About Poison Candy

Poison Candy® is a rock n’ roll collection designed for fashion forward retro vixens. All Poison Candy® items are original designs created from custom made patterns and manufactured in fabulous Las Vegas! Our products have always been manufactured in the US, as we strongly believe in supporting our local economy. In doing so, we have had the fortunate pleasure of working with many talented artisans; bringing our customers a quality product while still maintaining the ethics the company was founded on. Rebecca continues to sew every sample herself and oversees all aspects of production.

Just your average American family?

I have been focusing so much on aerial and flexibility training over the past couple of years that I have had very little time to work on projects. I knew this would be the case when I closed the Poison Candy shop, however I expected that I would have managed to crank out at least a few masterpieces by now. I have declined pretty much every freelance offer in favor of swinging from the rafters, however I recently signed on for a fun costuming gig.

My friend Christopher Brown is a brilliant actor and an equally talented director. Chris introduced me to the play “HIR” by Taylor Mac over the summer and I instantly fell in love with the script. When Christopher mentioned that he would be directing the play for Cockroach Theatre, I was thrilled to come aboard as the costume designer.

Valerie Carpenter Bernstein and Tim Cummins photographed by Richard Brusky.

Good art is subjective and “HIR” is no exception. I imagine that most people who see the play walk away with a very unique perspective. Mac embraces the concept of “absurd realism”, and “HIR” is no exception. The story is an American comedic tragedy featuring a middle class family trying to navigate the ever changing culture and attempting to establish their place within it. Each character has embarked on a person journey, causing various types of clashes and sometimes disturbing revelations. “HIR” is one of those stories that tricks you into laughing only to leave you feeling like you have been emotionally dropkicked by the time it has concluded. I could theorize about the complex artistry of the production all day, however I will leave you with this great review which does a stellar job of describing the overall narrative.

The script did mention a “massive beauty pageant wig”. This is the result of two combined wigs, 14 ounces of hairspray, and approximately 3 hours of styling.

Most of the smaller shows that I have worked on have centered around glamorous performers flaunting their various attributes. It was a wonderful challenge to take on a production where my characters were more typical in some ways and completely over the top in others. I was also tasked with providing wigs which gave me an opportunity to shake the dust off of my teasing brush and drown myself in hairspray. I had a blast reacquainting myself with glamour makeup and learning how to create a believable, simple false beard. My new friend Stephanie knows every makeup trick in the book and was quick to share her extensive knowledge.

I finally had a chance to watch the show a few nights ago and I am very pleased overall. It was wonderful to sit in the audience and witness their honest reactions. The performers brought their best and I thoroughly enjoyed how Taylor Mac’s characters came alive. Much like my beloved “Hedwig and the Angry Inch”, I plan to see “HIR” performed by as many theatre companies as possible.

“I believe whole-heartedly in craft. I believe craft is essentially a commitment to learning the past, living in the present, and dreaming the culture forward.”  ~Taylor Mac

Brenna Folger and Levi Fackrell photographed by Richard Brusky.

The Beauty of Spontaneous Order

Artwork by Think Outside the State.

A couple of nights ago, something horrifying happened. I was on my way to see the play that I just costumed when my companion and I became involved in a hit-and-run collision. A vehicle was driving the wrong way down the street which resulted in another car being struck and spiraling out of control. As luck would have it, we narrowly avoided being hit, although the incident showered our car with quite a bit of debris. The driver who was at fault took off, leaving witnesses confused and a severely damaged vehicle containing two passengers stranded in the middle of the road.

When incidents like this happen, everyone reacts differently. When you’re dealing with a group of individuals, there’s no surefire way to predict every behavior. This is especially true when reacting to new or uncommon situations. There were several people who saw what happened and numerous others who stopped to help. I was in awe as complete strangers took the time to check for anyone who might have been injured, stuck around as witnesses, and did everything within their power to assist. The division of labor unfolded naturally and it was quite a sight to behold. I was amazed by the open communication that ensued between numerous people who had no relation to each other, yet worked diligently to improve a horrible situation. I can’t speak as to what everyone else walked away from that incident feeling, but for me, it was a jumble of emotions along with one glaring observation.

