typed for your pleasure on 14 May 2012, at 12.50 am
Sdtrk: ‘Folk window’ by Hair stylistics
Speaking engagements! Everyone does them! From Crispin Glover, to John Waters, to Henry Rollins, to Crispin Glover! That’s both Crispin Glovers, incidentally. Crispins Glover.
Since roughly 2005, various students have come a-callin’, asking if they could get my input as to the nature of being a Doll husband and all that entails. The majority of these students, I find, are usually in the field of either sociology, sexuality, or psychology, which means their questions are pretty salient. One such student, Sarah Valverde, had initiated a conversation back in late 2010, regarding the lack of legitimate research in the medical community concerning iDollators, and asked if I could help. Which I did! It started out as a paper, which caused a bit of a stir with the academics she’d presented it to, as most of her audience had either never heard of high-end ‘love dolls’ such as RealDolls, Sinthetics, etc, and were thinking in the context of inflatables, or they knew what such Synthetik partners were, and weren’t keen on the idea. Some members of the crowd thought it was a fascinating presentation she’d made, however, and her academic partner, Dr Kelly Moreno, proposed that she perhaps take it to the next level. What Kelly had meant by that is essentially putting forth a presentation at the 2012 Western Psychological Association convention, due to take place in San Francisco in April. It would be a coup on multiple levels: for one, as stated before, no significant research in the medical community had ever been done on iDollator culture; also, it’s extremely rare for a subject to actually represent themselves at a psychological presentation; not only would an iDollator be speaking at this thing, but a Doll manufacturer would be there as well, in the form of Matt Krivicke and Bronwen Keller of Sinthetics, and Bronwen would be relating her perspective of being female in a market where most of the consumers are male. We’d be setting trends!
Although they weren’t able to fund my planeticket (or car rental, or hotel fees), I was able to get the appropriate days off work and agreed to meet with everyone in San Fran from 25 to 27 April, for high adventure.
Sdtrk: ‘Tom Baker’s watching you’ by The Soulless Party
Here, right here, you will find some shameless self-promotion! I mean, more so than usual.
+ Back in January, performance artist and iDollatorAmber Hawk Swanson, who I’ve mentioned more than a few times on ‘Shouting etc etc’, asked me nicely if I could write an essay about her for her blog, and I did. It’s a potted history of how I know her through her work, and the brief but memorable times our paths crossed. You can read it here!
+ As mentioned in a previous post, mid-Michigan photojournalist Ashley Miller had visited Sidore and I a few times over the course of a handful of Saturdays, taking photos of us for her end-of-term class project. She also conducted an interview with me, and got some video footage in, and the end result would be ‘Synthetik Love: A Modern Love Story‘. As I’d told her, Ashley had managed to do in six minutes by herself what a lot of television crews have failed to do, and that’s present a short film allowing me to speak about the relationship Sidore and I share, without editing or leading, and somehow managing to make us look good in the process. But why not have a look yourselves?
+ Cast your mind back to 2005, if you will. Not only were my Missus and I filming ‘Guys and Dolls’ in the summer of that year, but we were also involved in another documentary being made by Allison de Fren, which I’d detailed here. After languishing in Production Hell for almost seven years due to various factors, it’s now complete, and making the rounds at various film festivals, which is tremendous news. This would be the trailer:
It’s called ‘The Mechanical Bride‘, and it features interviews with Slade (the former RealDoll Doctor), ‘Sexy Robot’ artist Hajime Sorayama, photographer Elena Dorfman of ‘Still Lovers’ fame, Michael of First Androids, and myself, among others. And! It’s narrated by Julie Newmar, who played Rhoda the Gynoid in ‘My living Doll‘. So I daresay this is something you’ll want to keep an eye out for!
