Yves Saint Laurent Tribtoo suede pumps.
Anaïs Nin by Carl Van Vechten 1949
February 21 marked the 108th birthday of Anaïs Nin, a controversial figure perhaps best known for her romantic dalliances with prominent figures such as Henry Miller, Otto Rank, Lawrence Durrell, Antonin Artaud and Gore Vidal. She worked as a psychoanalyst, wrote fiction, trained as a dancer, appeared in films by Maya Daren and Kenneth Anger, had an affair with her father, pianist and composer Joaquin Nin, and eventually married Rupert Pole sixteen years her junior when she was forty-four (she was already married to banker and experimental filmmaker Hugh Guiler at the time.) All of this and more she documents in her diaries, which span more than sixty years. It is, perhaps, not surprising then that Nin also dabbled in erotica; collections of her stories, Little Birds and Delta of Venus, are now considered some of the finest erotica ever written.
The books were not published until the late 70s, after Nin succumbed to a three-year battle with cancer. The stories themselves were written much earlier, in the 1940s when Henry Miller and Nin were both living in Paris. Miller, after publishing Tropic of Cancer, was approached by a third party to write pornographic stories for an anonymous collector at the rate of $1 per page. Soon, many of his artist and writer friends, including Caresse Crosby, Robert Duncan, and Nin were churning out what the latter termed “an abundance of perverse felicities,” encouraged by Miller to take advantage of this unforeseen source of income.
Anaïs Nin’s Little Birds and Delta of Venus, born out of what was part joke, part moneymaking venture, are erotica in the truest sense of the word. The stories are rich, vivid, beautifully written and populated by character types who embody the multi-hued spectrum of human desire. They deftly and, at times, humorously explore the various ways in which sexual hunger is felt, expressed, and consummated and the reader is often as surprised by the events that unfold as the characters are themselves. The settings, scenarios, and figures in Nin’s stories are largely informed by her own life and enriched and transformed by her considerable powers of invention and unique poetic voice.
Text by Anna Wittel
Photography by Oliver Maxwell Kupper
A wonderfully fascinating institute, The SIP “a research institute that aspires to facilitate, promote, initiate research, open debate and creative work in the field of photography and related media,” conducted an interview with Oliver Maxwell Kupper, publisher of Pas Un Autre. View interview here.
Chris Crites paints delirious iconography of sin on paper bags – which only adds to the general back alley decadence of his work. When you think of paper bags you think of porn, malt liquor, and your old baloney stained school lunch. Add the hospital in-patient expressions of Christ Crites and you have art. Chris Crites is having a show with artist Richard Basset entitled Cold Comfort at the Jack Fischer Gallery in SF. www.jackfischergallery.com
Pas Un Autre records presents D.J. Special Guest’s unbelievable all vinyl mix Everything Must Go Vol. 1. At roughly an hour and a half in duration this mix starts off pleasingly mellow, rises to a full on Italo disco dance party in the middle, and climbs back at the end for a melodiously brilliant climax. D.J Special Guest, aka Matthew Henri, is an artist based in San Francisco – during the day he is the owner and designer of the clothing label Free Gold Watch. This mix, with the ever so subtle richness of the record crackling, sounds like some lost musical gem from a buried time capsule. Stream the whole thing below for free and if you want to take it to go, and trust me you’ll want to after you hear the whole thing, visit the Pas Un Autre online shop to purchase – a high quality mp4 will be sent directly to your email on the same day. www.pasunautre.com/store
D.J. Special Guest “Everything Must Go Vol. 1″
Amanda and Esme in my backyard after school
When I was much younger I was secretly in love with a girl named Esmé. It was a juvenile love; more of a one sided romantic delusion. Esmé’s magnetism and beauty was fascinating and seemingly inspired of some otherworldly intervention. Esmé was also my confident – a beautiful accomplice – the kind you sneak into movies with through the emergency exit doors – which we did on several occasions. She was wise like me and maybe a little lost too; like me. We were both on that road to find out who we really were, and by the time we met it seemed as if we had both, at the same time, reached some sort of preternaturally dark tunnel, with no light at end to offer a fragment of hope and no light to guide us through, save for the faint glow of the ember at the end of our many shared cigarettes behind our school. I remember once her telling me that she was family friend’s with the late J.D. Salinger and that she happened to be named after a character in one of his short stories, For Esmé – with Love and Squalor. It tells a tale of a young soldier devastated by war, who upon receiving a letter to a wedding invitation recalls a young girl named Esme, with whom he had shared a profound, spiritual moment with in a tea house shortly before entering combat during world war two. After an intense, intimate conversation they agree to stay in correspondence. And so it goes, for the soldier, known only as X, Esmé remains a constant beacon of innocence and purity throughout the unimaginable terror and squalor of war. And so it goes, the memory of the Esmé I once knew will remain, and the time we spent together I will recall as a time of my own bygone innocence, purity – a time when every tomorrow was as blurred and eternal as a green mirage. The above photograph (Esmé is on the right) was taken one day after school in my backyard with an SX 70 polaroid camera. We were 15 years old. You can see the intensity in her eyes – as if she knew all along.
Text and photo by Oliver Maxwell Kupper
1980: No producer or art director could have ever created a sexier couple than a teenage Nicolette Sheridan and heartthrob Leif Garrett. This was Nicolette’s first photo session for the mass media. I had worked with Leif for years and he was my pal. One warm summer day he called me and commanded that I drop everything and get right over to his house and make sure to “BRING YOUR CAMERA.” He said he had a new hot girlfriend. Well, it turned out to be a teenage Nicolette Adams, the step-daughter of actor Telly Savalas. (Remember Kojak?) Well, when I showed up I could not believe this chick. She was to-die-for and by the look of things, Leif had probably had her in bed all day long! She wanted to get dressed for the impromptu photo session, but I would not hear of it. “No way.” So this is the result. I wanted that kind of just-fucked look. Worked out great, I think.
Text and photo: Brad Elterman
“Without You” is a single from Los Angeles duo Rainbow Arabia’s forthcoming full length album “Boys and Diamonds” to be released on February 28th – “Without You” single with an incredible b-side will be released on February 21, 2011. www.kompakt.fm