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Stendhal Syndrome (haiku)

Wednesday, January 16th, 2008

Before I get to updating you on the Dresden Dolls show and the Dirty Business Brigade stuff, I want to lead in with a bit on the Stendhal Syndrome. Bare with me. It all ties in.
It’s defined as is a psychosomatic illness that causes rapid heartbeat, dizziness, confusion and even hallucinations when an individual is exposed to art, usually when the art is particularly ‘beautiful’ or a large amount of art is in a single place. The term can also be used to describe a similar reaction to a surfeit of choice in other circumstances, e.g. when confronted with immense beauty in the natural world. (Wikipedia)

Okay, I have experienced what could be classified as Stendhal Syndrome numerous times. For example, at the Chicago Art Institute, I began to see rapidly flashing images and felt dizzy and we had to leave. It was like art overload. Also, when I go to live performances like concerts or plays, I frequently tear up and feel breathless particularly at the opening of a show. I’m just moved, you know?

I decided to use this subject as a comic a month or so ago but never got around to it. I used it tonight because the Dresden Dolls show definitely gave me Stendhal Syndrome, if you want to call it that. I kept literally having flashbacks of small snippets of the concert and was generally so over the moon happy and full of energy for the following two days. And incredibly inspired. Wow.

The thing is I can also feel these ‘symptoms’ in other realms too. Immense beauty can be found in other humans, nature, etc. Lots of things make me woozy. Wee!
I think that if we move in this world with our hearts or spirits instead of our heads we are more apt to experience things on a deeper level. It’s that simple. The thing is, in this world, those that live in the spirit are often labeled. “Oh, she’s weeping at a painting, let’s slap a label on her.” “Wow, she’s claiming to have flashbacks of the Dresden Dolls concert? Must be something wrong with her.” F*ck that.  It’s absurd. ‘Nuff said.
So yeah, the concert was unbelievable. Brigading was way more fun than I could possibly imagine. Jimmy Morey (trumpet) and Eddie Rosicky (guitar, singer) of Lounge Cat were amazing.  They played kinda dark New Orleansy blues and stuff. The Dresden Dolls singer, Amanda Palmer even mentioned how awesome they were during the concert. How cool is that? If any one has any pictures of the guys please send them my way. Some how we managed to not take any pics of them playing. 🙁 calanATgingerdeadDOTcom

If you are local (Tampa/St. Pete, FL) and want to see Lounge Cat, they are playing the Martini Bar in Baywalk on 1.25.08. Details here. This is a great opportunity to stalk me too because I’m most likely going to be there. 😉

There was also a troupe of belly dancers and a big Octopus groom handing out gummy octopi. I passed out double sided GingerDead comic post cards and met a ton of cool people including (zomg!) Amanda herself. She was cool enough to hang out after the show and sign stuff and actually knew about my comic and told me they were linking to it over at their official forum (The Shadow Box). I might be a long way from being a teenager, but I felt a tad like a giddy one leaving there. I even had her sign my postcard because, idk, why not?

Here’s a short Reax article on the actual show complete with playlist. Plus, there are a few video snippets. Sort of like sharing my hallucinations with you. Hugs!

As promised, here are some pics.

On the way to the show…taken in the passenger side mirror


Jimmy had to drive because all my crinoline made it hard to steer. 😛 Notice the little Ennui head on my strap…I used them as bow accents all over the outfit.


We’re too sexy to brigade!

I made Jim’s mask out of bits of scrap leather. yum!

Dresden Dolls Dirty Business Brigade

Brigading must have been even more fun than I remember. I look like a mental patient. HooO!

Dresden Dolls Dirty Business Brigade

A basket of Dirty Business…

Calan Ree brigading at the Dresden Dolls show

Finally! The Dresden Dolls….

