Three concentrating men born October 29: The Shah of Iran (1919). Carl Djerassi (1923) and A. j. Ayer (1910)
For an analytic, logical positivist philosopher A. J. Ayer had an astonishing number of sexual liaisons in addition to his four marriages, even fathering at least one illegitimate, on the Hollywood columnist Sheila Graham. It has been said he was "a slave to his libido" and one colleague described him as 'a great mind ruined by sex". As could be predicted by his philosophical affiliation, he was an atheist, but attested to a powerful NDE (near death experience) which caused him to alter his beliefs.
Carl Djerassi is the chemist who invented the oral contraceptive, forever changing the very nature of sex. A man of many brilliances, he greatly concerned himself with the ethical and philosophical implications of the entrance of science and technology into the world of human reproduction. He is a prolific writer and playwright. His play "An Immaculte Misconception" deals with in vitro fertilization, and is published along with the play "Taboo" under the title "Sex in an Age of Technological Reproduction". Others include "Phallacy" and "Foreplay". His life was turned around by the terrible suicide of his daughter.
Mohammad Reza Shah Pahlavi, the exiled Shah of Iran, endured a prolonged and very public death, from a rare indolent cancer, Waldenström's macroglobulinemia. Few people have had their death's so thoroughly scrutinized by the international press. He kept a harem og women and had this to say about the opposite sex:
“ . . . All I can say is that women, when they govern, are much harsher than men. Much crueler. Much more bloodthirsty. I’m citing facts, not opinions. You’re heartless when you have power. Think of Catherine de Medicis, Catherine of Russia, Elizabeth I of England. Not to mention your Lucrezia Borgia, with her poisons and intrigues. You’re schemers, you’re evil. All of you."
WINONA RYDER, born today in 1971, the classic Goth teen of Beetlejuice, Edward Scissorhands, Bram Stoker's Dracula and Heathers (which concerned mass-murder and mass-suicide). She had her personal near death experience, a traumatic near-drowning at age 12 which left her with aquaphobia. She played a literal femme fatale in the 2007 Sex and Death 101, a character named Death Nell who avenges women who have been sexually mistreated. In 1993 she deeply concerned herself in the kidnapping and death of a little girl named Polly Klaas, compelled to rehearse a Pluto/Persephone narrative.
Halloween approaches. Oct. 27's Scorpio femme fatale must be poet SYLVIA PLATH (born 1932). This is one of her drawings. The night she met her husband-to-be, poet Ted Hughes, she bit his cheek to blood . . . at a party! He wrote "This lightning pass through all the walls of the maze was her real genius. Instant confrontation with the most central, unacceptable things." Fiercely felt female scorpionic imagery, clustering around death, sex, and the Pluto/Persephone story, pours out of Plath as from a wound. In her hair-raising, career-making poem "Daddy”, she cast her dead father as a jackbooted Nazi murderer. ("A cleft in your chin instead of your foot / But no less a devil for that . . ."
Francois Mitterand 1916: President of France 1981-1995; He stage-managed his death, inviting his close friends and family to an opulent ‘last meal’; and had two funerals: one attended by his wife and daughter, and one by his mistress and illegitimate daughter. “If I preferred this state of confusion and secrecy, it’s that I cannot resolve myself to leaving those I have loved. I don’t break with somebody. I add up.”
He staged an assassination attempt on his own life. A life full of NDEs.
While Premier he concealed his fatal prostate cancer from the public for ten years. He so cultivated an aura of mystery he was nicknamed “le Sphinx”. He returned again and again to his obsession with death. His conversations on the subject were published in “Dying without God”.
PICASSO (b. 25 Oct 1881): Now that his pictorial innovations are neither obstacle nor surprise, his love-hate relationship with the opposite sex has become his defining characteristic. Here is an early blue period self-portrait with whore, and his breakthrough painting of five prostitutes.
As a manufacurer of Scorpionic icons his death obsession must also be given its due:
Georges Bizet 1838: Composer of Carmen, archetypal femme fatale. “The production of Bizet's final opera, Carmen, was delayed because of fears that its themes of betrayal and murder would offend audiences. After its premiere on 3 March 1875, Bizet was convinced that the work was a failure; he died of a heart attack three months later [at 37], unaware that it would prove a spectacular and enduring success.” wiki
The role of Carmen was introduced by mezzo-soprano Celestine Gilli-Marie (born in November). It was said that at the 33rd performance Galli-Marié had a premonition of Bizet's death while singing the cards scene in Act III, and fainted when she left the stage; the composer in fact died that night. (W. Dean, Bizet)
Agnes Baltsa (17 November 1944) is a leading modern exponent of the role.
