The place is fairly small, but they pack a lot in. When you first walk in, you enter at the bar level. The bartender will greet you and give you the lay of the land. For a few pounds, you can pay admission to the museum, which is located on the lower lever down a precarious spiral staircase. You’re allowed to take beer or wine with you down into the gallery (cocktails are only allowed upstairs in the bar area, however). The admission price includes a little souvenir book, so my advice is to hit the gallery first, then pull up a table in the cocktail lounge and read all about the weirdness you just saw, like the gold-plated hippo skull that was owned by Pablo Escobar, Fiji mermaid or a taxidermied goat with wings.
The museum/bar hosts a lot of unique events, from literary readings to taxidermy classes, so make sure to check the calendar if you’re planning a visit. When I visited recently, they were hosting a temporary exhibition of witchcraft art and artifacts on loan from Cornwall’s Museum of Witchcraft. (Note to self: plan a future trip to Cornwall.)
So many sites do round-up of the best “beach reads” every summer, but isn’t winter really the ideal reading season? It’s chilly outside, so why not offer up some winter book recommendations to curl up with?
I’ve recently acquired two new books that are perfect companions for gloomy weather, and I highly recommend adding them to your bookshelf or bedside table!
Cured: The Tale of Two Imaginary Boys
I’m sure it’s no surprise that I’m a huge fan of The Cure (and have been since the age of 12), so naturally I just had to pick up this new autobiography from founding member and former Cure drummer Lol Tolhurst. In this memoir, Lol share stories from the band’s early days and his decades-long relationship with Robert Smith. Robert himself isn’t one for sharing, so chances are you won’t come across this level of intimacy and transparency on the band’s past anywhere else.
Gross & Unlikeable
If you’re a fan of literary horror and dark fiction, you know that women are all too often underrepresented in this genre. Thankfully, the San Diego-based literary organization So Say We All has put together this amazing collection of short stories, written, edited and illustrated entirely by women. In these 28 creepy and sometimes grotesque stories, women take us to dark places we’re not supposed to go, telling tales of their bodies and minds in their own terms. Be warned: the combination of female power and horror is brutal and savage…and completely worth reading.
I live for contrasts. The combination of hard and soft, growth and decay…That’s probably why I’ve always been so enthralled by old cemeteries. Ornate stonework, delicate wrought iron gates, flowers and plant life sprinkled across the grounds, all combined in a place that’s intended to house the deceased.
Lately I’ve been positively possessed by macabre needlework. Embroidery is typically thought of dainty, delicate, and — of course — feminine. Which is why finding these embroidery artists is such a treat. Their gruesome subject matter lends a little edge to the art of needlework, while the delicate nature of the materials lends a bit of softness to subjects that some folks would find off-putting.
Adipocere is the master of peculiar needle and thread art. While there aren’t many items up for sale at the moment on his site, be sure to follow his Instagram for the latest breathtaking designs.
A photo posted by Hand embroidery on linen/skin (@adipocere) on
Tinycup Needleworks also produces remarkable work. All of her pieces are one of a kind and available by commission only, so they can be hard to come by. But even if you can’t own one for yourself, you can enjoy her work on her Instagram as well.
The Etsy shop of MoonriseWhims features a lot of terrific feminist embroidery, but I was particularly drawn to this quote from Edgar Allan Poe, which sums up perfectly why I’m so drawn to the aesthetic combination of beautiful and creepy. Special bonus: her shop is located in my hometown!
Several months back, I stumbled across Memento Mori in Los Angeles, a fantastic little shop full of dark curiosities, art and apparel. While browsing for quite a while (and furiously try to make up my mind on what to purchase, as my limited budget outweighed my desire to clean out the store of its merchandise), my eyes came across a striking gentleman…
This very well-dressed lemur is the creation of ibride, a French design studio that creates unique and slightly off kilter home decor. Edmond is from their line of wall trays. Memento Mori carried a few different designs, and it was incredible hard to choose a favorite. But Edmond ended up coming home with us and now graces my music studio.
It’s not too hard to find ibride items online; Switch Modern carries several of their trays and other objects. To get really familiar with their collection, check out their site (bonus points if you speak French, because you won’t have to translate the page).