The most profound feeling I experienced was an overwhelming sense of appreciation. It also became apparent to me how effortless it can be to interact with others when we see them simply as humans. Nobody on the scene of that collision had any sort of criteria that had to be met before they cared about the others. There was no discussion of who voted for Trump or who voted for Hillary. Nobody based their concern on religious affiliation or race. All that mattered to this group of people was that everyone was safe and that the situation got handled in the most respectful and efficient way possible. This is the beauty of spontaneous order. This is the beauty of humanity.

If you distance yourself from the divisiveness of politics and internet fighting, it becomes easier to spot these incredible acts when they occur. I’ve seen situations where people have refused to accept responsibility for their actions, thus complicating the lives of others. I have also witnessed occurrences where people truly care about their neighbors, oftentimes at their own expense. I am in no way suggesting that one should ignore the current political climate, but merely pointing out how tempting it is to be consumed by all that is distasteful without acknowledging the areas that are flourishing.

I’ve been extremely disgusted by the behavior exhibited by so many over this last election cycle. As a libertarian, I’m consistently disappointed in government, so perhaps my expectations are lower than most. Even so, it has been shocking to witness how grotesque the current political discourse has become. I’ve watched as people I know have ended friendships over a ballot box, or held fast to ideas that they know are wrong, even in the face of overwhelming evidence just to maintain an ideology.

I have rather strong opinions about many things. Truth be told, there are very few people in my life who agree with me on most political issues that I hold in very high regard. There have been times when I have felt separated from the people I love because of things like disagreements over public policy and opinions about religion or lack thereof. It’s easy to fall into the trap of defining people in such a narrow terms, but humans are more complicated than that. As a seeker of truth, one of the greatest things you can do for yourself is to be exposed to ideas that you disagree with, to interact with people who make you apprehensive, and to actually listen when they speak. If your goal is to understand the world and approach it from a scientific standpoint, then you must swiftly escape your comfort zone. An echo chamber does wonders for ego, but will not encourage growth.

It’s undeniable that terrible things happen in this world and there are people who perpetrate unspeakable deeds. There are also people who will step up when they’re called upon, not because they are being ordered, but because it is the right thing to do.

Someone wise once pointed out to me that it’s easy to take inventory on everybody else, but the real effort begins when we acknowledge our own flaws and then work to correct them. By only focusing on negativity, individuals fall prey to an endless cycle of cynicism and fear. I have lived this way before and refuse to return to that place. By favoring constructive discussion over angry debate, it’s possible to develop a better understanding of others, and consequently, ourselves.

Over the hill.

I recently had a birthday. It was the birthday that many people dread. It was the birthday that solidifies being a certified adult, and dare I say, the birthday that many view as signifying the beginning of decline into old age. I turned forty years old on April 2nd.

Bendy birthday Barbie modified by my awesome partner in crime.

Bendy birthday Barbie modified by my awesome partner in crime.

I hadn’t thought much about being “over the hill” until early March. One day I was in flexibility class when it hit me. I looked at my coach and said, “Wow. I’m turning forty in a few weeks.” It was a strange realization and I wasn’t sure what it really meant for me. So many people make a big deal about this one particular birthday and I wondered if I should care more about it. I’m at a point in my life where I truly love myself and am proud of my accomplishments. It’s difficult to stress about such a milestone when you’re in a good place and feel like a badass most of the time. Then something really annoying happened. I ended up injured.

I had made a really bad decision months before. Instead of taking a rest day from training to let some major soreness subside, I chose to pretend that my body was super human. While doing an inversion on the pole, I felt a pain akin to an icepick on my shoulder blade and chalked it up to something that only needed a few days recovery time. Fast forward to two months later when I’m in urgent care getting an x-ray on my ribs because the pain is so intense that I’m on the verge of tears. I was unable to take a full breathe and could barely drive my car there, let alone work or train.

I’m embarrassed to admit that my “minor” injury was actually micro tearing of the muscles on my scapula. I sometimes have a difficult time differentiating between discomfort and pain, so training normally for two months just made it worse. My body reached a point where it would no longer cooperate and I ended up laid up for five days in bed. After sitting around for almost a week, I was able to return to work, but not to training as usual. I have spent the past month and a half going to physical therapy three times a week and trying not to lose my mind. My coaches have been very understanding and have tailored my workouts to accommodate me. It’s incredibly frustrating to cut out 80% of your physical activity and there’s always a fear of losing ability. Needless to say, I learned a valuable lesson and don’t ever want to wind up in that situation again.

