Spell Bound, 2011

Posted in 2000+, Book, PSFW on 9 July 2011 by redwitch1
[Palaez, cover and p. 43]

Spell Bound (2011) follows Coven: Sisterhood of the Dark (1998), Coven 2: A Gallery Girls Collection (2002) and Coven 3: A Gallery Girls Book from SQP Inc. (See my posts here, here and here).

[Bob Larkin, p. 15 (2009)]

When I did my post on Coven 3: A Gallery Girls Book I said that the SQP Inc. volumes were improving and this is another instance of that. In fact, this collection is awesome! And, unlike the previous collections, all fifty artworks are in colour. It was difficult selecting only ten images for today’s post.

[Scott Lewis, p. 41]

For me, the stand out artists are Scott Lewis (three pieces) and Palaez (two piece). I have limited myself to one each below because I was trying to show the variety of styles. And I have included as many as I felt I could without spoiling the fun of buying a copy.

[SQP Art Books 2011 calendar by James Hottinger, "Spellbound" (2010)]

Each SPQ collection is quite cheap (this one is only USD14.95), so do yourself a favour and buy this one, and any of the others you missed, immediately. When I bought mine I got, as an extra added bonus, a super-sexy witch calendar for 2011 (above) by James Hottinger. You might be lucky too!

[Brian Leblanc, p. 42 (2010)]
[Adrian Velez and Dave Dunstan, p.19 (2010)]
[Carlos Valenzuela, p.30 TEXT]
[Carlos Valenzuela, p. 25]
[Diego Grego, p. 16 (2010)]
[Dave Dunstan, p. 35 (2010)]

The Witch of Tremont Row, 1900

Posted in 00s, Photograph, Real Witch, SFW on 2 July 2011 by redwitch1

As you can see, this is a cabinet card photograph of “Zoe Stouadenewich, Witch of Tremont Row. L. B. Walker, Manager.” The photograph is by Elmer Chickering (fl. 1885–1915; see his Wikipedia page here).

As you can see below, on the back of the card we are told that “Duplicates of the picture [are available] at any time” from “The Original Chickering Photographic Studio”: “Elmer Chickering, 21 West Street, Boston, Mass.” So, when you are in Boston, just pop down to West Street if you want one.

I have not been able to discover much at all about Zoe Stouadenewich. Another photograph of her appears in the McGown collection of 2540 theatrical photographs of circus and vaudeville acts, where it is catalogued here) as “Stouadenewich, Miss Zoe, The Kindergarden Co., 12.23.1889″ [i.e., 23 December 1889]. (Her photo is in Box 45, folder 11 of this collection.)

I have found a couple of newspaper references to “The Kindergarden Co.” in action giving “theatrical entertainments” in 1886 thanks to http://www.fultonhistory.com. The first reference, recorded in The Fulton Times, was “at the opera house … before small audiences … The actresses were each good in their respective parts, while the songs and duets were mostly new and well rendered.” The second, in The New York Dramatic Mirror, simply records that the company was in Buffalo NY.

A bit of digging online reveals that L. B. Walker was manager of the Nickelodeon, aka the Nickelodeon Musee and Parlor Theatre, 51–53 Hanover Street, Boston (which was established 1894). In 1900 the City Council granted a licence to “LB Walker (referred July 17), for a license for the Nickelodeon, for vaudeville entertainments and exhibition of freaks, at 51–53 Hanover St.” Also, The New York Clipper (8 May 1901): 239, informs us that Walker was presenting “The Fat Woman’s Bicycle Race … including six of the most ponderous riders in the world.” So, Walker was a vaudeville manager of freaks, fat ladies, and witches!

Tremont Row had been the home of photographers (in the 1840s Josiah Johnson Hawes opened Boston’s first photography studio there) and artists (the New England Art Union had its home at No. 38 in the 1850s, and Charles Hubbard kept a studio there from 1848 to 1856). By the late nineteenth century, through to the early twentieth century, numerous vaudeville and burlesque theaters made their home in the area—which (according to this site) eventually attracted the attention of Boston’s vice squad and after WW2 the whole area was flattened and redeveloped into a series of municipal government buildings!

Bringing this meagre amount of information together: it seems likely that Zoe was—from a young age—an actress, singer and vaudeville entertainer; that she was a member of a small theatre company that toured upstate NY in the late 1880s and a decade later had settled in an area of Boston thick with vaudeville theatres and entertainers.

We can assume that she adopted the moniker “The Witch of Tremont Row” for much the same reason as “la Sorcière Isoline”—”Le Voyante Musicienne” [The Witch Isoline—The Musical Visionary], who sang and told fortunes, or, as one of her promotional cards put it, she would reveal one’s “Destinée; Consils sur Héritages, Procès, Successions, Mariages, etc.” [Destiny; Inheritance, Lawsuits, Successions, Marriages, etc.]. For my two posts on Isoline see here and here.

