the faerie punk keepsake

my faerie punk keepsake

Being a card-carrying member of the mid-to-late-19th Century, my fantastical persona doesn’t lend all that well to the Steampunk hoopla. Pity, for I would look so fetching in feathers, leather, gears, and a sweet little flight helmet. Alas, my reign on earth was a tad before the true Victorians. In my heart, however, I have always been a punk.

The term “punk” in a literary sense connotes alternative history. Most commonly associated with Science Fiction, (as opposed to “punk rock” let’s say, or “cyberpunk” both of which conjure anarchy and rebellion without the time warping factor), steampunk aesthetic embraces the melding of Victorian culture with modded technology.

In my Bavarian-Austrian faerie world, there are no computers or steam engines or technofantastic imagery, however. But there is a dark faerie, romance, limited time travel, and, most importantly, beauty. Oh yes, and horses. So many horses.

The “punk” object in my fantastical story is a very special keepsake that predicts true love. The wearer of this special jewelry need only answer the call of the heart, and the likeness of one’s true love magically appears inside its clasped chamber. Designed and built by a very special artisan, the keepsake you see pictured here embodies the very essence of “faerie punk” – which, I would like to define here and now as: a whimsical imagining that combines fantastical time travel with mischief and adventure.

Sound fun? I thought you’d think so. Now, off I go to find a leather flight helmet.

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50 Shades of Rose

It is not enough to conquer; one must know how to seduce.” (Voltaire)

They say that the Victorian era was backlash against the unabashed romps of us 19th-century sensual types. What do you think? Never was whiskey as plentiful as during prohibition, yes?

All this hoopla over mommy porn. You’d think this E.L. James invented the bodice ripper. The throbbing member. The very idea of “secret tryst.”

Well, let me set you straight. When it comes to clandestine titillation and BDSM, the Victorians were, shall we say, seasoned in the art of fantasy.

I submit this coy little excerpt:

“Laura Middleton: Her Brother and Her Lover” published by Anonymous, in 1890.

Taking hold of her hand I placed it upon the stiff object and made her grasp it as it throbbed and beat with the excitement under which I was labouring. Her eyes were fixed upon the lovely object thus exposed to her gaze, and I could easily see from the flushing of her face and the sparkling of her eyes what a powerful impression I had made upon her.

All she said was, “Oh, but if John should know of it.”

I immediately replied, “But why should John know anything about it? You don’t suppose I am such a mean wretch as to tell anybody of what we may do, and if you only keep your own secrets no one need ever know anything about it.

“But perhaps,” I continued, “you think this little gentleman,” and I shoved the furious member backwards and forwards two or three times in her hand as she still continued to grasp it, “is not so big as John’s and won’t give you so much pleasure, but only let me try and I shall do all I can to pleasure you.”

Though we lacked the furtive graces of an e-reader, many a lady hid these little books behind a fan, or in the undergarments, shielded from sight by the complicated garments of the day. Oh, no, this Shades of Grey phenomenon is not new, not hardly. Mommy porn of the 19th century thrived and was passed, hand-to-hand, from Court to Countess to Commoner. We certainly had our own book clubs and garden parties and Ladies-in-Waiting sessions while our strapping men went about their business, their stiff objects leading the way.

scheer beauty

Amy Winehouse footwear has no place in my wardrobe

In honor of groundhog’s day, I’m going to talk about shoes. Disconnect, you say? Nonsense. We’re talking about spring being around the corner, and that means one thing: fashionable attire. For an empress–or any lady–fashionable attire leads to footwear, ergo, today we will examine the insane popularity of Christian Louboutin heels and their ilk.

Now, I’m all for looking smashing and turning heads, but ladies, do we really need to invite deformation, ankle twists and the unsightly bulge known as Pump Bump?

Now these are boots fit for royalty

We Austrians may have our quirks, but if there is one area in which we excel, it’s in the manifestation of the sensible shoe. As you know, Vienna boasts several bespoke shops along its main retail thoroughfares–Am Graben, Kohlmarkt and Kärntner Strasse.