+ Finally, since last year, I’ve been working with college senior Maria Tolbert, in her investigations of ‘contemporary examples of alternative practices in the context of intimate relationships, and what this might mean for the future of human relationships and human sexuality.’ But of course! She’s been slaving away for the past couple of months on her final paper, and just recently she’d managed to yank the last sheet of paper out of her Clark-Nova typewriter and pronounce it finished. It’s called ‘Artifice and Being Human: The Story of Organiks, Synthetiks, and Robotic Romance‘. Among other subjects, it covers the history of ‘love dolls’, iDollator culture, contemporary humanoid robots, that ridiculous ‘Uncanny valley’, and other points besides. And yes, I was interviewed. Shi-chan is even quoted in some sections! Needless to say, it’s entirely worth reading…
Now that you’ve read/watched all that, I’d like to introduce you to a handful of new blogs that I’ve linked to a while ago on ‘Shouting etc etc’: the first would be Homo Artificialis, which looks to explore humanoid robots, and how they’ll eventually affect and integrate into Organik culture; another would be Dirty Doll Stories, which is the blog of Jenny Densuke, the first Polymerisian adult film starlet, and her thoughts on all manner of things; and the other is It’s a Tasha Thing, which is the musings and bitchings of sexy Polymerisian film starlet Tasha James, who just happens to have worked with and is good friends with Ms Densuke. Please welcome them, to the Kraft Family of Foods! O, wait.
And now, back to writing about my first ever speaking engagement in San Francisco two Thursdays ago! I actually feel like getting some writing in, so I’d better ride this wave as far as it’ll take me
typed for your pleasure on 22 April 2012, at 7.35 pm
Sdtrk: ‘Costain suite’ by Daphne Oram
It’s been so long since I’ve written a post that I’ve kinda forgotten how to do it. How do you make words and sentences? Is it a bit like this: sjfkd sio! pjef/if8 46.564.. fkjiap0oj0[ kiz0w? I mean, that’s nice and all, but I can’t really see how one would get to the top of a best-seller list with that kind of niche-market content.
What have I been up to, you axe? Working, mostly, as my workplace has had us getting in mandatory overtime for the past six weeks. Which is fantastic for my wallet, as I’m scouring eBay for skinny neckties, vintage tie clips, and pop-culture ephemera that I’ve been lusting after for years, but more time at work means less time living, as far as I’m concerned. I wouldn’t call myself a wastrel, as I do enjoy work when it’s to do with things I like, or at the very least, don’t mind. But as one of my heroes, Oscar Wilde, once quipped, ‘I don’t want to earn my living; I want to live.’
But it’s not been all toil all the time round here, thankfully! Since mid-March, Sidore and I have been working with local photojournalist Ashley Miller, as she wanted to do a project that focussed on the topic of Organik/Synthetik relationships, and how they’re simply another approach to the many kinds of relationships people have or are seeking in society. She’s come round over the course of four week-ends to snap pics of the Missus and I in our natural habitat, and to conduct interviews, and they’ve been fun little experiences!
She’s put up the first batch on her blog here; more photos are forthcoming. So far, she’s gotten an overal positive reaction from her fellow classmates, and her sociology instructor asked if she’d be interested in doing further research on iDollator culture in a later semester this year, so that’ll be something to look forward to as well!…
Aaand I’ll be flying to Sans Francisco (French for ‘without Francisco’) later this week to speak on a panel regarding Synthetiks, which should be simultaneously nerve-wracking and fantastic. Don’t want to give the game away with too many details, but much like DolLApalooza 2011, you might want to consider following me on my godforsaken Twitter feed *points to sidebar*, for updates on the spectacle. Once I get back, things should return to a semblance of normalcy here; at the very least, I can bring you all up to date on various bits and bobs in the world of Synthetiks. I kinda have to; as of this writing, I’ve got like thirty-nine sites bookmarked dealing with potential things I need to cover. Thirty-nine. Like this teaser for an upcoming film called ‘True skin’, for example, which looks quite interesting:
typed for your pleasure on 25 January 2012, at 3.28 am
Sdtrk: ‘Romance fatal dentro de un auto’ by NON
Bringing you Tomorrow’s news Yesterday… Today.