My birthday landed right in the middle of recovery and all of a sudden I didn’t feel so fabulous. Turning forty was great when I was swinging from the rafters, but not when I was struggling to get my arm over my head or carry anything over five pounds. I was really angry at myself and felt like a complete failure. I began to wonder if the people who have told me that I am too old for aerial were right and I became shrouded in a cloud of negativity and self-doubt.

Joven Desde rules and the video below proves it.

Luckily, I’m surrounded by friends and family who care about me and don’t allow me to wallow in self pity. It was difficult, but I managed to silence the negative thoughts and waited patiently for my body to heal. I began gradually going back to normal activity last week with no pain. I saw my orthopedic specialist today and he is very satisfied with my progress. I had the opportunity to train side by side with my amazing flexibility/aerial coach today and I left the gym this evening feeling like a million bucks.

Now, let me get to the point of this blog. This whole birthday ordeal, topped off with injury drama, has inspired me to address something that I try not to talk too much about. I don’t keep my age a secret, however I don’t broadcast it either. There are so many people who are age obsessed that it becomes the focal point of how they look at others, and eventually, themselves. Older people are often disregarded as being irrelevant and out of touch while young people desperately fear growing old. There is a pervasive thought that certain things must fall by the wayside as one advances in years and I thought I was past that type of thinking until I ended up in a tough spot on my “big birthday”. I hate to admit it, but I became my own worst enemy for a short time.

I was thirty-seven when my dear friend Katherine convinced me to try aerial silks. I felt great when we were together, but was extremely intimidated to go to class on my own. It was very clear to me that I was not taken seriously by others in the various studios where I was training and a few people I knew discouraged me from trying because I was “so old”. Not one to shy away from something I want, I went for it anyway. For six months I struggled, barely showing up to class and feeling like an epic failure when I did. I pretty much stopped going altogether and hated myself for it. Two weeks after turning thirty-eight I began training flexibility and aerial silks with Kristi Toguchi at Aerial Fitness and I haven’t looked back since.

Splits!

Kristi always has my back! Behind the scenes during a recent photo shoot with Shane O’ Neill.

 

I warned Kristi of my age when we spoke on the phone before my first class. I expected to be turned away, but instead, she told me that she would train me like a performer even if I had no plans to ever become one. I was skeptical, but dragged myself to her class anyway. Imagine my surprise when I found myself part of a community that supports and encourages each other. It has been my commitment to this group of people that keeps me going on the days where I feel like giving up. I would be lying if I said it was easy. Some days I wonder what the hell I am doing when my body reminds me that I’m not a kid anymore. These are the days that I push myself the hardest. These are also the days where I reap the greatest reward.

Most people I train with are considerably younger than me. The person I train with the most is thirteen years old and an adorable force to be reckoned with. It’s not easy keeping up with her, but I have an abundance of determination and enjoy the challenge. She inspires me to be the best version of myself. I consider it my duty to show this young lady what is possible for her when she reaches my age. I want her to remember our time together when people someday tell her to stop being an aerial star and act like a proper, boring grown-up.

Ernestine Shepherd trains like a boss. Watch the video. Trust me.

So there you have it. Here’s the take-away:

1. Don’t be stupid and train when your body needs to rest. Your ego will survive a day off and you aren’t falling off of the motivation wagon by resting when necessary. Being stubborn will only make matters worse when you trade that one rest day for six weeks of it. Plus, it really sucks admitting to an urgent care nurse that you are an obstinate asshole.

2. Don’t sabotage your success. It’s easy to fall into the trap of self-doubt. One of the reasons I share so many photos and videos of my progress on social media is to document my work and hold myself accountable. When you start to feel like your accomplishments amount to peanuts, remember how far you have come. Even better, remember the people who told you that you would never make it. You can spot them easily, sitting on the sidelines of life, silently scolding themselves for shooting down your dream because they are too scared to chase theirs.

