Maiden Voyages: December 2022

(Last Updated On December 2, 2022)

Where has the year gone?

New Contributors: I am delighted to see an uptick of Pigtails readers making an effort to contribute new items to the site. I highly encourage these people because I am not personally able to produce or even know about all the material out there. So I would like to take the time to ask readers to not only share short leads but to put something together suitable for publishing. You are our eyes and ears out there, now let us use our hands. For those concerned about their weak matery of English, I am happy to do the editing necessary to achieve acceptable standards. Also, if you think you are a skilled editor but have no content to share, please let me know. We need people to take the leads we receive and produce them in an acceptable format.

Preserving a Legacy: I must sadly inform readers that my friend, Graham Ovenden, is in very bad condition and may be leaving us soon. To think that I may never again have an engaging conversation with this man is personally sad to contemplate. We have spoken on a wide range of subjects beyond that of the art world. The reason I am bringing this up is that I would like to preserve his legacy in part by keeping his two websites (personal and Garage Press) up for as long as practicable. I have no problem paying for this out of my own pocket, but I know there are others out there who may want to help out. In the next couple of months, we will be working out a way to receive monetary contributions for projects like this. Please let me know if you want to be one of them.

Consuming Children: In the world of fake news, it is hard to zero in on what is really happening and what can be done about it. The whole Pizzagate affair is a well-known example and it involved the shocking exploitation of children. This exploitation is a real problem except that malicious actors working to undermine the narrative in the US have got the story wrong so that highly-radicalized individuals behaved rashly. This tactic has succeeded to some extent in sowing discord in American society but does not address real child exploitation (nor was it ever intended to). Increasing unrest in the world and extreme wealth disparity has created a situation in which more and more children are trafficked. Being such a hot-button issue means that exaggerated claims abound and it behooves us to view such things with skepticism. But we should not be be naive and foll ourselves into thinking it is not a real problem. Of special interest is the efforts of Tim Ballard who has been working to actually rescue children who are trapped in this trade. Some of the details can be heard in the Jordan Harbinger Show  and there is now a film (Operation Toussaint: Operation Underground Railroad & the Fight to End Modern-Day Slavery) outlining the details of specific efforts in Haiti. As grim as this subject is, there are some heartwarming moments as well including a remarkable little girl who did everything she could to protect her little brother. I expect that this will become a dedicated post in the future.

Instagram Interest: There have been a lot of leads lately about interesting work published on Instagram. One site is of particular interest and it is no surprise that it comes from an occasional contributor of this site, WCL. Readers can take a look here and I am delighted to inform readers that he has contributed a new item to Pigtails that will be published soon. Another reader has volunteered to scout out other interesting examples as well. Since not all readers (including myself) have Instagram accounts, some of the more interesting examples will be republished here as small posts.

French Dolls: Kiki and Coco in Paris

(Last Updated On November 5, 2022)

Rausser, Gruener, Brown – Kiki & Coco in Paris (2011)

The bond between a girl and her doll can sometimes become unbreakable and may last throughout adolescence and into adulthood.  The attachment and sentimentality can be so great that a girl will bring her doll wherever she goes, as together they embark on the many adventures of girlhood.  This relationship is the centerpiece of the delightful book Kiki and Coco in Paris written by Nina Gruener with photographs by Stephanie Rausser and featuring a doll handmade by Jess Brown.  The book is a photography picture book and features a seven-year-old girl, Kiki, and her trip to Paris with her doll Coco.  The two enjoy many sites of the city such as the Eiffel Tower, dining in a café, museum trips, and relaxation time in the flat where they were staying.  The text is written from the perspective of Coco the doll as the doll is given feelings and emotions so as to relate to its young readers.  The text was written by Nina Gruener who owns Cameron + Co. Publishing who published their book under their Cameron Kids imprint.  The photographs for the book were created by lifestyle and advertising photographer Stephanie Rausser and features her daughter Kiki as the inspiration and model for the story.