Modern-day dandies and the elegantly attired flock to Rudolf Scheer & Söhne where they can outfit themselves with the same late 19th century quality enjoyed by the Emperor and myself. Shoes that will hike a mountain and still retain their sole. Shoes that put foot health first (Herr Scheer was a foot doctor), but don’t compromise on beauty.

Thinking that Scheer shoes will make you look like your spinster aunt? Not-to-worry. You’ll dazzle any dance floor in red pumps made from a single piece of ostrich leather, or diamond-studded calf’s-leather pumps styled to look like zebra. And your feet won’t be aching the next day as you sip your café allongé at Cafe Drechsler.

So ladies, next time you feel the urge to cram your tootsies into a pair of come-fuck-me pumps, imagine the hideous bunion-studded, carbuncle-ridden feet that you’ll no doubt own the second half of your life.

the mothers-in-law

With all the buzz about the new TV program Monster-in-Laws, it seems that less-than-charming mothers-in-law are once again in the public eye. I am quite sure that if I were alive today I would be glued to that particular reality television show, nodding in agreement when the Relationship Expert intervenes, wagging her finger at a meddlesome crone, and letting her have it.

It’s no secret that my own mother-in-law, the Archduchess Sophie, was a difficult woman. She disapproved of my exercising, my love of animals, my need for the occasional rest cure, and, of course, she was most affronted by her son’s complete obsession with me.

My monster-in-law in younger days

Never mind that she took complete possession of my children from the moment of their births–installing their very cradles in her apartments. Indeed, she turned my little ones against me, caused friction between the Emperor and myself, which all but drove him into the beds of countless tarts, thereby causing the eventual venereal diseases that necessitated the aforementioned rest cures.

But, having a son myself, I suppose I understand a mother’s love. Sometimes a woman forgets her boy is no longer a babe in short pants who needs to be reminded to wash his hands before supper. I certainly made mistakes with my own Rudolf, and if you asked that mousy woman who married him, she probably would not admit to collecting any Sisi Souvenirs.

king ludwig’s facebook of tarts

gallery of beauties

Pick a tart, any tart.

We did not have People and Us and Entertainment Weekly. We did not have Twitter or Facebook. But we did have King Ludwig’s Wall. My uncle’s Schönheitengalerie was really the who’s who of 19th Century tabloid dish, with mistresses, royals and gorgeous tarts all peering out through coquettish smirks.

Not that I wished to be in their number. Heaven forbid! Still, one cannot help but be a little put out by the public parade of those, who, er, put out.

the enchantress, lola montez

King Ludwig was far from her only friend...

There was that Italian slut, Floozi…I mean Florenzi, who kept King Ludwig happy for forty years. Then there was the British chick, Digby, who had her way with most of the Bavarian Royal Family. But of all my uncle’s lovers, none was as dangerous and beguiling as Lola Montez, who was single-handedly responsible for dethroning the randy ruler, and causing complete mayhem (Occupy Munich!) throughout Bavaria.

There is but one consolation for yours truly with all this wall business, and that is my wretched mother-in-law, meddler in all affairs, is forever immortalized amongst those tarty tarts. Even though she was, um, my Uncle’s sister (and, yes, that would make her my aunt), the Archduchess Sophie was thought of as a hottie, back in the day. But that was before she tossed her feminine whiles to the wind in favor of the good old fashioned ass-whipping style she became known for.

5 Castle Series: Upper Belvedere

Klimt's Der Kuss

One simply can't NOT make out in front of Klimt's Kiss

Welcome to the over-the-toppest of all that is over the top. The Upper Belvedere puts the Coco in Rococo, yes? Even the Belvedere website does not deny the outrageousness of pomp that characterizes this hunk of marble. From the website:

The garden palace primarily served the purpose of pomp and display. This is reflected in the elegant sala terrena (today the entrance hall), the grand staircase, the magnificent Marble Hall, rooms sumptuously embellished with stucco and frescos (frescos by Carlo Carlone [1686-1775], ceiling paintings by Giacomo del Pò) and the chapel with the exquisite altarpiece by Francesco Solimena (1657-1747).

"Bad Friederich"

The Marianna Gartner masterpiece, "Bad Friederich" reminds of my own little Rudolph!

