Parisian Erotica, Museum Monsters & Hart Island. Films & Lectures this week at the Observatory!

The Observatory has not stopped for a minute in their curation of truely unique films, talks and events. This is just THIS week! Go to the website to see what is planned for the next few.

Tuesday, April 20th

The Silken Web: The Erotic World of Paris 1920-1946
An illustrated lecture by Professor Mel Gordon, author of Voluptuous Panic: The Erotic World of Wiemar Berlin

Date: Tuesday, April 20 Time: 8:00 PM
Admission: $5
Presented by Morbid Anatomy

"In tonight’s illustrated lecture, Professor Mel Gordon–author of Voluptious Panic: The Erotic World of Weimar Berlin and Grand Guiginol: Theatre of Fear and Terror–will present a graphic look at the brothel worlds of interwar Paris. Each of the 221 registered maisons closes–French for “closed house”–had its own unique attractions for its specialized clientele: theatricalized sex, live music, pornographic entertainments, aphrodisiac restaurants, even American-style playrooms and wife-friendly lounges for the customers’ families and bored mistresses. Tonight, have some wine and partake in authentic French culture and their Greatest Generation, complements of Mel Gordon and Observatory. Mel Gordon is the author of Voluptious Panic: The Erotic World of Weimar Berlin, Grand Guiginol: Theatre of Fear and Terror, and many other books. Voluptuous Panic was the first in-depth and illustrated book on the topic of erotic Weimar; The lavish tome was praised by academics and inspired the establishment of eight neo-Weimar nightclubs as well as the Dresden Dolls and a Marilyn Manson album. Now, Mel Gordon is completing a companion volume for Feral House Press, entitled The Silken Web: The Erotic World of Paris, 1920-1946. He also teaches directing, acting, and history of theater at University of California at Berkeley."

Thursday, April 22nd

Museums, Monsters, and the Moral Imagination with Stephen Asma

Date: Thursday, April 22
Time: 8:00 PM Admission: $5
Presented by Morbid Anatomy

"In this illustrated lecture, professor Stephen Asma–author of the the definitive study of the natural history museum Stuffed Animals and Pickled Heads: the Culture and History of Natural History Museums–will draw upon his studies of science museums and monsters to reflect on their often hidden moral aspects. Museums are saying more about values than many people notice, and the same can be said about our cultural fascinations with monsters. The urge to classify, set boundaries, and draw lines between the natural and the unnatural are age-old impulses.

In this lecture, Dr. Asma will try to excavate some of the moral uses and abuses of this impulse. Stephen T. Asma is the author of Stuffed Animals and Pickled Heads: the Culture and History of Natural History Museums (Oxford) and more recently On Monsters: an Unnatural History of Our Worst Fears (Oxford). He is Professor of Philosophy at Columbia College Chicago and Fellow of the LAS Research Group in Mind, Science and Culture at Columbia. You can find out more about him at his website, www.stephenasma.com. Copies of his books will be available for sale and signing at the event."

Friday, April 23rd

Hart Island: An American Cemetery
Time: 7:30 PM
Admission: $5
Presented by Curious Expeditions / Atlas Obscura

"Only a few miles from Manhattan is Hart Island, America’s largest cemetery and the largest tax-funded cemetery in the world. Serving as New York Cities potter’s field for over a 100 years, more than 800,000 people are buried here. People unclaimed by relatives, who can not afford a private funeral, and all the John and Jane Doe’s of New York City are buried on Hart Island. In 2005 alone there were 1,419 burials, including “826 adults, 546 infants and stillborn babies, and 47 burials of dismembered body parts.” The graves are dug by Riker’s Island prisoners and the records are managed by the prison. For a very long time being buried on Hart Island was to be forgotten. Melinda Hunt is the director of the Hart Island Project. She is a current recipient of two consecutive (2008-2010) Canada Council for the Arts Awards for Artists and Community Collaboration in Integrated Arts. Melinda published a book Hart Island in 1998 in collaboration with Joel Sternfeld and co-produced a documentary Hart Island: An American Cemetery with Banff New Media Institute and composer Fred Hersch. The Hart Island Project: Buried in Bureaucracy is her current on-line initiative that seeks to make the largest cemetery in America visible and accessible. Toward that end, a digital database of burial records is being assembled by volunteers based on 65,000 records received through Freedom of Information. Currently over 30,000 names have been entered in the database which is free to registered users."

Join Melinda on Friday, April 23rd to hear her talk about Hart Island, her experience working on the Hart Island Project and for a screening of her documentary.

And don't forget to check out the current exhibit!

For more information, see observatoryroom.org

The Observatory is located at Nevins off of Union. Enter through the alley way at Proteus Gowanus.

No comments: