Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Images of beautiful Indian miniature paintings

Peter Blohm has a website called Indian Miniature Paintings. It's packed full of gems, exquisite antique miniature paintings for sale and image archives of those he's already sold. One painting more interesting than the next. I had a glorious time going through the pictures and picked some of my favorites.

Lady on a palace terrace reads by candlelight a letter 
from her beloved. Murshidabad, circa 1760. 

Tantric illustration relating to palmistry. Rajasthan, 
probably Mewar, circa 1820-40. 

Tantric folio: Vishnupada. Rajasthan, probably Mewar, circa 1820-40.

Lakshminarayana - Vishnu with Lakshmi seated on a lotus throne. 
Kangra, circa 1820-40. 
Shiva seated on the crescent moon holding attributes of axe and antelope.* Jaipur, circa 1880. Opaque watercolour with gold on card. 
Devi (The Goddess) as Mahagauri on her bull vahana (mount) . Kangra, circa 1840-50. Opaque watercolour with minerals and tooled gold on wasli.
Bhagavata Purana illustration: Gajendramoksha.* Jaipur, circa 1820 - 30.
 The king of elephants, Gajendra, when at a lakeside taking a drink of water was grabbed by the jaws of a hungry crocodile and a tug of war ensued between them lasting one thousand years. Exhausted, Gajendra could resist no longer and was about to die when he appealed to Vishnu by singing a hymn of praises. Vishnu then appeared to save him, his descent to the lakeside the subject of the picture, with his vahana (vehicle) Garuda above whilst above the skies the gods rain flowers upon them.
Basohli painting, Radha and Krishna
Rajasthan, Bikaner Vishnu venerated by Narada Circa 2nd part 19th century
Rajasthan, Bikaner Sita, Rama, Hanuman & attendant Circa 1800
Markandeya Purana illustration: devas (gods) beseeching devis (goddesses) to unleash shakti (female-derived divine power) against the buffalo demon. Mandi, 
circa 1820-40.
Folio from a ragamala: Nand
ana putra son of Malkos. Kurnool, circa 1750. Opaque watercolour and tooled gold on wasli.
Rajasthan, Bikaner Devgandhar Ragini Circa 1700
The Devi as Sarasvati. Bundi, circa late 18th century. Opaque watercolour on wasli.
Krishna fluting for Radha at a jharokha (overhanging balcony). Jaipur, circa 1880. Opaque watercolour with gold on wasli
Illustration to the Ramayana: exiled in the forest with Lakshmana and their army of monkeys and bears, Rama gives counsel. Jaipur, circa 1880. Opaque watercolour with gold on wasli
Vaishnava tilaks - sectarian marks - on the monkeys' and presumably bear-king Jambuvan's foreheads signal the manner of (human) Vaishnavas their affiliation to Vishnu. The monkeys also wear jewellery of gold and pearls with garlands of flowers, as if they were high-ranking officers and courtiers in a royal palace.
Hyderabad, circa 1720 - 30. Opaque watercolour with gold on wasli mounted on an album page. 
The five Beatty album folios illustrate a romance between the Queen of the Fairies and a mortal prince.
The Holy Family in tantric form: Shiva Panchmukha (five-headed) sits on a tiger skin, his consort Parvati covering all of his eyes with her hands to protect all from his incinerating gaze, his son Ganesha sits on his lap, in the foreground lie Shiva's vahana (mount) Nandi and Parvati's lion. Bengal, circa 1820. Opaque watercolour with gold on wasli.
Yantra. Rajasthan, circa 19th century. Red ink with black ink nagari text on wasli
Gujarat Kundalini Yantra Circa 1900

Monday, July 22, 2013

Groupies in the USA, sex and rock n' roll in the 60's

A schoolmate of mine in NYC became a well known groupie and author. Her name was Cleo Odzer. She was a few years older than I and went to a small, quirky school called Quintano's School For Young Professionals. Many of the teens who went there worked as child professionals, young actors, dancers, musicians, models. I was simply a runaway and had a number of friends who went there.

Cleo Odzer is also discussed in another Facebook group for Westerners who went to live in Goa, India, in the 1960's and 1970's.