ZADIE SMITH (25 Oct 1975). Her first novel “White Teeth” begins with a near death experience (NDE) and she recently confronted death in an intense meditation, “Man vs. Corpse” (NYRB Nov. 2013). She edited an anthology of sex writing called “Piece of Flesh”.
Katy Perry, singer, living sex-toy, b. Oct 26, 1984
was born on this day in 1981: "Because any way you look at it, Tila Tequila is quite possibly the most famous hobag in America. She is incapable of doing anything that isn’t drenched in sexuality, from her show, to her awkwardly graphic music videos, to her records (one tastefully titled The Sex EP), to her constant posing for men’s magazines, and plenty of nude photographs online." Patrolmag.com
. . . . As of December 2006, Tequila had a total of ten tattoos on her back, neck, and wrists, the first being a scorpion she received at the age of fifteen. . . . . On December 20, 2009, Tequila announced she was currently having a surrogate pregnancy for her brother. . . . . Only a month after announcing that she was engaged to be married to heiress Casey Johnson, Johnson was found dead. . . . While performing at an Illinois rock concert in 2010 she was attacked with stones, broken bottles and feces by two thousand Insane Clown Posse fans. . . . Her boyfriend/manager tried to kill her and then won a 2 million dollar suit against her. . . . Her attempted suicide brought on a brain aneurysm during which she had a near death experience (NDE).
Born in Chicago on Oct. 24, 1890, Paris-based haute couturier Mainbocher brought underwear into the open in his scandalous 1939 presentation of the corset, one of the femme fatale's most characteristic garments.
Diana Dors 1931 A magisterial exemplar of the Persephone/Pluto myth. Diana was born black in the face, thrown aside for dead as doctors battled to save her mother, and was revived by a nurse in another room. The result of this near-suffocation as she fought for survival was life long claustrophobia….. She suffered through a kitchen-table abortion at the age of 18. While the father of the fetus was in jail she engaged herself to another man whom she almost immediately married. She became pregnant again and had another abortion at the age of 19. Her husband, a photographer, published her nudes in a book called “Diana Dors in 3D” which came with a pair of red and green spectacles for viewing. Her 1951 film, " Lady Godiva Rides Again, was temporarily banned by the American Board of Film Censors. Her three movie deal with RKO ended after they cancelled the contract on a moral clause.
Dors’s life, both professional and personal, was made accessible to the British public warts and all by the publicity machine controlled by a succession of pimping husbands. Her trust in men who took advantage of her was well documented One of her husbands forced her at gunpoint to sign over the majority of her assets to him. He died from tertiary syphilis and left her nothing but thousands of pounds in debts. Another, having the key to a Harrods’ safety deposit box in which she had deposited a large amount of cash, helped himself. The story alerted the tax man to the fact Diana was storing vast sums of cash. Diana was then pursued by another man wanting money from her - the tax man - and not for the first or last time. She sailed through it all, triumphantly poised and ever popular with the sympathetic British public.
After her death, from ovarian cancer, her surviving husband burned her wardrobe in the backyard. Five months later he shot himself in their 14 year-old son's bedroom.
(adapted from http://www.dianadors.co.uk/index.html)
Also born on this day in 1844 SARAH BERNHARDT: The great tragedienne and seductress, known for her reckless affairs and morbid flamboyance. For instance, sleeping in a coffin. As a toddler she fell into a fire and was “thrown, all smoking, into a large pail of fresh milk”. As a child, on a histrionic impulse, she flung herself in front of her aunt’s carriage and broke her arm in two places. She beat her classmates and cried herself into life-threatening fevers. She assembled a little zoo of lizards, crickets, and spiders, which she gleefully fed with flies. Later she married an abusive man who was one of the models for Dracula in the novel by Bram Stoker (b. Nov. 8, 1847).
