WELCOME

Welcome. Glad to see you here in our world of strange fascinations. What do we find so strangely fascinating? Well, a lot of things, really. To sum it up...we're predisposed to the paranormal, attracted to the anachronistic, responsive to retro, passionate about pop culture, captivated by kitsch, orgasmic over the odd. This is our warehouse. Stay as long as you like. Scrawl something on the wall (we'd really like that). Just don't open that door over there behind the life size cardboard cut-out of Agent Dale Cooper. Why? Never mind. Just don't. Unless, of course, you've always wanted to be the subject of a "weird news" headline.

Velkommen. Glad for at se Dem her i vores verden på en mærkelig hensyn. Hvad ser vi så mærkeligt Fascinerende? Godt, en masse ting, virkelig. Til sidst det up...we »ad været tilbøjelig til at se, tiltrukket af det utidssvarende, lydhør over for refleksanordninger, lidenskabeligt om POP kultur, påtage ved kitsch, orgasmic over mærkeligt. Det er vores lager. Ophold så længe man vil. Scrawl noget på væggen (vi fortsat virkelig gerne høre).

OI! PSSST. HAVE YOU MET OUR MASCOT? DON'T MIND THE GOOGLY EYES.
Yeah, she's definitely creepy with that unsettling gaze trained on the camera courtesy of those big, googly eyes, but from the moment we saw her pallid mug in the musty pages of "Wisconsin Death Trip", Michael Lesy's 1972 cult classic compendium of death, disease, disaster and degradation in 1890s Black River, Wisconsin, we knew that this nameless vixen of yore would forever have a stranglehold on what passes for our heart. And, of course, she's perfect for this dark and shamelessly skewed blog. If we had the time and the focus, we'd have T-shirts made that said "I suck the life out of Cheeseheads, Go Packers!" But, luckily, we have adult ADD and will never do it. Including her eerie little face in our blog is the best we can do. We just hope that our readers appreciate our creepy little friend as much as we do. In fact, we feel a poll coming on...





CLOCKS ROCK! But...Aufpassen! We Will Not Be Responsible For Wasted Hours, Minutes, Or Intentions.
Oh, yeah....we have a theme song. Two, in fact. And a whole lot of back-up possibilities. (Videos are down below.)

Our Theme Song

A BLOG WITHOUT MUSIC IS LIKE A DAY WITHOUT BEER. IT CAN BE DONE, BUT WHY WOULD YOU WANT TO? WE HOPE THAT YOU'LL ENJOY OUR RECOMMENDED SELECTIONS.

Enhance Your Viewing Pleasure

Amazon MP3 Clips

COMING SOON! LISSA D'S "FLICKS FOR CHICKS" MOVIE PICKS AND RANDOM MUSINGS

COMING SOON! LISSA D'S "FLICKS FOR CHICKS" MOVIE PICKS AND RANDOM MUSINGS
NEXT POST: LISSA EXPLAINS WHY SHE THINKS THAT "KILL BILL" IS A NECESSARY CINEMATIC THRILL.

How To Make A Pink Squirrel

How To Make A Pink Squirrel
Why wait? Get in the pink. Click on the rodent for the recipe for a classic Pink Squirrel cocktail..

Thursday, October 20, 2011

If Tragedy Were A Town, Its Name Would Be Black River Falls: The Strange, Horrifying, True