Dresden Dolls

Okay, get ready to jump my shit again. But, here we are back at Tampa Theater. Remember the last time I went there and got the orb picture? Well, Jim takes at least 20 pictures a day. He’s a camera junkie. A lot of his pics are taken in dark music venues because he’s a musician. No orbs…ever..not until he took pics at Tampa theater. I know they don’t prove anything. I watch Ghost Hunters too. Haha. So save it. I just think it’s interesting, okay?!

I had to shrink these pictures to fit on this site so it’s hard to see, but they are on my FlickR larger. I’m not claiming to know what the hell orbs really are, but I feel dust is a lame answer. Maybe it has something to do with energy. The energy at that show was incredible. Sometimes, I just held my palms out and sort of sucked it in.

Anyway, Amanda Palmer is apparently an orb magnet. Hell, who can blame the little buggers. Her raw passion is something to behold. Incredibly sexy. Powerful. Amazing.

Okay, so here’s Amanda with orbs or cooties or something. Let me link you to direct to it larger on FLickR where you can really see them.

Amanda Palmer has orb cooties!

There’s a wee orb trying to sniff her armpit in this next one.

Amanda Palmer with a wee orb.

I absolutely love this picture of Amanda. Happy accidents rock.

Amanda Palmer in motion

After the show, we went for tacos and I met this handsome guy. Molestation ensued.

Calan molests a turkey

Driving home admiring my ghetto garter – it’s made from a shirt sleeve!


Big thanks goes to Lary, the Dirty Business Brigader who invited me to brigade to begin with. Also, to Katie Kay who was managing the show and treated us brigaders so awesome. Finally, of course the Dresden Dolls who rocked my world and gave me a psychosomatic illness! That’s almost as good as catching an STD from Amanda or Brian or, better yet, Amanda AND Brian. *swoons*

That’s all folks. See you next week.

<3 calan

18 Responses to “Stendhal Syndrome (haiku)”

  1. Chance Says:

    Fun times! Great job on the comic this week.

  2. calan Says:

    thanks chance <3

  3. Marissa Says:

    Hi there,

    I too was at the Dresden Dolls show and had a fantastic time. Your promo postcards worked…my friend brought me back one when he went to get some beer and said that the little girl who suggested soilent snowmen reminded him of me. I guess sometimes I can be that cruel. 😉 Of course after I witnessed your stellar haiku (a very misunderstood art) on bloodfruit I had to visit your site. I’ve been reading a few every day, savoring the moments!

    Also saw your pics from the Castle on New Year’s…I practically grew up at that club, so perhaps we’ll run into each other at some point. Maybe we already have and I didn’t know it!

    So glad to see local talent working and active and happy. Keep it up! Thanks so much.

  4. calan Says:

    nice to virtually meet you Marissa i’m glad you liked the postcards enough to visit the site and comment. if you are a haiku fan, feel free to leave your own in the comments field here anytime. most of my readers are way better at it than i am.

    monday night’s at the castle are my favorite. love the music and videos upstairs. maybe i’ll see you there next time i go. 🙂

  5. Stinkoman87 Says:

    Hey Calan, what was on the promo postcard?

    Also, panel 1: Watch the hand there, Gingerdead!

  6. calan Says:

    send me your address and i’ll mail you a few Stinkoman. *hopes you don’t live in botswana or something*


  7. Seraphine Says:

    love your eyes calan
    blood thickened red eye shadow
    you ain’t dead yet dear

  8. wow Says:

    beautiful artwork

    scratch my window anytime

    i’ve got stendhal’s too

    W – 0 – W !

  9. justme Says:

    In her element
    calan dresses to the nines
    a real Dresden doll

    Cabaret always kind of creeps me out, but in a good way, like GingerDead. As opposed to circus performers – especially French circus performers – who for some reason kind of creep me out *not* in a good way. Some repressed childhood trauma or something I guess.

    Thanks for the spectacular photos and the excited first-hand account. I’m glad you had such a great time. Enjoy your flashbacks. Wish I could’ve been there too….

    Oh, and great comic, too! Your haikus kick ass.

