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Posts Tagged ‘The New Yorker

What might have been…

From New Yorker art editor Françoise Mouly and and her daughter,  Nadja Spiegelman, Blown Covers: “New Yorker covers you were never meant to see.”

The themes on the Blown Covers website closely mirror what I suggest to the New Yorker artists I already work with. This blog and contest are informal and not affiliated with the magazine but I’m always on the lookout for ideas…

More at Blown Covers.


As we say “eek, a Maus!, “we might recall that it was on this date in 1762 that Catherine II (‘Catherine the Great’; 1729 – 1796), became Empress of Russia upon the assassination of her husband, the unpopular Peter III of Russia, eight days after he had been ousted by forces loyal to his wife.  Les than six months earlier that year, after moving into the new Winter Palace in Saint Petersburg, Peter had succeeded to the throne as Tsar; but his eccentricities and policies alienated the very groups that Catherine had cultivated.  Grigori Orlov, Catherine’s lover at the time, led a conspiracy that murdered Peter and proclaimed Catherine ruler.  It is often speculated that Catherine was somehow involved in Peter’s death, but her complicity has never been proved.

Ekaterina (her name in Russian) exemplified an “enlightened monarch,” reforming State administration, extending the rights of both nobles and serfs, and championing education for women.   At the same time, she is famous for her sexual appetites.  She entertained many lovers in a secret room filled with paintings and sculptures depicting the full range of carnal possibility, in which the furniture incorporated depictions of giant sexual organs.  But there is no historical basis for the often-told tale that she was crushed to death when attendants lost their grip on ropes supporting a horse that was being lowered on her for sexual pleasure.


And a’one and a’two…

German composer Michael Petermann has assembled an orchestra (from vintage appliances purchased on eBay) to perform “Blödes Orchester” (Stupid Orchestra), a “symphonic piece for home appliance,” now appearing at the Museum für Kunst und Gewerbe in Hamburg.

[TotH to the ever-extraordinary Laughing Squid]


As we ask the blender to tone down the vibrato, we might wish a stylish happy birthday to publishing pioneer Condé Montrose Nast; he was born on this date in 1873.  After serving as Advertising Director at Colliers, then a brief stint in book publishing, Nast bought a small New York society magazine called Vogue— which he proceeded to turn into the nation’s, then the world’s leading fashion magazine.  While other periodical publishers simply sought higher and higher circulation, Nast introduced the “lifestyle” title, targeted to a group of readers by income level or common interest.  By the time of his death, his stable of monthlies also included House & Garden, British, French, and Argentine editions of Vogue, Jardins des Modes, (the original) Vanity Fair, and Glamour; subsequently, the group added such resonant lifestyle books as Gourmet, New Yorker, and Wired.

Condé Nast (source)

Special Beach Blanket Edition: Roll Over, Eustace Tilley…

In your correspondent’s quest to highlight mash-ups of note*, an interruption of the annual idyll to share the exquisite pleasure of Kanye New Yorker Tweets (c.f. also here):  the actual twittering of the Taylor Swift-interrupting hip hop climber, set to drawings that have graced the pages of The New Yorker.

Consider for example:

Many, many more here.

*Other mash-ups: C.f., e.g., here, here, or here

As we celebrate the serendipitous results of radical juxtaposition, we might recall that it was on this date in 30 BCE that Cleopatra VII Philopator, the last pharaoh to rule Egypt (and storied lover of Antony) committed suicide.  Historians from Strabo and Plutarch have reported that the Queen did herself in by having an asp bite her.  But earlier this year, the German historian Christoph Schaefer challenged this account, declaring that the queen had actually died from drinking a mixture of poisons. After studying historic texts and consulting with toxicologists, Schaefer concluded that the asp could not have caused the slow and pain-free death reported.  Schaefer and his lead toxicologist Dietrich Mebs insist that Cleopatra used a mixture of hemlock, wolfsbane and opium.

Another asterisk for the record books…

The Queen of Egypt

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