3. What’s the truth about turning forty? It’s awesome! I have had an incredible life so far. There have been many ups and downs, but it has been one hell of an adventure! I believed at thirty-three that since I had accomplished my goal of being a fashion designer, all that was left on my bucket list was to travel more. I am happy to say that I was terribly wrong. I am excited to see where I can go with my training as well as my other pursuits. There is so much out there to experience and I am grateful for each day that I’m on this Earth. Is it more difficult to train at forty? You bet your ass it is. Is it worth it? Absolutely.

Don't forget where you began! Progress is gradual. Give yourself credit for your hard work and accomplishments.

Don’t forget where you started! Progress is gradual. Give yourself credit for your hard work and accomplishments.

Pink Poison

I recently had the pleasure of working with the insanely talented Tristan Risk. As you may already know, she is one of my favorite debaucherous darlings and I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to outfit her in something special. I have been wanting to pattern a burlesque bustle skirt for some time, so creating a custom creation for Little Miss Risk made perfect sense.

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I also threw  in an exclusive Swarovski bat necklace and the Vegas inspired “Showgirl Flower” hair clip. Tristan added a couple of her own pieces to the ensemble and the result is nothing short of exquisite. I am eternally grateful to Shimona Henry of Pin-Up Perfection Photography for documenting this delightful collaboration. Swing by her site to witness some truly awe inspiring imagery.

DSC_6526 copyweb

 

Flexibility fun

The aerial school I attend recently had a performance at Lorna Jane. It was so much fun to see the girls I train with show off their skills! My flexibility/aerial coach Kristi Toguchi choreographed some wonderful acts and it was awesome learning new tricks.

I tried adagio a couple of times last year when my flexibility and balance were pretty much nonexistent. I was pleasantly surprised to see that I could comfortably grab my feet in this pose while Danielle picked me up. The hard work really fell on her, however, as she had to parade me around. It’s a good thing she’s so damn strong 😉

Being carried around by Danielle

Being carried around by Danielle

My flexibility is coming along nicely. I feel like the next couple of months will produce some amazing progress! It was great to be paired up with Emily as she is an incredible contortionist and inspiration.

Getting bendy with Emily

Kristi has been teaching monthly free stretch classes for “Workout Wednesday” at Lorna Jane. If you have ever been interested in getting more bendy I highly suggest you swing by the store or check out her Aerial Fitness school. I can’t recommend Kristi enough! I just had my one year anniversary training with her and it’s crazy to look at how far I’ve come. I am so excited to see what I accomplish next 🙂

Backbend progress

How the time flies!

So much has happened since my last blog in September! I have been really focusing on training over the past few months and am incredibly happy with the results. I spend most of my free time in the gym bending into a pretzel, hanging from the rafters, and cross-training with Roni Taylor. To be honest, I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Aerial training with Erica Vanlee at Aerial Fitness

Aerial training with Erica Vanlee at Aerial Fitness

I’ve become much stronger and everything is really starting to click in the air. I’ve added an additional day of aerial training each week, which has really helped build my strength and endurance. My main focus right now is perfecting my act which requires lots and lots of repetition. My coach, Kristi Toguchi, has taught me so much and I am constantly amazed at her skill and patience.

Everything is progressing nicely on the ground. My flexibility is constantly improving and I can now tap dance on my head 🙂 I’ve been having lots of fun training with the other girls as I am quickly learning that getting bendy is better with friends.

Flexibility training with Erica Vanlee and Heather Hyde de Landín at Aerial Fitnes

Flexibility training with Erica Vanlee and Heather Hyde de Landín at Aerial Fitness

I had my first aerial photo shoot with Beckett Studios at the end of October and got some really great images. I’m also working on a few cool aerial costumes and I can’t wait to take photos wearing them!

I’ve been documenting my progress quite a bit. You can check out more photos and videos over at my Instagram account.

Photo by Beckett Studios

Photo by Beckett Studios

 

Wait…what happened to the Poison Candy shop?!?

I’ve been receiving quite a few messages inquiring as to why the shop is closed and would like to apologize for not writing this blog entry sooner.

I’ve been a freelance designer since 2001 and hit all of my entrepreneurial goals shortly after launching my website back in 2006. The next logical step would have been to open a brick and mortar shop and I just couldn’t convince myself that I wanted to go that route. I’ve been an on-call wardrobe technician for a show on the strip for many years and accepted full-time status last year. It’s a great gig and I have a ton of other interests that have been taking me in various directions.

