Celebrating the DE/VLs' 4th Hallow-versary! And it burns, burns, burns . . .

"You do me wrong to take me out o'th' grave:
Thou art a soul in bliss; but I am bound
Upon a wheel of fire, that mine own tears
Do scald like molten lead."

-William Shakespeare, King Lear, IV, vii, 46-48

Earlier this month, I mentioned being hard at work on my anniversary gift to Niki. Well, I'm happy to say it's finally complete . . . and just in time!

A little over a year ago, we were lucky enough to pick up a slightly damaged floor-model table at The Brick for $25 (regular price: $499). It was pretty dinged up in places and missing a few assembly screws, but we already had four chairs and the price was definitely right.

More importantly, it was the perfect shape and size for me to begin working on an idea I'd had for some time: add a wooden Lazy Susan from IKEA and paint it all to look like the original 45 rpm record of our wedding song, Ring Of Fire by Johnny Cash.

Earlier this year I painted the chairs black, but once I'd done that it quickly became apparent (so many bumped arms . . .) that we needed something light underneath to contrast against them. After seeing how spiffy King Bill Compton's looked under his table in the last season of True Blood, we grabbed a faux-fur zebra print rug from JYSK to do the job.

It complemented the black chairs, but something was still missing, so once I'd painted the table to match and replaced the missing screws, I added seat cushions to the chairs with some red velvet fabric. Then, to take it a step beyond and bring it all together, I painted an actual "ring of fire" around the side of the table to complete the effect.

The greatest challenge was the Lazy Susan. The size and placement of both the lettering and the centre hole had to be just right or the "label" would look lop-sided while spinning, or worse, just plain bad even when sitting still. I painted a "spindle adapter" in the enlarged centre hole to complete the illusion of a playing record and voilĂ !

The original 45 rpm record label:

The finished Lazy Susan:

But what's a ring, even a ring of fire, without a box to present it in? A little paint on an old cardboard box, some leftover foam cushioning, fabric and vinyl and it all came together perfectly!

And of course, it wouldn't be Halloween without a good scare . . . from beyond the grave!

Happy Halloween everyone! And a very Happy 4th Anniversary to my wife, my love, my muse. I love you, Niki!



Tombstone Tuesday!

This gravestone in Los Angeles' Hollywood Forever Cemetery is a reproduction of Antonio Canova's sculpture Psyche Revived by Cupid's Kiss. The original was commissioned in 1787 and completed 6 years later in 1793. It was later acquired in 1800 by Joachim Murat and was donated by him to the Louvre Museum in Paris, France in 1824.

The Most Pleasant and Delectable Tale of the Marriage of Cupid and Psyche
first appeared circa 150 A.D., in the middle of a series of stories told in Apuleius' The Golden Ass (originally titled Metamorphoses) and is essentially a reversal of the classic story of Orpheus and Eurydice: the lover having to descend into the Underworld in order to reclaim his beloved.

Stay Tombed!



2011 Toronto Zombie Walk!

Even though Niki and I attended last year's Toronto Zombie Walk - and inducted a few fresh corpses into the horde in the process, this year felt like the true follow up to 2009's TZW.

As you may recall, it was at that Zombie Walk that Adam Invader proposed to TZW founder Thea Munster. We chatted them up last year at a Danzig show in Buffalo, NY and they said they were trying to find the time to plan the wedding while also juggling Zombie Walk responsibilities, well it seems they decided to split the difference and compromise by making their nuptials the centre-piece and opening kick-off to this year's Walk!

It was only a few minutes past 2pm when creepy organ music filled the air of Trinity-Bellwoods Park - both the starting and finishing point of this year's Walk - and six sombre-faced pall-bearers loaded a coffin onto the stage. It was then that Thea - a vision of grace and purity . . . or rather make that gross putridity - rose from the casket and proceeded with the scare-emony.

Once the bouquet was thrown to the slavering mob of undead brides milling about the foot of the stage, various prizes were handed out and the severed head was quickly tossed to start the Walk (a tradition begun by last year's honorary Grand Marshal: GWAR's Oderus Urungus).

And then it was time for Toronto to once again shiver in the grip of a 7000+ swarm of the walking dead . . .

Of course, these are just a few of the zombies that caught our eye, if you'd like to see more be sure to check out Flickr and The Official Toronto Zombie Walk Group on Facebook.



Tombstone Tuesday!

A word of advice for the groundskeeper of St. Catharines' Victoria Lawn Cemetery: If you trim some of that shrubbery back, your Johnson will look much bigger.

Stay Tombed!



"Things Fall Apart, The Centre Cannot Hold."

- William Butler Yeats, The Second Coming

One of the great things about Niagara-On-The-Lake is that nearly every building has a story and nearly every story inevitably leads to a ghost story. 240 Centre St. is no exception, but while most haunted sites in N-O-T-L are simply a venue for ghostly apparitions, this place is a ghostly apparition. I don't know if this house actually is haunted, but it sure looks and feels like it.