Also born on this day, the French pornographer Restif de la Breton in 1734: writer who haunted the mysterious underworld of prostitution in pre-revolutionary France. Nicolas Edmonde Rétif wrote 44 books published in 187 volumes. His 1775 work "Le Paysan perverti" was a breakout popular success. The author strolled nightly through Paris to watch people. The main objects of his attention were the lower classes, their sexual lives and above all, women’s feet. He maintained an incestuous relationship with one of his daughter for many years.
Photographer Irving Penn (June 16, 1917)
Two women with tarot cards and hand-reading chart.
One of them was his wife, model Lisa Fonssagrives.
The great bibliomane and iconologist Aby Warburg was born on June 13, 1866, under Gemini, sign of the Twins. Scion of a wealthy family of German Jewish bankers, he ‘famously made a deal with his brother Max to forfeit his right, as the eldest son, to take over the family firm, in return for an undertaking on Max’s part to provide him with all the books he ever needed’. His brother Max was precisely one year younger, also born on June 13, thus also a Gemini, as if a twin displaced by one yearly cycle. Warburg’s great accomplishment, the creation of the Warburg Institute (now threatened) was achieved in spite of psychological disabilities including an often incapacitating dread of astrological coincidences, which he believed pursued him as he himself pursued the scholarly study of the persistent life of classical imagery. To this day the staff of the Warburg repels approaches from practicing astrologers. Perhaps the Institute would be in better shape if it participated in the reality of ancient imagery rather than sequestering it in musty antiquarianism. The campaign to save the Warburg Institute has adopted as its emblem one of the most popular images in the collection, a hand apparently engulfed in dire circumstances, waving for help, bearing the letter W in its sinews. In the classic melathesia of Zodiac to parts of the body, the Hands are of course the Twin’s. More Geminian Hands are here:http://astrodreamer.squarespace.com/blog/category/hands-of-gemini
Two Leos, Melanie Griffith and Antonio Banderas are divorcing. They met on the set of "Too Much" and they made one last film together, "Automata". They will remember each other always tho as they bare matching heart tattoos. (The heart is, of course, the bodily organ ruled by Leo.) Griffith's predeliction to share her bed with lions showed up early. Here she is, age 17, with her family's pet lion, Neil.
Did Houdini (26 March 1874) actually favor a bright red robe? I don't know, but he started his career as a child magician in red woolen stockings. He and Brody (14 April 1973) are both Aries; Brody has been obsessed him since childhood. Houdini edited a newspaper supplement called Red Magic printed entirely in red ink. The escape imagery is, of course, a reiteration of the birth experience, Aries being the first sign . . .
Updating Hands of Gemini
Damien Hirst -- his signature camera pose (7June65)
Tom Daley (21May94)
Durer: May 21, 1471
a self-portrait and his
iconic praying hands.
more Durer hands below
Elsa Maxwell (24May1883)
Jim Dine (16June1935)
Jim Dine diptych
Boyfriends and Instagram buddies:
Andy Cohen (2June68) & Anderson Cooper (3June67)
Continued at Hands of Gemini
James Franco, 19 April 1978
Tim Curry, 19 April 1946
Heath Ledger, 4 April 1979
Marcel Marceau, 22 March 1923
Another great court portraitist, (like Anthony VanDyck, Red Aries #18), Francisco Goya, born on March 30, 1746, had a penchant for bright red, especially as an accent: red cape, red ribbon, red collar, red corsage, red boutonniere, red cuff, feather, box, flag, flame, hat, pants, ember, blood. He painted the Duchess of Alba twice, once in a white dress and once in a black one, each with a red sash. The painting above, Goya's most beloved, unites the color with his favorite theme, childhood. At the lower left, his frequent touch of the macabre, the three cats ready to pounce on the bird.
Here he equates the Aries bodypart, the head, and the Aries color.
The haunting portrait of Count Floridablanca is profound meditation on identity. The ostensible Subject is the central figure in bold red, but his existence is diffused, appearing also in his oval portrait dimly looming above him. There is also a self-portrait of the artist, humbly dressed on the left, whose profile is 'fortuitously' highlighted, while the individuality of an insignificant secretary seems to have struck the artist as more interesting than the Count, who is comparing his painted image with his image in a mirror. So there are at least six self-images present or implicit. Other important Aries images in Goya's work: Boy on a Ram, The Disasters of War series, The Massacre, and the hacked and bloody butcher's still life, "Head and Quarters":