The photograph does not contain the sort of witchy paraphernalia that we might expect today, but neither do the photographs of la sorcière Isoline. My attention was, however, captured by the above wishbone brooch.

* * * * *

The wishbone is symbolic of good luck and has been popular since the Victorian period. I have seen many silver and gold wishbone brooches, but they also came in gilded brass, either plain, or covered in seed-pearls, garnet, obsidian and other semi-precious stones, set with a large central stone, or combined other symbols or motifs. Below are a handful of examples from the Victorian/Edwardian period onwards (NB, below right, wishbone with citrine, seed-pearls, etc). Unfortunately, it is not clear what symbol or stone has been added to Zöe’s wishbone. (Shape-wise, the closest match is the brass and citrine brooch—available for only USD34.00 here.)

Wishbone brooches were popular as memento or Mizpah jewellery. As this site says, “Since [the Victorian/Edwardian period] was an era of great exploration and travel over vast distances, many pieces of Mizpah jewellery was made”: so we find examples with national symbols attached, as above left (clover-leaf for Ireland, map of Australia and Koala for Australia, thistle for Scotland).

The message is, then, good luck from/in Ireland/Scotland/Australia etc. Like convict love tokens (see here), these pieces of jewelry carry a message of affection for or from loved ones who have been left behind. In more recent times, below, we get cheap tourist memento pins which carry a similar but uch more superficial message, and usually in a more literal way “[good luck from] Plymouth” or “Edinburgh”. Others (as above, bottom left) have unrelated symbols, such as a banjo, which may mean something like “good luck playing the banjo”!

* * * * *

Returning to Zöe, it is quite possible that she is wearing a good luck charm from her homeland. With a name like Stouadenewich she could be from many places in Europe: Germany, Norway or Sweden: Stauden being “perennial” in German and Staden being “town” or “city” in Norwegian and Swedish. Then again, it could be a more general good luck charm—appropriate for a witch—or it could just be decorative. Certainly, Zöe herself is quite attractive and the wishbone looks lovely on her.

[And if anyone claims—as they have previously about Isoline—that Zöe is a man in drag, I will scream. Although this site is called sexy witch, not every woman on it who is not eye-poppingly gorgeous is a man in drag!]

Tintype Witches (almost), 1875

Posted in 19thC, Photograph, SFW on 25 June 2011 by redwitch1

When is a sexy witch, not a sexy witch? Or rather, when does an image seem to depict a sexy witch, but on closer examination not depict either a witch or a sexy witch? I dabbled with this question during the Halloween Countdown in 2009, with a series of posts on “stuff I leave out.” These posts covered images of witches who were too young for inclusion (no.1), women with misleadingly broad-brimmed hats (no.2 and no.4) and women who are described as witches, but who are only described thus figuratively (usually, because they are either very naughty, or because they are so sexy that their allure acts like magic; no.3).

Sadly, I could do many more posts showing items I bought on spec but had to reject when I got a chance to get a closer look at them. I could also do quite a few posts showing items I bought knowing that the image wouldn’t qualify for this blog. Indeed, I have been buying more of these marginal items recently, precisely because they help define the margins (especially between clown/witch). But this one I bought because the image is just so unbelievably awesome and because it is so wacky that it might actually have been intended to allude to witches.

As you can see, here we have four young women (Sexy? Tick), the fourth one is holding a broom (Witch paraphernalia? Another tick), the first one has a misleadingly-broad-brimmed hat, with a convenient shadow suggesting a pointed crown (Witch’s hat? Almost a tick), and two middle one are cradling a taxidermied raptor—an eagle perhaps—(Gothic paraphernalia? Another tick).

Since the first woman holds a dustpan and brush it seems likely that the fourth woman is holding a broom for cleaning purposes. But, if so, WTF is going on with the dead bird?! It is all very confusing. (To say nothing of the fact that if these girls could step out of this tintype would look perfectly at home at a goth bar. In fact they would knock the torn fishnets off some of the competition.)

After looking at the image for a while I realised I really didn’t care that it was not clear, or even unlikely, that this image depicted four witches: I wanted the photo so that these four gothic beauties could come to Melbourne and live with me. For ever. And even though it is not clear, or even unlikely, that this image depicts four witches, I thought some of you might like to see it too.

Ann Savage Riding a Gun! 1944

Posted in 40s, Halloween, Photograph on 18 June 2011 by redwitch1

Ann Savage—declared an “icon and legend” by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences in 2005—played the role of a femme fatale in the classic film noir Detour (1945), and starred in more than twenty films between 1943 and 1946. After appearing in Esquire in 1944, she became a favorite with the troops “making numerous personal appearance tours at various military bases in order to raise war bonds” according to IMDB. (For a better bio, see here.) So I am guessing this rather wacky photo dates from late 1944 or 1945.