The journey of Kiki and Coco began as a personal blog and a video slideshow of their travels in Paris together.  Since receiving an incredible amount of positive feedback after posting the images to her blog, she decided to create 3000 calendars based on the photos for art buyers, art directors, friends, and family.  With a high demand for the calendar, the following year another calendar was created featuring Kiki on a trip to Italy titled “Sweet Italia”.  Being less interested in being photographed for the new calendar, sweet treats such as ice cream, lollipops, and chocolate replaced the doll so as to tempt Kiki into posing for the photos.  After the second calendar was produced, her daughter begged her not to photograph her anymore and to find another model.  Rausser’s last calendar, “I Left My Heart In…”,  was produced in 2011 and this time it featured her niece Zeli in various attire and posing in different locations throughout San Francisco.

Rausser – 2009 Calendar (2009)

Rausser – I Left My Heart in… 2011 Calendar (2011)

Rausser – I Left My Heart in… 2011 Calendar (2011)

After becoming interested in the Kiki and Coco calendar, Cameron + Co. approached Rausser to inquire about turning her photos into a book.   Sending 5000 photos to the publisher, Cameron + Co. pulled their favorites and came up with a story that could appeal to children.  Though the photos were shot from the perspective of Kiki, the publisher wanted the story to reflect the doll’s perspective so the photos were then re-edited to focus mainly on the doll and what it was experiencing.  After publishing the book on November 1, 2011, the book found sentiment with mothers so they could share with their daughters the story and enjoy the touching photographs together.

Rausser, Gruener, Brown – Kiki & Coco in Paris (2011)

Since readers found the Kiki & Coco book endearing, a second story was released in May of 2014 titled ‘‘Lulu and Pip” which featured the same team of collaborators.  In this story, a new girl named Lulu is leaving the big city with her doll, Pip, to have a camping adventure.  Along with her doll in tow, Lulu plays with her in a stream, builds a tent, and makes friends with a donkey.  The pages of the book are also filled with the full bleed photography of Rausser and captures Lulu’s romp with her doll in the forest.  

At the time of writing, Cameron + Co. is still producing books for all ages.  Stephanie Rausser is active with advertising, commercial, and lifestyle photography and has a vast collection of beautifully shot photographs on her website.  Jess Brown sells her handmade dolls online in multiple styles as well as women’s clothing and quilts on her website.

Rausser, Gruener, Brown – Lulu & Pip (2014)

Rausser, Gruener, Brown – Lulu & Pip (2014)

Rausser, Gruener, Brown – Lulu & Pip (2014)

Rausser, Gruener, Brown – Lulu & Pip (2014)

Random images: Virginie Demont-Breton

(Last Updated On November 1, 2022)

Virginie Élodie Marie Thérèse Demont-Breton (1859–1935) is a French genre painter. Daughter of the painter and engraver Jules Breton and niece of the painter Émile Breton, she married the painter Adrien Demont. They had three daughters, and one of them, Adrienne Ball-Demont, would become a painter and sculptor.

She had a precocious artistic career, exhibiting her paintings at the Salon des artistes français in 1880 and obtaining the gold medal at the Universal Exhibition in 1883, 1889 and 1900.

Her early works consist mainly of portraits and historical or mythological scenes in the academic style. After settling in the village of Wissant on the North Sea coast in 1890, she started painting the life of fishermen and their families, in a naturalistic style.

My first selection is one of her early works. At an auction at Sotheby’s, it has been estimated between US$40,000 and $60,000.

Virginie Demont-Breton - Une surprise (1879)

Virginie Demont-Breton – Une surprise (1879)

My second selection dates from the period when she moved to Wissant. It was also auctioned by Sotheby’s, being estimated between $30,000 and $40,000.

Virginie Demont-Breton - Fillette à la guirlande de fleurs des champs (c.1890)

Virginie Demont-Breton – Fillette à la guirlande de fleurs des champs (c.1890)

Virginie Demont-Breton was deeply committed to the recognition of women painters. She joined the Union des femmes peintres et sculpteurs in 1883, and was its president from 1895 to 1901. Together with the sculptor Hélène Bertaux, she obtained the official admission of women to the École des Beaux-Arts and their right to compete to the Prix de Rome.

