered language to suggest that women in the decades between the two world wars had turned into some kind of hybrid of male and female, not androgynous exactly but definitely new.” (Off topic perhaps, but I can’t help but also recommend her evocative and illuminating post on Antonioni & Vitti’s films as well.)

“Los Angeles’ Queer History: Living the Legacy,” an informative post from the Windy City Times, pinpoints a number of unexpected queer historical sites to consider visiting in the City of Angels.

As always, if there’s anything of note I should be aware of, please feel free to drop me a line!


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