  10. Gabe Lippmann Says:

    swirling images
    emotion heaving inside
    ecstasy erupts

  11. coolioness Says:

    ..I blame you for making me love the Dresden Dolls. You introduced them to me!!

    …Yay. (Had to get that out)

    GingerDead with his
    Skeletal sweetheart, grinning
    as art consumes them.


  12. Chris Says:

    The “mental patient” is my new favorite photo of you.


  13. Withershins Says:

    Who’s that hot mama in the sexy fishnets! Woo! 😀

    I really like the way you do birds, and that bird painting is particularly cool…and that’s not just the Stendhals talking. 😀

    So glad to read about this Stendhal Syndrome–I thought I was just being a basket-case all these years.

  14. Benson Says:

    Hey, love the comic. I’ve been reading it since it was recommended on Book of Biff a while ago, and I’m addicted. I don’t think I’ve commented before… 😛
    Anyway, just wanted to express how jealous I am. 😉 I really wanna see the Dresden Dolls live. Thanks for the extensive review, it was the next best thing.
    Awesome pics, btw. I like the “mental patient” one especially. The make-up in general is awesome.
    Oh, and finally, Jim’s outfit is amazing. Is that somewhere between a tuxedo and a doublet? Whatever you wanna call it, it rocks.

  15. calan Says:

    wow – 😉

    justme – clowns creep me out in the ‘not so good’ way. :O

    gabe – love your haiku, as always

    coolio – hoO! i’m glad i turned you on to the dresden dolls. i feel like i’ve done something good with my life now and can jump off a building or something. 😛 it will be a while before they tour again, but amanda has some solo stuff coming out this year and will tour i believe. not the same as the dresden dolls, but still she is so incredible i’m sure whatever she’s up to will be worth checking out and experiencing live if you have the chance.

    withershins – i raise my glass to basket cases everywhere! *clink*

    benson – thanks for taking the time to comment. i tried a couple other approaches to the makeup before that look came up. i was pretty happy with it. 🙂 thanks for noticing. there’s something magical about makeup and clothing…you can sort of lose yourself..no, scratch that. you can bring part of yourself to the surface and let it take the lead. 😉

    jim has on this incredible jacket ..it’s sort of like a parade coat, but on the gothy side. he paired it with a tux shirt, bowtie, white gloves and hat we got at a cool vintage shop in ybor city. the mask is something i made out of scrap leather sliced like shards of glass to fit onto a cheap plastic white mask we got at a craft store. oh, and he also added a black boa to the ensemble. yeah, it rocked almost as much as he does.

  16. Logan Donahoo Says:

    Hey Calan!

    It was really nice meeting you both at the pizzeria before the show. You guys looked great. You did a very nice job on Jim’s leather mask, too (jeezus, he’s cute!). I still haven’t gotten my batch of photos developed (yes, I need to join the 21st century and get a digital one). However, I was sent this guy’s photobucket. I think I saw a few of you guys brigading:


    Take care. Hope to see you guys sometime again soon!

  17. calan Says:

    Logan! You rock!! I’ve been searching everywhere and asked around the Dresden Dolls forums for pics of Jim and Eddie playing because I failed to take any. Finally! That link is awesome! I’ll post it up on the forums too so others at the Tampa show can have a peek.

    It was great meeting you and your friend too. Oh, and yah, Jim is incredibly cute. 🙂 Sometimes I want to gobble him up but then I’d miss hanging out with him and have to talk to my belly instead. 🙁

    Thank you so so much for stopping by and posting that awesome link. I can’t wait to show the guys. If you ever want to see them playing with the full band and/or hang pop me an email. They play in St. Pete all the time.

    <3 calan

  18. calan Says:

    i just had a look at those pics. orbs galore, lol.

    hey Logan, I didn’t know you were a performer and involved in a Rocky Horror production. Sweet. Let’s pimp your MySpace, shall we?


    Btw, if Donahoo was my last name I’d spell it like this – donaHOOO!111

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