See, that’s what we call an effective baffle. I throw a sentence out like that for you, you read it, and you’re so confused by it that you’ve not noticed I didn’t write a proper introduction to this, the first ‘Shouting etc etc’ post twenty-five days into 2012. And we’re off!
+ Did you lot have an enjoyable, carnage-free holidays? Ours were placid, for lack of a better term, but personally speaking, they were better than the ones at the end of 2010, so I’m not complaining. One nice aspect was that my father wrote me a cheque for $150, and as I’m a firm believer in Irony, I promptly sent that dosh to Amazon.com, spending the entirety of it on books about Dolls and Gynoids, two subjects that the man despises. Ha!
My spoils were volumes 4-8 of Pluto, a manga by Naoki Urasawa, which is another one of his psychological thrillers; a copy of Hiroshi Watanabe’s Love point, as detailed here; and The Sex Doll: A History. I have to apologise for the last one, as the cover isn’t just awful, it’s godawful. Nevertheless, all the books were highly appreciated! Thanks, dad! *proceeds to snicker like Muttley*
+ Speaking of Amazon.com, I now see that they actually have not just a listing, but cover art, for the ‘My living Doll’ DVD set I’d mentioned last November, with a street date of 20 March. Again, I’ll believe it when a copy adorns my own overloaded DVD shelves, but that’s fantastic news!…
+ Back in November-December of 2011, photographer/iDollator/jetsetter/Maki Nomiya lookalike Azusa Itagaki had a showing of her photographs of our crowd in Italy. It was well-received, by her accounts, and she told me it was even mentioned in La Repubblica, one of the nation’s major newspapers. As always, she does us proud!
INVISIBLE ART PATRONS
If you can read Italian, you lucky bastard, you can peruse a page about the show and see more photos here. Machine translations don’t count.
+ Do you recall Ricky Ma Tsz Hang, the bloke in Hong Kong who built an affictitious version of Kelly Chen? Yes you do. He’s not been resting on his laurels though, as he’s recently completed Aiko 2, a head for a new Gynoid! Again, might I remind you, he’s not a corporation; he’s just one man, making alluring animatronics in his own home. HARDxCORE.
For that new robot head, I have tried to use different material and design new structure. It is smoother than previous one. It applied 2 small servos and 4 micro servos only and it has detection camera inside her eyes. She can smile, eyes (blink, up and down, left and right) open and close the mouth. More than that, it will have a intelligent computer brain. She can talk to you and detect who are you! Moreover, she can analyse objects (over 13000 data). The facial expression will be controlled by the intelligent brain. It may be very interesting!
She’s listening to Sergio Mendes and Brasil ’66. But can you blame her?
That quote is from an Email that he’d sent me. Ricky went on to say that he’s developing Aiko 2 in conjunction with Le Trung, that bloke who put some servos inside a CandyGirl and named her Aiko, so hopefully Ricky will steer that particular project into something more original and successful.
Not only does Aiko 2 have improved sculpting — did you note her dimples? — but the ability to analyse and identify objects is a impressive skill. Sure, we have object recognition programmes in things such as Google goggles, but combining technology with beauty enhances both, and benefits everyone.
+ Isn’t it time for a new batch of Sinthetics photos? It certainly is.
Left, Monique doesn’t know the meaning of the term hay fever; right, Celeste, following up on Aiko 2′s eargoggle trend
+ Finally, back to television: 2012 looks as if it might yield not one, but two decent programmes having to do with Synthetiks, so that’s something to look forward to! As long as they’re not along the lines of the robot snuff film known as ‘A.I’, that is.