Maiden Voyages: November 2022

(Last Updated On November 1, 2022)

I suppose while Halloween was approaching, podcasters felt it necessary to cover more grim “spooky” subjects and, naturally, some involve children.

Trick: Children often claim Halloween as their favorite holiday. And it’s not just because of the candy, but the opportunity to be social outside the family unit and play a little make-believe while faking out the evil spirits. One of the most popular tropes is to check one’s candy because there are a lot of creeps out there wanting to harm children. This idea got a hold of the public imagination several decades ago and is still with us. But the interesting thing is: the evidence for this simply does not hold up. One of the most level-headed podcasters is Tim Harford who covers this subject on his Cautionary Tales.

A Real Monster: On the podcast Stuff They Don’t Want You to Know, the hosts interview a guest Matt Graves who, while living in Belgium in the 1990s, became obsessed with the case of mass child abduction taking place there naturally terrifying many parents. There were so many twists and turns in the case that he created a podcast series in order to cover the important details. Sure, those willing to harm children are few and far between but the problem is: those few can operate on an industrial scale.

Bruno Héroux

(Last Updated On October 27, 2022)

Louis Carl Bruno Héroux was born in Leipzig, Kingdom of Saxony in 1868. He began his study of art, specializing in woodcuts, at age 18. He finished his art education in 1892, and shortly after that he started work as a magazine illustrator. From 1900 on he was a freelance artist, and one of the most popular of the time for engravings and etchings. He illustrated the three-volume Handatlas of Human Anatomy by Werner Spalteholz (1913). Most of his illustrations are of adults, but a few of his pictures are of girls reviewed in this article.

Bruno Héroux – Ex Libris Anna von Zur Westen (circa1900)

Bruno Héroux – Ex Libris Toni Kruse (circa1910)

Bibliophiles in the early 20th century would often glue bookplates to the inside book cover to identify ownership. The first image is a bookplate for Anna von zur Westen. Look closely at the dark border around the girl and you will see grotesque faces. The border is quite a contrast to the happy girl in the sunshine.  The bookplate for Toni Kruse features both a young girl and an adult woman.  Note the faces of children playing musical instruments in the foliage above the woman and girl.

Bruno Héroux – Girl with Hat and Muff (circa1890)

Girl with Hat and Muff is one of the simpler Héroux illustrations. It is a little incongruous that she has a muff to warm her hands, yet is nude except for that and her hat. There is something around her feet, as if she had been wearing more clothing and removed her clothes. Girl with Hair Bow and Butterflies is another uncomplicated work. There is some handwriting on it, but I cannot read it. I can make out “EX L. verein Berlin” which I interpret as Berlin Ex Libris Club, and the artist’s signature “B. Héroux”, but nothing more. Can anyone help?

Bruno Héroux – Girl with Hair Bow and Butterflies (no date)

The next three images are greeting cards. Two are New Year’s cards, for 1907 and 1911, and one is a generic greeting card from 1920. Something is written on the card from 1920; can anybody read it? I can only make out the phrase “Gönner und Freunde”. A dog on the 1911 card has torn up the paper on which 1910 was printed. The writing on it is a New Year’s greeting to his patrons and friends, “für seine Gönner und Freunde Neujahre 1911 B Héroux.”

Bruno Héroux – Greeting Card (1920)

The 1907 card is also dedicated to patrons and friends with best wishes for the New Year. At first I was not sure if the child featured on the 1907 card was intended as a boy or a girl. After looking carefully, I believe it was intended to be a girl. The long flowing hair, the expression, and the hint of a wreath of flowers in the hair is more typical of Héroux’s girls.