The other day I came across an album online, called Groupies, which was put out by Cleo Odzer. So I thought I'd put up a blog post about groupies, which were talked about a lot in the 1960's and 1970's. It's an interesting topic. They could easily be called all kinds of negative names, sluts for example. Maybe a number of them were Borderline Personality Disordered and felt compelled to be promiscuous. But part of the phenomenon was that the groupie thing happened in the 1960's, when there were so many changes going on in society, which are taken for granted now. It's hard to think, in those Mad Men days, how incredibly repressed and misogynistic things were for women in the United States.

Rock n' roll had a great part in shattering the repression but not so much the misogyny. That stuck around. Then came the Women's Liberation Movement, which outed a lot of the misogyny that had previously gone unquestioned and, of course, the equality of rights thing, as well as the double standards for men and women. It was simply part of women's lives to be experienced as inferior, stupid, incapable and disposable, among other negative things. Women were not allowed by society to be as promiscuous as men routinely were. Men were called studs if they were promiscuous, envied for their virility. Women, however, were called whores, treated as utterly contemptible.

And then there were the groupies, who were not exactly Women's Libbers, since their main focus was on sleeping around in chasing after idols. But the blunt way the groupies did this was a sort of ferociously sexual statement, that their virginity or worrying about being called a slut did not hem them in. These groupies were brazenly sexual. Not hookers. Many of them were very young, 15, 16, 17 years old usually and up. In a way they used men as men had used women, as trophies. As something to compete over, then move on.

Anyway, in thinking this through I thought I'd put together some sort of background about how the groupies emerged and include the Groupies album, both sides, which is an intense listening experience.

Okay, a little historical background.

One of the older, more suburban or more conservative sex idols in the 60's was Tom Jones, here doing a great sex dance, kissing total strangers, even two sisters at one time, a woman handing him her handkerchief so he could drench it in his precious bodily fluids and hand it back to her. (Unleashed libido at 1:12)

There were, of course the soul singers, Otis Redding the greatest of them, imo, with his compelling crescendo of heat in Try A Little Tenderness.

And the brilliant Marvin Gaye, here with his exciting voice, isolated here in Heard It Through the Grapevine

The pressure cooker, jazzy, funk edge sizzling of James Brown's Sex Machine

Something for the blue rinse ladies too in Liberace's version of onstage sexuality, for men, for women and any variations on the usual genders in his audience.

In the 60's sexuality changed from being patriarchal and male dominated to something women had more power in initiating. The birth control pill was available for popular consumption from 1960 onward. This was a significant innovation for society. Women could then have unplanned - or planned - sexual encounters without the fear of pregnancy. There wasn't the clumsiness of the diaphragm or being dependent on the man to wear a condom. This was a major part of what became known at that time as the Sexual Liberation. There were, however, babies born out of wedlock, especially if the girl were too young to be allowed by a doctor of Planned Parenthood to take the pill. The extraordinary story of Rolling Stones' Brian Jones' son by a fan is an example of this.

Old school male musicians that were popular with women tended to be crooners. But in the 1960's rock n' roll's influence brought a raw sexuality to the stage and it was reciprocated with a frenzy of screaming adulation. This was not the starry-eyed, romantic hysteria of  bobbysoxers screaming at Frank Sinatra.

In the beginning of the rock n' roll focus of the groupies were the Beatles and the British Invasion. The Beatles were well dressed young men, in suits. The only remarkable thing about how they looked was their modest bowl cut hairstyle. The "mop top". That's It. The songs were pop with a focus on love and energetic. For reasons that are still mysterious, they created sexual frenzy in their female fans. A tsunami of libido barreled across the Atlantic, straight for the USA in 1964. She Loves You in Britain, 1963.

Twist and Shout being played for the Queen Mother.

And the same song played on the Ed Sullivan Show, Feb.23,1964.

I think those screaming girls were shocking for anybody who saw that show. As shocking as the music, maybe moreso. Nobody in the early 60's had seen that kind of reaction, in such great quantity, in anybody. I think the audience reaction, that screaming, set some sort of precedent, for overtly sexual, over the top attraction to be permitted to be expressed by teenage girls in the 60's and that those screaming girls were part of the foundation of what became the groupies a few years later.