Ann is sitting on a WW1-era fixed, naval anti-aircraft gun—probably 20mm—a bit similar to this one. Since she is dressed as a witch I guess we are to imagine she is flying it. Which would be difficult, seeing as it is bolted to the ground/deck. Her witch outfit is comprised almost solely of a hat. The rest, like last-week’s press photo is all pinup: a short-all-over one-piece black outfit with fishnets and heels.

Of course, if we are not going to be too literal-minded, we might imagine the gun is her(?) enormous and deadly phallus (i.e., one she controls and wields) or that it is—for her—an enormous dildo or vibrator (i.e., one she “rides” for sexual pleasure). Both options are pretty weird, but I am guessing it is the latter, and that the “troops” Ann entertained with this image were being invited to identify with the enormous and deadly phallus/dildo. Disturbing. And at this point it should be clear that you’d be well-advised to back out of any room containing either the photographer, the distributor of the photo or said soldier.

* * * * *

I said last week that I had completed my series of WW2 and earlier press photos. I was wrong. I found a few more. This one is all over the internet already, usually on enormously-long pages made up almost completely of images taken (without acknowledgment) from this site. Or, at least, pages only containing one or two images that are not on this site, and many images that are only on this site.

Acknowledgments are nice people: and it is in the interest of all bloggers and others to acknowledge where they have filched images from because, without acknowledgment and encouragement, people like me might actually stop spending all their time and money trying to find new material (i.e., images of thing not already everywhere on the internet) and then scanning and giving said images away. For free. Capisci?

Nancy Gates, 1943

Posted in 40s, Halloween, Photograph, SFW on 12 June 2011 by redwitch1

This is, unfortunately, only a reprint of a Nancy Gates Halloween press photo, but it is a very high quality one and I wanted to round out my series of press photos from before the end of WWII before I move on to other topics.

Gates (b. 1926) arrived in Hollywood in 1941 and was contracted to RKO at the age of fifteen. Over the next decade she appeared in a score of films‚including The Magnificent Ambersons and Hitler’s Children, before taking on a long series of bit-parts on TV.

The costume and props in this photo are as basic as you can get (as you can see below). In fact, the costume is comprised solely of a besom/broom and a cauldron: the bats and JOL are only “atmosphere” and the silk button-up shirt and short-shorts are simply pin-up requirements. Gates is very cute, but she looks both young and awkward among the props in this pin-up outfit. I am assuming this photo was taken in 1943 or 1944 when she was 17 or 18.

There is a second photo in this series, where Gates has her right hand on her hip and she is leaning on her broom. So far I have only seen reprints of both photos, but I am holding out for an original. With luck the snipe on an original photo will provide a more accurate date. Until then …

Leggy Lucia Carroll, 1941

Posted in 40s, Photograph, SFW on 4 June 2011 by redwitch1

This Lucia Carroll press photo was probably released in 1941 rather than 1940, but both are possible. Lucia Carroll (fl. 1940–55) appeared—uncredited—in a series of films in 1940 and 1941, appearing in her first credited role in January 1942. None of her films are particularly memorable and so she has not attracted a Wikipedia entry.

Digging around, I find that in May 1941 Carroll appeared in a photo-shoot in Life of a Leslie Charteris novella: The Saint Goes West: The Mystery of the Palm Springs Playboy. As Burl Barer writes, Carroll portrays Ginny, one of “the luscious women in the life of playboy Freddy Pellman.” In Life, Carroll is described simply as “an attractive redhead”—but, as usual, it is the “beautiful blonde” (Marjorie Woodworth) who gets all the best shots.

With this photo in front of us, it is hard to understand why luscious, leggy Lucia Carroll didn’t get more time in front of the camera. She certainly makes for an eye-popping red[headed] witch in this figure-hugging, diaphanous black outfit, with its split skirt and pendulous sleeves.

Of course, the angle of the photo helps, looking up—as we are—along one long, bare leg, which draws the eye up over Carroll’s narrow hips, tiny waist, not-so-tiny bust (emphasised rather than concealed by a snow-white bra), to a defiant face, looking into the distance off-camera. The hat is a masterpiece: I love these witchy hats with calico undersides, which radiate pleats like a devilish halo (like this one, and Gale Robbins here). It is a shame they went out of fashion …

Emerald City Comicon Artbook, 2011

Posted in 2000+, Book, SFW on 29 May 2011 by redwitch1

Twixraider has sent me a link to this fabulous witchy artwork.

I know nothing more about the Emerald City Comicon Artbook that appears on this page [but see UPDATE below], but if you look here you will see that brandstudio have published, among many other things, an Emerald City Comicon Artbook in 2009 and 2010 as well. They all look great, and the price seems very reasonable … and if anyone buys one they can tell me who should get the credit for this fab artwork!

[UPDATE 29 May 11: Thanks to the all-knowing Skott I can now identify the artist as "Adam Hughes, comic pin-up artist extraordinaire." The artist's DeviantArt gallery is here; the page for this image is here.]

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