Bruno Héroux – New Years Greeting (1911)

Huckepack (Piggyback) is an illustration from a 1911 German newspaper. It appeared under the poem Mai by Wilhelm von Scholz. Der Gold Käse (The Gold Cheese) is a strange title. I thought it may be the title of a children’s story, but I could find no story with that title.  If anybody can offer an explanation for this title, please submit a comment.  The boy in the picture looks like Alfred E. Neuman.

Bruno Héroux – New Years Greeting (1907)

Bruno Héroux – Huckepack (1911)

Elfe und Kröte (Elf and Toad) also appears to be an illustration for a fairy tale.

Bruno Héroux – Der Gold Käse (no date)

Bruno Héroux – Elfe und Kröte (no date)

Bruno Héroux’s personal and business card features a nude young girl. Héroux also featured a nude young girl on the visiting card he designed for Marie Schmidt. People today may find something offensive about a person who has an image of a naked girl on his card. Of course a lot of people today would find the nude little girls unacceptable on bookplates, greeting cards and newspaper illustrations as well.

Bruno Héroux – Business Card (no date)

Cypriot Cinema: Emanuelle Queen of Sados

(Last Updated On October 15, 2022)

*** WARNING/SPOILER ALERT ***

The following post discusses a film which contains several scenes of simulated physical and/or sexual abuse, some of which involve a minor. While no images of such abuse are included and I have made an effort to be as tactful as possible when discussing such scenes, sensitive readers are urged to proceed with caution. Naturally the discussion of certain scenes necessarily involves some spoilers.

Where’s the line between art and exploitation? What if a film arguably has elements of both? Can the artistic elements redeem the exploitative ones? Such are questions posed by the 1980 film Emanuelle Queen of Sados (alternatively known as Emanuelle’s Daughter or I Mavri Emmanouella, among other titles; here I have used the on-screen title for the English language version. The U.S. DVD cover titles it Emanuelle’s Daughter: Queen of Sados, which is how it is listed in Pigtails’ Pipeline).

Directed by Ilias Milonakos, this Greek/Cypriot production is an not-quite-official entry in the the long-running Emanuelle series staring Laura Gemser—itself an offshoot of the Sylvia Krystal series. Probably due to Gemser’s involvement, this is one of the better-known Greek exports. Like the other entries in the series, Emanuelle Queen of Sados features simulated sex and violence, and co-stars Gemser’s real-life husband Gabrielle Tinti, here playing her love interest Tommy. Harris Stevens plays the main antagonist, Mario. However, what makes this particular film relevant to the site is the young actress Livia Russo, debuting in her first film. Very little is known about her, particularly her exact age at the time of filming, and this appears to be her only screen appearance¹.

The overall plot of the film—a crime drama—involves Emanuelle’s problems after hiring a hitman, Mario, to kill her long-abusive husband, Victor. After the deed is done—being ruled an accidental death by the police—she becomes guardian of her minor stepdaughter, Livia, and executor of her inheritance until Livia is of age—Victor having left everything to his daughter in his will. However, the hitman pursues the pair from Athens to Cyprus wanting the rest of his pay, and her husband’s associates suspect his death was no accident.  Eventually things come to a head in a violent manner.

While Emanuelle is the main character, Livia is central to the plot and what happens to her determines the final outcome, so the scenes detailed below focus only on her part of the story, and just the highlights at that.

We first see Livia (other than in a brief flashback) when Emanuelle drives with her to the airport to board a plane for Cyprus, as Victor has his business and an estate there. Initially, they don’t get along, as Emanuelle is only interested in Livia as a means of accessing her late husband’s fortune, and bosses her around—perhaps because Livia is a reminder of the hated Victor.

Ilias Milonakos – Emanuelle Queen of Sados (1980) (1)

Unfortunately, someone else becomes interested in Livia: Mario. On board the plane, he briefly flirts with Livia before Emanuelle realizes he’s there. Livia doesn’t think anything of it; Emanuelle, however, is disturbed, knowing he is dangerous.

