Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Morbid Anatomy Museum: House of Wax

The current exhibition at the always-fantastic Morbid Anatomy Museum is probably my favorite one yet. I'm sure I said that about their last exhibit—The Collector's Cabinet (those dioramas!)—but House of Wax is just so, so good. I'm always annoyed by the collective outcry about spoiler alerts and warnings, but I think it's necessary to mention that some of my photos might be a tad NSFW, which isn't a bad thing in my opinion, unless of course you're reading this at work and you sit in the very center of the room like I do.

House of Wax is a collection of late 19th century-early 20th century waxworks once a part of a Berlin-based Panopticum. According to Morbid Anatomy, Panoptica were "like the dime museums and popular anatomical museums of the US, these largely forgotten spaces fall somewhere between aristocratic cabinets of curiosity and today’s ideas of museums." In other words, totally my scene.

As always, Morbid Anatomy packs a powerful punch in just one small exhibition room with 34 exhibits—the exception being German serial killer Friedrich Heinrich Karl "Butcher of Hanover" Haarmann, who gets his own spot under a curtain by the bathrooms. They have death masks of Napoleon, Henrik Ibsen, Mary Stuart (Queen of Scots) and Kaiser Wilhelm I. There are examples of a corseted torso, syphilis, leprosy, lupus, tuberculosis, diphtheria, circumcision, psoriasis and a variety of other deformities and maladies.

What made the most lasting impact on me, however, are numerous waxworks depicting the unique Hell (I assume) that is childbirth. Although it admittedly takes a lot to make me squirm, seeing a cross-section of a fetus inside (or on its way out of) a uterus is definitely more terrifying to me than all of the skin diseases and genital deformities in the world combined.

Monday, February 22, 2016

Coney Island: Off-Season

After being cooped up inside for a few days recovering from a little something, I very much needed to clear out the cobwebs. I decided to go to Coney Island and as expected, its off-season grit and grime was exactly what I needed. There are a few stores and restaurants open all-year-round, but the parks and rides are currently closed until March 20th this year.

I've posted about Coney Island numerous times before, but I feel like I could go forever and still never run out of interesting things to see and photograph. The weather was spring like, despite still being February, and there were quite a few people on the boardwalk, but less on the side streets and avenues.

It was strange to see the Wonder Wheel stripped of its cars and sitting silent and still. The Cyclone looked downright abandoned, which of course I love because I get to revel in the sadness of that idea, while knowing full well that in a few short weeks it will be up and running again, giving whiplash to anyone with $9 to spare.