Then, shortly after the Beatles arrived, there was an outright, visceral sexuality, played on by both the singers and the fans. The rock n' roll singers moved and acted in plainly sexual ways.

The Beatles were the tamer version and the Rolling Stones were the bad boy version.

The anarchic, subversive, unstructured sexuality of Mick Jagger, blew the lid off of any kind of traditional sexual expression onstage with his schtick.

The Rolling Stones' album covers, album names like Sticky Fingers

The Cream came to the USA and had a more cerebral sound, both more heady and an accent on the precise, powerful riffs of Eric Clapton, an elegance in his guitar playing that galvanized both women and men.
I Feel Free

Jimi Hendrix, who had played as an unknown in the Village in NYC, went to London and came back to the USA like fireworks. Electrifying, flamboyant in a pink feather boa, and playing some advanced form of rock n' roll, trippy and amazing. Down On the Killing Floor at Monterey Pop in 1967.

He had oral sex with his guitar onstage.

There was the Warhol heroin chic group with its own sexual innuendo, the Velvet Underground

Then there were hard core rock groups that radiated sexuality with the intensity of the guitar riffs and a sexy lead singer, like Robert Plant with his power vocals. Led Zeppelin's Lemon song.

The Jeff Beck Group was one of my favorites of this type. Rod Stewart's voice and Jeff Beck's guitar riffs were a perfect hard rock-blues union.

The following is a fascinating album by a number of women who were dedicated groupies. The album was put together by a groupie, Cleo Odzer, and another group, a friend of hers named Cookie Davidson. The album is simply conversations about their lives as groupies. It's a very 1960's glimpse into the new sexual social rules, exploring new types of sex openly, different sexual and social roles that were happening at that time, for heterosexuals, homosexuals and the transgendered, that had never happened as openly, as freely as at that time.

Cleo Odzer and Keith Emerson, of Emerson Lake and Palmer and the Nice


From the Babylon Falling site:

The Groupies was an LP released in 1969 featuring 18 year old super hustler Cleo Odzer and a few of her friends discussing the ins and outs of being a groupie.

Listen to it below (I think Cleo is the one that sounds the youngest):
A little more about Cleo Odzer from the Groupie Blog site:
Born as Sheila Lynne Odzer April 6, 1950.
Smoked and sat with groups when she was fifteen
in a Manhattan discotheque called The Cheetah …
“Every two weeks there was a new band, and every
two weeks I had a new boyfriend”.
She says in an interview with Marcus Robbin
in Goa, India (January 2000).
At seventeen she was going to a club called The Scene.
The first hang out in New York for British bands
like The Cream, Deep Purple, she also mentions Terry Reid
(Reed in that interview).
Cleo in 1966    ------------ Cleo and Cookie 
Andy Fraise and [?] from the band Free with Cookie, 1968, NYC
Terry Reid from the Terry Reid Band with Cleo and Cookie, 1968, NYC
Interview with her from this Yahoo group, named Cleo Odzer. 
Cleo and Cookie with classic 60's decor, including a backgammon board
The Yahoo Group: Cleo Odzer
Photo albums from that Yahoo group here.
Cleo Odzer (1950-2001) was a beautiful adventurer who grew up in Manhattan as the only child of a wealthy family. In the late sixties she was part of the rock scene and was engaged to Keith Emerson of Emerson, Lake and Palmer. She left everything behind to hang out with the hippies in Europe and eventually travelled to Goa, India in the mid 70s, where she lived with a tight-knit community of "freaks". In 1980 she returned to the U.S., went through the Daytop drug rehabilitation program and earned a Ph.D. in Anthropology from The New School of Social Research. She wrote three popular books (Goa Freaks, Patpong Sisters, Virtual Spaces) and spent ten years working for Daytop in New York City. She was a pioneer in the early days of the internet, which she documented in Virtual Spaces. Twenty years after leaving, she moved back to Goa and passed away there in March, 2001. This group is dedicated to sharing information and memories about Cleo Odzer. Anyone who knew her or is interested in her life is invited to post their thoughts, photos, or questions.
This is Message #105
Interview with Cleo Odzer
January 2000, Goa, India
By Marcus Robbin

Copyright: Marcus Robbin (®2000-2008)
This material is for private use only. Any commercial use strictly prohibited.
All rights of Marcus Robbin are reserved. Used by permission of the author.