I’ve been studying economics for several years and began training as an aerialist last fall. My aerial coach is also a contortionist, so I have been adding flexibility training to my circus arts repertoire. I’m also in the process of learning to code and plan on accepting a few more academic challenges as the opportunities arise. Needless to say, I’m extremely busy and excited for the future!

My website will remain live and I will continue adding photos to the gallery as I work on new projects and such. Once I tackle a few more goals you can be sure that I’ll be back behind the sewing machine. I still dream up all sorts of fun concepts and can’t bear to leave my ideas unrealized for too long. I originally planned to have the shop open in a small capacity, but keeping up with licensing and taxes is an incredible drain. The state and federal governments require such an insane amount of compliance that it isn’t worth keeping my shop officially open unless I’m going to spend time cultivating it as a viable business. So basically, Poison Candy has shrugged.

For quite some time one aspect of my personality has defined me. I love learning and have so much more to accomplish. Thanks to all of you who have supported Poison Candy over the years! I invite you to follow me on my new adventures 🙂

angel

I asked Ryan Shores 10 questions and this is what happened…(NSFW)

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I’m not really sure how I discovered Ryan Shores. If I had to guess, the most likely scenario is that somewhere between browsing my favorite blogs and Twitter feeds, his unique brand of humor caught my attention. Not only has Ryan kept me laughing, he’s also a fellow horror enthusiast and one Hell of a nice guy 🙂

Ryan Shores is a bit of cult phenomenon. His first appearance on the comedy scene was in 2008 with the debut of his book, “Lotto Scratchers & Tall Cans”. Since then, he has not only qualified for the 2013 World Series of Comedy, but has remained endlessly busy touring and producing the wildly popular show, “The Degenerate Podcast”. If you haven’t already met Ryan Shores, you are in for a treat. So grab a beer, kick up your feet, and let’s go “Cruisin’ with the Tooz”!

1. What are the best and worst parts of being a professional comedian?

The best part of being a comic is finding out which of your feelings and thoughts are shared by everybody, and which ones are specific to just you (aka- “not funny”). The worst part is the 90% of comedy that takes place OFF stage. i.e., finding bookings, traveling alone, killing time all day in a crappy town/motel, getting screwed by promoters, occasionally taking financial hits and for ALL OF THAT – you get 10-25 minutes (longer when you’re headlining) to make that worth it… And some nights it’s not. If you travel to, lets say, Colorado to play a club, and somewhere between the plane landing and arriving at your Ramada, you discover your expenses will be outweighing your pay, and then you spend all day watching whatever is on TBS in the middle of the afternoon, and you’re lonely and bored, and can’t drink (you cant show up to the gig wasted) ….Then you FINALLY get to the club and no one is really into what you’re saying, and some drunk fat guy keeps yelling “SAY SOMETHING ABOUT THE BRONCOS!!!!” – you just say, “ugh, what was the point of tonight this week?” – those are moments of discouragement, that usually require 3 good shows in a row to get canceled out in my own brain.

2. Where do you find inspiration for your jokes?

For me, inspiration comes from walking around, looking around and occasionally getting super irritated. I am not a comic that can just SCHEDULE time to write stuff. I can’t just sit at a table and say “Okay! Time to be funny! What’s funny??? What should I joke about today??!?” – it’s gotta come organically. Something has to happen to, or in front of me, to make me go, “Oh, I think there’s something I can use here!” –

The benefit of that technique is that it requires practically ZERO discipline on my part- but the downside is, if nothing happens for a while, I could go months without a new joke to try.

Ryan 2

3. I’m a big fan of “The Degenerate Podcast”. How would you describe the show?

I guess I’d have to go with “trash talking in an organized fashion” – it’s a low budget show, but I’m proud of it sometimes. Basically, the formula we use when taping, is to talk like no one is listening (to not hold back), but put in the effort as if we had a billion listeners. We drink beer on the show, but no one is allowed to show up so drunk or high that they can’t perform. I can’t stand that. I have been very adamant with the cast since day 1, “Don’t be self conscious, say whatever you want, but show up with your brain working and CARE about whatever it is that you’re saying, no matter how stupid or trivial it is.”