Ilias Milonakos – Emanuelle Queen of Sados (1980) (2)

At a hotel, while Livia showers, Emanuelle explains her feelings about the deceased Victor, having married him only to escape a life of poverty. While Livia did not think highly of her father either—having seen some of the abuse he directed toward Emanuelle (shown in flashbacks)—she doesn’t think Emanuelle is any better. Of course, she doesn’t know Emanuelle is responsible for his death.

Ilias Milonakos – Emanuelle Queen of Sados (1980) (3)

That night at a disco, Livia meets a nice young man named Mike, and a sweet romance blossoms. Like Livia, Mike is played by a novice actor, Vagelis Vartan. Their romance is one of the best elements of the film.

Ilias Milonakos – Emanuelle Queen of Sados (1980) (4)

But Mario turns up again not long after, creepily complementing Livia on her youth and beauty before Emanuelle intervenes. Livia naively thinks he is merely being friendly, and doesn’t understand why Emanuelle doesn’t want her to see him again, since Emanuelle can’t reveal that she know Mario.

Ilias Milonakos – Emanuelle Queen of Sados (1980) (5)

Arriving at Victor’s estate, Emanuelle and Livia fight over photos of Victor—which Emanuelle wants thrown away—and when Livia objects to their removal because he was still her father, Emanuelle slaps her and demands Livia obey her, causing Livia to run outside crying.

Ilias Milonakos – Emanuelle Queen of Sados (1980) (6)

However, things look up for Livia when Mike arrives to take her to the beach, where they get to known each other better. Initially in swimsuits, when they are alone they strip and admire each other, but otherwise things stay pretty tame between them².

Ilias Milonakos – Emanuelle Queen of Sados (1980) (7)

Afterwards, Emanuelle expresses her approval of Mike to Livia, inviting him over, and Emanuelle and Livia becomes friends. In addition to visiting the estate, Mike is also invited along on a tour of various Cypriot landmarks (while at the estate, we see that Emanuelle has restored Victor’s photos to their place, in a concession to Livia’s feelings—a nice touch showing that Emanuelle is beginning to care about her stepdaughter as a person).

Ilias Milonakos – Emanuelle Queen of Sados (1980) (8)

But when Mike and Livia visit the Tomb of the Kings by themselves, and the two become separated, things take a very dark turn.

Ilias Milonakos – Emanuelle Queen of Sados (1980) (9)

Out of nowhere, Mario appears, grabbing Livia. When Mike approaches, Mario hits him and knocks him unconscious, which gives Livia a chance to run away. However, Mario soon catches her on a secluded stretch of beach, and after a brief struggle, he selfishly rapes her in a harrowing scene which spares almost no details³.

I must caution, this is a very difficult scene to watch, and it may be too much for some viewers. Because of the nature of the scene, I have not included a screenshot.

Afterwards, Livia and Mike return to Victor’s estate, where they tell everyone what happened. Emanuelle comforts Livia before going to confront Mario for what he did—having come to care about her stepchild. That confrontation brings the film to its finale.

Ilias Milonakos – Emanuelle Queen of Sados (1980) (10)

Of course, there are many scenes involving the other characters which I have left out here, such as Emanuelle’s romance with Tommy or the actions of Victor’s associates to investigate his murder. I also had to leave out many nice scenes of the Cypriot landscape and landmarks which add to the film’s appeal, but which didn’t affect Livia’s portion of the plot enough to justify showing them as screenshots. The music and cinematography are good.

That the film features ample sex and violence is not of itself surprising, given it is an Emanuelle movie and that such is typical fare for Gemser even in her non-Emanuelle flicks; however, the inclusion of a young minor girl—whatever her specific age—in such a film and including several nude scenes and particularly the rape scene raises some questions, though not one you might expect.