http://ivyblue.net/2010/12/wisconsin-death-trip-and-beyond/

 
    Black River Falls, Wisconsin, 1890's. Not a happy time for most of the town's residents. Not only was the country weathering an economic depression every bit as bad as "The Great Depression" of the 1930s. the personal repercussions of that depression were taking a strangely disproportionate toll on the otherwise non-noteworthy little community of Black River. It was as though, in the final decade of the 19th century, some surly sub-god of pain and suffering decided to curse the town with as many twists and variations of personal tragedy as it is possible to imagine taking place within the perimeters of one bleak little burg in rural Wisconsin. In the course of that one decade, the inhabitants of Black River Falls were the unfortunate hosts to  a serial arsonist, a severe diphtheria epidemic, a crazed gun man who held 26 people hostage at  a local church "under the order of God, a were likely to hear of or see someone who had died, who had been killed, who had taken his or her own life, who had gone insane, or who had committed some other violent and, very likely, bizarre act connected to tragic circumstances. At least, that's the sense you'll come away with after reading Wisconsin Death Trip, Michael Lesy's strange, dark, relentlessly oppressive account of life (mostly as an uneasy prelude to death) in Black River Falls during the last decade of the 19th century. For those whose grasp of history comes mainly from high school classrooms and the History Channel, it may come as a surprise to learn that the 1890s were host to an economic depression that wreaked every bit as much emotional havoc and ruined just as many lives as the much more well-known "Great Depression" of the 1930s.
    In the small and otherwise non-noteworthy town of Black River Falls the steady stream of personal tragedies are documented in a collection of unsettling, and sometimes bizarre photographs taken by Charles van Shaick, the official photographer for Jackson County at that time. Nearly 80 years later, by some lucky (or unlucky, some might say) stroke of fate, those photographs happened to come into the possession of  Lesy, who was a young journalism student at  the time and found himself.....yes, we have to say it....strangely fascinated by the images of what seems to have been a town built on the epicenter of some cursed portion of the Wisconsin landscape. His interest in the photographs and the story behind them led him to publish Wisconsin Death Trip in 1973, in which he supplemented the photographs with contemporary news reports and articles about the events they represent. Not surprisingly, the book became a cult classic, and in 1999, James Marsh directed a documentary film version of the book.

This film adaptation of Michael Lesy's 1973 book takes a look at the sordid and disturbing underside of life in a small Wisconsin community in the 1890s. In the early 1970s, Lesy discovered a large collection of curious photographs from Black River Falls, Wisconsin, taken near the end of the 19th century, and began doing research on the town in hopes of learning the story behind them. Lesy was startled by what he learned; over the course of a decade, Black River Falls fell victim to a severe diphtheria epidemic, the local economy collapsed following the shutdown of a mining business, a serial arsonist terrorized the community, a lunatic claiming to act under God's orders held 26 people hostage at the local church, two children murdered a farmer, a number of infants were abandoned or killed, and an undercurrent of violence and madness seemed to taint all aspects of the town's history. Using both the original photographs and silent recreations staged by director James Marsh (accompanied by narration from Ian Holm), Wisonsin Death Trip attempts to recreate the disturbing qualities of the photos and news clippings that formed the basis of Lesy's bo

His interest in the photographs led him to publish Wisconsin Death Trip in 1973, a disturbing pictorial in which photographs of dead children, crazed-looking women in strange hats, odd couplings of local businessmen and dwarves, and seemingly random shots of things like a huge pile of dimes lying on a kitchen table are interspersed with unsettling narrative chronicling what seems to have been the slow, steady, mental unraveling of an entire town.
    Interestingly, one of the most disconcerting things about Wisconsin Death Trip is that many of the images are not, at least on the surface, dark, bleak, or....well...icky.  And yet they still somehow manage to convey a sense of indigenous eeriness. Included among the visual artifacts of the town's dreariest decade are photographs of children performing in a school pageant, local musicians posing with their instruments, midwives proudly displaying newly born infants, and livestock. But even such seemingly innocuous subject matter can't fully expunge the sense of strange dread imprinted on the images. The expressions on the faces of the children performing in the school pageant seem to reflect a jaded awareness of the local duress. The musicians look happy enough, but the drabness of their surroundings is so oppressive that their smiles take on a weirdly plasticine quality.. Looking at the photograph of a midwife holding a newborn infant, it's impossible not to think of a photograph just a few pages before which shows two dead little girls, probably sisters, laid out in their christening gowns inside a pair of child-size caskets. Even the photograph of a farmer standing next to a cow and her calf is marred by the fact that the cow's nose is planted firmly in the calf's butt. Well, that's what happens on farms, you're probably thinking. There are worse things that the photographer could have captured with his camera lens. True. But, as you'll no doubt discover if you decide to delve into the pages of Wisconsin Death Trip yourself, there just seems to be a common, unsavory thread connecting van Shaik


n the early 1970s, through some unknown twist of strange fate, a young journalism student named Michael Lesy fell into possession of a collection of photographs taken by Jackson County, Wisconsin photographer, Charlesvan Shaick during the late 19th century.. The photographs were of various sites aro

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