According to a post on io9.com, NBC has ordered a pilot for a series entitled ‘Beautiful people’, and as they describe it,
Beautiful People is really dark, and more than a little sadistic at times. It’s not at all subtle, though — it’s in the grand tradition of dystopian “what if” scenarios in which a terrible injustice is being perpetrated throughout society, but somehow most people don’t see it. The audience will be left in absolutely no doubt, at the end of a single episode, that these androids, or “Mechanicals,” are people who deserve human rights. [...]
We see how the Mechanicals are enslaved. They’re constrained by Asimov’s good old Three Laws of Robotics. They’re destroyed if they show the slightest sign of emotion. They’re even given a weird drug, called Compliance, to prevent them from having any nasty mood swings. They all have bar codes on the backs of their necks.
And yet, they’re clearly people in every way that matters. They have family units, like Tina and her parents. They respond to things with real emotion. Their children have to go to school, so they can learn all the nuances of human society. (The high-end “Mechanicals” like Tina and her family have no metal parts — instead, they’re more like cyborgs, with some silicon chips and plastic, but also organic parts grown from the DNA of John Does, and possibly federal prisoners as well.) the entire article is here
They’re still in the process of casting it, so airdates are still in the far-flung future (pun intended), but I’ll be sure to keep an eye out for it, as you suspect. Overall, Beautiful people sounds promising and thought-provoking! Which means it probably won’t be on the air very long. You’re all familiar with how network telly in the States works.
And fellow iDollatorEuchre tipped me off to the other programme from Sweden, a show called ‘Äkta människor‘, which translates to ‘Real humans’, which actually premiered on the 22nd of this month. It seems like it’ll be taking nearly the same approach as Beautiful people — can the term ‘human’ apply to artificial beings, etc — but with a less homogenised approach than you find in television from the States. Skip to 0.55 if you don’t get what I’m inferring.
What happens when robots become so human that they can barely be distinguished from real people? When they can even be our lovers? Real Humans takes place in a parallel world to our own, in which people’s lives have been completely transformed by the new generation of robots, the Hubots. [...]
They’re used as servants, heavy laborers, company for the lonely and even sex partners. But Hubots also create conflicts – within families, in places of work and among those concerned about public safety. Their intelligence exceeds our own. Are there any jobs left that are not best carried out by a robot? Can they develop feelings of their own? Can a Hubot harm a human being? the entire article is here
I love shows and films like this! They’re priming the pump.
Some additional good news: they say the production companies involved have made a deal to distribute Äkta människor internationally. Which more than likely means just Europe, but that’s why god made region-free DVD players!
And there you have it! O, and I’m due to enter discussions with another documentarist; this one would be from France. More on that later!
typed for your pleasure on 23 November 2011, at 8.24 pm
Sdtrk: ‘Virginia Plain’ by Roxy music
Naturally, as soon as I posted the one for November, more notable articles started piling up. It’s not as if you’ll go home empty-handed! Which makes sense, as I’m sure most of you reading this are already at home.
Put your pants back on.
+ First off, do you recall me mentioning Yves José Malgorn, fantastic graphics illustrator of YM Graphix, back in June? Yes. He was kind enough to create an image for the rotating banner header gracing the top of ‘Shouting etc etc’, cos he’s Good People like that. As there’s currently twenty-eight banners to go through — I actually didn’t know there were that many, myself — you can also check it out here. Automatically sexy!
+ It seems that 4woods are back on course, with Sarina, a sexy new head that fits all their available bodies. 4woods are now to the point in their production line where they’ve sculpted more heads than you’ve had hot dinners.
The most alluring novelty eraser ever
Admittedly, the shot above, while stimulating, doesn’t really show her face, as the photos where her face is more visible also have her breasts as more visible. Which is something I’m not opposed to under everyday circumstances, but this is a PG-rated blog. *nods* Anyway, I’m sure you’ll check out Sarina’s gallery, but you should do it after you look through their new videos, which illustrate the new softer blend of silicone that they’re using for their lasses. They’re hypnotising, and you will watch them for hours. Fact.