4. Who was your favorite guest on the show?

I think Rob Brouillard from the band “The Strikers” was my favorite guest thus far because we were able to bring him out of his shell a little bit by the end of the episode. Rob’s a very nice guy, and a very well-liked musician, and so he’s very hesitant to say anything negative about ANYONE, and not just on tape! In person too. Which I think is a VERY admirable quality. I wish I had that. But by the end of a 2-hour episode with us, we had him spilling his guts a little bit about a few bands he’d toured with (for better or worse) and a few other things he may have otherwise remained respectfully mum about. It was some of the most fun I’ve had on the show.

5. Finish this sentence: “When I read the things that people say on social media I ___________.”

Sarcastically respond (out loud) “that was the GREATEST story…. I have EVER heard.”

6. What are your other interests besides comedy and drinking?

I’m a big fan of all things horror. I have been since I was 3. I collect horror art and old 1950’s EC horror comics. I also have a large VHS horror collection… Haha.  I also have an interest in sharks. I spend about an hour or two every day researching sharks as a hobby. Their different species, migration patterns (what’s known of them), feeding habits, most common dwelling temperatures, etc… It’s this weird habit I’ve had for years.  I have a large collection of guitars as well, but I’ve kinda neglected them in recent years.

7. If you could ask Charles Bukowski one thing, what would it be?

I’d say, “I loved your work in Black Flag.” (Kidding)  – If I had a chance to meet Charles Bukowski, I’d ask him if his writing was cathartic, or depressing, or both. I’d ask him how often he talked to himself when he was alone, and whether he found himself to be his own best company or if being alone with his own thoughts for too long was difficult at times. And more specifically I’d ask him to compare Los Angeles now to his h        yday, to determine what the MAJOR differences are, besides, iPhones, hashtags and social media “stars” hanging out places.

 8. Which comedians have influenced you?

I always REALLY liked George Carlin and Jerry Seinfeld as a kid. I probably listened to “You’re All Diseased” (Carlin) and “I’m Telling You For The Last Time” (Seinfeld) more times than those comedians rehearsed and performed those routines, however it never made me wanna be a comedian…. The person who inspired me to get into standup was Henry Rollins. When I was in college, I listened to NOTHING BUT Rollins’ spoken word in my free time. I REALLY loved how he called out everyday bullshit, and I REALLY wanted to do that too, but I knew I didn’t have any business doing “spoken word”… When you’re 23 and haven’t done shit in your life, and no one has ever heard of you, nobody is going to want to listen to you tell really long, single-subject stories that may or may not have any value to them… Plus, people that do “spoken word” are typically pretty arrogant and WILDLY untalented – so I chose to start learning how to do traditional standup to accomplish that same goal: make fun and yell about things that annoy me.

Ryan 3

9. I’ve often heard you say “Cruisin’ with the Tooz”. Is this a reference to the book by John Matusdak, or are you just trying to confuse people?

I’M SO GLAD YOU ASKED ME THAT!!! It’s BOTH!!! I really like looking up what happened to random pop culture people that no one thinks about anymore. It’s a hobby like researching sharks for no reason… Anyway, one day, I decided, “I wanna know what ever became of the dude that played Sloth in ‘The Goonies’!!” – which is how I stumbled across John Matuzak (aka “The Tooz”) – that dude was a riot! He got kicked out of the NFL for beating up a coach, made a little noise in Hollywood for a couple years as an extra/bit-part actor then died of a cocaine overdose. But BEFORE HE DID, he published his auto biography, titled “CRUISIN’ WITH THE TOOZ!!!” … For some reason, that title made me crack up so hard that I just started yelling it at the end of my shows with ZERO explanation to the audience and posting it on various social media platforms as like a faux-catch phrase. I never explained why, and people just kind of accepted it as random nonsense. People even started shouting it at shows, having NO IDEA what it meant…. And occasionally, people will get curious and google it, and be even MORE confused! Like, “The guy from the Goonies??? Thats who he keeps randomly referencing??? Why???” – so it’s like a private joke for me (and now you), and also a silent nod to the late, great John Matuzak…. Now someone please add me to his Wikipedia page as a footnote!!!

10. By now my readers are very interested in tracking you down and studying your body of work. Where can they find you? 

www.ryanshores.com

Facebook.com/ryanshores138

Twitter: @ryanshores138

Instagram: Ryan_shores138

Every episode of “The Degenerate Podcast” is available on iTunes for free, with new episodes every Friday (or Saturday if someone fucks up).

