Articles by Haystack




Via VictorianGothic.org:

This 1896 Lumière Brothers film captures a performance of Loïe Fuller’s “Serpentine Dance.” No, there was no LSD in the 1890′s, but yes, there were colorized films. In the technique used above, each frame was individually hand-tinted using stencils and colored dyes. It was a laborious, manual process, and it was first employed to recreate Loïe Fuller’s stage magic; acclaimed for its early use of chromatic theatrical lights that illuminated the dancer’s flowing white silk…


Victorian Gothic on Aleister Crowley’s White Stains: Readers will likely be familiar with Aleister Crowley, the notorious English occultist, bisexual libertine, recreational drug user, founder of the Thelemic religion, leader of the Ordo Templi Orientis…




One of the secret projects discussed in Annie Jacobson’s new Area 51 book is Project Orion, an ambitious 1950’s-1960’s era attempt to develop a nuclear fission-propelled spacecraft capable of interplanetary travel. Like many of the Cold War aeronautics projects developed at Area 51 and related test sites, it was way ahead of its time. According to Jacobs, however, when ARPA and the USAF took over the project, they had a far more Strangelovian vision in mind:

“From high above Earth, a USS Orion could be used to launch attacks against enemy targets using nuclear missiles. Thanks to Orion’s nuclear-propulsion technology, the spaceship could make extremely fast defensive maneuvers, avoiding any Russian nuclear missiles that might come its way…For a period of time during the early 1960’s the Air Force believed Orion was going to be invincible. ‘Whoever builds Orion will control the Earth!” declared General Thomas S. Power of the Strategic Air Command.” [Jacobson, p. 305]

In this fascinating TED lecture George Dyson, son of Freeman Dyson, shares his special knowledge of the project. Not much information about Project Orion’s proposed weaponization has reached the web, but pay special attention to what he says at around 3:30-3:50…



Four year-old Aelita Andre has a solo show opening at New York City’s Agora Gallery on June 4th. It might not come as too much of a surprise that a child should be able to produce beautiful, abstract expressionist art on par with the professionals, who are probably tapping their “inner children,” anyway. Aelita Andre, however, has been given free reign to so do, with as much space and materials to explore her creativity as anyone could want. Moreover, she displays real talent; working in thoughtful, methodical way, and making deliberate creative choices. Discovered via BoingBoing:


Florida StateThis via the St. Petersburg Times:

A foundation bankrolled by Libertarian businessman Charles G. Koch has pledged $1.5 million for positions in Florida State University’s economics department. In return, his representatives get to screen and sign off on any hires for a new program promoting “political economy and free enterprise.”

Traditionally, university donors have little official input into choosing the person who fills a chair they’ve funded. The power of university faculty and officials to choose professors without outside interference is considered a hallmark of academic freedom.

Under the agreement with the Charles G. Koch Charitable Foundation, however, faculty only retain the illusion of control. The contract specifies that an advisory committee appointed by Koch decides which candidates should be considered. The foundation can also withdraw its funding if it’s not happy with the faculty’s choice or if the hires don’t meet “objectives” set by Koch during annual evaluations.



The recent discussions of birth certificates and citizenship have rekindled my interest in living and working abroad, and, consequently, my frustration at just very how hard this is for the average person…



Zachary Sniderman writes on Mashabe.com: It’s one thing to feel bad for homeless people; it’s another to be forced into their shoes. Advertising agency McKinney has teamed up with Urban Ministries of…


Victoriangothic.org reviews the classic novel which first popularized the Thuggee cult, a darkly psychological adventure story with a murderous anti-hero, Ameer Ali: Philip Meadows Taylor’s 1839 novel Confessions of a Thug captured…




As Jane Mayer’s New Yorker Magazine piece argues, the Koch brothers prefer to stay in the shadows because they do not want the products they manufacture to become widely associated with their…




Lady Gaga has nothing on Klaus Nomi, the surreal German countertenor whose short career spanned 1977-1983.

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Sadly, Nomi died of AIDS in 1983 before he had the chance to render 80’s pop culture even more bizarre than it eventually became. As he was dying, Nomi gave this especially poignant performance of the “Cold Song” (lyrics follow)…




Captain BeefheartRest in Peace: Captain Beefheart: Jan. 15, 1941–Dec. 17, 2010.

Cult musician and visual artist Don Van Vliet died Friday after years of suffering from multiple sclerosis.

Found on YouTube below is “Making Love to a Vampire with a Monkey on my Knee” by Captain Beefheart & His Magic Band.

[Image: Captain Beefheart at Convocation Hall, Toronto, 1974. Photo by Jean-Luc via Wikimedia Commons]