+ As contemporary pop culture makes me curl my upper lip in disgust, I’m not altogether keen on Urban Dictionary. I’m simply not ‘down’ with ‘youth culture’, what can I say? But it’s not complete shite; after all, they have an entry for ‘Polymerisian‘, which is a new one on me. ‘Any person made with a synthetic polymer silicone skin with a rigid and jointed skeleton’. I can give my stamp of approval to that ‘un! Now to propagate that shit everywhere.
+ The Good People at Sinthetics have been tirelessly working on creating new… Synthetiks! Hot on the heels of their ravishing Body 2D comes the new Body 1B — as you suspect, the letters indicate the bust size — as well as Kimiko and Willow, two new heads that would look good on any body type you choose.
Kimiko proves herself more than capable of brightening up any home
I’d include a photo of Willow, but in every shot taken of her so far, her perky bosoms are on display. Which is something I’m not opposed to under everyday circumstances, but this is a PG-rated blog. *nods* As Willow is their new elfin head, she has pointy ears, as you would expect from an elf. The thing is, however, there are wires in her ears, so you can manipulate them for various poses and expressions. How impressive is that, eh?
But the best head Sinthetics have created so far would have to be Yuriko. Fact.
She’s so new, she’s not available yet, but she’s exquisite. And say, doesn’t she remind you of someone? A photographer, perhaps, that was round to snap photos of Sidore and I back in August? Yep, Azu-chan got her head scanned, and will actually be premiering her affictitious head at a gallery exhibition in Italy sometime soon. Having a backup head is always sound advice!
+ Ages ago, my Missus and I got together with an independent film director by the name of Allison de Fren, who had interviewed us, along with a cluster of other luminaries in the iDollator and technosexual cultures, for a documentary that had the working title of ‘The Mechanical Bride’. Unfortunately, between the main cameraman/editor abandoning the project and Allison herself having to pursue Higher Academia, the film was placed on indefinite hiatus. However, during an Email conversation with Sarah Valverde, she’d brought this to my attention: a dissertation that Allison had written in 2008 entitled ‘The exquisite corpse: disarticulations of the artificial female’, posted to the University of Southern California Digital Library.
The “artificial” artificial female body is often pitted against classical and normative conventions around love and beauty; it is used as a cipher for that which cannot be seen or represented, but only intuited; and it opens a space for the imagination and play, both in the sense of what children do with dolls and in the sense of linguistics or semiotics as that which decenters structure. Such roles are explored within a range of core texts — including Villiers d’Isle-Adam’s novel L’Eve Future (Future Eve, 1886), E.T.A. Hoffmann’s short stories “Automata” (1814) and “Der Sandmann” (The Sandman 1816), and Fritz Lang’s 1927 film Metropolis — and parallels are drawn to contemporary works from The Stepford Wives (1975) and Lars and the Real Girl (2007) to the Realdoll (a life-sized silicone lovedoll currently available for purchase on the internet) and ASFR (alt.sex.fetish.robots), an internet fetish community devoted to fantasies around robotic women.
It’s free to download, and very interesting reading. I’ll warn you ahead of time: it’s a Paper with a capital P, as it’s 300 pages in length, but extremely fascinating. Besides, the last twelve or so pages are footnotes, as is the way of Papers. Don’t let the length dissuade you, though; Allison clearly knows her onions.
+ It looks like Xmas is coming early! And by that, I mean it’s coming late. And by that, I mean… I don’t know what I mean. What I mean is according to TVShowsOnDVD.com, we might actually see a DVD set of Julie Newmar’s lost-to-the-ages Sixties Gynoid sitcom ‘My living Doll’ in our very lifetimes.