Located at the southeast corner of Centre and Mississagua [sic] Streets in Niagara-On-The-Lake's historic Old Town and facing the Presbyterian Church cemetery across the street, 240 Centre St. stands out amongst the other houses around it by not standing out at all.

Whereas most other buildings in N-O-T-L have been maintained or restored to a pristine appearance, the house at 240 Centre St. is conspicuously run-down, while surrounding trees and underbrush cloak it's street-front sides, making the building almost invisible to passing motorists and pedestrians.

Much like the house itself, information on its history is very hard to find. According to page 35 of the 2004 Niagara-On-The-Lake Visitor's Guide, the building, known as the Breakenridge-Ure House, was built circa 1823 and was the third brick house built by John Breakenridge, a well-known Niagara lawyer. When Breakenridge died in 1828, the house was used as a school by his widow through the 1830s.

Even while standing directly in front of the building's corner, it manages to completely hide from view.

The way the tree's branches all seem to bend to create a screen of foliage around the building is really eerie.

Even where it is possible to see through the brush to the walls behind, not much is revealed besides brick and boards.

This was an interesting find. The entire house is securely boarded to prevent trespassers from entering. Every door and window was sealed up tight except the one second story rear window with a small open slot at the top. The tree's branch seems to reach right up and touch that very spot. Which begs the question, what's coming and going through that hole and how on earth did the tree manage to grow directly towards it? Probably better not to ask . . .

Around back is the barn and a covered well and further along behind that is a tiny (yet thickly overgrown) forest.

Coming back around to the front of the house, I noticed a peephole had been punched through the boards covering the door . . .

Niki dared me to peek in, but there was no way I was putting my eye up against that hole, so I did one better by simply placing the camera over it. Once the camera lens covered the hole entirely, the viewfinder focused to reveal this creepy staircase lit from above (I'm guessing from that one rear window that was slightly open).

Looking at the viewfinder, I felt a chill run down my spine as I was reminded of a line from Stephen King's third Dark Tower novel, The Waste Lands:

"All is silent in the halls of the dead . . . All is forgotten in the stone halls of the dead. Behold the stairways which stand in darkness; behold the rooms of ruin. These are the halls of the dead where the spiders spin and the great circuits fall quiet, one by one."

After that, we decided we'd had enough of these rooms of ruin and quickly headed back to the car and went straight home before it got dark!

Online information about the Breakenridge-Ure House is scarce, but if you'd like to see more, there are a few pictures to be found at the Right In Niagara blog and Flickr.



Tombstone Tuesday!

Here it is, our second Tombstone Tuesday and how UNearth can I follow up last week? After seeing a rock 'n roll guitar-god's memorial in the fabulous, far-off land of Hollywood, California what comes next? Well, once you've broached the subject of The Ramones and cemeteries, there's really only one answer, isn't there?

Here's a photo Niki took of a local "Pet Sematary" across the street from St. Joseph's Cemetery in Port Colborne, along the north coast of Lake Erie.

Stay Tombed! And remember "Sometimes dead is better . . ."



Fully Metal Jackets

Happy Thanksgiving to all you Canadian DE/VL lovers out there!

While I try to complete my latest creepy creation by Halloween - an anniversary gift for my darling demoness Niki - here's some pics of a couple of metal/punk jackets that I recently completed.

The first is a full-sized jacket for a friend who had been asking me for years to make one for him. I'd put it off and put it off and then, once I finally broke down and got to work cutting fabric, sewing patches, painting panels and punching metal studs, what resulted was a finished jacket that looked so amazing that it broke my heart to let it go.

When it came time to re-outfit our good friends' two-year-old son with a new toddler-sized jacket (just after he was born, I'd made an infant-sized one that he'd long since grown out of), I borrowed some of the elements from the full-sized jacket, making it spooky looking, but still managing to keep it kid friendly. Here's what the final product ended up looking like:

I'm always working on one or two jackets, so there'll be more posted in the future and you can find more examples in the Apparel section of the DE/VL Design website.



RIP Steve Jobs

“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma - which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of other’s opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.” - Steve Jobs


DE/VL Design's first Tombstone Tuesday!

In the spirit of the season, every Tuesday I'll be posting one or more pictures featuring a gravestone that Niki or I have photographed during our (many) crypt crawls. It could be a relative, celebrity, historical figure, or just an eye-catching marker worthy of note, who knows?
For our very first Tuesday Tombstone, I think we should go BIG, so here's one of our favourite finds: Johnny Ramone's marker at Hollywood Forever Cemetery in Los Angeles, California.

Paying our respects to the legend . . .

Stay "Tombed" for more every Tuesday!