For those wondering about the legal aspect, I’ll point out that the film was shown theatrically in a wide number of countries in the ’80s, including the U.S.—for instance at the Budco Midtown Theatre 2 in Philadelphia in 1982, now the Philadelphia Film Center —then made the jump to VHS and eventually DVD, often uncut. It’s still widely available to view for free on the internet, a link of good-resolution and a complete version. An uncut, English-language DVD was released in the U.S. in 2005 and sold on Amazon and other major outlets, and the film was shown as part of an Emanuelle film festival at Quad Cinema in New York in 2019. So potential concerns along those lines are groundless. Perhaps it can simply be chalked up to the fact that despite her appearance, with no birth certificate her age at the time of filming can’t be pinned down.

As to the director’s thinking in casting Livia for the role, it can’t be known for certain as he doesn’t do interviews about his work, but we can speculate based on what else was being released at the time. During the late ’70s and early ’80s a number of controversial films featuring minor girls were made, such as Immorality Little Lips  and Pretty Baby—with the aforementioned titles debuting before Emanuelle Queen of Sados was filmed. Since the director has, to my knowledge, never before or since cast such a young actress in one of his erotic films, he may have simply been trying to imitate certain elements (i.e. youthful nudity) from those movies in hopes of attracting audiences. Also, it’s rumored that Livia was suggested for the role by a relative working on the production, and after auditioning her perhaps the director felt she was too good to pass up. Plot-wise, it was not necessary to cast an actual minor for the role; he could have selected a young woman of age eighteen or so and stated her character’s age as a few years younger in the film. Possibly he felt using an actual minor would make the film seem more authentic, but we’ll likely never know.

In conclusion, while there are elements of the film that I would prefer to have seen done differently, I believe the film merits a look, to see the performances of Livia Russo and Vagelis Vartan as well as that of some of the other cast (while Mario as a character is despicable, Harris Stevens does play the role well). Despite some of the dark things that happen in the film, there are enough pleasant scenes to keep the film from being depressing. It’s a shame that neither Russo or Vartan appear to have done any other films.

¹Various dates of birth are cited online, giving August 11th as the month and day and listing 1966, 1965 or in one instance 1963 at the year, making her anywhere from twelve to fifteen at the time the film was shot (1979). While I can’t prove which, if any, of these are correct, suffice it to say I do have solid evidence that fifteen is probably the upper limit for how old she could have been. As for the character Livia is playing—also named Livia—no age is specified in the film, other than the fact that she’s too young to control her father’s fortune and requires a guardian.

²While the scene does end kind of ambiguously, with Livia and Mike appearing to either sit or lie down, this is the kind of film where if the characters did have sex it would definitely be shown. So I infer they did not, and believe the director intended the audience to understand that Livia remains chaste until a later scene, where that sex takes place is unequivocal—and unfortunate.

³Which I have omitted to avoid making this post too graphic, though to be clear, it’s just acting. Not even Gemser and Tinti, who were married in real life, actually had sex on screen. Nevertheless, some may find it uncomfortably realistic, as no body double is substituted for Livia, but it’s clearly her throughout. Plot-wise, the scene does follow from what was built up before, sad though it is. However, one could question whether it was necessary to film the scene quite so explicitly.

(NOTE TO COMMENTERS: While I appreciate comments on the post, I would prefer that they not focus on the rape scene. While it is perhaps understandable that people would want to comment on it, I would rather you did not unless you have something of significance to add beyond the obvious. There are other areas of the film to discuss.)

Maiden Voyages: October 2022

(Last Updated On October 3, 2022)

For Registered Pigtails Members: Over the past few months, a number of people have requested access to our restricted images and in previous posts, we have explained why this was necessary. However, a few readers are not following the instructions. I sent those specifically because member login is not done in the usual manner of other WordPress sites. The protocols established for signing in are in place to prevent or minimize automated attacks. That is why, 1) There is a non-standard login page address. If you are the only one using a particular device to access this site, your computer can remember the URL and password. 2) If you attempt to log in incorrectly, your IP will be blocked after a couple of attempts. If this happens, wait 24 hours and try again referring to the instructions sent to you. This is another measure to stop automated attacks. We apologize for the inconvenience, but this is necessary to secure the site and I can assure readers that I have to follow the same login protocols as everyone else!