Don’t get too excited, Bob; there’s nothing but raw hydraulics under that sheet
While the studio hasn’t officially announced anything, industry sources have confirmed for us that MPI Home Video is preparing a February 28th release of My Living Doll – The Official Collection, Vol. 1. This 2-disc set will contain 11 episodes plus bonus material in the form of a special Soundtrack Music Collection, and new Interviews with star Julie Newmar, Producer Howard Leeds, Art Director James Hulsey, and more. Cost will be $24.99 SRP.
When I first read this — after I got the room to stop spinning, of course — I’d noted the set is Volume One, containing the first eleven episodes out of a twenty-six episode series. They’re still trying to locate the other fifteen episodes; there’s conflicting reports that they were wiped, or are possibly mouldering away someplace in some subterranean bunker.
Overall it’s amazing news, but I’ll truly believe it when I have a copy of Vol.01 in my sweaty hands. There’ve been a couple of instances where Very Cool Things are announced, only to have them sadly withdrawn from distribution. Three words: Hapworth 16, 1924.
+ Finally, Sarah Valverde, the psych grad student that’s invited me to the iDollator/technosexual symposium next year, has cobbled together an online survey targeting Doll owners. Up to this point, there hasn’t been any serious psychiatric study into iDollator culture, mainly due to reticence on the part of iDollators. Our community usually has to deal with wild supposition precisely because we’re reluctant to step forward and clear up myths. So in comes this survey. It’s completely anonymous, and has a number of basic questions that’ll help the psychiatric community get a better understanding of who we are, and why we have our Dolls. Surveys like this are a small but important step in helping to remove the assumptions surrounding iDollators and our culture.
The survey comes to an end on 16 December of this year. If you’re a Doll owner, please take 10-15 minutes out of your busy schedule — perhaps tomorrow, after you inhale your Thanksgiving dinner, if you’re in the States — to participate!
Well, there’s nothing to do now but wait until December. Happy 23rd!
typed for your pleasure on 18 September 2011, at 1.57 am
Sdtrk: ‘The restitution of decayed intelligence II’ by Coil
Remember, it’s not just News… it’s Newses.
Sorry, I’ll get my coat.
+ Personally, I’ve always believed that the best part of Summertime is when it ends, as we return to safe and sane Autumn, gear up for the Pagan New Year, and stop sweating like someone in middle management due for their quarterly review. 4woods remind us, however, that there are positive aspects to that hideous 3+ month period of solar heatdeath, and that’s a gallery of Elina, Hatsuki, and Lilica in bikinis!
Lilica-chan, enjoying the studio breeze
‘Luckily for me, I don’t have sweat glands!’ Hatsuki giggled. Show-off
‘This is our summer gift for you, their sexy bathing suit photos. Please enjoy their photos by imagining “they are right next to you.”‘ Okay! Ahhhh.
Well, that was lovely!
+ I’d snuck the link in for this group into the ‘Synthetik companion types’ sidebar category a few weeks ago, so it’s only right that I give them a proper mention. The FACE Team Project consists of a handful of Europeans attempting to create and perfect a humanoid robot who can replicate Organik facial expressions and emotional states. Sure, Kobayashi Labs has been doing the same with their Android SAYA, but the more groups that focus on this topic, the sooner someone’s going to hit upon a solution.
‘Why am I nervous? Why do you think?? My goddamned quarterly review’s coming up in a week!’
FACE stands for Facial Automation for Conveying Emotions. She’s capable of executing the six basic facial emotions — anger, disgust, fear, happiness, sadness, surprise — and she and her programmers are doing their bit to shrink down the so-called Uncanny valley. Well done!
+ For every largish company making affictitious partners, there are also modest studios composed of one or two people, working out of their basement/garage/Schloss/space station/etc, and looking to make Dolls of their own. One such individual by the name of Titman — don’t laugh, it’s the name he was born with — is just now finalising his product after eight months of work; a poseable Synthetik lass by the name of Maid-Ling.