* * * * * * * * * * * *
Part One

Interviewer: You grew up in New York? Could you tell me about your age 14 or 15?

Cleo: Well, when I was fifteen, that's the year I went WILD. It was 1965,
(whispers) I'm so old. It was in the middle of the Viet Nam era, so that was really the middle of the Hippie movement, the antiwar demonstrations, the drugs, the women's rights battle. This was the time I became an adolescent, sort of a "human being", and growing into the
world—all this was taking place, and this shaped my personality.

So, um, politics, I didn't really care so much about politics. I understood the war, but... I liked the idea of free love, and free drugs, and partying. So when I was fifteen I started to go out wild every night. There was this discotheque called The Cheetah, and it was right next to my house. So my friend and I used to go. And because we were cute little girls… I had fake ID, everybody had fake ID, and the legal drinking age was eighteen, so it said I was eighteen (I was fifteen), and I went every night. I would sneak out of my house. I would pretend I was going to bed and then when everybody was asleep I snuck out the kitchen door, and it was only a few blocks to this discotheque called The Cheetah and I started to hang out, and party, and do marijuana (everybody was doing marijuana). Nobody knew what the smell was like, we could smoke it anywhere, and they didn't know what the smell was like. It was amazing.

And then, at the Cheetah there were, um, "groups". Every two weeks there was a new group. And at that time, the Hippies were just starting to come into fashion, so
guys with long hair were the fashion. And the musicians were the guys with the long hair.
So if you went into a nightclub, the cutest guys were the guys with the long hair, the
musicians, and they had the velvet clothes, and fringes (I love fringes), so sexy. So I
started to… I had a new boyfriend every two weeks. Every two weeks there was a new band, and every two weeks I had a new boyfriend. It was heaven.

Everything was just perfect. And then I just started to... party. I was a party girl from the age of fifteen. I still went to school (that's another story) and I stayed in school (and got really good grades at the end, but that's another story). But mostly I was just going out every night, getting stoned, smoking, LSD, with the boys in the band with the long hair and the velvet clothes.

And there was also the antiwar movement, which wasn't so close to me, but it was part of the anti-establishment. So it was part of what made me... "me", at that time. Because we were against the Society, and the people who knew more, knew that we were against the war. But for me it was just...we were against Society. And Society said guys have to have short hair, guys have to have a job... and for me, I was against that. I was a party girl, I just wanted to have fun.

And then later came my groupie days. (laughs) Which is a whole... other story.

Interviewer: What's a groupie, exactly?

Cleo: (clears throat, sighs) There's been a lot of definitions of groupies, and it's changed over time. But my group really defined the groupies of that time. I made an album called The Groupies. And I was on David Susskind's show as a "groupie". We were on a panel... I was famous... Super Groupie Cleo. I was in Time Magazine as Super Groupie Cleo.

And, for me, I never considered myself a groupie. It just happened that I would go to the clubs and the cutest guys were the musicians! I like talent, I liked beautiful guys, I like long hair, I liked velvet clothes, I liked sexy guys, and they happened to be the musicians.

And this was also the time that rock stars were coming from England. We had the Rolling Stones, but before that, we didn't know about bands from England. And they
started to come into New York, that was their first stop, New York. And I'm from Manhattan, so I used to hang out at a club called The Scene. And the first stop for these
musicians was The Scene. Nobody knew them, The Cream, Purple...something... Deep Purple, all these groups that later became famous, at that time nobody knew who they were.

They just came to The Scene, and there were a few of us women there, and we looked at the guys and said, "I want that one," and my friend would say "I want that one,"
and... we got them!

Part of the movement that was different and specific to this time was the birth control pill. Before that, you could only rebel so much as a woman. You could have sex but still... if you got pregnant you were in trouble. So the birth control was really what set women free, and that came out just when I came out. So I had my birth control, I had free passes into any club because I was this cute little blonde thing... at this time I was seventeen... and I had my pick of all the guys.