Cultural Norms: We have all seen comments from readers about when it was acceptable to let kids run around naked or little girls to be topless at public beaches. This anecdote is a little different. One of our readers recalls: Back in the last century (it may have been Hungary), orphaned children were given to people in rural communities to help with agriculture. The practice was to keep these children naked to discourage them from running away. The reader says he saw a film about this featuring a girl of about 7-8 but can’t remember the title. Does anybody have any ideas?

[Wow! Reader response is amazing. It is clear from several loyal readers that the Hungarian film Árvácska, 1976 whose English title is Nobody’s Daughter. Although I have a copy of the film and am familiar with the title (it is listed in the ‘Pipeline: Films’ page), I had not viewed the film and was not familiar with its plot and premise. Thank you all for your prompt replies but since so many of you gave the same exact answer, I don’t think it necessary to publish all these duplicate comments. Your contributions are appreciated!]

 

Two Sculptures by Elisabet Stienstra

(Last Updated On September 30, 2022)

Elisabet Bea Stienstra was born in The Netherlands in 1967. She studied art at Academy Minerva in Groningen and the State Academy of Fine Arts in Amsterdam. She is one of the more famous sculptors working today. Stienstra has a unique style, with realistic figures in surreal situations. She has an ability to work well in various mediums; bronze, marble or wood. Two of Stienstra’s sculptures, Panic in Prato and Virgins of Apeldoorn, are the topic of this post.

Elisabet Stienstra – Panic in Prato (2005)

Panic in Prato is remarkable in that it consists of three statues on top of a factory building in Prato, Italy. The factory building actually becomes part of the sculpture. When Panic in Prato was created in 2005, the textile factory on which the statues were placed belonged to Valdemaro Beccaglia, a connoisseur of art and president of the Pecci Museum of contemporary art. Panic is evident in the faces of the girls in Panic in Prato, but why are they panicked? They appear to be climbing over the rooftops to escape something, but it is not obvious what they are fleeing.

Elisabet Stienstra-Panic in Prato – Standing (2005)

Elisabet Stienstra-Panic in Prato – Climbing (2005)

Virgins of Apeldoorn consists of three bronze sculptures of girls in a park in the town of Apeldoorn, The Netherlands. The girls appear to be floating in the air; one face up, one rolling over, and one face down. Actually, the girls are supported by their long hair and long nightgowns that extend to bases on the ground. Nevertheless the illusion of floating is remarkable.

Elisabet Stienstra-Panic in Prato – Diving (2005)

Elisabet Stienstra-The Virgins of Apeldoorn (1) (2001)

A controversy concerning Virgins of Apeldoorn arose in 2017 when Ferdinand Cacnio unveiled his statue Uplift at University of the Philippines in Manila. Uplift is not on topic for Pigtails because it is the statue of an adult young woman, so I will not include an illustration of it here. Uplift is very similar to the Virgin of Apeldoorn lying on her back. Elisabet Stienstra’s husband wrote on Facebook that, “Elisabet doesn’t do Facebook herself. She [Elisabet Stienstra] would like it to be known however that she sees Mr. Cacnio’s sculpture as plagiarism.” Ferdinand Cacnio denied that he copied his statue from Stienstra.

Elisabet Stienstra-The Virgins of Apeldoorn (2) (2001)

Random Images: AK von Malmborg

(Last Updated On September 21, 2022)

AK von Malmborg is a self-taught Swedish artist who paints mostly large scale oil paintings but has utilized sonic media such as symphony orchestra, electronic opera, performance and has three full-length albums.

I paint what I dream, sometimes I dream the whole image at once and sometimes in installments.

The artist’s process is reportedly highly intuitive and multi-sensory, an organic approach that often results in a “messy consequence”.