Maid-Ling is 5’9″, has 36D.25.40 as her measurements, a 5.5 shoe size, and weighs a near-impossible 26 lbs. The standard model has a latex skin over a foam core interior, over an articulated skeleton. She can bend her arms and legs much how you would expect them to bend, although she can’t hold them in place. She also sports silicone breasts, a removable silicone vagina, and an interchangeable head. But then, who doesn’t?
$1500 USD will allow you to bring a Maid-Ling home, to fill a Doll-shaped void you may have in your lives. The titular Titman is in the process of working on a sales site/blog/thang/etc, so once that’s online, I’m sure you’ll hear about it. Probably here!
+ And now, here’s a brief video of my (current) favourite Gynoid, Miim (aka HRP-4C), showing off her ability to turn ninety degrees in one second. Dig it:
Those of you can turn ninety-one degrees in a single second may not be impressed, but it’s a pretty revolutionary capability for an artificial human. As I always say, onwards and upwards!
Above: leggy Monique and Alicia; below, Celeste getting the kinks out
According to the site, the Body 2D stats are
Weight = approx. 85lb or 38.6kg
Height = approx. 5’5″ or 165cm
Over bust = 36.5” or 92.7cm
Over nipples = 37.5” or 95.3cm
Under bust = 28.5” or 72.4cm
US Bra size = 34D
Waist = 24.5” or 62.2cm
Hips = 36.5” or 92.7cm
Buttocks = 38” or 96.5cm
Inseam = 28” or 71.7cm
Shoe size = US 6.5; UK 4.5; Euro 37 (one size larger for closed toes)
which should satisfy very nearly everyone. Like I’d said, we’d seen some amazing things from all three companies that day. DolLApalooza post pending. Tumescent. Err, what was I saying?
+ Lastly, get ready for a weapons-grade cute illo of Sidore and myself, in chibi form, courtesy of the wonderful Nana Smite:
typed for your pleasure on 24 August 2011, at 2.51 pm
Sdtrk: ‘I believe’ by My bloody valentine
It was quite a fun week-end I’d been a part of this past… week-end! There was another Doll Congress to be had, as our crowd hadn’t had one since May of last year. What fresh hell be this Doll Congress, you ask? (‘Fresh hell’?) A Doll Congress is really a small confluence of iDollators from the tri-state area: Euchre and myself from Michigan, Mahtek and Noquiexis from Ohio, and CJD, occasionally accompanied by his Organik wife Cat, from London, Ontario. Of course, Ontario isn’t a state, but we’re working on it.* During one instance we were joined by Hans, whose RealDoll wife Bee you’d undoubtedly seen on TLC’s ‘My Strange Addiction: Still Addicted?’. In the event that we decide to meet up at CJD’s house to see his lovely RealDoll lass Sandy, it’s called a Doll Parliament. Do you see what we did there?
So as we hadn’t had a proper Congress due to various factors (jobs / loss of jobs / moving / shite weather), we somehow managed to dovetail our schedules to meet on Saturday, nine months into 2011. Not only that, we’d be joined by Azusa Itagaki, a Japanese photographer based in Stockholm who joined us for DolLApalooza back in July. Although she doesn’t have a Synthetik companion of her own, her fascination and appreciation for them makes her an iDollator, and she’d be conducting a photo shoot of Sidore and I in our natural habitat on Sunday. One-stop shopping!
Saturday morning, Azu-chan hopped on a Detroit-bound train from Chicago to join us, while CJD and Cat drove from the polar wastes of Canada, and Mahtek, Noquiexis, and Noquiexis’ affictitious sweetie Feodora motored in as well. As we’d be meeting at Euchre’s, but he’d be working until 4.30 that day, we were to converge at Sila’s, an Italian restaurant, wait for Euchre to join us, then head round to his. Now, this plan ultimately worked, but I’ll tell ya; the hoops we had to jump through.