These guys were not famous yet, they had just come from London, they had played a few bars in London, they just arrived in the States, nobody knew them, and they came and they were really impressed, they were in the United States. And here we were, waiting
for them. and we'd say, "Oh, who's the band tonight"? "Oh, Terry Reid, he's cute, I want
him. So I would just... collect them.

You know you see the old Western movies, where the gangsters make a mark on their bedpost, how many people they've killed? For us it was how many cute guys in a
group we'd slept with. "I got another one last night!" (laughs) It was part of... the groupies. The women, the female groupies, had their own little culture.

And then I fell in love... of course, there's a big love affair. And at that time he was with a group called The Nice… nobody has ever heard of The Nice, and his name was Keith Emerson. And later he became famous from the group Emerson, Lake, and Palmer. But at that time, nobody knew who he was. But I saw him... he played the organ... he was dressed in fringes, he had long hair... he was so talented... I was in love. Oh, was I in love!

And at the time I was writing for a village newspaper called The Downtown. I had column about the new groups coming in. "Pop Sounds By Cleo," it was called. So I had a good excuse to meet the guys. So I saw him, I wanted him, I got him. And we had relationship, while he was in New York he was with me. And I went to England twice to see him. And then we got engaged. And then all of a sudden this whole scandal about groupies came out, and it was in Time Magazine, and they mentioned my name, they had a picture of me, "Super Groupie Cleo." But they had a quote from another woman who called herself Cleo. I didn't say that, because I never thought I was a groupie. I did not say that quote. But it had my picture. And when I had gone to London before, the secretaries from the office… they knew me and they were jealous, they were catty, because I had the cute guy. So one day they made him sign his check on the Time magazine article that had my picture as "Super-Groupie Cleo." And he got really angry and he broke off the engagement… and I was heartbroken... I was heartbroken. This was the first love of my life, and it just... killed me.

So that was the end of my, uh... Well, no, actually it was the beginning of my career as a groupie, because for revenge… I never believed I was a groupie, but for revenge I said, "If he's going to call me a groupie, I'm going to be the most famous groupie." So I made an album called "The Groupies," where we talked about all the different groups, and the sex we had with them, and how this one was good, and this one didn't know what he
was doing, and this one was too small, and this one was too big... (laughs). It was a lot of fun. And it was called The Groupies, and we did a lot of publicity for it, magazine articles, I was in Cashbox, which is an American magazine for music.

And then I went to, I ran away to California for a while. In New York I was East Coast Girl of the Week and in California I was West Coast Girl of the Week. And I was always Cleo the Super Groupie, and I would be reporting on what the groups were doing. But meanwhile I never believed I was a groupie. So... that was really the end of that. After that I decided, "I'm out of the business." I don't want to know about music, I don't want to know the names of rock stars, I've had it. So that was the end of that period, my groupie period.