AK von Malmborg – Amor Fati (2015)

Into The Night, by Benny Mardones: classic (and controversial) rock song from the ’80s

(Last Updated On September 12, 2022)

Benny Mardones was an American rock singer known for his great success, Into the Night, written with Robert Tepper, where Benny (34 years old at the time) falls in love with a 16-year-old blonde schoolgirl.

Into the Night music video (1980) (screenshot)

Into The Night is the third track on the 1980 album ‘Never Run, Never Hide’, by Polydor Records. The success was immediate, skyrocketing to #11 on the Billboard Hot 100 in that year.

‘Never Run, Never Hide’ album cover (1980)

In the music video, Benny goes to the girl’s house, but her father insists that he leave. After this, Benny calls her, goes to her house, they both exchange touches and finally, Benny takes her onto a flying carpet, where they kiss passionately, ending the video.

Into the Night music video (1980) (ending)

The video is simple in production, but it was enough material to disturb people and be censored for a long time. It was not so recently made available on YouTube. Below are the lyrics and the video can be found here.

She’s just sixteen years old
Leave her alone, they say…
Separated by fools
Who don’t know what love is yet…
But I want you to know…

 

If I could fly
I’d pick you up
I’d take you into the night
And show you a love
Like you’ve never seen—ever seen…

 

It’s like having a dream
Where nobody has a heart…
It’s like having it all
And watching it fall apart…
And I would wait till the end

 

Of time for you
And do it again, it’s true…
I can’t measure my love
There’s nothing to compare it to…
But I want you to know…

 

If I could fly
I’d pick you up
I’d take you into the night
And show you a love…

 

If I could fly
I’d pick you up
I’d take you into the night
And show you a love
Like you’ve never seen—ever seen…

 

If I could fly
I’d pick you up
I’d take you into the night
And show you a love…

 

If I could fly
I’d pick you up
I’d take you into the night…

Also, I strongly recommend watching the live version too. It’s one of Benny’s best performances, with a lot of passion and quality. The final part where he takes more freedom, looks like a wounded animal: a raging vocal, tremendous skills.

Benny has given some rare interviews about the origin of this song. In one of them, he sums up that he met the girl who inspired him in this song while living in Miami. I find it much more interesting to hear the story directly from Benny than to read my summary. However, for those with little time available, I give a brief summary below.:

During his time in Miami, this 16-year-old blonde schoolgirl lived with her family who had financial difficulties, in the same apartment block as Benny and co-writer Tepper.
The girl was known by both, due to mundane daily interactions. After a while she and Benny became friends.

On a certain day, the girl showed up at Benny’s apartment, in tears, explaining that her parents had suddenly split up. Benny comforted her and her brother, then offered her $50 a week to walk his dog every day before she went to school.

After another night with little sleep, Benny and Tepper were still struggling to make progress writing the song. Early in the morning, someone knocked on the apartment door; it was the girl, to talk with Benny. Tepper was mesmerized by the 16-year-old’s beauty in traditional school clothes: uniform, short skirt, knee socks, with hair done. Benny quickly tells him “She’s just 16 years old. Leave her alone…”. This phrase clicked with them, and fit perfectly with the harmony they developed up to that point.

With this small interaction is born one of the most iconic lines of rock. After that, the music flowed quickly and both managed to finish it in the next few hours.

After the tremendous success of the song, the girl became a celebrity, met a guy, and got married. The girl has always been grateful to Benny for how this song changed her life, always writing to him on Christmas. And Benny was always grateful for how this girl changed his life.

Benny had serious financial and health problems in his senior years, mostly due to drugs. He developed Parkinson’s and had many difficulties paying for the treatment, relying on friends and relatives to help.

Still, Benny at 71 years old gave a last performance of Into The Night in 2017 at the Turning Stone Resort Casino in New York, where he said goodbye to the public. Benny amazed with the vocals (really, really awesome) and said thanks a lot to the audience, accompanied by a fevered response from his illustrious presence. Months later, Benny died from complications from Parkinson’s. Check out this link to his last live performance.

It’s one of my favorite songs. Hope you enjoy it.