Bewitching trepidation

“There is no beauty without some strangeness.”
~Edgar Allan Poe

Decadent dream

Ever since I can remember, I have been slightly obsessed with Edgar Allan Poe. Somewhere between the morose romanticism and engaging storytelling, I fell down the rabbit hole that is the magical world of one of the 19th century’s most prolific writers.

Although recognized more for his literary criticism during his lifetime, Poe’s writing spins gothic tales of tragedy, insanity, and magnificient macabre. No stranger to misfortune himself, perhaps Poe used his work to deal with many of the complex issues surrounding his own life. In addition to brilliant prose, Poe was also known for developing intuitive “scientific” theories and had a love for cryptography. I believe that Poe possessed a unique combination of attributes which add a delicious spin to his works, making them detective stories as well as spine tingling tales of terror.

Annabelle LeeI’ve wanted to create an Edgar Allan Poe inspired group for some time. Last winter I spent many hours searching for the ideal fabrics, drafting bustle patterns, and collecting a myriad of vintage findings in order to put together a trio of beautifully melancholy couture looks. I was so happy to find that The Velveteen Rabbit was the perfect backdrop for my concept. I recruited the insanely talented team at Radiant Inc. to capture some incredible images of spooky beauties Moxie Macabre and Annalee Belle.

Exquisite

If you are a fan of Poe, I highly recommend you check out “Tales of the Macabre” illustrated by Benjamin Lacombe. This book has some ghoulishly gorgeous  artwork accompanying favorite works by the grim genius. We’re currently redesigning the gallery on our site, so if you’d like to see more photos from this shoot, take a peek here.

 

It came from 1997…

Rock ‘n’ roll rebels, punk rock aficionados, and vinyl enthusiasts; have I got a treat for you!

As many of you know, I have always had an entrepreneurial spirit. Somewhere between my detective agency (inspired by Encyclopedia Brown) and Poison Candy, there was “Second To None Records”.

In the mid 90’s I found myself residing in Austin, Texas. I had set out from my hometown in Southern California for New York City where I planned to attend design school and enter the world of haute couture. Like most Californians, I assumed that Texas was a barren wasteland filled with tumbleweeds and drunken cowboys. Strangely enough, I immediately fell in love with the unusual city and ended up staying  for three years.

LCB:DEC

In 1997 my business partner and I decided to start our own record label. We named it “Second To None records” after being inspired the Avengers song and had high hopes of producing all of our favorite local bands. Austin has a ton of incredible music, but it wasn’t difficult for us to narrow the field to the two bands we adored the most.

The Dead End Cruisers and Lower Class Brats played all over town with fierce integrity and they were the obvious choice for our first record. We already made it a point to attend all of their shows, so getting them to work with our label was a dream come true. Overjoyed at the idea of putting out a split 7″ with both bands, we kicked some serious ass in the studio and pressed 500 records on gorgeous blue vinyl.

We had a blast pimping our beautiful little vinyl darlings all over town as well as across the pond. Frequent trips were made to local record shops and many hours were spent shipping packages to eager fans all over the world. Sadly, before we had the opportunity to facilitate another pressing, the partnership was dissolved and I was on my way to San Francisco.

So, you must be asking, what happened to all of those gorgeous records? Well, as expected, most were sold immediately after the first and only pressing. The LCB/DEC split 7″ has been considered rare all of these years due to scarcity, although a few used copies have made an appearance on collector’s sites and random record shops. There was, however, a very small box from the factory that I kept unopened…

LCB

Re-introducing the Lower Class Brats/Dead End Cruisers split 7′ from Second To None Records! I had to keep a couple of records for myself, but really wanted to get the remaining copies in the hands of people who would appreciate them. The Lower Class Brats were excited to see them again and are now selling them in their shop.

These records are from the ORIGINAL 1997 pressing of only 500 copies. Not only are they in mint condition, but Bones and Marty have also signed them! It’s been so much fun revisiting this part of my history…seriously amazing hearing those tracks after so many years 🙂

Oh, and be warned…The Lower Class Brats have some insanely cool swag in their shop, so don’t browse without bringing your lunch money!

Lower Class Brats