First of all, none of us realised until about a week before this was due to go down that 19 – 21 August was the week-end of that ridiculous goddamned Woodward Dream cruise. I’m not going to bitch about the Dream cruise, cos I’ve done it before, but those of us in Michigan were hoping that the bloated traffic of bloated Dream cruisers wasn’t going to prevent any of us from getting where we needed to go. Also, Azu-chan’s train was due to arrive in Royal oak at 2.30pm, whereupon I’d pick her up, and we’d head round to Sila’s. Unfortunately, Mother Nature had other plans, as her train arrived at a quarter to 5. We’d had severe weather alerts, and it was utterly pissing down, to the point where the train was only legally allowed to travel at a certain speed. Heh; this is why no-one takes trains any more. Basically, the storm arrived a wee bit ahead of Azusa, cos as I was heading out to collect her, the sky broke; thunder, lightning strikes, near-zero visibility, the lot. Luck, however, was on our side, as we all managed to make it to Sila’s, and with no loss of life!
Having eaten our respective dishes — Mahtek had some sort of pasta that was roughly the size of a full-grown Corgi — we made our way through pleasant post-rain weather round to Euchre’s swinging pad, hauling Feodora in her crate with us. Thank Elisha Otis his apartment has a lift, is all I can say.
RealDoll Samantha, Lovable Doll Monica, and Anatomical Doll Feodora
It was the first time CJD and Cat had met Feodora, and it was the first time Azusa met Feodora, as well as Euchre’s Samantha and Monica, so it was rather eventful for us all. Not only had Azu-chan met a cluster of us during DolLApalooza, but she’d spent time round at Everhard‘s in England, Prof.Sakai‘s in Japan, and round at the home of a French iDollator who I’m unfamiliar with who lives with Emy, a Mecadoll. Just a few months ago, she’d exhibited the photos she’d taken in Stockholm for the gallery show ‘Inside the Doll House‘, which received mostly positive reactions from viewers, and she’d possibly be doing something similar later in Italy this year.
After several agreeable hours, Euchre gave us the bum’s rush from his home, as most of our party had two- to three-hour drives to get through. Another fun meeting, and with good company besides!
Save for Azu-chan and I spending half an hour driving round my neighbourhood in an attempt to find a restaurant that was 1) open Sunday morning and 2) serving food — I was desperately unaware of these things, as under normal circumstances, I don’t leave our flat on Sundays — we spent the majority of the day taking multiple photos of myself and Shi-chan, but it also afforded me the opportunity to get behind the camera and snap pics of both lasses together. I figured since Azusa had modelled with a couple of Everhard’s ladies, that she wouldn’t be averse to doing so with my wife. And it made for a sexy approach!
She crashed round Deafening silence Plus, which worked out well, cos we were awake until 3am on Saturday and 4am on Sunday, talking about art, growing up with isolationist tendencies, the iDollator community and the various manufacturers, her global travels, and post-punk bands… we had an enormous number of ideas, views, and experiences in common. I introduced her to Lindsay Anderson’s ‘if….‘ and Hiroshi Ishiguro’s Actroid series, and she hepped me to the Russian band Утро and the Swedish film ‘Vaxdockan‘, so I’d say it was a pretty equal exchange. Overall, not only did Azusa have a keen photographic eye, and a relaxed approach to the various interview questions she had for me, but she’s an awesome person to be around.
Unfortunately, all good things etc etc; Monday afternoon saw us saying our farewells, as she had to catch her flight to LA, then fly out to England the next day for a while, then back to Stockholm. Jetsetters man, I’m tellin’ ya. As Azusa had loads of fun with Sidore-chan, me, and everyone she met in our iDollator crowd, she definitely wants to come and hang out with us again! Undoubtedly after getting at least six uninterrupted months of sleep, but neverthless
*Making Ontario a state would improve the United States, but diminish the Ontarians**
**What fresh hell does one call a person living in Ontario? Ontarians? Ontontites? Ontarontans? Sontarans?