But the grandest thing about the Upper Belvedere? it is THE place to go for the latest in risky art. From Klimt to Schiele to Kokoschka, the art at Belvy will make you deliciously uncomfortable (even more than the hard marble pathways and lack of seating in the palace).

Long Haired Boy

Gartner's long-haried boy is replete with dark humor

If you are planning on a trip to Vienna this fall, you simply must check out the exhibit called Interventions featuring incredible work by Marianna Gartner.

If I were alive, I’d love to see how Marianna would have painted me. In particular, if her interpretation would have included that haunting Viennese stare, like with “long haired boy” to the left. Would she embellish my vanity by painting diamonds into my ankle-length tresses? Would my waist be cinched with ship-docking chain? Oh, but Marianna would have had a field day with my exercise apparatuses!

I truly appreciate the burgeoning irony in the Austrian character, and what better place to foist it on the public than in the ostentatious baroque halls of the Upper Belvedere?

US Soccer star Megan Rapinoe in Austria!

Okay, so they lost. They edged up to the precipice, whacked a couple in, then came up short at the end. Such is life.

From my perch in history, I’ve seen the agony of defeat hundreds of times. Just look at what happened to the Habsburg Empire, for goodness sakes! But, enough about me. I want to offer my very own comment on the US Women’s World Cup team. All those powerful women. Their strong spirits. It makes me quite sad that the Austrians never offered up a contender in world class soccer (well, other than the topless girls who blew away the Germans a few years back).

The Austrians did have a hand, however, in preparing the second place World Cup winners. Right before they shuttled off to Germany, the US Women’s soccer team spent time training in my old stomping grounds. A mountain town near Salzburg called Leogang. Look here! It’s that play-maker Megan Rapinoe on the record on the beauty of Austria.

of beauty and fascination. rule the second.

This Lely painting of Mary Moll Davis demonstrates the rather passive "come hither" associated with bedroom eyes.

Today’s entry will cover eyes in all manner. We will discuss gaze, expression, adornment, lashes, brows and veiling, and when we get to the gentlemen, the ever-popular “wandering of the eye.”

Ladies.

There is no more wretched deformity to a woman than a certain unnatural and studied languishing of the eyes, which vain and silly women sometimes affect. Ladies. Do. Not. Do. This. Bedroom eyes are for the meek, the tired and the stupid. I am much more a fan of enlisting methods to encourage bright, engaging eyes.

There is an interesting Spanish custom of squeezing oranges into the eyes to promote a  sparkling, brilliant look–but I do not recommend that method other than for a very special occasion now and again. (By far the best recipe for bright eyes is to keep good hours. Just enough regular and natural sleep is the great enkindler of woman’s most charming light.)

Now, when it comes to embellishments, I can not counsel enough on staying true to nature. A fair complected lady, for instance, is generally accompanied by blue eyes, light eyebrows and eyelashes. Likewise, a brunette shall keep with darker, heavier lashes and brows. Experimentation is allowed, once in a while, but should you ever take pencil to brow I implore you, do not resort to the frightful distortion of nature by scraping charcoal or kohl on alabaster skin!

Before we leave the ladies, I must provide caution against the use of white veils. Scarcely anything can strain and jade and injure the eye more than this practice. Peering through the netting of a veil continually will certainly lead to the eyes forming permanent squint lines.

Here's the classic leerers stare displayed by the gamey fellow playing King Henry VIII ala the Tudors. Being a schmuck worked out pretty well for the rogue, yes?

Gentlemen.

You will make an immense hit with the ladies by pretending to be no admirer of any particular woman, but a professed adorer and slave of the whole sex. You will be particularly sought after if you make a habit of staring insultingly at every pretty woman you meet. Extra credit if you allow you tongue to creep out between your lips. And I do mean creep.

what’s your steampunk style?

love the lines on this ensemble. pity you can't ride a horse in it tho.

Are you the Scientist, Gad-About, Aeronaut, FancyGirl,  or the Ragamuffin? Take this quick, fun quiz and find out! I may just select a random quiz-taker and send them a time-traveled prize!

P.S. I, myself, am a FancyGirl. But you knew that.