* * * * * * * * *
A great list of songs about groupies on Groupie Blog
Banger Sisters; Zappa
The Carpenters - Superstar
System Of A Down - Psycho
Cat Stevens - Lady D'Arbanville
Rod Stewart - Hot Legs
Tony Joe White - Groupy Girl
Jim Croce - Five Short Minutes
Kiss - Plaster Caster
Alquin - Wheelchair Groupie
Elvis Costello - Party Girl
Ya Boy - I need a groupie
Pizzicato five - If I were a groupie
Bigg Syyno - Groupie
213 - Groupie Luv
Ali B - Groupie Love
Byrd Gang - Groupi Luv Gwada
Head Crack Faculty - Keep it movin
New York Dolls - Looking for a kiss
Chamillionaire - Industry Groupie
Bobby Nunn - She's just a groupie
Iggy Pop - Look Away
Led Zeppelin - Hot Dog
Michael Jackson - Dirty Diana
Hurriganes - Hey Groupie
Rick James - Super Freak
G-Unit: Groupie Love
Cassie Steele - Groupie
BB Blackdog - Groupie
Ian Hunter - Once Bitten Twice Shy
Grand Funk Railroad - We're An American Band
Heart Throb Mob - Groupie Girl
Lynyrd Skynyrd - What's Your Name
Sage Francis - My Girl Was A Groupie
8T2 - Groupie Wifey Riddem
415 - Groupie Ass Bitch
Snoop Dogg - Groupie
The Pharcyde - Groupie Therapy
Guns N' Roses - It's So Easy
Mozart Season - Groupie Without Teh Secks
Michel Berger - La Groupie Du Pianiste
Beijer - Groupie Love
The Rolling Stones- Ruby Tuesday
The Rolling Stones- Under My Thumb
Ruia Mai - Groupie Love
Hubert-Félix Thiéfaine - Groupie 89 Turbo 6
The Beatles - Something
Derek and the Dominos - Layla
Donovan - Jennifer Juniper
Wings - Famous Groupies
The Beatles - PS. I Love You
Wings - Long Haired Lady 
George Harrison - Miss O'Dell
Leon Russell - Pisces Apple Lady 
Joni Mitchell - Coyote
John Lennon - Surprise, surprise
Queen - Love Of My Life
Donovan - Legend Of A Girl Child Linda
The Knack - My Sharona
Dead Boys - I Need Lunch
Flying Burrito Brothers - Christine's Tune
Jackson Browne - For A Dancer
John Mayall - 2401
Joni Mitchell - Ladies Of The Canyon
Jimi Hendrix - The Wind Cries Mary
The Rolling Stones- Rip This Joint
New Riders Of The Purple Sage - Groupie

And last but not least, the outrageous Plaster Casters, one of whom, Cynthia Plaster Caster, has a website. For anybody who does not know what a plaster caster is, it's a groupie who took plaster casts of rock musicians' penises. She calls herself a recovering groupie. Here are images of the casts.

Groupies -  Full 1970 Documentary 

Saturday, July 20, 2013

July 20th 2013. Ahhh, summertime is here.

Ahhh, summertime is here. What a joy. A time of light, heat, sunshine, open windows, water melon, summer storms, enjoying white crumpled sheets, wearing less clothing, eating less and lighter, savoring breezes, flapping curtains, a sense of spacious ease, silly blockbuster movies and visits to the sea.

Enjoying the art of Karen Hollingsworth.

Some likable, gentle art by Tang Chiew Ling, a graphic designer in Malaysia.

The Periodic Table of Videos with each element being described.

Coming Home by Karen Hollingsworth
Unwind by Karen Hollingsworth
Reconnecting by Karen Hollingsworth

Love this.Such a charming stop motion video of fireworks of beads. Worth waiting for the grand finale at the end.
Connected by Karen Hollingsworth

Huh, what an oddly likable thing. Calling a dolphin using a comb.

A lovely corner of this beautiful planet, the Venice of the Netherlands, a village without roads. "Giethoorn is a village in the Dutch province of Overijssel. It's called "Venice of the Netherlands." In the old part of the village, there were no roads (nowadays there is a cycling path), and all transport was done by water over one of the many canals. The lakes in Giethoorn were formed by peat unearthing."

A short vignette of Oba-Chan. An 85 year old Japanese farmer who tends to her land all by herself. Serene, intimate and inspiring.

Oh, this is cool. 

Animal Planet LIVE

It's a whole bunch of live cams that one can watch all kinds of creatures, live.
Living on the edge.The person sitting on that ledge is Alex Honnold. He’s been proclaimed the best free soloist (i.e., climbs without ropes) in the world. 

*wipes tears of laughter. Love these.
Huh, who knew. Japanese black hot dogs
Aww, a cute little story. A Vietnamese soccer fan runs after a bus of visiting Arsenal Club players in Hanoi, Viet Nam, so that the team members end up inviting him on the bus, brag about his sexy sixpack and cheer him on. Warmly friendly.
View Point by Karen Hollingsworth
A puppy that looks like a dandelion, attacking a dandelion.
A raccoon stealing some cats' food, dipping it into water for gravy and running away like a true bandit.
Air Mail by Karen Hollingsworth

Kids watching a weird looking experiment, burning Ammonium dichromate and Mercury (II) thiocyanate. At one point many of them shout "Kraken!" Fun all the way to the end.

Night Owl by Karen Hollingsworth